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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of the Year Edition



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1bk_6thhouseravings

ALL CRIES ARE WAKING!
Whitest White of all White!
Blackest Blacks of all Blacks!
Shame and Son, Sun, and Shadow!

Stronger than gods, brighter than mortals!
Only He is Awake!
Only He is Alive!

He Knows the Names and the Naming!
He Knows the Wait and the Waiting!
He Enters into every Star and Moon!
He Shines through their Shadows!

One Shape, One Spelling!
One Wraith, One Casting!
From Darkness, He is Armed!
From Light, He is Warded!

He is All Things!
Drake! Liche! Theomen!
On rivers of fire he comes forth!
Through storms of dreams he rides!
With slivers of steel he pierces the Heart!

All Spells, Powers, Curses Broken!
The Chains are Shattered!
The Scales Fall Away!

I see you with MY EYE!
And all is SILENCE!
I Wake! I Remember!
LORD!
2bk_a1_11_zainsubaninotesZainsubani's Notes

[The following are notes on the Ashlanders and the Nerevarine cult prepared for you by Hassour Zainsubani]

The Ashlanders are the direct descendants of the Aldmeri peoples who followed the Prophet Veloth into the lands we now call Morrowind. The Ashlanders retain the modest nomadic life and simple ancestor worship of their forebears, and despise the soft lives and decadent worships of the settled Great House Dunmer cultures. The Wastes are harsh and unforgiving, and we are a hard people. But there is a beauty and honor in our simple lives, and the snobs of the Temple and Great Houses are fools to dismiss us as crude savages.

Ashlanders and foreigners
Most Ashlanders wish all foreigners and their false gods could be driven from Morrowind. At very least, Ashlanders wish the foreign devils would leave them in peace. Ashlanders think it shameful to attack unarmed persons, but they will kill without hesitation an armed person who offends them or their clan laws. No Ashlander is fool enough to make war against the Empire. However, if such a war might be won, many Ashlanders might cheerfully give their lives to win such a war.

Ashlander courtesy
Ashlanders may challenge a stranger who enters a yurt without invitation. Customs differ with different tribes, but leave when requested, and you may be forgiven. Be particularly careful about ashkhans -- tribal chiefs -- and wise women -- tribal seers and counselors. Some are welcoming, some are hostile. Be courteous, and leave if requested. If offended, they may attack.

Ashlander challenges
When challenged for sport, it is acceptable to decline. When challenged for honor, it is shameful to decline. Honor challenges come from offense given in speech or action, or may represent customary formal challenges of status or ritual.

Ashlander worship
All Ashlanders in a tribe, young and small, are born into the Ancestor cult of their clan. The Nerevarine cult is different, though; it is a very small cult, with only a few wise women with the gift of prophecy, and a few holy warrior-heroes who guard and protect the seers. Sul-Matuul, Ashkhan of the Urshilaku, is the Warrior-Protector of the cult, and Nibani Maesa, also of the Urshilaku, is the Oracle-Seer of the cult.

Nerevarine cult
They worship the Great Ashkhan and Hortator, Nerevar Moon-and-Star, who in ages past destroyed the evil, godless dwarves and banished the treacherous Dagoth Ur and his foul hosts beneath Red Mountain. The cult is of small consequence in Ashlander worship, and only among the Urshilaku do its followers have any influence. Others Ashlanders tribes share the sentiments of the cult, but regard the Nerevarine prophecies with suspicion and skepticism.

Nerevarine prophecies
It is said that prophecies foretell the return of a reincarnated Nerevar, who shall drive the foreigners from the Ashlands and who shall cast down the false gods of the Temple, and restore the true worships of the Ancestors. It is a dream that would appeal to every Ashlander, but many Ashlanders think it is a silly ancient legend, and little more.

The Urshilaku Ashlanders
The Urshilaku are the Ashlanders of the northern Ashlands and the West Gash, in the northwest of Vvardenfell. Ashkhan Sul-Matuul is their chief, a brave and respected war leader, and Warrior-Protector of the Nerevarine cult. Nibani Maesa is their wise woman, a deep and shrewd counselor, and seer of the Nerevarine cult. The Urshilaku camp moves with the herds, but usually lies close to the Sea of Ghosts, north of the village of Maar Gan, on the northern coast of the northern Ashlands.

3bk_a1_1_caiuspackage

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4bk_a1_1_directionscaiuscosades

%PCName

You have been given these directions and a package of documents. Do not show them to anyone. Do not attempt to read the documents in the package. The package has been sealed, and your tampering will be discovered and punished.

Follow these directions.

Proceed to the town of Balmora in Vvardenfell District. Report to a man named Caius Cosades. He will be your superior and patron; you will follow his orders. His residence is not known, but ask at the cornerclub called "South Wall". People there will know where to find Caius Cosades. When you report to Caius Cosades, deliver the package of documents to him, and wait for further orders.

Remember. You owe your life and freedom to the Emperor. Serve him well, and you will be rewarded. Betray him, and you will suffer the fate of all traitors.


I have the Honor to prepare this at the direction of his Most Sovereign Majesty the Emperor Uriel Septim,

Glabrio Bellienus
Personal Secretary to the Emperor
5bk_a1_1_elone_to_Balmora

From Seyda Neen to Balmora by Road

From Seyda Neen, leave the village by the north bridge, then follow the road east past the silt strider port.

East of Seyda Neen, the road heads northeast through the ridge and intersects a northwest-southeast road. Turn left, northwest, and pass the village of Pelagiad on your right.

The road continues north, then swings northeast until it reaches a four-way intersection. The road to Balmora turns left, northwest, and descends into Foyada Mamaea, a deep volcanic ravine. The road follows the ravine northeast for a short distance, then turns left and climbs out of the ravine to the northwest.

North of the ravine, pass Fort Moonmoth on the right and come to an intersection with a signpost. Head due west towards Balmora.

Two small bridges cross the Odai River. On the west side of the river, go north, passing the silt strider port and entering the walls of Balmora.

Mind the signposts, and be careful. In bad weather or darkness, it is easy to stray from the road.

6bk_a1_1_packagedecoded

Spymaster Caius Cosades
Knight-Errant of the Imperial Order of Blades
Director of Imperial Intelligence in Vvardenfell District, Eastern Provinces

I have the honor to acquaint you with his Majesty's wishes concerning %PCName, an individual of no rank or consequence.

%PCName has been released from prison by his Majesty's authority and sent to you with this missive. %PCName is to be entered as a Novice in the Imperial Order of the Blades, and is to serve under your absolute authority as you shall see fit, except insofar as his Majesty's particular wishes are concerned.

His Majesty's particular wishes are as follows.

A local superstition holds that an orphan and outcast, a youth born on a certain day to uncertain parents, shall unite all the tribes of the Dunmer, drive out the invaders of Morrowind, and shall reestablish the ancient laws and customs of the Dark Elven nations. This orphan and outcast is called in legend the "Nerevarine," and is supposed to be a reincarnation of the long-dead Dunmer General and First Councilor, Lord Indoril Nerevar.

%PCName has the appearance of meeting the conditions of this local superstition. Therefore it is his Majesty's desire that %PCName shall, insofar as is possible, satisfy the conditions of this ancient prophecy, and shall become the Nerevarine.

Though this prophecy is indeed only an ancient local superstition, his Majesty has taken counsel on this matter with his most expert informants and confidants, and his Majesty is persuaded that the prophecy is genuine and significant, either in its entirety, or in its several parts, and he earnestly demands you treat this matter with the utmost seriousness.

Certain aspects of this ancient superstition are described at the end of this document, and further materials will be forthcoming by courier at the earliest occasion. It will, of course, be necessary that you acquaint yourself better with the details of this ancient superstition from your local sources. Since this matter intimately concerns %PCName, it is expected that you will employ him to gather information on this subject. His Majesty has taken a great personal interest in the legends and prophecies of the Nerevarine, and eagerly awaits reports your reports.

I have the honor to be, Sir, your most Humble and Obedient Servant,

Glabrio Bellienus
Personal Secretary to the Emperor
7bk_a1_2_antabolistocosades

[The following are notes prepared by Hasphat Antabolis for Caius Cosades.]

Sixth House

House Dagoth is an extinct Great House. In the wake of the ancient Battle of Red Mountain, its leadership was revealed to have plotted treason, and was discredited. Many of House Dagoth died defending the House; those survivors who were faithful to the Great Council were redistributed among the other houses. The Temple says the ancient, legendary evil beings that dwell beneath Red Mountain in the Dagoth Ur region are the original leaders of this extinct house, sustained by some powerful, evil sorceries.
Other References

These books include references to the Sixth House and its destruction. The bookseller Dorisa Darvel over in the Commercial District might have copies.

THE WAR OF THE FIRST COUNCIL
SAINT NEREVAR
NEREVAR MOON-AND-STAR
THE REAL NEREVAR
8bk_a1_2_introtocadiusus

Dearest Senilias,

The bearer of this note, %PCName, has provided useful service, and shown considerable resourcefulness. I have employed %PCName in retrieving an item from Arkngthand, so you can count on some familiarity with Dwemer ruins. If you have a place, I believe %PCName will give satisfaction.

If you have any luck, perhaps you'll use the bearer to send a note my way.

My best regards and affection to you and Pania,
Hasphat Antabolis
9bk_a1_4_sharnsnotes

[The following are notes from Sharn gra-Muzgob to Caius Cosades.]

The Nerevarine Cult

This Ashlander religious cult follows prophecies of a Nerevar reborn to honor ancient promises to the tribes, to reestablish the traditions of the Prophet Veloth, to cast down the false gods of the Tribunal Temple, and to drive all outlanders from Morrowind. Both Temple and Empire outlaw the cult, but it persists among the Ashlanders, despite Imperial and Temple repression. Because it is persecuted, it remains a secret cult, and it is hard to judge how widespread it is among the Ashlanders, or whether it has any following outside the Ashlander tribes.

The Nerevarine

The Ashlanders firmly believe that Nerevar will return to restore the glories of ancient Resdayn. [Morrowind was called 'Resdayn' before the Imperial Occupation.] The Ashlanders say the Great Houses and the Temple have abandoned the pure teachings of the Prophet Veloth, forsaking ancestor worship for the false gods of the Tribunal, and embracing the comforts of civilization that corrupted the High Elves. The Temple, on the other hand, venerates Saint Nerevar, but rejects the disgusting notion that the False Incarnate will walk the earth like a ghoul.

Nerevar

The Temple honors Saint Nerevar as the greatest Dunmer general, First Councilor, and companion of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, who united the Dunmer Houses to destroy the evil Dwemer, the treacherous House Dagoth, and their Western allies at Red Mountain. But the Ashlanders say Nerevar promised to honor the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and that he will come again to honor that promise. To the Ashlanders, this means destroying the false Temple and driving the Imperial invaders from the land.

Nerevarine Prophecies

Dream visions and prophecies are a respected tradition in Ashlander culture. Their wise women and shamans take careful note of dreams and visions, and pass on the tribe's legacies of vision and prophecy to their successors. By contrast, the Temple and the Western faiths are suspicious of mysticism, and they regard interpretation of dreams and visions as primitive superstition.

The most common version of the Nerevarine Prophecy is THE STRANGER. The verses are obscure, as are most prophecies. But two observations are in order.

First, many less-well-informed scholars assume that the phrase "journeyed far 'neath moon and star" is just a cliche to suggest a very long journey, but the Nerevar of legend was known to possess a magical ring named "One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star," upon which Nerevar is supposed to have sworn his promise to honor ancient Ashlander traditions and land rights.

Second, the reference to "seven curses" must certainly refer to the lost prophetic verses known to the Ashlanders as the SEVEN CURSES.

THE STRANGER

When earth is sundered, and skies choked black,
And sleepers serve the seven curses,
To the hearth there comes a stranger,
Journeyed far 'neath moon and star.

Though stark-born to sire uncertain
His aspect marks his certain fate.
Wicked stalk him, righteous curse him.
Prophets speak, but all deny.

Many trials make manifest
The stranger's fate, the curses' bane.
Many touchstones try the stranger
Many fall, but one remains.


Lost Prophecies

Ashlander elders complain of prophecies which have been lost to tribal memory due to the carelessness or ineptitude of earlier generations of wise women and ashkhans. Suspicious scholars wonder whether these prophecies might have been deliberately forgotten or suppressed. Three Nerevarine prophecies in particular are said to have been lost: 1. The Lost Prophecies; 2. The Seven Curses; and 3. Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate. Perhaps these lost prophecies will someday be found, either in forgotten accounts written by literate travelers, or in the memories of isolated Ashlanders, or in the secret traditions of the wise women and shamans.
10bk_A1_7_HuleeyaInformant

[The following are Huleeya's notes for Caius Cosades.]

The History of the Ashlanders and the Nerevarine Cult
In First Era barbaric Dunmer culture, settled Dunmer clans (the Great Houses) and nomadic Dunmer tribes (like the Ashlanders) were roughly equal in numbers and wealth. Under the civilized peace of the Grand Council, and with the strong central authority of the Temple, the economic and military power of the settled Dunmer quickly outstripped that of the nomadic Dunmer. The nomadic Dunmer were marginalized into the poorest, most hostile land, in particular, into the Vvardenfell wastes. For the Ashlanders, the return of a reincarnated Nerevar represents a longed for and largely romanticized Golden Age of Nerevar's Peace, when the nomadic tribes enjoyed equality with the settled Dunmer, and before the Dunmer people had for the most part abandoned traditional ancestor worship for the autocratic theocracy of the Tribunal Temple.

The Nerevar of the Ashlanders

This is the story of Nerevar as an Ashlander might tell it.

In ancient days, the Deep Elves and a great host of outlanders from the West came to steal the land of the Dunmer. In that time, Nerevar was the great khan and warleader of the House People, but he honored the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and became as one of us. So, when Nerevar pledged upon his great Ring of the Ancestors, One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, to honor the ways of the Spirits and rights of the Land, all the Tribes joined the House People to fight a great battle at Red Mountain. Though many Dunmer, Tribesman and Houseman, died at Red Mountain, the Dwemer were defeated and their evil magicks destroyed, and the outlanders driven from the land. But after this great victory, the power-hungry khans of the Great Houses slew Nerevar in secret, and, setting themselves up as gods, neglected Nerevar's promises to the Tribes. But it is said that Nerevar will come again with his ring, and cast down the false gods, and by the power of his ring will make good his promises to the Tribes, to honor the Spirits and drive the outsiders from the land.

Persecution of the Nerevarine Cult

The Tribunal Temple regards the mysticism and prophecy of the Nerevarine cult as primitive superstition. The Ashlander Ancestor cults and the Nerevarines in particular have always decried the worship of living Dunmer as abominations, suspecting the unnatural lifetimes of the Tribunal to be signs of profane sorcery or necromancy. Though the authoritarian and intolerant Temple priesthood has always been inclined to tolerate Ashlander ancestor cult practices, they have always threatened Nerevarine claimants with death or imprisonment. And while generally tolerant of various cult worships, the Imperial Commission of the Occupation outlaws cults hostile to the Emperor and the Empire, and threatens members of such cults with imprisonment or death. The Ordinators are allowed a free hand when dealing with outlawed cults like the Nerevarines.

Peakstar and other Incarnates in the Past

In the past, others have claimed to be the reincarnated Nerevar of prophecy. The most recent is known as Peakstar, a mysterious figure who has reportedly appeared and disappeared among the Wastes tribes over the last 30 years. The Temple notes that these False Incarnates discredit the Nerevarine prophecies. Singularly, and illogically, the Ashlanders acknowledge a history of false claimants, calling them "Failed Incarnates," but they regard them as proof of the validity of the prophecies, rather than contradiction. Among the Nerevarines there is a fable of a Cavern of the Incarnates, where the spirits of the Failed Incarnates dwell. The Nerevarine cult is a mystical cult, and it glorifies, rather than shrinks from, contradictions.
11bk_a1_v_vivecinformants

[The following are notes prepared by Caius Cosades to summarize your mission to Vivec City.]

In Vivec, look for these three persons and get them to tell you what they know about the Nerevarine cult and the Sixth House cult. Each owes me a favor, and each should be willing to cooperate.

Addhiranirr is a Khajiit, and a Thieves Guild operative. She won't be easy to find, but ask around in St. Olms Canton. Folks are easily offended in St. Olms; be careful what you say. A little courtesy, a little coin, a little favor in the right place will get you in touch with her.

Huleeya is an Argonian and a Morag Tong assassin. Look for him in the Foreign Quarter, at the Black Shalk Cornerclub. He's known around Vivec City as a lover of books and old things.

Mehra Milo is a Temple priestess who works in the libraries at the Hall of Wisdom and Justice. The Hall of Wisdom and Justice is open to the public. Just walk around until you find her. Do NOT ask anyone at the Hall of Wisdom and Justice about Mehra Milo. I don't want to draw attention to the fact that she is talking to an outlander. Mehra Milo is a particular friend, and I don't want her to get in trouble.

When you've spoken with each of these persons, and gotten what information they can give you, return and report to me.
12bk_a2_1_sevenvisions

Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate



[These are the words of the prophecy called "Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate." I wrote them down as she spoke them to me.]

seven trials
What he puts his hand to, that shall be done.
What is left undone, that shall be done.

first trial
On a certain day to uncertain parents
Incarnate moon and star reborn.

second trial
Neither blight nor age can harm him.
The Curse-of-Flesh before him flies.

third trial
In caverns dark Azura's eye sees
And makes to shine the moon and star.

fourth trial
A stranger's voice unites the Houses.
Three Halls call him Hortator.

fifth trial
A stranger's hand unites the Velothi.
Four Tribes call him Nerevarine.

sixth trial
He honors blood of the tribe unmourned.
He eats their sin, and is reborn.

seventh trial
His mercy frees the cursed false gods,
Binds the broken, redeems the mad.

one destiny
He speaks the law for Veloth's people.
He speaks for their land, and names them great.
13bk_a2_1_thestranger

The Stranger



[These are the words of the prophecy called "The Stranger." I wrote them down as she spoke them to me.]

When earth is sundered, and skies choked black,
And sleepers serve the seven curses,
To the hearth there comes a stranger,
Journeyed far 'neath moon and star.

Though stark-born to sire uncertain,
His aspect marks his certain fate.
Wicked stalk him, righteous curse him.
Prophets speak, but all deny.

Many trials make manifest
The stranger's fate, the curses' bane.
Many touchstones try the stranger.
Many fall, but one remains.
14bk_a2_2_dagoth_message

Lord Nerevar Indoril, Hai Resdaynia
My Lord, Friend, and Companion

Once we were friends and brothers, Lord Nerevar, in peace and in war. No houseman ever served you better, or more faithfully. Much that I did was at your command, at great cost to myself, and my honor.

Yet beneath Red Mountain, you struck me down as I guarded the treasure you bound me by oath to defend. It was a cruel blow, a bitter betrayal, to be felled by your hand.

But, remembering our old friendship, I would forgive you, and raise you high in my service. The Sixth House was not dead, but only sleeping. Now we wake from our long dream, coming forth to free Morrowind of foreign rulers and divine pretenders. When the land is swept clean of false friends and greedy thieves, the children of Veloth will build anew a garden of plenty in this blighted wasteland.

Come to Red Mountain, old friend. For the fellowship and honor that once we shared, I would grant you counsel and power, if only you would pledge that friendship anew. The path to Red Mountain is long, and filled with danger, but if you are worthy, you will find there wisdom, a firm friend, and all the power you need to set the world aright.

As ever, your respectful servant and loyal friend,
Lord Voryn Dagoth, Dagoth Ur
15bk_ABCs



A is for Atronach.



B is for Bungler's Bane.



C is for Comberry.

16bk_AedraAndDaedra

Aedra and Daedra



The designations of Gods, Demons, Aedra, and Daedra, are universally confusing to the layman. They are often used interchangeably.

"Aedra" and "Daedra" are not relative terms. They are Elvish and exact. Azura is a Daedra both in Skyrim and Morrowind. "Aedra" is usually translated as "ancestor," which is as close as Cyrodilic can come to this Elven concept. "Daedra" means, roughly, "not our ancestors." This distinction was crucial to the Dunmer, whose fundamental split in ideology is represented in their mythical genealogy.

Aedra are associated with stasis. Daedra represent change.

Aedra created the mortal world and are bound to the Earth Bones. Daedra, who cannot create, have the power to change.

As part of the divine contract of creation, the Aedra can be killed. Witness Lorkhan and the moons.

The protean Daedra, for whom the rules do not apply, can only be banished.

17bk_Aedra_Tarer_Unique

Aedra and Daedra



The designations of Gods, Demons, Aedra, and Daedra, are universally confusing to the layman. They are often used interchangeably.

"Aedra" and "Daedra" are not relative terms. They are Elvish and exact. Azura is a Daedra both in Skyrim and Morrowind. "Aedra" is usually translated as "ancestor," which is as close as Cyrodilic can come to this Elven concept. "Daedra" means, roughly, "not our ancestors." This distinction was crucial to the Dunmer, whose fundamental split in ideology is represented in their mythical genealogy.

Aedra are associated with stasis. Daedra represent change.

Aedra created the mortal world and are bound to the Earth Bones. Daedra, who cannot create, have the power to change.

As part of the divine contract of creation, the Aedra can be killed. Witness Lorkhan and the moons.

The protean Daedra, for whom the rules do not apply, can only be banished.

18bk_AffairsOfWizards

The Affairs of Wizards
by Turedus Talanian
In the Service of Master Aryon



Want to Become Part of House Telvanni?

Outsiders learning of the rabid isolationist and outlander-hating temperament of House Telvanni wizards often assume it would be impossible to obtain positions in service to House Telvanni.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, since the Telvanni vigorously defend the right to own slaves, and since they keep many Argonian and Khajiit as slaves, many Argonians and Khajiit assume they would not be accepted for service with House Telvanni.

Not true. Telvanni accept all races as candidates for membership.

And, since the Telvanni are ruled by wizard-lord nobles, many assume they accept only candidates of the highest intelligence and willpower.

Not true. Telvanni accept candidates of modest intelligence and willpower.

It is true that advancement in Telvanni ranks depends on high intelligence and willpower, and that candidates proficient in the arts of magic -- especially Mysticism, Conjuration, Illusion, Alteration, Destruction, and Enchanting -- can expect to advance faster and higher in the ranks.

But adventurers of all races and abilities who apply to Telvanni Mouths at the Telvanni Council Hall in Sadrith Mora for acceptance in House Telvanni can expect a cordial welcome.

(Telvanni Councilors do not serve on their house councils in person. Instead, they are represented by a 'Mouth', a trusted subordinate in residence at the Council Hall, acting on his patron's behalf, receiving messengers from their patrons and casting their patron's votes in Council affairs.)

The truth is that House Telvanni wizard-lords depend on loyal, well-paid, skilled retainers for most services. Though House Telvanni does recruit from their own lower classes, they must go outside their house to hire the craftsmen and specialists they need. And since for political reasons House Telvanni has chosen to reduce its reliance on Redoran mercenaries for protection and security, it has been forced to turn to Western mercenaries for guards and agents.

Promotion in the ranks of House Telvanni, however, is very difficult for outsiders. Most disconcerting for some potential candidates is House Telvanni's casual acceptance of murder and assassination of rivals as a means to advancement. Those reluctant to prove their worthiness by killing off the competition, and those uncomfortable about competing in such a ruthless atmosphere, might better employ their time and efforts in the Mages Guild.

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Mushrooms of the Bitter Coast
Journeyman Report from Ajira



Ajira studies four common mushrooms in Vvardenfell.

Luminous Russula is a toadstool like mushroom with a brown spot on top. All Russula has strong odors, but Luminous Russula much stronger. Russula can be poison if not prepared right. When mixed with pearl dust it makes very good potion to breathe under the water.

Violet Coprinus is a tall toadstool that glows in the night. Coprinus also is poison if mixed wrongly like if you mix with Russula. Coprinus mixed with scales lets Ajira walk on the water instead of under the water. Much better.

Bungler's Bane looks like a brown shelf and grows from trees and sometimes wet rocks. Bungler's Bane very bad for you when mixed with almost anything. Very hard to use, but Ajira found Bungler's Bane and left over crushed pearl makes good dispel potion. No bad effects with Ajira's skill, but potion tastes very bad.

Hypha Facia looks just like Bungler's Bane. Confuses Ajira very easily, but Bungler's Bane smells more dry and dusty. Hypha Facia has little smell, but taste is very moist. Hypha Facia very good mushroom for eating, but too much makes Ajira clumsy. Ajira used Hypha Facia to make the nix hound meat more edible, and Ajira could smell all enchantments in Ajira's room. Ajira found no other use for Hypha Facia.

Ajira works very hard to go all over Bitter Coast and collect all these mushrooms. Ajira deserves rank of Journeyman much sooner than Galbedir.

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Flowers of Lake Amaya
Journeyman Report of Ajira



Ajira studies hard to learn secret magical properties of Gold Kanet, Stoneflower Petals, Willow Anther, and Heather.

Gold Kanet has yellow flowers and very dark green leaves with sharp spines. Gold Kanet and Stoneflower Petals makes a paste that restores strength. The paste has some bad effects, but they last only short time.

Stoneflowers are dark blue and the flowers are very heavy so they bend to the ground. It is very expensive, but Ajira can gain more magicka for a short time by mixing Stoneflower petals with crushed emeralds and water.

Willow flowers are red and very tall with tall and thin leaves also. Willow very good for potions and has many uses. With frost salts, Ajira made a shield of frost. With grave dust and green lichens, Ajira made a potion to cure common diseases. And with Corkbulb Ajira made a potion that can cure paralyzation.

Ajira thinks Heather comes from Skyrim because the leaves look like the spiny leaves of trees in Skyrim. The flowers are also pink like the Nord people. When mixed with ruby, it makes very good potion to make you not weigh so much. With a scrap of Scamp skin, Ajira made a potion to restore personality.

Ajira works very hard to collect these flower samples from the dangerous Lake Amaya. Ajira must do two reports and Galbedir must only do one silly report. Ajira deserves rank of Journeyman very soon now.

21bk_AlchemistsFormulary

The Alchemist's Formulary



Healers' Recipes

Healers should all know the recipes for the following popular potions. Fortunately, in most cases, the ingredients are common and cheaply obtained.

To restore health to the afflicted and wounded, combine in equal parts two or more of the following cheap and common ingredients: marshmerrow, wickwheat, corkbulb root, and saltrice. Marshmerrow is an important crop of the Ascadian Isles, but it also grows wild in the Grazelands and on Azura's Coast. Wickwheat is a wild Ashland grain that grows in the Grazelands. Corkbulb grows best in the Ascadian Isles. Most saltrice comes from southeastern Morrowind, but there are also some new and prospering farms and plantations in the Ascadian Isles. Saltrice occasionally grows wild in the Grazelands and on Azura's Coast.

To restore fatigue after heavy exertion, combine two or more of the following: crab meat, bread, small kwama egg, and chokeweed. Crabmeat is taken from the mud crab, commonly found along all coasts. Bread in Morrowind is usually baked from saltrice flour. Kwama eggs are harvested from egg mines, and sold everywhere in Morrowind; the smaller eggs retain properties lost in later states of gestation. Chokeweed is a tough shrub growing in the rocky highlands of the West Gash.

To cure common diseases, combine gravedust and green lichen. Gravedust is spirit-affinitive dust taken from remains buried in consecrated ground. Green lichen is a hardy primitive plant that grows in the Ascadian Isles and Azura's Coast.

To restore magicka for spellcasting, combine comberry and frost salts. Comberry is a bitter berry, used to make wines. It grows mainly in the Ascadian Isles. Frost salts, by contrast, are rare and expensive. These crystalline compounds precipitate from elemental frost in solution. Such residues may be collected from the remains of frost atronachs that have been banished from the mortal plane.


Travelers' Recipes

Pilgrims and travelers will find the following inexpensive recipes of particular interest.

Feather reduces the weary traveler's burdens and can be gained from heather and scuttle. Heather is a low evergreen shrub of the Ascadian Isles, known for its small, pinkish-purple flowers. Scuttle, Vvardenfell's favorite local dish, is similar to cheese and made from the flesh of local beetles.

Levitation can be produced from any two of the following ingredients: trama root, racer plumes, and coda flowers. A thick, bitter-tasting root of the trama shrub grows in the Ashlands, Molag Amur, and Red Mountain regions. Racer plumes are plucked from dead cliff racers. Coda flowers are collected from the primitive draggle-tail plant of the Bitter Coast.

The power of Water Breathing is handy for travelers. A potion may be made from two or more of the following ingredients: luminous russula, hackle-lo leaf, and kwama cuttle. Luminous russula is a squat, mottled-brown-and-green toadstool mushroom of the Bitter Coast region. Hackle-lo leaf is a succulent leaf of the Grazelands, prized for its taste and its roborative powers. Kwama cuttle is a tough, waxy substance that comes from sacs in the mouths of kwama.


Adventurers' Recipes

Unfortunately, the potions most favored by adventurers require more rare and expensive ingredients. There are exceptions, like the easy and affordable recipe for fire shield. But most such potions require at least one ingredient with high cost in coin or blood.

Fire Shield potions can be made from comberry and sload soap. Comberry is the bitter berry of the Ascadian Isles. Sload soap is a waxy substance made from the immature non-sentient forms of the sload. Sload soap is not expensive, but is only rarely stocked by apothecaries or alchemists, and cannot be collected locally.

An adventurer can fortify his strength with a potion made from ash yams and dreugh wax. Ash yam is a tough tuberous root vegetable common to the Ascadian Isles region. Dreugh wax is a tough, waxy substance scraped from dreugh shells. Dreugh are powerful aquatic creatures, and hunting them for their hides and wax is a dangerous occupation.

Invisibility, one of the most prized effects of potions, can be made only from crushed diamonds and bittergreen petals. Bittergreen is a red flowering plant growing in the Red Mountain region. Diamonds, on the other hand, are very rare and expensive and usually must be purchased from fine alchemists.

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Ancestors and the Dunmer



Ghosts Walk Among Them

The departed spirits of the Dunmeri, and perhaps those of all races, persist after death. The knowledge and power of departed ancestors benefits the bloodlines of Dunmeri Houses. The bond between the living family members and immortal ancestors is partly blood, partly ritual, partly volitional. A member brought into the House through marriage binds himself through ritual and oath into the clan, and gains communication and benefits from the clan's ancestors; however, his access to the ancestors is less than his offspring, and he retains some access to the ancestors of his own bloodline.

The Family Shrine

Each residence has a family shrine. In poorer homes, it may be no more than a hearth or alcove where family relics are displayed and venerated. In wealthy homes, a room is set aside for the use of the ancestors. This shrine is called the Waiting Door, and represents the door to Oblivion.

Here the family members pay their respects to their ancestors through sacrifice and prayer, through oaths sworn upon duties, and through reports on the affairs of the family. In return, the family may receive information, training, and blessings from the family's ancestors. The ancestors are thus the protectors of the home, and especially the precincts of the Waiting Door.

The Ghost Fence

It is a family's most solemn duty to make sure their ancestor's remains are interred properly in a City of the Dead such as Necrom. Here the spirits draw comfort from one another against the chill of the mortal world. However, as a sign of great honor and sacrifice, an ancestor may grant that part of his remains be retained to serve as part of a ghost fence protecting the clan's shrine and family precincts. Such an arrangement is often part of the family member's will, that a knucklebone shall be saved out of his remains and incorporated with solemn magic and ceremony into a clan ghost fence. In more exceptional cases, an entire skeleton or even a preserved corpse may be bound into a ghost fence.

These remains become a beacon and focus for ancestral spirits, and for the spirit of the remains in particular. The more remains used to make a ghost fence, the more powerful the fence is. And the most powerful mortals in life have the most powerful remains.

The Great Ghost Fence created by the Tribunal to hold back the Blight incorporates the bones of many heroes of the Temple and of the Houses Indoril and Redoran who dedicated their spirits to the Temple and Clan as their surrogate families. The Ghost Fence also contains bones taken from the Catacombs of Necrom and the many battlefields of Morrowind.

The Mortal Chill

Spirits do not like to visit the mortal world, and they do so only out of duty and obligation. Spirits tell us that the otherworld is more pleasant, or at least more comfortable for spirits than our real world, which is cold, bitter, and full of pain and loss.

Mad Spirits

Spirits that are forced to remain in our world against their will may become mad spirits, or ghosts.
Some spirits are bound to this world because of some terrible circumstances of their death, or because of some powerful emotional bond to a person, place, or thing. These are called hauntings.

Some spirits are captured and bound to enchanted items by wizards. If the binding is involuntary, the spirit usually goes mad. A willing spirit may or may not retain its sanity, depending on the strength of the spirit and the wisdom of the enchanter.

Some spirits are bound against their wills to protect family shrines. This unpleasant fate is reserved for those who have not served the family faithfully in life. Dutiful and honorable ancestral spirits often aid in the capture and binding of wayward spirits.

These spirits usually go mad, and make terrifying guardians. They are ritually prevented from harming mortals of their clans, but that does not necessary discourage them from mischievous or peevish behavior. They are exceedingly dangerous for intruders. At the same time, if an intruder can penetrate the spirit's madness and play upon the spirit's resentment of his own clan, the angry spirits may be manipulated.

Oblivion

The existence of Oblivion is acknowledged by all Tamriel cultures, but there is little agreement on the nature of that otherworld, other than it is the place where the Aedra and Daedra live, and that communication and travel are possible between this world and Oblivion through magic and ritual.

The Dunmer do not emphasize the distinction between this world and Oblivion as do the human cultures of Tamriel. They regard our world and the otherworld as a whole with many paths from one end to the other rather than two separate worlds of different natures with distinct borders. This philosophical viewpoint may account for the greater affinity of Elves for magic and its practices.

Foreign Views of Dunmeri Ancestor Worship and Spirit Magic

The Altmeri and Bosmeri cultures also venerate their ancestors, but only by respecting the orderly and blissful passage of these spirits from this world to the next. That is, Wood Elves and High Elves believe it is cruel and unnatural to encourage the spirits of the dead to linger in our world. Even more grotesque and repugnant is the display of the bodily remains of ancestors in ghost fences and ash pits. The presentation of fingerbones in a family shrine, for example, is sacrilegious to the Bosmer (who eat their dead) and barbaric to the Altmer (who inter their dead).

The human cultures of Tamriel are ignorant and fearful of Dark Elves and their culture, considering them to be inhuman and evil, like Orcs and Argonians, but more sophisticated. The human populations of Tamriel associate Dunmeri ancestor worship and spirit magic with necromancy; in fact, this association of the Dark Elves with necromancy is at least partly responsible for the dark reputation of Dunmer throughout Tamriel. This is generally an ignorant misconception, for necromancy outside the acceptable clan rituals is a most abhorrent abomination in the eyes of the Dunmer.

The Dark Elves would never think of practicing sorcerous necromancy upon any Dark Elf or upon the remains of any Elf. However, Dark Elves consider the human and orcish races to be little more than animals. There is no injunction against necromancy upon such remains, or on the remains of any animal, bird, or insect.

Imperial Policy officially recognizes the practices of Dunmeri ancestor veneration and spirit magic as a religion, and protects their freedom to pursue such practices so long as they do not threaten the security of the Empire. Privately, most Imperial officials and traders believe Dark Elf ancestor worship and displays of remains are barbaric or even necromantic.

Telvanni "Necromancy"

The Telvanni are adept masters of necromancy. They do not, however, practice necromancy upon the remains of Dark Elves. Sane Telvanni regard such practices with loathing and righteous anger. They do practice necromancy upon the remains of animals and upon the remains of Humans, Orcs, and Argonians -- who are technically no more than animals in Morrowind.


Publisher's Note: This book was written by an unknown scholar as a guide for foreign visitors to Morrowind shortly after the Armistice was signed. Many of these practices have since fallen into disfavor. The most obvious changes are those regarding the practice of Necromancy and the Great Ghostfence. Dunmer today regard Necromancy upon any of the accepted races as an abomination. The Ghostfence has forced many changes in the practice of ancestor worship. With the vast majority of ancestors' remains going to strengthen the Great Ghostfence around the mountain of Dagoth Ur, there are very few clan ghost fences in Morrowind. The Temple discourages such practices among the Houses as selfish. The upkeep of family tombs and private Waiting Doors has also fallen into disfavor, as very few remains have been buried in these tombs and shrines since the Armistice. In recent years most Dunmer venerate a small portion of their ancestor's remains kept at a local temple.

23bk_AnnotatedAnuad

The Anuad Paraphrased



The first ones were brothers: Anu and Padomay. They came into the Void, and Time began.

As Anu and Padomay wandered the Void, the interplay of Light and Darkness created Nir. Both Anu and Padomay were amazed and delighted with her appearance, but she loved Anu, and Padomay retreated from them in bitterness.

Nir became pregnant, but before she gave birth, Padomay returned, professing his love for Nir. She told him that she loved only Anu, and Padomay beat her in rage. Anu returned, fought Padomay, and cast him outside Time. Nir gave birth to Creation, but died from her injuries soon after. Anu, grieving, hid himself in the sun and slept.

Meanwhile, life sprang up on the twelve worlds of creation and flourished. After many ages, Padomay was able to return to Time. He saw Creation and hated it. He swung his sword, shattering the twelve worlds in their alignment. Anu awoke, and fought Padomay again. The long and furious battle ended with Anu the victor. He cast aside the body of his brother, who he believed was dead, and attempted to save Creation by forming the remnants of the 12 worlds into one -- Nirn, the world of Tamriel. As he was doing so, Padomay struck him through the chest with one last blow. Anu grappled with his brother and pulled them both outside of Time forever.

The blood of Padomay became the Daedra. The blood of Anu became the stars. The mingled blood of both became the Aedra (hence their capacity for good and evil, and their greater affinity for earthly affairs than the Daedra, who have no connection to Creation).

On the world of Nirn, all was chaos. The only survivors of the twelve worlds of Creation were the Ehlnofey and the Hist. The Ehlnofey are the ancestors of Mer and Men. The Hist are the trees of Argonia. Nirn originally was all land, with interspersed seas, but no oceans.

A large fragment of the Ehlnofey world landed on Nirn relatively intact, and the Ehlnofey living there were the ancestors of the Mer. These Ehlnofey fortified their borders from the chaos outside, hid their pocket of calm, and attempted to live on as before. Other Ehlnofey arrived on Nirn scattered amid the confused jumble of the shattered worlds, wandering and finding each other over the years. Eventually, the wandering Ehlnofey found the hidden land of Old Ehlnofey, and were amazed and joyful to find their kin living amid the splendor of ages past. The wandering Ehlnofey expected to be welcomed into the peaceful realm, but the Old Ehlnofey looked on them as degenerates, fallen from their former glory. For whatever reason, war broke out, and raged across the whole of Nirn. The Old Ehlnofey retained their ancient power and knowledge, but the Wanderers were more numerous, and toughened by their long struggle to survive on Nirn. This war reshaped the face of Nirn, sinking much of the land beneath new oceans, and leaving the lands as we know them (Tamriel, Akavir, Atmora, and Yokuda). The Old Ehlnofey realm, although ruined, became Tamriel. The remnants of the Wanderers were left divided on the other 3 continents.

Over many years, the Ehlnofey of Tamriel became the Mer (Elves):
The Dwemer (the Deep Ones, sometimes called Dwarves)
The Chimer (the Changed Ones, who later became the Dunmer)
The Dunmer (the Dark or Cursed Ones, the Dark Elves)
The Bosmer (the Green or Forest Ones, the Wood Elves)
The Altmer (The Elder or High Ones, the High Elves).

On the other continents, the Wandering Ehlnofey became the Men: the Nords of Atmora, the Redguards of Yokuda, and the Tsaesci of Akavir.

The Hist were bystanders in the Ehlnofey war, but most of their realm was destroyed as the war passed over it. A small corner of it survived to become Black Marsh in Tamriel, but most of their realm was sunk beneath the sea.

Eventually, Men returned to Tamriel. The Nords were the first, colonizing the northern coast of Tamriel before recorded history, led by the legendary Ysgramor. The thirteenth of his line, King Harald, was the first to appear in written history. And so the Mythic Era ended.

24bk_AntecedantsDwemerLaw

Antecedents of Dwemer Law



[This book is a historical account of the development of Dwemer law and custom from its roots in High Elven culture.]

In short, so far as I am able to trace the order of development in the customs of the Bosmeri tribes, I believe it to have been in all ways comparable to the growth of Altmeri law. The earlier liability for slaves and animals was mainly confined to surrender, which, as in Sumerset Isles, later became compensation.

And what does this matter for a study of our laws today? So far as concerns the influence of the Altmeri law upon our own, especially the Altmeri law of master and servant, the evidence of it is to be found in every judgment which has been recorded for the last five hundred years. It has been stated already that we still repeat the reasoning of the Altmeri magistrates, empty as it is, to the present day. And I will quickly show how Altmeri custom can be followed into the courts of the Dwemer.

In the laws of Karndar Watch (P.D. 1180) it is said, "If one who is owned by another slays one who owns himself, the owner must pay the associates three fine instruments and the body of the one who his owned." There are many other similar citations. And the same principle is extended even to the case of a centurion by which a man is killed. "If, at the common workbench, one is slain by an Animunculi, the associates of the slain may disassemble the Animunculi and take its parts within thirty days."

It is instructive to compare what Dhark has mentioned concerning the rude beasts of the Tenmar forests. "If a marsh cat was killed by an Argonian, his family were in disgrace till they retaliated by killing the Argonian, or another like it; but further, if a marsh cat was killed by a fall from a tree, his relatives would take their revenge by toppling the tree, and shattering its branches, and casting them to every part of the forest."

25bk_Anticipations

The Anticipations



The Daedra are powerful ancestor spirits, similar in form and substance to the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names), but weaker in power, and more arbitrary and removed from the affairs of mortals. In old times, the Chimer worshiped the Daedra as gods. But they did not deserve this veneration, for the Daedra harm their worshippers as often as help them.

The Advent of the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names) changed this unhappy state. By the Apotheosis, the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names) became the Protectors and High Ancestor Spirits of the Dunmer, and bade the Daedra to give proper veneration and obedience. The Three Good Daedra, Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala, recognized the Divinity of the Triune Ancestors (Blessed Be Their Holy Names). The Rebel Daedra, Molag Bal, Malacath, Sheogorath, and Mehrunes Dagon, refused to swear fealty to the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names), and their worshippers were cast out.

These Rebel Daedra thus became the Four Corners of the House of Troubles, and they continue to plague our tranquility and tempt the unwary into Heresy and Dark Worship. The Priests of the Temple remain ever vigilant for signs of the Adversaries' return, sometimes aided by the loyal Three Good Daedra, who are familiar with the wiles of their rebellious kin.

The Good Daedra are known to the Temple as the Anticipations, since they are the early ancestral anticipations of the loving patronage of the Tribunal. The Anticipations are the Daedra Lords Boethiah, Mephala, and Azura.

Boethiah is the Anticipation of Almalexia but male to her female. Boethiah was the ancestor who illuminated the elves ages ago before the Mythic Era. He told them the truth of Lorkhan's test, and defeated Auriel's champion, Trinimac. Boethiah ate Trinimac and voided him. The followers of Boethiah and Trinimac rubbed the soil of Trinimac upon themselves and changed their skins.

Mephala is the Anticipation of Vivec, but manifold and androgynous. Mephala taught the Chimer to evade their enemies or kill them with secret murder. The Chimer were few in those days and threatened on all sides. Mephala taught the Chimer to build Houses. Later, Mephala created the Morag Tong.

Azura is the Anticipation of Sotha Sil, but female to his male. Azura was the ancestor who taught the Chimer how to be different from the Altmer. Her teachings are sometimes attributed to Boethiah. In the stories, Azura is often encountered more as a communal progenitor of the race as a whole rather than as an individual ancestor. She is associated with Dusk and Dawn, and is sometimes called the Mother Soul. Azura's Star, also called the Twilight Star, appears briefly at dawn and dusk low on the horizon below the constellation of the Steed. Azura is associated with mystery and magic, fate and prophecy.
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Arcana Restored
A Handbook
By Wapna Neustra
Praceptor Emeritus



FORM THE FIRST: Makest thou the Mana Fountain to be Primed with Pure Gold, for from Pure Gold only may the Humors be rectified, and the Pure Principles coaxed from the chaos of Pure Power. Droppest thou then the Pure Gold upon the surface of the Mana Fountain. Takest thou exceeding great care to safeguard yourself from the insalubrious tempests of the Mana Fountain, for through such Assaults may one's health be utterly Blighted.

FORM THE SECOND: Make sure that thou havest with you this Excellent Manual, so that thou might speak the necessary Words straightaway, and without error, so that thou not in carelessness cause thyself and much else to discorporate and disorder the World with your component humors.

FORM THE THIRD: Take in hand the item to be Restored, and hold it forth within the Primed Fountain, murmuring all the while the appropriate phrases, which are to be learned most expeditiously and faultlessly from this Manual, and this Manual alone, notwithstanding the vile calumnies of Kharneson and Rattor, whose bowels are consumed by envy of my great learning, and who do falsely give testament to the efficacies of their own Manuals, which are in every way inferior and steeped in error.

FORM THE FOURTH: Proceed instantly to Heal thyself of all injuries, or to avail yourself of the Healing powers of the Temples and Healers, for though the agonies of manacaust must be borne by any who would Restore a prized Arcana to full Potency, yet it is not wise that suffering be endured unduly, nor does the suffering in any way render the Potency more Sublime, notwithstanding the foolish speculations of Kharneson and Rattor, whose faults and wickednesses are manifest even to the least learned of critics.
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The Arcturian Heresy



The Underking, Ysmir Kingmaker

With his god destroyed, Wulfharth finds it hard to keep his form. He staggers out of Red Mountain to the battlefield beyond. The world has shaken and all of Morrowind is made of fire. A strong gale picks up, and blows his ashes back to Skyrim.

Wulfharth adopts and is adopted by the Nords then. Ysmir the Grey Wind, the Storm of Kyne. But through Lorkhan he lost his national identity. All he wants the Nords for is to kill the Tribunal. He raises a storm, sends in his people, and is driven back by Tribunal forces. The Dunmer are too strong now. Wulfharth goes underground to wait and strengthen and reform his body anew. Oddly enough, it is Almalexia who disturbs his rest, summoning the Underking to fight alongside the Tribunal against Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, the Akaviri demon. Wulfharth disappears after Ada'Soom is defeated, and does not return for three hundred years.

It is the rumbling of the Greybeards that wake him. Though the Empire has crumbled, there are rumors that a chosen one will come to restore it. This new Emperor will defeat the Elves and rule a united Tamriel. Naturally, Wulfharth thinks he is the figure of prophecy. He goes directly to High Hrothgar to hear the Greybeards speak. When they do, Ysmir is blasted to ash again. He is not the chosen one. It is a warrior youth from High Rock. As the Grey Wind goes to find this boy, he hears the Greybeards' warning: remember the color of betrayal, King Wulfharth.

The Western Reach was at war. Cuhlecain, the King of Falkreath in West Cyrodiil, was in a bad situation. To make any bid at unifying the Colovian Estates, he needed to secure his northern border, where the Nords and Reachmen had been fighting for centuries. He allies with Skyrim at the Battle of Old Hrol'dan. Leading his forces was Hjalti Early-Beard. Hjalti was from the island kingdom of Alcaire, in High Rock, and would become Tiber Septim, the First Emperor of Tamriel.

Hjalti was a shrewd tactician, and his small band of Colovian troops and Nord berserkers broke the Reachman line, forcing them back beyond the gates of Old Hrol'dan. A siege seemed impossible, as Hjalti could expect no reinforcements from Falkreath. That night a storm came and visited Hjalti's camp. It spoke with him in his tent. At dawn, Hjalti went up to the gates, and the storm followed just above his head. Arrows could not penetrate the winds around him. He shouted down the walls of Old Hrol'dan, and his men poured in. After their victory, the Nords called Hjalti Talos, or Stormcrown.

Cuhlecain, with his new invincible general, unifies West Cyrodiil in under a year. No one can stand before Hjalti's storms. The Underking knows that if Hjalti is to become Emperor of Tamriel, he must first capture the Eastern Heartland. Hjalti uses them both. He needs Cuhlecain in the Colovian Estates, where foreigners are mistrusted. It is obvious why he needs Ysmir. They march on the East, the battlemages surrender before their armies, and they take the Citadel. Before Cuhlecain can be crowned, Hjalti secretly murders him and his loyalist contingent. These assassinations are blamed on the enemies of Cuhlecain, which, for political reasons, are still the Western Reach. Zurin Arctus, the Grand Battlemage (not the Underking), then crowns Hjalti as Tiber Septim, new Emperor of All Cyrodiil. After he captures the Imperil Throne, Septim finds the initial administration of a fully united Cyrodiil a time-consuming task. He sends the Underking to deal with Imperial expansion into Skyrim and High Rock. Ysmir, mindful that it might seem as if Tiber Septim is in two places at once, works behind the scenes. This period of levelheaded statesmanship and diplomacy, this sudden silence, heretofore unknown in the roaring tales of Talosian conquest, are explained away later. (The assassination story is embroidered -- now it is popularly Talos' own throat that was cut.)

The human kingdoms are conquered, even Hammerfell, whose capture was figured to be an arduous task. The Underking wants a complete invasion, a chance to battle their foreign wind spirits himself, but Tiber Septim refutes him. He has already made a better plan, one that will seem to legitimize his rule. Cyrodiil supports the losing side of a civil war and are invited in. Finally, the Empire can turn its eyes onto the Elves.

The Underking continues to press on Tiber Septim the need to conquer Morrowind. The Emperor is not sure that it is a wise idea. He has heard of the Tribunal's power. The Underking wants his vengeance, and reminds Tiber Septim that he is fated to conquer the Elves, even the Tribunal. Arctus advises against the move but Septim covets the Ebony in Morrowind, as he sorely needs a source of capital to rebuild Cyrodiil after 400 years of war. The Underking tells him that, with the Tribunal dead, Septim might steal the Tribunal's power and use it against the High Elves (certainly the oldest enemies of Lorkhan, predating even the Tribunal). Summerset Isle is the farthest thing from Tiber Septim's mind. Even then, he was planning to send Zurin Arctus to the King of Alinor to make peace. The Ebony need wins out in the end. The Empire invades Morrowind, and the Tribunal give up. When certain conditions of the Armistice include not only a policy of noninterference with the Tribunal, but also, in the Underking's eyes, a validation of their religious beliefs, Ysmir is furious. He abandons the Empire completely. This was the betrayal the Greybeards spoke of. Or so he thinks.

Without the Underking's power, all ideas of conquering Tamriel vanish. Would've been nice, Septim thinks, but let's just worry about Cyrodiil and the human nations. Already there is a rebellion in Hammerfell.

Pieces of Numidium trickle in, though. Tiber Septim, always fascinated by the Dwarves, has Zurin Arctus research this grand artifact. In doing so, Arctus stumbles upon some of the stories of the war at Red Mountain. He discovers the reason the Numidium was made and some of it's potential. Most importantly, he learns the Underking's place in the War. But Zurin Arctus was working from incomplete plans. He thinks it is the heart of Lorkhan's body that is needed to power the Numidium.

While Zurin Arctus is raving about his discovery, the prophecy finally becomes clear to Tiber Septim. This Numidium is what he needs to conquer the world. It is his destiny to have it. He contacts the Underking and says he was right all along. They should kill the Tribunal, and they need to get together and make a plan. While the Underking was away he realized the true danger of Dagoth-Ur. Something must to be done. But he needs an army, and his old one is available again. The trap is set.

The Underking arrives and is ambushed by Imperial guards. As he takes them on, Zurin Arctus uses a soulgem on him. With his last breath, the Underking's Heart roars a hole through the Battlemage's chest. In the end, everyone is dead, the Underking has reverted back to ash, and Tiber Septim strolls in to take the soulgem. When the Elder Council arrives, he tells them about the second attempt on his life, this time by his trusted battle mage, Zurin Arctus, who was attempting a coup. He has the dead guards celebrated as heroes, even the one who was blasted to ash... He warns Cyrodiil about the dangers within, but says he has a solution to the dangers without. The Mantella.

The Numidium, while not the god Tiber Septim and the Dwemer hoped for (the Underking was not exactly Lorkhan, after all), it does the job. After its work on Summerset Isle a new threat appears -- a rotting undead wizard who controls the skies. He blows the Numidium apart. But it pounds him into the ground with its last flailings, leaving only a black splotch. The Mantella falls into the sea, seemingly forever.

Meanwhile, Tiber Septim crowns himself the First Emperor of Tamriel. He lives until he is 108, the richest man in history. All aspects of his early reign are rewritten. Still, there are conflicting reports of what really happened, and this is why there is such confusion over such questions as: Why does Alcaire claim to be the birthplace of Talos, while other sources say he came from Atmora? Why does Tiber Septim seem to be a different person after his first roaring conquests? Why does Tiber Septim betray his battlemage? Is the Mantella the heart of the battlemage or is it the heart of Tiber Septim?

Tiber Septim is succeeded by his grandson, Pelagius I. Pelagius is just not of the same caliber. In truth, he's a little nervous with all these provinces. Then an advisor shows up.

�I was friends with your grandfather,� the Underking says, �He sent me to help you run the Empire."

28bk_ArkayTheEnemy

Hear me, children. Once I was a lowly man such as yourselves. By my will I entered the ranks of the gods. By your unquestioning devotion, you can share my glory.

Most Necromancers are fools and weaklings. Fodder for the witchhunters. But you, my servants, you are among the chosen. In the days to come, few will dare to stand against your might. But one obstacle remains. His name is Arkay.

He was also a man who entered the ranks of the gods. The similarities between his mortal life and my own astonish even me. It is only proper that we should be enemies.

Arkay's Blessing prevents the souls of men, beastmen, and elves from being used without consent. Arkay's Law prevents those buried with the proper rituals from being raised to serve my children's will. As you know, my children, Arkay's Blessing is flexible to those with daring, but Arkay's Law is unwavering.

To the Scholars: Humiliate the priests of Arkay. Reveal the primitive burial customs to be mere superstition. Befriend kings with honeyed words and bind them to your will. Look to my children in Cyrodiil for guidance.

To the Priests: Use your servants sparingly, let none be seen by the living. Let the memories of the undead waste away from the people. Send missionaries to the unbound dead, to the Vampires and the Liches. Let all the nations of dead carry my banner and my banner alone.

To the Hidden: Wait, as always, in the darkness.

For soon we shall strike. The Temples of Arkay will be torn stone from stone. The blood of his priests will sate our thirst; their bones will rise as our servants. The name Arkay will be stuck from the records. Only I shall hold sway over life and death. Only one name shall be whispered in fear. The name of your lord and master.

KW
29bk_arrilles_tradehouse

* ARRILLE'S TRADEHOUSE *

Port of Seyda Neen



Hereas at the general Sessions of the Peace held for the District of House Hlaalu at the Town of Balmora on the 16th day of First Seed in the year of the Reign of our Sovereign King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, by the Grace of All Gods, King of Morrowind, Duke of Mournhold and Hlaalu Province; Defender of the People and the Law; Loyal Servant of the Empire; etc.

Arrille of the Port of Seyda Neen aforesaid, hath entered into Recognizance with Sureties, before us his Majesty's Magistrates of Peace, within the said District, whose Names are hereunder written:

We therefore his Majesty's said Magistrates, have hereby Licensed, and allowed the said Arrille to keep a Common Tradehouse, or Cornerclub, in the House wherein he now dwelleth, in the Port of Seyda Neen aforesaid, for three full years, from henceforth next ensuing, or till such other time as shall be by us, or some of our fellow Magistrates thereunto appointed; Provided that if the said Arrille do not from time to time during that time, well and truly observe the Articles hereafter mentioned, then this License shall presently cease, and be utterly void.

1st Item, That the said Arrille shall not suffer any Stranger, or unknown Traveler, to Lodge, or Stay, in or about his House, above one Day and one Night, without making the same known forthwith to the next Bailiff, or other Officer of this Town, to the end that the said Stranger, or unknown Traveler may be examined, by some Magistrate of Peace near adjoining.

2nd Item, That he shall not suffer any playing at Cards, Tables, Dice, Bowls, Nine-holes, or any other unlawful Game, or any Disorder, or Outrage in his House, Orchard, Garden, or Back-side, but shall keep good Order and Rule in his House.

3rd Item, That he shall not suffer any neighbor's Children, Servants, or Slaves to Tipple in his House at all, nor any other to Tipple in his house, otherwise than by the Statutes are allowed.

4th Item, That he doe not suffer any to Tipple in hours of Prayer, or Lesson, on any Emperor's or Festival days, nor at any time after the eighth hour of Night.

5th Item, That he shall not harbor any Rogues, Vagabonds, Tradeless men, nor other suspicious Persons, in or about his House.

6th Item, That he shall not Buy or take to Pawn, or suffer to be Bought or taken to Pawn in his House (to his knowledge) any goods of any unknown Traveler, or of any Neighbor's children, or Servants, or Slaves, or of any man's Wife, without the consent of their Parents, Masters, or Husbands respectively, and if any such Goods be offered to Sale, or Pawn, by any Stranger, he shall make the same known forthwith to the next Bailiff, or other Officer of the Town.

7th Item, That he doe not sell his best Drink above Four Drakes the Gallon, nor the second sort above Two Drakes the Gallon, nor suffer any Ash-Fowl to be Dressed or Eaten in his House, or on any other Victuals prohibited by the Laws of this Realm.

8th Item, That he shall not suffer any Bawdry, or Criminal Conversation, in or about his house, nor shall procure or cause to be Enticed any man to drink in his house, until he shall be Drunk, or distempered with Drink.

9th Item, That he shall not suffer any Luting, Drumming, or Dancing, in or about his house, on any Lesson Day, nor in time of Divine Service, on any Sacred Festival, or Holy-day.

10th Item, That he shall cause this License to be openly fixed up in the Hall-Room of his dwelling House, to the end that every one may see what Articles he is bound to observe.

Dated the day and year first above written.

Undersigned,

Master Velanda Omani
Master Nevena Ules
Master Dram Bero
Master Crassius Curio
Master Yngling Half-Troll
30bk_Ashland_Hymns

Ashlands Hymns



[This is a volume of folk verses collected from Ashlanders. 'Wondrous Love' is from the Urshilaku Ashlanders of the northern Ashlands.]

What a wondrous love it is
To bind two souls in faith,
Chained completely together
With never a false word,
Weal and woe, wish and real,
Woven each together
From first kiss to last breath,
First and last whispered in love.

31bk_AuraneFrernis1

The Alchemical Recipes
of Aurane Frernis



The most common potion, restore health, can be made from ingredients native to Vvardenfell. Any combination of Marshmerrow, wickwheat, and resin will work. If properly prepared, there are no ill effects.

Another common potion is that of restore fatigue. This can be made from scrib jelly and scuttle. Using hound meat instead of jelly may make a stronger potion, but the hound meat often spoils and makes the potion effective but undrinkable. Customers often prefer potions that taste better to ones that are only slightly more effective.

32bk_auranefrernis2

The Alchemical Recipes
of Aurane Frernis



A potion to cure common diseases is another frequent request. These are quite simple to make here in Vvardenfell and often cheaper as grave dust is far more plentiful (and better preserved) by these fastidious Dunmer. Mix equal parts gravedust and green lichens. Heat over a low flame until the mixture turns brown.

Notes: Daedra skin is just as effective, but very expensive. Chokeweed can be used in an emergency.

Research notes on curing blight diseases:

So far the only mixtures I've found to be even partially effective is scrib jelly and ash salts. These ingredients are not too hard to find, but the ratio needs some adjustment and the potion is not fully effective.

33bk_auranefrernis3

The Alchemical Recipes
of Aurane Frernis



A simple potion to breathe water can be made from luminous russula, a shelf fungus found in the Bitter Coast, and hackle-lo leaves. Crush the mushrooms and leaves into a paste and add water slowly until the mixture is just barely liquid enough to drink.

Note: Try and find something to mix with this to make it taste better.

A simple levitate potion can be made from coda flowers and either Cliff Racer plumes or trama roots.

Note: Do NOT mix plumes with trama root.

34bk_bartendersguide

...and upon that year of the Reign of Wulfharth and his Son's, the Magnificence that was Mordrin Hanin ended in this world. Representative of Ashalmawia, Maelkashishi and Ald Sotha gathered in a great host at the vastness of Assurnabitashpi. Even Hilbongard and Dorach Gusal were lured from their Forge, and for a time the Fires of Anudnabia were silent.

And thus on the Ninth Day of Mourning, many slaves and enemies were sacrificed and the Cup of Passage was mixed according to the direction of Hanin's Formulae:

2 Parts Blood of Traitors
1 Part Heart of Daedra
1 Part mixed Bittergreen Petals, Void Salts, Green Lichens and Bonemeal
1 Part Moonsugar
5 Parts Flin

Combine Blood, Heart, Moonsugar in Large Ebony Alembic. Heat fire fed by Bones of Traitors. Condense vapors into a large Ebony flask. For a hot drink, strain contents through Scamp Skin and mix with Flin in large mug, slowly stirring with a glass rod. For a chilled drink, mix in flask with pure Skyrim Ice and shake vigorously. Strain through Winged Twilight membrane and served in gem encrusted goblet.

The wake was considered a great success as the beverage killed a great many guests and thus Mordrin Hanin was supplied with companions in the next world.

35bk_bartendersguide_01

...and upon that year of the Reign of Wulfharth and his Son's, the Magnificence that was Mordrin Hanin ended in this world. Representative of Ashalmawia, Maelkashishi and Ald Sotha gathered in a great host at the vastness of Assurnabitashpi. Even Hilbongard and Dorach Gusal were lured from their Forge, and for a time the Fires of Anudnabia were silent.

And thus on the Ninth Day of Mourning, many slaves and enemies were sacrificed and the Cup of Passage was mixed according to the direction of Hanin's Formulae:

2 Parts Blood of Traitors
1 Part Heart of Daedra
1 Part mixed Bittergreen Petals, Void Salts, Green Lichens and Bonemeal
1 Part Moonsugar
5 Parts Flin

Combine Blood, Heart, Moonsugar in Large Ebony Alembic. Heat fire fed by Bones of Traitors. Condense vapors into a large Ebony flask. For a hot drink, strain contents through Scamp Skin and mix with Flin in large mug, slowly stirring with a glass rod. For a chilled drink, mix in flask with pure Skyrim Ice and shake vigorously. Strain through Winged Twilight membrane and served in gem encrusted goblet.

The wake was considered a great success as the beverage killed a great many guests and thus Mordrin Hanin was supplied with companions in the next world.

36bk_BeramJournal1

Today we finally finished hewing out the two main jail rooms and all six cells, and almost as if in response to our celebration, several of those damned roots grew through the wall and took out two of our cells. I wonder constantly what those wizards could be up to up there in the tower, but I guess this is the nature of working for the Telvanni. I will inform them again of our construction plans (which THEY provided to us) and request that they refrain from such actions in the future. In the meantime, my men have begun setting up the necessary ramps and equipment to begin work on the next section of dungeon. Here's hoping it goes better than the first.

Beram
Foreman
37bk_BeramJournal2

The lower dungeon rooms have been proving much more difficult than we originally thought. We must be working near some lava flows, as the rock of the cave walls is exceptionally hard stuff. It's hard enough to see in here without all our proper lighting installed, I don't need this delay too. I have sent off for some new volcanic glass tools, and in the meantime, one of my men has found a section of cave softer than the rest, and we have continued our work there, bypassing this first room. A few men have expressed their concern over the light rumblings that we have been feeling lately, but I am convinced that it is just more of those Telvanni and their hocus-pocus mushroom magic. They assured us of this site's stability. The rats and bugs are annoying to us, but do not pose a threat. Hopefully we can find the source of this infestation soon and eliminate it. I don't have time for this.

Beram
Foreman
38bk_BeramJournal3

The worst has happened. This morning a boulder came loose from the ceiling and fell directly onto our major ramp, causing it to collapse and killing two of my men in the process. The remaining three of us are now stranded alone down here, with the cave walls being too sheer to climb, and the wizards obviously having more important things to deal with than a few errant laborers. With our water supplies diminishing rapidly, I sent Norvus and Gilam further down into the caves to look for any natural exits we might have missed when first surveying the site. Damn those wizards. They told us this site was safe. What could they be doing up there? Why are these bugs and rats getting more aggressive by the hour? And why is it getting so blasted hot?

Beram
Foreman
39bk_BeramJournal4

I found Norvus's head and torso lying in this room, with a large part of the rest of him seemingly smeared along the walls. I screamed for full minutes when I found it, and now all I can do is sit and stare. My only solace is this paper. More roots keep penetrating the walls every minute, and the rocks and lights seem to be taking on lives of their own. Now I fear not only for my life, but for my sanity. Please someone come soon. The rumblings are getting faster and stronger, and I can't breathe this stifling air much longer. What in Vivec's name have these wizards done? The heat...
40bk_BeramJournal5 HE IS HERE!
41bk_BiographyBarenziah1

Biography of Queen Barenziah
by Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe



Late in the Second Era, a girl-child, Barenziah, was born to the rulers of the kingdom of Mournhold in what is now the Imperial Province of Morrowind. She was reared in all the luxury and security befitting a royal Dark Elven child until she reached five years of age. At that time, His Excellency Tiber Septim I, the first Emperor of Tamriel, demanded that the decadent rulers of Morrowind yield to him and institute imperial reforms. Trusting to their vaunted magic, the Dark Elves impudently refused until Tiber Septim's army was on the borders. An Armistice was hastily signed by the now-eager Dunmer, but not before there were several battles, one of which laid waste to Mournhold, now called Almalexia.

Little Princess Barenziah and her nurse were found among the wreckage. The Imperial General Symmachus, himself a Dark Elf, suggested to Tiber Septim that the child might someday be valuable, and she was therefore placed with a loyal supporter who had recently retired from the Imperial Army.

Sven Advensen had been granted the title of Count upon his retirement; his fiefdom, Darkmoor, was a small town in central Skyrim. Count Sven and his wife reared the princess as their own daughter, seeing to it that she was educated appropriately-and more importantly, that the imperial virtues of obedience, discretion, loyalty, and piety were instilled in the child. In short, she was made fit to take her place as a member of the new ruling class of Morrowind.

The girl Barenziah grew in beauty, grace, and intelligence. She was sweet-tempered, a joy to her adoptive parents and their five young sons, who loved her as their elder sister. Other than her appearance, she differed from young girls of her class only in that she had a strong empathy for the woods and fields, and was wont to escape her household duties to wander there at times.

Barenziah was happy and content until her sixteenth year, when a wicked orphan stable-boy, whom she had befriended out of pity, told her he had overheard a conspiracy between her guardian, Count Sven, and a Redguard visitor to sell her as a concubine in Rihad, as no Nord or Breton would marry her on account of her black skin, and no Dark Elf would have her because of her foreign upbringing.

�Whatever shall I do?� the poor girl said, weeping and trembling, for she had been brought up in innocence and trust, and it never occurred to her that her friend the stable-boy would lie to her.

The wicked boy, who was called Straw, said that she must run away if she valued her virtue, but that he would come with her as her protector. Sorrowfully, Barenziah agreed to this plan; and that very night, she disguised herself as a boy and the pair escaped to the nearby city of Whiterun. After a few days there, they managed to get jobs as guards for a disreputable merchant caravan. The caravan was heading east by side roads in a mendacious attempt to elude the lawful tolls charged on the imperial highways. Thus the pair eluded pursuit until they reached the city of Rifton, where they ceased their travels for a time. They felt safe in Rifton, close as it was to the Morrowind border so that Dark Elves were enough of a common sight.
42bk_BiographyBarenziah2

Biography of Queen Barenziah, Vol 2
by Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe



The first volume of this series told the story of Barenziah's origin-heiress to the throne of Mournhold until her father rebelled against His Excellency Tiber Septim I and brought ruin to the province of Morrowind. Thanks largely to the benevolence of the Emperor, the child Barenziah was not destroyed with her parents, but reared by Count Sven of Darkmoor, a loyal Imperial trustee. She grew up into a beautiful and pious child, trustful of her guardian's care. This trust, however, was exploited by a wicked orphan stable boy at Count Sven's estate, who with lies and fabrications tricked her into fleeing Darkmoor with him when she turned sixteen. After many adventures on the road, they settled in Rifton, a Skyrim city near the Morrowind borders.

The stable boy, Straw, was not altogether evil. He loved Barenziah in his own selfish fashion, and deception was the only way he could think of that would cement possession of her. She, of course, felt only friendship toward him, but he was hopeful that she would gradually change her mind. He wanted to buy a small farm and settle down into a comfortable marriage, but at the time his earnings were barely enough to feed and shelter them.

After only a short time in Rifton, Straw fell in with a bold, villainous Khajiit thief named Therris, who proposed that they rob the Imperial Commandant's house in the central part of the city. Therris said that he had a client, a traitor to the Empire, who would pay well for any information they could gather there. Barenziah happened to overhear this plan and was appalled. She stole away from their rooms and walked the streets of Rifton in desperation, torn between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for her friends.

In the end, loyalty to the Empire prevailed over personal friendship, and she approached the Commandant's house, revealed her true identity, and warned him of her friends' plan. The Commandant listened to her tale, praised her courage, and assured her that no harm would come to her. He was none other than General Symmachus, who had been scouring the countryside in search of her since her disappearance, and had just arrived in Rifton, hot in pursuit. He took her into his custody, and informed her that, far from being sent away to be sold, she was to be reinstated as the Queen of Mournhold as soon as she turned eighteen. Until that time, she was to live with the Septim family in the newly built Imperial City, where she would learn something of government and be presented at the Imperial Court.

At the Imperial City, Barenziah befriended the Emperor Tiber Septim during the middle years of his reign. Tiber's children, particularly his eldest son and heir Pelagius, came to love her as a sister. The ballads of the day praised her beauty, chastity, wit, and learning. On her eighteenth birthday, the entire Imperial City turned out to watch her farewell procession preliminary to her return to her native land. Sorrowful as they were at her departure, all knew that she was ready for her glorious destiny as sovereign of the kingdom of Mournhold.

43bk_BiographyBarenziah3

Biography of Queen Barenziah, Vol 3
by Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe



In the second volume of this series, it was told how Barenziah was kindly welcomed to the newly constructed Imperial City by the Emperor Tiber Septim and his family, who treated her like a long-lost daughter during her almost one-year stay. After several happy months there learning her duties as vassal queen under the Empire, the Imperial General Symmachus escorted her to Mournhold where she took up her duties as Queen of her people under his wise guidance. Gradually they came to love one another and were married and crowned in a splendid ceremony at which the Emperor himself officiated.

After several hundred years of marriage, a son, Helseth, was born to the royal couple amid celebration and joyous prayer. Although it was not publicly known at the time, it was shortly before this blessed event that the Staff of Chaos had been stolen from its hiding place deep in the Mournhold mines by a clever, enigmatic bard known only as the Nightingale.

Eight years after Helseth's birth, Barenziah bore a daughter, Morgiah, named after Symmachus' mother, and the royal couple's joy seemed complete. Alas, shortly after that, relations with the Empire mysteriously deteriorated, leading to much civil unrest in Mournhold. After fruitless investigations and attempts at reconciliation, in despair Barenziah took her young children and travelled to the Imperial City herself to seek the ear of then Emperor Uriel Septim VII. Symmachus remained in Mournhold to deal with the grumbling peasants and annoyed nobility, and do what he could to stave off an impending insurrection.

During her audience with the Emperor, Barenziah, through her magical arts, came to realize to her horror and dismay that the so-called Emperor was an impostor, none other than the bard Nightingale who had stolen the Staff of Chaos. Exercising great self-control she concealed this realization from him. That evening, news came that Symmachus had fallen in battle with the revolting peasants of Mournhold, and that the kingdom had been taken over by the rebels. Barenziah, at this point, did not know where to seek help, or from whom.

The gods, that fateful night, were evidently looking out for her as if in redress of her loss. King Eadwyre of High Rock, an old friend of Uriel Septim and Symmachus, came by on a social call. He comforted her, pledged his friendship-and furthermore, confirmed her suspicions that the Emperor was indeed a fraud, and none other than Jagar Tharn, the Imperial Battlemage, and one of the Nightingale's many alter egos. Tharn had supposedly retired into seclusion from public work and installed his assistant, Ria Silmane, in his stead. The hapless assistant was later put to death under mysterious circumstances-supposedly a plot implicating her had been uncovered, and she had been summarily executed. However, her ghost had appeared to Eadwyre in a dream and revealed to him that the true Emperor had been kidnapped by Tharn and imprisoned in an alternate dimension. Tharn had then used the Staff of Chaos to kill her when she attempted to warn the Elder Council of his nefarious plot.

Together, Eadwyre and Barenziah plotted to gain the false Emperor's confidence. Meanwhile, another friend of Ria's, known only as the Champion, who apparently possessed great, albeit then untapped, potential, was incarcerated at the Imperial Dungeons. However, she had access to his dreams, and she told him to bide his time until she could devise a plan that would effect his escape. Then he could begin on his mission to unmask the impostor.

Barenziah continued to charm, and eventually befriended, the ersatz Emperor. By contriving to read his secret diary, she learned that he had broken the Staff of Chaos into eight pieces and hidden them in far-flung locations scattered across Tamriel. She managed to obtain a copy of the key to Ria's friend's cell and bribed a guard to leave it there as if by accident. Their Champion, whose name was unknown even to Barenziah and Eadwyre, made his escape through a shift gate Ria had opened in an obscure corner of the Imperial Dungeons using her already failing powers. The Champion was free at last, and almost immediately went to work.

It took Barenziah several more months to learn the hiding places of all eight Staff pieces through snatches of overheard conversation and rare glances at Tharn's diary. Once she had the vital information, however -- which she communicated to Ria forthwith, who in turn passed it on to the Champion-she and Eadwyre lost no time. They fled to Wayrest, his ancestral kingdom in the province of High Rock, where they managed to fend off the sporadic efforts of Tharn's henchmen to haul them back to the Imperial City, or at the very least obtain revenge. Tharn, whatever else might be said of him, was no one's fool-save perhaps Barenziah's -- and he concentrated most of his efforts toward tracking down and destroying the Champion.

As all now know, the courageous, indefatigable, and forever nameless Champion was successful in reuniting the eight sundered pieces of the Staff of Chaos. With it, he destroyed Tharn and rescued the true Emperor, Uriel Septim VII. Following what has come to be known as the Restoration, a grand state memorial service was held for Symmachus at the Imperial City, befitting the man who had served the Septim Dynasty for so long and so well.

Barenziah and good King Eadwyre had come to care deeply for one another during their trials and adventures, and were married in the same year shortly after their flight from the Imperial City. Her two children from her previous marriage with Symmachus remained with her, and a regent was appointed to rule Mournhold in her absence.

Up to the present time, Queen Barenziah has been in Wayrest with Prince Helseth and Princess Morgiah. She plans to return to Mournhold after Eadwyre's death. Since he was already elderly when they wed, she knows that that event, alas, could not be far off as the Elves reckon time. Until then, she shares in the government of the kingdom of Wayrest with her husband, and seems glad and content with her finally quiet, and happily unremarkable, life.

44bk_BlackGlove

The Black Glove



Swift and agile are the Morag Tong. Silent and unseen they move. Illusions they supply to misdirect their prey. Close and sure they strike with shortblade, or distant and secure they strike from afar with accurate missile fire. Light armor protects them from harm, and the acrobatic discipline finds for them the unseen and unlooked-for path. Have you these virtues? Then, perhaps, your oath and service may please the Morag Tong.

Do you have your friends and your finery, but no place to go? Do you laugh and cry, but no longer feel? Do you wear these masks? Then, perhaps, your oath and service may please the Black Glove.

The blood of the hunter and the blood of the hunted. The joy of the hidden and the joy of the seeker. The blood of the eye and the blood of the gate. The joy of the living and the joy of the dead. Are you one with these things? Then, perhaps, your oath and service may please Mephala.

To make your oath and enter our service, the worthy must seek the Grandmaster, who by tradition lives in the unseen and unlooked-for corners of Vivec City between the blood of battle and the waters of life.

45bk_BlasphemousRevenants

Blasphemous Revenants



...not into the world, nor out of it, but between worlds they linger, held to the hearth and tomb by blood and loyalty. And if they come unbidden, from love of kin or faith to duty, it is not unholy. It is but the answering of the ancestors, the awakening of those who never sleep, the summoning to service of those bound through Hearth and House to the protection of the clan.

But if sorcerers bring them forth, then such a summons is blasphemy, an abomination before the Tribes and Temple, and a sin so great that ages of burning cannot cleanse the fault. Abide not the sorcerer among you, for he comes to steal the bones of your fathers and dust of your tombs. He seeks to bind by power what is yours by right, to drag forth the warm spirits from their world between and bind them to their service like slaves and beasts.

Who can know the shame of the dead, the ceaseless weeping of the necromancer's thrall? Cruel enough is the ancestor's service given in love to Hearth and Kin. But ghost or guardian, bonewalker or bonelord, summoned by profane ritual and bound by force to the corpse miner's will, how may such a spirit ever find rest? How may it ever find its way back to its blood and clan?

Only a righteous Dunmer, bound by blood to hearth and kin, bound by oath and service to the Temple, can call upon the spirits of the Dunmer dead. Those foreign sorcerers of other races that invade our shores, shall they be permitted to rob our tombs, to bind our kin-spirits into sorcerous slavery, to steal the lives of our dead as well as our land of the living? No, I say, no, and no, three times more. Such necromancers must die, and their profane magicks must die with them.

And shall we tolerate the hidden hosts of the undead, the arrogant princes of necromancers, the ancient vampire demons who creep from their lairs in the West, seeking refuge in profane Daedric shrines, abandoned Dunmer strongholds, and corrupted subterranean labyrinths of the detested Dwemer race? For ages the Great Houses and the Temple have kept our land clean of the vampire's taint, but now these undead lords and their vile cattle have returned. These vampires must die, and their corrupt cattle with them, and their blood taint must be forever erased by fire and stake.
46bk_BlightPotionNotice

Customers,

I am stocking potions for treatment of the Blight as fast as I can get my orders in from Sadrith Mora. Please keep checking back as I receive new shipments at random times. In the meantime, I recommend you stay indoors as much as possible, use common disease resistance potions for prevention, and treat outbreaks with cure common disease potions.

Jolda

47bk_BlueBookOfRiddles

The Blue Book of Riddles



Herein are presented all manner of riddles, as collected by the scholars of St Rilms, to the greater glory of the Tribunal, Almsivi!

[The posing and puzzling of riddles is a convention of polite aristocratic Western society. Nobles and social aspirants collect books of riddles and study them, hoping thereby to increase the chances of their appearing sly and witty in conversation.]
48bk_Boethiah's Glory_unique

Boethiah's Glory



Look upon the face of Boethiah and wonder. Raise your arms that Boethiah may look on them and bestow a blessing. Know that battle is a blessing. Know that death is an eventuality. Know that you are dust in the eyes of Boethiah.

Long is the arm of Boethiah, and swift is the blade.

Deep is the cut, and subtle is the poison.

Worship, o faithful. Pray your death is short.

Worship, o faithful. Pray your death is quiet.

Worship, o faithful. Worship the glory that is Boethiah.







Into battle strides the Daedra Prince, blade at the ready to cleave the unworthy.

49bk_BoethiahPillowBook[No words can describe what you see. Or what you think you see.]
50bk_BookDawnAndDusk

The Book of Dawn and Dusk



[The Book of Dawn and Dusk is a collections of sayings and aphorisms attributed variously to the Tribunals and to their saints and servants. Many of these sayings have become common cliches of everyday life in Morrowind. The following selection of slogans will illustrate many of the simplest notions of the Tribunal faithful.]

Speak none but good of the Gods.

We can have no opinions about Truth.

Rumors flow from the House of Troubles.

Count only the happy hours.

No child has a sinner's heart.

Let faith be your only law.

Fear of the fool is the beginning of wisdom.

Almsivi in every hour.

Walk always in the presence of your Lords.

Comfort is given, justice is taken.

Learn by serving.

From the heart, the light; from the head, the law.

Blessed Almsivi, Mercy, Mastery, Mystery.

Forge a keen Faith in the crucible of suffering.

Engrave upon thy eye the image of injustice.

Death does not diminish; the ghost gilds with glory.

Faith conquers all. Let us yield to Faith.

Better to suffer a wrong than to do one.

The heavens are in their glory, applaud!

Folly secures its power to harm.

Though forbidden to some, not to you.

Oh, how rarely wisdom rules our hearts!

Blessed are we who serve Almsivi.

Three mouths sing Mercy, Mastery, Mystery.

Gather no seed in the fields of Hell.

The Thrice-Sealed House withstands the Storm.

By Breath and Blood protect us all!

Can ghosts or justice change with time?

Consider your end, mortal!

Accept grace without limits.

Enter the rhapsody of the God-Poet.

Kneel before the Teacher's chair.

Three Hands, three Hearts, three Eyes.

Keep no secret from your Judge's scale.

Forge Darkness into Light.

Refuse neither brother nor ghost.

Blessed Almsivi, through birth, life, ghost.

From glowing ashes the Poet's wrath shall shine.

If Vivec is for us, who can stand against us?

Fate, monstrous and empty, the whirling wheel of evil.

How black my heart, roasting fiercely?

51bk_BookOfDaedra

The Book of Daedra



[These are excerpts from this lengthy tome, describing the nature of each of the Daedra.]

Azura, whose sphere is dusk and dawn, the magic in-between realms of twilight, known as Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky.

Boethiah, whose sphere is deceit and conspiracy, and the secret plots of murder, assassination, treason, and unlawful overthrow of authority.

Clavicus Vile, whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pact.

Hermaeus Mora, whose sphere is scrying of the tides of Fate, of the past and future as read in the stars and heavens, and in whose dominion are the treasures of knowledge and memory.

Hircine, whose sphere is the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game, the Chase, known as the Huntsman and the Father of Manbeasts.

Malacath, whose sphere is the patronage of the spurned and ostracized, the keeper of the Sworn Oath, and the Bloody Curse.

Mehrunes Dagon, whose sphere is Destruction, Change, Revolution, Energy, and Ambition.

Mephala, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; known by the names Webspinner, Spinner, and Spider; whose only consistent theme seems to be interference in the affairs of mortals for her amusement.

Meridia, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; who is associated with the energies of living things.

Molag Bal, whose sphere is the domination and enslavement of mortals; whose desire is to harvest the souls of mortals and to bring mortals souls within his sway by spreading seeds of strife and discord in the mortal realms.

Namira, whose sphere is the ancient Darkness; known as the Spirit Daedra, ruler of sundry dark and shadowy spirits; associated with spiders, insects, slugs, and other repulsive creatures which inspire mortals with an instinctive revulsion.

Nocturnal, whose sphere is the night and darkness; who is known as the Night Mistress.

Peryite, whose sphere is the ordering of the lowest orders of Oblivion, known as the Taskmaster.

Sanguine, whose sphere is hedonistic revelry and debauchery, and passionate indulgences of darker natures.

Sheogorath, whose sphere is Madness, and whose motives are unknowable.

Vaernima, whose sphere is the realm of dreams and nightmares, and from whose realm issues forth evil omens.

[Especially marked for special interest under the heading "Malacath" you find a reference to SCOURGE, blessed by Malacath, and dedicated to the use of mortals. In short, the reference suggests that any Daedra attempting to invoke the weapon's powers will be expelled into the voidstreams of Oblivion.]

"Of the legendary artifacts of the Daedra, many are well known, like Azura's Star, and Sheogorath's Wabbajack. Others are less well known, like Scourge, Mackkan's Hammer, Bane of Daedra...."

"...yet though Malacath blessed Scourge to be potent against his Daedra kin, he thought not that it should fall into Daedric hands, then to serve as a tool for private war among caitiff and forsaken. Thus did Malacath curse the device such that, should any dark kin seek to invoke its powers, that a void should open and swallow that Daedra, and purge him into Oblivion's voidstreams, from thence to pathfind back to the Real and Unreal Worlds in the full order of time."
52bk_BookOfLifeAndService

THE RANKS OF THE BLESSED

Blessed are the Bonemen, for they serve without self in spirit forever.
Blessed are the Mistmen, for they blend in the glory of the transcendent spirit.
Blessed are the Wrathmen, for they render their rage unto the ages.
Blessed are the Masters, for they bridge the past and span the future.

THE LITANY OF SERVICE

The Boneman's Oath

We die.
We pray.
To live.
We serve.

The Master's Voice

You swore.
To Serve.
Your Lord.

53bk_BookOfRestAndEndings

[The pages of the BOOK OF REST AND ENDINGS are filled with obscure bits of cult mumbo-jumbo.]

THE RITUAL FOR ENDING OF WRATHMEN

From fifty Fathers
Frozen in slavepast
Rip from the wraithloom
Sunder the lifeweave
Lock tight in earthgrip
Hold firm in gravefast

54bk_BriefHistoryEmpire1

A Brief History of the Empire
Part One
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Before the rule of Tiber Septim, all Tamriel was in chaos. The poet Tracizis called that period of continuous unrest �days and nights of blood and venom.� The kings were a petty lot of grasping tyrants, who fought Tiber's attempts to bring order to the land. But they were as disorganized as they were dissolute, and the strong hand of Septim brought peace forcibly to Tamriel. The year was 2E 896. The following year, the Emperor declared the beginning of a new Era-thus began the Third Era, Year Aught.

For thirty-eight years, the Emperor Tiber reigned supreme. It was a lawful, pious, and glorious age, when justice was known to one and all, from serf to sovereign. On Tiber's death, it rained for an entire fortnight as if the land of Tamriel itself was weeping.

The Emperor's grandson, Pelagius, came to the throne. Though his reign was short, he was as strong and resolute as his father had been, and Tamriel could have enjoyed a continuation of the Golden Age. Alas, an unknown enemy of the Septim Family hired that accursed organization of cutthroats, the Dark Brotherhood, to kill the Emperor Pelagius I as he knelt at prayer at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. Pelagius I's reign lasted less than three years.

Pelagius had no living children, so the Crown Imperial passed to his first cousin, the daughter of Tiber's brother Agnorith. Kintyra, former Queen of Silvenar, assumed the throne as Kintyra I. Her reign was blessed with prosperity and good harvests, and she herself was an avid patroness of art, music, and dance.

Kintyra's son was crowned after her death, the first Emperor of Tamriel to use the imperial name Uriel. Uriel I was the great lawmaker of the Septim Dynasty, and a promoter of independent organizations and guilds. Under his kind but firm hand, the Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild increased in prominence throughout Tamriel. His son and successor Uriel II reigned for eighteen years, from the death of Uriel I in 3E64 to Pelagius II's accession in 3E82. Tragically, the rule of Uriel II was cursed with blights, plagues, and insurrections. The tenderness he inherited from his father did not serve Tamriel well, and little justice was done.

Pelagius II inherited not only the throne from his father, but the debt from the latter's poor financial and judicial management. Pelagius dismissed all of the Elder Council, and allowed only those willing to pay great sums to resume their seats. He encouraged similar acts among his vassals, the kings of Tamriel, and by the end of his seventeen year reign, Tamriel had returned to prosperity. His critics, however, have suggested that any advisor possessed of wisdom but not of gold had been summarily ousted by Pelagius. This may have led to some of the troubles his son Antiochus faced when he in turn became Emperor.

Antiochus was certainly one of the more flamboyant members of the usually austere Septim Family. He had numerous mistresses and nearly as many wives, and was renowned for the grandeur of his dress and his high good humor. Unfortunately, his reign was rife with civil war, surpassing even that of his grandfather Uriel II. The War of the Isle in 3E110, twelve years after Antiochus assumed the throne, nearly took the province of Summurset Isle away from Tamriel. The united alliance of the kings of Summurset and Antiochus only managed to defeat King Orghum of the island-kingdom of Pyandonea due to a freak storm. Legend credits the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum with the sorcery behind the tempest.

The story of Kintyra II, heiress to her father Antiochus' throne, is certainly one of the saddest tales in imperial history. Her first cousin Uriel, son of Queen Potema of Solitude, accused Kintyra of being a bastard, alluding to the infamous decadence of the Imperial City during her father's reign. When this accusation failed to stop her coronation, Uriel bought the support of several disgruntled kings of High Rock, Skyrim, and Morrowind, and with Queen Potema's assistance, he coordinated three attacks on the Septim Empire.

The first attack occurred in the Iliac Bay region, which separates High Rock and Hammerfell. Kintyra's entourage was massacred and the Empress taken captive. For two years, Kintyra II languished in an Imperial prison believed to be somewhere in Glenpoint or Glenmoril before she was slain in her cell under mysterious circumstances. The second attack was on a series of Imperial garrisons along the coastal Morrowind islands. The Empress' consort Kontin Arynx fell defending the forts. The third and final attack was a siege of the Imperial City itself, occurring after the Elder Council had split up the army to attack western High Rock and eastern Morrowind. The weakened government had little defence against Uriel's determined aggression, and capitulated after only a fortnight of resistance. Uriel took the throne that same evening and proclaimed himself Uriel III, Emperor of Tamriel. The year was 3E 121. Thus began the War of the Red Diamond, described in Volume II of this series.

55bk_BriefHistoryEmpire1_oh

A Brief History of the Empire
Part One
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Before the rule of Tiber Septim, all Tamriel was in chaos. The poet Tracizis called that period of continuous unrest "days and nights of blood and venom." The kings were a petty lot of grasping tyrants, who fought Tiber's attempts to bring order to the land. But they were as disorganized as they were dissolute, and the strong hand of Septim brought peace forcibly to Tamriel. The year was 2E 896. The following year, the Emperor declared the beginning of a new Era-thus began the Third Era, Year Aught.

For thirty-eight years, the Emperor Tiber reigned supreme. It was a lawful, pious, and glorious age, when justice was known to one and all, from serf to sovereign. On Tiber's death, it rained for an entire fortnight as if the land of Tamriel itself was weeping.

The Emperor's grandson, Pelagius, came to the throne. Though his reign was short, he was as strong and resolute as his father had been, and Tamriel could have enjoyed a continuation of the Golden Age. Alas, an unknown enemy of the Septim Family hired that accursed organization of cutthroats, the Dark Brotherhood, to kill the Emperor Pelagius I as he knelt at prayer at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. Pelagius I's reign lasted less than three years.

Pelagius had no living children, so the Crown Imperial passed to his first cousin, the daughter of Tiber's brother Agnorith. Kintyra, former Queen of Silvenar, assumed the throne as Kintyra I. Her reign was blessed with prosperity and good harvests, and she herself was an avid patroness of art, music, and dance.

Kintyra's son was crowned after her death, the first Emperor of Tamriel to use the imperial name Uriel. Uriel I was the great lawmaker of the Septim Dynasty, and a promoter of independent organizations and guilds. Under his kind but firm hand, the Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild increased in prominence throughout Tamriel. His son and successor Uriel II reigned for eighteen years, from the death of Uriel I in 3E64 to Pelagius II's accession in 3E82. Tragically, the rule of Uriel II was cursed with blights, plagues, and insurrections. The tenderness he inherited from his father did not serve Tamriel well, and little justice was done.

Pelagius II inherited not only the throne from his father, but the debt from the latter's poor financial and judicial management. Pelagius dismissed all of the Elder Council, and allowed only those willing to pay great sums to resume their seats. He encouraged similar acts among his vassals, the kings of Tamriel, and by the end of his seventeen year reign, Tamriel had returned to prosperity. His critics, however, have suggested that any advisor possessed of wisdom but not of gold had been summarily ousted by Pelagius. This may have led to some of the troubles his son Antiochus faced when he in turn became Emperor.

Antiochus was certainly one of the more flamboyant members of the usually austere Septim Family. He had numerous mistresses and nearly as many wives, and was renowned for the grandeur of his dress and his high good humor. Unfortunately, his reign was rife with civil war, surpassing even that of his grandfather Uriel II. The War of the Isle in 3E110, twelve years after Antiochus assumed the throne, nearly took the province of Summurset Isle away from Tamriel. The united alliance of the kings of Summurset and Antiochus only managed to defeat King Orghum of the island-kingdom of Pyandonea due to a freak storm. Legend credits the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum with the sorcery behind the tempest.

The story of Kintyra II, heiress to her father Antiochus' throne, is certainly one of the saddest tales in imperial history. Her first cousin Uriel, son of Queen Potema of Solitude, accused Kintyra of being a bastard, alluding to the infamous decadence of the Imperial City during her father's reign. When this accusation failed to stop her coronation, Uriel bought the support of several disgruntled kings of High Rock, Skyrim, and Morrowind, and with Queen Potema's assistance, he coordinated three attacks on the Septim Empire.

The first attack occurred in the Iliac Bay region, which separates High Rock and Hammerfell. Kintyra's entourage was massacred and the Empress taken captive. For two years, Kintyra II languished in an Imperial prison believed to be somewhere in Glenpoint or Glenmoril before she was slain in her cell under mysterious circumstances. The second attack was on a series of Imperial garrisons along the coastal Morrowind islands. The Empress' consort Kontin Arynx fell defending the forts. The third and final attack was a siege of the Imperial City itself, occurring after the Elder Council had split up the army to attack western High Rock and eastern Morrowind. The weakened government had little defence against Uriel's determined aggression, and capitulated after only a fortnight of resistance. Uriel took the throne that same evening and proclaimed himself Uriel III, Emperor of Tamriel. The year was 3E 121. Thus began the War of the Red Diamond, described in Volume II of this series.

56bk_BriefHistoryEmpire2

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Two
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Volume I of this series described in brief the lives of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, beginning with the glorious Tiber Septim and ending with his great, great, great, great, grandniece Kintyra II. Kintyra's murder in Glenpoint while in captivity is considered by some to be the end of the pure strain of Septim blood in the imperial family. Certainly it marks the end of something significant.

Uriel III not only proclaimed himself Emperor of Tamriel, but also Uriel Septim III, taking the eminent surname as a title. In truth, his surname was Mantiarco from his father's line. In time, Uriel III was deposed and his crimes reviled, but the tradition of taking the name Septim as a title for the Emperor of Tamriel did not die with him.

For six years, the War of the Red Diamond (which takes its name from the Septim Family's famous badge) tore the Empire apart. The combatants were the three surviving children of Pelagius II-Potema, Cephorus, and Magnus-and their various offspring. Potema, of course, supported her son Uriel III, and had the combined support of all of Skyrim and northern Morrowind. With the efforts of Cephorus and Magnus, however, the province of High Rock turned coat. The provinces of Hammerfell, Summurset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh were divided in their loyalty, but most kings supported Cephorus and Magnus.

In 3E127, Uriel III was captured at the Battle of Ichidag in Hammerfell. En route to his trial in the Imperial City, a mob overtook his prisoner's carriage and burned him alive within it. His captor and uncle continued on to the Imperial City, and by common acclaim was proclaimed Cephorus I, Emperor of Tamriel.

Cephorus' reign was marked by nothing but war. By all accounts, he was a kind and intelligent man, but what Tamriel needed was a great warrior -- and he, fortunately, was that. It took an additional ten years of constant warfare for him to defeat his sister Potema. The so-called Wolf Queen of Solitude who died in the siege of her city-state in the year 137. Cephorus survived his sister by only three years. He never had time during the war years to marry, so it was his brother, the fourth child of Pelagius II, who assumed the throne.

The Emperor Magnus was already elderly when he took up the imperial diadem, and the business of punishing the traitorous kings of the War of the Red Diamond drained much of his remaining strength. Legend accuses Magnus' son and heir Pelagius III of patricide, but that seems highly unlikely-for no other reason than that Pelagius was King of Solitude following the death of Potema, and seldom visited the Imperial City.

Pelagius III, sometimes called Pelagius the Mad, was proclaimed Emperor in the 145th year of the Third Era. Almost from the start, his eccentricities of behaviour were noted at court. He embarrassed dignitaries, offended his vassal kings, and on one occasion marked the end of an imperial grand ball by attempting to hang himself. His long-suffering wife was finally awarded the Regency of Tamriel, and Pelagius III was sent to a series of healing institutions and asylums until his death in 3E153 at the age of thirty-four.

The Empress Regent of Tamriel was proclaimed Empress Katariah I upon the death of her husband. Some who do not mark the end of the Septim bloodline with the death of Kintyra II consider the ascendancy of this Dark Elf woman the true mark of its decline. Her defenders, on the other hand, assert that though Katariah was not descended from Tiber, the son she had with Pelagius was, so the imperial chain did continue. Despite racist assertions to the contrary, Katariah's forty-six-year reign was one of the most celebrated in Tamriel's history. Uncomfortable in the Imperial City, Katariah travelled extensively throughout the Empire such as no Emperor ever had since Tiber's day. She repaired much of the damage that previous emperor's broken alliances and bungled diplomacy created. The people of Tamriel came to love their Empress far more than the nobility did. Katariah's death in a minor skirmish in Black Marsh is a favorite subject of conspiracy minded historians. The Sage Montalius' discovery, for instance, of a disenfranchised branch of the Septim Family and their involvement with the skirmish was a revelation indeed.

When Cassynder assumed the throne upon the death of his mother, he was already middle-aged. Only half Elven, he aged like a Breton. In fact, he had left the rule of Wayrest to his half-brother Uriel due to poor health. Nevertheless, as the only true blood relation of Pelagius and thus Tiber, he was pressed into accepting the throne. To no one's surprise, the Emperor Cassynder's reign did not last long. In two years he joined his predecessors in eternal slumber.

Uriel Lariat, Cassynder's half-brother, and the child of Katariah I and her Imperial consort Gallivere Lariat (after the death of Pelagius III), left the kingdom of Wayrest to reign as Uriel IV. Legally, Uriel IV was a Septim: Cassynder had adopted him into the royal family when he had become King of Wayrest. Nevertheless, to the Council and the people of Tamriel, he was a bastard child of Katariah. Uriel did not possess the dynamism of his mother, and his long forty-three-year reign was a hotbed of sedition.

Uriel IV's story is told in the third volume of this series.

57bk_BriefHistoryEmpire2_oh

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Two
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Volume I of this series described in brief the lives of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, beginning with the glorious Tiber Septim and ending with his great, great, great, great, grandniece Kintyra II. Kintyra's murder in Glenpoint while in captivity is considered by some to be the end of the pure strain of Septim blood in the imperial family. Certainly it marks the end of something significant.

Uriel III not only proclaimed himself Emperor of Tamriel, but also Uriel Septim III, taking the eminent surname as a title. In truth, his surname was Mantiarco from his father's line. In time, Uriel III was deposed and his crimes reviled, but the tradition of taking the name Septim as a title for the Emperor of Tamriel did not die with him.

For six years, the War of the Red Diamond (which takes its name from the Septim Family's famous badge) tore the Empire apart. The combatants were the three surviving children of Pelagius II-Potema, Cephorus, and Magnus-and their various offspring. Potema, of course, supported her son Uriel III, and had the combined support of all of Skyrim and northern Morrowind. With the efforts of Cephorus and Magnus, however, the province of High Rock turned coat. The provinces of Hammerfell, Summurset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh were divided in their loyalty, but most kings supported Cephorus and Magnus.

In 3E127, Uriel III was captured at the Battle of Ichidag in Hammerfell. En route to his trial in the Imperial City, a mob overtook his prisoner's carriage and burned him alive within it. His captor and uncle continued on to the Imperial City, and by common acclaim was proclaimed Cephorus I, Emperor of Tamriel.

Cephorus' reign was marked by nothing but war. By all accounts, he was a kind and intelligent man, but what Tamriel needed was a great warrior -- and he, fortunately, was that. It took an additional ten years of constant warfare for him to defeat his sister Potema. The so-called Wolf Queen of Solitude who died in the siege of her city-state in the year 137. Cephorus survived his sister by only three years. He never had time during the war years to marry, so it was his brother, the fourth child of Pelagius II, who assumed the throne.

The Emperor Magnus was already elderly when he took up the imperial diadem, and the business of punishing the traitorous kings of the War of the Red Diamond drained much of his remaining strength. Legend accuses Magnus' son and heir Pelagius III of patricide, but that seems highly unlikely-for no other reason than that Pelagius was King of Solitude following the death of Potema, and seldom visited the Imperial City.

Pelagius III, sometimes called Pelagius the Mad, was proclaimed Emperor in the 145th year of the Third Era. Almost from the start, his eccentricities of behaviour were noted at court. He embarrassed dignitaries, offended his vassal kings, and on one occasion marked the end of an imperial grand ball by attempting to hang himself. His long-suffering wife was finally awarded the Regency of Tamriel, and Pelagius III was sent to a series of healing institutions and asylums until his death in 3E153 at the age of thirty-four.

The Empress Regent of Tamriel was proclaimed Empress Katariah I upon the death of her husband. Some who do not mark the end of the Septim bloodline with the death of Kintyra II consider the ascendancy of this Dark Elf woman the true mark of its decline. Her defenders, on the other hand, assert that though Katariah was not descended from Tiber, the son she had with Pelagius was, so the imperial chain did continue. Despite racist assertions to the contrary, Katariah's forty-six-year reign was one of the most celebrated in Tamriel's history. Uncomfortable in the Imperial City, Katariah travelled extensively throughout the Empire such as no Emperor ever had since Tiber's day. She repaired much of the damage that previous emperor's broken alliances and bungled diplomacy created. The people of Tamriel came to love their Empress far more than the nobility did. Katariah's death in a minor skirmish in Black Marsh is a favorite subject of conspiracy minded historians. The Sage Montalius' discovery, for instance, of a disenfranchised branch of the Septim Family and their involvement with the skirmish was a revelation indeed.

When Cassynder assumed the throne upon the death of his mother, he was already middle-aged. Only half Elven, he aged like a Breton. In fact, he had left the rule of Wayrest to his half-brother Uriel due to poor health. Nevertheless, as the only true blood relation of Pelagius and thus Tiber, he was pressed into accepting the throne. To no one's surprise, the Emperor Cassynder's reign did not last long. In two years he joined his predecessors in eternal slumber.

Uriel Lariat, Cassynder's half-brother, and the child of Katariah I and her Imperial consort Gallivere Lariat (after the death of Pelagius III), left the kingdom of Wayrest to reign as Uriel IV. Legally, Uriel IV was a Septim: Cassynder had adopted him into the royal family when he had become King of Wayrest. Nevertheless, to the Council and the people of Tamriel, he was a bastard child of Katariah. Uriel did not possess the dynamism of his mother, and his long forty-three-year reign was a hotbed of sedition.

Uriel IV's story is told in the third volume of this series.

58bk_BriefHistoryEmpire3

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Three
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first volume of this series told in brief the story of the succession of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, from Tiber I to Kintyra II. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors that followed its aftermath, from Uriel III to Cassynder I. At the end of that volume, it was described how the Emperor Cassynder's half-brother Uriel IV assumed the throne of the Empire of Tamriel.
It will be recalled that Uriel IV was not a Septim by birth. His mother, though she reigned as Empress for many years, was a Dark Elf married to a true Septim Emperor, Pelagius III. Uriel's father was actually Katariah I's consort after Pelagius' death, a Breton nobleman named Gallivere Lariat. Before taking the throne of Empire, Cassynder I had ruled the kingdom of Wayrest, but poor health had forced him to retire. Cassynder had no children, so he legally adopted his half-brother Uriel and abdicated the kingdom. Seven years later, Cassynder inherited the Empire at the death of his mother. Three years after that, Uriel once again found himself the recipient of Cassynder's inheritance.
Uriel IV's reign was a long and difficult one. Despite being a legally adopted member of the Septim Family, and despite the Lariat Family's high position -- indeed, they were distant cousins of the Septims -- few of the Elder Council could be persuaded to accept him fully as a blood descendant of Tiber. The Council had assumed much responsibility during Katariah I's long reign and Cassynder I's short one, and a strong-willed �alien� monarch like Uriel IV found it impossible to command their unswerving fealty. Time and again the Council and Emperor were at odds, and time and again the Council won the battles. Since the days of Pelagius II, the Elder Council had consisted of the wealthiest men and women in the Empire, and the power they wielded was conclusive.
The Council's last victory over Uriel IV was posthumous. Andorak, Uriel IV's son, was disinherited by vote of Council, and a cousin more closely related to the original Septim line was proclaimed Cephorus II in 3E268. For the first nine years of Cephorus II's reign, those loyal to Andorak battled the Imperial forces. In an act that the Sage Eraintine called �Tiber Septim's heart beating no more,� the Council granted Andorak the High Rock kingdom of Shornhelm to end the war, and Andorak's descendants still rule there.
By and large, Cephorus II had foes that demanded more of his attention than Andorak. �From out of a cimmerian nightmare,� in the words of Eraintine, a man who called himself the Camoran Usurper led an army of Daedra and undead warriors on a rampage through Valenwood, conquering kingdom after kingdom. Few could resist his onslaughts, and as month turned to bloody month in the year 3E249, even fewer tried. Cephorus II sent more and more mercenaries into Hammerfell to stop the Usurper's northward march, but they were bribed or slaughtered and raised as undead.
The story of the Camoran Usurper deserves a book of its own. (It is recommended that the reader find Palaux Illthre's The Fall of the Usurper for more detail.) In short, however, the destruction of the forces of the Usurper had little do with the efforts of the Emperor. The result was a great regional victory and an increase in hostility toward the seemingly inefficacious Empire.
Uriel V, Cephorus II's son and successor, swivelled opinion back toward the latent power of the Empire. Turning the attention of Tamriel away from internal strife, Uriel V embarked on a series of invasions beginning almost from the moment he took the throne in 3E268. Uriel V conquered Roscrea in 271, Cathnoquey in 276, Yneslea in 279, and Esroniet in 284. In 3E288, he embarked on his most ambitious enterprise, the invasion of the continent kingdom of Akavir. This ultimately proved a failure, for two years later Uriel V was killed in Akavir on the battlefield of Ionith. Nevertheless, Uriel V holds a reputation second only to Tiber as one of the two great Warrior Emperors of Tamriel.
The last four Emperors, beginning with Uriel V's infant son, are described in the fourth and final volume of this series.

59bk_BriefHistoryEmpire3_oh

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Three
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first volume of this series told in brief the story of the succession of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, from Tiber I to Kintyra II. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors that followed its aftermath, from Uriel III to Cassynder I. At the end of that volume, it was described how the Emperor Cassynder's half-brother Uriel IV assumed the throne of the Empire of Tamriel.
It will be recalled that Uriel IV was not a Septim by birth. His mother, though she reigned as Empress for many years, was a Dark Elf married to a true Septim Emperor, Pelagius III. Uriel's father was actually Katariah I's consort after Pelagius' death, a Breton nobleman named Gallivere Lariat. Before taking the throne of Empire, Cassynder I had ruled the kingdom of Wayrest, but poor health had forced him to retire. Cassynder had no children, so he legally adopted his half-brother Uriel and abdicated the kingdom. Seven years later, Cassynder inherited the Empire at the death of his mother. Three years after that, Uriel once again found himself the recipient of Cassynder's inheritance.
Uriel IV's reign was a long and difficult one. Despite being a legally adopted member of the Septim Family, and despite the Lariat Family's high position -- indeed, they were distant cousins of the Septims -- few of the Elder Council could be persuaded to accept him fully as a blood descendant of Tiber. The Council had assumed much responsibility during Katariah I's long reign and Cassynder I's short one, and a strong-willed "alien" monarch like Uriel IV found it impossible to command their unswerving fealty. Time and again the Council and Emperor were at odds, and time and again the Council won the battles. Since the days of Pelagius II, the Elder Council had consisted of the wealthiest men and women in the Empire, and the power they wielded was conclusive.
The Council's last victory over Uriel IV was posthumous. Andorak, Uriel IV's son, was disinherited by vote of Council, and a cousin more closely related to the original Septim line was proclaimed Cephorus II in 3E268. For the first nine years of Cephorus II's reign, those loyal to Andorak battled the Imperial forces. In an act that the Sage Eraintine called "Tiber Septim's heart beating no more," the Council granted Andorak the High Rock kingdom of Shornhelm to end the war, and Andorak's descendants still rule there.
By and large, Cephorus II had foes that demanded more of his attention than Andorak. "From out of a cimmerian nightmare," in the words of Eraintine, a man who called himself the Camoran Usurper led an army of Daedra and undead warriors on a rampage through Valenwood, conquering kingdom after kingdom. Few could resist his onslaughts, and as month turned to bloody month in the year 3E249, even fewer tried. Cephorus II sent more and more mercenaries into Hammerfell to stop the Usurper's northward march, but they were bribed or slaughtered and raised as undead.
The story of the Camoran Usurper deserves a book of its own. (It is recommended that the reader find Palaux Illthre's The Fall of the Usurper for more detail.) In short, however, the destruction of the forces of the Usurper had little do with the efforts of the Emperor. The result was a great regional victory and an increase in hostility toward the seemingly inefficacious Empire.
Uriel V, Cephorus II's son and successor, swivelled opinion back toward the latent power of the Empire. Turning the attention of Tamriel away from internal strife, Uriel V embarked on a series of invasions beginning almost from the moment he took the throne in 3E268. Uriel V conquered Roscrea in 271, Cathnoquey in 276, Yneslea in 279, and Esroniet in 284. In 3E288, he embarked on his most ambitious enterprise, the invasion of the continent kingdom of Akavir. This ultimately proved a failure, for two years later Uriel V was killed in Akavir on the battlefield of Ionith. Nevertheless, Uriel V holds a reputation second only to Tiber as one of the two great Warrior Emperors of Tamriel.
The last four Emperors, beginning with Uriel V's infant son, are described in the fourth and final volume of this series.

60bk_BriefHistoryEmpire4

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Four
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first book of this series described, in brief, the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty beginning with Tiber I. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors who followed. The third volume described the troubles of the next three Emperors-the frustrated Uriel IV, the ineffectual Cephorus II, and the heroic Uriel V.

On Uriel V's death across the sea in distant, hostile Akavir, Uriel VI was but five years old. In fact, Uriel VI was born only shortly before his father left for Akavir. Uriel V's only other progeny, by a morganatic alliance, were the twins Morihatha and Eloisa, who had been born a month after Uriel V left. Uriel VI was crowned in the 290th year of the Third Era. The Imperial Consort Thonica, as the boy's mother, was given a restricted Regency until Uriel VI reached his majority. The Elder Council retained the real power, as they had ever since the days of Katariah I.

The Council so enjoyed its unlimited and unrestricted freedom to promulgate laws (and generate profits) that Uriel VI was not given full license to rule until 307, when he was already 22 years old. He had been slowly assuming positions of responsibility for years, but both the Council and his mother, who enjoyed even her limited Regency, were loath to hand over the reins. By the time he came to the throne, the mechanisms of government gave him little power except for that of the imperial veto.

This power, however, he regularly and vigorously exercised. By 313, Uriel VI could boast with conviction that he truly did rule Tamriel. He utilized defunct spy networks and guard units to bully and coerce the difficult members of the Elder Council. His half-sister Morihatha was (not surprisingly) his staunchest ally, especially after her marriage to Baron Ulfe Gersen of Winterhold brought her considerable wealth and influence. As the Sage Ugaridge said, �Uriel V conquered Esroniet, but Uriel VI conquered the Elder Council.�

When Uriel VI fell off a horse and could not be resuscitated by the finest Imperial healers, his beloved sister Morihatha took up the imperial tiara. At 25 years of age, she had been described by (admittedly self-serving) diplomats as the most beautiful creature in all of Tamriel. She was certainly well-learned, vivacious, athletic, and a well-practised politician. She brought the Archmagister of Skyrim to the Imperial City and created the second Imperial Battlemage since the days of Tiber Septim.

Morihatha finished the job her brother had begun, and made the Imperial Province a true government under the Empress (and later, the Emperor). Outside the Imperial Province, however, the Empire had been slowly disintegrating. Open revolutions and civil wars had raged unchallenged since the days of her grandfather Cephorus II. Carefully coordinating her counterattacks, Morihatha slowly claimed back her rebellious vassals, always avoiding overextending herself.

Though Morihatha's military campaigns were remarkably successful, her deliberate pace often frustrated the Council. One Councilman, an Argonian who took the Colovian name of Thoricles Romus, furious at her refusal to send troops to his troubled Black Marsh, is commonly believed to have hired the assassins who claimed her life in 3E 339. Romus was summarily tried and executed, though he protested his innocence to the last.

Morihatha had no surviving children, and Eloisa had died of a fever four years before. Eloisa's 25-year-old son Pelagius was thus crowned Pelagius IV. Pelagius IV continued his aunt's work, slowly bringing back under his wing the radical and refractory kingdoms, duchies, and baronies of the Empire. He exercised Morihatha's poise and circumspect pace in his endeavours-but alas, he did not attain her success. The kingdoms had been free of constraint for so long that even a benign Imperial presence was considered odious. Nevertheless, when Pelagius died after an astonishing forty-nine-year reign, Tamriel was closer to unity than it had been since the days of Uriel I.

Our current Emperor, His Awesome and Terrible Majesty, Uriel Septim VII, son of Pelagius IV, has the diligence of his great-aunt Morihatha, the political skill of his great-uncle Uriel VI, and the military prowess of his great grand-uncle Uriel V. For twenty-one years he reigned and brought justice and order to Tamriel. In the year 3E389, however, his Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, betrayed him.

Uriel VII was imprisoned in a dimension of Tharn's creation, and Tharn used his sorcery of illusion to assume the Emperor's aspect. For the next ten years, Tharn abused imperial privilege but did not continue Uriel VII's schedule of reconquest. It is not yet entirely known what Tharn's goals and personal accomplishments were during the ten years he masqueraded as his liege lord. In 3E399, an enigmatic Champion defeated the Battlemage in the dungeons of the Imperial Palace and freed Uriel VII from his other-dimensional jail.

Since his emancipation, Uriel Septim VII has worked diligently to renew the battles that would reunite Tamriel. Tharn's interference broke the momentum, it is true -- but the years since then have proven that there is hope of the Golden Age of Tiber Septim's rule glorifying Tamriel once again.

61bk_BriefHistoryEmpire4_oh

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Four
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first book of this series described, in brief, the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty beginning with Tiber I. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors who followed. The third volume described the troubles of the next three Emperors-the frustrated Uriel IV, the ineffectual Cephorus II, and the heroic Uriel V.

On Uriel V's death across the sea in distant, hostile Akavir, Uriel VI was but five years old. In fact, Uriel VI was born only shortly before his father left for Akavir. Uriel V's only other progeny, by a morganatic alliance, were the twins Morihatha and Eloisa, who had been born a month after Uriel V left. Uriel VI was crowned in the 290th year of the Third Era. The Imperial Consort Thonica, as the boy's mother, was given a restricted Regency until Uriel VI reached his majority. The Elder Council retained the real power, as they had ever since the days of Katariah I.

The Council so enjoyed its unlimited and unrestricted freedom to promulgate laws (and generate profits) that Uriel VI was not given full license to rule until 307, when he was already 22 years old. He had been slowly assuming positions of responsibility for years, but both the Council and his mother, who enjoyed even her limited Regency, were loath to hand over the reins. By the time he came to the throne, the mechanisms of government gave him little power except for that of the imperial veto.

This power, however, he regularly and vigorously exercised. By 313, Uriel VI could boast with conviction that he truly did rule Tamriel. He utilized defunct spy networks and guard units to bully and coerce the difficult members of the Elder Council. His half-sister Morihatha was (not surprisingly) his staunchest ally, especially after her marriage to Baron Ulfe Gersen of Winterhold brought her considerable wealth and influence. As the Sage Ugaridge said, "Uriel V conquered Esroniet, but Uriel VI conquered the Elder Council."

When Uriel VI fell off a horse and could not be resuscitated by the finest Imperial healers, his beloved sister Morihatha took up the imperial tiara. At 25 years of age, she had been described by (admittedly self-serving) diplomats as the most beautiful creature in all of Tamriel. She was certainly well-learned, vivacious, athletic, and a well-practised politician. She brought the Archmagister of Skyrim to the Imperial City and created the second Imperial Battlemage since the days of Tiber Septim.

Morihatha finished the job her brother had begun, and made the Imperial Province a true government under the Empress (and later, the Emperor). Outside the Imperial Province, however, the Empire had been slowly disintegrating. Open revolutions and civil wars had raged unchallenged since the days of her grandfather Cephorus II. Carefully coordinating her counterattacks, Morihatha slowly claimed back her rebellious vassals, always avoiding overextending herself.

Though Morihatha's military campaigns were remarkably successful, her deliberate pace often frustrated the Council. One Councilman, an Argonian who took the Colovian name of Thoricles Romus, furious at her refusal to send troops to his troubled Black Marsh, is commonly believed to have hired the assassins who claimed her life in 3E 339. Romus was summarily tried and executed, though he protested his innocence to the last.

Morihatha had no surviving children, and Eloisa had died of a fever four years before. Eloisa's 25-year-old son Pelagius was thus crowned Pelagius IV. Pelagius IV continued his aunt's work, slowly bringing back under his wing the radical and refractory kingdoms, duchies, and baronies of the Empire. He exercised Morihatha's poise and circumspect pace in his endeavours-but alas, he did not attain her success. The kingdoms had been free of constraint for so long that even a benign Imperial presence was considered odious. Nevertheless, when Pelagius died after an astonishing forty-nine-year reign, Tamriel was closer to unity than it had been since the days of Uriel I.

Our current Emperor, His Awesome and Terrible Majesty, Uriel Septim VII, son of Pelagius IV, has the diligence of his great-aunt Morihatha, the political skill of his great-uncle Uriel VI, and the military prowess of his great grand-uncle Uriel V. For twenty-one years he reigned and brought justice and order to Tamriel. In the year 3E389, however, his Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, betrayed him.

Uriel VII was imprisoned in a dimension of Tharn's creation, and Tharn used his sorcery of illusion to assume the Emperor's aspect. For the next ten years, Tharn abused imperial privilege but did not continue Uriel VII's schedule of reconquest. It is not yet entirely known what Tharn's goals and personal accomplishments were during the ten years he masqueraded as his liege lord. In 3E399, an enigmatic Champion defeated the Battlemage in the dungeons of the Imperial Palace and freed Uriel VII from his other-dimensional jail.

Since his emancipation, Uriel Septim VII has worked diligently to renew the battles that would reunite Tamriel. Tharn's interference broke the momentum, it is true -- but the years since then have proven that there is hope of the Golden Age of Tiber Septim's rule glorifying Tamriel once again.

62bk_BriefHistoryofWood

Wood is pretty
Wood is nice
If one looks good
I'll make it twice!

[Upon reaching the last page of the book, the words 'Boat Ack', are seen scrawled about the margin in a vandalistic manner.]
63bk_BriefHistoryofWood_01

Wood is pretty
Wood is nice
If one looks good
I'll make it twice!

[Upon reaching the last page of the book, the words 'Boat Ack', are seen scrawled about the margin in a vandalistic manner.]
64bk_BrothersOfDarkness

The Brothers of Darkness
by Pellarne Assi



As their name suggests, the Dark Brotherhood has a history shrouded in obfuscation. Their ways are secret to those who are not themselves Brothers of the Order (�Brother� is a generic term; some of their deadliest assassins are female, but they are often called Brothers as well). How they continue to exist in shadow, but be easily found by those desperate enough to pay for their services, is not the least of the mysteries surrounding them.

The Dark Brotherhood sprang from a religious order, the Morag Tong, during the Second Era. The Morag Tong were worshippers of the Daedra spirit Mephala, who encouraged them to commit ritual murders. In their early years, they were as disorganized as only obscure cultists could be-there was no one to lead the band, and as a group they dared not murder anybody of any importance. This changed with the rise of the Night Mother.

All leaders of the Morag Tong, and then afterward the Dark Brotherhood, have been called the Night Mother. Whether the same woman (if it is even a woman) has commanded the Dark Brotherhood since the Second Era is unknown. What is believed is that the original Night Mother developed an important doctrine of the Morag Tong-the belief that, while Mephala does grow stronger with every murder committed in her name, certain murders were better than others. Murders that came from hate pleased Mephala more than murders committed because of greed. Murders of great men and women pleased Mephala more than murders of relative unknowns.

We can approximate the time this belief was adopted with the first known murder committed by the Morag Tong. In the year 324 of the Second Era, the Potentate Versidue-Shaie was murdered in his palace in what is today the Elsweyr kingdom of Senchal. In a brash move, the Night Mother announced the identity of the murderers by painting �MORAG TONG� on the walls in the Potentate's own blood.

Previous to that, the Morag Tong existed in relative peace, more or less like a witches' coven-occasionally persecuted but usually ignored. In remarkable synchronicity at a time when Tamriel the Arena was a fractured land, the Morag Tong was outlawed throughout the continent. Every sovereign gave the cult's elimination his highest priority. Nothing more was officially heard of them for a hundred years.

It is more difficult to date the Era when the Morag Tong re-emerged as the Dark Brotherhood, especially as other guilds of assassins have sporadically appeared throughout the history of Tamriel. The first mention of the Dark Brotherhood that I have found is from the journals of the Blood Queen Arlimahera of Hegathe. She spoke of slaying her enemies by her own hand, or if necessary �with the help of the Night Mother and her Dark Brotherhood, the secret arsenal my family has employed since my grandfather's time.� Arlimahera wrote this in 2E412, so one can surmise that the Dark Brotherhood had been in existence since at least 360 if her grandfather had truly made use of them.

The important distinction between the Dark Brotherhood and the Morag Tong was that the Brotherhood was a business as much as it was a cult. Rulers and wealthy merchants used the order as an assassin's guild. The Brotherhood gained the obvious rewards of a profitable enterprise, as well as the secondary benefit that rulers could no longer actively persecute them: They were needed. They were purveyors of an essential commodity. Even an extremely virtuous leader would be unwise to mistreat the Brotherhood.

Not long after Alimahera's journal entry came perhaps the most famous series of executions in the history of the Dark Brotherhood. The Colovian Emperor-Potentate Savirien-Chorak and every one of his heirs were murdered on one bloody night in Sun's Dawn in 430. Within a fortnight, the Colovian Dynasty crumbled, to the delight of its enemies. For over four hundred years, until the advent of the Warrior Emperor Tiber Septim, chaos reigned over Tamriel. Though no comparably impressive executions have been recorded, the Brotherhood must have grown fat with gold during that interregnum.

The Dark Brotherhood has no shortage of business opportunities-an �accounting,� I have been informed, is the Brotherhood's favorite euphemism for an execution. While they are officially considered an unlawful organization in every corner of the Empire, like the Thieves Guild, they are almost as universally tolerated.
65bk_BrownBook426

Brown Book of Great House Telvanni



[The Brown Book is a yearbook of the affairs of the Telvanni Council of Vvardenfell District for 3E 426. It lists the current members of the council, their residences, and their representatives in Sadrith Mora. It also chronicles significant events and council actions for the year.]

Councilors of House Telvanni, Vvardenfell District, Imperial Era 426

Archmagister Gothren, Lord High Magus of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Aruhn, East Molag Amur, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Aryon, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Vos, Village of Vos, The Grazelands, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Neloth, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Naga, Sadrith Mora, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Dratha, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Mora, The Grazelands, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Therana, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Branora, Azura's Coast, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Councilor Representatives of House Telvanni, Council Hall, Sadrith Mora

For Archmagister Gothren: Mouth Mallam Ryon, Mage
For Master Aryon: Mouth Arara Uvulas
For Master Neloth: Mouth Raven Omayn
For Mistress Therana: Felisa Ulessen
For Mistress Dratha: Mouth Mallam Ryon

Council Actions

In response to repeated protests from Duke Dren and representative of the other Great Houses, Telvanni Council reminded them that, according to ancient law and custom, Telvanni Council places no constraint on the ambitions and enterprise of its individual members. If the Empire or other House Councils wish to dispute Telvanni exploration and colonization of the wastes and wildernesses of Vvardenfell, they are welcome to do so, with the Councilors' best wishes, but Telvanni Council will not contribute its resources or authority to such endeavors.

The council renews its objection to proposals placed before Duke Dren and the Grand Council concerning slavery and slave trading in Vvardenfell District. The right to own and trade slaves is guaranteed by the terms of the Treaty of the Armistice, and Telvanni Council will not entertain any discussion of abridgements of those rights.
66bk_CalderaMiningContract

[This parchment shows a list of contracts to purchase ebony or work in the mines.]
67bk_CalderaRecordBook1

[This book shows the ebony mined in and shipped from Caldera. You don't see anything suspicious in the figures.]
68bk_CalderaRecordBook2

[This book shows the ebony mined in and shipped from Caldera. It shows a steady flow of ebony from the mines to something called the "Ashlands Management Fund." Apparently someone in Caldera is using the mines to fund a personal project.]
69bk_CantatasOfVivec

The Cantatas of Vivec



[The Cantatas of Vivec are gospels written in the form of epic songs. They trace the evolution of Vivec from a foolish mortal into an enlightened divine. Vivec sought out experiences that tested him in every way possible, particularly in the defense and protection of his Dunmer people, and through his long life, his humility, and his unconquerable spirit, he attained the Wisdom of the Seven Graces. The Cantatas relate many stories of Vivec's experiments with challenge and risk, his failures and triumphs, his blessings of insight and good fortune, and his debt to his partners, Almalexia the Lover and Sotha Sil the Teacher. The poetry is simple and dramatic, lyric and personal, composed to be sung or recited. The following is an excerpt from Lord Vivec's 'Brooding Beneath Red Mountain'.]


The gaunt ghostfires loom as subtle shrouds,
Smokes and shades on the biers of Red Mountain.

Arches and spires line the rock halls,
Dimly lit by the spirits of the dead.

The blood of broken hearths and houses
Runs in red rivers, blossoms in fountains.

Girdled round within walls of wit's glass
The shattered hosts slumber in cradles of ash.

But when shall they wake?
What dark crucible may kindle their souls to light?

How long beneath red-reeking clouds
Must flickering watchfires burn?

How many lifetimes of labor and lament
Will it take to seal this restless tomb?

70bk_ChangedOnes

Changed Ones



Of all the et'Ada who wandered Nirn, Trinimac was the strongest. He, for a very long time, fooled the Aldmeri into thinking that tears were the best response to the Sundering. They cried and shamed our ancestors, especially the feminine Altmer. They even took the Missing God's name in vain, calling His narratives into question. So one day Boethiah, Prince of Plots, precocious youth, tricked Trinimac to go into his mouth. Boethiah talked like Trinimac for awhile then, and gathered enough people to listen to him. Boethiah showed them the lies of the et'Ada, the Aedra, and told them Trinimac was the biggest liar of all, saying all this with Trinimac's voice! Boethiah told the mass before him the Tri-Angled Truth. He showed them, with Mephala, the rules of Psijic Endeavor. He taught them how to build Houses, and what items they needed to bury in the Corners. He demonstrated the right way to wear their skin. He performed the way to walk to achieve an Exodus. Then Boethiah relieved himself of Trinimac right there on the ground before them to prove all the things he said were the truth. It was easy then for his new people to become the Changed Ones.

71bk_charterFG

Imperial Charter of the Guild of Fighters



I. Purpose

The Guild of Fighters provides employment to free-swords and mercenaries and contracts to local citizens. Citizens may contract with the Guild for the removal of creatures and pests, the delivery of goods on dangerous routes, the collection of beasts for the arenas, and other duties defined by the Guild Stewards.

II. Authority

The Guild of Fighters was established under the section 4 of the "Guilds Act," and this charter was first confirmed under the Potentate Versidue-Shaie in the 321st year of the Second Era.

III. Rules and Procedures

Any member of the Guild of Fighters who strikes or steals from another member shall be expelled from the Guild. Re-admittance is at the discretion of the Guild Stewards.

Citizens who contract with the Guild of Fighters and have a dispute may appeal first to the Guild Steward who accepted the contract and second with the authorities of each Province.

IV. Membership Requirements

The Guild selects candidates who are strong and healthy. A candidate must have some proficiency with long blades, axes, blunt weapons, and shields. Guildsmen must be able to use and maintain heavy armor.

V. Applications for Membership

Candidates must present themselves to the Steward of the Guild Hall for examination and approval.

ATTACHMENT A: Fighters Guild Chapters in Vvardenfell District, Province of Morrowind

Chapters are established in Guild-owned, free-standing guildhalls in the towns of Ald'ruhn and Balmora. The chapter in Sadrith Mora is established in Wolverine Hall under lease from the Telvanni Council. The chapter in Vivec is established in the Foreign Quarter under lease from the Tribunal Temple.

72bk_charterMG

Imperial Charter of the Guild of Mages



I. Purpose

The Guild of Mages provides benefits to scholars of magic and established laws regarding the proper use of magic. The Guild is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge.

II. Authority

The Guild of Mages was established on Summerset Isle in the year 230 of the Second Era by Vanus Galerion and Rilis XII. It was later confirmed by the "Guilds Act" of Potentate Versidue-Shaie.

III. Rules and Procedures

Crimes against fellow members of the Guild are treated with the harshest discipline. Whether a member may regain their status in the Guild is determined by the Arch-Mage.

IV. Membership Requirements

The Guild of Mages only accepts candidates of keen intelligence and dominant will. Candidates must exhibit mastery in the great schools of magic: Destruction, Alteration, Illusion, and Mysticism. Candidates must also display practical knowledge of enchantments and alchemical processes.

V. Applications for Membership

Candidates must present themselves to the Steward of the Guild Hall for examination and approval.

ATTACHMENT A: Mages Guild Chapters in Vvardenfell District, Province of Morrowind

Chapters are established in Guild-owned, free-standing guildhalls in the towns of Ald'ruhn, Balmora, and Caldera. The chapter in Sadrith Mora is established in Wolverine Hall under lease from the Telvanni Council. The chapter in Vivec is established in the Foreign Quarter under lease from the Tribunal Temple.

73bk_ChildrenOfTheSky

Children of the Sky



Nords consider themselves to be the children of the sky. They call Skyrim the Throat of the World, because it is where the sky exhaled on the land and formed them. They see themselves as eternal outsiders and invaders, and even when they conquer and rule another people; they feel no kinship with them.

The breath and the voice are the vital essence of a Nord. When they defeat great enemies they take their tongues as trophies. These are woven into ropes and can hold speech like an enchantment. The power of a Nord can be articulated into a shout, like the kiai of an Akaviri swordsman. The strongest of their warriors are called "Tongues." When the Nords attack a city, they take no siege engines or cavalry; the Tongues form in a wedge in front of the gatehouse, and draw in breath. When the leader lets it out in a kiai, the doors are blown in, and the axemen rush into the city. Shouts can be used to sharpen blades or to strike enemies. A common effect is the shout that knocks an enemy back, or the power of command. A strong Nord can instill bravery in men with his battle-cry, or stop a charging warrior with a roar. The greatest of the Nords can call to specific people over hundreds of miles, and can move by casting a shout, appearing where it lands.

The most powerful Nords cannot speak without causing destruction. They must go gagged, and communicate through a sign language and through scribing runes.

The further north you go into Skyrim, the more powerful and elemental the people become, and the less they require dwellings and shelters. Wind is fundamental to Skyrim and the Nords; those that live in the far wastes always carry a wind with them.

74bk_ChildrensAnuad

The Anuad Paraphrased



The first ones were brothers: Anu and Padomay. They came into the Void, and Time began.

As Anu and Padomay wandered the Void, the interplay of Light and Darkness created Nir. Both Anu and Padomay were amazed and delighted with her appearance, but she loved Anu, and Padomay retreated from them in bitterness.

Nir became pregnant, but before she gave birth, Padomay returned, professing his love for Nir. She told him that she loved only Anu, and Padomay beat her in rage. Anu returned, fought Padomay, and cast him outside Time. Nir gave birth to Creation, but died from her injuries soon after. Anu, grieving, hid himself in the sun and slept.

Meanwhile, life sprang up on the twelve worlds of creation and flourished. After many ages, Padomay was able to return to Time. He saw Creation and hated it. He swung his sword, shattering the twelve worlds in their alignment. Anu awoke, and fought Padomay again. The long and furious battle ended with Anu the victor. He cast aside the body of his brother, who he believed was dead, and attempted to save Creation by forming the remnants of the 12 worlds into one -- Nirn, the world of Tamriel. As he was doing so, Padomay struck him through the chest with one last blow. Anu grappled with his brother and pulled them both outside of Time forever.

The blood of Padomay became the Daedra. The blood of Anu became the stars. The mingled blood of both became the Aedra (hence their capacity for good and evil, and their greater affinity for earthly affairs than the Daedra, who have no connection to Creation).

On the world of Nirn, all was chaos. The only survivors of the twelve worlds of Creation were the Ehlnofey and the Hist. The Ehlnofey are the ancestors of Mer and Men. The Hist are the trees of Argonia. Nirn originally was all land, with interspersed seas, but no oceans.

A large fragment of the Ehlnofey world landed on Nirn relatively intact, and the Ehlnofey living there were the ancestors of the Mer. These Ehlnofey fortified their borders from the chaos outside, hid their pocket of calm, and attempted to live on as before. Other Ehlnofey arrived on Nirn scattered amid the confused jumble of the shattered worlds, wandering and finding each other over the years. Eventually, the wandering Ehlnofey found the hidden land of Old Ehlnofey, and were amazed and joyful to find their kin living amid the splendor of ages past. The wandering Ehlnofey expected to be welcomed into the peaceful realm, but the Old Ehlnofey looked on them as degenerates, fallen from their former glory. For whatever reason, war broke out, and raged across the whole of Nirn. The Old Ehlnofey retained their ancient power and knowledge, but the Wanderers were more numerous, and toughened by their long struggle to survive on Nirn. This war reshaped the face of Nirn, sinking much of the land beneath new oceans, and leaving the lands as we know them (Tamriel, Akavir, Atmora, and Yokuda). The Old Ehlnofey realm, although ruined, became Tamriel. The remnants of the Wanderers were left divided on the other 3 continents.

Over many years, the Ehlnofey of Tamriel became the Mer (Elves):
The Dwemer (the Deep Ones, sometimes called Dwarves)
The Chimer (the Changed Ones, who later became the Dunmer)
The Dunmer (the Dark or Cursed Ones, the Dark Elves)
The Bosmer (the Green or Forest Ones, the Wood Elves)
The Altmer (The Elder or High Ones, the High Elves).

On the other continents, the Wandering Ehlnofey became the Men: the Nords of Atmora, the Redguards of Yokuda, and the Tsaesci of Akavir.

The Hist were bystanders in the Ehlnofey war, but most of their realm was destroyed as the war passed over it. A small corner of it survived to become Black Marsh in Tamriel, but most of their realm was sunk beneath the sea.

Eventually, Men returned to Tamriel. The Nords were the first, colonizing the northern coast of Tamriel before recorded history, led by the legendary Ysgramor. The thirteenth of his line, King Harald, was the first to appear in written history. And so the Mythic Era ended.

75bk_ChroniclesNchuleft

Chronicles of Nchuleft



[This is a chronicle of events of historical significance to the Dwemer Freehold Colony of Nchuleft. The text was probably recorded by an Altmer, for it is written in Aldmeris.]

23. The Death of Lord Ihlendam

It happened in Second Planting (P.D. 1220) that Lord Ihlendam, on a journey in the Western Uplands, came to Nchuleft; and Protector Anchard and General Rkungthunch met him there, and Dalen-Zanchu also came to the meeting. They talked together long by themselves; but this only was known of their business, that they were to be friends of each other. They parted, and each went home to his own colony.

Bluthanch and her sons came to hear of this meeting, and saw in this secret meeting a treasonable plot against the Councils; and they often talked of this among themselves. When spring came, the Councils proclaimed, as usual, a Council Meet, in the halls of Bamz-Amschend. The people accordingly assembled, handfasted with ale and song, drinking bravely, and much and many things were talked over at the drink-table, and, among other things, were comparisons between different dwemer, and at last among the Councilors themselves.

One said that Lord Ihlendam excelled his fellow Councilors by far, and in every way. At this Councilor Bluthanch was very angry, and said that she was in no way less than Lord Ihlendam, and that she was eager to prove it. Instantly both parties were so inflamed that they challenged each other to battle, and ran to their arms. But some citizens who were less drunk, and more understanding, came between them, and quieted them; and each went back to his colony, but nobody expected that they would ever meet in peace again together.

But then, in the fall, Lord Ihlendam received a message from Councilor Bluthanch, inviting him to a parlay at Hendor-Stardumz. And all Ihlendam's kin and citizens strongly urged him not to come, fearing treachery, but Lord Ihlendam would not listen to counsel, not even to carrying with him his honor guard. And sadly, it came to pass that, while traveling to Hendor-Stardumz, in Chinzinch Pass, a host of foul creatures set upon Lord Ihlendam and killed him, and all of his party. And many citizens said thereafter that Bluthanch and her sons had conjured these beasts and set them upon Lord Ihlendam, but nothing was proven. Lord Ihlendam lies buried at a place called Leftunch.

76bk_clientlistCurrent Orders
Fendryn Drelvi - Grand Soul Gem, Daedra (any)

Garas Seloth - Ring, Mysticism

Fevyn Ralen - Steel Sparksword

Landa - Arrows of Wasting Spark (40)

Salver Lleran - Ring of Wildfire (exquisite)

Tolmera Relenim - Greater Soul Gems (10, empty)

77bk_Confessions

CONFESSIONS OF A DUNMER SKOOMA-EATER



Nothing is more revolting to Dunmer feeling than the sorry spectacle of another Dunmer enslaved by that derivative moon-sugar known as 'skooma.' And nothing is less appetising than listening to the pathetic tales of humiliation and degradation associated with a victim of this addictive drug.

Why, then, do I force myself upon you with this extended and detailed account of my sins and sorrows?

Because I hope that by telling my tale, the hope of redemption from this sorry state shall be more widely known. And because I hope that others who have also fallen into the sorry state of skooma addiction may therefore hear of my story, of how I fell into despair, and how I once again found myself and freed myself from my own self-imposed chains.

Because it is widely known to all Khajiit, who may be expected to know, that there is no cure for addiction to skooma, that once a slave to skooma, always a slave to skooma. Because this is widely known, it is taken to be true. But it is not true, and I am living proof.

There is no miracle cure. There is no potion to be taken. There is no magical incantation which frees you from the thrill of skooma running through your blood.

But it is through the understanding of that thrill, and the acceptance of the lust within oneself for that thrill, and the casting aside of the shame that the thrillseeker feels when he cannot set aside what becomes in the end his only comfort and pleasure, it is through this knowledge and understanding that the victim comes to the place where choices may be made, where despair and hope may be separated.

In short, only knowledge and acceptance can deliver into the slave's hands the key that opens his shackles and sets him free.


[The narrative of Tilse Sendas' tale carries the reader through the stages of early infatuation, ecstatic obsession, and profound degradation of her addiction, and in the course of the story she subtly enables the reader to discover that the hopelessness of the addict comes from the addict's own unconscious assumption that only a helpless and foolish person could become addicted to skooma, and that, consequently, no such helpless and foolish person could ever achieve the admittedly difficult task of renouncing, once tasted, the exquisite delights of the skooma. Tilse Sendas shows that once the addict overcomes the burden of her own self-despising, that there is the possibility of redemption. And, against all of society's dearly held beliefs, she says that it is not altogether clear that the addict SHOULD renounce the sugar, but that it is only one of the choices that the skooma addict must make. Tilse Sendas' casual proposition that skooma addiction is not necessarily a sign of moral and personal weakness is essential to her thesis that a cure is possible, but it has not endeared her or her book to the upright and conservative elements of Dunmer society.]
78bk_ConsolationsOfPrayer

The Consolations of Prayer



Through the bounty of Blessed Almsivi, Triune Grace, and all the hosts of saints, the faithful who pray at the Temple's shrines may be granted blessings through the miraculous sacraments of prayer and devotion. The three-sided shrines betoken the three-faced benison of Almsivi, and may be found in Temples, or at sites of pilgrimage, or at pilgrim waysides, or in the tomb of the sanctified.

What benefits may be gained shall be listed herein for the edification of the worshipper and pilgrim.

All shrines grant cures of common diseases, of blight diseases, and of afflictions of poison.

Those shrines bearing the images of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil also may grant the blessing of Almsivi Restoration, which restores damaged attributes, and the three blessings of Almsivi: Vivec's Mystery, for good fortune; Soul of Sotha Sil, for magical power, and Lady's Grace, for endurance of hardships.

Those shrines bearing the images of the saints may also grant the particular blessings of the saints, which are listed for you here:

St. Aralor grants Aralor's Intervention, for fortifying character.
St. Delyn grants Shield of St. Delyn, for resistance to blight diseases.
St. Felms grants Felm's Glory, for greater skill in restoring magics.
St. Llothis grants Rock of Llothis, for fortifying the will.
St. Meris grants Meris's Warding, for resistance to corprus disease.
St. Nerevar grants Spirit of Nerevar, for fortifying the body's vigor.
St. Olms grants Olm's Benediction, for resistance to common disease.
St. Rilms grants Rilm's Grace, for endurance of hardships.
St. Roris grants Roris's Bloom, for fortifying the body's health.
St. Seryn grants Seryn's Shield, for resistance to poisons.
St. Veloth grants Veloth's Indwelling, for magical power, and also grants the blessing of Almsivi Restoration, which restores damaged attributes.

The Faithful are granted these blessings when they pray at the shrines and make a modest donation. The Blessed of the Initiate rank and higher of the Temple have already made their devotions in service and piety, and need only pray at the shrines to receive their benefits. And Almsivi is generous, so even the Unbeliever may receive a blessing if he prays, if he proves his respect with a generous donation.

79bk_contract_ralen

Contract for Services

I, Felyn Saranas, hereby agree to pay the sum of 10,000 (ten thousand) drakes upon the delivery of the following items:

Iron Shortsword (20)
Iron Claymore (15)
Iron Mace (10)
Iron Spear (15)
Steel Axe (10)
Steel Dagger (15)
Steel Staff (10)
Steel Halberd (15)
Steel Longsword (10)

All items are assumed to be delivered in new and working condition, and to have been created at the forge of Ralen Tilvur, Smith, Vivec City. This contract is binding under Imperial Law, and may only be rendered null and void by a mutual agreement of both parties here undersigned.

Alvur Hleran
Felyn Saranas

80bk_corpsepreperation1_c

On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume One: The Acquisition of the Corpse



While the Arts of Necromancy are only illegal in the province of Morrowind, few citizens of the Empire have an enlightened view of our Art. Thus, the acquisition of corpses on which to experiment is often difficult.

In Cyrodiil, a few Necromancers who have served the Empire are given the corpses of criminals and traitors to use legally. This provides those who have acquired such a post with a fresh supply of corpses, most of them young, strong, and intact.

In Morrowind, the outlawing of Necromancy would make its practice impossible were it not for the fortunate institution of slavery. While the Temple will investigate obvious signs of Necromancy such as hastily emptied graves or ash stolen from one of their ashpits, a careful and discrete Necromancer can thrive in Morrowind by taking slaves at a modest rate. Most will assume the slave escaped or died in the Ashlands.

Finding suitable corpses in Black Marsh is nearly impossible due to their rapid decay. There are also diseases, Argonian tribesmen, and other difficulties that must be dealt with. I know of only a few Sload Necromancers who operate successfully in Black Marsh, and even they stay near coast.

While the forests of Elsweyr pose some of the same problems as those of Black Marsh, the deserts preserve corpses for hundreds of years in a way that requires very little preparation. Khajiit of the desert tribes are often buried with only a small cairn of stones which are easy to find and uncover. The Khajiit show remarkably enlightened indifference to graves being uncovered. It is said that in the port of Senchal, one may purchase anything one desires. This is true if you desire fresh corpses.

While few Bosmer perform Arkay's rituals when burying the dead, the more primitive Bosmer still practice cannibalism upon their enemies, which reduces the number of available corpses. As would be expected from such a backwards people, they have an intolerance of Necromancy that goes beyond all reason. Many Necromancers who practice our Arts in Valenwood become "one with the trees" themselves.

Summerset Isle is even worse in some ways. Some Altmer born into the most respected noble and scholarly families are actually allowed to study the dead in the open. Their research, however, seems to be centered on finding ways to extend their lives even further rather than the more practical uses of our Art. A Necromancer of any other race caught in Summerset Isle can expect the worst possible punishments.

In Hammerfell, where worship of Arkay is strongest, the dead are almost always subject to Arkay's Law. There are exceptions after large battles or in remote areas where death occurs far from meddlesome priests. Fortunately, the dangerous terrain and creatures in the deserts and mountains of Hammerfell makes the acquisition of corpses possible, though they are often in poor condition and require special care in preparation.

The newly formed Orsinium presents a unique opportunity. As you know, Orc corpses are among the most sought after for the durability of their skin and the strength of their bones. If King Gortwog will listen to reason, we could offer the services of our Art in defense of his young nation in exchange for disposing of the Orcish dead. A mutually beneficial arrangement as I'm sure the Orcs will agree. To this end, a delegation has been sent to Orsinium, though we have not yet heard any word on the state of these negotiations.

In my native High Rock, traditions dating back to the witch kings and nomadic horsemen mandate cremation of the dead. This is practiced almost without exception in the north, through an Imperial burial in a tomb or city cemetery is more common in the south. There are still many corpses easily taken from the battlefields of the War of Betony and the lawless times that followed. There are even rumors that King Gothryd of Daggerfall may institute the Imperial practice of donating the corpses of criminals for Necromantic study as a deterrent to the bandits and pirates that still threaten the Iliac Bay.

In Skyrim, the cold weather and isolated terrain allow a few Necromancers to operate freely. Alas, the availability of corpses is limited to Nords who die from exposure or in battle. While the cold is preservative, the snow makes these corpses difficult to find. More research dedicated to the magical detection of corpses would be invaluable to the Necromancers of Skyrim.

The Sload are the most famous Necromancers, but little is known of their native Thras. In Tamriel, Sload only practice Necromancy on other races. It is uncertain whether this is true in Thras as well. If so, it would explain the number of slaves that are purchased in Tear by Sload merchants and the rumors of Sload airships carrying corpses from Senchal.

These difficulties lead many Necromancers to create their own corpses. While I prefer to work with those who have died a natural death, a more expedient approach is sometimes necessary to further the study of the Art.

While the Arts of Necromancy can be practiced on animals, such experiments rarely produce interesting results. The servant's ability to follow directions seems to be related to the subject's intelligence in life. While raising the corpse of a man, elf, or beastman can produce a useful servant, the corpses of animals produce mere guard dogs at best. Often a raised animal is unable to distinguish its master from the rest of the living and many amateur practitioners have been torn apart by the animal servants they created. Let such stories be a lesson to you.

81bk_corpsepreperation1_o

On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume One: The Acquisition of the Corpse



While the Arts of Necromancy are only illegal in the province of Morrowind, few citizens of the Empire have an enlightened view of our Art. Thus, the acquisition of corpses on which to experiment is often difficult.

In Cyrodiil, a few Necromancers who have served the Empire are given the corpses of criminals and traitors to use legally. This provides those who have acquired such a post with a fresh supply of corpses, most of them young, strong, and intact.

In Morrowind, the outlawing of Necromancy would make its practice impossible were it not for the fortunate institution of slavery. While the Temple will investigate obvious signs of Necromancy such as hastily emptied graves or ash stolen from one of their ashpits, a careful and discrete Necromancer can thrive in Morrowind by taking slaves at a modest rate. Most will assume the slave escaped or died in the Ashlands.

Finding suitable corpses in Black Marsh is nearly impossible due to their rapid decay. There are also diseases, Argonian tribesmen, and other difficulties that must be dealt with. I know of only a few Sload Necromancers who operate successfully in Black Marsh, and even they stay near coast.

While the forests of Elsweyr pose some of the same problems as those of Black Marsh, the deserts preserve corpses for hundreds of years in a way that requires very little preparation. Khajiit of the desert tribes are often buried with only a small cairn of stones which are easy to find and uncover. The Khajiit show remarkably enlightened indifference to graves being uncovered. It is said that in the port of Senchal, one may purchase anything one desires. This is true if you desire fresh corpses.

While few Bosmer perform Arkay's rituals when burying the dead, the more primitive Bosmer still practice cannibalism upon their enemies, which reduces the number of available corpses. As would be expected from such a backwards people, they have an intolerance of Necromancy that goes beyond all reason. Many Necromancers who practice our Arts in Valenwood become "one with the trees" themselves.

Summerset Isle is even worse in some ways. Some Altmer born into the most respected noble and scholarly families are actually allowed to study the dead in the open. Their research, however, seems to be centered on finding ways to extend their lives even further rather than the more practical uses of our Art. A Necromancer of any other race caught in Summerset Isle can expect the worst possible punishments.

In Hammerfell, where worship of Arkay is strongest, the dead are almost always subject to Arkay's Law. There are exceptions after large battles or in remote areas where death occurs far from meddlesome priests. Fortunately, the dangerous terrain and creatures in the deserts and mountains of Hammerfell makes the acquisition of corpses possible, though they are often in poor condition and require special care in preparation.

The newly formed Orsinium presents a unique opportunity. As you know, Orc corpses are among the most sought after for the durability of their skin and the strength of their bones. If King Gortwog will listen to reason, we could offer the services of our Art in defense of his young nation in exchange for disposing of the Orcish dead. A mutually beneficial arrangement as I'm sure the Orcs will agree. To this end, a delegation has been sent to Orsinium, though we have not yet heard any word on the state of these negotiations.

In my native High Rock, traditions dating back to the witch kings and nomadic horsemen mandate cremation of the dead. This is practiced almost without exception in the north, through an Imperial burial in a tomb or city cemetery is more common in the south. There are still many corpses easily taken from the battlefields of the War of Betony and the lawless times that followed. There are even rumors that King Gothryd of Daggerfall may institute the Imperial practice of donating the corpses of criminals for Necromantic study as a deterrent to the bandits and pirates that still threaten the Iliac Bay.

In Skyrim, the cold weather and isolated terrain allow a few Necromancers to operate freely. Alas, the availability of corpses is limited to Nords who die from exposure or in battle. While the cold is preservative, the snow makes these corpses difficult to find. More research dedicated to the magical detection of corpses would be invaluable to the Necromancers of Skyrim.

The Sload are the most famous Necromancers, but little is known of their native Thras. In Tamriel, Sload only practice Necromancy on other races. It is uncertain whether this is true in Thras as well. If so, it would explain the number of slaves that are purchased in Tear by Sload merchants and the rumors of Sload airships carrying corpses from Senchal.

These difficulties lead many Necromancers to create their own corpses. While I prefer to work with those who have died a natural death, a more expedient approach is sometimes necessary to further the study of the Art.

While the Arts of Necromancy can be practiced on animals, such experiments rarely produce interesting results. The servant's ability to follow directions seems to be related to the subject's intelligence in life. While raising the corpse of a man, elf, or beastman can produce a useful servant, the corpses of animals produce mere guard dogs at best. Often a raised animal is unable to distinguish its master from the rest of the living and many amateur practitioners have been torn apart by the animal servants they created. Let such stories be a lesson to you.

82bk_corpsepreperation2_c

On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume Two: The Skeletal Corpse



When raising a skeleton servant, it is most important that the body of the skeleton be complete. If the skeleton is missing crucial bones, the results can be frustrating. One should only attempt to raise skeletons when you are sure that all or nearly all the bones are present.

While the magic involved in raising a skeleton will assemble the bones in the proper order, skeletons may be strengthened considerably by the addition of support on their joints. The most common are leather straps that bind the bones together more tightly. Some practitioners also drive metal spikes are between the joints, which is more expensive and time consuming, but they protect the servant where it is weakest. The details of this are unimportant as even an amateur can strengthen a skeleton significantly. Only practice will reveal the best methods of binding and reinforcing the skeletal servant. Amateurs often make the mistake of binding the bones too tightly, limiting the skeleton's movements and making it useless. Again, only practice can give the necessary experience in these matters, though it is best to err towards tight bindings. One may always loosen them at a later date.

One more note to the student: While most undead can be raised again and again, skeletons are often damaged in ways that make raising them again impossible. This is another reason that care should be given to the skeleton's preparation. Too many young Necromancers raise every skeleton they see with little or no preparation at all. Given the difficulty of obtaining corpses, this kind of inefficiency cannot be tolerated.

83bk_corpsepreperation3_c

On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume 3: The Fresh Corpse



Fresh and decayed corpses are those that still have flesh upon them. If their decay is advanced, or if you wish a skeletal servant instead, place the corpse along a coast or in a swamp or marsh. Animals are the Necromancer's greatest allies when it comes to stripping the flesh from a corpse. The ravenous mudcrabs of Morrowind can strip a corpse down to its bones in a matter of days. Lesser crabs in other provinces can do the same in a matter of weeks.

If you wish to create a zombie servant, one need only bring the corpse to a suitable site and enact the proper rituals. However, there are a few tips that a young Necromancer might want to know. For instance, a decayed servant may be raised many times, even if they have been dismembered by those who do not appreciate our Art. If one of your servants comes to an unfortunate end, you may raise the servant again by carefully gathering as many parts as you can find, binding the bones with leather straps, and sewing the flesh (if it not too decayed) with catgut. Your servant may be weaker each time this is done, but with care and maintenance, one may raise zombies dozens of times.

However, creating a mere zombie is a method best left to lazy or desperate practitioners. With only a bit more time and effort, one may create a far more useful mummified servant.

The first step to creating a mummified servant is to soak the decaying corpse in a bath of salt or natron for at least one month. This will halt the decay of the corpse, and if the corpse is fresh enough to have an unpleasant odor, the salts will remove that as well. In a moist climate, such as Argonian or Thras, you may have to apply more salts if they become saturated. Some Necromancers remove the vital organs before or after this process, but I have never found any practical reason for doing this.

The next step is to wrap the servant in cloth or linen. This will further preserve the body against decay and, if done properly, will offer some protection as well. Do not worry if the corpse seems too stiff or desiccated to be a useful servant, the proper rituals will imbue the mummified corpse with the strength to move itself. Most importantly, you will have a much stronger servant who will follow your commands with more independence and understanding.

84bk_Dagoth_Urs_Plans

Dagoth Ur's Plans



[The following documents were prepared by Temple scholars and agents of the Inquisition for Lord Vivec.]

From interrogation of captured Sleepers and other Sixth House cultists, from study of manuscripts written by cultists and victims of dream-induced mania, from interviews with Lord Vivec concerning historical campaigns against Red Mountain, and from broad conjectures and inferences made upon these materials, this is our best estimate of Dagoth Ur's motivations and objectives in this most recent phase of his war upon Morrowind.

Basic Objectives

1. Establish a theocracy in Morrowind based on the worship of the new-born god Akulakhan [Second Numidium] to be created by Dagoth Ur from the heart of Lorkhan and a body constructed according to the principles and rituals pioneered by the Dwemer Kagrenac. Establish the ancient heirs of House Dagoth as the god-priests of Akulakhan, and the Sixth House of Dagoth Ur as the dominant political power in Morrowind. Through charismatic conversion, unite the Dunmer under the guidance of Dagoth Ur to battle against the foreign animals who hold Morrowind in subjection. [Note: Dagoth Ur has apparently adopted the views and motivations of the Dwemer High Craftlord Kagrenac. In effect, he recapitulates the ancient blasphemous folly of the Dwemer.]

2. Expose the false worship of the Tribunal and destroy the ecclesiastical authority and political power of the Temple. [How much the Dissident Priests or the Cult of the Nerevarine may be controlled or influenced by the Sixth House in this regard is open to speculation.]

3. Extirpate all remaining individuals of inferior and mongrel races from Morrowind.

4. Drive the Empire from Morrowind.

5. Recover ancient territories stolen by Skyrim and Argonia.

6. Extend the worship of Akulakhan to all nations of Tamriel through subversion and conquest.

Plans to Establish and Expand the Sixth House

Phase 1: Secure Red Mountain against Tribunal intruders. Deny Tribunal access to the Heart, weakening the Temple while securing Red Mountain for the creation of Akulakhan. Keep the construction of Second Numidium a secret.

Phase 2: Create passive servants in ever-widening circles around Red Mountain by broadcasting compulsions couched in dream imagery to susceptible subjects in their sleep. Establish a major operational base at Kogoruhn for further operations in the ash wastes. Establish smaller bases near small port villages and in lower-class waterfront districts in Vivec. Infiltrate and subvert smuggling syndicates. Recruit willing followers from disaffected populations, including the underworld, the poor, and rabid anti-Imperial activists.

Phase 3: Expand from smaller bases to other towns and villages, and recruit and indoctrinate subjects made susceptible by dream sendings. Occupy abandoned towers and ruins, and train corrupted cultists as raiders and irregular troops. Identify, discredit, and decimate possible sources of political resistance.

Phase 4: Use assassination and terror to weaken, distract, and disrupt the Legions and the Imperial bureaucracy, along with their Hlaalu sympathizers. Inspire popular uprisings of the native poor against the foreign rich and powerful. Summon Sleepers and Dreamers to Dagoth Ur to work on Second Numidium.

Inferring Dagoth Ur's Perspectives

Dagoth Ur thinks on a large time scale -- for the most part, in the outside-of-time scale of the divine consciousness. He thinks that only obstacles of mythic scale are worth consideration. He believes he is fated to rule Morrowind, to free Morrowind of the Empire, and to become the new hard-loving Father of Morrowind. Given that perspective, the only opposing forces Dagoth Ur worries about are the Tribunal, the Daedra, the Emperor, and the Incarnate.

With the Tribunal's loss of Sunder and Keening, and with the diminishing resources of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, Dagoth Ur believes he has permanently gained a decisive strategic advantage. On a mortal timescale, the battle may last for centuries, but the outcome is not in doubt. And Akulakhan may be a device for dramatically reducing the time scale for a decisive victory.

The myth of dynamic invincibility of the Emperor and the Empire has long been an unquantifiable and intimidating threat, but recent rumors of unrest in Cyrodiil, of the Emperor's failing health, and the unsettled question of the succession have diminished the scale of that threat. Nonetheless, the revelation that the Nerevarine is a pawn of Imperial intelligence, hand-picked and sent to Morrowind by the Emperor himself, may cause Dagoth Ur considerable anxiety.

The Daedra represent no coherent obstacle to Dagoth Ur. Nonetheless, their personal abilities and their influence upon their fanatic followers is considerable, their motives and actions obscure, and Dagoth Ur remains concerned about them.

The Incarnate represents Saint Nerevar, a mythic force that has previously defeated Dagoth Ur, and Dagoth Ur is obsessed with this threat. At the same time, Dagoth Ur knew Nerevar personally, knew that he was a mortal man with faults and weaknesses. Dagoth Ur may have some hope of seducing or negotiating with Nerevar's reincarnation. Further, when Nerevar and the Tribunal defeated Dagoth Ur, they were strong and allied; now the Nerevarine and the Tribunal are weak, opposed, and divided. Therefore, though the Nerevarine and the Tribunal represent the most serious threat to Dagoth Ur's plans, he still has good reason to believe that this time he will prevail.

A Recent Timescale of Dagoth Ur's Activities
[Much of the following timescale is based on inference from incomplete information.]

before 2E 882: Dagoth Ur and his kin lie dreaming beneath the sills of Red Mountain.

2E 882: Dagoth Ur and his ash vampires awake refreshed and emerge from lower Red Mountain into the Heart Chamber. Dagoth Ur ritually binds himself and his brethren as heartwights in a ritual of his own devising. First stages of construction of Second Numidium [conceived during the Long Sleep] are begun by heartwights and atronach constructs in a chamber near the Heart of Lorkhan. Keeping the Second Numidium project a secret from the Tribunal is a high priority.

2E 882: The Tribunal arrive at Red Mountain for their annual ritual bathing in the heart's power. Dagoth Ur and ash vampires ambush the Tribunal. The Tribunes are driven away, and prevented from restoring themselves with Kagrenac's tools at the Heart of Lorkhan.

2E 882-3E 417: Intermittent Tribunal campaigns assault Red Mountain. The Tribunal and supporting forces seek to force access to the Heart Chamber, but are repeatedly driven back. Dagoth Ur recruits Sleepers and Dreamers through dream sendings. Cultists are recruited through dream compulsion. Weaker cultists become corprus beasts; stronger cultists advance through stages towards the powers of the Ascended Sleepers.

3E 400: Kogoruhn reoccupied by Dagoth Uthol and fortified as an advance base for Sixth House operations. Blight storms more frequent and widespread. Soul sickness spreads in regions close to Red Mountain.

3E 410: Sixth House bases founded near Gnaar Mok and in waterfront areas of Vivec. Sixth House operatives exploit smuggler organizations and communications to spread their influence among victims unbalanced by Dagoth Ur's dream sendings.

3E 415: Small cells of Sixth House cultists in every town in Vvardenfell. Larger Sixth House operations are concealed in remote dungeons where creatures are bred and cultists are trained for the coming struggle.

3E 417: Almalexia and Sotha Sil lose the artifacts Keening and Sunder to Dagoth Odros and Vemyn. Vivec rescues Almalexia and Sotha Sil, but failing to recover Keening and Sunder, the Tribunal retreat from Red Mountain in disorder. Surviving Buoyant Armiger companions know the Tribunal was forced to retreat, but do not know how serious a reversal the Tribunal has suffered. The Three Tribunes return to their respective capitals and continue to perform their ritual functions. The Tribunes continue to grow weaker without access to the Heart, and because of resources required to support the Ghostfence. The inner circle of the Temple priesthood has begun to suspect the Tribunes have suffered seriously from wounds and demoralization in the wake of reverses at Red Mountain, but do not recognize the scale of the problem.

3E 426-427: Campaign of Sixth House assassinations of prominent Imperial citizens and Hlaalu Imperial sympathizers. Sudden increase in number and seriousness of attacks by cultists and victims deranged by soul sickness.

Noted with Concern

1. Dagoth Ur can apparently perceive and communicate directly through his cultists. Sleepers and Dreamers are often reported speaking as though with Dagoth Ur's voice and intention.

2. Little is known about the features, scale, or stage of completion of Akulakhan [Second Numidium]. No one has gained entrance to the Heart Chamber since 2E 282. In 3E 417, Keening and Sunder were captured, and may substantially aid in Akulakhan's construction.
85bk_darkestdarkness

Darkest Darkness



In Morrowind, both worshippers and sorcerers summon lesser Daedra and bound Daedra as servants and instruments.

Most Daedric servants can be summoned by sorcerers only for very brief periods, within the most fragile and tenuous frameworks of command and binding. This fortunately limits their capacity for mischief, though in only a few minutes, most of these servants can do terrible harm to their summoners as well as their enemies.

Worshippers may bind other Daedric servants to this plane through rituals and pacts. Such arrangements result in the Daedric servant remaining on this plane indefinitely -- or at least until their bodily manifestations on this plane are destroyed, precipitating their supernatural essences back to Oblivion. Whenever Daedra are encountered at Daedric ruins or in tombs, they are almost invariably long-term visitors to our plane.

Likewise, lesser entities bound by their Daedra Lords into weapons and armor may be summoned for brief periods, or may persist indefinitely, so long as they are not destroyed and banished. The class of bound weapons and bound armors summoned by Temple followers and conjurors are examples of short-term bindings; Daedric artifacts like Mehrunes Razor and the Mask of Clavicus Vile are examples of long-term bindings.

The Tribunal Temple of Morrowind has incorporated the veneration of Daedra as lesser spirits subservient to the immortal Almsivi, the Triune godhead of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. These subordinate Daedra are divided into the Good Daedra and the Bad Daedra. The Good Daedra have willingly submitted to the authority of Almsivi; the Bad Daedra are rebels who defy Almsivi -- treacherous kin who are more often adversaries than allies.

The Good Daedra are Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala. The hunger is a powerful and violent lesser Daedra associated with Boethiah, Father of Plots -- a sinuous, long-limbed, long-tailed creature with a beast-skulled head, noted for its paralyzing touch and its ability to disintegrate weapons and armor. The winged twilight is a messenger of Azura, Goddess of Dusk and Dawn. Winged twilights resemble the feral harpies of the West, though the feminine aspects of the winged twilights are more ravishing, and their long, sharp, hooked tails are immeasurably more deadly. Spider Daedra are the servants of Mephala, taking the form of spider-humanoid centaurs, with a naked upper head, torso, and arms of human proportions, mounted on the eight legs and armored carapace of a giant spider. Unfortunately, these Daedra are so fierce and irrational that they cannot be trusted to heed the commands of the Spinner. As a consequence, few sorcerers are willing to either summon or bind such creatures in Morrowind.

The Bad Daedra are Mehrunes Dagon, Malacath, Sheogorath, and Molag Bal. Three lesser Daedra are associated with Mehrunes Dagon: the agile and pesky scamp, the ferocious and beast-like clannfear, and the noble and deadly dremora. The crocodile-headed humanoid Daedra called the daedroth is a servant of Molag Bal, while the giant but dim-witted ogrim is a servant of Malacath. Sheogorath's lesser Daedra, the golden saint, a half-clothed human female in appearance, is highly resistant to magic and a dangerous spellcaster.

Another type of lesser Daedra often encountered in Morrowind is the Atronach, or Elemental Daedra. Atronachs have no binding kinship or alignments with the Daedra Lords, serving one realm or another at whim, shifting sides according to seduction, compulsion, or opportunity.
86bk_dispelrecipe_tgca

1 unit pearl
1 unit moon sugar

Crush pearl to form a power.
Heat moon sugar until it melts and begins turning brown.
Add pearl dust and remove from heat.
Cool with water and add to an alembic.
Boil the mixture and collect the vapor.
87bk_DivineMetaphysics







88bk_DoorsOfTheSpirit

The Doors of the Spirit



The Ancestors are among us. They are never farther away than the Waiting Door.

The Ancestors are not departed. The dead are not under the earth. Their spirits are in the restless wind, in the fire's voice, in the foot-smoothed step. Pay heed to these things, and you will know your absent kin.

Pay reverence through gift and prayer. Acquaint the Ancestors with your affairs, with your comings and goings, with your blessings and trials.

From the Waiting Door comes your protection. Heed the spirits, who are the guardians of your hearth, teachers of wisdom, counselors of fortune, seers of fate.

Each bone is a door through the wall of the world. Each bone is the road, with Wisdom and Power the travelers. Each bone is the ghost fence that guards us from evil.

Honor the Ancestors upon your hearths, within your halls, in the community of your temples, in the solitude of your tombs.

Guard your Ancestors from beasts, from thieves, from profane priest and sorcerers. Let no creature steal your spirits, for the plundered hearth is diminished, and the plundered tomb is shamed.

Live in One World with your spirits. Honor the spirits within and without you. Do not grieve for the dead. Take shelter in their arms, and pay heed to their words.
89bk_drenblackmail

Ranes and Navil,

You have served me well over the years. My brother has been trying to stop our business. We've lost over half our shipments recently. The Duke may be my brother, but if he keeps interfering I am afraid he must be killed. I will be next in line and can consolidate my power before the Redorans even come up with a candidate. I am telling you this so that you know the risks you may be taking. If you are unwilling, I will accept your word of honor not to speak of our business. If you stay, I will reward you.

D
90bk_Dren_Hlevala_note

Foreman Hlevala,

Current activities within the plantation have been highly noted with outstanding performance. The 'nemer' seem to have a fine grasp on our routines since you have given them their "disciplinary schooling". I commend you on your fine efforts and success. You shall be rewarded greatly.

If you will, make sure the following 'nemer' are all accounted for. I will have to have them marked as plantation property for my personal records.

Neetinei
Arabhi
Gah-Julan
Ahzini
Tulz

Best Regards,
Orvas Dren

91bk_Dren_shipping_log

[This appears to be the records of Orvas Dren's incoming and outgoing shipments, complete with dates and business partners.]
92bk_dwemermuseumwelcome

Welcome to my Dwemer Museum. This exhibition represents a lifetime of traveling and collecting artifacts from Dwemer sites all over Morrowind. I am always finding new things to display so please check back often. And be wary of the centurion at the end of the hall. He is in a state of disrepair and is prone to unpredictable behavior.

Master Aryon

93bk_eastempirecompanyledger

[This ledger records the items bought and sold by the East Empire Company here in Vvardenfell.]
94bk_easternprovincesimpartial

The Eastern Provinces Impartially Considered



...and even if we overlook the dubious moral and legal justifications for hundreds of years of occupation of these two provinces, what economic or military benefits can we derive from Morrowind and Black Marsh?

Indeed, a few beneficiaries of Imperial monopolies in the provinces do profit from exploitation of their wealth and resources. But does the Empire as a whole benefit? Hardly. The vast machineries of the Imperial bureaucracies cost far more to maintain than can be recovered in duties and taxes. And the cost of establishing and maintaining the garrisons of the Imperial legion in the far-flung wilderness posts of these provinces would be cost-effective only if there were evidence of a military threat from the East. But no such evidence exits. No army of Morrowind or Black Marsh has ever threatened the security of any other Imperial province, let alone the security of Cyrodiil itself.

In fact, a greater threat to Imperial security lies in the idle legions that the taxpayer spends thousands of drakes to support. The generals of these legions, facing no enemies or opposition within the borders of their provinces, may look with ambition to the West. With their loyal veteran troops and coffers fattened by friendly monopolists, they become unpredictable political factors in the uncertainties surrounding the Imperial succession.

If the occupation of Morrowind and Black Marsh were motivated by idealistic aspirations, perhaps there might lie some justification for bearing the burden of Empire. But consider the shame of the Empire's mute acceptance to the unspeakable practice of slavery in Morrowind. Instead of using our Imperial legions to free the wretched Khajiit and Argonian slaves from their Dark Elf masters, we pay our troopers to PROTECT the indefensible institution of slavery. Within the ebony mines of Morrowind, bloated monopolists under Imperial charters exploit slave labor to harvest the outrageous profits assured by rampant graft and corruption.

Consider the colossal arrogance of our proposition to bring Peace and Enlightenment to the East, when in fact, we have only brought our armies into lands who have never threatened us, and when we have only exploited the most shameful and evil practices we have found in Morrowind and Black Marsh simply to enrich the friends and flatterers of the Imperial family.

Impartially considered, our occupation of the Eastern provinces is morally corrupt, militarily indefensible, and economically ruinous. The only conclusion is that we should disband the Eastern legions, withdraw the Imperial bureaucracies and monopolists from the East, and give these ancient lands and peoples their freedom. Only by doing so may we hope to preserve the fragile ideals and fortunes of Western culture.

95bk_EggOfTime









96bk_eggorders

[This paper lists orders from all over Morrowind for kwaama eggs from Therana's farm.]
97bk_enamor

To the most highly esteemed Serjo Salyn Sarethi,

A fellow thief stole from you. While the daring of this act recommends the thief, the target of the theft does not. The blade Enamor has been returned to its proper owner with our apologies.

Bal Molagmer
98bk_falanaamonote

Falanaamo, my friend:

I was wondering if you could send me an order of those new Netch Leather Shoes you were raving about last night. Come by the Shovel anytime for a round on the house. You really must tell me more about your past on Summerset Isle sometime, although next time I hope you're sober enough to make some sense!

- Shenk
99bk_falljournal_uniqueI believe I may have found the correct formula for the spell I am developing. With it, I will be able to travel great distances without the need to pay others for the service.

If all goes well, I will test out the new spell tomorrow. I believe I have worked out all of the possible complications. It will allow me to leap great distances, covering many hundreds of miles. Never before has one been able to travel in this manner: vaulting from the ground, sailing through the sky, all without that terrible disorientation of a spell of flying.

The time is almost upon me. My research is finished, and all of my calculations are checked and rechecked. They laughed at me when I suggested this. We'll see who laughs after I leap to the top of their towers and scream out my success.

100bk_fellowshiptemple

Fellowship of the Temple
by Archcanon Tholer Saryoni



I have been asked to write this guidebook for outsiders who are unfamiliar with the Tribunal Temple, and interested in joining.

All those who are earnest, and who are willing to submit to the wisdom of Blessed Almsivi, Triune Grace, the saints, and the priests, are welcome to the Fellowship of the Tribunal Temple. The Temple is the religion of Morrowind and Dunmer people, and has been for generation upon generation. With guidance and counsel of Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil, the Anticipations, and all the hosts of saints of ancestors, the Temple guards and protects the lands and peoples of Morrowind.

Those who follow the Tribunal must have the Personality to lead others and the Willpower to resist the world's temptations. When violence is needful, we fight with staves and hammers, armored only in our faith. We study Restoration and Alchemy to heal the people, and Mysticism to learn more of the divine. We must also study Conjuration to speak with the spirits of our ancestors and protect against those who traffic with the Four Corners.

Those interested in joining the Tribunal Temple should speak to priests at the temples in Ald'ruhn, Balmora, Molag Mar, and Ghostgate, or with priests at the High Fane in the Temple Compound in Vivec.

Articles of Faith

The Temple believes that Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil were mortal guardians of Morrowind who walked the earth, defeated the Dunmer's greatest enemies, the Nords and the Dwarves, and achieved divine substance through superhuman discipline and virtue and supernatural wisdom and insight. Like loving ancestors, they guard and counsel their followers. Like stern parents, they punish sin and error. Like generous relatives, they share their bounty among the greatest and least, according to their needs.

Duties of the Faithful

Your fourfold duties are to: Faith, Family, Masters, and all that is good. Perform holy quests and bring luster to the Temple. Never transgress against your brothers or sisters, and never dishonor your house or your ancestors. Serve and protect the poor and weak, and honor your elders and clan.

For those who would be wise, these sacred books will be of interest.

Saryoni's Sermons

Learn from the teachings of Vivec, and from the Archcanon's sermons on the Seven Graces.

Lives of the Saints

Members of the Temple who wish to be virtuous will model their lives on the lives of the saints.

The Pilgrim's Path

The path to wisdom and self-knowledge is through pilgrimage. Those who would rise in the ranks of the faithful may retrace the steps of the Lords and Saints, and gain blessings and learn virtue by suffering and overcoming hardships.

The Consolations of Prayer

Learn what bounties and blessing might be gained by prayer at the shrines found in temples, and in places of pilgrimage, and in the tombs of our ancestors.

101bk_firmament

The Firmament
by Ffoulke



The Stars of Tamriel are divided into thirteen constellations. Three of them are the major constellations, known as the Guardians. These are the Warrior, the Mage, and the Thief. Each of the Guardians protects its three Charges from the thirteenth constellation, the Serpent.

When the sun rises near one of the constellations, it is that constellation's season. Each constellation has a Season of approximately one month. The Serpent has no season, for it moves about in the heavens, usually threatening one of the other constellations.



The Warrior


The Warrior is the first Guardian Constellation and he protects his charges during their Seasons. The Warrior's own season is Last Seed when his Strength is needed for the harvest. His Charges are the Lady, the Steed, and the Lord. Those born under the sign of the Warrior are skilled with weapons of all kinds, but prone to short tempers.



The Mage


The Mage is a Guardian Constellation whose Season is Rain's Hand when magicka was first used by men. His Charges are the Apprentice, the Golem, and the Ritual. Those born under the Mage have more magicka and talent for all kinds of spellcasting, but are often arrogant and absent-minded.



The Thief


The Thief is the last Guardian Constellation, and her Season is the darkest month of Evening Star. Her Charges are the Lover, the Shadow, and the Tower. Those born under the sign of the Thief are not typically thieves, though they take risks more often and only rarely come to harm. They will run out of luck eventually, however, and rarely live as long as those born under other signs.







The Serpent

The Serpent wanders about in the sky and has no Season, though its motions are predictable to a degree. No characteristics are common to all who are born under the sign of the Serpent. Those born under this sign are the most blessed and the most cursed.

The Lady

The Lady is one of the Warrior's Charges and her Season is Heartfire. Those born under the sign of the Lady are kind and tolerant.

The Steed

The Steed is one of the Warrior's Charges, and her Season is Mid Year. Those born under the sign of the Steed are impatient and always hurrying from one place to another.

The Lord

The Lord's Season is First Seed and he oversees all of Tamriel during the planting. Those born under the sign of the Lord are stronger and healthier than those born under other signs.



The Apprentice

The Apprentice's Season is Sun's Height. Those born under the sign of the apprentice have a special affinity for magick of all kinds, but are more vulnerable to magick as well.

The Atronach

The Atronach (often called the Golem) is one of the Mage's Charges. Its season is Sun's Dusk. Those born under this sign are natural sorcerers with deep reserves of magicka, but they cannot generate magicka of their own.


The Ritual

The Ritual is one of the Mage's Charges and its Season is Morning Star. Those born under this sign have a variety of abilities depending on the aspects of the moons and the Divines.

The Lover

The Lover is one of the Thief's Charges and her season is Sun's Dawn. Those born under the sign of the Lover are graceful and passionate.

The Shadow

The Shadow's Season is Second Seed. The Shadow grants those born under her sign the ability to hide in shadows.

The Tower

The Tower is one of the Thief's Charges and its Season is Frostfall. Those born under the sign of the Tower have a knack for finding gold and can open locks of all kinds.

102bk_fishystick

[This book is supposedly the definitive reference to fishy sticks throughout Tamriel, but the pages are so smeared with fishy stick sauce it is impossible to read any of them.]
103bk_fivesongsofkingwulfharth

The Five Songs of King Wulfharth



Shor's Tongue

The first song of King Wulfharth is ancient, circa 1E500. After the defeat of the Alessian army at Glenumbria Moors, where King Hoag Merkiller was slain, Wulfharth of Atmora was elected by the Pact of Chieftains. His thu'um was so powerful that he could not verbally swear into the office, and scribes were used to draw up his oaths. Immediately thereafter the scribes wrote down the first new law of his reign: a fiery reinstatement of the traditional Nordic pantheon. The Edicts were outlawed, their priests put to the stake, and their halls set ablaze. The shadow of King Borgas had ended for a span. For his zealotry, King Wulfharth was called Shor's Tongue, and Ysmir, Dragon of the North.

Kyne's Son

The second song of King Wulfharth glorifies his deeds in the eyes of the Old Gods. He fights the eastern Orcs and shouts their chief into Hell. He rebuilds the 418th step of High Hrothgar, which had been damaged by a dragon. When he swallowed a thundercloud to keep his army from catching cold, the Nords called him the Breath of Kyne.

Old Knocker

The third song of King Wulfharth tells of his death. Orkey, an enemy god, had always tried to ruin the Nords, even in Atmora where he stole their years away. Seeing the strength of King Wulfharth, Orkey summoned the ghost of Alduin Time-Eater again. Nearly every Nord was eaten down to six years old. Boy Wulfharth pleaded to Shor, the dead Chieftain of the Gods, to help his people. Shor's own ghost then fought the Time-Eater on the spirit plane, as he did at the beginning of time, and he won, and Orkey's folk, the Orcs, were ruined. As Boy Wulfharth watched the battle in the sky he learned a new thu'um, What Happens When You Shake the Dragon Just So. He used this new magic to change his people back to normal. In his haste to save so many, though, he shook too many years out on himself. He grew older than the Greybeards, and died. The flames of his pyre were said to have reached the hearth of Kyne itself.

The Ash King

The fourth song of King Wulfharth tells of his rebirth. The Dwarves and Devils of the eastern kingdoms had started to fight again, and the Nords hoped they might reclaim their ancient holdings there because of it. They planned an attack, but then gave up, knowing that they had no strong King to lead them. Then in walked the Devil of Dagoth, who swore he came in peace. Moreover, he told the Nords a wondrous thing: he knew where the Heart of Shor was! Long ago the Chief of the Gods had been killed by Elven giants, and they ripped out Shor's Heart and used it as a standard to strike fear into the Nords. This worked until Ysgramor Shouted Some Sense and the Nords fought back again. Knowing that they were going to lose eventually, the Elven giants hid the Heart of Shor so that the Nords might never have their God back. But here was the Devil of Dagoth with good news! The Dwarves and Devils of the eastern kingdom had his Heart, and this was the reason for their recent unrest. The Nords asked the Devil of Dagoth why he might betray his countrymer so, and he said that the Devils have betrayed each other since the beginning of time, and this was so, and so the Nords believed him. The Tongues sung Shor's ghost into the world again. Shor gathered an army as he did of old, and then he sucked in the long-strewn ashes of King Wulfharth and remade him, for he needed a good general. But the Devil of Dagoth petitioned to be that general, too, and he pointed out his role as the blessed harbinger of this holy war. So Shor had two generals, the Ash King and the Devil of Dagoth, and he marched on the eastern kingdoms with all the sons of Skyrim.

Red Mountain

The fifth song of King Wulfharth is sad. The survivors of the disaster came back under a red sky. That year is called Sun's Death. The Devil of Dagoth had tricked the Nords, for the Heart of Shor was not in the eastern kingdoms, and had never been there at all. As soon as Shor's army had got to Red Mountain, all the Devils and Dwarves fell upon them. Their sorcerers lifted the mountain and threw it onto Shor, trapping him underneath Red Mountain until the end of time. They slaughtered the sons of Skyrim, but not before King Wulfharth killed King Dumalacath the Dwarf-Orc, and doomed his people. Then Vehk the Devil blasted the Ash King into Hell and it was over. Later, Kyne lifted the ashes of the ashes of Ysmir into the sky, saving him from Hell and showing her sons the color of blood when it is brought by betrayal. And the Nords will never trust another Devil again.

The Secret Song of Wulfharth Ash-King

The Truth at Red Mountain

The Heart of Shor was in Resdayn, as Dagoth-Ur had promised. As Shor's army approached the westernmost bank of the Inner Sea, they stared across at Red Mountain, where the Dwemeri armies had gathered. News from the scouts reported that the Chimeri forces had just left Narsis, and that they were taking their time joining their cousins against the Nords. Dagoth-Ur said that the Tribunal had betrayed their King's trust, that they sent Dagoth-Ur to Lorkhan (for that is what they called Shor in Resdayn) so that the god might wreak vengeance on the Dwarves for their hubris; that Nerevar's peace with the Dwemer would be the ruin of the Velothi way. This was the reason for the slow muster, Dagoth-Ur said.

The Armies Grow

And Lorkhan (for that is what they called Shor in Resdayn) said: �I do not wreak vengeance on the Dwarves for the reasons that the Tribunal might believe I do. Nevertheless, it is true that they will die by my hand, and any whoever should side with them. This Nerevar is the son of Boethiah, one of the strongest Padomaics. He is a hero to his people despite his Tribunal, and he shall muster enough that this battle will be harder going still. We will need more than what we have.� And so Dagoth-Ur, who wanted the Dwarves as dead as the Tribunal did, went to Kogoran and summoned his House chap'thil, his nix-hounds, his wizards, archers, his stolen men of brass. And the Ash King, Wulfharth, hoary Ysmir, went and made peace with the Orcs in spite of his Nordic blood, and they brought many warriors but no wizards at all. Many Nords could not bring themselves to ally with their traditional enemies, even in the face of Red Mountain. They were close to desertion. Then Wulfharth said: �Don't you see where you really are? Don't you know who Shor really is? Don't you know what this war is?� And they looked from the King to the God to the Devils and Orcs, and some knew, really knew, and they are the ones that stayed.

The Doom Drum

Nerevar carried Keening, a dagger made of the sound of the shadow of the moons. His champions were Dumac Dwarfking, who carried a hammer of divine mass, and Alandro Sul, who was the immortal son of Azura and wore the Wraith Mail. They met Lorkhan at the last battle of Red Mountain. Lorkhan had his Heart again, but he had long been from it, and he needed time. Wulfharth met Sul but could not strike him, and he fell from grievous wounds, but not before shouting Sul blind. Dagoth-Ur met Dumac and slew him, but not before Sunder struck his lord's Heart. Nerevar turned away from Lorkhan and struck down Dagoth-Ur in rage, but he took a mortal wound from Lorkhan in turn. But Nerevar feigned the death that was coming early and so struck Lorkhan with surprise on his side. The Heart had been made solid by Sunder's tuning blow and Keening could now cut it out. And it was cut out and Lorkhan was defeated and the whole ordeal was thought over.

104bk_five_far_stars

The Five Far Stars



[This is a volume of verse collected from wise women of the Urshilaku Ashlanders. It consists of verses composed by Ashlander warriors, champions, and ashkhans, committed to memory by the wise women and transmitted down the generations. 'May I shrink to dust' is attributed to the long-dead poet and warrior Zershishi Mus-Manul.]

Rise from darkness, Red Mountain!
Spread your dark clouds and green vapors!
Birth earthquakes, shatter stones!
Feed the winds with fire!
Flay the tents of the tribes from the land!
Feed the burned earth with our souls!

Yet never shall you have your rule over me.
Never shall I tremble or flinch from your power.
Never shall I yield my home and hearth.
And from my tears shall spring forth
The flowers of grassland springs.
105bk_formygodsandemperor

For My Gods and Emperor
A Handbook for the Imperial Cult



What is the Imperial Cult?

The missionary arm of the great faiths, the Imperial cult brings divine inspiration and consolation to the Empire's remote provinces. The cults combine the worship of the Nine Divines, the Aedra Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, and Julianos, and the Talos cult, veneration of the divine god-hero Tiber Septim, founder and patron of the Empire. Imperial cult priests provide worship and services for all these gods at Imperial shrines in settlements throughout Vvardenfell.

What is the Virtuous Life?

Our doctrines are simple. We acknowledge the divinity of the Nine Divines: Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, and Tiber Septim. We preach the Nine Virtues: Humility, Inspiration, Piety, Work, Compassion, Justice, Ambition, Learning, and Civility. Our Emperor is the Defender of the Faith, and the Empire is the worldly working of the Divine Plan. We pledge aid and comfort to all citizens in need, and serve the Emperor and Empire at his will.

The Imperial cults look to the Nine Divines as models for living a good and virtuous life. Each of the Nine represents different aspects of life, and how it should be lived. But the simplest statement of our doctrines is -- help and protect one another. The stronger one is, the wealthier one is, the more one bears responsibility for helping and protecting others. One's first duty, of course, is to one's fellow members of the Imperial Cult. But after that, one should help and protect any needy persons.

We also say, "do not harm one another." It is forbidden to attack another person of the Imperial cult, and of course, forbidden to kill another member. It is forbidden to steal from another member, whether by open theft or by covert pickpocketing. It is forbidden to trespass upon the private property of another member. Break any one of these rules, and be expelled from the cult.

How can I join the Imperial cult?

The Imperial cult accepts all citizens of good character and earnest faith. We ask only a one-time pledge of 50 drakes to aid us in our good works. Thereafter, the only cost of membership comes when you use our health, healing, and blessing shrines -- modest fees which help us spread the blessings of the Nine to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Those who wish to join the Imperial cult in Vvardenfell will find a warm welcome from our cult greeters: Ygfa at Fort Pelagiad, Syloria Siruliulus at Buckmoth Legion Fort, Somutis Vunnis at Moonmoth Legion Fort, Ruccia Conician in the Grand Council Chambers in Ebonheart, or Lalatia Varian in the Imperial Chapels at Ebonheart.

What are the requirements for advancement in the Imperial cult?

Seekers who wish to advance in the service of the Nine must dedicate time and resources to serving the cult, and must strive for personal improvement in their attributes and skills. Only the most distinguished are worthy of advancement to the higher ranks in the Imperial cults.

To serve and glorify the Nine Divines, the faithful must cultivate a noble personality and a strong will. Respect the magical arts, especially the colleges of Restoration, Mysticism, and Conjuration. Those who swear to avoid bloodshed, to take the field unarmored to fight only with blunt weapons, are especially praiseworthy. Knowledge of enchantments and the gift of diplomatic speech are other qualities we value in our initiates.

Imperial cult services

You can find Imperial cult services in Buckmoth Legion Fort, Moonmoth Legion Fort, Pelagiad Legion Fort, Gnisis Legion Fort, Wolverine Hall in Sadrith Mora, Vivec Foreign Quarter, and Imperial chapels in Ebonheart. Seek training at Wolverine Hall, Buckmoth Fort, Moonmoth Fort, Ebonheart Imperial Chapels, Governor's Hall in Caldera, and Ald Velothi Outpost.

Many Imperial cult locations have healing altars. You may pray at Imperial cult healing altars and receive blessings which cure common and blight diseases, cure poisons, and restore damaged attributes. Non-members pay 25 drakes. Non-members pay 25 drakes. Newer members pay 10 drakes, while higher-ranking members receive blessings free. Healing altars are found in: Vivec Foreign Quarter; Wolverine Hall in Sadrith Mora; Buckmoth Legion Fort; Moonmoth Legion Fort; Pelagiad Legion Fort; Gnisis Legion Fort; and Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

Opportunities for service

Lay healers gather ingredients for health and healing potions, and minister to the sick and hurt in poor and isolated communities. It is difficult and sometimes dangerous work, but the spiritual rewards are great. Lay healers need only the skills of the prudent traveler, being often on the road and in the wilderness, gathering herbs and potion components. They should avoid trouble where possible, and so need not be masters of the arts of war. Those interested should speak to Synnolian Tunifus at the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

Almoners gather alms from members and friends of the faith. We depend on donations to fund most of our good works. Almoners who are successful at bringing in generous donations may rise in the ranks of Imperial Cults service. Almoners must travel in town and village, and should be skilled in persuasion and mercantile matters. Also, almoners with personal wealth are in a position to better serve the cult. Those interested should speak to Iulus Truptor at the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

A shrine sergeant helps keep order at the shrines, carries messages and packages, and sometimes escorts priests and lay servants on dangerous missions. This occasional service is ideal for bold, free-spirited adventurers. Shrine sergeants are called upon to serve the Nine with weapon, armor, and spell. New shrine sergeants are given the easiest tasks, but later, missions may demand higher levels of combat proficiency. Those interested should speak to Kaye at the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

Oracle's Quests are the most demanding of all Imperial cult missions. Only members of the higher ranks are invited to assist the Oracle, and the challenges require the skill and courage found only in heroes of legend.

How do the Imperial cults view the other factions of Vvardenfell?
The Imperial cults have a very close relationship with the Imperial legions, and a friendly and supportive relationship with the Imperial Guilds -- especially the Fighters and Mages Guilds. We also have a friendly and supportive relationship with House Hlaalu, which strongly supports the Emperor and Imperial principles. Though we cannot condone the actions of the Thieves Guild, we praise their faithful dedication to the Emperor and to Imperial culture.

The Imperial cults have the greatest respect for the high moral principles of House Redoran and the Morag Tong, and honors their different but noble conceptions of Divine Inspiration.

We disapprove of the primitive heathen beliefs of the Ashlanders, and of the impious and inhumane practices of the Telvanni. The Imperial cult especially disapproves of the practice of slavery, and looks forward to the day when slavery is illegal in all Imperial provinces. The Imperial cult also disapproves of the lawless and greedy Camonna Tong, and their ruthless exploitation of the poor and weak.

Historically, our relationship with the Tribunal Temple is difficult and unfriendly. Though the Imperial cults acknowledges the lords and saints of the Temple pantheon as worthy inspirations, the Temple falsely insists that theirs is the One True Faith, and that the Imperial cults worship false gods.

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Prisoners currently held in Pelagiad:

Morbash gro-Shagdub, Orc male, good condition

Held for brawling at the Halfway Inn. Fines to be paid in hard labor for damages to three chairs, a table, and two windows at the Halfway Inn.

New-Shoes Bragor, Bosmer male, fair condition

Held for theft, attempted robbery, conspiracy, consorting with thieves, and resisting arrest.
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On Artaeum
By Taurce il-Anselma



The Isle of Artaeum (ar-TAY-um) is the third largest island in the Summurset archipelago, located south of the Moridunon village of Potansa and west of the mainland village of Runcibae. It is best known for being home to the Psijic Order, perhaps the oldest monastic group in Tamriel.
The earliest written record of Psijics is from the 20th year of the First Era and tells the tale of the renowned Breton sage and author Voernet, traveling to the Isle of Artaeum to meet with Iachesis, the Ritemaster of the Psijics. Even then, the Psijics were the counsellors of kings and proponents of the "Elder Way," taught to them by the original race that inhabited Tamriel. The Elder Way is a philosophy of meditation and study said to bind the forces of nature to the individual will. It differs from magicka in origin, but the effects are much the same.
That said, it is perhaps more than coincidence that the Isle of Artaeum literally vanished from the shores of Summurset at the beginning of the Second Era at about the time of the founding of the Mages Guild in Tamriel. Various historians and scholars have published theories about this, but perhaps none but Iachesis and his own could shed light on the matter.
Five hundred years passed and Artaeum returned. The Psijics on the Isle consisted of persons, mostly Elves, who had disappeared and were presumed dead in the Second Era. They could not or would not offer any explanation for Artaeum's whereabouts during that time, or the fate of Iachesis and the original council of Artaeum.
Currently, the Psijics are led by the Loremaster Celarus, who has presided over the Council of Artaeum for the last two hundred and fifty years. The Council's influence in Tamrielan politics is tidal. The kings of Sumurset, particularly those of Moridunon, have often sought the Psijics' opinion. Emperor Uriel V was much influenced by the Council in the early, most glorious parts of his reign, before his disastrous attack on Akavir. It has even been suggested that the fleet of King Orghum of Pyandonea was destroyed by a joint effort of Emperor Antiochus and the Psijic Order. The last four emperors, Uriel VI, Morihatha, Pelagius IV, and Uriel VII, have been suspicious of the Psijics enough to refuse ambassadors from the Isle of Artaeum within the Imperial City.
The Isle of Artaeum is difficult to chart geographically. It is said that it shifts continuously either at random or by decree of the Council. Visitors to the island are so rare as to be almost unheard of. Anyone desirous of a meeting with a Psijic may find contacts in Potansa and Runcibae as well as many of the kingdoms of Summurset.
Were it more accessible, Artaeum would be a favored destination for travelers. I have been to the Isle once and still dream of its idyllic orchards and clear pastures, its still and silent lagoons, its misty woodlands, and the unique Psijic architecture that seems to be as natural as its surroundings as well as wondrous in its own right. The Ceporah Tower in particular I would study, for it is a relic from a civilization that predates the High Elves by several hundred years and is still used in certain rites by the Psijics. Perhaps one day I might return.

[Note: The author is currently on the Isle of Artaeum by gracious consent of Master Sargenius of the Council of Artaeum.]

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Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation:
A Social History of Cyrodiil
University of Gwylim Press, 3E 344



Historians often portray the human settlement of Tamriel as a straightforward process of military expansion of the Nords of Skyrim. In fact, human settlers occupied nearly every corner of Tamriel before Skyrim was even founded. These so-called "Nedic peoples" include the proto-Cyrodilians, the ancestors of the Bretons, the aboriginals of Hammerfell, and perhaps a now-vanished Human population of Morrowind. Strictly speaking, the Nords are simply another of these Nedic peoples, the only one that failed to find a method of peaceful accommodation with the Elves who already occupied Tamriel.

Ysgramor was certainly not the first human settler in Tamriel. In fact, in "fleeing civil war in Atmora", as the Song of Return states, Ysgramor was following a long tradition of migration from Atmora; Tamriel had served as a "safety valve" for Atmora for centuries before Ysgramor's arrival. Malcontents, dissidents, rebels, landless younger sons, all made the difficult crossing from Atmora to the "New World" of Tamriel. New archeological excavations date the earliest human settlements in Hammerfell, High Rock, and Cyrodiil at ME800-1000, centuries earlier than Ysgramor, even assuming that the twelve Nord "kings" prior to Harald were actual historical figures.

The Nedic peoples were a minority in a land of Elves, and had no choice but to live peacefully with the Elder Race. In High Rock, Hammerfell, Cyrodiil, and possibly Morrowind, they did just that, and the Nedic peoples flourished and expanded over the last centuries of the Merethic Era. Only in Skyrim did this accommodation break down, an event recorded in the Song of Return. Perhaps, being close to reinforcements from Atmora, the proto-Nords did not feel it necessary to submit to the authority of the Skyrim Elves. Indeed, the early Nord chronicles note that under King Harald, the first historical Nord ruler (1E 113-221), �the Atmoran mercenaries returned to their homeland� following the consolidation of Skyrim as a centralized kingdom. Whatever the case, the pattern was set -- in Skyrim, expansion would proceed militarily, with human settlement following the frontier of conquest, and the line between Human territory and Elven territory was relatively clear.

But beyond this "zone of conflict", the other Nedic peoples continued to merge with their Elven neighbors. When the Nord armies of the First Empire finally entered High Rock and Cyrodiil, they found Bretons and proto-Cyrodiils already living there among the Elves. Indeed, the Nords found it difficult to distinguish between Elf and Breton, the two races had already intermingled to such a degree. The arrival of the Nord armies upset the balance of power between the Nedic peoples and the Elves. Although the Nords' expansion into High Rock and Cyrodiil was relatively brief (less than two centuries), the result was decisive; from then on, power in those regions shifted from the Elves to the Humans.

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Galerion The Mystic
By Asgrim Kolsgreg



During the early bloody years of the Second Era, Vanus Galerion was born under the name Trechtus, a serf on the estate of a minor nobleman, Lord Gyrnasse of Sollicich-on-Ker. Trechtus' father and mother were common laborers, but his father had secretly, against the law of Lord Gyrnasse, taught himself and then Trechtus to read. Lord Gyrnasse had been advised that literate serfs were an abomination of nature and dangerous to themselves and their lords, and had closed all bookstalls within Sollicich-on-Ker. All booksellers, poets, and teachers were forbidden, except within Gyrnasse's keep. Nevertheless, a small scale smuggling operation kept a number of books and scrolls in circulation right under Gyrnasse's shadow.

When Trechtus was eight, the smugglers were found and imprisoned. Some said that Trechtus's mother, an ignorant and religious woman fearful of her husband, was the betrayer of the smugglers, but there were other rumors as well. The trial of the smugglers was nonexistant, and the punishment swift. The body of Trechtus' father was kept hanging for weeks during the hottest summer Sollicich-on-Ker had seen in centuries.

Three months later, Trechtus ran away from Lord Gyrnasse's estate. He made it as far as Alinor, half-way across Summerset Isle. A band of troubadours found him nearly dead, curled up in a ditch by the side of the road. They nursed him to health and employed him as an errand boy in return for food and shelter. One of the troubadours, a soothsayer named Heliand, began testing Trechtus' mind and found the boy, though shy, to be preternaturally intelligent and sophisticated given his circumstances. Heliand recognized in the boy a commonality, for Heliand had been trained on the Isle of Artaeum as a mystic.

When the troupe was performing in the village of Potansa on the far eastern end of Summurset, Heliand took Trechtus, then a boy of eleven, to the Isle of Artaeum. The Magister of the Isle, Iachesis, recognized potential in Trechtus and took him on as pupil, giving him the name of Vanus Galarion. Vanus trained his mind on the Isle of Artaeum, as well as his body.

Thus was the first Archmagister of the Mages Guild trained. From the Psijics of the Isle of Artaeum, he received his training. From his childhood of want and injustice, he received his philosophy of sharing knowledge.

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Here is another crate of statues. These are to be placed here in Ald'ruhn. Place the statues quickly and wisely. Destroy this note. Do not disappoint me again.

Hanarai
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Private Papers of Galur Rithari, Buoyant Armiger



[hand-written manuscripts bound as folios; excerpts]

"Outnumbered and isolated, I yielded to my foe. The creature dressed like a gentleman, and I hoped for honorable treatment. Instead, I found myself a feast for a blood-drinking monster.

"Shamed by my corruption, and despairing of my own welfare, I passively acquiesced in my gradual integration into the affairs of Clan Aundae. I made no human my prey, only beasts, and kept myself apart from the other clankin; nonetheless, I abandoned hope and lived like a beast.

"Drawn by intimations of my former life, I visited my former post at Bal Ur, hoping perhaps to atone in some for my crimes by preying upon its monsters, or perishing under their attacks. It is there that, by chance, I made petition to the Lord of Troubles, Molag Bal, at an altar deep in the caverns beneath the pilgrim's shrine. I was surprised, and thrilled, and terrified, when Molag Bal, or some aspect or agent of that Daedra Lord, offered me a chance to cure myself of vampirism, in return for a favor. However, with no hope for my soul or spirit unless I might be cured, I undertook his quest.

[Rithari sought and obtained a cursed soul gem of mysterious nature from a deep cavern on the northern slopes of Dagoth Ur, delivering it to Molag Bal's shrine in Bal Ur.]

"I placed the gem within the basin before the altar, and instantly experienced a blinding of pain and terror that I cannot express in words, except that it seemed afterward that I had been asleep and dreaming that I was being sliced by thousands of tiny knives from my bowels inside out. I awoke before the altar, and gazed in the reflection of my own sword blade at my own face - no longer a blood-seeking beast of teeth and empty eyes."

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Zebdusipal 4 eggs
Shanud 9 eggs
Mausur 5 eggs
Kummi 6 eggs
113bk_gnisiseggminepass

The bearer of this paper may enter the Gnisis Eggmine. The bearer must present the paper to the guard of the eggmine before entering for the regular work shift. The bearer is not allowed to enter the lower eggmine due to the risk of spreading the blight disease.

Signed and sealed
Hetman Abelmawia
Knight-Protector Darius
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Grasping Fortune
by Serjo Hlaalu Dram Bero



I am a councilor of House Hlaalu and chose to write this short guide for those who seek to understand us or join us. House Hlaalu is the most open and modern of the Great Houses. We are the only Great House who has embraced the irresistible tides of Imperial law and custom. And thus we have profited by the Empire's new policies, rising from obscurity as the Greatest of the Houses.

In the great wind of progress, tradition cannot stand.

The Redoran may surpass us on the field of battle, but when the dust clears, they will find themselves indebted to us. The Telvanni may know many arcane secrets, but they fight among themselves more than against each other, and they cannot adapt to the ways of the Empire. Ancient and powerful though a Telvanni wizard may be, no individual can withstand the march of history. The Indoril are loved by the people for their gifts and donations, but when the money runs dry, will the people remember? The Dres know how to make money, but they have not learned how not to make enemies.

Grasp fortune by the forelocks. When you see your chances, seize them.

When you see a chance to turn a profit, take it. But do not follow money blindly. There is value in reputation, more than many young Hlaalu realize. This value must be carefully balanced against the more tangible coins in any deal. Theft and murder are bad for business. You can steal from someone, but will he trade with you after that? You can't bargain with a dead man.

There are many ways to do business.

In House Hlaalu you must be fast and agile. You must be able to keep up with business and with the times. You must be able to speak quickly and convincingly. You must be able to trade with the best of merchants and make a profit. You must learn to protect your own property by securing it with hidden chests, locks, and even traps. And when confrontation is unavoidable, it is best to fight quickly in comfortable, light armors with short blades, or to fight from a distance with a marksman's weapons.

Then, reader, would you seize this opportunity to join House Hlaalu? Would you have yourself be counted among the victors in the race for success? Then submit yourself for examination at the Balmora Council Manor. If you have the skills, you will be welcome. And if you have the will, you may serve House Hlaalu, and advance in the ranks, for above all things, House Hlaalu prizes initiative and ambition.
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Great Houses of Morrowind



In modern times Morrowind is ruled by five Great Houses: House Hlaalu, House Redoran, House Telvanni, House Indoril, and House Dres. Only three of these Houses have interests in Vvardenfell. The three Great Houses on Vvardenfell identify themselves by their traditional colors: red for Redoran, yellow for Hlaalu, and brown for Telvanni. Thus, members of House Hlaalu may be referred to collectively as Yellows.

The Great Houses traditions derive from ancient Dunmer clan and tribes, but now function as political parties. Dunmer Great House membership is largely a matter of birth and marriage, but Imperial colonists may also become retainers of a Great House, or may be adopted into a Great House. Initially an outlander may gain status in a house as an oath-bonded hireling, pledging exclusive loyalty to a single house and forsaking ambitions with all other houses. Later, after faithful service and advancement in lower ranks, an outlander may seek adoption into a Great House. Adoption and advancement to higher ranks in a Great House requires that a Great House councilor stand as sponsor for the candidate's character and loyalty. Finding a councilor to sponsor an outlander often involves performing a great service for the prospective sponsor.

House Redoran is one of the three Dunmer Great Houses with holdings on Vvardenfell. The Redoran prize the virtues of duty, gravity, and piety. Duty is to one's own honor, and to one's family and clan. Gravity is the essential seriousness of life. Life is hard, and events must be judged, endured, and reflected upon with due care and earnestness. Piety is respect for the gods, and the virtues they represent. A light, careless life is not worth living. Redoran settlements are designed in the Dunmer village style, built of local materials, with organic curves and undecorated exteriors inspired by the landscape and by the shells of giant native insects. Redoran villages are typically centered on Temple compounds and their courtyards, with huts and tradehouses gathered around a central plaza, as in the West Gash village of Gnisis. Ald'ruhn, the Redoran district seat, is exceptional, with its distinctive feature being the colossal prehistoric bug shell that has been adapted as the house's council house.

As a result of its close relationship with the Imperial administration, House Hlaalu has emerged as politically and economically dominant among the Great Houses of Vvardenfell and Morrowind. Hlaalu welcomes Imperial culture and law, Imperial Legions and bureaucracy, and Imperial freedom of trade and religion. Hlaalu still honors the old Dunmer ways -- the ancestors, the Temple, and the noble houses -- but has readily adapted to the rapid pace of change and progress in the Imperial provinces. Unlike the other Great Houses, which are largely hostile to non-Dunmer, House Hlaalu aspires to live in peace and harmony with the other races, and to share in the growth and prosperity of the Empire. Hlaalu public buildings -- tradehouses and craft guilds, manors and council halls -- are designed as simple multi-storied buildings roughly rectangular in plan, featuring arched entranceways and modest decorated exteriors. More modest one-story private dwellings follow the same plan, except with less decoration. Hlaalu plantation estates resemble Temple compounds, with walled precincts enclosing outbuildings for craftsmen and servants, dominated by a grand manor residence in place of a Temple shrine.

The wizard-lords of House Telvanni have traditionally isolated themselves, pursuing wisdom and mastery in solitude. But certain ambitious wizards-lords, their retainers, and clients have entered whole-heartedly into the competition to control and exploit Vvardenfell's land and resources, building towers and bases all along the eastern coast. According to Telvanni principles, the powerful define the standards of virtue, and the Telvanni are unwilling to allow the ambitious Hlaalu to dominate Vvardenfell's untapped resources by default. Telvanni architecture is dominated by the wizards' tower, a fantastic organic form grown and sculpted from stems, caps, and root-like holdfasts of the giant native mushrooms. Telvanni villages are comprised of smaller mushroom pods hollowed out for craftsmen and commoners. Open-air markets often include the giant cages displaying the wares of the slave masters.

House Indoril and House Dres are the two Great Houses without holdings or interest in Vvardenfell. Indoril District occupies the heartland of Morrowind, comprising the lands south of the Inner Sea and the eastern coast. The city of Almalexia is located in Indoril District, and the Indoril are orthodox and conservative supporters of the Temple and Temple authority. House Indoril is openly hostile to Imperial culture and religion, and preserves many traditional Dunmer customs and practices in defiance of Imperial law. Dres District is in the south of Morrowind, bordering the swamps and marshes of Black Marsh. House Dres is an agrarian agricultural society, and its large saltrice plantations rely completely on slave labor for their economic viability. Always firm Temple supporters, House Dres is hostile to Imperial law and culture, and in particular opposed to any attempts to limit the institution of slavery.

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Guide to Ald'ruhn





Principle Districts of Ald'ruhn

Ald'ruhn is the district seat of House Redoran, and one of the largest settlements on Vvardenfell. The three principal districts are Ald'ruhn town, Ald'ruhn-under-Skar, and Buckmoth Fort.

Ald'ruhn town is a large settlement in the Redoran village style, built of local materials, with organic curves and undecorated exteriors inspired by the landscape and by the shells of giant native insects. Most guildhalls, cornerclubs, and merchants are sited in the southwest corner of town, convenient to West Gate and the strider port, while the Temple is located on high ground to the east, and surrounded by a residential section.

Ald'ruhn-under-Skar is the most distinctive architectural feature of Ald'ruhn -- a manor and council district sheltered beneath the shell of an ancient extinct giant crab. The large carapace encloses a central dome, from which radiate the entrances to the Redoran Council chambers, the manors of the Redoran councilors, and shops of a few upscale merchants.

Buckmoth Fort is the Imperial legion garrison for the district. The strong walls and towers of this Western fortress lies a short distance to the south of Ald'ruhn town, through South Gate behind the Mages Guild.

Services

House Redoran services are in the Council House and Councilor's Manors of Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar. The Ald'ruhn Temple on the east side of town provides service for Temple worshipers. Buckmoth Fort offers services to the Imperial Legion and devotees of the Imperial cult, including an Imperial cult altar. The guildhalls of the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild are near the South Gate. Pricy but high-quality clothier, alchemist, and enchanter shops are under Skar as well. Commodities at reasonable prices, but with smaller selections, are available from the smith, clothier, trader, pawnbroker, and bookseller near the entrance to Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar. The Ald Skar Inn and the Council Club cornerclub are found to the west, near West Gate and the silt strider port. The Rat in the Pot cornerclub is in south Ald'ruhn, near the guildhalls.

Notable figures

All six Redoran councilors, Brara Morvayn, Hlaren Ramoran, Athyn Sarethi, Garisa Llethri, Miner Arobar, and Bolvyn Venim, have manor residences in Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar. Edwinna Elbert is the Mages Guild steward, and Percius Mercius has recently become the Fighters Guild steward. Old Methal Seran is an eminent Temple priest and scholar. Raesa Pullia is commandant of Buckmoth Fort, but Imsin the Dreamer is the chapter steward. The Redguard Hean is priest of the Imperial cult. Goren Andarysis the guild steward of the Morag Tong, whose guildhall is found in Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar.

Travel and Transportation

Roads lead northwest to Maar Gan and Gnisis villages and by a circuitous western route to Caldera, Balmora, and points south. The road to Balmora swings northwest to avoid the barren wastes, and curves around towards the west until it heads south again to Caldera. Between Ald'ruhn and Caldera are many sidepaths; watch for signposts, or you'll get lost. The silt strider port is along the western town wall, north of West Gate. Silt strider service goes from Ald'ruhn to Balmora, Gnisis, Khuul, or Maar Gan.. Guild guides at the Mages Guild teleport you to Balmora, Vivec, Caldera, and Sadrith Mora for a modest fee. Gnaar Mok is a LONG and exceptionally unpleasant walk west to the coast and then south; there are no trails or marked routes. Casual travelers ill-equipped for the attacks of wild beasts and brigands should keep to the roads and travel services.
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Guide to Balmora




Balmora is the district seat of House Hlaalu, and the largest settlement on Vvardenfell after Vivec City. Balmora's four districts are High Town, the Commercial District, Labor Town, and Fort Moonmoth. High Town, on the hill to the west, has the Tribunal Temple, Hlaalu Council Hall, rich manors, better shops, and the Morag Tong guildhall. The Commercial District, just west of the river, is centered on the large plaza north of South Gate, with the strider port along the south wall, east of South Gate. The Fighters Guild and Mages Guild, and most of Balmora's shops and inns, are located along the streets of the Commercial District. Labor Town, east of the river, where the commoners and poor live, has several modest cornerclubs and a few merchants. Fort Moonmoth, a long walk southeast of town, houses the Legion garrison and the Imperial cult.

Services

House Hlaalu services are available at Hlaalu Council Manor in High Town. Temple faithful seek solace and services at the Balmora Temple in the southeast. Outlanders must travel outside the town walls, through South Gate and east along well-marked roads to Fort Moonmoth for Imperial Legion and the Imperial cult services. The guildhalls of the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild are on the street north from the plaza in the Commercial District. Morag Tong services are available at their guildhall in the extreme northwest of High Town. Better shops are in High Town on the hill, with numerous merchants in the Commercial District, west of the river, and a few traders in Labor Town, east of the river.

Notable Figures

None of the Hlaalu counselors live in Balmora. Nileno Dorvayn at the Council Hall is the ranking Hlaalu local. At the Fighters Guild, Eydis Fire-Eye is the steward. Ranis Athrys is the Mages Guild steward. Ethasi Rilvayn is the Morag Tong steward. Feldrelo Sadri is the ranking cleric of the Balmora Tribunal Temple. The colorful 'Sugar Lips' Habasi, a freelance facilitator of no fixed address, is often rumored to be the local boss of the Thieves Guild.

Transportation

A good road leads south to Pelagiad, Seyda Neen, Ebonheart, and Vivec. A rugged wilderness track leads southwest along the Odai River to the fishing village of Hla Oad. Improved roads head north to Caldera and Ald'ruhn. The silt strider port is on the west side of the river near South Gate. Silt strider service goes to Ald'ruhn, Suran, Ald'ruhn, and Seyda Neen. Guild guides at the Mages Guild can teleport you to Ald'ruhn, Vivec, Caldera, and Sadrith Mora for a fee. Hla Oad is southwest on the coast. An unimproved trail leads northeast up the ravines of Foyada Mamaea to Ghostgate; the path is easy to follow, but dangerous beasts threaten pilgrims who travel this route to Ghostgate shrine.

118bk_guide_to_sadrithmora

Guide to Sadrith Mora




Sadrith Mora is the district seat of House Telvanni, and home of the Telvanni Council, though only one Telvanni councilor actually lives in Sadrith Mora. Sadrith Mora is an island settlement, and accessible only by sea and teleportation. The town is large, with many craftsmen, traders, and trainers, but it is open only to Telvanni retainers; outsiders should confine themselves to the Gateway Inn, and to Wolverine Hall, the Imperial quarters of the Legion garrison and guilds. The docks are in a sheltered bay on the western side of the island, and a trail leads up from the docks to the Gateway Inn. Beyond the Gateway Inn is the Great Market, with numerous craftsmen and traders, and a small slave market. North of the Great Market is the Telvanni Council Hall, a large orb supported by giant mushroom stalks. To the east of the Great Market is Tel Naga, the towering wizard-tower residence of Telvanni Councilor Mage-Lord Master Neloth.

Services

Outlanders can find services for the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and Imperial cult at Wolverine Hall. Members of the Thieves Guild congregate at Dirty Muriel's Cornerclub. Telvanni Great House and Tribunal Temple services are all housed within the Council Hall; additional Telvanni services are available in the Great Market district and in Tel Naga. The Gateway merchant inn is the only establishment with public beds. Members of the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and Imperial cults look for hospitality at Wolverine Hall. Telvanni kin and retainers stay at the Gateway, at Wolverine Hall, at a local cornerclub, or at Tel Naga. The Great Market has many services and tradesmen, and many others are scattered through town. There are two cornerclubs: Dirty Muriel's, for outlanders, and Fara's Hole in the Wall for local Dunmer. Tel Naga is Master Neloth's wizard tower.

Notable Figures

If you're not Telvanni or Telvanni retainers, you'll want to know Angaredhel, Prefect of Hospitality at the Gateway merchant inn, and Ery, Gateway's publican. At Wolverine Hall, Hrundi the Nord is the Fighters Guild steward, Procyon Nigiliusis is Mages Guild steward, and Aunius Autrus is the Imperial cult priest. Big Helende, the Thieves Guild Boss, makes frequent appearances at Dirty Muriel's Cornerclub. Telvanni wizards and retainers visit the Council Hall to confer with the Telvanni Mouths (Telvanni Mouths are spokesmen for their councilor mage-lords) Felisa Ulessen, Galos Mathendis, Arara Uvulas, Mallam Ryon, Raven Omayn, and Dalyne Arvel, Telvanni Council clerk. Councilor Mage-Lord Master Neloth lives in Tel Naga, the wizard tower in the center of town.

Transportation

Sadrith Mora is an island; there's no road or bridge to the mainland. To visit the mainland, you must either be able to fly, swim, or water-walk, or you must rely on shipmasters at the docks or the guild guide at the Mages Guild. Gals Arethi at the docks offers ship passage to Ebonheart, Tel Branora, Tel Mora, or Dagon Fel. Iniel at the Wolverine Hall Mages Guild can teleport you to Ald'ruhn, Vivec, Caldera, and Balmora for a modest fee.

119bk_guide_to_vivec

Guide to Vivec




Vivec City is the largest settlement on Vvardenfell, and one of the largest cities in the East. Each of the great cantons is the size of a complete town. The High Fane and the palace of Vivec are visited by hundreds of tourists and pilgrims daily. Citizens flock to the Arena for public entertainments like mock battles and comic plays. Outlanders mostly confine themselves to the Foreign Canton, while natives live, work, and shop in the Great House compounds and residential cantons. But most of all, this is Lord Vivec's holy city. The Ministry of Truth, the Temple prison, hangs above the great temple of the High Fane, the Halls of Wisdom and Justice, and Lord Vivec's Palace.

Vivec is a city made up of eight cantons, each a little town in itself. On a map, it looks like a cross, with the Foreign Quarter at the top, the Temple Compound, with Vivec's Palace, the High Fane, the Ministry of Truth, and the Hall of Wisdom and the Hall of Justice at the bottom, the Hlaalu Compound to the west, the Telvanni Compound on the east, and four cantons grouped together at the center of the cross -- Redoran Compound northwest, Arena northeast, St. Delyn's Canton southwest, and St. Olms Canton southeast.

The Foreign Quarter

The Foreign Quarter is the large three-tiered canton to the north. Originally, foreigners were not allowed to enter Vivec any further than the Foreign Quarter, but now outlanders can travel throughout Vivec at will. The Imperial Guilds each have guildhalls and complete services here, and an Imperial cult shrine serves the spiritual needs of the Imperial faithful. Various independent tradesmen, craftsmen, and trainers also rent space here. The Black Shalk Cornerclub rents beds to non-guild visitors.

Temple Compound

The High Fane is the largest Tribunal temple on Vvardenfell. Archcanon Saryoni presides over the temple, along with a large staff of priests, healers, and monks. Pilgrims travel from all over Morrowind to view the High Fane and the Ministry of Truth, and to offer prayer and thanks before the Palace of Vivec. The Ministry of Truth, a celestial body suspended by Vivec's mighty power over the Temple Compound, is the headquarters of the Temple Ordinators, and heretics are imprisoned and re-educated there. The Hall of Wisdom and Hall of Justice contain the executive, administrative, judicial, and martial operations of the Tribunal Temple. The Palace of Vivec is the abode of the god-hero Lord Vivec, the Warrior-Poet of the three deities who comprise Almsivi, the divine patrons of the Tribunal Temple. Only the most devout are admitted to the presence of Lord Vivec, and only at his initiation. Beneath the Palace of Vivec is the Puzzle Canal, a place of worship and testing for questing heroes hoping to receive Vivec's favor. Many choice treasures are guarded by Daedric servants in the Puzzle Canal's dark passages.

Hlaalu Compound

Hlaalu Compound is the westmost canton. The Hlaalu Councilor Crassius Curio has a splendid tier-top mansion here. The tiers below contain Hlaalu treasuries, records, holding cells, and various Great House services. There are two public houses: the Elven Nations and the No Name Club. A variety of craftsmen and tradesmen also have shops at Hlaalu Compound. Some House Hlaalu nobles and retainers prefer to maintain their residences in the less-formal St. Delyn and St. Olms cantons.

Telvanni Compound

Telvanni Compound is the eastmost canton. The mage-lord Mavon Drenim is the ranking Telvanni noble. The Telvanni rent the compound from the Temple, and have to make do with a Velothi tower instead of their preferred mushroom towers. The administrative center includes a treasury and a hall of records. Slaves are housed in the lowest tiers, along with cells full of monsters. There are many tradesmen, craftsmen, and trainers, and the Lizard's Head cornerclub provides lodgings for Telvanni kin and mercenaries.

Redoran Compound

Redoran Compound is the canton south of the Foreign Quarter, west of and next to the Arena. The Redoran administrative center there includes the Redoran Treasury, Hall of Records, and Holding Cells. On the lowest tier is a Redoran shrine and ancestral vaults. Two noble families, the Sarens and the Dralors, have top-tier manors. There are many tradesmen, craftsmen, and trainers, and the Flowers of Gold cornerclub provides lodgings for Redoran kin and retainers.

Arena Compound

The Arena Compound lies between the Redoran compound on the west and the Telvanni compound on the east. The Arena is the site of public entertainments and combat sports. The comfortable domed Arena has seating for hundreds of spectators; beneath the Arena are dressing and storage rooms for entertainers and training rooms and animal pens for the combat competitors.

St. Delyn and St. Olms Residential Cantons

St. Delyn Canton and St. Olms Canton are residence cantons for commoners and paupers. The Temple charges very reasonable rents for comfortable workshops, shops, and apartments, and most of Vvardenfell's crafts and light industry are housed in these cantons. The Abbey of St. Delyn the Wise is on the top tier of St. Delyn, and Hlaalu Councilor Yngling Half-Troll has a top-tier manor on St. Olms.

Transportation

Foot bridges connect with the mainland between the Ebonheart region and Hlaalu Compound, between the north bay region and the Foreign Quarter, and between the east bay region and Telvanni Compound. Good roads lead from the Hlaalu Compound bridge south to Ebonheart and north to Seyda Neen and points north. Good roads lead from the Foreign Quarter bridge west towards Seyda Neen, north towards Suran and the Ascadian Isles, and east towards Molag Mar. Roads from the Telvanni Compound bridge are useful mostly for travelers to Molag Mar. Silt strider service is available at the north end of the Foreign Quarter bridge, traveling from Vivec to Suran, Seyda Neen, Balmora, and Molag Mar. Ships from the docks at the Foreign Quarter travel to Ebonheart, Hla Oad, Molag Mar, and Tel Branora. Ships from nearby Ebonheart sail to Hla Oad, Sadrith Mora, Tel Branora, and the Foreign Quarter of Vivec. Low-fare gondolas shuttle passengers from canton to canton via Vivec's canals.
120bk_guide_to_vvardenfell

GUIDE TO VVARDENFELL




Morrowind is the northeastmost province of the Tamrielic Empire, bounded on the north and east by the Sea of Ghosts, on the west by Skyrim, on the southwest by Cyrodiil (also known as the Imperial Province), and on the south by Black Marsh (also known as Argonia). Vvardenfell District encompasses Vvardefell Island, a great land mass dominated by the giant volcano Red Mountain and cut off from mainland Morrowind by the surrounding Inner Sea.

Only recently open to settlement and trade, most of the island's population is confined to the relatively hospitable west and southwest coast, centered on the ancient city of Vivec and the old Great House district centers at Balmora, Ald'ruhn, and Sadrith Mora. The rest of the island is covered by hostile desert wastes, arid grasslands, and volcanic badlands, and thinly populated by the nomadic Ashlander tribes.

Vvardenfell has nine basic geographic regions, each with their own distinctive plants and terrain features. Scholars have based their classifications on the different types of land described by the native Ashlanders, so the designations are recognized by most local traders, travelers, and adventurers. These geographic regions are called: the Ascadian Isles, the Ashlands, Azura's Coast, the Bitter Coast, the Grazelands, Molag Amur, Red Mountain, the West Gash, and Sheogorad.


ASCADIAN ISLES


The Ascadian Isles is a region of lush, green, well-watered southern lowlands where most of Vvardenfell's agriculture is found. The area includes Pelagiad, Suran, Vivec City, and Ald Sotha along with the inland lakes and waterways of the Ascadian Isles proper. The urban areas of Vivec and Ebonheart of the southern coast are densely populated; the inland Ascadian Isles are dotted with small farms and large plantations. The climate is temperate and comfortable, with moderate rainfall.

Ebonheart is the seat of the Imperial government for Vvardenfell district, and a busy center of maritime trade. Castle Ebonheart is the home of Duke Vedam Dren, the district's ruler and Emperor's representative. Also located at Castle Ebonheart are the Vvardenfell District Council chambers and the Hawk Moth Legion garrison. The officers, docks, and warehouses of the East Empire Company are also found in Ebonheart.

Vivec City is the largest settlement on Vvardenfell, and one of the largest cities in the East. Each of the great cantons is the size of a complete town. The High Fane and the palace of Vivec are visited by hundreds of tourists and pilgrims daily. Citizens flock to the Arena for entertainments and war games. Outlanders mostly confine themselves to the Foreign Canton, while natives live, work, and shop in the Great House compounds and residential cantons.

Ald Sotha is a splendid Daedric ruin within sight of Vivec City. Though exotic and picturesque, it is a dangerous site, haunted by old magics, dark cultists, and their Daedric summonings, and not recommended for sightseers.

Suran is an agricultural village in the northeastern corner of the fertile Ascadian Isles region. Two popular pilgrimage sites are nearby -- the Fields of Kummu and the Shrine of Molag Bal.

Pelagiad is a newly chartered Imperial village between Balmora and Vivec City on the western edge of the Ascadian Isles region. The village is right outside the Imperial Legion garrison at Fort Pelagiad. The houses and shops are built in the Western Imperial style, and Pelagiad looks more like a village in the western Empire than a Morrowind settlement.


THE ASHLANDS


The Ashlands are the dry, inhospitable wastelands surrounding the lower slopes of Red Mountain. The Ashlands extend to the Sea of Ghosts in the north, and elsewhere form a wide margin between the blighted Red Mountain region and other geographic regions. The village of Maar Gan is the only sizable permanent Ashlands settlement; Ald'ruhn, the district seat of House Redoran, is on the margin of the region. Ashlanders hunt for game here, and their herds find sparse grazing. It rains rarely, and suffers frequent ash storms.

Maar Gan is a small isolated village in a remote region north of Ald'ruhn. The Maar Gan shrine is an important Temple pilgrimage site.

The Ashlander Urshilaku tribe has a permanent settlement at Urshilaku camp in the Ashlands region north of Maar Gan village.


AZURA'S COAST


The rugged coast and islands of northern and eastern Vvardenfell are called Azura's Coast. The region is rocky, infertile, and largely uninhabited, except for the outpost at Molag Mar, the Telvanni settlements at Sadrith Mora, the wizard towers at Tel Aruhn, Tel Mora, and Tel Branora, and Ahemmusa camp and the remote fishing villages of Ald Redaynia and Dagon Fel on the north coast. There are no roads; most travel is by boat. Despite the rocky terrain, a variety of plants thrive on the regular rainfall.

Sadrith Mora is the district seat of House Telvanni, and home of the Telvanni Council, though only one Telvanni councilor actually lives in Sadrith Mora. Sadrith Mora is an island settlement, and accessible only by sea and teleportation. The town is large, with many services, but it is open only to Telvanni retainers; outsiders must confine themselves to the Gateway Inn.

Tel Branora is the tower and seat of the eccentric Telvanni wizard named Mistress Therana. The tower and its tiny village are located on a rocky promontory at the southeasternmost tip of Azura's Coast.

Tel Fyr is the Telvanni tower of Sorcerer-Lord Divayth Fyr. Beneath the tower is the Corprusarium, a refuge-prison where the deranged, distorted victims of the deadly corprus disease are housed and tended.

Tel Aruhn is the Telvanni tower of Archmagister Gothren, Telvanni Sorcerer-Lord and head of the Telvanni Council. The associated settlement is a sizable village, and the site of the Festival Slave Market, the largest slave market on Vvardenfell.

Tel Mora is the Telvanni tower of Mistress Dratha, an ancient wizard of the Telvanni Council. The small settlement includes a few craftsfolk and a tradehouse.

Tel Vos is the tower of Telvanni wizard and council member Master Aryon. Tel Vos is a peculiar blend of Telvanni and Western architectural styles, and is close to Vos village.

Bal Fell is the "City of Stone," an ancient First Era ruin in the southeastern islands and promontories of Azura's Coast. The site has a nasty reputation, and several Telvanni wizards currently have competing camps of hirelings and adventurers exploring and looting there. Legend says that Bal Fell was built on the site of an ancient Daedric worship center.

The Ashlander Ahemmusa tribe has a permanent settlement at Ahemmusa camp on a rocky promontory at the northeastern tip of the Vvardenfell mainland in the Azura's Coast region.


THE BITTER COAST


The western coast of Vvardenfell from Seyda Neen north to Gnaar Mok is called the Bitter Coast. The salt marshes and humid swamps of this region are uninhabited, with the only settlements found at the good harbors of Gnaar Mok, Hla Oad, and Seyda Neen. Also called the Smuggler's Coast, the region's secluded coves and islands provide refuge for criminal trade, and the frequent rain and fog hides small boats from Excise cutters.

The piercing light of the Grand Pharos at the mouth of the harbor of the port village of Seyda Neen is a beacon to mariners throughout the Inner Sea. Most visitors from the Empire make landfall at the port of Seyda Neen, where they are processed by the Imperial Census and Excise Commission agents of the Coastguard station. The Coastguard cutters docked here control smuggling and piracy on the Inner Sea.

Hla Oad is a tiny isolated fishing village on western Vvardenfell in the Bitter Coast region. A rough track along the River Odai connects Hla Oad with the town of Balmora.

Gnaar Mok is a tiny island fishing village in the Bitter Coast region of western Vvardenfell.


THE GRAZELANDS


The regular rain and dark soils of the Grazelands produce the rich grazing for Ashlander herds that give the region its name. The region lies in the northeast of Vvardenfell, sandwiched between the Ashlands and Azura's Coast. Permanent settlements include Vos village and the towers of Tel Vos and Tel Fyr. The Ashlanders of Zainab camp move their herds across the plains in search of fresh grazing. There are no roads or tracks, but travel is easy across the open plains.

The Ashlander Zainab tribe has a permanent settlement at Zainab camp, near the village of Vos in the Grazelands region.


MOLAG AMUR


Located inland in the southeast of Vvardenfell, Molag Amur is an uninhabited wasteland of rocky hills, steep-sided ravines, lava pools, and barren ash pavements. Pathfinding and travel is extremely difficult in this trackless wilderness, and is complicated by frequent ash storms. The Ashlanders of Erabenimsun camp hunt game here, but few others venture into this region. The worst part of Molag Amur, called the Great Scathes, is considered impassible even by the Ashlanders.

The outpost at Molag Mar is a fortified stronghold on the southeastern edge of the desolate Molag Amur region. Pilgrims bound for the nearby pilgrimage sites at Mount Assarnibibi and Mount Kand take refuge at the outpost's hostels, comforted by the garrison of Redoran and Buoyant Armiger crusaders stationed at the stronghold.

The Ashlander Erabenimsun tribe has a permanent settlement at Erabenimsun camp, an isolated hut settlement in the middle of the desolate Molag Amur region.


RED MOUNTAIN


The dominant feature of Vvardenfell, Red Mountain, is a vast volcano in the center of Vvardenfell. The outer slopes are steep and rugged, and the crater is deep and dotted with surface lava. The Ghostfence, a magical barrier which blocks travel as well as seals in the harmful, disease-laden weather called 'blight,' rings the volcano's outer slopes, and is broken only at Ghostgate. Within the Ghostfence, rain never falls and the sun never shines; the only weather is the red and deadly ash-blight.

Ghostgate is the gate citadel of the Ghostfence Ordinator and Buoyant Armiger garrisons. Ghostgate sits astride the only gap through which the monstrous hosts of Dagoth Ur might emerge from Red Mountain to threaten the rest of Morrowind. The Ghostfence itself is a colossal magical artifact that completely encircles Red Mountain and prevents the Blight from spilling its corruption across the rest of Vvardenfell.


WEST GASH


The western highlands of Vvardefell are called the West Gash. The region extends from the Sea of Ghosts on the northwest coast to the inland town of Balmora, where the region is sandwiched between the Bitter Coast and the Ashlands. The trading village of Gnisis is north of Ald'ruhn, and the fishing villages of Ald Veloth and Khuul lie on the north coast. The town of Caldera lies near Balmora. The herds of the Ashlanders of Urshilaku camp graze on the sparse but hardy highland vegetation.

Balmora is the district seat of House Hlaalu, and the largest settlement on Vvardenfell after Vivec City. Good roads lead north to Ald'ruhn and south to Caldera, Seyda Neen, and Vivec City. The Imperial Legion garrison of Fort Moonmoth lies south of Balmora.

Caldera is a recently chartered Imperial town and mining corporation. The Caldera Mining Company has been granted an Imperial monopoly to remove raw ebony from the rich deposits here. Caldera has the appearance and flavor of a Western Imperial town.

Ald'ruhn is the district seat of House Redoran, and a large settlement. The Redoran Council chambers are located inside the shell of an ancient extinct giant crab. Tracks lead north to Maar Gan and Gnisis villages and south to Balmora.

Gnisis is a small mining and trade village astride the silt strider caravan route between the northwest West Gash and Ald'ruhn.

Ald Velothi and Khuul are tiny fishing villages on the northern coast of the West Gash.


SHEOGORAD


The large island of Sheogorad lies north of Vvardenfell. This island and its associated lesser islands are a maritime wilderness extending north from Vvardenfell into the Sea of Ghosts. The region is largely hostile and uninhabited, with two small villages at Ald Redaynia and Dagon Fel. Only Dagon Fel is reached by ship services; all other island-to-island transport must be provided by the traveler.
121bk_guylainesarchitecture

Guylaine's Architecture of the Second Empire



[This is Guylaine Marilie's outdated but entertainingly written and well-illustrated reference on late Dwemer architecture. Excerpt is from the chapter describing the Second Empire style of approaches and defenses, and mentioning the common formal convention of the "Four Tests". The book also mentions that the Telvanni have adopted this Four Tests convention as an aesthetic element in their defenses and approaches to their towers.]

"The Test of Pattern requires the observer to examine and analyze for patterns before he acts, with the understanding that many patterns are subtle or hidden.

"The Test of Disorder requires the observer to proceed systematically when no pattern is perceived. When the observer recognizes that many things must be done, and in no specific order; the procedure is to perceive and order all the things to be done, and, upon doing a thing, to recall how and when that thing has been done. For example, the observer must remember the initial position of a thing, and also the new position of that thing.

"The Test of Evasion requires the observer to examine the obstacle, and compare his resources and abilities; if the obstacle is too difficult, seek for a path around the difficulty.

"The Test of Confrontation requires the observer to examine the obstacle, and compare his resources and abilities; if the obstacle is too difficult, look for a path around the difficulty... but if no path around can be found, confront the obstacle directly."

122bk_hanginggardenswasten

Hanging Gardens of Wasten Coridale



[This book was apparently written in Dwemer and translated to Aldmeris. Only fragments of the Aldmeris is readable, but it may be enough for a scholar of Aldmeris to translate fragments of other Dwemer books.]

...guide Altmer-Estrial led with foot-flames for the town-center where lay dead the quadrangular gardens...
...asked the foundations and chains and vessels their naming places...
...why they did not use solid sound to teach escape from the Earth Bones nor nourished them with frozen flames...
....the word I shall have once written of, this "art" our lesser cousins speak of when their admirable ignorance...
...but neither words nor experience cleanses the essence of the strange and terrible ways of defying our ancestors' transient rules.

[The translation ends with a comment in Dwemer in a different hand, which you can translate.]
Put down your ardent cutting-globes, Nbthld. Your Aldmeris has the correct words, but they cannot be properly misinterpreted.
123bk_Hlaalu_Vaults_Ledger

[This book contains meticulous records of all commerce and transactions via the Hlaalu Vaults as well as an up to date account of the current inventory.]
124bk_HomiliesOfBlessedAlmalexia

The Homilies of Blessed Almalexia



Sotha Sil and the Scribs

Young Sotha Sil, while playing in the egg mines, saw a number of scribs in a deep shaft, and he began to cast stones upon them, snickering as they skittered and scattered, until one of the scribs, lifting its head up in agony, cried out to Sotha Sil: "Please, please, have mercy, little boy, for what is sport to you is suffering and death to us."

And so Sotha Sil discovered that the idle of amusements of one may be the solemn tortures of another.

Lord Vivec and the Contentious Beasts

A shalk and a kagouti were strutting back and forth in a foyada, casting aspersions of one another's looks. "You are the ugliest creature alive," the shalk told the kagouti. "No, YOU are the ugliest creature alive," the kagouti told the shalk. For each thought himself most handsome, and the other most ugly.

Then Lord Vivec chanced by, and settled their dispute. "No, you BOTH are the ugliest creatures alive, and I will not have my pleasant sojourn spoiled by your unseemly squabbling." So he dealt them both mighty blows, shattering their skulls, and silencing their argument, and went merrily upon his way.

And thus Lord Vivec proved that ugliness is as much in one's manner as in one's appearance.

The Boiled Kagouti

It is said that if a kagouti steps into a boiling pool, he will leap out immediately to avoid harm.

But if the kagouti is standing in a pool, and a wizard slowly raises the temperature, measure by measure, to boiling, the kagouti will calmly stand in place until he is boiled.

Thus we see that we must be alert not only to the obvious danger, but also to the subtle degrees by which change may result in danger.

The Dubious Healer

Once upon a time, a Telvanni issued forth from his tower and proclaimed to all the world that he was a mighty and learned healer, master of all alchemy and potions, and able to cure all diseases.

Lord Vivec looked upon this wizard, and listened to his boasting, then asked him, "How can you pretend to prescribe for others the cure to all diseases, when you are unable to cure yourself of your own manifest arrogance and foolishness?"

The Guar and the Mudcrabs

The Guar were so tormented by the other creatures they did not know where to go. As soon as they saw a single beast approach them, off they dashed in terror.

One day they saw a pack of Nix-hounds ranging about, and in a desperate panic all the Guar scuttled off towards the sea, determined to drown themselves rather than live in such a continual state of fear. But just as they got near the shoreline, a colony of Mudcrabs, frightened in their turn by the approach of the Guar, scuttled off, and threw themselves into the water.

'Truly,' said one of the Guar, �things are not so bad as they seem. For there is always someone worse off than you."

The Wounded Netch

A wounded Netch lay himself down in a quiet corner of its feeding-ground. His healthy companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, yet each one helped himself to a share of the fodder which had been placed there for his use; so that the poor Netch died, not from his wounds, but from the greed and carelessness of his erstwhile friends.

And so it is clear that thoughtless companions may bring more harm than help.

125bk_honorthieves

Honor Among Thieves
by Arnie the Scrib



Many admirers ask, "Arnie, how can I become a flash and prosperous fellow like you?"

And I tell them, "You want to join the Guild. Make friends. Be a part of something."

"But who can join?" they ask.

We're just like any other trade guild. We've got requirements. And if you want to advance in the ranks, we've got standards.

You want to be fast and agile. You want to move undetected. You want to know about security -- locks, traps, and how to get around them. You want to defend yourself. You travel light and fast, and want light arms like daggers and shortswords. You don't want to get into a slugging match, so you want the marksman's weapons -- the bow, crossbow, throwing star, and dart. You want light armor, so you can keep moving, and moving fast.

Why belong? Simple. Everybody needs friends.

The help of friends includes information. Your friends at the Thieves Guild know where the action is, and where the action is safe, and where it is not. The help of friends includes a place to rest, and a place to buy supplies and services -- training and tools. The help of friends includes fixing things with the guards at a discount rate. That's where the 'honor among thieves' part comes in. Friends stick together, and help each other.

"But what about the competition?" my admirers ask.

The competition is the Camonna Tong. And you don't want to join them, because they don't want you. They have this thing about outlanders. They want them all dead. So, unless your ambition is to be dead, you don't want to join them.

And the Camonna Tong are bad people. The Camonna Tong don't mind killing people. Heck, they LIKE killing people. The Thieves Guild, on the other hand, thinks killing people is bad business. You want to be good people, right? So join the Thieves Guild, and stay far, far away from the Camonna Tong.

So you want to join. But where do you look?

Being a thief is not like being a fighter. You don't just go to the local guild Hall. The Thieves Guild doesn't have Guild Halls. But thieves like to be where their friends are. And where are their friends? At the local cornerclub or tradehouse. In Vvardenfell, look for friends in Balmora, Ald'ruhn, Sadrith Mora, and the Foreign Quarter of Vivec.

126bk_hospitality_papers

*Certification of Hospitality*

By Proclamation of House of Telvanni, Town of Sadrith Mora, District of Vvardenfell, by Authority of the Sovereign Council of the Great House Telvanni and its Several Client and Subsidiary Houses and Clans

Hereas at the general Sessions of the Mage-Lords and their Mouths held for the District of the House of Telvanni at the Town of Sadrith Mora on the 16th day of Second Seed in the four-hundred-and-twenty-first year of the Reign of our Sovereign King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, by the Grace of All Gods, King of Morrowind, Duke of Mournhold; Defender of the People and the Law; Loyal Servant of the Emperor and Empire; etc.

Muthsera Master Angaredhel Mage-Lord, Prefect of Hospitality of the Town of Sadrith Mora aforesaid, hath entered into Recognizance with Sureties, before us his Majesty's Magistrates of Peace, within the said District, whose Names are hereunder written:

We therefore his Majesty's said Magistrates, have hereby Licensed, and allowed the said %PCName the %PCClass, %PCRace, to travel abroad in the town of Sadrith Mora and its environs upon his own recognizance, to visit with all and sundry, and make conversation and arrangements and to seek lodgings with the citizens, tradesmen, and publicans of said town as put forth under law by the Collective Articles of the Council of the Great House Telvanni, Vvardenfell District for three full years, from henceforth next ensuing, or till such other time as shall be by us, or some of our fellow Magistrates thereunto appointed; Provided that if the said %PCName the %PCClass, %PCRace do not from time to time during that time, well and truly observe the Collective Articles of the Council of the Great House Telvanni, then this License shall presently cease, and be utterly void.

Signed,

Muthsera Master Angaredhel Mage-Lord
Representing the Sovereign Council of the Great House Telvanni
127bk_HouseOfTroubles_c

The House of Troubles



Among the ancient ancestral spirits who accompanied Saint Veloth and the Chimer into the promised land of Morrowind, the four Daedra Lords, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath, are known as the Four Corners of the House of Troubles. These Daedra Lords rebelled against the counsel and admonition of the Tribunal, causing great kinstrife and confusion among the clans and Great Houses.

Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath are holy in that they serve the role of obstacles during the Testing. Through time they have sometimes become associated with local enemies, like the Nords, Akaviri, or Mountain Orcs.

Malacath is the reanimated dung that was Trinimac, Malacath is a weak but vengeful god. The Dark Elves say he is Malak, the god-king of the orcs. He tests the Dunmer for physical weakness.

Molag Bal is, in Morrowind, the King of Rape. He tries to upset the bloodlines of Houses and otherwise ruin the Dunmer gene pool. A race of monsters, said to live in Molag Amur, are the result of his seduction of Vivec during the previous era.

Sheogorath is the King of Madness. He always tests the Dunmer for mental weakness. In many legends he is called upon by one Dunmer faction against another; in half of these stories he does not betray those who called him, further confusing the issue of his place in the scheme of things (can he help us? is he not an obstacle?). He is often associated with the fear other races have of the Dunmer, especially those who, like the Empire, might prove as useful allies.

Mehrunes Dagon is the god of destruction. He is associated with natural dangers like fire, earthquakes, and floods. To some he represents the inhospitable land of Morrowind. He tests the Dunmer will to survive and persevere.

The worship of these four malevolent spirits is against the law and practice of the Temple. However, the Four Corners seldom fail to discover those greedy, reckless, or mad enough to serve them. By ancient Temple law and custom, and also by imperial law, the lives of witches and warlocks are forfeit, and Imperial garrisons join Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers of the Temple in tracking down and destroying these foul covens in the wilderness refuges and ancient ruins where they conceal their profane worships.

128bk_HouseOfTroubles_o

The House of Troubles



Among the ancient ancestral spirits who accompanied Saint Veloth and the Chimer into the promised land of Morrowind, the four Daedra Lords, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath, are known as the Four Corners of the House of Troubles. These Daedra Lords rebelled against the counsel and admonition of the Tribunal, causing great kinstrife and confusion among the clans and Great Houses.

Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath are holy in that they serve the role of obstacles during the Testing. Through time they have sometimes become associated with local enemies, like the Nords, Akaviri, or Mountain Orcs.

Malacath is the reanimated dung that was Trinimac, Malacath is a weak but vengeful god. The Dark Elves say he is Malak, the god-king of the orcs. He tests the Dunmer for physical weakness.

Molag Bal is, in Morrowind, the King of Rape. He tries to upset the bloodlines of Houses and otherwise ruin the Dunmer gene pool. A race of monsters, said to live in Molag Amur, are the result of his seduction of Vivec during the previous era.

Sheogorath is the King of Madness. He always tests the Dunmer for mental weakness. In many legends he is called upon by one Dunmer faction against another; in half of these stories he does not betray those who called him, further confusing the issue of his place in the scheme of things (can he help us? is he not an obstacle?). He is often associated with the fear other races have of the Dunmer, especially those who, like the Empire, might prove as useful allies.

Mehrunes Dagon is the god of destruction. He is associated with natural dangers like fire, earthquakes, and floods. To some he represents the inhospitable land of Morrowind. He tests the Dunmer will to survive and persevere.

The worship of these four malevolent spirits is against the law and practice of the Temple. However, the Four Corners seldom fail to discover those greedy, reckless, or mad enough to serve them. By ancient Temple law and custom, and also by imperial law, the lives of witches and warlocks are forfeit, and Imperial garrisons join Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers of the Temple in tracking down and destroying these foul covens in the wilderness refuges and ancient ruins where they conceal their profane worships.

129bk_Ibardad_Elante_notes

At last! After these many years of searching, I'm sure I've located the proper caverns. The Crystals are just as the stories describe; "...wrapped in crystalline embrace, the silver pierced brow of the Traitors shall ward his sleep." This must be the place! This must be Mordrin Hanin's tomb!

Badama and I have established quarters here. No one shall steal my discovery. To imagine what treasures are hidden within this stone. Those Guild fools! Mocking my studies. The Powers I shall unleash upon their miserable skins. Tomorrow we will summon workers to begin excavation.

The Summoning was successful, although Badama lacks concentration. We nearly had a Storm Atronach, but her poor skills allowed it to escape. We shall make do with vermin. To think of the earth we could have riven with the Atronach. Now we are forced to watch the Scamps scrape the surface with picks and shovels. Hideous, miserable creatures.

Otherworldly, vermin, bastards! Fodder for my cauldron! Scamps are the most untrue of servants. I should enlist the efforts of the Giant Rats of the wilderness and have greater success. Whining, thieving, lazy and treacherous...Scamps! One attempted to flee, stealing a number of potions in his flight. I made short work of him. Perhaps the others will think deeply before following his path. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate one of my best Potions of Rising Force.

Success! I discovered the traces of worked stone, which when inspected closely were obviously of Daedric workmanship. After great effort and much moving of earth and stone, the remaining blockage fell away with a great splash into a pool of loathsome water. The foul and noisome air which escaped nearly choked me. The Scamps broke into a great frenzy, trying to hurl themselves through the opening, shrieking with either terror or joy. The creatures are clearly insane.

I've been forced to erect a gate at the opening. The Scamps still attempt to escape into its maw. I've placed Badama as sentry to monitor the worthless creatures. Perhaps they'll tear her to pieces in her sleep. No, I still require her talents in the upcoming search.

The baleful effects of this place are telling on me. I've only just managed to distill some potions to aid us in our endeavor. Soon though, we will enter the chambers and finally realize a life's ambition. Still, though we find the tomb, it may be for naught if we cannot locate the "Key Guardian". Sometimes I hear voices in my dreams calling on Mordins's name. Is it terror or adulation?

130bk_ILHermit_Page[An unreadable page from "A Brief History of the Empire". The volume is unkown.]
131bk_impmuseumwelcome

Welcome to the Imperial Museum and Library. Please feel free to peruse the exhibits at your leisure, but please do take care around the prisoner. He has been in a terrible mood since we had to cut down his rations after the escape attempt.

Master Aryon
132bk_indreledeed

By the Grace of ALMSIVI, Lords and Rulers of All

Know all Dunmer by these words that I, Muthsera Hlaalu Velando Omani, have legally purchased the home in Seyda Neen of the Dunmer Indrele Rathryon and the accompanying land for the sum of 3000 Imperial Drakes. Witness our hands on this third day of Evening Star, 3E 426.

Seal of the seller
Indrele Rathryon

Seal of the buyer
Velanda Omani
133bk_InvocationOfAzura

Invocation of Azura
by Sigillah Parate



For three hundred years I have been a priestess of Azura, the Daedric Princess of Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky. Every Hogithum, which we celebrate on the 21st of First Seed, we summon her for guidance, as well as to offer things of worth and beauty to Her Majesty. She is a cruel but wise mistress. We do not invoke her on any Hogithum troubled by thunderstorms, for those nights belong to the Mad One, Sheogorath, even if they do coincide with the occasion. Azura at such times understands our caution.

Azura's invocation is a very personal one. I have been priestess to three other Daedric Princes, but Azura values the quality of her worshippers, and the truth behind our adoration of her. When I was a Dark Elven maid of sixteen, I joined my grandmother's coven, worshippers of Molag Bal, the Schemer Princess. Blackmail, extortion, and bribery are as much the weapons of the Witches of Molag Bal as is dark magic. The Invocation of Molag Bal is held on the 20th of Evening Star, except during stormy weather. This ceremony is seldom missed, but Molag Bal often appears to her cultists in mortal guise on other dates. When my grandmother died in an attempt to poison the heir of Firewatch, I re-examined my faith in the cult.

My brother was a warlock of the cult of Boethiah-and from what he told me, the Dark Warrior was closer to my spirit than the treacherous Molag Bal. Boethiah is a Warrior Princess who acts more overtly than any other Daedroth. After years of skulking and scheming, it felt good to perform acts for a mistress which had direct, immediate consequences. Besides, I liked it that Boethiah was a Daedra of the Dark Elves. Our cult would summon her on the day we called the Gauntlet, the 2nd of Sun's Dusk. Bloody competitions would be held in her honor, and the duels and battles would continue until nine cultists were killed at the hands of other cultists. Boethiah cared little for her cultists-she only cared for our blood. I do think I saw her smile when I accidentally slew my brother in a sparring session. My horror, I think, greatly pleased her.

I left the cult soon after that. Boethiah was too impersonal for me, too cold. I wanted a mistress of greater depth. For the next eighteen years of my life, I worshipped no one. Instead I read and researched. It was in an old and profane tome that I came upon the name of Nocturnal-Nocturnal the Night Mistress, Nocturnal the Unfathomable. As the book prescribed, I called to her on her holy day, the 3rd of Hearth Fire. At last I had found the personal mistress I had so long desired. I strove to understand her labyrinthine philosophy, the source of her mysterious pain. Everything about her was dark and shrouded, even the way she spoke and the acts she required of me. It took years for me to understand the simple fact that I could never understand Nocturnal. Her mystery was as essential to her as savagery was to Boethiah or treachery was to Molag Bal. To understand Nocturnal is to negate her, to pull back the curtains cloaking her realm of darkness. As much as I loved her, I recognized the futility of unraveling her enigmas. I turned instead to her sister, Azura.

Azura is the only Daedra Princess I have ever worshipped who seems to care about her followers. Molag Bal wanted my mind, Boethiah wanted my arms, and Nocturnal perhaps my curiosity. Azura wants all of that, and our love above all. Not our abject slavering, but our honest and genuine caring in all its forms. It is important to her that our emotions be engaged in her worship. And our love must also be directed inward. If we love her and hate ourselves, she feels our pain. I will, for all time, have no other mistress.

134bk_istunondescosmology

A Less Rude Song
by Anonymous



They say
The Iliac Bay
Is the place to barrel around
Without a bit of apparel on,
As advertised in that carol song
A tune that's sung as the west wind blows
About it lovely not wearing any clothes.
Ladies singing high notes, men singing lows,
Implying that the most luscious depravity
And complete absence of serious gravity
Can only be found in the waterous cavity
Of Iliac Bay.

If you are the type who is more a sinner than a sinned,
You'll find it all in Morrowind.

But the truth, my child,
Is that nothing more wild
That an ordinary fashion
Kind of slightly mad passion
Can be detected if at all
In Sentinel and Daggerfall.

Whatever your odd needs: feathered, scaled, or finned,
You'll find it all in Morrowind

It's an invention of bards
That Bretons and Redguards
Have more than some staid fun
And suffer deviant fornication.
For the most of madness, not the least,
The wise debaucher heads out east.

Where your once steely reserve is now merely tinned,
You'll find it all in Morrowind.

In Morrowind,
There is sin.
But, pray, do not confuse Dunmer variety
With that found in tepid Western society
Compared to which, it nearly is piety.
It isn't terribly ingenious calling it prudery
Observing the Dark Elf aversion to nudity.
After all, the preferred sort of lewdity
In these parts is far more pernicious.
From the Ashlanders to the wettest fishes
You'll find pleasure and pain quite delicious
In Morrowind.

If you find yourself with unkind kinship with your kin
You'll find it all in Morrowind.
135bk_itermerelsnotes

Notes on the Persistence of Oblivion Streams
by Itermerel



The variable flow of daedrons in Oblivion streams can have profound effects on the magicka potential of various locations. Magicka use often causes effects on the streams themselves. By reconfiguring the polarity of the daedron fields, it is possible to manipulate and trace the streams in the following cases...

[The notes go on about this subject for some time.]
136bk_joldanote

The blight cure is all mine! They won't get their hands on any of it. When they are gone, I shall reign in the tower!
137bk_kagrenac'sjournal_excl

Kagrenac's Journal



[The contents of this handwritten journal are in an unfamiliar script in an unknown language. There are many complex diagrams heavily annotated with numbers and strange symbols. The title page, however, is clearly marked in Aldmeris -- 'Kagrenac's Journals'.]
138bk_kagrenac'splans_excl

Kagrenac's Planbook



[The contents of this handwritten journal are in an unfamiliar script in an unknown language. There are many complex diagrams heavily annotated with numbers and strange symbols. The title page, however, is clearly marked in Ald Aldmeris -- 'Kagrenac's Planbook'.]
139bk_kagrenac'stools

Kagrenac's Tools



[summarized from the Apographa by Gilvas Barelo, Abbot of Holamayan, and various of the Dissident Priests ]

Beneath Red Mountain, Dwemer miners discovered a great magical stone. By diverse methods, Lord Kagrenac, High Priest and Magecrafter of the ancient Dwemer, determined that this magical stone was the heart of the god Lorkhan, cast here in the Dawn Era as a punishment for his mischief in creating the mortal world. Determined to use its divine powers to create a new god for the exclusive benefit of the Dwemer, Kagrenac forged three great enchanted artifacts, which are called "Kagrenac's Tools." Wraithguard is an enchanted gauntlet to protect its wearer from destruction when tapping the heart's power. Sunder is a enchanted hammer to strike the heart and produce the exact volume and quality of power desired. Keening is an enchanted blade that is used to flay and focus the power that rises from the heart.

When Kagrenac used these tools on the heart in the Battle of Red Mountain, no one knows what happened, but the Dwemer race disappeared entirely from the mortal world. Lord Nerevar and Lord Dagoth retrieved these tools, and didn't know what to do with them. Nerevar asked Dagoth to guard the tools while he went to consult with his counselors, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. He left and spoke with his three counselors, and they decided to return together to Red Mountain to decide what to do.

But while Nerevar was gone, Dagoth was tempted and confused by the powers of the tools. When Nerevar and the counselors arrived, he refused to give up the tools, claiming he had sworn to Nerevar to protect them. Then Dagoth fought with Nerevar and the counselors, and was mortally wounded and driven off, and the tools were recovered.

Then Nerevar and his counselors decided to take the tools for safekeeping. They all swore a great oath never to use the tools, but after Nerevar's death, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil yielded to temptation. They took these tools themselves and went to Lorkhan's heart buried beneath Red Mountain, and gave themselves divine powers.

But Dagoth had not died. We don't know what happened, but this is what we believe. His experiments with Kagrenac's Tools had joined him to the heart's divine nature in some way, so that he learned to draw power directly from the heart.

We conjecture that Dagoth Ur, driven by anger and greed, used the heart without caution and restraint, and, as a result, he has become terribly powerful, and terribly mad. But the Tribunal showed great care and restraint in their use of the tools, and so they were not driven mad, and they did many good things. Nonetheless, the Tribunal, too, appear to heave been corrupted by the heart's power, though more subtly.

Kagrenac's Tools are cursed. Stealing power from the heart of a god is a terrible folly, and fated to disaster. The Tribunal is losing its battle to control the power of the heart. They are sustained by the same tainted power that drives Dagoth Ur mad. They grow weak, and cannot protect us from Dagoth Ur. But even if they could, would we be wise to worship gods such as these? They conceal the truth from us out of shame. They persecute the Nerevarine and the Dissident priests out of shame, when they should be welcoming them and enlisting their aid against Dagoth Ur.

The Tribunal have done much good for Morrowind and the Dunmer. But they succumbed to the temptation of Kagrenac's Tools, and though these tools once may have seemed the instruments of salvation, now they must be seen as instruments of doom.
140bk_landdeedfake_hhrd

By the Grace of ALMSIVI, Lords and Rulers of All

Know all Dunmer by these words that Muthsera Rovone Arvel has agreed to sell the land south of Arvel Manor and east of Pelagiad to Orvas Dren. Rovone Arvel has also agreed to sell the small farm between the land belonging to Dren and Fort Pelagiad to Odral Helvi.

Seal of the Buyers
Orvas Dren
Odral Helvi

Seal of the Seller
Rovone Arvel
141bk_landdeed_hhrd

By the Grace of ALMSIVI, Lords and Rulers of All

Know all Dunmer by these words that Muthsera Rovone Arvel has sold the land south of Arvel Manor and east of Pelagiad to Orvas Dren. Rovone Arvel retains the right to one small farm near Pelagiad, currently held by Llovyn Andus

Seal of the Buyer
Orvas Dren

Seal of the Seller
Rovone Arvel

142bk_leaflet_false

BEWARE!!!!



HAVE NO DEALINGS with AURANE FRERNIS!!!
She is known to be both UNDERHANDED and UNETHICAL in her dealings!!!
The materials she uses are both SHODDY and DANGEROUS!!!
You could come to GREAT HARM from her products.
Her shop should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS!!!
See these testimonials:

"I took potion and got sick. Lost good lunch." - Grugbob G.
"Her materials looked old and stale. Not good for alchemical use." - Daren O.
"She should be disemboweled and fed to nix hounds." - Hlorngar F.

143bk_LegendaryScourge

"Not till the very evening they came," answered he, and then told of his dealings with Mehrunes Dagon's thralls, saying that Mackkan would find it easier to whistle on the wind's tracks and go on a fool's errand than to fight his toads. Then said Mackkan:


"Now see to thy safety henceforward,
And stick to thy parts and thy pride;
Or this mallet of mine, Malacath's Scourge,
Will meet with thine ear of a surety.
For quick as I can cry "Equality",
Though eight arms thou couldst boast of,
Such bumps thou shalt comb on thy brainpan,
Thou that breakest the howes of the dead.


EXPLICATION: The mace Scourge, Blessed of Malacath, Mackkan's legendary weapon, forged from sacred ebony in the Fountains of Fickledire, has ever been the bane of the Dark Kin, and many a black spirit has been hurled back into Oblivion with a single blow of this bold defender of the friendless. Scourge now hangs within the armory of Battlespire, ready to take up in the name of the Emperor against the Daedric Lords.
144bk_legionsofthedead

Legions of the Dead



Undead commonly occur in three basic types: spirit, flesh, and fleshless. Spirit revenants like the ancestor ghost, wraith, and dwarven ghost, can only be harmed by weapons that are enchanted or made of refined substances such as silver. Ancestor ghosts, the most common spirit revenant, are harmless, apart from the minor curses they lay upon their victims. Wraiths are similar to ghosts, but they are capable of inflicting wounds to the careless explorer. Dwarven ghosts are more dangerous still, but they generally appear only in Dwarven ruins.

Flesh revenants, or 'zombies' as they are often called in the West, are known as 'bonewalkers' in Morrowind. Magic preserves the bonewalker's fleshy remains along with the bones and spirit. Bonewalkers are readily identified by the sharp protuberances of bone and metal employed in the rituals that bind them to this plane. All bonewalkers are malevolent and dangerous, but the greater bonewalkers are far worse than the more common 'lesser' bonewalkers. Thankfully, normal weapons harm bonewalkers.

It is difficult to generalize about fleshless revenants, or skeletons. The agility and fighting ability of the animated remains may depend on the abilities of the revenant's former life, and may therefore be weak or strong, or more or less capable with weapons and shields. Fortunately, enchanted weapons are not needed to destroy skeletons. An exception is the bonelord, a peculiar form of revenant that seems to derive its powers more from its spirit energies than from the substance of its skeletal remains. Bonelords are very powerful, and very dangerous. Normal weapons do not affect them.

Vampires were believed to be extinct in Morrowind for centuries. Dunmer culture has a special hatred for vampires, and in earlier times the Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers hunted them to extinction. In recent years, however, vampires have either begun to sneak into Morrowind, or long-dormant ones have been awakened. Vampires vary in their substance and power according to their age and accumulated lore, but even the weakest vampire is immeasurably stronger than most other undead. Note: Ash vampires are not vampires, and are not undead. Ash vampires are extremely dangerous. While their spirit and substance may indeed be preserved by some magical process, the holy warriors of the Tribunal Temple report that spell effects known to affect the undead have no effect on ash vampires.

145bk_letterfromgadayn

Dearest Eraldil,

Long have I watched you from afar, bathing in the light that is your beauty. Long have I wished for the courage to speak to you of my undying love for you.

Your eyes are really, really brown, in that good wood elf kind of way. And your hair. Your hair is really black, and looks good on your head. You walk with grace and beauty, and perhaps someday you'll walk with me, too.

Please, tell me you share my love. I have seen you in my store, browsing for minutes on end. My love for you is so great, I would give you a discount on most all of my items for sale. I look forward to your response.

Yours,

Gadayn
146bk_letterfromjzhirr

Promissory Note

The East Empire Company agrees to pay the sum of 10,000 drakes to "LD" for services rendered. This note is valid for the duration of one year or until paid in full.

J'Zhirr
East Empire Company
147bk_letterfromllaalamJ-

Enclosed is a listing of price increases we discussed. They have been agreed upon by all who must, and may be put into effect when payment is received. Our agreement may continue in force upon payment.

-LD

Durable Goods - +15%

Raw Minerals - +18%

Textiles - +13 %

Paper Products - +6%

Weaponry - +8%

Armor - +8%

D. Artifacts - +35%

148bk_letterfromllaalam2J-

Enclosed is a listing of price increases we discussed. They have been agreed upon by all who must, and may be put into effect when payment is received. Our agreement may continue in force upon payment.

-LD

Durable Goods - +15%

Raw Minerals - +18%

Textiles - +13 %

Paper Products - +6%

Weaponry - +8%

Armor - +8%

D. Artifacts - +35%

149bk_LivesOfTheSaints

Lives of the Saints



If you would be wise, model your lives on the lives of the saints.

If you would learn valor, follow St. Nerevar the Captain, patron of Warriors and Statesmen. Lord Nerevar helped to unite the barbarian Dunmer tribes into a great nation, culminating in his martyrdom when leading the Dunmer to victory against the evil Dwemer and the traitorous House Dagoth in the Battle of Red Mountain.

If you would learn daring, follow Saint Veloth the Pilgrim, Patron of Outcasts and Spiritual Seekers. Saint Veloth, prophet and mystic, led the Dunmer out of the decadent home country of the Summerset Isles and into the promised land of Morrowind. Saint Veloth also taught the difference between the Good and Bad Daedra, and won the aid of the Good Daedra for his people while teaching how to carefully negotiate with the Bad Daedra.

If you would learn generosity, follow Saint Rilms the Barefooted, Patron of Pilgrims and Beggars. Saint Rilms gave away her shoes, then dressed and appeared as a beggar to better acquaint herself with the poor.

If you would learn self-respect and respect for others, follow Saint Aralor the Penitent, Patron of Tanners and Miners. This foul criminal repented his sins and traveled a circuit of the great pilgrimages on his knees.

If you would learn mercy and its fruits, follow Saint Seryn the Merciful, Patron of Brewers, Bakers, Distillers. This pure virgin of modest aspect could heal all diseases at the price of taking the disease upon herself. Tough-minded and fearless, she took on the burdens of others, and bore those burdens to an honored old age.

If you would learn fierce justice, follow Saint Felms the Bold, Patron of Butchers and Fishmongers. This brave warlord slew the Nord invaders and drove them from our lands. He could neither read nor write, receiving inspiration directly from the lips of Almsivi.

If you would learn pride of race and tribe, follow Saint Roris the Martyr, Patron of Furnishers and Caravaners. Captured by Argonians just before the Arnesian War, Roris proudly refused to renounce the Tribunal faith, and withstood the cruel tortures of Argonian sorcerers. Vengeance and justice for the martyred Saint Roris was the rallying cry of the Arnesian War.

If you would learn the rule of law and justice, follow Saint Olms the Just, Patron of Chandlers and Clerks. Founder of the Ordinators, Saint Olms conceived and articulated the fundamental principles of testing, ordeal, and repentance.

If you would learn benevolence, follow Saint Delyn the Wise, Patron of Potters and Glassmakers. Saint Delyn was head of House Indoril, a skilled lawyer, and author of many learned treatises on Tribunal law and custom.

If you would learn the love of peace, follow Saint Meris the Peacemaker, Patron of Farmers and Laborers. As a little girl, Saint Meris showed healing gifts, and trained as a Healer. She ended a long and bloody House War, intervening on the battlefield in her white robe to heal warriors and spellcrafters without regard to faction. The troops of all House adopted white robes as her standard, and refused to shed the blood of their brethren.

If you would learn reverence, follow Saint Llothis the Pious, Patron of Tailors and Dyers. Contemporary and companion of the Tribunals, and the best-loved Alma Rula of the Tribunal Temple, he formulated the central rituals and principles of the New Temple Faith. Saint Llothis is the symbolic mortal bridge between the gods and the faithful, and the archetypal priest.

150bk_lustyargonianmaid

The Lusty Argonian Maid
Act IV, Scene III, continued



Lifts-Her-Tail: Certainly not, kind sir! I am here but to clean your chambers.

Crantius Colto: Is that all you have come here for, little one? My chambers?

Lifts-Her-Tail: I have no idea what it is you imply, master. I am but a poor Argonian maid.

Crantius Colto: So you are, my dumpling. And a good one at that. Such strong legs and shapely tail.

Lifts-Her-Tail: You embarrass me, sir!

Crantius Colto: Fear not. You are safe here with me.

Lifts-Her-Tail: I must finish my cleaning, sir. The mistress will have my head if I do not!

Crantius Colto: Cleaning, eh? I have something for you. Here, polish my spear.

Lifts-Her-Tail: But it is huge! It could take me all night!

Crantius Colto: Plenty of time, my sweet. Plenty of time.

END OF ACT IV, SCENE III

151bk_madnessofpelagius

The Madness of Pelagius
By Tsathenes



The man who would be Emperor of all Tamriel was born Thoriz Pelagius Septim, a prince of the royal family of Wayrest in 3E 119 at the end of the glorious reign of his uncle, Antiochus I. Wayrest had been showered by much preference during the years before Pelagius' birth, for King Magnus was Antiochus' favorite brother.

It is hard to say when Pelagius' madness first manifested itself, for, in truth, the first ten years of his life were marked by much insanity in the land itself. When Pelagius was just over a year old, Antiochus died and a daughter, Kintyra, assumed the throne to the acclaim of all. Kintyra II was Pelagius' cousin and an accomplished mystic and sorceress. If she had sufficient means to peer into the future, she would have surely fled the palace.

The story of the War of the Red Diamond has been told in many other scholarly journals, but as most historians agree, Kintyra II's reign was usurped by her and Pelagius' cousin Uriel, by the power of his mother, Potema -- the so-called wolf queen of Solitude. The year after her coronation, Kintyra was trapped in Glenpoint and imprisoned in the Imperial dungeons there.

All of Tamriel exploded into warfare as Prince Uriel took the throne as Uriel III, and High Rock, because of the imprisoned Empress' presence there, was the location of some of the bloodiest battles. Pelagius' father, King Magnus, allied himself with his brother Cephorus against the usurper Emperor, and brought the wrath of Uriel III and Queen Potema down on Wayrest. Pelagius, his brothers and sisters, and his mother Utheilla fled to the Isle of Balfiera. Utheilla was of the line of Direnni, and her family manse is still located on that ancient isle even to this day.

There is thankfully much written record of Pelagius' childhood in Balfiera recorded by nurses and visitors. All who met him described him as a handsome, personable boy, interested in sport, magic, and music. Even assuming diplomats' lack of candor, Pelagius seemed, if anything, a blessing to the future of the Septim Dynasty.

When Pelagius was eight, Cephorus slew Uriel III at the Battle of Ichidag and proclaimed himself Emperor Cephorus I. For the next ten years of his reign, Cephorus battled Potema. Pelagius' first battle was the Siege of Solitude, which ended with Potema's death and the final end of the war. In gratitude, Cephorus placed Pelagius on the throne of Solitude.

As king of Solitude, Pelagius' eccentricities of behavior began to be noticeable. As a favorite nephew of the Emperor, few diplomats to Solitude made critical commentary about Pelagius. For the first two years of his reign, Pelagius was at the very least noted for his alarming shifts in weight. Four months after taking the throne, a diplomat from Ebonheart called Pelagius "a hale and hearty soul with a heart so big, it widens his waist"; five months after that, the visiting princess of Firsthold wrote to her brother that "the king's gripped my hand and it felt like I was being clutched by a skeleton. Pelagius is greatly emaciated, indeed."

Cephorus never married and died childless three years after the Siege of Solitude. As the only surviving sibling, Pelagius' father Magnus left the throne of Wayrest and took residence at the Imperial City as the Emperor Magnus I. Magnus was elderly and Pelagius was his oldest living child, so the attention of Tamriel focused on Sentinel. By this time, Pelagius' eccentricities were becoming infamous.

There are many legends about his acts as King of Sentinel, but few well-documented cases exist. It is known that Pelagius locked the young princes and princesses of Silvenar in his room with him, only releasing them when an unsigned Declaration of War was slipped under the door. When he tore off his clothes during a speech he was giving at a local festival, his advisors apparently decided to watch him more carefully. On the orders of Magnus, Pelagius was married to the beautiful heiress of an ancient Dark Elf noble family, Katariah Ra'athim.

Nordic kings who marry Dark Elves seldom improve their popularity. There are two reasons most scholars give for the union. Magnus was trying to cement relations with Ebonheart, where the Ra'athim clan hailed. Ebonheart's neighbor, Mournhold, had been a historical ally of the Empire since the very beginning, and the royal consort of Queen Barenziah had won many battles in the War of the Red Diamond. Ebonheart had a poorly-kept secret of aiding Uriel III and Potema.

The other reason for the marriage was more personal: Katariah was as shrewd a diplomat as she was beautiful. If any creature was capable of hiding Pelagius' madness, it was she.

On the 8th of Second Seed, 3E 145, Magnus I died quietly in his sleep. Jolethe, Pelagius' sister took over the throne of Solitude, and Pelagius and Katariah rode to the Imperial City to be crowned Emperor and Empress of Tamriel. It is said that Pelagius fainted when the crown was placed on his head, but Katariah held him up so only those closest to the thrones could see what had happened. Like so many Pelagius stories, this cannot be verified.

Pelagius III never truly ruled Tamriel. Katariah and the Elder Council made all the decisions and only tried to keep Pelagius from embarrassing all. Still, stories of Pelagius III's reign exist.

It was said that when the Argonian ambassador from Blackrose came to court, Pelagius insisted on speaking in all grunts and squeaks, as that was the Argonian's natural language.

It is known that Pelagius was obsessed with cleanliness, and many guests reported waking to the noise of an early-morning scrubdown of the Imperial Palace. The legend of Pelagius while inspecting the servants' work, suddenly defecating on the floor to give them something to do, is probably apocryphal.

When Pelagius began actually biting and attacking visitors to the Imperial Palace, it was decided to send him to a private asylum. Katariah was proclaimed regent two years after Pelagius took the throne. For the next six years, the Emperor stayed in a series of institutions and asylums.

Traitors to the Empire have many lies to spread about this period. Whispered stories of hideous experiments and tortures performed on Pelagius have almost become accepted as fact. The noble lady Katariah became pregnant shortly after the Emperor was sent away, and rumors of infidelity and, even more absurd, conspiracies to keep the sane Emperor locked away, ran amok. As Katariah proved, her pregnancy came about after a visit to her husband's cell. With no other evidence, as loyal subjects, we are bound to accept the Empress' word on the matter. Her second child, who would reign for many years as Uriel IV, was the child of her union with her consort Lariate, and publicly acknowledged as such.

On a warm night in Suns Dawn, in his 34th year, Pelagius III died after a brief fever in his cell at the Temple of Kynareth in the Isle of Betony. Katariah I reigned for another forty six years before passing the scepter onto the only child she had with Pelagius, Cassynder.

Pelagius' wild behavior has made him perversely dear to the province of his birth and death. The 2nd of Suns Dawn, which may or may not be the anniversary of his death (records are not very clear) is celebrated as Mad Pelagius, the time when foolishness of all sorts is encouraged. And so, one of the least desirable Emperors in the history of the Septim Dynasty, has become one of the most famous ones.

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The Monomyth



�In Mundus, conflict and disparity are what bring change, and change is the most sacred of the Eleven Forces. Change is the force without focus or origin.�-Oegnithr, Taheritae, Order of PSJJJJ

Simply put, the schism in the Human/Aldmeri worldview is the mortal's relationship to the divine. Humans take the humble path that they were created by the immortal forces, while the Aldmer claim descent from them. It doesn't seem like much, but it is a distinction that colors the rest of their diverging mythologies.

All Tamrielic religions begin the same. Man or mer, things begin with the dualism of Anu and His Other. These twin forces go by many names: Anu-Padomay, Anuiel-Sithis, Ak-El, Satak-Akel, Is-Is Not. Anuiel is the Everlasting Ineffable Light, Sithis is the Corrupting Inexpressible Action. In the middle is the Gray Maybe ('Nirn' in the Ehlnofex).

In most cultures, Anuiel is honored for his part of the interplay that creates the world, but Sithis is held in highest esteem because he's the one that causes the reaction. Sithis is thus the Original Creator, an entity who intrinsically causes change without design. Even the hist acknowledge this being.

Anuiel is also perceived of as Order, opposed to the Sithis-Chaos. Perhaps it is easier for mortals to envision change than perfect stasis, for often Anuiel is relegated to the mythic background of Sithis' fancies. In Yokudan folk-tales, which are among the most vivid in the world, Satak is only referred to a handful of times, as �the Hum�; he is a force so prevalent as to be not really there at all.

In any case, from these two beings spring the et'Ada, or Original Spirits. To humans these et'Ada are the Gods and Demons; to the Aldmer, the Aedra/Daedra, or the 'Ancestors'. All of the Tamrielic pantheons fill their rosters from these et'Ada, though divine membership often differs from culture to culture. Like Anu and Padomay, though, every one of these pantheons contains the archetypes of the Dragon God and the Missing God.

The Dragon God and the Missing God

The Dragon God is always related to Time, and is universally revered as the �First God.� He is often called Akatosh, �whose perch from Eternity allowed the day.� He is the central God of the Cyrodilic Empire.

The Missing God is always related to the Mortal Plane, and is a key figure in the Human/Aldmeri schism. The 'missing' refers to either his palpable absence from the pantheon (another mental distress that is interpreted a variety of ways), or the removal of his 'divine spark' by the other immortals. He is often called Lorkhan, and his epitaphs are many, equally damnable and devout.

Note that Tamriel and the Mortal Plane do not exist yet. The Gray Maybe is still the playground of the Original Spirits. Some are more bound to Anu's light, others to the unknowable void. Their constant flux and interplay increase their number, and their personalities take long to congeal. When Akatosh forms, Time begins, and it becomes easier for some spirits to realize themselves as beings with a past and a future. The strongest of the recognizable spirits crystallize: Mephala, Arkay, Y'ffre, Magnus, Rupgta, etc., etc. Others remain as concepts, ideas, or emotions. One of the strongest of these, a barely formed urge that the others call Lorkhan, details a plan to create Mundus, the Mortal Plane.

Humans, with the exception of the Redguards, see this act as a divine mercy, an enlightenment whereby lesser creatures can reach immortality. Aldmer, with the exception of the Dark Elves, see this act as a cruel deception, a trick that sundered their connection to the spirit plane.

The Myth of Aurbis

Subtitled �The Psijiic Compensation,� �Mythic Aurbis� was an attempt by Artaeum apologists to explain the basics of Aldmeri religion to Uriel V in the early, glorious part of his reign. It quietly avoided any blame or bias against the Lorkhan-concept, which was still held in esteem by the Cyrodiils as �Shezarr�, the missing sibling of the Divines. Despite this, the Psijiici still give a nice summary of the Elder view, and it will serve our purposes here. This version comes from the archives of the Imperial Seminary from the handwritten notes of an unknown scribe.


Mythic Aurbis exists, and has existed from time without measure, as a fanciful Unnatural Realm.

'Aurbis' is used to connote the imperceptible Penumbra, the Gray Center between the IS/IS NOT of Anu and Padomay. It contains the multitude realms of Aetherius and Oblivion, as well as other, less structured forms.

The magical beings of Mythic Aurbis live for a long time and have complex narrative lives, creating the patterns of myth.

These are spirits made from bits of the immortal polarity. The first of these was Akatosh the Time Dragon, whose formation made it easier for other spirits to structure themselves. Gods and demons form and reform and procreate.

Finally, the magical beings of Mythic Aurbis told the ultimate story -- that of their own death. For some this was an artistic transfiguration into the concrete, non-magical substance of the world. For others, this was a war in which all were slain, their bodies becoming the substance of the world. For yet others, this was a romantic marriage and parenthood, with the parent spirits naturally having to die and give way to the succeeding mortal races.

The agent of this communal decision was Lorkhan, whom most early myths vilify as a trickster or deceiver. More sympathetic versions of this story point out Lorkhan as being the reason the mortal plane exists at all.

The magical beings created the races of the mortal Aurbis in their own image, either consciously as artists and craftsmen, or as the fecund rotting matter out of which the mortals sprung forth, or in a variety of other analogical senses.

The magical beings, then, having died, became the et'Ada. The et'Ada are the things perceived and revered by the mortals as gods, spirits, or geniuses of Aurbis. Through their deaths, these magical beings separated themselves in nature from the other magical beings of the Unnatural realms.

The Daedra were created at this time also, being spirits and Gods more attuned to Oblivion, or that realm closer to the Void of Padomay. This act is the dawn of the Mythic (Merethic) Era. It has been perceived by the earliest mortals many different ways, either as a joyous 'second creation', or (especially by the Elves) as a painful fracturing from the divine. The originator of the event is always Lorkhan.

Lorkhan

This Creator-Trickster-Tester deity is in every Tamrielic mythic tradition. His most popular name is the Aldmeri �Lorkhan,� or Doom Drum. He convinced or contrived the Original Spirits to bring about the creation of the Mortal Plane, upsetting the status quo much like his father Padomay had introduced instability into the universe in the Beginning Place. After the world is materialized, Lorkhan is separated from his divine center, sometimes involuntarily, and wanders the creation of the et'Ada. Interpretations of these events differ widely by culture. Below are some of the better known:

Yokudan, �Satakal the Worldskin�

�Satak was First Serpent, the Snake who came Before, and all the worlds to come rested in the glimmer of its scales. But it was so big there was nothing but, and thus it was coiled around and around itself, and the worlds to come slid across each other but none had room to breathe or even be. And so the worlds called to something to save them, to let them out, but of course there was nothing outside the First Serpent, so aid had to come from inside it; this was Akel, the Hungry Stomach. Akel made itself known, and Satak could only think about what it was, and it was the best hunger, so it ate and ate. Soon there was enough room to live in the worlds and things began. These things were new and they often made mistakes, for there was hardly time to practice being things before. So most things ended quickly or were not good or gave up on themselves. Some things were about to start, but they were eaten up as Satak got to that part of its body. This was a violent time.

�Pretty soon Akel caused Satak to bite its own heart and that was the end. The hunger, though, refused to stop, even in death, and so the First Serpent shed its skin to begin anew. As the old world died, Satakal began, and when things realized this pattern so did they realize what their part in it was. They began to take names, like Ruptga or Tuwhacca, and they strode about looking for their kin. As Satakal ate itself over and over, the strongest spirits learned to bypass the cycle by moving at strange angles. They called this process the Walkabout, a way of striding between the worldskins. Ruptga was so big that he was able to place the stars in the sky so that weaker spirits might find their way easier. This practice became so easy for the spirits that it became a place, called the Far Shores, a time of waiting until the next skin.

�Ruptga was able to sire many children through the cycles and so he became known as the Tall Papa. He continued to place stars to map out the void for others, but after so many cycles there were almost too many spirits to help out. He made himself a helper from the detritus of past skins and this was Sep, or Second Serpent. Sep had much of the Hungry Stomach still left in him, multiple hungers from multiple skins. He was so hungry he could not think straight. Sometimes he would just eat the spirits he was supposed to help, but Tall Papa would always reach in and take them back out. Finally, tired of helping Tall Papa, Sep went and gathered the rest of the old skins and balled them up, tricking spirits to help him, promising them this was how you reached the new world, by making one out of the old. These spirits loved this way of living, as it was easier. No more jumping from place to place. Many spirits joined in, believing this was good thinking. Tall Papa just shook his head.

�Pretty soon the spirits on the skin-ball started to die, because they were very far from the real world of Satakal. And they found that it was too far to jump into the Far Shores now. The spirits that were left pleaded with Tall Papa to take them back. But grim Ruptga would not, and he told the spirits that they must learn new ways to follow the stars to the Far Shores now. If they could not, then they must live on through their children, which was not the same as before. Sep, however, needed more punishment, and so Tall Papa squashed the Snake with a big stick. The hunger fell out of Sep's dead mouth and was the only thing left of the Second Serpent. While the rest of the new world was allowed to strive back to godhood, Sep could only slink around in a dead skin, or swim about in the sky, a hungry void that jealously tried to eat the stars.�

Cyrodilic "Shezarr's Song"

�This was a new thing that Shezarr described to the Gods, becoming mothers and fathers, being responsible, and making great sacrifices, with no guarantee of success, but Shezarr spoke beautifully to them, and moved them beyond mystery and tears. Thus the Aedra gave free birth to the world, the beasts, and the beings, making these things from parts of themselves. This free birth was very painful, and afterwards the Aedra were no longer young, and strong, and powerful, as they had been from the beginning of days.

�Some Aedra were disappointed and bitter in their loss, and angry with Shezarr, and with all creation, for they felt Shezarr had lied and tricked them. These Aedra, the Gods of the Aldmer, led by Auri-El, were disgusted by their enfeebled selves, and by what they had created. 'Everything is spoiled, for now, and for all time, and the most we can do is teach the Elven Races to suffer nobly, with dignity, and chastise ourselves for our folly, and avenge ourselves upon Shezarr and his allies.' Thus are the Gods of the Elves dark and brooding, and thus are the Elves ever dissatisfied with mortality, and always proud and stoic despite the harshness of this cruel and indifferent world.

�Other Aedra looked upon creation, and were well pleased. These Aedra, the Gods of Men and Beast Folk, led by Akatosh, praised and cherished their wards, the Mortal Races. 'We have suffered, and are diminished, for all time, but the mortal world we have made is glorious, filling our hearts and spirits with hope. Let us teach the Mortal Races to live well, to cherish beauty and honor, and to love one another as we love them.' Thus are the Gods of Men tender and patient, and thus are Men and Beast Folk great in heart for joy or suffering, and ambitious for greater wisdom and a better world.

�Now when the Daedra Lords heard Shezarr, they mocked him, and the other Aedra. 'Cut parts of ourselves off? And lose them? Forever? That's stupid! You'll be sorry! We are far smarter than you, for we will create a new world out of ourselves, but we will not cut it off, or let it mock us, but we will make this world within ourselves, forever ours, and under our complete control.'

�So the Daedra Lords created the Daedric Realms, and all the ranks of Lesser Daedra, great and small. And, for the most part, the Daedra Lords were well pleased with this arrangement, for they always had worshippers and servants and playthings close to hand. But, at the same time, they sometimes looked with envy upon the Mortal Realms, for though mortals were foul and feeble and contemptible, their passions and ambitions were also far more surprising and entertaining than the antics of the Lesser Daedra. Thus do the Daedra Lords court and seduce certain amusing specimens of the Mortal Races, especially the passionate and powerful. It gives the Daedra Lords special pleasure to steal away from Shezarr and the Aedra the greatest and most ambitious mortals. 'Not only are you fools to mutilate yourselves,' gloat the Daedra Lords, 'But you cannot even keep the best pieces, which prefer the glory and power of the Daedra Lords to the feeble vulgarity of the mush-minded Aedra.'�

Altmeri �The Heart of the World�

�Anu encompassed, and encompasses, all things. So that he might know himself he created Anuiel, his soul and the soul of all things. Anuiel, as all souls, was given to self-reflection, and for this he needed to differentiate between his forms, attributes, and intellects. Thus was born Sithis, who was the sum of all the limitations Anuiel would utilize to ponder himself. Anuiel, who was the soul of all things, therefore became many things, and this interplay was and is the Aurbis.

�At first the Aurbis was turbulent and confusing, as Anuiel's ruminations went on without design. Aspects of the Aurbis then asked for a schedule to follow or procedures whereby they might enjoy themselves a little longer outside of perfect knowledge. So that he might know himself this way, too, Anu created Auriel, the soul of his soul. Auriel bled through the Aurbis as a new force, called time. With time, various aspects of the Aurbis began to understand their natures and limitations. They took names, like Magnus or Mara or Xen. One of these, Lorkhan, was more of a limit than a nature, so he could never last long anywhere.

�As he entered every aspect of Anuiel, Lorkhan would plant an idea that was almost wholly based on limitation. He outlined a plan to create a soul for the Aurbis, a place where the aspects of aspects might even be allowed to self-reflect. He gained many followers; even Auriel, when told he would become the king of the new world, agreed to help Lorkhan. So they created the Mundus, where their own aspects might live, and became the et'Ada.

�But this was a trick. As Lorkhan knew, this world contained more limitations than not and was therefore hardly a thing of Anu at all. Mundus was the House of Sithis. As their aspects began to die off, many of the et'Ada vanished completely. Some escaped, like Magnus, and that is why there are no limitations to magic. Others, like Y'ffre, transformed themselves into the Ehlnofey, the Earthbones, so that the whole world might not die. Some had to marry and make children just to last. Each generation was weaker than the last, and soon there were Aldmer. Darkness caved in. Lorkhan made armies out of the weakest souls and named them Men, and they brought Sithis into every quarter.

�Auriel pleaded with Anu to take them back, but he had already filled their places with something else. But his soul was gentler and granted Auriel his Bow and Shield, so that he might save the Aldmer from the hordes of Men. Some had already fallen, like the Chimer, who listened to tainted et'Ada, and others, like the Bosmer, had soiled Time's line by taking Mannish wives.

�Auriel could not save Altmora, the Elder Wood, and it was lost to Men. They were chased south and east to Old Ehlnofey, and Lorkhan was close behind. He shattered that land into many. Finally Trinimac, Auriel's greatest knight, knocked Lorkhan down in front of his army and reached in with more than hands to take his Heart. He was undone. The Men dragged Lorkhan's body away and swore blood vengeance on the heirs of Auriel for all time.

�But when Trinimac and Auriel tried to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan it laughed at them. It said, �This Heart is the heart of the world, for one was made to satisfy the other.� So Auriel fastened the thing to an arrow and let it fly long into the sea, where no aspect of the new world may ever find it.�

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Tsrazami asks you to send to Tsrazami all who wish to contact us. Our shadow falls on our free brothers here in Vvardenfell. Do as Tsrazami asks and you may join us soon.

Tsrazami
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Mixed Unit Tactics in the Five Years War
Volume One
By Codus Callonus



The Legions could learn from the unconventional tactics used by the Khajiit in the Five Years War against Valenwood. I was stationed at the Sphinxmoth Legion Fort on the border near Dune and witnessed many of the northern skirmishes firsthand.

The war started with the so-called "Slaughter of Torval." The Khajiit claim that the Bosmer invaded the city without provocation and killed over a thousand citizens before being driven off by reinforcements from a nearby jungle tribe. The Bosmer claim that the attack was in retaliation for Khajiti bandits who were attacking wood caravans headed for Valenwood.

In the spring of 3E 396 the war moved closer to Fort Sphinxmoth. I was posted on lookout and saw parts of the conflict. I later spoke with both Khajiit and Bosmer who fought in the battle, and it will serve as an excellent example of how the Khajiit used a mixture of ground and tree units to win the war.

The Khajiit began the fight in an unusual way by sending tree-cutting teams of Cathay-raht and the fearsome Senche-raht or "Battlecats" into the outskirts of Valenwood's forests. When word reached the Bosmer that trees were being felled (allegedly a crime in the strange Bosmeri religion), a unit of archers were dispatched from larger conflicts in the south. The Bosmer were thus goaded into splitting their forces into smaller groups.

The Bosmer archers took up positions in the remaining trees whose branches were now twenty or more feet apart, allowing some light into the forest floor. The Bosmer bent the remaining trees with their magics into small fortifications from which to fire their bows.

When the tree-cutters arrived the next morning, a half dozen Khajiit fell to the Bosmer arrows in the first volley. After that the Khajiit took large wooden shields from the backs of the Senche-raht and made a crude shelter. The Khajiit, even the enormous Senche-raht, were able to hide between this shelter and one of the larger trees. When it became apparent that the Khajiit would not leave their shelter, some Bosmer choose to descend and engage the Khajiit sword-to-claw.

When the Bosmer were nearly upon the shelter, one of the Khajiit began playing on a native instrument of plucked metal bars. This was a signal of some kind, and a small group of the man-like Ohmes and Ohmes-raht emerged from covered holes on the forest floor. Although outnumbered, they were attacking from behind by surprise and won the ground quickly.

The Bosmer archers in the trees would have still won the battle were they not having troubles of their own. A group of Dagi and Dagi-raht, two of the less common forms of Khajiit who live in the trees of the Tenmar forest, jumped from one tree to another under a magical cover of silence. They took up positions in the higher branches that could not hold a Bosmer's weight. When the signal came, they used their claws and either torches or spells of fire (accounts from the two survivors I spoke with vary on this point) to distract the archers while the battle on the ground took place. A few of the archers were able to flee, but most were killed.

Apparently the Dagi and Dagi-raht have more magical ability than is widely believed if they were able to keep themselves magically silenced for so long. One of the surviving Bosmer told me that he saw a few ordinary cats among the Dagi and even claimed that these ordinary cats are known as 'Alfiq' and that they were the spellcasters, but Bosmer are almost as unreliable as the Khajiit when it comes to the truth, and I cannot believe that a housecat can cast spells.

At the end of the day the Khajiit lost perhaps a half-dozen fighters out a force of no more than four dozen, while the Bosmer lost nearly an entire company of archers. The survivors were unable to report back before a second company of archers arrived and this strategy was repeated again, with similar results. Finally, a much larger force was sent and the Bosmer won that battle with the help of the native animals of Valenwood. That third skirmish and the Khajiti response I will discuss in the second volume of this series.
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Mysterious Akavir



Akavir means �Dragon Land�. Tamriel means "Dawn's Beauty." Atmora means �Elder Wood�. Only the Redguards know what Yokuda ever meant.

Akavir is the kingdom of the beasts. No Men or Mer live in Akavir, though Men once did. These Men, however, were eaten long ago by the vampiric Serpent Folk of Tsaesci. Had they not been eaten, these Men would have eventually migrated to Tamriel. The Nords left Atmora for Tamriel. Before them, the Elves had abandoned Aldmeris for Tamriel. The Redguards destroyed Yokuda so they could make their journey. All Men and Mer know Tamriel is the nexus of creation, where the Last War will happen, where the Gods unmade Lorkhan and left their Adamantine Tower of secrets. Who knows what the Akaviri think of Tamriel, but ask yourself: why have they tried to invade it three times or more?

There are four major nations of Akavir: Kamal, Tsaesci, Tang Mo, and Ka Po' Tun. When they are not busy trying to invade Tamriel, they are fighting with each other.
Kamal is �Snow Hell�. Demons live there, armies of them. Every summer they thaw out and invade Tang Mo, but the brave monkey-folk always drive them away. Once Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, a king among demons, attempted to conquer Morrowind, but Almalexia and the Underking destroyed him at Red Mountain.

Tsaesci is �Snake Palace�, once the strongest power in Akavir (before the Tiger-Dragon came). The serpent-folk ate all the Men of Akavir a long time ago, but still kind of look like them. They are tall, beautiful (if frightening), covered in golden scales, and immortal. They enslave the goblins of the surrounding isles, who provide labor and fresh blood. The holdings of Tsaesci are widespread. When natives of Tamriel think of the Akaviri they think of the Serpent-Folk, because one ruled the Cyrodilic Empire for four hundred years in the previous era. He was Potentate Versidue-Shaie, assassinated by the Morag Tong.

Tang Mo is the �Thousand Monkey Isles�. There are many breeds of monkey-folk, and they are all kind, brave, and simple (and many are also very crazy). They can raise armies when they must, for all of the other Akaviri nations have, at one time or another, tried to enslave them. They cannot decide who they hate more, the Snakes or the Demons, but ask one, and he will probably say, �Snakes�. Though once bitter enemies, the monkey-folk are now allies with the tiger-folk of Ka Po' Tun.

Ka Po' Tun is the �Tiger-Dragon's Empire�. The cat-folk here are ruled by the divine Tosh Raka, the Tiger-Dragon. They are now a very great empire, stronger than Tsaesci (though not at sea). After the Serpent-Folk ate all the Men, they tried to eat all the Dragons. They managed to enslave the Red Dragons, but the black ones had fled to (then) Po Tun. A great war was raged, which left both the cats and the snakes weak, and the Dragons all dead. Since that time the cat-folk have tried to become the Dragons. Tosh Raka is the first to succeed. He is the largest Dragon in the world, orange and black, and he has very many new ideas.

�First,� Tosh Raka says, �is that we kill all the vampire snakes.� Then the Tiger-Dragon Emperor wants to invade Tamriel.

157bk_Mysticism

Mysticism
The Unfathomable Voyage
by Tetronius Lor



Mysticism is the school of sorcery least understood by the magical community and the most difficult to explain to novice mages. The spell effects commonly ascribed to the School of Mysticism are as extravagantly disparate as Soul Trap, the creation of a cell that would hold a victim's spirit after death, to Telekinesis, the manipulation of objects at a distance. But these effects are simply that: effects. The sorcery behind them is veiled in a mystery that goes back to the oldest civilizations of Tamriel, and perhaps beyond.

The Psijics of the Isle of Artaeum have a different term for Mysticism: the Old Way. The phrase becomes bogged in semantic quagmire because the Old Way also refers to the religion and customs of the Psijics, which may or may not be part of the magic of Mysticism.

There are few mages who devote their lives to the study of Mysticism. The other schools are far more predictable and ascertainable. Mysticism seems to derive power from its conundrums and paradoxes; the act of experimentation, no matter how objectively implemented, can influence magicka by its very existence. Therefore the Mystic mage must consign himself to finding dependable patterns within a roiling imbroglio of energy. In the time it takes him to devise an enchantment with a consistent trigger and result, his peers in the other schools may have researched and documented dozens of new spells and effects. The Mystic mage must thus be a patient and relatively uncompetitive philosopher.

For centuries, mostly during the Second Era, scholarly journals published theory after theory about the aspect or aspects of magicka lumped together under Mysticism. In the Mages Guild's tradition of finding answers to all things, respected researchers suggested that Mysticism's penultimate energy source was the Aetherius Itself, or else Daedric Beings of unimaginable power -- either rationale would explain the seemingly random figurations of Mysticism. Some even ventured that Mysticism arose from the unused elements of successfully, or even unsuccessfully, cast spells. Discussion within the Order of Psijics after Artaeum's reappearance has led some scholars to postulate that Mysticism is less spiritual in nature as was originally supposed, and that either the intellect or the emotional state of the believer is sufficient to influence its energy configuration and flow.

None of these explanations is truly satisfactory taken by itself. For the beginning student of Mysticism, it is best simply to learn the patterns distinguishable in the maelstrom of centuries past. The more patterns are discovered, the clearer the remaining ones become. Until, of course, they change. For inevitably they have to. And then the journey begins anew.

158bk_nchunaksfireandfaith

Nchunak's Fire and Faith



[This book is a translated account of Nchunak's travels among the various colonies of the Dwemer explaining the theories of Kagrenac.]

I made inquiry as to the state of enlightenment among the people he spoke for. He answered that with respect to the theories of Kagrenac, there was but one scholar near who could guide the people through the maze that leads to true misunderstanding.

He informed me, however, that in Kherakah the precepts of Kagrenac were taught. He said that nothing pleased him more than to see the Dwemer of Kherakah, the most learned people in the world, studying Kagrenac's words and giving consideration to their place in the life to come, and where neither planar division nor the numeration of amnesia nor any other thing of utility was more valued than the understanding of the self and its relationship to the Heart.

I was gracious enough to receive this as a high compliment, and, removing my helm, I thanked him and departed with an infinity of bows.

159bk_nemindasordersSOZZOF IFNLIVW GL YV LKVMRMT IVGSZM NZMLI ZH GSVRI MVCG HGILMTSLOW
OOVGSIR YVORVEVH SV ULFMW VERWVMXV ULI ROOVTZO SOZZOF VYLMB HSRKNVMGH UILN XZOWVIZ
HVMW ZTVMG GL HKVZP DRGS OOVGSIR ZMW HVMW ZTVMG GL DZGXS IVGSZM
ZGSBM DROO FHV RMUOFVMXV DRGS WFPV GL YOLXP XLMGIZXGH RU KLHHRYOV
160bk_Nerano

Moris,

You boys better clear out. Our position was given away and we were raided by that bastard Goris. He sent a small band of the dead to Dralas and wiped out all but Luven. He was able to make it back here to Nelas to warn us. We are clearing out and heading for a new location. I suggest you and your boys get out of there as soon as possible. We have a snitch in our organisation. You let me find out who it is and I'll feed their flesh to the crabs. It seems as though he knows all of our raiding routes. It's just a matter of time before Goris sends them damned and dead your way. I'll never turn those goods over to that necro. What's fair is fair and he had to pay up. You know where I'm coming from. I'm sending Ursine to deliver this message to you. She will deliver a key so you can gain entry into the rendezvous point. See you soon and good luck brother.

Bakarak
161bk_NerevarineNotice

WELL-BELOVED PEOPLE OF MORROWIND!
TAKE HEED!
TAKE WARNING!



The outlaw named %PCName, stated trade of %PCClass, lately called 'Incarnate' and 'Nerevarine,' now is shown to the investigating Ordinators and Magistrates of this district to be an agent in the pay of the Imperial Intelligence Service. This outlaw's claims are false. The prophecies this outlaw cites are discredited. The dishonest character and base purposes of the outlaw in perpetrating this hoax are now made clear to all observers. %PCName is sought for various crimes by Ordinators and town guards. Report all encounters with this outlaw to the proper authorities. If you see this outlaw in public, give the alarm.

Published by the authority of the Temple, the Order of the Watch, Magistrates of Vvardenfel District, under the signature and authority of Grandmaster Berel Sala, Captain of the Watch. Hear and Heed!
162bk_NerevarMoonandStar

Nerevar Moon-and-Star



[This is a selection from a series of monographs by various Imperial scholars on Ashlander legends.]

In ancient days, the Deep Elves and a great host of outlanders from the West came to steal the land of the Dunmer. In that time, Nerevar was the great khan and warleader of the House People, but he honored the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and became as one of us.

So, when Nerevar pledged upon his great Ring of the Ancestors, One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, to honor the ways of the Spirits and rights of the Land, all the Tribes joined the House People to fight a great battle at Red Mountain.

Though many Dunmer, Tribesman and Houseman, died at Red Mountain, the Dwemer were defeated and their evil magicks destroyed, and the outlanders driven from the land. But after this great victory, the power-hungry khans of the Great Houses slew Nerevar in secret, and, setting themselves up as gods, neglected Nerevar's promises to the Tribes.

But it is said that Nerevar will come again with his ring, and cast down the false gods, and by the power of his ring will make good his promises to the Tribes, to honor the Spirits and drive the outsiders from the land.
163bk_NGastaKvataKvakis_c

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!



[an obscure text in the language of the Sload, purportedly written by the Second Era Western necromancer, N'Gasta.]

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! ahkstas so novajxletero (oix jhemile) so Ranetauw. Ricevas gxin pagintaj membrauw kaj aliaj individuauw, kiujn iamaniere tusxas so raneta aktivado. En gxi aperas informauw unuavice pri so lokauw so cxiumonataj kunvenauw, sed nature ankoix pri aliaj aktuasoj aktivecauw so societo. Ne malofte enahkstas krome plej diversaspekta materialo eduka oix distra.

So interreta Kvako (retletera kaj verjheauw) ahkstas unufsonke alternativaj kanasouw por distribui so enhavon so papera Kva! Kvak!. Sed alifsonke so enhavauw so diversaj verjheauw antoixvible ne povas kaj ecx ne vus cxiam ahksti centprocente so sama. En malvaste cirkusonta paperfolio ekzemple ebsos publikigi ilustrajxauwn, kiuj pro kopirajtaj kiasouw ne ahkstas uzebsoj en so interreto. Alifsonke so masoltaj kostauw reta distribuo forigas so spacajn limigauwn kaj permahksas pli ampleksan enhavon, por ne paroli pri gxishora aktualeco.

Tiuj cirkonstancauw rahkspeguligxos en so aspekto so Kvakoa, kiu ja cetere servos ankoix kiel gxeneraso retejo so ranetauw.
164bk_NGastaKvataKvakis_o

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!



[an obscure text in the language of the Sload, purportedly written by the Second Era Western necromancer, N'Gasta.]

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! ahkstas so novajxletero (oix jhemile) so Ranetauw. Ricevas gxin pagintaj membrauw kaj aliaj individuauw, kiujn iamaniere tusxas so raneta aktivado. En gxi aperas informauw unuavice pri so lokauw so cxiumonataj kunvenauw, sed nature ankoix pri aliaj aktuasoj aktivecauw so societo. Ne malofte enahkstas krome plej diversaspekta materialo eduka oix distra.

So interreta Kvako (retletera kaj verjheauw) ahkstas unufsonke alternativaj kanasouw por distribui so enhavon so papera Kva! Kvak!. Sed alifsonke so enhavauw so diversaj verjheauw antoixvible ne povas kaj ecx ne vus cxiam ahksti centprocente so sama. En malvaste cirkusonta paperfolio ekzemple ebsos publikigi ilustrajxauwn, kiuj pro kopirajtaj kiasouw ne ahkstas uzebsoj en so interreto. Alifsonke so masoltaj kostauw reta distribuo forigas so spacajn limigauwn kaj permahksas pli ampleksan enhavon, por ne paroli pri gxishora aktualeco.

Tiuj cirkonstancauw rahkspeguligxos en so aspekto so Kvakoa, kiu ja cetere servos ankoix kiel gxeneraso retejo so ranetauw.
165bk_note

I am forever swimming around, amidst this ocean world we call home. My limbs grow weak and weary as my eyes drift skyward in defeat. I remember how warm the earth felt, as I lived and breathed next to her beating heart. I remember enough to keep searching through an ocean of tears, raised to astronomical depths. My dreams offer solace, where I return to distant, faded times. Through trees entwined with cool autumn air, my sorrow is lured by fragrant, bittersweet memories. I am at home as much as my world and consciousness allow. I remember falling into the most beautiful lake I've ever experienced. She swallowed me whole, like a droplet, and I was enraptured and enwombed within her bliss. The lonely windswept desert sky of my soul was filled by her luminous stars and warmed by her sunlit radiance. I gazed downward in awe and saw it all reflected in the shimmering ripples dancing and playing about the surface. It appeared to me as real as the very wonders it was reflecting. I stepped forward to prove to no one and everyone that they were, by belief. For an aching instant I was betwixt the two and the summation. Confusion befell me and I fell through, only to realize I hadn't entered the lake, I had left it. With all of my remaining life I howled at the heavens and collapsed, like a star on the shores of my youth, as my life's breath wandered away from the home it had harbored. I have been drowning on dry land ever since.

I lay there, coital, for heaven knows how long. I felt eons ebb and flow in the spans of seconds. I lived as intently as I could in those endless instants, as the boredom of -after- droned on and on. The fires of my heart grew dim and became only the faintest embers of the roaring blaze they had once been. My limbs, heavy with the weight of the world, protested. I felt the longing of this life which slowly began to ease the agony in my heart. As I was gradually nursed back to health, knowledge of record and history tried desperately to fill the yawning, nauseous chasm of my soul. I began to know the deadpan search for freedom and forgetfulness, and I released the hold on my life. Though it still lurched, pained, in front of me, I just stared back with tired, vacant eyes as if watching the most fascinating of nothing. My mind drifted, only to be slammed back reluctantly, repeatedly, and painfully by those I vaguely remember knowing, as if from a different life and age. I try, in vain, to forgive and forget myself as I paste on those plaster smiles and strain to look levelly. I remember. I forget. I forget again. I remember less. I am saddened at the thought that I have forgotten. I am not who I used to be. Though it pained me so, I was never so real as those lonely, lost times of my undoing. I am torn asunder at the thought of losing forever that, which has changed my life eternally, and that which I fear in the depths of my soul will never be again. That, which has gifted me with more pain than I have ever known in all of my lives or all of the lives that I know through my own.

Who am I to ask this of you?
166bk_notebyaryon

[This paper is filled with cryptic notes taken by Master Aryon while reading NGasta! Kvata! Kvakis!]
167bk_notefrombashuk

Bugrol

Stay where you are going. Will look for you there. Who is the stupid %PCRace anyway? Don't tell about what we didn't do that townbosses know we did. Better that way. Shhh.

Bashuk
168bk_notefromberwen

Dear Sir,

I have received your order for a single-sized bed and have requested that one be delivered straight from my supplier in Sadrith Mora. Assuming the raiding parties don't get to it, it should arrive shortly within a fortnight. I hope you enjoy your new residence in Vos and if there is anything else I can help you with, do not hesitate to let me know.

Berwen
169bk_notefrombildren

Green Lichen

Muck

Potions???
170bk_notefrombugrol

Bashuk

Help. Stuck in woods because swordsmacking townbosses think I did what we did but they shouldn't know. Keep Secret!!! Come get me soon as possible when you can now. I am hiding by the tree near a rock and another rock. It was raining. I am good at hiding, so if you don't see me, that's where I am. Come now.

Bugrol

p.s. If I'm not where I'm hiding, look in another place.
171bk_notefromernil

Tsiya -

Here's your stuff. Sorry I couldn't stay and chat with you, but it's not always a good idea for me to hang around, you know?

- Ernil
172bk_notefromferele

Green Lichen

Muck

Disease Curing Potions?

Bildren will pay well. Check with contacts.
173bk_notefromirgola

My dear friend Bashuk,

I have sent a final notice to Valvius. I'll write again when he gives me a response. Until then please sit tight. I predict it will be bashing time for you again soon enough.

Sincerely,
Irgola the Pawnbroker
174bk_NoteFromJ'Zhirr

To Do List:

Check on tomorrow's shipment.

Ask Ponius about leave.

Restock bottles for bookshelf.
175bk_notefromnelos

Maurrie,

Truly, I was enchanted with you from the moment I saw you. I beg your forgiveness for my past transgressions. While I cannot imagine what a woman of your beauty and breeding would see in a rogue such as me, I thank the gods that you have sent for me. I will come to you as soon as I can. Until then.

Yours,

Nelos
176bk_notefromradras

I've had about enough of this. Tell that rotten old hag to find another charity next time.

Radras
177bk_notefromsondaale

Looks Safe. Went down to scout it out.

Sondaale
178bk_notes-kagouti mating habits

Notes - Kagouti Mating Habits
Edras Oril



Observations made on wild kagouti in southeastern Morrowind.

Kagouti do not seem to travel in large packs, as previously believed. Perhaps they group into larger packs when mating season is imminent.

Females seem to be dominant sex. Males will bring gifts of food in exchange for mating advantage. Males sometimes attacked.

Loud vocalizations heard exchanged (believed to be from males), especially at night. Fascinating.

Males do not seem to engage in physical confrontation for reproductive rights. Some posturing, but no conflict.

All kagouti display increased aggressiveness during mating. Must be careful not to be seen.

Mating kagouti found to be increasingly territorial.

179bk_notesoldout

Sorry, I am temporarily out of stock of potions useful in the treatment of common physical ailments. Please check back at a later date.

Thank you for your patronage.

Bildren

180bk_NoteToAmaya

Amaya,

Sorry I missed you. I had to run some old documents over to the Inquisitor at the Ministry of Truth, and I'm likely to be tied up there for a while. Why don't you meet me there as soon as you can? Then we can leave together as soon as I'm done. And Amaya, don't forget to bring me the two Divine Intervention scrolls you borrowed. Or, if you used them, buy a couple of new ones for me. I think I'm going to need them soon. Janand Maulinie at the Mages Guild in the Foreign Quarter keeps them in stock.

Alvela Saram is the guard at the entrance; just tell her you're looking for me, and she'll let you in.

your faithful friend,
Mehra

PS: I left a couple of Levitate potions here for you, just in case. I couldn't remember if you knew the spell or not, so I drew a couple from stock.
181bk_notetocalderaguard

To all on duty guards:

Keep an eye trained on the Argonian called "Gold-Heart" at all times. He has been increasingly combative and resistant to authority lately, especially when in the presence of the Argonian females.

Elynea
182bk_notetocalderamages

Mages:

Please be judicious in your use of fire spells while guarding slaves deep in the mine. Often flammable gases are present and, as last week's incident indicates, even a small flame can spark a huge explosion. We don't know if Keseena will ever get that patch of fur back.

Stlennius

183bk_notetocalderaslaves

Rules:

Damage to company property will not be tolerated. If any further scratch marks are found on the bedposts, all miners will be given double shifts for the rest of the month.

No talking after sundown. No talking during feedings. No talking before sunrise.

Always obey the guards and mages promptly and without question.
184bk_notetoinorra

Inorra,

As punishment for last night's incident, you have been assigned to the mine's deep scouting position for all next week. I hope this will help you remember to always cover up after you are finished outside from now on.

Elyneaox
185bk_notetomalsa

Malsa,

Keep our special guest in the room behind the tapestry. Make sure the door is locked and that he is under guard at all times. If he escapes, I will blame you.

V
186bk_notetomenus

Menus,

Welcome to Vos. I thought I would drop these kwama eggs by as a housewarming gift but you weren't in. Feel free to drop by anytime and say hello. I hope you enjoy our town.

Ienasa
187bk_notetotelvon

Telvon,

Stay out. This place has some sort of enchantment on it. I only got out because I cast a mark spell here before I went inside. Meet me back in Vos. We'll have to seek our fortune elsewhere.

188bk_notetovalvius

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to inform you that your order for six more crates of Cyrodilic Brandy has been turned down due to your belated payment on the last shipment I sent you. As soon as I receive the balance owed of 3645 gold pieces, I will reconsider my current position. Please expedite your payment and we can avoid trouble from the local "authorities".

Sincerely,
Irgola the Pawnbroker
189bk_ocato_recommendation

To the esteemed Arch-Mage Trebonius Artorius, Guildmaster of Vvardenfell,

Upon receiving this letter, you will step down from your post and grant the title of Arch-Mage to %PCName. From this day forward, %PCName will handle all Guild matters in Vvardenfell. You may keep the title of Arch-Mage, but you will retire from active participation in the affairs of the Guild.

In the Emperor's Name,

Ocato
190bk_oldways

The Old Ways
by Celarus the Loremaster



We who know the Old Ways are well aware of the existence of a spiritual world invisible to the unenlightened. Just as one living in a kingdom but unaware of the political machinations underneath may see a new tax or battle preparation as the caprices of fortune, many observe floods, famines, and madness with helpless incomprehension. This is deplorable. As the great Cuilean Darnizhaan moaned, �The power of ignorance can shatter ebony like glass.�

What, after all, is the origin of these spiritual forces that move the invisible strings of Mundus? Any neophyte of Artaeum knows that these spirits are our ancestors -- and that, while living, they too were bewildered by the spirits of their ancestors, and so on back to the original Acharyai. The Daedra and gods to whom the common people turn are no more than the spirits of superior men and women whose power and passion granted them great influence in the afterworld.

Certainly this is our truth and our religion. But how does it help us in our sacred duty of seliffrnsae, or providing �grave and faithful counsel� to lesser men?

Primarily, it is easy to grasp the necessity both of endowing good men with great power and making powerful men good. We recognize the multiple threats that a strong tyrant represents -- breeds cruelty which feeds the Daedra Boethiah and hatred which feeds the Daedra Vaernima; if he should die having performed a particularly malevolent act, he may go to rule in Oblivion; and worst of all, he inspires other villains to thirst after power and other rulers to embrace villainy. Knowing this, we have developed patience in our dealings with such despots. They should be crippled, humiliated, impoverished, imprisoned. Other counsellors may advocate assassination or warfare -- which, aside from its spiritual insignificance, is expensive and likely to inflict at least as much pain on the innocents as the brutish dictator. No, we are intelligence gatherers, dignified diplomats -- not revolutionaries.

How, then, are our counsellors �faithful�? We are faithful only to the Old Ways -- it is essential always to remember the spiritual world while keeping our eyes open in the physical one. Performing the Rites of Moawita on the 2nd of Hearth Fire and the Vigyld on the 1st of Second Seed are essential means of empowering salutary spirits and debilitating unclean ones. How, then, are we at once faithful to those we counsel and to the Isle of Artaeum? Perhaps the sage Taheritae said it best: �In Mundus, conflict and disparity are what bring change, and change is the most sacred of the Eleven Forces. Change is the force without focus or origin. It is the duty of the disciplined Psijic [�Enlightened One�] to dilute change where it brings greed, gluttony, sloth, ignorance, prejudice, cruelty... [here Taheritae lists the rest of the 111 Prodigalities], and to encourage change where it brings excellence, beauty, happiness, and enlightenment. As such, the faithful counsel has but one master: His mind. If the man the Psijic counsels acts wickedly and brings oegnithr [�bad change�] and will otherwise not be counselled, it is the Psijic's duty to counterbalance the oegnithr by any means necessary [emphasis mine].�

A student of the Old Ways may indeed ally himself to a lord -- but it is a risky relationship. It cannot be stressed enough that the choice be wisely made. Should the lord refuse wise counsel and order the Psijic (to use Taheritae's outmoded word) to perform an act contrary to the teachings of the Old Ways, there are few available options. The Psijic may obey, albeit unwillingly, and fall prey to the dark forces against which he has devoted his life. The Psijic may abandon his lord, which will bring shame on him and the Isle of Artaeum, and so may never be allowed home again. Or the Psijic may simply kill himself.

191bk_OnMorrowind

On Morrowind
the Imperial Province
by Erramanwe of Sunhold



After the conquest of Hammerfell, Imperial legions massed along the northeastern borders of Cyrodiil, and invasion fleets prepared in Skyrim.

Initially, though the Imperial legions and navy were widely considered undefeatable, House Indoril and the Temple hierarchy proposed to resist to the death. Redoran and Dres stood by Indoril, with Telvanni remaining neutral. Hlaalu proposed accommodation.

Contrived border incidents in Black Marsh ended inconclusively, but the swampy terrain did not favor legion and navy coordination. Against the legions massed west of Silgrad Tower and Kragenmoor, and the legions west of Blacklight and Cormaris View, Morrowind had pitifully small militias stiffened by small companies of Redoran mercenaries and elite units of house nobles and Temple Ordinators and Armigers. Further complicating matters was the refusal of Indoril, Dres, Hlaalu, and Telvanni to garrison the western borders; Indoril and Dres proposed, rather than defend the western border, instead to withdraw to the interior and fight a guerilla war. With Hlaalu advocating accommodation, and Telvanni remaining neutral, Redoran therefore faced the prospect of standing alone against the Empire.

The situation changed radically when Vivec appeared in person in Vivec City to announce his negotiation of a treaty with Emperor Tiber Septim, reorganizing Morrowind as a province of the Empire, but guaranteeing "all rights of faith and self-government." A shocked Temple hierarchy, which apparently had not been consulted, greeted the announcement with awkward silence. Indoril swore they would resist to the death, with the loyal support of Dres, while Redoran, grateful for a graceful excuse to avoid facing the legions unsupported, joined with Hlaalu in welcoming the agreement. Telvanni, seeing which way the wind blew, joined with Hlaalu and Redoran in supporting the treaty.

Nothing is known of the circumstances of the personal meeting between Septim and Vivec, or where it took place, or the preliminaries which must have preceded the treaty. The public reason was to protect the identities of the agents involved. In the West, speculation has centered around the role of Zurin Arctus in brokering the agreement; in the East, rumors suggest that Vivec offered Numidium to aid in the conquest of the Altmer and Sumerset Isle in return for significant concessions to preserve self-rule, house traditions, and religious practices in Morrowind.

The Lord High Councilor of the Grand Council, an Indoril, refused to accept the treaty, and refused to step down. He was assassinated, and replaced by a Hlaalu. House Hlaalu took the opportunity to settle some old scores with House Indoril, and a number of local councils changed hands in bloody coups. More blood was shed in these inter-house struggles than against the Imperial Legions during Morrowind's transition from an independent nation to a province of the Empire.

The generals of the legions had dreaded an invasion of Morrowind. The Dunmer were widely regarded as the most dreadful and fanatic foes, further inspired by their Temple and clan traditions. The generals had not grasped the political weaknesses of Morrowind, which Emperor Tiber Septim recognized and exploited. At the same time, given the tragic depopulation and destruction experienced by the other provinces conquered by Septim, and the swift and efficient assimilation of Morrowind into the Imperial legal systems and economy, with relatively small impact on lower or upper classes of Morrowind's citizens, the Tribunal also deserves some credit for recognizing the hopelessness of Morrowind's defense, and the chance of gaining important concessions at the treaty table by being the first to offer peace.

By contrast, many Indoril nobles chose to commit suicide rather than submit to the Empire, with the result that the House was significantly weakened during the period of transition, guaranteeing that they would lose much of their influence and power to House Hlaalu, whose influence and power was waxing with its enthusiastic accommodation with the Empire. The Temple hierarchy more skillfully managed their loss of face, remaining aloof from political struggles, and earning the good will of the people by concentrating on their economic, educational, and spiritual welfare.

192bk_onoblivion

On Oblivion
by Morian Zenas



It is improper, however customary, to refer to the denizens of the dimension of Oblivion as �demons.� This practice probably dates to the Alessian Doctrines of the First Era prophet Marukh -- which, rather amusingly, forbade �trafficke with daimons� and then neglected to explain what daimons were.

It is most probable that �daimon� is a misspelling or etymological rendition of �Daedra,� the old Elven word for those strange, powerful creatures of uncertain motivation who hail from the dimension of Oblivion. (�Daedra� is actually the plural form; the singular is �Daedroth.�) In a later tract by King Hale the Pious of Skyrim, almost a thousand years after the publication of the original Doctrines, the evil machinations of his political enemies are compared to �the wickedness of the demons of Oblivion... their depravity equals that of Sanguine itself, they are cruel as Boethiah, calculating as Molag Bal, and mad as Sheogorath.� Hale the Pious thus long-windedly introduced four of the Daedra lords to written record.

But the written record is not, after all, the best way to research Oblivion and the Daedra who inhabit it. Those who �trafficke with daimons� seldom wish it to be a matter of public account. Nevertheless, scattered throughout the literature of the First Era are diaries, journals, notices for witch burnings, and guides for Daedra-slayers. These I have used as my primary source material. They are at least as trustworthy as the Daedra lords I have actually summoned and spoken with at length.

Apparently, Oblivion is a place composed of many lands -- thus the many names for which Oblivion is synonymous: Coldharbour, Quagmire, Moonshadow, etc. It may be correctly supposed that each land of Oblivion is ruled over by one prince. The Daedra princes whose names appear over and over in ancient records (though this is not an infallible test of their authenticity or explicit existence, to be sure) are the afore-mentioned Sanguine, Boethiah, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath, and in addition, Azura, Mephala, Clavicus Vile, Vaernima, Malacath, Hoermius (or Hermaeus or Hormaius or Herma -- there seems to be no one accepted spelling) Mora, Namira, Jyggalag, Nocturnal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Peryite.

From my experience, Daedra are a very mixed lot. It is almost impossible to categorize them as a whole except for their immense power and penchant for extremism. Be that as it may, I have here attempted to do so in a few cases, purely for the sake of scholastic expediency.

Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Peryite, Boethiah, and Vaernima are among the most consistently �demonic� of the Daedra, in the sense that their spheres seem to be destructive in nature. The other Daedra can, of course, be equally dangerous, but seldom purely for the sake of destruction as these five can. Nor are these previous five identical in their destructiveness. Mehrunes Dagon seems to prefer natural disasters -- earthquakes and volcanoes -- for venting his anger. Molag Bal elects the employment of other daedra, and Boethiah inspires the arms of mortal warriors. Peryite's sphere seems to be pestilence, and Vaernima's torture.

In preparation for the next instalment in this series, I will be investigating two matters that have intrigued me since I began my career as a Daedra researcher. The first is on one particular Daedroth, perhaps yet another Daedra prince, referred to in multiple articles of incunabula as Hircine. Hircine has been called �the Huntsman of the Princes� and �the Father of Man-beasts,� but I have yet to find anyone who can summon him. The other, and perhaps more doubtful, goal I have is to find a practical means for mortal men to pass through to Oblivion. It has always been my philosophy that we need only fear that which we do not understand -- and with that thought in mind, I ever pursue my objective.

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Galen,

I am passing along orders from Therana that two crates of steel armor be delivered to the tower before nightfall. She doesn't care how or where you get them, just have them there as soon as you can. Therana is very irritable and prone to rashness lately with all the rumors of the impending siege by Trerayna, and I would strongly advise you not to become a source of further irritation by failing this duty. You will be compensated for your efforts of course.

Mollismo
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195bk_ordolegionis

Ordo Legionis



The most disciplined and effective military force in history, the Imperial Legions preserve the peace and rule of law in the Empire. At need, the legion garrisons can be swiftly mobilized to protect against invasions or internal disorders, but in Vvardenfell District of Morrowind, the local forts help to insure law and order, providing guards to supplement the local guard units of the Temple and Great Houses Hlaalu, Redoran, and Telvanni.

There are five legion garrisons in Vvardenfell District. The three town garrisons -- Moonmoth Legion Fort in Balmora, Buckmoth Legion Fort in Ald'ruhn, and Fort Pelagiad in Pelagiad -- are at full complement. The Hawkmoth Legion garrisoned at Castle Ebonheart is an elite honor guard unit, and also at full complement. The frontier installation, Fort Darius in Gnisis village, is currently the only under-strength garrison on Vvardenfell. Qualified citizens seeking enlistment in the Imperial Legion should apply to the commander of that garrison, General Darius.

The Legion selects candidates on the basis of superior endurance, the soldierly virtue, and trustworthy personality, the citizen's virtue, for service in the Legion is the model for the duties of Imperial citizenship. Troopers are expected to demonstrate mastery of the long blade, the spear, and blunt weapons. Legion troops train with shield and heavy armor, and so must be skilled at blocking and moving in heavy armor.

As a trooper or knight, you must master the long blade, spear, and blunt weapons. You must block whatever blows you can, and take unblocked blows upon your heavy armor. Recruit must also be proficient at athletics, both to march long distances with heavy packs, and to advance and maneuver, charge and retreat on the field of battle.

196bk_OriginOfTheMagesGuild

Origin of the Mages Guild
by The Archmage Salarth



The idea of a collection of Mages, Sorcerers, and assorted Mystics pooling their resources and talents for the purpose of research and public charity was a revolutionary concept in the early years of the Second Era. The only organization then closest in aim and structure to what we know today as the Mages Guild was the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum. At the time, magic was something to be learned by individuals, or at most within intimate covens. Mages were, if not actually hermits, usually quite solitary.

The Psijic Order served the rulers of Summurset Isle as counsellors, and chose its members through a complex, ritualized method not understood by outsiders. Its purposes and goals likewise went unpublished, and detractors attributed the worst evils as the source of the Order's power. Actually, the religion of the old Order could be described as ancestor worship, an increasingly unfashionable philosophy in the Second Era.

When Vanus Galerion, a Psijic of Artaeum and student of the famed Iachesis, began collecting magic-users from around Summurset Isle, he attracted the animosity of all. He was operating out of the urban center of Firsthold, and there was a common (and not entirely unfounded) attitude that magical experiments should be conducted only in unpopulated areas. Even more shocking, Galerion proposed to make magical items, potions, and even spells available to any member of the general public who could afford to pay. No longer was magic to be limited either to the aristocracy or intelligentsia.

Galerion was brought before Iachesis and the King of Firsthold, Rilis XII, and made to state the intentions of the fraternity he was forming. The fact that Galerion's speech to Rilis and Iachesis was not recorded for posterity is doubtless a tragedy, though it does afford opportunity for historians to amuse one another with speculation about the lies and persuasions Galerion might have used to found the ubiquitous organization. The charter, at any rate, was approved.

Almost immediately after the Guild was formed, the question of security had to be addressed. The Isle of Artaeum did not require force of arms to shield it from invaders -- when the Psijic Order does not wish someone to land on the Isle, it and all its inhabitants simply become insubstantial. The new Mages Guild, by contrast, had to hire guards. Galerion soon discovered what the Tamrielan nobility has known for thousands of years: Money alone does not buy loyalty. The knightly Order of the Lamp was formed the following year.

Like a tree from an acorn, the Mages Guild grew branches all over Summurset Isle and gradually the mainland of Tamriel. There are numerous records of superstitious or sensibly fearful rulers forbidding the Guild in their domains, but their heirs or heirs' heirs eventually recognized the wisdom of allowing the Guild free rein. The Mages Guild has become a powerful force in Tamriel, a dangerous foe if a somewhat disinterested ally. There have been only a few rare incidents of the Mages Guild actually becoming involved in local political struggles. On these occasions, the Guild's participation has been the ultimate decider in the conflict.

As begun by Vanus Galerion, the Mages Guild as an institution is presided over by a supreme council of six Archmagisters. Each Guildhall is run by a Guildmagister, assisted by a twofold counsel, the Master of Incunabula and the Master at Arms. The Master of Incunabula presides over an additional counsel of two mages, the Master of Academia and the Master of the Scrye. The Master at Arms also has a counsel of two, the Master of Initiates and the Palatinus, the leader of the local chapter of the Order of the Lamp.

One need not be a member of the Mages Guild to know that this carefully contrived hierarchy is often nothing more than a chimera. As Vanus Galerion himself said bitterly, leaving Tamriel to travel to other lands, �The Guild has become nothing more than an intricate morass of political infighting.�

197bk_OverviewOfGodsAndWorship

An Overview Of Gods and Worship In Tamriel
By Brother Hetchfeld



Editor's Note:
Brother Hetchfeld is an Associate Scribe at the Imperial University, Office of Introductory Studies

Gods are commonly judged upon the evidence of their interest in worldly matters. A central belief in the active participation of Deities in mundane matters can be challenged by the reference to apparent apathy and indifference on the part of Gods during times of plague or famine.

From intervention in legendary quests to manifestations in common daily life, no pattern for the Gods of Tamriel activities is readily perceived. The concerns of Gods in many ways may seem unrelated or at best unconcerned with the daily trials of the mortal realm. The exceptions do exist, however.

Many historical records and legends point to the direct intervention of one or more gods at times of great need. Many heroic tales recount blessings of the divinity bestowed upon heroic figures who worked or quested for the good of a Deity or the Deity's temple. Some of the more powerful artifacts in the known world were originally bestowed upon their owners through such reward. It has also been reported that priests of high ranking in their temples may on occasion call upon their Deity for blessings or help in time of need. The exact nature of such contact and the blessings bestowed is given to much speculation, as the temples hold such associations secret and holy. This direct contact gives weight to the belief that the Gods are aware of the mortal realm. In many circumstances, however, these same Gods will do nothing in the face of suffering and death, seeming to feel no need to interfere. It is thus possible to conclude that we, as mortals, may not be capable of understanding more than a small fraction of the reasoning and logic such beings use.

One defining characteristic of all Gods and Goddesses is their interest in worship and deeds. Deeds in the form of holy quests are just one of the many things that bring the attention of a Deity. Deeds in everyday life, by conforming to the statutes and obligations of individual temples are commonly supposed to please a Deity. Performance of ceremony in a temple may also bring a Deity's attention. Ceremonies vary according to the individual Deity. The results are not always apparent but sacrifice and offerings are usually required to have any hope of gaining a Deity's attention.

While direct intervention in daily temple life has been recorded, the exact nature of the presence of a God in daily mundane life is a subject of controversy. A traditional saying of the Wood Elves is that "One man's miracle is another man's accident." While some gods are believed to take an active part of daily life, others are well known for their lack of interest in temporal affairs.

It has been theorized that gods do in fact gain strength from such things as worship through praise, sacrifice and deed. It may even be theorized that the number of worshippers a given Deity has may reflect on His overall position among the other Gods. This my own conjecture, garnered from the apparent ability of the larger temples to attain blessings and assistance from their God with greater ease than smaller religious institutions.

There are reports of the existence of spirits in our world that have the same capacity to use the actions and deeds of mortals to strengthen themselves as do the Gods. The understanding of the exact nature of such creatures would allow us to understand with more clarity the connection between a Deity and the Deity's worshipers.

The implication of the existence of such spirits leads to the speculation that these spirits may even be capable of raising themselves to the level of a God or Goddess. Motusuo of the Imperial Seminary has suggested that these spirits may be the remains of Gods and Goddesses who through time lost all or most of their following, reverting to their earliest most basic form. Practioners of the Old Ways say that there are no Gods, just greater and lesser spirits. Perhaps it is possible for all three theories to be true.

198bk_PigChildren

The Pig Children
by Tyston Bane



No one -- not the oldest Dark Elf of Mount Dagoth-Ur or the Ancient Sage of Solitude himself -- can recall a time when the Orc did not ravage our fair Tamriel. Whatever foul and pestilent Daedra of Oblivion conjured them up could scarcely have created a more constant threat to the well-being of the civilized races of Tamriel than the obnoxious Orc.

Orcs are thankfully easy to recognize from other humanoids by their size -- commonly forty pertans in height and fifteen thousand angaids in weight -- their brutal pig-like features, and their stench. They are consistently belligerent, morally grotesque, intellectually moronic, and unclean. By all rights, the civilized races of Tamriel should have been able to purge the land of their blight eras ago, but their ferocity, animal cunning, and curious tribal loyalty have made them inevitable as leeches in a stagnant pool.

Tales of Orcish barbarity precede written record. When Jastyaga wrote of the Order of Diagna's joining the armies of Daggerfall and Sentinel �to hold at bay the wicked Orcs in their foul Orsinium fastness... and burn aught in cleansing flame� in 1E950, she assumed that any reader would be aware of the savagery of the Orcs. When the siege was completed thirty years later, after the death of many heroes including Gaiden Shinji, and the destruction of Orsinium scattered the Orcish survivors throughout the Wrothgarian Mountains, she further wrote, �The free peoples rejoiced for that their ancient fell enemy was dispersed into diverse parts.� Obviously, the Orcs had been terrorizing the region of the Iliac Bay at least since the early years of the First Era.

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The Pilgrim's Path



The pilgrim must visit each of the Shrines of the Seven Graces. At each site the pilgrim must stand before the three-sided stone triolith and read the inscription. To ease the pilgrim's task, the Temple has made this list of shrines along with directions and advice to pilgrims. The blessings of each shrine last at least a half day.

The Fields of Kummu: Shrine of Humility

Here Lord Vivec met a poor farmer whose guar had died. The farmer could not harvest his muck without his guar, and he could not provide for his family or his village. So the Lord Vivec removed his fine clothes and toiled in the fields like a beast of burden until the crop was harvested. It is at the Fields of Kummu we go to pray for the same humility Lord Vivec showed on that day.

The Fields of Kummu are west of Suran on the north shore of Lake Amaya as you head towards Pelagiad. The shrine is between two rocks, and most easily noticed while traveling east along the road. Alof's farm nearby has a small dock on the north bank of Lake Amaya. This is the only dock nearby which Alof kindly allows servants of the Temple to use. It is customary to leave a portion of muck at the shrine to represent Vivec's humility.

To Stop the Moon: The Shrine of Daring

When Sheogorath rebelled against the Tribunal, he tricked the moon Baar Dau into forsaking its appointed path through Oblivion. The Mad Star inspired the moon to hurl itself upon Vivec's new city, which Sheogorath claimed was built in mockery of the heavens. When Vivec learned of Sheogorath's scheme, he froze the rogue moon in the sky with a single gesture and the grace of his countenance. Overwhelmed by the courage and daring of Vivec, the moon Baar Dau swore itself to eternal service of the Tribunal and all its works. Thus the moon now stands guard over the palace, and serves as a citadel for the Temple's Ordinators.

The Shrine of Daring is found in the city of Vivec, in the Temple District, along the western wall of the High Fane, the great Temple of Vvardenfell. When you address the shrine, it is customary to leave behind a Potion of Rising Force. Suitable potions may be purchased from the Temple. Homemade potions are not acceptable.

The Palace: Shrine of Generosity

Long after Lord Nerevar and the Tribunal triumphed over Dagoth Ur, the people wished to build a monument to the heroes of that war. Vivec thanked them, but said that it would be better to dedicate a monument not only to the glorious heroes, but to all people, great and small, who suffered and died in the war. It became the custom to make offerings here, either in thanks of our good fortune, or for those less fortunate.

The Shrine of Generosity is on the top steps of Vivec's Palace, the southernmost Canton of Vivec City. The customary donation for those in good fortune is 100 gold.

The Puzzle Canal: The Shrine of Courtesy

In a battle with Mehrunes Dagon, Vivec gave his own silver longsword to the Daedra Lord rather than dishonor himself by fighting an unarmed foe. This so impressed the Dremora, the most honorable and chivalrous of Mehrunes Dagon's Daedric servants, that they now share a bond of respect and courtesy with the followers of the Tribunal, though we must never forget that they are our enemies.

The Shrine of Courtesy is found in the heart of the Puzzle Canal, a labyrinth beneath Lord Vivec's Palace in the city of Vivec. The journey though the Puzzle Canal can be confusing and it is suggested that common pilgrims carry a scroll of ALMSIVI Intervention in case they get lost. The Dremora Krazzt is found in the center of the Puzzle Canal, and will accept a plain silver longsword if spoken to with courtesy. After Krazzt accepts the sword, pilgrims must read the inscription on the triolith.

The Mask of Vivec: Shrine of Justice

Near the altar is Vivec's Ash Mask. In the Days of Fire when Dagoth Ur first crept back into Red Mountain and awakened it, Vivec led refugees here as they fled the ash and blight. Weary, they rested here a while. When Vivec awoke, he found himself and all his followers encased in casts of grey ash. Frozen like a sleeping statue and unable to free himself or help his people, Vivec was filled with despair. Vivec's tears weakened his ash cast. He tore the ash from his perished followers, breathed life into their lungs, and cured them of the blight. This is Vivec's heroism -- his tender heart provides strength when his might fails.

The Shrine of Justice is guarded within the Gnisis Temple, in the village of Gnisis, northwest by road from the town of Ald'ruhn. When you address the shrine, it is customary to leave a potion of Cure Common Disease as a token of your respect for justice. Suitable potions may be purchased from Temple. Homemade potions are not acceptable.

Koal Cave: The Shrine of Valor

Within the Koal Cave, Vivec fought a battle with Ruddy Man, the father of the Dreugh. When he defeated Ruddy Man, Vivec spared his life, on the condition that Ruddy Man and his children would give up their tough hides to serve as armor for the Dunmer.

The Shrine of Valor is inside the Koal Cave, a cavern on the seacoast west of the ancient stronghold Berandas and south of Gnisis. The cave mouth faces south, towards the sea, and is marked by a large natural arch of stone. The region is wilderness, and finding the cave mouth can be difficult. Dreugh within the cave itself are fearsome enemies; only experienced and capable adventurers should attempt to re-enact the epic battle with the dreugh in the cave. Dreugh wax may be bought at the Temple in Gnisis. When you address the shrine, it is customary to leave a portion of dreugh wax as a token of Vivec's victorious struggle with Ruddy Man.

The Ghostfence: The Shrine of Pride

The Ghostfence is a lasting symbol of the indomitable will and power of ALMSIVI, and a monument to Dunmer pride in overcoming its enemies.

The Shrine of Pride is found within the Ghostfence, just northeast of the Ghostgate itself. The safest route to Ghostgate is along the Foyada Mamaea, a volcanic ravine running from the top of Red Mountain southwest to its end just below Balmora. An old Dwemer bridge crosses the foyada near Fort Moonmoth. A pilgrim may follow the Foyada Mamaea all the way to Ghostgate. Any journey inside the Ghostfence is dangerous, but even the most timid pilgrim should be safe, so long as he does not stray too far from the Ghostgate and flees from any minions of Dagoth Ur. When you address the shrine, it is customary to leave a soul gem in remembrance of our ancestors who were bound to the Tribunal's service.

200bk_pillowinvoice

Imperial Bedding Supplies
Invoice

For immediate delivery to:

Drarayne Thelas
of Balmora in Vvardenfell

40 pillows

Shipped: 8th day of Morning Star, 3E426
201bk_poisonsong1

The Poison Song
Book I
By Bristin Xel



It was beginning again. Even though everything seemed serene (the last embers crackling in the hearth; young servant girl and her child slumbering in a chair by the door; a tapestry half-finished against the wall, waiting to be completed tomorrow; one of the moons visible through a milky cloud outside the window; a lone bird, out of sight in the rafters, cooing placidly), Tay heard the first chords of the Song strike dissonantly somewhere far away.

The bird in the rafters croaked and took flight through the window. The baby in the girl's arms woke and began to scream. The Song swelled in intensity, yet still remained subtle and stately in tempo. The movement of everything seemed to take on the rhythm of the music as if strange choreography had been staged: the girl rising to the window, the clouds reflecting back red from the inferno below, her scream, all muted, consumed by the Song. Everything that came thereafter Tay had seen so many times, it had almost ceased to be a nightmare.

He did not remember anything of his life before coming to the island of Gorne, but he understood that there was something different in his past that set him apart from his cousins. It wasn't simply that his parents were dead. His cousin Baynarah's parents had also died in the War. Nor were the other Housemen on Gorne or nearby Mournhold unusually cruel to him. They treated him with the same polite indifference that any Indoril has for every other eight-year-old boy that got underfoot.

But somehow, with absolutely certainty, Tay knew he was alone. Different. Because of a Song he always heard, and his nightmares.

�You're certainly imaginative,� his aunt Ulliah would smile patiently, before waving him away so she could return to her scriptures and chores.

�Different? Everyone in the world thinks they're 'different,' that's what makes it such a common sentiment,� said his older cousin Kalkorith who was studying to be Temple priest and had a firm grasp on paradoxes.

�If you tell anyone else that you keep hearing music where there's no music to be heard, they'll call you mad and bury you in the Shrine of Sheogorath,� his uncle Triffith would snarl, before striding away to attend his business.

Only his nursemaid Edebah would listen to him seriously, and just nod with a faint look of pride. But she would never say another word.

His cousin and chief playmate Baynarah was by far the least interested in the stories of his Song and his dreams.

"How tiresome you are with all this, Tay," said Baynarah, after luncheon the summer of his eighth year. He, she, and a younger cousin Vaster walked into a clearing in the midst of flowering trees. The grass was very low, barely up to their ankles, and there were big black piles of leaves from the previous autumn. �Now, shall we get back to it? What shall we play?"

Tay thought for a moment. "We could play the Siege of Orsinium."

"What's that?" asked Vaster, their constant companion, three years their junior.

"Orsinium was the home of the orcs, off in the Wrothgarian Mountains. For hundreds of years, it kept growing bigger and bigger and bigger. The orcs would come down out of the mountains and rape and pillage all over High Rock. And then, King Joile of Daggerfall and Gaiden Shinji of the Order of Diagna and someone else, I forget, from Sentinel all joined together against Orsinium. For thirty years they fought and fought. Orsinium had walls made out of iron and, try as they might, they couldn't break through."

"So what happened?" asked Baynarah.

"You're so good at making up things that never happened, why don't you make it up?"

So they did. Tay was the King of the Orcs, perched up in a tree they called Orsinium. Baynarah and Vaster played King Joile and Gaiden Shinji and they threw pebbles and sticks up at Tay while he taunted them in his most guttural voice. The three decided that the Goddess Kynareth (played by Baynarah in dual role) answered the prayers of Gaiden Shinji and drenched Orsinium in a torrent of rain. The walls rusted and dissolved. On cue, Tay obligingly fell from the tree and let King Joile and Gaiden Shinji mangle him with their enchanted blades.

For the most of that summer, the year 675 of the First Era, Tay was nearly insensible by the power of the sun. There were no clouds, but it rained most every night, so the vegetation on the island of Gorne was bewildering lush. The stones themselves seemed to glow with sunlight, and the ditches burned with white meadowsweet and parsleydown; all around him were soft smells of flower and tree untroubled by wind; the foliage was purple green, blue green, ash green, white green. The wide cupolas, twisting cobbled streets, and thatched roofs of the little village of Gorne, and massive bleached rock of Sandil House all were magical to him.

Yet the dreams haunted his nights and the Song continued whether he was awake or not.

Against Aunt Ulliah's admonishments, Tay, Baynarah, and Vaster had breakfast outdoors every morning with the servants. Ulliah would hold an interior breakfast for herself and any visiting dignitaries: guests were rare, so she often ate alone. At first the servants would dine in silence, attempting gentility, but they broke down and would regale the children with gossip, reports, stories, and rumors.

"Poor Arnyle is laid up with a fever again."

"I'm telling you, they're cursed. The whole lot of 'em. Piss on the faerie and they piss right back on you."

"Doesn't Little Miss Starsia look, oh, just a wee bit tight around the belly region late-ly?"

"She's not!"

The only servant who didn't speak at all was Tay's nursemaid Edebah. She wasn't pretty like the other maids, but the scars on her face did not deform her. Her poorly set broken nose and her short hair gave her a certain alien mystique. She would merely quietly smile at the gossip, and look at Tay with almost frightening love and devotion.

One day, after breakfast, Baynarah whispered to Tay and Vaster, "We have to go to the hills on the other side of the island."

She had used such imperatives before and always had something wonderful to show: a waterfall, tucked away behind ferns and tall rocks; a sunny grove of figs; a discreet still some peasants had set up; a sickly oak, twisted into a kneeling human figure; a collapsed stone wall that they imagined was thousands of years old, the last refuge of a doomed princess they named Merella.

The three walked across through the forest until they came to a clearing. A few hundred feet beyond, the meadow sank to a dry creek bed, filled with small, smooth stones. They followed that into the dark woods where trees canopied high over their heads. Sporadic red and yellow blossoms burst along the moist underbrush, but they became rarer and rarer as the children marched on under the umbrageous oaks and elms. The air crackled with birds ticking a staccato choral piece, a minor chord of the Song.

�Where are we going?� asked Tay.

�It's not where we're going, it's what we're going to see,� replied Baynarah.

The forest surrounded the three children completely, bathed them in its tenebrous hues, and breathed on them with wet chirrups and sighs. It was easy for them to imagine that they were within a monster, walking along its twisted spine of stones.

Baynarah scrambled up the steep hill and peered through the thick mass of shrub and tree. Tay lifted Vaster out of the creek bed and climbed out, gripping soft grass for support. There was no path through the forest here. Brambles and low hanging branches struck at them like the claws of chained beasts. The cries of the birds became ever more stentorious, as if angered at the invasion. One limb drew blood on Vaster's cheek, but he didn't cry out. Even Baynarah, who could pass like an ethereal creature through impenetrable forests, had a braid catch on a bramble, ruining the intricate pattern a servant had woven hours before. She paused to pull out the other braid, so her bright unruly tresses fell freely behind her. Now she was something wild, a nymph guiding the other two through her woodland domain. The Song began to beat like a wild pulse.

They were on a shelf of stone below a cliff overlooking a tremendous gorge, staring over an expanse of cinder. It looked like the scene of a tremendous battle, a holocaust of fire. Charred boxes, weaponry, animal bones, and detritus too annihilated to be identifiable littered the ground. Speechless, Tay and Vaster stepped into the black field. Baynarah smiled, proud that she had finally found something of true wonder and mystery.

�What is this place?� asked Vaster at last.

�I don't know,� Baynarah shrugged. �I thought at first that it was some kind of ruin, but now I think it's a junk pile, just not like any junk pile I've ever seen. Just look at this stuff.�

The three began an unorganized survey of the dusty mounds of refuse. Baynarah found a twisted sword only lightly blackened by flame and began polishing it to read the inscriptions on the blade. Vaster amused himself by breaking brittle boxes with his hands and feet, imagining himself a giant of unbelievable strength. A battered shield attracted Tay: there was something about it that reverberated with the sound of the Song. He pulled it out, and wiped its surface clean.

�I've never seen that crest before,� said Baynarah, looking over Tay's shoulder.

�I think I have, but I don't remember,� Tay whispered, trying to conjure the memory from his dreams. He was sure he had seen it there.

�Look at this!� Vaster cried, interrupting Tay's thoughts. The boy was holding up a crystal orb. As his hand moved over the surface, brushing away grit and dust, a key in the Song rose which sent a shiver through Tay's entire body. Baynarah ran over to look at Vaster's treasure, but Tay felt paralyzed.

�Where did you find that?� she gasped, gazing into the swirl beneath the crystal surface.

�Over in that wagon,� Vaster gestured toward a heap of blackened wood, barely discernible from the other piles but for its cart spokes. Baynarah began digging into the half-collapsed structure, so only her feet could be seen. The Song built in potency, sweeping over Tay. He began walking toward Vaster slowly.

�Give me that,� he whispered in a voice he could barely recognize as his own.

�No,� Vaster whispered back, his eyes locked on the colors reflected in the heart of the globe. �It's mine.�

Baynarah dug through the remains of the wagon for several more minutes, but she could find no treasures like Vaster's. Most everything within was destroyed, and what remained was common-place by any standards: broken arrows, armor shards, guar bones. Frustrated, she pulled herself out into the sunlight.

Tay was alone, at the edge of the great gorge.

�Where's Vaster?�

Tay blinked and then turned back to his cousin with a shrug and a grin: �He went back to show everyone his new plunder. Did you find anything interesting?�

�Not really,� said Baynarah. �We probably ought to get back home before Vaster tells them anything that'll get us in trouble.�

Tay and Baynarah started the walk back at a quick pace. Tay knew that Vaster would not be there when they got back. He would never be returning home again. The crystal globe rested snugly in Tay's satchel, hidden under a pile of junk he had picked up. With all his heart, he prayed for the Song to return and drown out the memory of the gorge and the long, silent fall down. The boy had been so surprised, he hadn't even time to scream.

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The Poison Song
Book II
By Bristin Xel



Tay felt no guilt, which frightened him. All through the long, fast walk away from the gorge, through the woods, across the dry creek bed, he chatted merrily with Baynarah, fully aware that he had just committed murder. Whenever his mind strayed from the conversation, and he thought back on the last moments of Vaster's short life, the Song would soar. He could not think of the boy's death, but Tay knew he was responsible.

�You're a mess!� cried Aunt Ulliah the moment she saw the two children emerging from the woods onto the grounds of Sandil House. �Where have you been?�

�Didn't Vaster already tell you?� asked Tay.

The scene played itself out as Tay knew it would, every dancer in the Song performing their steps as choreographed. Aunt Ulliah saying that she had not seen Vaster. Baynarah, not yet frightened, making up an innocent lie about the threesome not having strayed far, saying he must have gotten lost. A slow but steady rhythm of panic intensifying as night began to fall, and Vaster had not yet returned. Baynarah and Tay tearfully (he was surprised how easy it was for him to cry without feeling) admitting where they had been, and leading Uncle Triffith and a crowd of servants to the junk pile and gorge. The tireless search through the woods as night turned to dawn. The weeping. The light punishment, merely cries of anger, that Baynarah and Tay suffered for losing their young cousin.

It was thought, from their stricken expressions, that the children felt guilty enough. They were sent to bed at dawn while the hunt through the woods continued.

Tay was drifting to sleep when his nursemaid Edebah came into his room. The look of unwavering love and devotion had not left her eyes, and he sank gratefully into his dreams and nightmares with her holding his hand. The Song wafted almost imperceptibly through his consciousness as he again had the vision of the room in the castle. The girl and her baby. The bird in the rafters. The dying fire. The sudden explosion of violence. Breathless, Tay opened his eyes.

Edebah was stealing out the door, softly humming the Song to herself. In her hand was the crystal globe from his satchel. For a moment, he hesitated, about to cry out. How did she know the Song? Was she aware that he had murdered another boy to get the globe?

Somehow he knew that she was helping him, that she knew all and loved him and sought only to protect him.

The next day, and the next week, and the next month were all the same. No one spoke very much, and when they did it was to suggest new places to look for the missing boy. Everywhere had been searched thoroughly. Tay was curious why they never looked in the gorge, but he understood how inaccessible it was.

A side-effect of Vaster's absence was that the tutorial sessions with Kena Gafrisi took on a more serious, even academic quality. The younger boy's high spirits and meager attentiveness had always cut the lessons short, but sensible Baynarah and quiet Tay were ideal pupils. He was particularly impressed by how focused they became during a rather dry history lecture about the heraldic symbols of Houses of Morrowind.

�The crest of the Hlaalu features a scale,� he sniffed disdainfully. �They see themselves as the great compromisers, as if that were something honorable. Many hundreds of years ago, they were the tribesmen following Resdayn who chose--�

�Pardon me, Kena,� asked Baynarah. �But what is the crest with the insect on it?�

�You don't know House Redoran?� asked the tutor, lifting up one of the shields. �I know you have a sheltered life on Gorne, but you're surely old enough to recognize--"

�Not that one, Kena,� replied Tay. �I think she means the other crest with an insect.�

�I see,� nodded Kena Gafrisi, brow furrowed. �Yes, you would be too young to have ever seen the crest of the Sixth House, the House of Dagoth. Our enemies together with the accursed heretical Dwemer in the War of the Red Mountain, now totally destroyed, thanks be to Lord, Mother, and Wizard. That House was a curse on our land for millennia, and when at last their pestilence was snuffed out, the very earth itself breathed a cloud of fire and ash in relief, bringing night to day for over a year's time.�

Baynarah and Tay knew they could not speak, but they exchanged knowing glances at one another as the tutor enlarged on the theme of the great wickedness of the Dwemer and the House Dagoth. As soon as the lesson ended, they walked silently out of Sandil House until they were far from all ears and eyes.

The afternoon sun stretched out the shadows of the spear-like trees surrounding the meadow. Off in the distance, they could hear the sounds of the workers beginning their preparations for the autumntide harvest, yelling to one another unintelligibly in coarse and familiar accents.

�That was definitely the symbol on that shield you found at the garbage heap,� Baynarah said at last. �Everything there must be a remnant of the House Dagoth.�

Tay nodded. His mind was on the strange crystal globe. He felt a light vibration of soundless music touch his body, and knew he was discovering a new cadence of the Song.

�Why would our people have burned and discarded all that?� he asked thoughtfully. �Do you think the House Dagoth was so evil that everything associated with them could have been cursed?�

Baynarah laughed. At the height of day, all talk of curses and the evil Sixth House were pure supposition: something to add romance to one's life, but nothing to worry about. The two children walked back to the castle for yet another in a series of cold, quiet dinners. As the night fell, Baynarah looked through the treasures she had picked up in the junk heap. By the light of the moons, the small jars, the torc with orange gemstones, the bits of tarnished silver and gold of no obvious purpose, all took on a sinister aspect.

Revulsion overtook her feeling of admiration instantly. There was a strange energy to them, a tincture of death and corruption that was undeniable. Baynarah ran to the window and vomited.

Looking out to the dark open lawn below, she saw a figure below lighting an arrangement of candles in the shape of a large insect, the symbol of the House Dagoth. When it looked in her direction, she pulled back, but she saw the face illuminated by the tallows. It was Edebah, Tay's nursemaid.

The next morning, Baynarah left the castle grounds early, bearing a large sack filled with her treasures. She carried them to the dumping ground and left them there. Then she returned, and told her Uncle Triffith what she had seen the night before, leaving out only what had made her sick in the first place.

Edebah was banished from the isle of Gorne without discussion. She wept, begging to be allowed to say goodbye to Tay, but all believed that would be too dangerous. When Tay asked what had become of her, he was told she had to return to her family on the mainland. He had grown too old for a nursemaid.

Baynarah never told him what she knew. For she was afraid.

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The Poison Song
Book III
By Bristin Xel



Tay was eighteen in the year 685 of the First Era when he first saw Mournhold, the city of spires, home of the goddess. His cousin Kalkorith, already a senior initiate in the Temple, gave him a couple rooms on the ground floor of the house he had purchased. They were small and unfurnished, but bittergreen grew outside the windows, and when the wind blew, they filled his bedroom with a lovely spicy air.

The chords of the Song did not trouble him anymore. Sometimes he was even unconscious to it, so low and melodic it had become. Occasionally when he was passing through the streets on the way to the Temple for his instruction, someone would pass him and the Song would rise in intensity before falling away again. Whatever was different about those people, Tay never tried to ascertain. He remembered the last time he had let the Song lead him, and called for him to murder his young cousin Vaster. The memory did not trouble him unduly, but he did not want to hurt anyone again unless he had to.

House couriers regularly brought Tay letters from Baynarah, still back in Sandil House on the island of Gorne. She might have gone to study at the Temple, she was certainly intelligent enough, but she chose not to. In a year or two at most, she would have to leave and assume her place in House Indoril, but she was not in a hurry. Tay welcomed the trivial gossipy news the letters brought, and responded back with news of his own studies and romances.

In his third month in Mournhold, he had already met a girl. She was also a student at the Temple, and her name was Acra. Tay wrote enthusiastically about her to Baynarah, describing her as having the mind of Sotha Sil, the wit of Vivec, and the beauty of Almalexia. Baynarah replied back merrily that if she had known how blasphemous students of the Temple were allowed to be, she might have become an initiate herself.

�You are very devoted to your cousin,� Acra laughed when Tay showed her the letter. �Am I looking at the last remains of a thwarted romance?�

�She's lovely, but I never thought of her that way,� Tay scoffed. �Incest never particularly interested me.�

�Is she a very close cousin then?�

Tay thought for a moment: �I don't know. Truthfully, no one spoke much of either her parents or mine, so I really don't know how we were connected. They were casualties of the War of the Red Mountain, that I know, and it seemed to cast rather a pall on the adults' humor whenever we asked about her parents or mine. After a while, we stopped asking. But you're an Indoril too. Perhaps you're a closer cousin to me than Baynarah.�

�Perhaps so,� Acra smiled, rising from her chair. She uncoiled her hair, which had been pulled up in the formal arrangement reserved for well-born priestesses. As Tay watched transfigured, she removed the small brooch that fastened her robe to her shoulder cape. The soft silken fabric slipped down slowly, exposing her dark, slender body to him for the first time. �If we are, does incest particularly interest you now?�

As they made love, the Song began a slow, rhythmic ascension in Tay's head. The vision of Acra before him darkened and was replaced by images from his nightmares before returning again. When finally he collapsed, spent, the room seemed filled with the fiery red clouds of his dream, and the scream of the woman and her child facing death echoed in his head. He opened his eyes, and there was Acra, smiling at him. Tay kissed her, grateful to have her in his arms.

For the next two weeks, Tay and Acra were never far apart. Even when they were at study in opposite wings of the Temple, Tay thought of her, and somehow knew she was thinking of him. They would rush to be together afterwards, ravishing one another in his rooms every night, and in a private corner of the Temple garden every day.

It was while Tay was rushing to see his beloved one afternoon that the Song rose up in powerful strident tones at the approach of an old, ragged woman. He closed his eyes and tried to quiet it, but when he looked again at her purchasing corkbulb papyrus from a street vendor, he knew who she was. His old nursemaid from Gorne, Edebah. She who had abandoned him without even a farewell to join her family on the mainland.

She didn't see him, and as she passed down the street, Tay turned and began to follow. They walked through shadowy passageways into the very poorest part of the city, a quarter which was as alien to him as the wildest principality of Akavir. She unlocked a small wooden door on a street without a name, and he finally called out her name. She didn't turn, but when he followed, he found that the door had been left ajar.

The chamber was murky and damp like a cave. She stood facing him, her face even more wrinkled than he had remembered it, etched with lines of sorrow. He closed the door behind him, and she took his hand and kissed it.

�You are so tall and strong,� Edebah said, beginning to weep. �I should have killed myself before I let them take me away from you.�

�How is your family?� Tay asked coldly.

�You are my only family,� she whispered. �The Indoril pigs forced me to leave, thrusting their blades in my face, when they discovered that I serve you and your family, not them. That bitch girl Baynarah saw me at a prayer of mourning.�

�You're speaking like a madwoman,� Tay sneered. �How could you love me and my family, but hate the House Indoril? I am of the House Indoril.�

�You are old enough to know the truth,� Edebah said fiercely. Tay had bitterly joked about her madness, but he saw something close to it burning in her ancient eyes. �You were not born of House Indoril; they brought you into their house after the War, like they and the other Houses brought in all the orphans. It was the only way they saw to erase history and remove all traces of their enemies, by raising their enemies as one of them.�

Tay turned toward the door: �I can see why you were taken away from Gorne, old woman. You are delusional.�

�Wait!� Edebah cried, rushing to a musty cabinet. She retrieved from it a glass globe that shimmered with a spectrum of color even in the chamber's gloom. �Do you remember this? You slew that little boy Vaster because he possessed it, and I took it from your room because you were not ready to face the facts of your inheritance and responsibility then. Did you not wonder why this bauble drew you so?�

Tay gasped, and though he did not want to, he said, �I hear a Song sometimes.�

�That is the Song of your ancestors, of your true family,� she said, nodding. �You must not fight it, for it is a song of destiny. It will lead you to do what must be done.�

�Shut up!� Tay howled, �Everything you say is a lie! You're insane!�

Edebah threw the globe to the ground with all her might, shattering it with a deafening retort. The shards melted into the air. All that was left was a small silver ring, simply wrought with a flat crown. The old woman quietly picked it up and handed it to him, while he stood with his back against the door, trembling.

�This is your inheritance, as the bearer of the Sixth House.�

The ring's crown was meant for stamping and sealing official House proclamations. Tay had seen his uncle Triffith's similar ring, crested with the wing which was the seal of House Indoril. This ring was different, with an insect design which he remembered from the day when Kena Gafrisi had taught the House heraldry to Baynarah and him.

It was the symbol of the accursed House Dagoth.

The Song took over all of Tay's senses. He heard its music, smelled its horror, tasted its sadness, felt its power, and the only thing he could see before him was the flames of its destruction. When he took the ring and placed it on his finger, his mind was not aware of what he was doing. Nor was Tay aware of anything but the Song when he removed his dagger from its sheath and thrust it into his old nursemaid's heart.

Tay did not even hear her final words, when Edebah fell bleeding to the ground, and groaned with a blood-streaked smile, �Thank you.�

When the veil of the Song lifted, Tay did not realize at first he was no longer dreaming. Before him had been flames, the very ones that destroyed the home of his birth, and flames were before him again. But they were flames from a fire he had struck outside the crumbling tenement that were already bursting through walls, consuming the body of his old nursemaid.

Tay fled through the streets as people began to call for the guards.
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The Poison Song
Book IV
By Bristin Xel



Acra sat by the hearth in Tay's room, reading her book by the fire. It concerned some minutiae of theosophy that she did not believe in, but nevertheless found morbidly compelling. When the door opened and she heard Tay enter, she finished the paragraph she was reading before looking up.

�I've been here for hours, darling. If I knew you were going to be so late, I would have brought more books,� she giggled. When she saw Tay's face and the state of his clothing, her manner lost all frivolity. �What happened to you? Are you all right?�

�I've been to see my old childhood nursemaid, Edebah,� he said in a strange voice. �It was a sudden change of plans. I hadn't realized she was in Mournhold.�

�I wish I had known where you were going,� she said, rising slowly from her chair. �I would have loved to have met her.�

�Well, it's too late now. I've killed her.�

Acra inhaled deeply, studying Tay's frozen face. She took his hand. �Perhaps you ought to tell me everything.�

Tay let his beloved lead him to the hearth, where he sat blinking at the fire. He looked down at the silver ring on his finger. �Before I killed her, she gave me this. It's the sealing ring of the House Dagoth. She told me I was the bearer of the inheritance, and the Song I hear all the time in my head, the one that called me to kill another boy when I was young, and then Edebah herself, is the Song of my ancestors.�

Tay fell silent. Acra knelt by his side, stroking his ringed hand. �Tell me more.�

�My tutor Kena Gafrisi taught us that the House Dagoth was a curse on Morrowind. He said that when they were all destroyed at the end of the War, the very earth itself breathed in relief,� Tay closed his eyes. �I can see the obliteration. I can even hear it in the Song. Edebah told me that the five Houses adopted the orphan children of Dagoth, raising them in their own traditions. I thought she was mad or a liar, but the real lie was all those years I thought my family was House Indoril.�

�What are you going to do?� Acra whispered.

�Well, Edebah told me to follow the Song to my destiny,� Tay laughed bitterly. �But the Song led me to kill her, so I don't know if she'd still give me that recommendation now. I know that I need to leave Mournhold. Before I knew what I was doing, I set a fire in her tenement. The guards were called. I just don't know where I'd go.�

�You have many friends to shield you if you prove yourself to be the new leader of the return of the Sixth House,� Acra kissed the ring. �I will help you find them.�

Tay stared at her. �Why would you help me?�

�When you thought I was your cousin of the House Indoril, you did not mind having me though it might well have been incestuous,� Acra replied, meeting his eyes. �I have heard the Song too. It is not as strong with me as it was with you, but I never chose to ignore it. It taught me more than the ridiculous Temple priests and priestesses ever could. I knew that my true name was Dagoth-Acra, and I knew that I had a brother.�

�No,� Tay said through gritted teeth. �You're lying.�

�You are Dagoth-Tython.�

Tay shoved Acra hard against the wall and ran from the room. As he fled through the hall, he heard the sound of Kalkorith's footfall on the stairs behind him, a percussive instrument in the Song that was rising in his heart and head

�Cousin,� the senior initiate was saying. �Have you heard about the fire--"

Tay unsheathed his dagger and turned, burying it to the hilt in Kalkorith's throat. �Cousin,� he hissed. �I am not your cousin.�

The streets of Mournhold were lit by the red glow of the tenement fire, spreading through the tight alleyways by a steady and intense gust of wind. It was as if Dagoth-Ur himself was looming over the city, fanning the flames his heir had struck. A House guard, running toward the blaze, stopped at the sight of Tay, standing uncertainly, swaying, before the front door of Kalkorith's house, a bloodied blade in his hand.

�What you done, serjo?�

Tay ran for the forest, his cape whipping behind him by the force of the howling wind. The guard clambered after him, sword drawn. He had no need to investigate the house to see the murder. He knew.

For hours, Tay raced through the wilderness, the Song pushing him onward. The sound of his pursuer faded away. At last, the trees thinned, and he saw nothing before him but air and water. A cliff, a hundred foot long plunge into the Inner Sea.

The Song told him no. It pulled him north, sweetly promising a place to rest among friends. More than friends -- people who would worship him as the heir of Dagoth. As he slowly walked toward the edge of the cliff, the Song became more threatening, warning him not to seek to avoid his fate. There was no escape in death.

Tay spat a curse upon his House and threw himself head first over the cliff.

It was another glorious day on the island of Gorne, the first one in weeks that Baynarah could truly enjoy. Uncle Triffith had important company, Housemen from far away, and she had been required to attend every dinner, every meeting, every ceremony. As a child, she remembered, she had hoped for some attention. Now nothing was more blissful than time away from her duties.

There was only one thing she wanted to do that she had to do indoors, and that was writing a letter to her cousin. But that could wait until the evening, she told herself. After all, he had not written her in many days. It was the influence of that girl, Acra. Not that she seemed disagreeable, but Baynarah knew how one's first love can be all-consuming. At least, she had read about it.

As she walked idly through the wildflower meadow, Baynarah was so distracted with her thoughts that she did not hear her maid Hillima calling. She was quite startled when she turned to see the young servant running up.

�Serjo,� she said, breathlessly. �Please come! Someone has washed up on the shore! It's your cousin, Serjo Indoril-Tay!�
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The Poison Song
Book V
By Bristin Xel



For two days, the House healers attended Tay in his bed, and Baynarah sat by his side, holding his hand. He was feverish, neither asleep nor awake, screaming at invisible phantoms. The healers complimented the young man's fortitude. Bodies had washed ashore on the island of Gorne several times, many during the War, but never once had they seen one that lived afterwards.

Aunt Ulliah came in several times to bring Baynarah food: �You must be careful, dear, or when he's all well, he'll have to attend you on your sickbed.�

Tay's fever broke, and at last he was able to open his eyes and see the young woman with whom he had spent seventeen years, all but the first year of his life. She smiled at him, and called for food. In silence, she helped him eat.

�I knew you wouldn't die, cousin,� she whispered fondly.

�I hoped to, but somehow I knew I wouldn't either,� he groaned. �Baynarah, do you remember all those nightmares I told you about? They're all true.�

�We can talk about it when you've rested some more.�

�No,� he croaked. �I must tell you everything now, so you'll know what kind of a monster you call your dear cousin Tay. If there was some way you could have known before, you might not have been so eager to see me well again.�

A tear rolled Baynarah's cheek. She had grown into a beauty, even in the few months he had been away in Mournhold. �How can you think I would stop loving you, no matter what you've done?�

�I saw my old nursemaid Edebah, and spoke to her.�

�Oh,� Baynarah had feared this moment. �Tay, I don't know what she told you, but it was all my fault. You remember when Kena Grafisi taught us about the House Dagoth, and its corruption. That night, I saw your nursemaid making some kind of altar out on the north lawn, using the symbol of the Sixth House. She must have been doing it for years, but I never knew what it meant. I told Uncle Triffith, and he sent her away. I've wanted to tell you so many times now, but I was afraid to. She was so devoted to you.�

Tay smiled. �And didn't it frighten you even more to wonder if there was any connection between her devotion to me, and her devotion to the accursed House? I know you, Baynarah. You're not one of those women who doesn't choose to use her mind.�

�Tay, I don't know what she told you, but I think she was very troubled, and whatever she thought about you and the Sixth House was wrong. You have to remember that. The ramblings of one madwoman are proof of nothing.�

�There's more,� Tay sighed, and held up his hand. For a moment he blinked, and then turned to Baynarah angrily. �What happened to my ring? If you saw it, you must have known already that everything I'm saying to you is true.�

�I threw the filthy thing away,� Baynarah stood up. �Tay, I'm going to let you rest now.�

�I am the heir of House Dagoth,� Tay was wild-eyed, almost screaming. �Raised after the War as House Indoril, but driven by the Song of my ancestors. When we were young, I killed Vaster because the Song told me he had stolen my inheritance. When Edebah told me who I was and gave me this ring, I killed her and burned her house to the ground, because the Song told me she had served her purpose. When I returned to Kalkorith's house, my love was there, telling me that she was of the House Dagoth too, and my sister. I fled, and when Kalkorith tried to stop me, I slew him, because the Song told me he was an enemy.�

�Tay, stop,� Baynarah sobbed. �I don't believe a word of it. You've been feverish...�

�Not Tay,� he shook his head, breathing heavily. �The name my parents gave me was Dagoth-Tython.�

�You can't have killed Edebah, you loved her. And Vaster and Kalkorith? They were our cousins!�

�They were not my true cousins,� Tay said coldly. �The Song told me they were my foes. Just as it's telling me now that you're my foe, but I won't listen. And I'll keep from listening... as long as I can.�

Baynarah fled from the room, slamming the door behind her. She took a key from the her startled maid Hillima, and secured the lock.

�Serjo Indoril-Baynarah,� Hillima whispered, with great sympathy. �Is all well with your cousin, Serjo Indoril-Tay?�

�He'll be perfectly fine once he rests,� Baynarah recovered her dignity, wiping the tears from her face. �No one is to disturb him under any circumstances. I'll take the key with me. Now I have much work to do. I don't suppose anyone's spoken to the fishermen about restocking Sandil House's supplies?�

�I don't know, serjo,� said the maid. �I don't think so.�

Baynarah marched down to the docks, and relieved her troubled heart the only way she knew how, by concentrating on small things. Tay's words never left her, but she found temporary comfort talking to the fishermen about their haul, helping determine how much should be smoked, how much should be sent to the village, how much should be delivered fresh to the House larder.

Her aunt Ulliah joined the discussion, oblivious to Baynarah's well-disguised agony. Together, they discussed how many provisions Uncle Triffith and his commanders had devoured during their weeks on the island, when they would be expected to return, and how best to prepare. One of the fishermen on the docks called out, interrupting.

�A boat is coming!�

Ulliah and Baynarah greeted the visitor as she arrived. It was a young woman dressed in the robes of a Temple priestess. As she docked her small boat, Baynarah marveled at how beautiful she was, and strangely familiar.

�Welcome to Gorne,� said Baynarah. �I am Indoril-Baynarah and this is my aunt Indoril-Ulliah. Have we met before?�

�I don't believe so, serjo,� the woman bowed. �I was sent by the Temple to inquire whether word had come from your cousin, Indoril-Tay. He has been missing from his classes for some days now, and the priests have become concerned.�

�Oh, we should have sent word,� Ulliah fretted. �He came here a few days ago, half-drowned. He's better now. Let us escort you up to the house.�

�Tay's resting now, and I asked that he not be disturbed,� Baynarah stammered. �Actually, I know it's dreadful manners, but I need to talk to my aunt for a moment. Would it be too terrible if I asked you to wait for us at the house? You have only to follow the path up the hill and across the lawn.�

The priestess bowed again humbly, and began the walk. Ulliah was scandalized.

�You know better than to treat a representative of the Temple that way,� she snapped. �You can't be so exhausted from tending your cousin to have lost all sense of civility.�

�Aunt Ulliah,� Baynarah whispered, drawing the woman away from the ears of the fishermen. �Is Tay truly my cousin? He believes himself to be ... of the House Dagoth.�

Ulliah took a moment to respond. �It's true. You were just a baby yourself during the War, so you couldn't know what it was like. There was not a part of Morrowind that wasn't ravaged. There was even a battle here on the island. Do you remember that burned pile of wreckage you and Tay and poor little Vaster discovered so many years ago? That was the remains. And after the War, when that accursed House was finally defeated, we saw the little innocents, the orphans whose only crime had been born to wicked parents. I admit there were some in our armies, the combined forces of the Houses, who would have had them all slaughtered to annihilate the legacy of Dagoth. In the end, compassion prevailed, and the children of the Sixth House were adopted into the other five. And so we thought that we had won the war and the peace.�

�By the Mother, Lord, and Wizard, if all that Tay believes is true, then there is no peace,� Baynarah trembled. �He claims that the Song of his ancestors called to him, and forced him to slay three people, two of them our Housemen. Cousin Kalkorith and ... when he was a little boy ... Vaster.�

Ulliah held her hands over her tearful face and could not speak.

�And it is only beginning,� said Baynara. �The Song still calls to him. He said there were others who knew, who would help him raise up the Sixth House. His sister...�

�It must be an evil fantasy,� Ulliah murmured. She noticed that Baynarah's gaze was now upon the path leading from the docks towards the house. �Niece, what are you thinking?�

�Did that priestess give us her name?�

The two women ran up the path, calling for guards. The fishermen, who had never seen the mistresses of the house so undone, looked briefly at one another and then followed quickly behind, pulling out their hooks and blades.

The front gate to Sandil House stood wide open, the first of the corpses lying close within. It was now an abattoir, painted fresh with blood. There was Aner, uncle Triffith's valet, gutted but still seated at the foyer table where he had been enjoying his afternoon glass of flin. Leryne, one of the chambermaids, had been decapitated while carrying some once-clean linens up the stairs. The bodies of guards and servants sprawled about the hall like blown leaves. At the top of the stairs, Baynarah had to hold back a sob when she saw Hillima. She lay like a broken doll, slain as she tried to pull herself out onto the narrow window ledge.

No one spoke, not Baynarah, nor Aunt Ulliah, nor the fishermen, as they walked slowly through the blood-drenched house. They passed Tay's sick-room, its door broken open, and no one within. When they heard the sound of footsteps in Baynarah's room down the hall, they approached slowly, cautiously, with great dread.

The priestess from the docks was standing by the bed. In her hand was the silver ring Baynarah had taken from Tay's finger. In her other hand was a long, curved blade, splashed like her once pristine gown, with gore. She smiled prettily and bowed when she saw she was no longer alone.

�Acra, I should have recognized you by Tay's description in his letters,� Baynarah said in her steadiest voice. �Where is my cousin?�

�I prefer to call myself Dagoth-Acra,� she replied. �Your false cousin, my true brother, has already gone to fulfill his destiny. I'm sorry you were not here so he could give you a more permanent farewell.�

Baynarah's face twisted in fury. She motioned for the fishermen, who advanced with their weaponry. �Tear her apart.�

�The Sixth House will rise again, and Dagoth-Tython will lead us!� Acra laughed. Her words were still echoing as she gave the sign of Recall and vanished like a ghost.

206bk_poisonsong6

The Poison Song
Book VI
By Bristin Xel



The magnificent sprawl of the stronghold of Indoranyon was aglow in the light of the setting sun. Commander Jasrat watched it slowly disappear into the horizon as he led the caravan southwestward. It was a strange practice for him to lead a night operation, but scarcely more bizarre than anything else he was facing. He was only seventy years of age, far from old for a Bosmer, and yet he felt like he belonged to another era.

He had known the land of east Vvardenfell his entire life. Every forest, every garden, every small village between Red Mountain and the Sea of Ghosts had been home to him. But now it was all different, twisted into a world he did not recognize since the eruption and the year of Sun's Death. It made night travel all the more treacherous, but it was a risk he was ordered to take.

The ashmire appeared quite suddenly. If a sharp-sighted scout hadn't seen it and given the signal, the entire caravan might have been swallowed whole. Jasrat cursed. It had not been on the map, but that was hardly surprising.

It was a huge unnamed scathe stretching as far as anyone could see. The commander considered his options. He might lead his party to the southeast toward Tel Aruhn and then try an approach due west. As he consulted his map, he noticed a glimmer of a campfire in the distance. Accompanied by his lieutenants, Jasrat drove his guar forward to investigate what appeared to be an Ashlander man and woman.

�This is no longer your realm,� he bellowed. �Don't you know it's been ruled by the Temple that these are House lands now?�

The couple shuffled to their feet, and began quietly walking away, toward a narrow ridge between hill and ashmire. Jasrat called them back.

�Do you know a way around the scathe?� he asked. They nodded, their eyes still to the ground. Jasrat signaled to his caravan. �You will lead us then.�

It was a treacherous winding crossing, almost too tight for the guars. The wagons themselves scraped as the drivers pulled to avoid the ashmire. The Ashlander man and woman whispered to one another as they led the caravan.

�What are you mumbling about, n'wah?� Jasrat hollered.

The man did not turn around. �My sister and I were talking about the Dagoth rebellion, and she was guessing that you were bringing arms to the stronghold at Falensarano, which is why you chose to cross the ashmire rather than taking a road.�

�I might have known,� Jasrat laughed. �You Ashlanders are so hopeful whenever you see signs of trouble in the Houses and the Temple. I hate to dampen your spirits, but what you're speaking of is hardly a rebellion. Merely a few isolated incidents of... unpleasantness. Tell your sister that.�

As they plodded onward, the narrow ridge began to taper even more. The Ashlanders found a low jagged crevasse in the hills, a crack from a lava flow even predating Sun's Death. The caravan scored the rock walls at it moved through. Commander Jasrat, after twenty years of uncertainty in a land he did not understand, felt a twinge of his old instinct. This, he thought to himself, would be a fine place for an ambush.

�Ashlander, how close are we?� he shouted.

�We've arrived,� Dagoth-Tython replied, and gave the signal.

The assault was over in mere minutes, as it had been calculated from the start. When the last body of the House guard had sunk beneath the ashmire, only then was the inventory of the caravan revealed. It was better than they had hoped, virtually everything the rebellion needed. Daedric swords, dozens of suits of armor, quivers of fine ebony bolts, and rations enough to last for weeks.

�Go on ahead to the camp,� Tython smiled at his sister. �I'll lead the caravan. We should be there within a few hours' time.�

Acra kissed him passionately, and gave the sign of Recall. In an instant, she was back in her tent, exactly as she had left it. Humming the Song, she removed the Ashlander rags and chose an appropriately diaphanous gown from her trunks. Precisely the sort of dress Tython would love seeing her in when he returned.

�Muorasa!� she called to her servant. �Summon the troops together! Tython and the others will be here very soon with all the weapons and rations we need!�

�Muorasa can't hear you now,� said a voice Acra hadn't heard in weeks. She turned, expertly removed every trace of surprise from her face. It was indeed Indoril-Baynarah, but not the quivering creature she had left behind at the massacre at Sandil House. This woman was an armored warrior, who spoke with mocking confidence. �She wouldn't be able to summon the troops if she could. You may have weapons and rations, Acra, but there's no one left to arm or feed.�

Dagoth-Acra made the sign of Recall, but nothing happened.

�The moment we heard you banging around in the tent, my battlemages cast a diffusion of all magicka,� Baynara smiled, opening the tent further to invite a dozen House soldiers in. �You won't be leaving.�

�If you think that my brother will walk into your trap, you underestimate his allegiance to the Song,� Acra sneered. �It tells him everything he needs to know. I have convinced him to no longer fight it, and let it lead him and us to our ultimate victory.�

�I've known him longer and better than you ever did,� said Baynarah coldly. �Now, I want to hear what the Song is saying to you. I want to know where I can find Tay.�

�Tython, my lady,� Acra corrected her. �He is no longer a slave to your House and the Temple's lies. You can torture me all you wish, but I swear to you the next time you see him, it will be because he wishes it, not you. And that will be your very last moment alive.�

�Don't you worry, serjo,� Baynarah's nightblade winked at her. �Everyone says they won't break under torture, but everyone always does.�

Baynarah left the tent. It was all a part of warfare, she understood that, but there would be little relish in witnessing it. She could not even watch as the House soldiers disposed of the rebel corpses. She had hoped she would grow numb to the bloodshed after weeks of following Tython and Acra, massacre after massacre. It didn't matter to her that now the bodies were of her enemies. Death was still death.

She had only been in her tent for a few minutes when her nightblade appeared.

�Not so tough as she appeared, that one,� he grinned. �In point of fact, all I had to do is ask her nice and point my dagger at her belly, and she was blubbering everything. Not too surprising really. It's always the ones that talk big that crumble fast. I remember way back a couple years ago, before you was even born -�

�Garuan, what did she say?� Baynarah asked.

�The Song, whatever that is, told her brother that she got herself caught, and not to return to camp,� the nightblade replied, only a trifle annoyed at having his fascinating story cut short. �He's got a half dozen mer with him, and they're going to try to assassinate the fella that led the Indoril army in the War. General Indoril-Triffith.�

�Uncle Triffith,� Baynarah gasped. �Where is he stationed now?�

�I'm not sure myself, serjo. Do you want me to ask if she knows?�

�I'll come with you,� said Baynarah. As they walked towards Acra's tent, cries of alarm sounded. The situation became abundantly clear even before they reached the site. Three guards were dead, and the prisoner had escaped.

�Interesting woman,� said Garuan. �Weak heart, but a strong arm. Should we send word of warning to General Indoril-Triffith?�

�If we can find where he is in time,� said Baynarah

207bk_poisonsong7

The Poison Song
Book VII
By Bristin Xel



Triffith stood on the parapets of Barysimayn and considered the volcano. Metaphors the poets used fell rather flat in his view. A festering wound it could be called with its blood-like lava. The King of Ash, too, could be applied, when one looked at its perpetual crown of smoke. And yet, none of that would do, for nothing in his experience could convey the sheer magnitude of the mountain. Red Mountain was many miles away from the fortress, and yet it filled the horizon utterly.

Before he could feel too small, however, he heard his name being called within. It was some consolation that though he was insignificant compared to the mountain, he was still in possession of certain power and influence.

�General Indoril-Triffith,� said Commander Rael. �There's trouble at the east gate.�

The trouble was scarcely more than a skirmish. An Ashlander, drunk perhaps on shein, had begun a fight with the House guards at the back gate. As they tried to drive him away, his cousins joined him, and soon there were six Ashlanders altogether brawling with a dozen of Triffith's guards. If the n'wahs had not been well-armed, the fight could have been finished almost before it began. As it was, by the time the General arrived with more of his guards, two of the Ashlanders were dead and the others had taken flight.

�It's the smoke in their brains,� Rael shrugged. �Makes them mad.�

Triffith climbed back up the stairs and returned to his chamber to dress for dinner. General Redoran-Vorilk and Counselor Hlaalu-Nothoc would be arriving very shortly to discuss the Temple's plans for reorganizing the House lands of Morrowind. Mournhold was to be renamed Almalexia. A great new city in honor of Vivec was to be built, but with whose gold? It made his head hurt. There were so many details, a long night of argument, threats, and compromises were ahead.

The General's mind was so occupied that he nearly put his House robes on backwards. He also did not notice the shadowy figure steal out from behind the tapestry and close the door to the bedchamber. It was not until Triffith heard the sound of the latch-bolt fall that he turned around.

�Slipped in when I was distracted by the fracas at the back gate. Very clever, Tay,� he said simply. �Or do you call yourself Dagoth-Tython these days?�

�You should know all my names,� the young man snarled, unsheathing his sword. �I was Tython before you butchered my family and sought to dispel my tribe. I was Tay when you brought me into your House to poison me against my own people. Now you may call me Vengeance.�

There was a knock on the door. Tython and Triffith did not move their eyes from one another. The knocking became a loud pounding. �General Indoril-Triffith, are you well? Is there something wrong?�

�If you're going to kill me, boy, you'd best do it quickly,� Triffith growled. �My men will have that door down in two minutes.�

�You don't tell me what to do, 'Uncle,'� Tython shook his head. �I have the Song of my ancestors to instruct me. It tells me you made my father beg for his life before you killed him, and I want to see you do the same.�

�If your ancestors are all-knowing,� Triffith smiled. �Why are they all dead?�

Tython made an inhuman noise in the back of his throat and advanced. The door began to buckle at the pounding, but it was sturdy and secure. The general's estimate of its life expectancy at two minutes seemed clearly erroneous.

The pounding suddenly stopped. A familiar voice replaced the sound.

�Tay,� called Baynarah. �Listen to me.�

Tython smirked, �You're just in time to hear your uncle beg for his miserable life, 'cousin.' I was afraid you'd be too late. The next sound you'll hear will be the death rattle of the man who slaved my House.�

�The Song is what's enslaved you, not Uncle Triffith. You can't trust it. It's poisoning you. It let you be manipulated first by that mad old woman, and now by that evil witch Acra who calls herself your sister.�

Tython pressed the tip of his sword so it touched the general's throat. The older man stepped backwards and Tython advanced. His eyes followed the length of his arm to the grip of the blade. The silver ring of Dagoth caught the red light of the volcano from the battlements outside the window.

�Tay, please don't hurt anyone anymore. Please. If you just listen to me, and not the Song just a moment, you'll know what's right. I love you.� Baynarah stifled her sobs to keep her voice clear and calm. There was a noise on the stairwell behind her. The general's guard had finally arrived with the battering ram.

The door splintered and burst open in two strikes. General Indoril-Triffith was holding his throat, staring out the window.

�Uncle! Are you all right?� Baynara ran to him. He nodded his head slowly, and removed his hand. There was only the barest of scratches on his neck. �Where's Tay?�

�He jumped out the window,� said Triffith, pointing out into the distance where a figure was riding a guar toward the volcano. �I thought he was going to kill himself, but he had an escape figured out.�

�We'll get him, serjo general,� said Commander Rael, calling to the guards to get their mounts. Baynarah watched them go, and then kissed her uncle quickly and ran out to her own guar in the courtyard.

Sweat drenched Tay's body as he rode closer and closer toward the summit of Red Mountain. The guar was breathing hard, trudging along even more slowly, letting out little grunts of complaint about the heat. Finally, he abandoned his steed and began to climb the near vertical surface. Ash blew down the face of the volcano into his eyes. Near-blind, it was almost impossible to ignore the persistent, clamorous notes of the Song.

A silken stream of crimson lava studded with crystalline formations surged a few feet away, close enough that Tay could feel his flesh begin to burn and blister. He turned from it, and saw a figure emerge through the smoke. Baynarah.

�What are you doing, Tay?� she cried over the howl of the volcano. �Didn't I tell you not to listen to the Song?�

�For the first time, the Song and I both want the same thing!� he yelled back. �I can't ask you to forgive me, but please try to forget!�

He pulled himself higher, out of Baynarah's sight. She screamed his name, scaling the rocks until she found she was close to the open crater. Waves of boiling gas washed over her, and she dropped to her knees, gasping. Through the rippling miasma, she saw Tay standing at the mouth of the volcano. Flames erupted from his clothes and hair. He turned to her just for a moment and smiled.

Then he leapt.

Baynarah was in a daze as she began the long, treacherous climb down the volcano. She began to think of the projects ahead. Were there enough provisions in storage at her house in Gorne for the meeting of the Houses? The councilors were bound to stay there for weeks, maybe months. There was much work to be done. Slowly, as she descended, she began to forget. It would not last, but it would be a start.

Dagoth-Acra stood as near to the mouth of the volcano as she could stand, blinking her eyes at the ash, soaked by the heat. She watched all, and smiled. On the ground was the silver ring with the seal of the House Dagoth. Tython had been sweating so much, it had slipped off. She picked it up and put it on her own finger. Touching her belly, she heard a new refrain of the Poison Song of Morrowind begin.

208bk_PostingOfTheHunt

[The writing in the book appears to be a hasty transcription, perhaps from dictation, or copied from a longer work.]

The Posting of the Hunt

Let no man say before a witness that the Hunt has not been called, nor the Rites declared, or the Ancient Offices observed.

The Ritual of the Innocent Quarry, also called the Wild Hunt, is an ancient rite drawing magical energy from the powerful magicka stream that engulfs this realm. The creators and times of the rituals are long forgotten. But followed properly, the rite brings great power and prestige to the Huntsman.

The ritual pits the all-powerful Huntsmen and their Greater and Lesser Dogs against the pitiful and doomed Innocent Quarry, called by tradition the Hare, after the mortal creature of human hunts. At once, the Huntsman is transported by the exquisite thrill and glory of his might and dominion over his helpless prey, and at the same time touched by the tragic, noble, and ultimately futile plight of the Innocent Quarry. In the highest aesthetic realization of the ritual, the ecstatic rapture of the kill is balanced by the Huntsman's identification with the sadness and despair of the Innocent Quarry. As in pieces the body of the innocent Hare is torn, the Huntsman reflects on the tragic imbalances of power and the cruel injustices of the world.

As the Hunt begins, the Lesser Dogs assemble before the green crystal reflections of the Chapel of the Innocent Quarry. Inside the Chapel, the Huntsmen, the Greater Dogs, and the Master of the Hunt perform the rites that initiate and sanctify the Huntsmen, the Hunt, and the Innocent Quarry. Then the Huntsman emerges from the Chapel, displays the Spear of Bitter Mercy, and recites the Offices of the Hunt. The Offices describe explains the laws and conditions of the four stages of the Hunt: the Drag, the Chase, the Call, and the View to the Kill.

Stage One -- The Drag, in which the Lesser Dogs drag the ground to flush out the Hare.

Stage Two -- The Chase, in which the Greater Hounds drive the Hare before them.

Stage Three -- The Call, in which the Greater Hounds trap the Hare and summon the Huntsmen for the kill.

Stage Four -- The View, in which the Huntsman makes the kill with the ritual Spear of Bitter Mercy, and calls upon the Master of the Hunt to view the kill by ringing the town bell. The Master of the Hunt then bestows the Bounty upon the Huntsman Bold who has wielded the Spear of Bitter Mercy in the kill. The Master of the Hunt also calls upon the Huntsman Bold to name the next Hare for the next Hunt (though the Huntsman Bold himself may not participate in the next Hunt).

The Offices of the Hunt, which the Huntsmen, Master, and Hounds are solemnly sworn to honor, detail the practices and conditions of the Hunt. These practices and conditions, also known as the Law, strictly define all details of the Hunt, such as how many Hounds of each sort may participate, how the Spear of Bitter Mercy may be wielded, and so forth. In addition, the Law states that the Hare must have a genuine chance to escape the Hunt, no matter how slim. In practice, this condition has been defined as the availability of six keys, which, if gathered together in the Temple of Daedric Rites, permit the Hare to teleport away from the Hunt, and so elude the Huntsman and his Spear. It is inconceivable, of course, that the Hare might actually discover the keys and escape, but the forms must be observed, and tampering with the keys or cheating the Hare of a genuine chance of finding or using the keys is a shameful and unforgivable betrayal of the Law of the Hunt.

The Ritual of the Hunt grants the Huntsmen protection from all forms of attack, including mortal and immortal weapons, and sorceries of all schools. Huntsmen are cautioned, however, that the ritual does not protect the Huntsman from the potent energies of his own Spear, and cautions against reckless wielding of the Spear in close melee, darkness, or other dangerous circumstances, for a single touch of the Spear of Bitter Mercy means instant and certain death for innocent Hare or fellow Huntsman alike.

The right to name a Wild Hunt is a grand and grave right indeed, as all but the High Daedra Lords are vulnerable to the potent sorceries of the Spear of Bitter Mercy. The Spear itself is therefore a terrible weapon, and it is forbidden to remove it from the Grounds of the Ritual Hunt.

209bk_progressoftruth

PROGRESS OF TRUTH
Compiled by the Dissident Priests



EXCERPT: concerning the points of Temple doctrine challenged by the Dissident priests:

1. the divinity of the Tribunal

Temple doctrine claims their apotheosis was miraculously achieved through questing, virtue, knowledge, testing, and battling with Evil; Temple doctrine claims their divine powers and immortality are ultimately conferred as a communal judgement by the Dunmer ancestors [including, among others, the Good Daedra, the prophet Veloth, and Saint Nerevar]. Dissident Priests ask whether Dagoth Ur's powers and the Tribunal powers might ultimately derive from the same source -- Red Mountain. Sources in the Apographa suggest that the Tribunal relied on profanely enchanted tools to achieve godhead, and that those unholy devices were the ones originally created by the ungodly Dwemer sorceror Kagrenac to create the False Construct Numidium.

2. the purity of the Tribunal

The Dissident Priests say that the Temple has always maintained a public face [represented by the Heirographa -- the "priestly writings"] and a hidden face [represented by the Apographa -- the "hidden writings"]. The public account portrays the actions of the Tribunal in a heroic light, while the hidden writings reveal secrets, untruths, inconsistencies, conflicting accounts and varying interpretations which hint at darker and less heroic motives and actions of the Tribunes. In particular, conflicting accounts of the battle at Red Mountain raise questions about the Tribunal's conduct, and about the source of their subsequent apotheosis. Also, there is good evidence that the Tribunal have been concealing the true nature of the threat posed by Dagoth Ur at Red Mountain, misleading the people about the Tribunal's ability to protect Morrowind from Dagoth Ur, and concealing a recent dramatic diminishing of the Tribunal's magical powers.

3. Temple accounts of the Battle of Red Mountain

Ashlander tradition does not place the Tribunal at Red Mountain, and holds that the Dwemer destroyed themselves, rather than that Nerevar destroyed them. Ashlander tradition further holds that Nerevar left Dagoth Ur guarding the profane secrets of Red Mountain while Nerevar went to confer with the Grand Council [i.e., the Tribunal], that Nerevar died at the conference [not of his wounds, according to the Ashlanders, but from treachery], and that subsequently the Tribunal confronted a defiant Dagoth Ur within Red Mountain, then drove Dagoth Ur beneath Red Mountain when he would not yield to their will.

4. veneration of the Daedra, Saints, and Ancestors

While challenging the divinity of the Tribunal, the Dissidents do not challenge the sainthood or heroism of the Tribunal. In fact, the Dissident Priests advocate restoring many of the elements of Fundamentalist Ancestor Worship as practiced by the Ashlanders and by Saint Veloth. Exactly how this would work is debated inconclusively within the Dissident Priests.

5. denial of the prophecies of the Incarnate, and persecution of the Nerevarines

Though no consensus exists among the Dissidents about whether the Nerevarine prophecies are genuine, all agree that the persecution of the Nerevarines is unjust and politically motivated. The Dissident Priests do not reject mysticism, revelation, or prophecy as part of the religious experience. The Dissidents have not resolved the issue of true or false insights. They have studied the mysticism of the Ashlander Ancestor Cults, in particular the rites of the Ashlander seers and wise women, and the prophecies of the Incarnate. Many among the Dissident Priests have come to believe that the Nerevarine prophecies are genuine, and have made a systematic study of prophecies recorded in Temple archives.

6. Authority of the Archcanon and the Ordinators

The Dissident Priests reject the authority of the Archcanon and the Ordinators. The temple hierarchy has been corrupted by self-interest and politics, and no longer acts in the best interests of the Temple or its worshippers. The Dissident Priests believe the Archcanon and Ordinators speak for themselves, not for the Tribunal.

7. the Inquisition and the use of terror and torture by the Ordinators

Within the Temple hierarchy it is an open secret that the Ordinators rely on abduction, terror, torture, and secret imprisonment to discourage heresy and dissent. The Dissident Priests feel the Ordinators are either out of control, or tools used to maintain a corrupt priesthood in power.

8. fundamentals of Temple doctrine - Charity for the Poor, Education for the Ignorant, Protection for the Weak

Though the Dissident Priests acknowledge that most rank-and-file priests honor the best traditions of the Temple, they believe that many priests in higher ranks are interested more in love of authority and luxury than in the welfare of the poor, weak, and ignorant.
210bk_propertyofjoldaPROPERTY OF JOLDA!

DO NOT TOUCH OR OPEN!

211bk_provinces_of_tamriel

PROVINCES OF TAMRIEL




The Empire of Tamriel encompasses the nine Imperial provinces: Skyrim, High Rock, Hammerfell, Summerset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, Black Marsh, Morrowind, and the ancient Imperial province itself, Cyrodiil. Morrowind was among the last of the provinces to be integrated into the Empire, and because it was added by treaty, and not by conquest, Morrowind retains exceptional power to define local law by reference to ancient Great House precedents.

Skyrim, also known as the Old Kingdom or the Fatherland, was the first region of Tamriel settled by humans from the continent of Atmora: the hardy, brave, warlike Nords, whose descendants still occupy this rugged land. Though more restrained and civilized than their barbarian ancestors, the Nords of the pure blood still excel in the manly virtues of red war and bold exploration.

Hammerfell is primarily an urban and maritime province, with most of its population confined to the great cities of Sentinel and Stros M'Kai and to other small ports among the islands and along the coast. The interior is sparsely populated with small poor farms and beastherds. The Redguard love of travel, adventure, and the high seas has dispersed them as sailors, mercenaries, and adventurers in ports of call throughout the Empire.

High Rock encompasses the many lands and clans of Greater Bretony, the Dellese Isles, the Bjoulsae River tribes, and, by tradition, the Western Reach. The rugged highland strongholds and isolated valley settlements have encouraged the fierce independence of the various local Breton clans, and this contentious tribal nature has never been completely integrated into a provincial or Imperial identity. Nonetheless, their language, bardic traditions, and heroic legends are a unifying common legacy.

The Summerset Isle is a green and pleasant land of fertile farmlands, woodland parks, and ancient towers and manors. Most settlements are small and isolated, and dominated by ruling seats of the local wizard or warlord. The Isle has few good natural ports, and the natives are unwelcoming to foreigners, so the ancient, chivalric high culture of the Aldmer is little affected by modern Imperial mercantilism.

Valenwood is a largely uninhabited forest wilderness. The coasts of Valenwood are dominated by mangrove swamps and tropical rain forests, while heavy rainfalls nurture the temperate inland rain forests. The Bosmer live in timber clanhouses at sites scattered along the coast and through the interior, connected only by undeveloped foot trails. The few Imperial roads traverse vast dense woodlands, studded with tiny, widely separated settlements, and carry little trade or traffic of any kind.

The Khajiit of the southern Elsweyr jungles and river basins are settled city dwellers with ancient mercantile traditions and a stable agrarian aristocracy based on sugarcane and saltrice plantations. The nomadic tribal Khajiit of the dry northern wastes and grasslands are, by contrast, aggressive and territorial tribal raiders periodically united under tribal warlords. While the settled south has been quick to adopt Imperial ways, the northern nomadic tribes cling to their warlike barbarian traditions.
Most of the native Argonian population of Black Marsh is confined to the great inland waterways and impenetrable swamps of the southern interior. There are few roads here, and most travel is by boat. The coasts and the northwestern upland forests are largely uninhabited. For ages the Dunmer have raided Black Marsh for slaves; though the Empire has made this illegal, the practice persists, and Dunmer and Argonians have a long-standing and bitter hatred for one another.

Morrowind, homeland of the Dunmer peoples, is the northeastmost province of the Tamrielic Empire. Most of the population is gathered in the high uplands and fertile river valleys of central Morrowind, especially around the Inland Sea. The island Vvardenfel is encircled by the Inner Sea, and is dominated by the titanic volcano Red Mountain and its associated ash wastelands; most of the island's population is confined to the relatively hospitable west and southwest coast.

Cyrodiil is the cradle of Human Imperial high culture on Tamriel. It is the largest region of the continent, and most is endless jungle. The Imperial City is in the heartland, the fertile Nibenay Valley. The densely populated central valley is surrounded by wild rain forests drained by great rivers into the swamps of Argonia and Topal Bay. The land rises gradually to the west and sharply to the north. Between its western coast and its central valley are deciduous forests and mangrove swamps.
212bk_ravilamemorial

This room and display is dedicated to the memory of Ravila Neryon, killed while crusading to remove the blight from the Hairat-Vassamsi Egg Mine. May her spirit rest in peace eternally.
213bk_RealBarenziah1

The Real Barenziah, Part 1
Anonymous



Five hundred years ago in Mournhold, City of Gems, there lived a blind widow and her only child, a tall, strapping young man. He was a miner, as was his father before him, a common laborer in the mines of the Lord of Mournhold, for his ability in magicka was small. The work was honorable but paid poorly. His mother made and sold comberry cakes at the city market to help eke out their living. They did well enough, she said, they had enough to fill their bellies, no one could wear more than one suit of clothing at a time, and the roof leaked only when it rained. But Symmachus would have liked more. He hoped for a lucky strike at the mines, which would garner him a large bonus. In his free hours he enjoyed hoisting a mug of ale in the tavern with his friends, and gambling with them at cards. He also drew the eyes and sighs of more than one pretty Elven lass, although none held his interest for long. He was a typical young Dark Elf of peasant descent, remarkable only for his size. It was rumored that he had a bit of Nordic blood in him.

In Symmachus' thirtieth year, there was great rejoicing in Mournhold-a girl-child had been born to the Lord and Lady. A Queen, the people sang, a Queen is born to us! For among the people of Mournhold, the birth of an heiress is a sure sign of future peace and prosperity.

When the time came round for the royal child's Rite of Naming, the mines were closed and Symmachus dashed home to bathe and dress in his best. �I'll rush straight home and tell you all about it,� he promised his mother, who would not be able to attend. She had been ailing, and besides there would be a great crush of people as all Mournhold turned out to be part of the blessed event; and being blind she would be unable to see anything anyway.

�My son,� she said. �Afore you go, fetch me a priest or a healer, else I may pass from the mortal plane ere you return.�

Symmachus crossed to her pallet at once and noted anxiously that her forehead was very hot and her breathing shallow. He pried loose a slat of the wooden floor under which their small hoard of savings was kept. There wasn't nearly enough to pay a priest for healing. He would have to give what they had and owe the rest. Symmachus snatched up his cloak and hurried away.

The streets were full of folk hurrying to the sacred grove, but the temples were locked and barred. �Closed for the ceremony,� read all the signs.

Symmachus elbowed his way through the mob and managed to overtake a brown-robed priest. �After the rite, brother,� the priest said, �if you have gold I shall gladly attend to your mother. Milord has bidden all clerics attend-and I, for one, have no wish to offend him.�

�My mother's desperately ill,� Symmachus pled. �Surely Milord will not miss one lowly priest.�

�True, but the Archcanon will,� the priest said nervously, tearing his robe loose from Symmachus' desperate grip and vanishing into the crowd.

Symmachus tried other priests, and even a few mages, but with no better result. Armored guards marched through the street and pushed him aside with their lances, and Symmachus realized that the royal procession was approaching.

As the carriage bearing the city's rulers drew abreast, Symmachus rushed out from the crowd and shouted, �Milord, Milord! My mother's dying-!�

�I forbid her to do so on this glorious night!� the Lord shouted, laughing and scattering coin into the throng. Symmachus was close enough to smell wine on the royal breath. On the other side of the carriage his Lady clutched the babe to her breast, and stared slit-eyed at Symmachus, her nostrils flared in disdain.

�Guards!� she cried. �Remove this oaf.� Rough hands seized Symmachus. He was beaten and left dazed by the side of the road.

Symmachus, head aching, followed in the wake of the crowd and witnessed the Rite of Naming from the top of a hill. He could see the brown-robed clerics and blue-robed mages gathered near the highborn folk far below.

Barenziah.

The name came dimly to Symmachus' ears as the High Priest lifted the swaddled babe and proffered her to the twin moons on either side of the horizon: Jone rising, Jode setting.

�Behold the Lady Barenziah, born to the land of Mournhold! Grant her thy blessings and thy counsel, ye kind gods, that she may ever rule well over Mournhold, its ken and its weal, its kith and its ilk.�

�Bless her, bless her,� all the people intoned along with their Lord and Lady, hands upraised.

Only Symmachus stood silent, head bowed, knowing in his heart that his dear mother was gone. And in silence he swore a mighty oath-that he should be his Lord's bane, and in vengeance for his mother's needless death, the child Barenziah he should have for his own bride, and that his mother's grandchildren should be born to rule over Mournhold.

***

After the ceremony, he watched impassively as the royal procession returned to the palace. He saw the priest to whom he'd first spoken. The man came gladly enough now in return for the gold Sym�machus had, and a promise of more afterward.

They found his mother dead.

The priest sighed and tucked the pouch of gold coins away. �I'm sorry, brother. It's all right, you can forget the rest of the gold, there's aught I can do here. Likely-�

�Give me back my money!� Symmachus snarled. �You've done naught to earn it!� He lifted his right arm threateningly.

The priest backed away, about to utter a curse, but Symmachus struck him across the face before more than three words had left his mouth. He went down heavily, striking his head sharply on one of the stones that formed the fire pit. He died instantly.

Symmachus snatched up the gold and fled the city. As he ran, he muttered one word over and over, like a sorcerer's chant. �Barenziah,� he said. �Barenziah. Barenziah.�

***

Barenziah stood on one of the balconies of the palace, staring down into the courtyard where soldiers milled, dazzling in their armor. Presently they formed into ordered ranks and cheered as her parents, the Lord and Lady, emerged from the palace, clad from head to toe in ebony armor, long purple-dyed fur cloaks flowing behind. Splendidly caparisoned, shining black horses were brought for them, and they mounted and rode to the courtyard gates, and turned to salute her.

�Barenziah!� they cried. �Barenziah our beloved, farewell!�

The little girl blinked back tears and waved one hand bravely, her favorite stuffed animal, a gray wolf�cub she called Wuffen, clutched to her breast with the other. She had never been parted from her parents before and had no idea what it meant, save that there was war in the west and the name Tiber Septim was on everyone's lips, spoken in hate and dread.

�Barenziah!� the soldiers cried, lifting their lances and swords and bows. Then her dear parents turned and rode away, knights trailing in their wake, until the courtyard was nearly emptied.

***

Sometime after came a day when Barenziah was shaken awake by her nurse, dressed hurriedly, and borne from the palace.

All she could remember of that dreadful time was seeing a huge shadow with burning eyes filling the sky. She was passed from hand to hand. Foreign soldiers appeared, disappeared, and sometimes reappeared. Her nurse vanished and was replaced by strangers, some more strange than others. There were days, or it may have been weeks, of travel.

One morning she awoke to step out of the coach into a cold place with a large gray stone castle amid empty, endless gray-green hills covered patchily with gray-white snow. She clutched Wuffen to her breast in both hands and stood blinking and shivering in the gray dawn, feeling very small and very dark in all this endless space, this endless gray-white space.

She and Hana, a brown-skinned, black-haired maid who had been traveling with her for several days, went inside the keep. A large gray-white woman with icy gray-golden hair was standing by a hearth in one of the rooms. She stared at Barenziah with dreadful, bright blue eyes.

�She's very -- black, isn't she?� the woman remarked to Hana. �I've never seen a Dark Elf before.�

�I don't know much about them myself, Milady,� Hana said. �But this one's got red hair and a temper to match, I can tell you that. Take care. She bites. And worse.�

�I'll soon train her out of that,� the other woman sniffed. �And what's that filthy thing she's got? Ugh!� The woman snatched Wuffen away and threw him into the blazing hearth.

Barenziah shrieked and would have flung herself after him, but was held back despite her attempts to bite and claw at her captors. Poor Wuffen was reduced to a tiny heap of charred ash.

***

Barenziah grew like a weed transplanted to a Skyrim garden, a ward of Count Sven and his wife the Lady Inga. Outwardly, that is, she thrived -- but always there was a cold and empty place within.

�I've raised her as my own daughter,� Lady Inga was wont to sigh as she sat gossiping when neighbor�ing ladies came to visit. �But she's a Dark Elf. What can you expect?�

Barenziah was not meant to overhear these words. At least she thought she was not. Her hearing was keener than that of her Nordic hosts. Other, less desirable Dark Elven traits evidently included pilfering, lying, and a little misplaced magic, just a small fire spell here and a little levitation spell there. And, as she grew older, a keen interest in boys and men, who could provide very pleasant sensations -- and to her aston�ishment, gifts as well. Inga disapproved of this last for reasons incomprehensible to Barenziah, so she was careful to keep it as secret as possible.

�She's wonderful with the children,� Inga added, referring to her five sons, all younger than Barenziah. �I don't think she'd ever let them come to harm.� A tutor had been hired when Jonni was six and Barenziah eight, and they took their lessons together. She would have liked to train in arms as well, but the very idea scandalized Count Sven and Lady Inga. So Barenziah was given a small bow and allowed to play at target shooting with the boys. She watched them at arms practice when she could, sparred with them when no grownup folk were about, and knew she was good as or better than they.

�She's very... proud, though, isn't she?� one of the ladies would whisper to Inga; and Barenziah, pre�tending not to hear, would nod silently in agreement. She could not help but feel superior to the Count and his Lady. There was something about them that provoked contempt.

Afterward she came to learn that Sven and Inga were distant cousins of Darkmoor Keep's last titled residents, and she finally understood. They were poseurs, impostors, not rulers at all. At least, they were not raised to rule. This thought made her strangely furious at them, a good clean hatred quite detached from resentment. She came to see them as disgusting and repellent insects who could be despised but never feared.

***

Once a month a courier came from the Emperor, bringing a small bag of gold for Sven and Inga and a large bag of dried mushrooms from Morrowind for Barenziah, her favorite treat. On these occa�sions, she was always made to look presentable-or at least as presentable as a skinny Dark Elf could be made to look in Inga's eyes-before being summoned into the courier's presence for a brief interview. The same courier seldom came twice, but all of them looked her over in much the same way a farmer would look over a hog he is readying for market.

In the spring of her sixteenth year, Barenziah thought the courier looked as if she were at last ready for market.

Upon reflection, she decided she did not wish to be marketed. The stable-boy, Straw, a big, muscular blond lad, clumsy, gentle, affectionate, and rather simple, had been urging her to run off for some weeks now. Barenziah stole the bag of gold the courier had left, took the mushrooms from the storeroom, dis�guised herself as a boy in one of Jonni's old tunics and a pair of his cast-off breeches... and on one fine spring night she and Straw took the two best horses from the stable and rode hard through the night toward Whiterun, the nearest city of any importance and the place where Straw wanted to be. But Mournhold and Morrowind also lay eastward and they drew Barenziah as a lodestone draws iron.

In the morning they abandoned the horses at Barenziah's insistence. She knew they would be missed and tracked down, and she hoped to throw off any pursuers.

They continued on foot until late afternoon, keeping to side roads, and slept for several hours in an abandoned hut. They went on at dusk and came to Whiterun's city gates just before dawn. Barenziah had prepared a pass of sorts for Straw, a makeshift document stating an errand to a temple in the city for a local village lord. She herself glided over the wall with the help of a levitation spell. She had reasoned-correctly, as it turned out-that by now the gate guards would have been alerted to keep an eye out for a young Dark Elven girl and a Nordic boy traveling together. On the other hand, unaccompanied country yokels like Straw were a common enough sight. Alone and with papers, it was unlikely that he would draw attention.

Her simple plan went smoothly. She met Straw at the temple, which was not far from the gate; she had been to Whiterun on a few previous occasions. Straw, however, had never been more than a few miles from Sven's estate, which was his birthplace.

Together they made their way to a rundown inn in the poorer quarters of Whiterun. Gloved, cloaked, and hooded against the morning chill, Barenziah's dark skin and red eyes were not apparent and no one paid any heed to them. They entered the inn separately. Straw paid the innkeeper for a single cubicle, an immense meal, and two jugs of ale. Barenziah sneaked in a few minutes later.

They ate and drank together gleefully, rejoicing in their escape, and made love vigorously on the narrow cot. Afterward they fell into an exhausted, dreamless sleep.

***

They stayed for a week at Whiterun. Straw earned a bit of money running errands and Barenziah burgled a few houses at night. She continued to dress as a boy. She cut her hair short and dyed her flame-red tresses jet black to further the disguise, and kept out of sight as much as possible. There were few Dark Elves in Whiterun.

One day Straw got them work as temporary guards for a merchant caravan traveling east. The one-armed sergeant looked her over dubiously.

�Heh,� he chuckled, �Dark Elf, ain'tcha? Like settin' a wolf t'guard the sheep, that is. Still, I need arms, and we ain't goin' near 'nough Morrowind so's ye can betray us to yer folk. Our homegrown bandits would as fain cut yer throat as mine.�

The sergeant turned to give Straw an appraising look. Then he spun back abruptly toward Barenziah, whipping out his shortsword. But she had her dagger out in the twinkling of an eye and was in a defensive stance. Straw drew his own knife and circled round to the man's rear. The sergeant dropped his blade and chuckled again.

�Not bad, kids, not bad. How are ye with yon bow, Dark Elf?� Barenziah demonstrated her prowess briefly. �Aye, not bad, not bad 'tall. And ye'll be keen of eye by night, boy, and of hearin' 'tall times. A trusty Dark Elf makes as good a fightin' man as any could ask for. I know. I served under Symmachus his�self afore I lost this arm and got invalided outter the Emp'ror's army.�

�We could betray them. I know folk who'd pay well,� Straw said later as they bedded down for their last night at the ramshackle lodge. �Or rob them ourselves. They're very rich, those merchants are, Berry.�

Barenziah laughed. �Whatever would we do with so much money? And besides, we need their protec�tion for traveling quite as much as they need ours.�

�We could buy a little farm, you and me, Berry -- and settle down, all nice like.�

Peasant! Barenziah thought scornfully. Straw was a peasant and harbored nothing but peasant dreams. But all she said was, �Not here, Straw, we're too close to Darkmoor still. We'll have other chances farther east.�

***

The caravan went only as far east as Sunguard. The Emperor Tiber Septim I had done much in the way of building relatively safe and regularly patrolled highways. But the tolls were steep, and this par�ticular caravan kept to the side roads as much as possible to avoid them. This exposed them to the hazards of wayside robbers, both human and Orcish, and roving brigand bands of various races. But such were the perils of trade and profit.

They had two such encounters before reaching Sunguard -- an ambush which Barenziah's keen ears warned them of in plenty of time for them to circle about and surprise the lurkers, and a night attack by a mixed band of Khajiit, humans, and Wood Elves. The latter were a skilled band and even Barenziah did not hear them sneaking up in time to give much warning. This time the fighting was fierce. The attackers were driven off, but two of the caravan's other guards were slain and Straw got a nasty cut on his thigh before he and Barenziah managed to gash his Khajiit assailant's throat.

Barenziah rather enjoyed the life. The garrulous sergeant had taken a liking to her, and she spent most of her evenings sitting around the campfire listening to his tales of campaigning in Morrowind with Tiber Septim and General Symmachus. This Symmachus had been made general after Mournhold fell, the sergeant said. �He's a fine soldier, boy, Symmachus is. But there was more'n soldiery involved'n that Morrowind business, if y'take my meanin'. But, well, y'know all 'bout that, I 'spect.�

�No. No, I don't remember,� Barenziah said, trying to sound nonchalant. �I've lived most of my life in Skyrim. My mother married a Skyrim man. They're both dead, though. Tell me, what happened to the Lord and Lady of Mournhold?�

The sergeant shrugged. �I ain't never heard. Dead, I 'spect. 'Twas alot of fightin' afore the Armistice got signed. It's pretty quiet now. Maybe too quiet. Like a calm afore a storm. Say, boy, you goin' back there?�

�Maybe,� Barenziah said. The truth was that she was drawn irresistibly to Morrowind, and Mournhold, like a moth to a burning house. Straw sensed it and was unhappy about it. He was unhappy anyway since they could not bed together, as she was supposed to be a boy. Barenziah rather missed it too, but not as much as Straw did, seemingly.

The sergeant wanted them to sign on for the return trip, but gave them a bonus nonetheless when they turned the offer down, and parchments of recommendation.

Straw wanted to settle down permanently near Sunguard, but Barenziah insisted on continuing their travels east. �I'm the Queen of Mournhold by rights,� she said, unsure whether it was true -- or was it just a daydream she had made up as a lost, bewildered child? �I want to go home. I need to go home.� That at least was true.

***

After a few weeks they managed to get places in another caravan heading east. By early winter they were at Rifton, and nearing the Morrowind border. But the weather had grown severe as the days passed and they were told no merchant caravans would be setting forth till mid-spring.

Barenziah stood on top of the city walls and stared across the deep gorge that separated Rifton from the snow-clad mountain wall guarding Morrowind beyond.

�Berry,� Straw said gently. �Mournhold's a long way off yet, nearly as far as we've come already. And the lands between are wild, full of wolves and bandits and Orcs and still worse creatures. We'll have to wait for spring.�

�There's Silgrod Tower,� Berry said, referring to the Dark Elven township that had grown up around an ancient minaret guarding the border between Skyrim and Morrowind.

�The bridge guards won't let me across, Berry. They're crack Imperial troops. They can't be bribed. If you go, you go alone. I won't try and stop you. But what will you do? Silgrod Tower is full of Imperial sol�diers. Will you become a washing-woman for them? Or a camp follower?�

�No,� Barenziah said slowly, thoughtfully. Actually the idea was not entirely unappealing. She was sure she could earn a modest living by sleeping with the soldiers. She'd had a few adventures of that sort as they crossed Skyrim, when she'd dressed as a woman and slipped away from Straw. She'd only been looking for a bit of variety. Straw was sweet but dull. She'd been startled, but extremely pleased, when the men she picked up offered her money afterward. Straw had been unhappy about it, though, and would shout for a while then sulk for days afterward if he caught her at it. He was quite jealous. He'd even threat�ened to leave her. Not that he ever did. Or could.

But the Imperial Guards were a tough and brutal lot by all accounts, and Barenziah had heard some very ugly stories during their treks. The ugliest of them by far had come from the lips of ex-army veterans around the caravan campfire, and were proudly recounted. They'd been trying to shock her and Straw, she realized-but she also comprehended that there was some truth behind the wild tales. Straw hated that kind of dirty talk, and hated it more that she had to hear it. But there was a part of him that was fascinated never�theless.

Barenziah sensed this and had encouraged Straw to seek out other women. But he said he didn't want anyone else but her. She told him candidly she didn't feel that way about him, but she did like him better than anyone else. �Then why do you go with other men?� Straw had asked on one occasion.

�I don't know.�

Straw sighed. �They say Dark Elven women are like that.�

Barenziah smiled and shrugged. �I don't know. Or, no ... maybe I do. Yes, I do know.� She turned and kissed him affectionately. �I guess that's all the explanation there is.�

214bk_realbarenziah2

The Real Barenziah, Part 2
Anonymous



Barenziah and Straw settled into Rifton for the winter, taking a cheap room in the slummier section of town. Barenziah wanted to join the Thieves Guild, knowing there would be trouble if she were caught freelancing. One day in a barroom she caught the eye of a known member of the Guild, a bold young Khajiit named Therris. She offered to bed him if he would sponsor her membership. He looked her over, grinning, and agreed, but said she'd still have to pass an initiation.

�What sort of initiation?�

�Ah,� Therris said. �Pay up first, sweetness.�

[This passage has been censored by order of the Temple.]

Straw was going to kill her, and maybe Therris too. What in Tamriel had possessed her to do such a thing? She cast an apprehensive look around the room, but the other patrons had lost interest and gone back to their own business. She did not recognize any of them; this wasn't the inn where she and Straw were staying. With luck it'd be a while, or never, before Straw found out.

***

Therris was by far the most exciting and attractive man she had yet met. He not only told her about the skills she needed to become a member of the Thieves Guild, but also trained her in them himself or else introduced her to people who could.

Among these was a woman who knew something about magic. Katisha was a plump and matronly Nord. She was married to a smith, had two teenage children, and was perfectly ordinary and respectable--except that she was very fond of cats (and by logical inference, their humanoid counterparts the Khajiit), had a talent for certain kinds of magic, and cultivated rather odd friends. She taught Barenziah an invisibility spell and schooled her in other forms of stealth and disguise. Katisha mingled magical and non-magical talents freely, using one set to enhance the other. She was not a member of the Thieves Guild but was fond of Therris in a motherly sort of way. Barenziah warmed to her as she never had toward any woman, and over the next few weeks she told Katisha all about herself.

She brought Straw there too sometimes. Straw approved of Katisha. But not of Therris. Therris found Straw �interesting� and suggested to Barenziah that they arrange what he called a �threesome.�

�Absolutely not,� Barenziah said firmly, grateful that Therris had broached the subject in private for once. �He wouldn't like it. I wouldn't like it!�

Therris smiled his charming, triangular feline smile and sprawled lazily on his chair, stretching his limbs and curling his tail. �You might be surprised. Both of you. Pairing is so boring.�

Barenziah answered him with a glare.

�Or maybe you wouldn't like it with that country bumpkin of yours, sweetness. Would you mind if I brought along another friend?�

�Yes, I would. If you're bored with me, you and your friend can find someone else.� She was a member of the Thieves Guild now. She had passed their initiation. She found Therris useful but not essential. Maybe she was a bit bored with him too.

***

She talked to Katisha about her problems with men. Or what she thought of as her problems with men. Katisha shook her head and told her she was looking for love, not sex, that she'd know the right man when she found him, that neither Straw nor Therris was the right one for her.

Barenziah cocked her head to one side quizzically. �They say Dark Elven women are pro-- pro-- something. Prostitutes?� she said, although she was dubious.

�You mean promiscuous. Although some do become prostitutes, I suppose,� Katisha said as an afterthought. �Elves are promiscuous when they're young. But you'll outgrow it. Perhaps you're beginning to already,� she added hopefully. She liked Barenziah, had grown to be quite fond of her. �You ought to meet some nice Elven boys, though. If you go on keeping company with Khajiits and humans and what have you, you'll find yourself pregnant in next to no time.�

Barenziah smiled involuntarily at the thought. �I'd like that. I think. But it would be inconvenient, wouldn't it? Babies are a lot of trouble, and I don't even have my own house yet.�

�How old are you, Berry? Seventeen? Well, you've a year or two yet before you're fertile, unless you're very unlucky. Elves don't have children readily with other Elves after that, even, so you'll be all right if you stick with them.�

Barenziah remembered something else. �Straw wants to buy a farm and marry me.�

�Is that what you want?�

�No. Not yet. Maybe someday. Yes, someday. But not if I can't be queen. And not just any queen. The Queen of Mournhold.� She said this determinedly, almost stubbornly, as if to drown out any doubt.

Katisha chose to ignore this last comment. She was amused at the girl's hyperactive imagination, took it as a sign of a well-functioning mind. �I think Straw will be a very old man before 'someday' comes, Berry. Elves live for a very long time.� Katisha's face briefly wore the envious, wistful look humans got when contemplating the thousand-year lifespan Elves had been granted by the gods. True, few ever actually lived that long as disease and violence took their respective tolls. But they could. And one or two of them actually did.

�I like old men too,� Berry said.

Katisha laughed.
Barenziah fidgeted impatiently while Therris sorted through the papers on the desk. He was being meticulous and methodical, carefully replacing everything just as he'd found it.

They'd broken into a nobleman's household, leaving Straw to hover outside as lookout. Therris had said it was a simple job but very hush-hush. He hadn't even wanted to bring any other Guild members along. He said he knew he could trust Berry and Straw, but no one else.

�Tell me what you're looking for and I'll find it,� Berry whispered urgently. Therris' night sight wasn't as good as hers and he didn't want her to magick up even a small orb of light.

She had never been in such a luxurious place. Not even the Darkmoor castle of Count Sven and Lady Inga where she had spent her childhood compared to it. She'd gazed around in wonder as they made their way through the ornately decorated and hugely echoing downstairs rooms. But Therris didn't seem interested in anything but the desk in the small book-lined study on the upper floor.

�Sssst,� he hissed angrily.

�Someone's coming!� Berry said, a moment before the door opened and two dark figures stepped into the room. Therris gave her a violent shove toward them and sprang to the window. Barenziah's muscles went rigid; she couldn't move or even speak. She watched helplessly as one of the figures, the smaller one, leaped after Therris. There were two quick, silent stabs of blue light, then Therris folded over into a still heap.

Outside the study the house had come alive with hastening footsteps and voices calling out in alarm and the clank of armor hurriedly put on.

The bigger man, a Dark Elf by the looks of him, half-lifted, half-dragged Therris to the door and thrust him into the waiting arms of another Elf. A jerk of the first Elf's head sent his smaller blue-robed companion after them. Then he sauntered over to inspect Barenziah, who was once again able to move although her head throbbed maddeningly when she tried to.

�Open your shirt, Barenziah,� the Elf said. Barenziah gawked at him and clutched it closed. �You're a girl, aren't you, Berry?� he said softly. �You should have stopped dressing as a boy months ago, you know. You were only drawing attention to yourself. And calling yourself Berry! Is your friend Straw too stupid to remember anything else?�

�It's a common Elven name,� Barenziah defended.

The man shook his head sadly. �Not among Dark Elves it isn't, my dear. But you wouldn't know much about Dark Elves, would you? I regret that, but it couldn't be helped. No matter. I shall try to remedy it.�

�Who are you?� Barenziah demanded.

�Ai. So much for fame,� the man shrugged, smiling wryly. �I am Symmachus, Milady Barenziah. General Symmachus of His Awesome and Terrible Majesty Tiber Septim I's Imperial Army. And I must say it's a merry chase you've led me throughout Tamriel. Or this part of it, anyway. Although I guessed, and guessed correctly, that you'd head for Morrowind eventually. You had a bit of luck. A body was found in Whiterun that was thought to be Straw's. So we stopped looking for the pair of you. That was careless of me. Yet I'd not have thought you'd have stayed together this long.�

�Where is he? Is he all right?� she asked in genuine trepidation.

�Oh, he's fine. For now. In custody, of course.� He turned away. �You ... care for him, then?� he said, and then suddenly stared at her with fierce curiosity. Out of red eyes that seemed strange to her, except in her own seldom-seen reflection.

�He's my friend,� Barenziah said. The words came out in a tone that sounded dull and hopeless to her own ears. Symmachus! A general in the Imperial Army, no less--said to have the friendship and ears of Tiber Septim himself.

�Ai. You seem to have several unsuitable friends--if you'll forgive my saying so, Milady.�

�Stop calling me that.� She was irritated at the general's seeming sarcasm. But he only smiled.

As they talked the bustle and flurry in the house died away. Although she could still hear people, presumably the residents, whispering together not far off. The tall Elf perched himself on a corner of the desk. He seemed quite relaxed and prepared to stay awhile.

Then it occurred to her. Several unsuitable friends, had he said? This man knew all about her! Or seemed to know enough, anyway. Which amounted to the same thing. �W-what's going to happen to them? To m-me?�

�Ah. As you know, this house belongs to the commander of the Imperial troops in this area. Which means to say that it belongs to me.� Barenziah gasped and Symmachus looked up sharply. �What, you didn't know? Tsk, tsk. Why, you are rash, Milady, even for seventeen. You must always know what it is you do, or get yourself into.�

�B-but the G-guild w-wouldn't ... wouldn't h-have--� Barenziah was trembling. The Thieves Guild would never have attempted a mission that crossed Imperial policy. No one dared oppose Tiber Septim, at least no one she knew of. Someone at the Guild had bungled. Badly. And now she was going to pay for it.

�I daresay. It's unlikely that Therris had Guild approval for this. In fact, I wonder--� Symmachus examined the desk carefully, pulling out drawers. He selected one, placed it on top of the desk, and removed a false bottom. There was a folded sheet of parchment inside. It seemed to be a map of some sort. Barenziah edged closer. Symmachus held it away from her, laughing. �Rash indeed!� He glanced it over, then folded and replaced it.

�You advised me a moment ago to seek after knowledge.�

�So I did, so I did.� Suddenly he seemed to be in high good humor. �We must be going, my dear Lady.�

He shepherded her to the door, down the stairs, and out into the night air. No one was about. Barenziah's eyes darted toward the shadows. She wondered if she could outrun him, or elude him somehow.

�You're not thinking of attempting to escape, are you? Ai. Don't you want to hear first what my plans for you are?� She thought that he sounded a bit hurt.

�Now that you mention it--yes.�

�Perhaps you'd rather hear about your friends first.�

�No.�

He looked gratified at this. It was evidently the answer he wanted, thought Barenziah, but it was also the truth. While she was concerned for her friends, especially Straw, she was far more concerned for herself.

�You will take your place as the rightful Queen of Mournhold.�

***

Symmachus explained that this had been his, and Tiber Septim's, plan for her all along. That Mournhold, which had been under military rule for the dozen or so years since she had been away, was gradually to be returned to civilian government--under the Empire's guidance, of course, and as part of the Imperial Province of Morrowind.

�But why was I sent to Darkmoor?� Barenziah asked, hardly believing anything she had just been told.

�For safekeeping, naturally. Why did you run away?�

Barenziah shrugged. �I saw no reason to stay. I should have been told.�

�You would have been by now. I had in fact sent for you to be removed to the Imperial City to spend some time as part of the Emperor's household. But of course you had, shall we say, absconded by then. As for your destiny, it should be, and should have been, quite obvious to you. Tiber Septim does not keep those he has no use for -- and what else could you be that would be of use to him?�

�I know nothing of him. Nor, for that matter, of you.�

�Then know this: Tiber Septim rewards friends and foes alike according to their deserts.�

Barenziah chewed on that for a few moments. �Straw has deserved well of me and has never done anyone any harm. He is not a member of the Thieves Guild. He came along to protect me. He earns our keep by running errands, and he ... he ...�

Symmachus waved her impatiently to silence. �Ai. I know all about Straw,� he said, �and about Therris.� He stared at her intently. �So? What would you?�

She took a deep breath. �Straw wants a little farm. If I'm to be rich, then I would like for one to be given to him.�

�Very well.� He seemed astonished at this, and then pleased. �Done. He shall have it. And Therris?�

�He betrayed me,� Barenziah said coldly. Therris should have told her what risks the job entailed. Besides, he'd pushed her right into their enemies' arms in an attempt to save himself. Not a man to be rewarded. Not, in fact, a man to be trusted.

�Yes. And?�

�Well, he should be made to suffer for it ... shouldn't he?�

�That seems reasonable. What form should said suffering take?�

Barenziah balled her hands into fists. She would've liked to beat and claw at the Khajiit herself. But considering the turn events had taken, that didn't seem very queenly. �A whipping. Er ... would twenty stripes be too many, do you think? I don't want to do him any permanent injury, you understand. Just teach him a lesson.�

�Ai. Of course.� Symmachus grinned at this. Then his features suddenly set, and became serious. �It shall be done, Your Highness, Milady Queen Barenziah of Mournhold.� Then he bowed to her, a sweeping, courtly, ridiculously wonderful bow.

Barenziah's heart leapt.

***

She spent two days at Symmachus' apartment, during which she was kept very busy. There was a Dark Elven woman named Drelliane who saw to her needs, although she did not exactly seem a servant since she took her meals with them. Nor did she seem to be Symmachus' wife, or lover. Drelliane looked amused when Barenziah asked her about it. She simply said she was in the general's employ and did whatever was asked of her.

With Drelliane's assistance, several fine gowns and pairs of shoes were ordered for her, plus a riding habit and boots, along with other small necessities. Barenziah was given a room to herself.

Symmachus was out a great deal. She saw him at most mealtimes, but he said little about himself or what he had been doing. He was cordial and polite, quite willing to converse on most subjects, and seemed interested in anything she had to say. Drelliane was much the same. Barenziah found them pleasant enough, but �hard to get to know,� as Katisha would have put it. She felt an odd twinge of disappointment. These were the first Dark Elves with whom she'd associated closely. She had expected to feel comfortable with them, to feel at last that she belonged somewhere, with somebody, as part of something. Instead she found herself yearning for her Nordic friends, Katisha and Straw.

When Symmachus told her they were to set out for the Imperial City on the morrow, she asked if she could say good-bye to them.

�Katisha?� he asked. �Ai. But then ... I suppose I owe her something. She it was who led me to you by telling me of a lonely Dark Elven girl named Berry who needed Elven friends -- and who sometimes dressed as a boy. She has no association with the Thieves Guild, apparently. And no one associated with the Thieves Guild seems to know your true identity, save Therris. That is well. I prefer that your former Guild membership not be made public knowledge. Please speak of it to no one, Your Highness. Such a past does not ... become an Imperial Queen.�

�No one knows but Straw and Therris. And they won't tell anyone.�

�No.� He smiled a curious little smile. �No, they won't.�

He didn't know that Katisha knew, then. But still, there was something about the way he said it ...

Straw came to their apartment on the morning of their departure. They were left alone in the salon, although Barenziah knew that other Elves were within earshot. He looked drawn and pale. They hugged one another silently for a few minutes. Straw's shoulders were shaking and tears were rolling down his cheeks, but he said nothing.

Barenziah tried a smile. �So we both get what we want, eh? I'm to be Queen of Mournhold and you'll be lord of your own farmstead.� She took his hand, smiled at him warmly, genuinely. �I'll write you, Straw. I promise. You must find a scribe so you can write me too.�

Straw shook his head sadly. When Barenziah persisted, he opened his mouth and pointed at it, making inarticulate noises. Then she realized what it was. His tongue was gone, had been cut off.

Barenziah collapsed onto a chair and wept noisily.

***

�But why?� she demanded of Symmachus when Straw had been ushered away. �Why?�

Symmachus shrugged. �He knows too much. He could be dangerous. At least he's alive, and he won't need his tongue to ... raise pigs or whatever.�

�I hate you!� Barenziah screamed at him, then abruptly doubled over and vomited on the floor. She continued to revile him between intermittent bouts of nausea. He listened stolidly for some time while Drelliane cleaned up after her. Finally, he told her to cease or he would gag her for her journey to the Emperor.

They stopped at Katisha's house on their way out of the city. Symmachus and Drelliane didn't dismount. All seemed normal but Barenziah was frightened as she knocked on the door. Katisha answered the knock. Barenziah thanked the gods silently that at least she was all right. But she'd also obviously been weeping. In any case, she embraced Barenziah warmly.

�Why are you crying?� Barenziah asked.

�For Therris, of course. You haven't heard? Oh dear. Poor Therris. He's dead.� Barenziah felt icy fingers creeping round her heart. �He was caught stealing from the Commandant's house. Poor fellow, but that was so foolish of him. Oh, Berry, he was drawn and quartered this very dawn by the Commandant's order!� She started to sob. �I went. He asked for me. It was terrible. He suffered so before he died. I'll never forget it. I looked for you and Straw, but no one knew where you'd both gone to.� She glanced behind Barenziah. �That's the Commandant, isn't it? Symmachus.� Then Katisha did a strange thing. She stopped crying and grinned. �You know, the moment I saw him, I thought, This is the one for Barenziah!� Katisha took a fold of her apron and wiped it across her eyes. �I told him about you, you know.�

�Yes,� Barenziah said, �I know.� She took Katisha's hands in each of hers and looked at her earnestly. �Katisha, I love you. I'm going to miss you. But please don't ever tell anyone else anything about me. Ever. Swear you won't. Especially not to Symmachus. And look after Straw for me. Promise me that.�

Katisha promised, puzzled though willing. �Berry, it wasn't somehow because of me that Therris was caught, was it? I never said anything about Therris to ... to ... him.� She glanced over at the general.

Barenziah assured her that it wasn't, that an informant had told the Imperial Guard of Therris' plans. Which was probably a lie, but she could see that Katisha plainly needed some kind of comfort.

�Oh, I'm glad of that, if I can be glad of anything just now. I'd hate to think-- But how could I have known?� She leaned over and whispered in Barenziah's ear, �Symmachus is very handsome, don't you think? And so charming.�

�I wouldn't know about that,� Barenziah said dryly. �I haven't really thought about it. There've been other things to think about.� She explained hurriedly about being Queen of Mournhold and going to live in the Imperial City for a while. �He was looking for me, that's all. On orders from the Emperor. I was the object of a quest, nothing more than some sort of... of a... goal. I don't think he thinks of me as a woman at all. He said I didn't look like a boy, though,� she added in the face of Katisha's incredulity. Katisha knew that Barenziah evaluated every male she met in terms of sexual desirability, and availability. �I suppose it's the shock of finding out that I really am a queen,� she added, and Katisha agreed that yes, that's true, that must've been something of a shock, although one there was no likelihood of her experiencing firsthand. She smiled. Barenziah smiled with her. Then they hugged again, tearfully, for the last time. She never saw Katisha again. Or Straw.
The royal party left Rifton by the great southern gate. Once through, Symmachus tapped her shoulder and pointed back at the portals. �I thought you might want to say good-bye to Therris too, Your Highness,� he said.

Barenziah stared briefly but steadily at the head impaled on a spike above the gate. The birds had been at it, but the face was still recognizable. �I don't think he'll hear me, although I'm quite sure he'll be pleased to know I'm fine,� she said, seeming to sound light. �Let's be on our way, General, shall we?�

Symmachus was clearly disappointed by her lack of reaction. �Ai. You heard of this from your friend Katisha, I suppose?�

�You suppose correctly. She attended the execution,� Barenziah said casually. If he didn't know already, he'd find out soon enough, she was sure of that.

�Did she know Therris belonged to the Guild?�

She shrugged. �Everyone knew that. It's only lower-ranking members like me who are supposed to keep their membership secret. The ones higher up are well known.� She turned to smile archly at him. �But you must know all that, shouldn't you, General?� she said sweetly.

He seemed unaffected by this. �So you told her who you were and whence you came, but not about the Guild.�

�The Guild membership was not my secret to tell. The other was. There's a difference. Besides, Katisha is a very honest woman. Had I told her, it would have lessened me in her eyes. She was always after Therris to take up a more honest line of work. I value her good opinion.� She afforded him a glacial stare. �Not that it's any concern of yours, but do you know what else she thought? She also thought I'd be happier if I settled down with just one man. One of my own race. One of my own race with all the right qualities. One of my own race with all the right qualities, who knows to say all the right things. You, in fact.� She grabbed the reins preparatory to assuming a brisker pace--but not without sinking one final irresistible barb. �Isn't it odd how wishes come true sometimes--but not in the way you want them to? Or maybe I should say, not in the way you would ever want them to?�

His answer so took her by surprise that she quite forgot about cantering off. �Yes. Very odd,� he replied, and his tone matched his words exactly. Then he excused himself and fell behind.

She held her head high and urged her mount onward, trying to look unimpressed. Now what was it about his response that bothered her? Not what he said. No, that wasn't it. But something about the way he said it. Something about it made her think that she, Barenziah, was one of his wishes that had come true. Unlikely as this seemed, she gave it due deliberation. He had found her at last, after months of searching, it seemed, under pressure from the Emperor, no doubt. So his wish had come true. Yes, that must be it.

But in a way, apparently, not altogether to his liking.

215bk_realbarenziah3

The Real Barenziah, Part 3
Anonymous



For several days, Barenziah felt a weight of sorrow at her separation from her friends. But by the second week out her spirits began to rise a little. She found that she enjoyed being on the road again, although she missed Straw's companionship more than she would have thought. They were escorted by a troop of Redguard knights with whom she felt comfortable, although these were much more disciplined, and decorous, than the guards of the merchant caravans she had spent time with. They were genial but respectful toward her despite her attempts at flirtation.

Symmachus scolded her privately, saying a queen must maintain royal dignity at all times.

�You mean I'm never to have any fun?� she inquired petulantly.

�Ai. Not with such as these. They are beneath you. Graciousness is to be desired from those in authority, Milady. Familiarity is not. You will remain chaste and modest while you are at the Imperial City.�

Barenziah made a face. �I might as well be back at Darkmoor Keep. Elves are promiscuous by nature, you know. Everyone says so.�

�'Everyone' is wrong, then. Some are, some aren't. The Emperor -- and I -- expect you to display both discrimination and good taste. Let me remind you, Your Highness, that you hold the throne of Mournhold not by right of blood but solely at the pleasure of Tiber Septim. If he judges you unsuitable, your reign will end ere it begins. He requires intelligence, obedience, discretion, and total loyalty of all his appointees, and he favors chastity and modesty in women. I strongly suggest you model your deportment after our good Drelliane. Milady.�

�I'd as lief be back in Darkmoor!� Barenziah snapped resentfully, offended at the thought of emulating the frigid, prudish Drelliane in any way.

�That is not an option. Your Highness. If you are of no use to Tiber Septim, he will see to it that you are of no use to his enemies either,� the general said portentously. �If you would keep your head on your shoulders, take heed. Let me add that power offers pleasures other than those of carnality and cavorting with base company.�

He began to speak of art, literature, drama, music, and the grand balls thrown at the Imperial Court. Barenziah listened with growing interest, spurred on not entirely by his threats. But afterward she asked timidly if she might continue her study of magic while at the Imperial City. Symmachus seemed pleased at this and promised to arrange it. Encouraged, she then said that she noted three of their knights escort were women, and asked if she might train a little with them, just for the sake of exercise. The general looked less delighted at this, but gave his consent, though stressing it would only be with the women.

The late winter weather held fair, though slightly frosty, for the rest of their journey so that they traveled quickly over firm roads. On the last day of their trip, spring seemed to have arrived at last for there were hints of a thaw. The road grew muddy underfoot, and everywhere one could hear water trickling and dripping faintly but steadily. It was a welcome sound.

***

They came to the great bridge that crossed into the Imperial City at sunset. The rosy glow turned the stark white marble edifices of the metropolis a delicate pink. It all looked very new and grand and immaculate. A broad avenue led north toward the Palace. A crowd of people of all sorts and races filled the wide concourse. Lights winked out in the shops and on in the inns as dusk fell and stars came out singly then by twos and threes. Even the side streets were broad and brightly illuminated. Near the Palace the towers of an immense Mages Guildhall reared toward the east, while westward the stained glass windows of a huge tabernacle glittered in the dying light.

Symmachus had apartments in a magnificent house two blocks from the palace, past the temple. (�The Temple of the One,� he identified as they passed it, an ancient Nordic cult which Tiber Septim had revived. He said that Barenziah would be expected to become a member should she prove acceptable to the Emperor.) The place was quite splendid--although little to Barenziah's taste. The walls and furnishings were done in utter pristine white, relieved only by touches of dull gold, and the floors in dully gleaming black marble. Barenziah's eyes ached for color and the interplay of subtle shadings.

In the morning Symmachus and Drelliane escorted her to the Imperial Palace. Barenziah noted that everyone they met greeted Symmachus with a deferential respect in some cases bordering on obsequiousness. The general seemed to take it for granted.

They were ushered directly into the imperial presence. Morning sun flooded a small room through a large window with tiny panes, washing over a sumptuously laden breakfast table and the single man who sat there, dark against the light. He leapt to his feet as they entered and hurried toward them. �Ah, Symmachus our most loyal friend, we welcome your return most gladly.� His hands held Symmachus' shoulders briefly, fondly, halting the deep genuflection the Dark Elf had been in the process of effecting.

Barenziah curtseyed as Tiber Septim turned to her.

�Barenziah, our naughty little runaway. How do you do, child? Here, let us have a look at you. Why, Symmachus, she's charming, absolutely charming. Why have you hidden her from us all these years? Is the light too much, child? Shall we draw the hangings? Yes, of course.� He waved aside Symmachus' protests and drew the curtains himself, not troubling to summon a servant. �You will pardon us for this discourtesy toward yourselves, our dear guests. We've much to think of, though that's scant excuse for hospitality's neglect. But ah! pray join us. There's some excellent nectarines from Black Marsh.�

They settled themselves at the table. Barenziah was dumbfounded. Tiber Septim was nothing like the grim, grey, giant warrior she'd pictured. He was of average height, fully half a head shorter than tall Sym�machus, although he was well-knit of figure and lithe of movement. He had a winning smile, bright -- indeed piercing -- blue eyes, and a full head of stark white hair above a lined and weathered face. He might have been any age from forty to sixty. He pressed food and drink upon them, then repeated the question the gen�eral had asked her days ago: Why had she left home? Had her guardians been unkind to her?

�No, Excellency,� Barenziah replied, �in truth, no -- although I fancied so at times.� Symmachus had fabricated a story for her, and Barenziah told it now, although with a certain misgiving. The stable-boy, Straw, had convinced her that her guardians, unable to find a suitable husband for her, meant to sell her off as a concubine in Rihad; and when a Redguard had indeed come, she had panicked and fled with Straw.

Tiber Septim seemed fascinated and listened raptly as she provided details of her life as a merchant caravan escort. �Why, 'tis like a ballad!� he said. �By the One, we'll have the Court Bard set it to music. What a charming boy you must have made.�

�General Symmachus said--� Barenziah stopped in some confusion, then proceeded. �He said -- well, that I no longer look much like a boy. I have... grown in the past few months.� She lowered her gaze in what she hoped approximated maidenly modesty.

�He's a very discerning fellow, is our loyal friend Symmachus.�

�I know I've been a very foolish girl, Excellency. I must crave your pardon, and that of my kind guardians. I... I realized that some time ago, but I was too ashamed to go back home. But I don't want to return to Darkmoor now. Excellency, I long for Mournhold. My soul pines for my own country.�

�Our dear child. You shall go home, we promise you. But we pray you remain with us a little longer, that you may prepare yourself for the grave and solemn task with which we shall charge you.�

Barenziah gazed at him earnestly, heart beating fast. It was all working just as Symmachus had said it would. She felt a warm flush of gratitude toward him, but was careful to keep her attention focused on the Emperor. �I am honored, Excellency, and wish most earnestly to serve you and this great Empire you have built in any way I can.� It was the politic thing to say, to be sure -- but Barenziah really meant it. She was awed at the magnificence of the city and the discipline and order evident everywhere, and moreover was excited at the prospect of being a part of it all. And she felt quite taken by the gentle Tiber Septim.

***

After a few days Symmachus left for Mournhold to take up the duties of a governor until Barenziah was ready to assume the throne, after which he would become her Prime Minister. Barenziah, with Drelliane as chaperone, took up residence in a suite of rooms at the Imperial Palace. Several tutors were provided her, in all the fields deemed seemly for a queenly education. During this time she became deeply interested in the magical arts, but she found the study of history and politics not at all to her prefer�ence.

On occasion she met with Tiber Septim in the Palace gardens and he would unfailingly and politely inquire as to her progress -- and chide her, although with a smile, for her disinterest at matters of state. However, he was always happy to instruct her on the finer points of magic, and he could make even history and politics seem interesting. �They're people, child, not dry facts in a dusty volume,� he said.

As her understanding broadened, their discussions grew longer, deeper, more frequent. He spoke to her of his vision of a united Tamriel, each race separate and distinct but with shared ideals and goals, all contrib�uting to the common weal. �Some things are universal, shared by all sentient folk of good will,� he said. �So the One teaches us. We must unite against the malicious and the brutish, the miscreated -- the Orcs, trolls, goblins, and other worse creatures -- and not strive against one another.� His blue eyes would light up as he stared into his dream, and Barenziah was delighted just to sit and listen to him. If he drew close to her, the side of her body next to him would glow as if he were a smoldering blaze. If their hands met she would tingle all over as if his body were charged with a shock spell.

One day, quite unexpectedly, he took her face in his hands and kissed her gently on the mouth. She drew back after a few moments, astonished by the violence of her feelings, and he apologized instantly. �I... we... we didn't mean to do that. It's just -- you are so beautiful, dear. So very beautiful.� He was looking at her with hopeless yearning in his generous eyes.

She turned away, tears streaming down her face.

�Are you angry with us? Speak to us. Please.�

Barenziah shook her head. �I could never be angry with you, Excellency. I... I love you. I know it's wrong, but I can't help it.�

�We have a consort,� he said. �She is a good and virtuous woman, the mother of our children and future heirs. We could never put her aside -- yet there is nothing between us and her, no sharing of the spirit. She would have us be other than what we are. We are the most powerful person in all of Tamriel, and... Barenziah, we... I... I think I am the most lonely as well.� He stood up suddenly. �Power!� he said with sublime contempt. �I'd trade a goodly share of it for youth and love if the gods would only sanction it.�

�But you are strong and vigorous and vital, more than any man I've ever known.�

He shook his head vehemently. �Today, perhaps. Yet I am less than I was yesterday, last year, ten years ago. I feel the sting of my mortality, and it is painful.�

�If I can ease your pain, let me.� Barenziah moved toward him, hands outstretched.

�No. I would not take your innocence from you.�

�I'm not that innocent.�

�How so?� The Emperor's voice suddenly grated harshly, his brows knitted.

Barenziah's mouth went dry. What had she just said? But she couldn't turn back know. He would know. �There was Straw,� she faltered. �I... I was lonely too. Am lonely. And not so strong as you.� She cast her eyes down in abashment. �I... I guess I'm not worthy, Excellency--�

�No, no. Not so. Barenziah. My Barenziah. It cannot last for long. You have a duty toward Mourn�hold, and a duty toward the Empire. I must tend toward mine as well. But while we may -- shall we share what we have, what we can, and pray the One forgives us our frailty?�

Tiber Septim held out his arms -- and wordlessly, willingly, Barenziah stepped into his embrace.

***

�You caper on the edge of a volcano, child,� Drelliane admonished as Barenziah admired the splendid star sapphire ring her imperial lover had given her to celebrate their one-month anniversary.

�How so? We make one another happy. We harm no one. Symmachus bade me be discriminating and discreet. Who better could I choose? And we've been most discreet. He treats me like a daughter in public.� Tiber Septim's nightly visits were made through a secret passage that only few in the Palace were privy to -- himself and a handful of trusted bodyguards.

�He slavers over you like a cur his supper. Have you not noticed the coolness of the Empress and her son toward you?�

Barenziah shrugged. Even before she and Septim had become lovers, she'd received no more from his family than bare civility. Threadbare civility. �What matter? It is Tiber who holds the power.�

�But it is his son who holds the future. Do not put his mother up to public scorn, I beg you.�

�Can I help it if that dry stick of a woman cannot hold her husband's interest even in conversation at dinner?�

�Have less to say in public. That is all I ask. She matters little, it is true -- but her children love her, and you do not want them as enemies. Tiber Septim has not long to live. I mean,� Drelliane amended quickly at Barenziah's scowl, �humans are all short-lived. Ephemeral, as we of the Elder Races say. They come and go as the seasons -- but the families of the powerful ones live on for a time. You must be a friend to this family if you would see lasting profit from your relationship. Ah, but how can I make you see truly, you who are so young and human-bred as well! If you take heed, and wisely, you and Mournhold are like to live to see the fall of Septim's dynasty, if indeed he has founded one, just as you have witnessed its rise. It is the way of human history. They ebb and flow like the inconstant tides. Their cities and dominions bloom like spring flowers, only to wither and die in the summer sun. But the Elves endure. We are as a year to their hour, a decade to their day.�

Barenziah just laughed. She knew that rumors abounded about her and Tiber Septim. She enjoyed the attention, for all save the Empress and her son seemed captivated by her. Minstrels sang of her dark beauty and her charming ways. She was in fashion, and in love -- and if it was temporary, well, what was not? She was happy for the first time she could remember, each of her days filled with joy and pleasure. And the nights were even better.

***

�What is wrong with me?� Barenziah lamented. �Look, not one of my skirts fit. What's become of my waistline? Am I getting fat?� Barenziah regarded her thin arms and legs and her undeniably thickened waist in the mirror with displeasure.

Drelliane shrugged. �You appear to be with child, young as you are. Constant pairing with a human has brought you to early fertility. I see no choice but for you to speak with the Emperor about it. You are in his power. It would be best, I think, for you to go directly to Mournhold if he would agree to it, and bear the child there.�

�Alone?� Barenziah placed her hands on her swollen belly, tears forming in her eyes. Everything in her yearned to share the fruit of her love with her lover. �He'll never agree to that. He won't be parted from me now. You'll see.�

Drelliane shook her head. Although she said no more, a look of sympathy and sorrow had replaced her usual cool scorn.

That night Barenziah told Tiber Septim when he came to her for their usual assignation.

�With child?� He looked shocked. No, stunned. �You're sure of it? But I was told Elves do not bear at so young an age..."

Barenziah forced a smile. �How can I be sure? I've never--�

�I shall have my healer fetched.�

The healer, a High Elf of middle years, confirmed that Barenziah was indeed pregnant, and that such a thing had never before been known to happen. It was a testimony to His Excellency's potency, the healer said in sycophantic tones. Tiber Septim roared at him.

�This must not be!� he said. �Undo it. We command you.�

�Sire,� the healer gaped at him. �I cannot... I may not--�

�Of course you can, you incompetent dullard,� the Emperor snapped. �It is our express wish that you do so.�

Barenziah, till then silent and wide-eyed with terror, suddenly sat up in bed. �No!� she screamed. �No! What are you saying?�

�Child,� Tiber Septim sat down beside her, his face wearing one of his winning smiles. �I'm so sorry. Truly. But this cannot be. Your issue would be a threat to my son and his sons. I shall no more put it plainly than that.�

�The child I bear is yours!� she wailed.

�No. It is now but a possibility, a might-be, not yet gifted with a soul or quickened into life. I will not have it so. I forbid it.� He gave the healer another hard stare and the Elf began to tremble.

�Sire. It is her child. Children are few among the Elves. No Elven woman conceives more than four times, and that is very rare. Two is the usual number. Some bear none, even, and some only one. If I take this one from her, Sire, she may not conceive again.�

�You promised us she would not bear to us. We've little faith in your prognostications.�

Barenziah scrambled naked from the bed and ran for the door, not knowing where she was going, only that she could not stay. She never reached it. Darkness overtook her.

***

She awoke to pain, and a feeling of emptiness. A void where something used to be, something that used to be alive, but now was dead and gone forever. Drelliane was there to soothe the pain and clean up the blood that still pooled at times between her legs. But there was nothing to fill the emp�tiness. There was nothing to take the place of the void.

The Emperor sent magnificent gifts and vast arrangements of flowers, and came on short visits, always well-attended. Barenziah received these visits with pleasure at first. But Tiber Septim came no more at night -- and after some time nor did she wish him to.

Some weeks passed, and when she was completely physically recovered, Drelliane informed her that Symmachus had written to request she come to Mournhold earlier than planned. It was announced that she would leave forthwith.

She was given a grand retinue, an extensive trousseau befitting a queen, and an elaborate and impressive ceremonial departure from the gates of the Imperial City. Some people were sorry to see her leave, and expressed their sadness in tears and expostulations. But some others were not, and did not.

216bk_realbarenziah4

The Real Barenziah, Part 4
Anonymous



�Everything I have ever loved, I have lost,� Barenziah thought despondently, looking at the mounted knights behind and ahead, her tirewomen near her in a carriage. �Yet I have gained a measure of wealth and power, and the promise of more to come. Dearly have I bought it. Now I do understand better Tiber Septim's love of it, if he has often paid such prices. For surely worth is measured by the price we pay.� By her wish, she rode on a shiny roan mare, clad as a warrior in resplendent chain mail of Dark Elven make.

As the days slowly slipped by and her train rode the winding road eastward into the setting sun, around her gradually rose the steep-sided mountain slopes of Morrowind. The air was thin, and a chill late autumn wind blew constantly. But it was also rich with the sweet spicy smell of the late-blooming black rose, which was native to Morrowind and grew in every shadowy nook and crevice of its highlands, finding nourishment even in the stoniest banks and ridges. In small villages and towns, ragged Dark Elven folk gathered along the road to cry her name or simply gape. Most of her knightly escort were Redguards, with a few High Elves, Nords, and Bretons. As they wove their way into the heart of Morrowind, they grew increasingly uncomfortable and clung together in protective clusters. Even the Elven knights seemed wary.

But Barenziah felt at home, at last. She felt the welcome extended to her by the land. Her land.

***

Symmachus met her at the Mournhold border with an escort of knights, about half of whom were Dark Elven. In Imperial battle dress, she noted.

There was a grand parade of entry into the city and speeches of welcome from stately dignitaries.

�I've had the queen's suite refurbished for you,� the general told her later when they reached the palace, �but you may change anything not to your taste, of course.� He went on about the details of the coronation, which was to be held in a week. He was his old commanding self -- but she sensed something else as well. He was eager for her approval of the arrangements, was in fact fishing for it. That was new. He had never required her commendation before.

He asked her nothing about her stay in the Imperial City, or of her affair with Tiber Septim -- although Barenziah was certain Drelliane had told him, or earlier written him, everything in detail.

The ceremony itself, like so much else, was a mixture of old and new -- parts of it from the ancient Dark Elven tradition of Mournhold, the others dictated by Imperial decree. She was sworn to the service of the Empire and Tiber Septim as well as to the land of Mournhold and its people. She accepted oaths of fealty and allegiance from the people, the nobility, and the council. This last was composed of a blend of Imperial emissaries (�advisors� they were called) and native representatives of the Mournhold people, who were mostly elders in accordance with Elven custom.

Barenziah later found that much of her time was occupied in attempting to reconcile these two factions and their cronies. The elders were expected to do most of the conciliating, in light of reforms introduced by the Empire pertaining to land ownership and surface farming. But most of these went clean against Dark Elven observances. Tiber Septim, �in the name of the One,� had ordained a new tradition -- and apparently even the gods and goddesses themselves were expected to obey.

The new Queen threw herself into her work and her studies. She was through with love and men for a long, long time -- if not forever. There were other pleasures, she discovered, as Symmachus had promised her long ago: those of the mind, and those of power. She developed (surprisingly, for she had always rebelled against her tutors at the Imperial City) a deep love for Dark Elven history and mythology, a hunger to know more fully the people from whom she had sprung. She was gratified to learn that they had been proud warriors and skilled craftsmen and cunning mages since time immemorial.

Tiber Septim lived for another half-century, during which she saw him on several occasions as she was bidden to the Imperial City on one reason of state or another. He greeted her with warmth during these vis�its, and they even had long talks together about events in the Empire when opportunity would permit. He seemed to have quite forgotten that there had ever been anything between them more than easy friendship and a profound political alliance. He changed little as the years passed. Rumor had it that his mages had developed spells to extend his vitality, and that even the One had granted him immortality. Then one day a messenger came with the news that Tiber Septim was dead, and his grandson Pelagius was now Emperor in his place.

They had heard the news in private, she and Symmachus. The sometime Imperial General and now her trusted Prime Minister took it stoically, as he took most everything.

�Somehow it doesn't seem possible,� Barenziah said.

�I told you. Ai. It's the way of humans. They are a short-lived people. It doesn't really matter. His power lives on, and his son now wields it.�

�You called him your friend once. Do you feel nothing? No grief?�

He shrugged. �There was a time when you called him somewhat more. What do you feel, Barenziah?� They had long ago ceased to address each other in private by their formal titles.

�Emptiness. Loneliness,� she said, then she too shrugged. �But that's not new.�

�Ai. I know,� he said softly, taking her hand. �Barenziah...� He turned her face up and kissed her.

The act filled her with astonishment. She couldn't remember his ever touching her before. She'd never thought of him in that way -- and yet, undeniably, an old familiar warmth spread through her. She'd forgot�ten how good it felt, that warmth. Not the scorching heat she'd felt with Tiber Septim, but the comforting, robust ardor she somehow associated with... with Straw! Straw. Poor Straw. She hadn't thought of him in so long. He'd be middle-aged now if he were still alive. Probably with a dozen children, she thought affectionately... and a hearty wife who hopefully could talk for two.

�Marry me, Barenziah,� Symmachus was saying, he seemed to have picked up her thoughts on mar�riage, children... wives, �I've worked and toiled and waited long enough, haven't I?�

Marriage. A peasant with peasant dreams. The thought appeared in her mind, clear and unbidden. Hadn't she used those very same words to describe Straw, so very long ago? And yet, why not? If not Symmachus, who else?

Many of the great noble families of Morrowind had been wiped out in Tiber Septim's great war of unification, before the treaty. Dark Elven rule had been restored, it was true -- but not the old, not the true nobility. Most of them were upstarts like Symmachus, and not even half as good or deserving as he was. He had fought to keep Mournhold whole and hale when their so-called counselors would have picked at its bones, sucked them dry as Ebonheart had been sucked dry. He'd fought for Mournhold, fought for her, while she and the kingdom grew and thrived. She felt a sudden rush of gratitude -- and, undeniably, affection. He was steady and reliable. And he'd served her well. And loved her well.

�Why not?� she said, smiling. And took his hand. And kissed him.

***

The union was a good one, in its political as well as personal aspects. While Tiber Septim's grandson, the Emperor Pelagius I, viewed her with a jaundiced eye, his trust in his father's old friend was absolute.

Symmachus, however, was still viewed with suspicion by Morrowind's stiff-necked folk, chary at his peasant ancestry and his close ties to the Empire. But the Queen was quite unshakably popular. �The Lady Barenziah's one of our own,� it was whispered, �held captive as we.�

Barenziah felt content. There was work and there was pleasure -- and what more could one ask of life?

The years passed swiftly, with crises to be dealt with, and storms and famines and failures to be weath�ered, and plots to be foiled, and conspirators to be executed. Mournhold prospered steadily. Her people were secure and fed, her mines and farms productive. All was well -- save that the royal marriage had pro�duced no children. No heirs.

Elven children are slow to come, and most demanding of their welcome -- and noble children more so than others. Thus many decades had come to pass before they grew concerned.

�The fault lies with me, Symmachus. I'm damaged goods,� Barenziah said bitterly. �If you want to take another...�

�I want no other,� Symmachus said gently, �nor do I know for certain that the fault is yours. Perhaps it is mine. Ai. Whichever. We will seek a cure. If there is damage, surely it may be repaired.�

�How so? When we dare not entrust anyone with the true story? Healer's oaths do not always hold.�

�It won't matter if we change the time and circumstances a bit. Whatever we say or fail to say, Jephre the Storyteller never rests. The god's inventive mind and quick tongue are ever busy spreading gossip and rumor.�

Priests and healers and mages came and went, but all their prayers, potions, and philtres produced not even a promise of bloom, let alone a single fruit. Eventually they thrust it from their minds and left it in the gods' hands. They were yet young, as Elves went, with centuries ahead of them. There was time. With Elves there was always time.

Barenziah sat at dinner in the Great Hall, pushing food about on a plate, feeling bored and restless. Symmachus was away, having been summoned to the Imperial City by Tiber Septim's great-great-grandson, Uriel Septim. Or was it his great-great-great-grandson? She'd lost count, she realized. Their faces seemed to blur one into the next. Perhaps she should have gone with him, but there'd been the delegation from Tear on a tiresome matter that nevertheless required delicate handling.

A bard was singing in an alcove off the hall, but Barenziah wasn't listening. Lately all the songs seemed the same to her, whether new or old. Then a turn of phrase caught her attention. He was singing of free�dom, of adventure, of freeing Morrowind from its chains. How dare he! Barenziah sat up straight and turned to glare at him. Worse, she realized he was singing of some ancient, and now immaterial, war with the Skyrim Nords, praising the heroism of Kings Edward and Moraelyn and their brave Companions. The tale was old enough, certainly, yet the song was new ... and its meaning ... Barenziah couldn't be sure.

A bold fellow, this bard, but with a strong, passionate voice and a good ear for music. Rather hand�some too, in a raffish sort of way. He didn't look to be well-off exactly, nor was he all that young. Certainly he couldn't be under a century of age. Why hadn't she heard him before, or at least heard of him?

�Who is he?� she inquired of a lady-in-waiting.

The woman shrugged and said, �Calls himself the Nightingale, Milady. No one seems to know any�thing about him.�

�Bid him speak with me when he has done.�

The man called the Nightingale came to her, thanked her for the honor of the Queen's audience and the fat purse she handed him. His manner wasn't bold at all, she decided, rather quiet and unassuming. He was quick enough with gossip about others, but she learned nothing about him -- he turned all questions away with a joking riposte or a ribald tale. Yet these were recounted so charmingly it was impossible to take offence.

�My true name? Milady, I am no one. No, no, my parents named me Know Wan -- or was it No Buddy? What matters it? It matters not. How may parents give name to that which they know not? Ah! I believe that was the name, Know Not. I have been the Nightingale for so long I do not remember, since, oh, last month at the very least -- or was it last week? All my memory goes into song and tale, you see, Milady. I've none left for myself. I'm really quite dull. Where was I born? Why, Knoweyr. I plan to settle in Dun�roamin when I get there ... but I'm in no hurry.�

�I see. And will you then marry Atallshur?�

�Very perceptive of you, Milady. Perhaps, perhaps. Although I find Innhayst quite charming too, at whiles.�

�Ah. You are fickle, then?�

�Like the wind, Milady. I blow hither and yon, hot and cold, as chance suits. Chance is my suit. Naught else wears well on me.�

Barenziah smiled. �Stay with us awhile, then ... if you will, Milord Erhatick.�

�As you wish, Milady Bryte.�

***

After that brief exchange, Barenziah found her interest in life somehow rekindled. All that had seemed stale became fresh and new again. She greeted each day with zest, looking forward to con�versation with the Nightingale and the gift of his song. Unlike other bards, he never sang her praises, nor other women's, but only of high adventure and bold deeds.

When she asked him about this, he said, �What greater praise of your beauty could you ask, Milady, than that which your own mirror gives you? And if words you would have, you have those of the greatest, of those greater than my callow self. How should I vie with them, I who was born but a week gone by?�

For once they were speaking privately. The Queen, unable to sleep, had summoned him to her cham�ber that his music might soothe her. �You are lazy and a coward, sera, else I hold no charm for you.�

�Milady, to praise you I must know you. I can never know you. You are wrapped in enigma, in clouds of enchantment.�

�Nay, not so. Your words are what weave enchantment. Your words... and your eyes. And your body. Know me if you will. Know me if you dare.�

He came to her then. They lay close, they kissed, they embraced. �Not even Barenziah truly knows Barenziah,� he whispered softly, �so how may I? Milady, you seek and know it not, nor yet for what. What would you have, that you have not?�

�Passion,� she answered back. �Passion. And children born of it.�

�And for your children, what? What birthright might be theirs?�

�Freedom,� she said, �the freedom to be what they would be. Tell me, you who seem wisest to these eyes and ears, and the soul that knits them. Where may I find these things?�

�One lies beside you, the other beneath you. But would you dare stretch out your hand, that you might take what could be yours, and your children's?�

�Symmachus...�

�In my person lies the answer to part of what you seek. The other lies hidden below us in these your very kingdom's mines, that which will grant us the power to fulfill and achieve our dreams. That which Edward and Moraelyn between them used to free High Rock and their spirits from the hateful domination of the Nords. If it be properly used, Milady, none may stand against it, not even the power the Emperor con�trols. Freedom, you say? Barenziah, freedom it gives from the chains that bind you. Think on it, Milady.� He kissed her again, softly, and withdrew.

�You're not leaving... ?� she cried out. Her body yearned for him.

�For now,� he said. �Pleasures of the flesh are nothing beside what we might have together. I would have you think on what I have just said.�

�I don't need to think. What must we do? What preparations must be made?�

�Why -- none. The mines may not be entered freely, it is true. But with the Queen at my side, who will stand athwart? Once below I can guide you to where this thing lies, and lift it from its resting place.�

Then the memory of her endless studies slid into place. �The Horn of Summoning,� she whispered in awe. �Is it true? Could it be? How do you know? I've read that it's buried beneath the measureless caves of Daggerfall.�

�Nay, long have I studied this matter. Ere his death King Edward gave the Horn for safekeeping into the hand of his old friend King Moraelyn. He in turn secreted it here in Mournhold under the guardianship of the god Ephen, whose birthplace and bailiwick this is. Now you know what it has cost me many a long year and weary mile to discover.�

�But the god? What of Ephen?�

�Trust me, Milady heart. All will be well.� Laughing softly, he blew her a last kiss and was gone.

***

On the morrow they passed the guards at the great portals that led into the mines, and further below. Under pretence of her customary tour of inspection, Barenziah, unattended but for the Nightingale, ventured into cavern after subterranean cavern. Eventually they reached what looked like a for�gotten sealed doorway, and upon entering found that it led to an ancient part of the workings, long aban�doned. The going was treacherous for some of the old shafts had collapsed, and they had to clear a passage through the rubble or find a way around the more impassable piles. Vicious rats and huge spiders scurried here and there, sometimes even attacking them. But they proved no match for Barenziah's firebolt spells or the Nightingale's quick dagger.

�We've been gone too long,� Barenziah said at length. �They'll be looking for us. What will I tell them?�

�Whatever you please,� the Nightingale laughed. �You are the Queen, aren't you?�

�The Lord Symmachus--�

�That peasant obeys whoever holds power. Always has, always will. We shall hold the power, Milady love.� His lips were sweetest wine, his touch both fire and ice.

�Now,� she said, �take me now. I'm ready.� Her body seemed to hum, every nerve and muscle taut.

�Not yet. Not here, not like this.� He waved around, indicating the aged dusty debris and grim walls of rock. �Just a little while longer.� Reluctantly, Barenziah nodded her assent. They resumed walking.

�Here,� he said at last, pausing before a blank barrier. �Here it lies.� He scratched a rune in the dust, his other hand weaving a spell as he did so.

The wall dissolved. It revealed an entrance to some ancient shrine. In the midst stood a statue of a god, hammer in hand, poised above an admantium anvil.

�By my blood, Ephen,� the Nightingale cried, �I bid thee waken! Moraelyn's heir of Ebonheart am I, last of the royal line, sharer of thy blood. At Morrowind's last need, with all of Elvendom in dread peril of their selves and souls, release to me that guerdon which thou guardst! Now I do bid thee, strike!�

At his final words the statue glowed and quickened, the blank stone eyes shone a bright red. The mas�sive head nodded, the hammer smote the anvil, and it split asunder with a thunderous crash, the stone god itself crumbling. Barenziah clapped her hands over her ears and crouched down, shaking terribly and moaning out loud.

The Nightingale strode forward boldly and clasped the thing that lay among the ruins with a roar of ecstasy. He lifted it high.

�Someone's coming!� Barenziah cried in alarm, then noticed for the first time what it was he was hold�ing aloft. �Wait, that's not the Horn, it -- it's a staff!�

�Indeed, Milady. You see truly, at last!� The Nightingale laughed aloud. �I am sorry, Milady sweet, but I must leave you now. Perhaps we shall meet again one day. Until then... Ah, until then, Symmachus,� he said to the mail-clad figure who had appeared behind them, �she is all yours. You may claim her back.�

�No!� Barenziah screamed. She sprang up and ran toward him, but he was gone. Winked out of exis�tence -- just as Symmachus, claymore drawn, reached him. His blade cleaved a single stroke through empty air. Then he stood still, as if taking the stone god's place.

Barenziah said nothing, heard nothing, saw nothing... felt nothing...

***

Symmachus told the half dozen or so Elves who had accompanied him that the Nightingale and Queen Barenziah had lost their way, and had been set upon by giant spiders. That the Nightingale had lost his footing and fallen into a deep crevice, which closed over him. That his body could not be recovered. That the Queen had been badly shaken by the encounter and deeply mourned the loss of her friend, who had fallen in her defense. Such was Symmachus' presence and power of command that the slack-jawed knights, none of whom had caught more than a glimpse of what happened, were convinced that it was all exactly as he said.

The Queen was escorted back to the palace and taken to her chamber, whereupon she dismissed her servants-in-waiting. She sat still before her mirror for a long time, stunned, too distraught even to weep. Symmachus stood watching over her.

�Do you have any idea at all what you have just done?� he said finally -- flatly, coldly.

�You should have told me,� Barenziah whispered. �The Staff of Chaos! I never dreamed it lay here. He said-- he said-- � A mewling escaped her lips and she doubled over in despair. �Oh, what have I done? What have I done? What happens now? What's to become of me? Of us?�

�Did you love him?�

�Yes. Yes, yes, yes! Oh my Symmachus, the gods have mercy on me, but I did love him. Did. But now... now... I don't know... I'm not sure... I...�

Symmachus' hard-lined face softened slightly, and his eyes glittered with new light, and he sighed. �Ai. That's something then. You will become a mother yet if it's within my power. As for the rest -- Barenziah, my dearest Barenziah, I expect you have loosed a storm upon the land. It'll be a while yet in the brewing. But when it comes, we'll weather it together. As we always have.�

He came over to her then, and stripped her of her clothing, and carried her to the bed. Out of grief and longing, her enfeebled body responded to his brawny one as it never had before, pouring forth all that the Nightingale had wakened to life in her. And in so doing calming the restless ghosts of all he had destroyed.

***

She was empty, and emptied. And then she was filled, for a child was planted and grew within her. As her son flourished in the womb, so did her feeling toward patient, faithful, devoted Symmachus, which had been rooted in long friendship and unbroken affection -- and which now, at last, ripened into the fullness of true love. Eight years later they were again blessed, this time with a daughter.

***

Directly after the Nightingale's theft of the Staff of Chaos, Symmachus had sent urgent secret communiques to Uriel Septim. He had not gone himself, as he would normally have, choosing instead to stay with Barenziah during her fertile period to father a son upon her. For this, and for the theft, he suf�fered Uriel Septim's temporary disfavor and unjust suspicion. Spies were sent in search of the thief, but the Nightingale seemed to have vanished whence he had come -- wherever that was.

�Dark Elf in part, perhaps,� said Barenziah, �but part human too, I think, in disguise. Else would I not have come so quickly to fertility.�

�Part Dark Elf, for sure, and of ancient Ra'athim lineage at that, else he would not have been able to free the Staff,� Symmachus reasoned. He turned to peer at her fixedly. �I don't think he would have lain with you. As an Elf he did not dare, for then he would not have been able to part from you.� He smiled. Then he turned serious once more. �Ai! He knew the Staff lay there, not the Horn, and that he must tele�port to safety. The Staff is not a weapon that would have seen him clear, unlike the Horn. Praise the gods at least that he does not have that! It seems all was as he expected -- but how did he know? I placed the Staff there myself, with the aid of the rag-tail end of the Ra'athim Clan who now sits king in Castle Ebonheart as a reward. Tiber Septim claimed the Horn, but left the Staff for safekeeping. Ai! Now the Nightingale can use the Staff to sow seeds of strife and dissension wherever he goes, if he wishes. Yet that alone will not gain him power. That lies with the Horn and the ability to use it.�

�I'm not so sure it's power the Nightingale seeks,� Barenziah said.

�All seek power,� Symmachus said, �each in our own way.�

�Not I,� she answered. �I, Milord, have found that for which I sought.�

217bk_RealBarenziah5

The Real Barenziah, Part 5
Anonymous

218bk_RealNerevarThe Real Nerevar

[This Telvanni retainer's informal history of Nerevar lists no sources.]

When the Dunmer followed Veloth to Morrowind, they were many warring clans, with no law or leader in common. One Dunmer warlord, Nerevar, had the ambition to rule all the Dunmer.

In that time, House Dwemer were great enchanters, so Nerevar went in secret to a Dwemer smith and asked for an enchanted ring that would help him. The ring gave its wearer great powers of persuasion; for safety, it was enchanted to instantly kill anyone who wore it except Nerevar. The ring was called Moon-and-Star, and it helped Nerevar unite the various clans into the First Council.

Later, however, disputes over religion divided the Council, with House Dwemer and House Dagoth on one side and all the other Houses on the other. Dwemer and Dagoth invited Orc and Nord clans as allies, and held northwest Morrowind, while Nerevar mustered the other Houses and nomad tribes and marched to meet the Dwemer-Dagoth-Westerner forces.

The armies met at Red Mountain, a Dwemer stronghold. The Dwemer were defeated, with great slaughter, and terrible sorceries were used, resulting in the utter extermination of House Dwemer, House Dagoth, and their allies. Nerevar was killed in the battle, and his ring lost, but Nerevar's alliance survives in Morrowind's ruling political institution, the Grand Council.

219bk_redbook426

Red Book of Great House Redoran



[The Red Book is a yearbook of the affairs of the Redoran Council of Vvardenfell District for 3E 426. It lists the current members of the council and their residences. It also chronicles significant events and council actions for the year.]

Councilors of House Redoran
Vardenfell District
Imperial Era 426

Archmaster Lord Bolvyn Venim, by Grace of Almsivi, Chief Councilor of Redoran Council, Vvardenfell District, Lord Ald'ruhn of Bolvyn Manor, Manor District, Ald'ruhn, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Lord Miner Arobar, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Redoran Council, Vvardenfell District, Lord of North Gash, of Arobar Manor, Manor District, Ald'ruhn, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Lord Hlaren Ramoran, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Redoran Council, Vvardenfell District, Lord of West Gash, of Ramoran Manor, Manor District, Ald'ruhn, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Lady Brara Morvayn, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Redoran Council, Vvardenfell District, Lady of Maar Gan, of Morvayn Manor, East Ald'ruhn, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Lord Athyn Sarethi, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Redoran Council, Vvardenfell District, Lord of South Gash, of Sarethi Manor, Manor District, Ald'ruhn, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Lord Garisa Llethri, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Redoran Council, Vvardenfell District, Lord of The northern Ashlands, of Llethri Manor, Manor District, Ald'ruhn, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Council Affairs of Note

King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, High Councilor and Lord of Morrowind, imposes favorable tariffs on flin [an imported fortified Imperial alcoholic beverage]. The council protests the continuing burdensome tariffs on the native beverages sujamma, greef, and shein.

Smuggling and organized crime have become increasingly aggressive and violent in the Redoran House Districts. The councilors blame local corruption, weakened enforcement, and aggressive competition between the Thieves Guild and the Camonna Tong.

An unfortunate tax revolt in Balmora was put down after significant property damage and loss of life. The council warned that such disturbances might spread to Ald'ruhn if the heavy burden of Imperial taxes were not alleviated.

220bk_redbookofriddles

The Red Book of Riddles



This handye booke doth containe alle diverse manner of riddles and follyes, and, by means of carefulle studye, the prudente scholarlye gentlemane maye finde himselfe noe longer discomfited by the sharpe wite of his fellowes.

[The posing and puzzling of riddles is a convention of polite aristocratic Western society. Nobles and social aspirants collect books of riddles and study them, hoping thereby to increase the chances of their appearing sly and witty in conversation.]

The question:
It has a tail, a side and a head
I call it what I call a snake
It has no body and it is dead

The answer:
It must be a drake

The question:
Poets know the hearts of Men and Mer
But beasts can't know my heart, you see
This book was written by a bear

The answer:
It is not a book of poetry.

The question:
I gave you a sock, not unlike a box
With hammers and nails all around it
Two lids open when it knocks

The answer:
It must have been a great hit.

221bk_redorancookingsecrets

Redoran Cooking Secrets



Crab Meat and Scuttle

2 handfuls of scuttle
4 pinches of wickwheat
1 large kwama egg
the meat of one mudcrab (two portions)
1 handful of chopped bittergreen

Beat eggs, wickwheat, and scuttle in a large bowl. Slowly stir in crabmeat and bittergreen. Bake covered in a hot over for one half hour to one hour (when a knife comes out clean).

The Hound and Rat

1 pie crust
1 pound of ground meat (mixed rat and hound)
a hand and a half of cooked saltrice
1 handful of scuttle
1 small kwama egg
a pinch of ash salts

Cook the mixed meat in a pan over an open flame. When the meat begins to brown, add the saltrice. Stir for a few moments and add the scuttle and kwama egg. When the kwama egg is fully cooked and the scuttle has melted, pour from the pan into the pie crust. Sprinkle with ash salts and cover the pie crust. Bake for one quarter hour in a hot oven.

222bk_Redoran_Vaults_Ledger

Redoran Vaults Ledger



[This book contains meticulous records of all commerce and transactions of the Redoran Vaults as well as an up-to-date account of the current reserves.]

223bk_red_mountain_map

Buoyant Armiger's Map of Red Mountain



Citadel Vemynal: northwest
Citadel Tureynulal: northeast
Citadel Dagoth: center
Citadel Endusal: southwest
Citadel Odrosal: southeast
Ghostgate: south




224bk_reflectionsoncultworship...

Reflections on Cult Worship in the Empire



[from the correspondence of Cuseius Plecia, Imperial trader, writing from the Vos Tradehouse in Vvardenfell District, Province of Morrowind]

"...I have noted that Heartlanders like myself, and assimilated Imperial Citizens of other races, tend to impersonal and formal relationships with their gods and spirits. For us, cults are first and foremost social and economic organizations. We typically think of the Eight Divines in the most abstract terms -- as powerful but indifferent spirits to be propitiated, and do not think of their relationships as personal. Notable exceptions include minor charismatic sub-cults of Akatosh and Dibella. The Imperial Cult of Tiber Septim also has a significant charismatic sub-cult.

With the exception of the Alessian Order, which Heartlanders regard as a dark age, religious cults have played only minor parts in Heartlander and Imperial history. The Septim emperors have made it a policy to limit the influence of cult authorities in aristocratic, military, and bureaucratic affairs. Cult worship is regarded as a private and practical matter, and public pronouncements by religious figures are not welcomed.
Nordic hero-cults provide a strong counter-current to the dominant secularism of the Empire. The Imperial cult of Tiber Septim is just such a hero-cult, and among the military, provincial colonists, and recently assimilated foreigners, the cult is particularly strong and personal.

The Tribunal Temple in Morrowind, and its predecessor, house ancestor cults, are, by contrast with Imperial cults, extremely intimate and personal. In ancestor cults, the worshipper has a direct relationship with a blood family ancestor spirit, and the Temple cultist's relationship with the Tribunal is a relationship with a living, breathing god who walks the earth, speaks in person with priests and cultists, and whose daily actions are prescribed models for the daily actions of their followers.

The differences in religious temperament between Heartlanders and Morrowind Dunmer accounts in large part for consistent political and social misunderstanding between the two cultures. Heartlanders do not consider cult affairs as serious matters, where the Dunmer consider cult affairs, and in particular, ancestral spirit veneration, to be very serious matters indeed.

Heartlanders are casual and tolerant in religious matters; Dunmer are passionate and extremely intolerant. Heartlanders do not speak with their gods, and do not think of their actions as under constant review and judgement by their gods; the Dunmer feel that all they think and do is under the ever-watchful eye of the Tribunal and family ancestor spirits...."
225bk_responsefromdivaythfyr
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226bk_SaintNerevar

Saint Nerevar



[From a short Temple pamphlet for Western readers.]

Ages ago, Nerevar was the greatest Dunmer general, First Councilor, and companion of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, who, with the power of the great Ring of the Ancestors, One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, united the Dunmer Houses to confront the evil Dwemer, the treacherous House Dagoth, and their Western allies at Red Mountain.

By Providence, the faithless Dwemer were utterly destroyed, and their allies defeated, but Nerevar, mortally wounded in combat with the traitor Dagoth Ur, was driven from Red Mountain. Nerevar died not long after of his wounds, but he lived to see the birth of the Temple, and to bless the unity of the Dunmer into the safekeeping of Almsivi, the Temple, and all its communion of saints.
227bk_SamarStarloversJournal

6th moon ....... "Alas, the Battlespire appears to be falling into the hands of evil. Their many attempts in the past have failed, until now. Dagon seems to have new minions at his side this time. These new horrors are not at all too powerful beyond our magicks and weaponry, but their numbers are feverishly great. We grow low on supplies and soldiers for this holdout. I fear the worst."

8th moon ....... "I have presented to the few remaining Battlemages my last hope plan. I will fight my way to the bowels of the Battlespire, where I will mount Dragonne Papre, my Dragon companion. From his lair, we will take flight. Since the Weir Gate has been taken, teleportation is not possible. Only Papre can make such a journey to the Imperial Palace. There, we will report the evil infection and return with a regimental force of rescue. May the Powers be with me."

9th moon........ "It is as I feared. A carcass is all I have come to find. They have sealed the main gate so Papre could not escape. I am not sorrowful though, for I will be eternally reunited with Dragonne Papre. Hope for the living is lost. My name is Samar Starlover. Tell my sister I am dead, and if all the seas were ink, I could not write enough how I shall miss her."

228bk_saryonisermonsmanuscript

SARYONI'S SERMONS
BLESSED ALMSIVI, MERCY, MASTERY, MYSTERY



[This is the original book that Archcanon Tholer Saryoni used to write his sermons.]

Listen, faithful, to Vivec's words, for he says five times and five ways --
Forge a keen Faith in the crucible of suffering.
Engrave upon thy eye the image of injustice.
Death does not diminish; the ghost gilds with glory.
Faith conquers all. Let us yield to Faith.
Better to suffer a wrong than to do one.

Hear the words of Lord Vivec, and heed his sermons on the Seven Graces, for he names them seven times and seven ways --

VALOR
DARING
JUSTICE
COURTESY
PRIDE
GENEROSITY
HUMILITY

The Grace of Valor
Thank you for your valor, Lord Vivec. I shall not quail, nor turn away, but face my enemies and my fear.

The Grace of Daring
Thank you for your daring, Lord Vivec. I shall not shun risk, nor hide behind the mask of cautious counsel, for fortune favors the bold.

The Grace of Justice
Thank you for your justice, Lord Vivec. I shall be neither cruel nor arbitrary, for fair dealing earns the love, trust, and respect of our people.

The Grace of Courtesy
Thank you for your courtesy, Lord Vivec. I shall speak neither hurtful nor harsh word, but shall speak respectfully, even of my enemies, for temperate words may turn aside anger.

The Grace of Pride
Thank you for your pride, Lord Vivec. I shall not doubt myself, or my people, or my gods, and shall insist upon them, and my ancient rights.

The Grace of Generosity
Thank you for your generosity, Lord Vivec. I shall neither hoard nor steal, nor encumber myself with profitless treasures, but shall share freely among house and hearth.

The Grace of Humilty
Thank you for your humility, Lord Vivec. I shall neither strut nor preen in vanity, but shall know and give thanks for my place in the greater world.

229bk_SaryonisSermons

SARYONI'S SERMONS
BLESSED ALMSIVI, MERCY, MASTERY, MYSTERY



[This volume of the Hierographa (i.e., 'priestly writings') was written and collected with commentary by Archcanon Tholer Saryoni. It is the best selling of the Temple annotated texts, and therefore inexpensive and commonly found in most Dunmer households. Saryoni collects Vivec's most famous sermons and the popular explanations of his Gospels. This text exists in many editions. More elaborate editions are handsomely illuminated with Vivec's quotations from the Gospels for days, seasons, and festivals.]

Listen, faithful, to Vivec's words, for he says five times and five ways --
Forge a keen Faith in the crucible of suffering.
Engrave upon thy eye the image of injustice.
Death does not diminish; the ghost gilds with glory.
Faith conquers all. Let us yield to Faith.
Better to suffer a wrong than to do one.

Hear the words of Lord Vivec, and heed his sermons on the Seven Graces, for he names them seven times and seven ways --

VALOR
DARING
JUSTICE
COURTESY
PRIDE
GENEROSITY
HUMILITY

The Grace of Valor
Thank you for your valor, Lord Vivec. I shall not quail, nor turn away, but face my enemies and my fear.

The Grace of Daring
Thank you for your daring, Lord Vivec. I shall not shun risk, nor hide behind the mask of cautious counsel, for fortune favors the bold.

The Grace of Justice
Thank you for your justice, Lord Vivec. I shall be neither cruel nor arbitrary, for fair dealing earns the love, trust, and respect of our people.

The Grace of Courtesy
Thank you for your courtesy, Lord Vivec. I shall speak neither hurtful nor harsh word, but shall speak respectfully, even of my enemies, for temperate words may turn aside anger.

The Grace of Pride
Thank you for your pride, Lord Vivec. I shall not doubt myself, or my people, or my gods, and shall insist upon them, and my ancient rights.

The Grace of Generosity
Thank you for your generosity, Lord Vivec. I shall neither hoard nor steal, nor encumber myself with profitless treasures, but shall share freely among house and hearth.

The Grace of Humilty
Thank you for your humility, Lord Vivec. I shall neither strut nor preen in vanity, but shall know and give thanks for my place in the greater world.

230bk_saryoni_note

[a package sealed with an anonymous wax seal, containing a single-page, unsigned note]


[on the cover of the package]
To the Outlander lately proclaiming his identity as the Nerevarine, to be delivered with haste --


[the note itself]
The assertions made being in direct contradiction of the doctrine of the Tribunal, namely, that you are the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of the Sainted Lord Nerevar, are, in addition to being against Temple teaching, incredible and implausible in the extreme.

The revelations made by the Inquisition, namely, that you yourself are in fact an agent of the Imperial Intelligence Service, otherwise known as the Order of Blades, lately made with substantial evidence by the Lord High Archordinator, Berel Sala, further calls into question the validity of and motivations behind your claims.

However, as incredible as your claims are, as much as they are in direct contradiction of the teachings of the Temple, and tainted as they are by the inferences to be made upon your close association with the covert policies and interests of the Emperor, the interests of the Temple and its leadership, and in particular, the interests of His Immortal Lordship, Vivec, are best served by a close and personal examinations of the claims being made, and close and personal examinations of the motivations and character of the claimant.

The Temple, through its examinations of its records, in particular, the records of the Heirographa and Apographa, is intimately familiar with the many and varied claims of signs and feats that would mark the Nerevarine according to prophecy.

Therefore, in the event of the fulfillment of certain of those most remarkable and scarcely credible claims -- namely, that the claimant should, at one time, be the acknowledged holder of several ancient titles of power and authority of the Dunmer people, to whit, Hortator of the Great Houses and Nerevarine of the Ashlander tribes -- the Temple proposes that the claimant of the identity of the Nerevarine shall present himself for inspection before his Reverend Honor, Archcanon Lord Tholer Saryoni, High Archcanon and Chancellor of Vivec, Archcanon of the Canonry of Vvardenfell, Arch-Priest of the High Fane, for a review and consideration of his claims and identity. However, until such time as the claimant actually has been named Hortator separately and jointly by the three Great Houses of Vvardenfell, and at the same time has been named Nerevarine separately and jointly by the four tribes of the Ashlanders, there is no purpose in reviewing or discussing these claims.

Because of the Temple's official position on the prophecies of the Nerevarine, and in the interests of preserving the security of the claimant from those parties who might wish to do him harm, it is convenient that the claimant of the title Nerevarine shall present himself in secret to Archcanon Saryoni in the archcanon's private quarters in the High Fane of Vivec.

To signify agreement with these terms and conditions for a meeting with the archcanon, the Nerevarine claimant may present himself to the healer of the High Fane of Vivec, Danso Indules, and the necessary arrangements will be made. Once again, no purpose is served by a meeting until the claimant is named Hortator of the three Great Houses and is named Nerevarine of the four Ashlander tribes.


written at the request of and in the name of his Reverend Honor Tholer Saryoni, Archcanon and Chancellor of Vivec,

Dileno Lloran, priest of Vivec, assistant to the Archcanon
231bk_SecretsDwemerAnimunculi









232bk_seniliasreport

Nchuleftingth Excavation Report 11

Our excavations have turned up little in these last few days. I have found nothing new in the ruins. Everything seems as clean and undisturbed as the day we first opened the outer doors. I know there are unexplored depths. I can feel massive Dwemer machinery still running beneath my feet, even as I write this, but I can find no way to get to it. You must not give up on us for a lack results this soon, Edwinna. I am sure a great discovery lies somewhere below.

If only the secret of Passwall were not lost nearly a generation ago. With a few of those precious scrolls, I would be in the lower levels already where the real discoveries are to be made.

There is some good news. I have also discovered that "Mzuleft" you were looking for. Apparently "Mzuleft" is the proper name for the large Dwemer ruins south of Dagon Fel. Be careful not to confuse them with the ruins of "Nchardahrk" nearby.

The last of the Dwemer centurion spiders in the upper levels was finally disabled and dismantled for study. I wish we could study them while they are still active, but that is far too dangerous.

I also heard a strange story about the centurion spider that we captured and sent back to Cyrodiil. The ship captain I hired wrote to me with an odd story. He said that the spider nearly broke through its cage several times while near Vvardenfell, but once he left he Sea of Ghosts, the centurion suddenly stopped working. What happened next shows that he had more wits than I gave him credit for. He ordered the ship turned about and as they approached Vvardenfell again, the centurion began moving just as suddenly. This is a curious phenomenon and certainly deserves more investigation.

Your servant,
Senilius Cadiusus

233bk_seydaneentaxrecord

Tax Records

Processus Vitellius
Seyda Neen Census and Excise Office

Arrille - 450 drakes - PAID
Draren Thiralas - 200 drakes - PAID
Eldafire - 130 drakes
Erene Llenim - 78 drakes - PAID
Fargoth - 111 drakes
Fine-Mouth - 54 drakes
Foryn Gilnith - 225 drakes
Indrele Rathryon - 127 drakes - PAID
Terurise Grivayne - 98 drakes -PAID
Thavere Vedrano 134 drakes - PAID
Vodunius Nuccius - 87 drakes
234bk_shalitjournal_deal

We've struck a bargain with evil. While I am uncomfortable and feel some unease with our current arrangement, I believe these warrens will serve us well for some time. Those who hope to destroy me must be of stout spirit and cunning mind, for if they simply forge ahead in these caves, they may meet a fate far worse than death.

When we first discovered these caves and began our explorations, we were sure we had found refuge from our enemies. Little did we know, as we pushed into the interior galleries what we would find. In the final chamber, we came upon the ruined portal to a vast tomb. At first we were eager to chance upon some riches to fill our coffers, but instead we found ourselves within the nest of deadly creatures. By our wits and skill of arms, we were able to retreat from the dark lair. For a time we sealed the entry, but the threat continued to gnaw at us. It was Giden who conceived the plan with which we presented to those beings of darkness. In return for our right to dwell within these caves, we provide "sustenance" for these creatures. To assist us in this venture, we have created a lure, a path for the bounty hunters and meddlesome folk to follow. The unwary will find themselves in the clutches of a black fate.

Mulvrulea is very unhappy with the current conditions and I am finding myself concurring. This cannot come to a good end, but we must stay the course until a new safehold can be found.

235bk_shalit_note

Giden,

Here's a blade for the new man. Send him ahead and we'll set up his arrangements. Dinner is waiting, but not for you. Muvrulea is sick again so you've drawn sentry duty. Don't worry, you'll be getting a portion of his share. Stay alert, bounty hunters are seeking us, but I feel fairly secure up here.

Rels

236bk_sharnslegionsofthedead

Legions of the Dead



[Sharn gra-Muzgob's personal copy.]

Undead commonly occur in three basic types: spirit, flesh, and fleshless. Spirit revenants like the ancestor ghost, wraith, and dwarven ghost, can only be harmed by weapons that are enchanted or made of refined substances such as silver. Ancestor ghosts, the most common spirit revenant, are harmless, apart from the minor curses they lay upon their victims. Wraiths are similar to ghosts, but they are capable of inflicting wounds to the careless explorer. Dwarven ghosts are more dangerous still, but they generally appear only in Dwarven ruins.

Flesh revenants, or 'zombies' as they are often called in the West, are known as 'bonewalkers' in Morrowind. Magic preserves the bonewalker's fleshy remains along with the bones and spirit. Bonewalkers are readily identified by the sharp protuberances of bone and metal employed in the rituals that bind them to this plane. All bonewalkers are malevolent and dangerous, but the greater bonewalkers are far worse than the more common 'lesser' bonewalkers. Thankfully, normal weapons harm bonewalkers.

It is difficult to generalize about fleshless revenants, or skeletons. The agility and fighting ability of the animated remains may depend on the abilities of the revenant's former life, and may therefore be weak or strong, or more or less capable with weapons and shields. Fortunately, enchanted weapons are not needed to destroy skeletons. An exception is the bonelord, a peculiar form of revenant that seems to derive its powers more from its spirit energies than from the substance of its skeletal remains. Bonelords are very powerful, and very dangerous. Normal weapons do not affect them.

Vampires were believed to be extinct in Morrowind for centuries. Dunmer culture has a special hatred for vampires, and in earlier times the Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers hunted them to extinction. In recent years, however, vampires have either begun to sneak into Morrowind, or long-dormant ones have been awakened. Vampires vary in their substance and power according to their age and accumulated lore, but even the weakest vampire is immeasurably stronger than most other undead. Note: Ash vampires are not vampires, and are not undead. Ash vampires are extremely dangerous. While their spirit and substance may indeed be preserved by some magical process, the holy warriors of the Tribunal Temple report that spell effects known to affect the undead have no effect on ash vampires.

237bk_shishireport

As instructed, a party of five entered the Velothi tower of Shishi. Five Telvanni sorcerers fell and the tower is now ours, but we have suffered heavy losses. We will hold Shishi as long as we can and await your orders.

Brerama Selas
238bk_ShortHistoryMorrowind

A Short History of Morrowind
by Jeanette Sitte



[from the Introduction]

Led by the legendary prophet Veloth, the ancestors of the Dunmer, exiles from Altmer cultures in present-day Summerset Isle, came to the region of Morrowind. In earliest times the Dunmer were harassed or dominated by Nord sea raiders. When the scattered Dunmer tribes consolidated into the predecessors of the modern Great House clans, they threw out the Nord oppressors and successfully resisted further incursions.

The ancient ancestor worship of the tribes was in time superseded by the monolithic Tribunal Temple theocracy, and the Dunmer grew into a great nation called Resdayn. Resdayn was the last of the provinces to submit to Tiber Septim; like Black Marsh, it was never successfully invaded, and was peacefully incorporated by treaty into the Empire as the Province of Morrowind.

Almost four centuries after the coming of the Imperial Legions, Morrowind is still occupied by Imperial legions, with a figurehead Imperial King, though the Empire has reserved most functions of the traditional local government to the Ruling Councils of the Five Great Houses....

[on Vvardenfell District]

In 3E 414, Vvardenfell Territory, previously a Temple preserve under Imperial protection, was reorganized as an Imperial Provincial District. Vvardenfell had been maintained as a preserve administrated by the Temple since the Treaty of the Armistice, and except for a few Great House settlements sanctioned by the Temple, Vvardenfell was previously uninhabited and undeveloped. But when the centuries-old Temple ban on trade and settlement of Vvardenfell was revoked by King of Morrowind, a flood of Imperial colonists and Great House Dunmer came to Vvardenfell, expanding old settlements and building new ones.

The new District was divided into Redoran, Hlaalu, Telvanni, and Temple Districts, each separately administered by local House Councils or Temple Priesthoods, and all under the advice and consent of Duke Dren and the District Council in Ebonheart. Local law became a mixture of House Law and Imperial Law in House Districts, jointly enforced by House guards and Legion guards, with Temple law and Imperial law enforced in the Temple district by Ordinators. The Temple was still recognized as the majority religion, but worship of the Nine Divines was protected by the legions and encouraged by Imperial cult missions.

The Temple District included the city of Vivec, the fortress of Ghostgate, and all sacred and profane sites (including those Blighted areas inside the Ghostfence) and all unsettled and wilderness areas on Vvardenfell. In practice, this district included all parts of Vvardenfell not claimed for Redoran, Hlaalu, or Telvanni Districts. The Temple stubbornly fought all development in their district, and were largely successful.

House Hlaalu in combination with Imperial colonists embarked on a vigorous campaign of settlement and development. In the decades after reorganization, Balmora and the Ascadian Isles regions have grown steadily. Caldera and Pelagiad are completely new settlements, and all legion forts were expanded to accommodate larger garrisons.

House Telvanni, normally conservative and isolationist, has been surprisingly aggressive in expanding beyond their traditional tower villages. Disregarding the protests of the other Houses, the Temple, the Duke, and the District council, Telvanni pioneers have been encroaching on the wild lands reserved to the Temple. The Telvanni council officially disavows responsibility for these rogue Telvanni settlements, but it is an open secret that they are encouraged and supported by ambitious Telvanni mage-lords.

Under pressure from the Temple, conservative House Redoran has steadfastly resisted expansion in their district. As a result, House Redoran and the Temple are in danger of being politically and economically marginalized by the more aggressive and expansionist Hlaalu and Telvanni interests.

The Imperial administration faces many challenges in the Vvardenfell district, but the most serious are the Great House rivalries, animosity from the Ashlander nomads, internal conflicts within the Temple itself, and the Red Mountain blight. Struggles between Great House, Temple, and Imperial interests to control Vvardenfell's resource could at any time erupt into full-scale war. Ashlanders raid settlements, plunder caravans, and kill foreigners on their wild lands. The Temple has unsuccessfully attempted to silence criticism and calls for reform within its ranks.

But most serious are the plagues and diseased hosts produced by the blight storms sweeping out from Red Mountain. Vvardenfell and all Morrowind have long been menaced by the legendary evils of Dagoth Ur and his ash vampire kin dwelling beneath Red Mountain. For centuries the Temple has contained this threat within the Ghostfence. But recently the Temple's resources and will have faltered, and the threat from Red Mountain has grown in scale and intensity. If the Ghostfence should fail, and hosts of blighted monsters were to spill out across Vvardenfell's towns and villages, the Empire might have no choice but to evacuate Vvardenfell district and abandon it to disease and corruption.

239bk_sottildescodebook

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240bk_specialfloraoftamriel

Special Flora of Tamriel
by Hardin the Herbalist



The Poppy, in both black and white varieties, may be found growing wild in the mountains of Hammerfell. Their succulent pods are often the only nourishment for adventurers who find themselves in the wilderness without rations. It is said that black and white poppies imbibed together have magical properties. When they are crushed and mixed with the milk of the agile-footed mountain goat, the resulting potion allows the user to glide safely aboveground.

Fire Fern, a perennial herb, is native to the province of Morrowind. The flowers are inconspicuous and often hidden. The glossy, evergreen foliage and blossoms are resistant to conditions of high heat and bright light. A petal from this plant placed under the adventurer's tongue will provide protection from the heat and fire of the lava pits and thermal streams around Dagoth-Ur.

Dragon's Tongue, a common name for a fernlike herb found in Black Marsh, is especially prolific around the area of the Ultherus Swamp. It is a beautiful wildflower whose name comes from the fire-red fronds that protect its golden efflorescence. As pretty as it is, however, it is a deadly poison to most living beings and needs to be avoided by adventurers, especially unprotected ones, as it is lethal to the touch. It is said, however, that Argonians can handle the plant and use the sap derived from its roots to enhance their endurance.

Domica Redwort is an herb grown by many residents of Valenwood for their beautiful and showy flowers. They attain a height of about three feet and sport feathery leaves; the flowers are usually bright red. In addition to their beauty, they are said to have the magical ability of enhancing the appearance of anyone who carries or wears one of the blooms.

Ironwood Nut is a hard-shelled fruit that comes from the ironwood trees growing deep in the forests of Skyrim. The wood of these trees is hard as the metal after which it is named. The very rare black variety of ironwood is said to produce a nut which is very succulent and believed to greaten the strength of the adventurer who is able to crack its shell and partake of it.

The Ginko leaves which are found along the banks of rivers and lakes in Hammerfell are most inconspicuous, only their peculiar half-moon shape making them noticeable. The edible foliage is very sweet and quite tasty. Legend has it that when mixed properly with the pulp of the aloe plant, the resulting concoction has the ability of increasing one's stamina for a short while.

The Somnalius Fern can be found in the swamps of Black Marsh. The fronds of this plant are light green and quite delicate. Picking a frond can be very difficult, as they usually crumble to the touch, but once retrieved it can be used to put an enemy to sleep for a short while by passing it under his nose.

Arrowroot is a thick, rubbery tuber that can be found in the province of Valenwood. The plant is quite difficult to find as its aboveground foliage is very meager and scrawny. But the root itself can be most beneficial to the gatherer as it has magical properties. The paste made from grinding the root is quite wholesome and can improve the user's accuracy with a bow and arrow, or other missile weapon.

Nightshade is reputed to be a very poisonous herb. However, the variety found in many parts of Elsweyr is cherished by Khajiits who have taken up careers in thievery. Many Khajiits will tuck a piece of Nightshade inside their armor to increase their abilities to skulk, hide, and become invisible.

241bk_spiritofnirn

Spirit of Nirn



Lorkhan is the Spirit of Nirn, the god of all mortals. This does not mean all mortals necessarily like him or even know him. Most Elves hate him, thinking creation as that act which sundered them from the spirit realm. Most Humans revere him, or aspects of him, as the herald of existence. The creation of the Mortal Plane, the Mundus, Nirn, is a source of mental anguish to all living things; all souls know deep down they came originally from somewhere else, and that Nirn is a cruel and crucial step to what comes next. What is this next? Some wish to return to the original state, the spirit realm, and that Lorkhan is the Demon that hinders their way; to them Nirn is a prison, an illusion to escape. Others think that Lorkhan created the world as the testing ground for transcendence; to them the spirit realm was already a prison, that true escape is now finally possible.
242bk_SpiritOfTheDaedra

HOW YOU SHOULD KNOW US

DEATH, DEFEAT, AND FEAR

We do not die. We do not fear death.

Destroy the Body, and the Animus is cast into The Darkness. But the Animus returns.

But we are not all brave.

We feel pain, and fear it. We feel shame, and fear it. We feel loss, and fear it. We hate the Darkness, and fear it.

The Scamps have small thoughts, and cannot fear greatly.

The Vermai have no thoughts, and cannot fear.

The Dremora have deep thoughts, and must master fear to overcome it.


THE CLAN BOND

We are not born; we have not fathers nor mothers, yet we have kin and clans.

The clan-form is strong. It shapes body and thought.

In the clan-form is strength and purpose.


THE OATH BOND

We serve by choice. We serve the strong, so that their strength might shield us.

Clans serve by long-practice, but practice may change.

Dremora have long served Dagon but not always so.

Practice is secure when oath-bonds are secure, and trust is shared.

When oath-bonds are weak, there is pain, and shame, and loss, and Darkness, and great fear.


HOW WE THINK ABOUT MAN

Perhaps you find Scamps comic, and Vermai brutish.

How then do you imagine we view you humans?

You are the Prey, and we are the Huntsmen.

The Scamps are the Hounds, and the Vermai the Beaters.

Your flesh is sweet, and the chase is diverting.

As you may sometimes praise the fox or hare, admiring its cunning and speed, and lamenting as the hounds tear its flesh, so do we sometimes admire our prey, and secretly applaud when it cheats our snares or eludes pursuit.

But, like all worldly things, you will in time wear, and be used up. You age, grow ugly, weak, and foolish. You are always lost, late or soon.

Sometimes the prey turns upon us and bites. It is a small thing. When wounded or weary, we fly away to restore. Sometimes a precious thing is lost, but that risk makes the chase all the sweeter.


MAN'S MYSTERY

Man is mortal, and doomed to death and failure and loss.

This lies beyond our comprehension - why do you not despair?
243bk_storagenoticeStorage

Keep Out!
244bk_stronghold_c_hlaalu

By the Grace of ALMSIVI, Lords and Rulers of All

His Grace, the Duke of Vvardenfell, hereby grants %PCName the right to build a stronghold and village of no more than fifty persons and of no more than 400 feet in any direction. %PCName may hire no more than 10 Men-At-Arms and retainers to defend the stronghold.

%PCName must protect the settlers who dwell within the bounds of the stronghold. %PCName must swear loyalty to the crown of His Grace, the Duke of Vvardenfell, and to ALMSIVI.

If %PCName does not abide by these terms, this contract is null and void and the rights to the stronghold reverts to His Grace, the Duke of Vvardenfell.

Seal of His Grace, Duke of Vvardenfell
Duke Vedam Dren

Seal of the Vassal
%PCName
245bk_stronghold_ld_hlaalu

By the Grace of ALMSIVI, Lords and Rulers of All

Know all Dunmer by these words that I, Hlaalu %PCName, have legally purchased the land of Rethan Manor on the northeast coast of the River Odai south of Balmora. Witness my hand below.

Seal of the seller
Baren Alen, Treasurer of the Great House Hlaalu

Seal of the buyer
%PCName

246bk_TalMarogKersResearches

Harvest's End, 3E 172

Chimere, Master Sorcerer, Summoner, and Direnni retainer:

Chimere Graegyn was a retainer of the ambitious Direnni clan. The Direnni derived the bulk of their power from their traffickings with Daedra, a very profitable but risky path to success. Chimere was perhaps the cleverest and most ambitious of the Direnni summoners. He dared to scheme against Lord Dagon, and won. When his trick succeeded, Dagon was cast into Oblivion. However, in the instant of his betrayal, Dagon struck out against the mortal who tricked him. Chimere's pact assured that he would live forever in his home town among the happy voices of his friends and countrymen. Twisting the literal words of Chimere's pact, Dagon scooped up tiny Caecilly Island (a small island off the coast of Northmoor) and hurled in into the void. All Chimere's friends and countrymen were instantly killed, though the sounds of their voices remained to torment Chimere's memory. Chimere was condemned to live forever, to grow progressively old and crippled with arthritis, and to contemplate the tragic consequences of his defiance of fate and fortune in cheating a Daedra Lord.

Armor of the Saviour's Hide:

Created by the Daedra Lord Malacath, this armor has the marvelous property of turning the blow of an oathbreaker. Chimere tricked Dagon into swearing an oath against the Powers which he had no intention of keeping. The Hide of the Savior turned Dagon's titanic fury long enough for Chimere to deliver his own attack -- an incantation invoked upon Dagon's "Protonymic" (i.e., Incantory True Name). Unfortunately, like many of Malacath's gifts, the armor is a mixed blessing. It also makes its wearer exceptionally vulnerable to magical attacks, so one should only wear it for particular occasions.

Dagon's Protonymic:

Chimere used Dagon's Protonymic in an incantation to invoke a sorcery that would gradually drain all of Dagon's power into the void. Chimere miscalculated, however, not realizing that Dagon's resistance could slow the draining of his power, even if it could not stop it. As a result, Dagon had the time to curse Chimere with a literal fulfillment of the terms of his bargain with Chimere. Rather than let his power drain into the void, Dagon cast it all into his curse. As a result, Caecilly Island was cast into the void, all its citizens were horribly slain, and Chimere was condemned to live forever among the ruins of his greatest ambition.

Rituals of the Hunt:

The Chapel of the Innocent Quarry: Chimere believes that Dagon had Caecilly Island established as the site of the Chapel of the Innocent Quarry to personally mock and torment Chimere. The green crystal structure was created by enchantments, and is the only building on the island erected since it was ripped from Tamriel and loosed in the void.

The Spear:

Supposedly the Spear of Bitter Mercy used in the Wild Hunts could not be handled by any mortal or immortal save the ones sanctified to the Hunt and bound by its strictures. However, Chimere has determined that though the Spear's power is great, it is not unlimited, and that certain enchanted items -- for instance, the Armor of the Savior's Hide, forged by Malacath -- are sufficient to protect a mortal or immortal bearer from its maleficent energies.
247bk_talostreason

There are rumors that Uriel will be visiting Vvardenfell in person. If so, we must act sooner than anticipated. We must watch his actions carefully and strike if the opportunity presents itself. We must also recruit more and swear them to the oath: That we shall die to put a strong man back on the throne of Tamriel.

Burn this note.

Oritius
248bk_tamrielicreligions

The Ruins of Kemel-Ze
By Rolard Nordssen



With the acclamations of the Fellows of the Imperial Society still ringing in my ears, I decided to return to Morrowind immediately. It was not without some regret that I bade farewell to the fleshpots of the Imperial City, but I knew that the wonders I had brought back from Raled-Makai had only scratched the surface of the Dwemer ruins in Morrowind. Even more spectacular treasures were out there, I felt, just waiting to be found, and I was eager to be off. I also had before me the salutary example of poor Bannerman, who was still dining out on his single expedition to Black Marsh twenty years ago. That would never be me, I vowed.

With my letter from the Empress in hand, this time I would have the full cooperation of the Imperial authorities. No more need to worry about attacks from superstitious locals. But where should I look next? The ruins at Kemel-Ze were the obvious choice. Unlike Raled-Makai, getting to the ruins would not be a problem. Also known as the �Cliff City�, Kemel-Ze lies on the mainland side of the Vvardenfel Rift, sprawling down the sheer coastal cliff. Travelers from the east coast of Vvardenfel often visit the site by boat, and it can also be reached overland from the nearby villages without undue hardship.

Once my expedition had assembled in Seyda Neen, with the usual tedious complications involved in operating in this half-civilized land, we set out for the village of Marog near the ruins, where we hoped to hire a party of diggers. My interpreter, Tuen Panai, an unusually jolly fellow for a Dark Elf who I had hired in Seyda Neen at the recommendation of the local garrison commander, assured me that the local villagers would be very familiar with Kemel-Ze, having looted the site for generations. Incidentally, Ten Penny (as we soon came to call him, to his constant amusement) proved invaluable and I would recommend him without hesitation to any of my colleagues who were planning similar expeditions to the wilds of Morrowind.

At Marog, we ran into our first trouble. The hetman of the village, a reserved, elegant old fellow, seemed willing to cooperate, but the local priest (a representative of the absurd religion they have here, worshiping something called the Tribunal who they claim actually live in palaces in Morrowind) was fervently against us excavating the ruins. He looked likely to sway the villagers to his side with his talk of �religious taboos�, but I waved the Empress's letter under his nose and mentioned something about my friend the garrison commander at Seyda Neen and he quieted right down. No doubt this was just a standard negotiating tactic arranged among the villagers to increase their pay. In any event, once the priest had stalked off muttering to himself, no doubt calling down curses upon the heads of the foreign devils, we soon had a line of villagers eager to sign on to the expedition.

While my assistant was working out the mundane details of contracts, supplies, etc., Master Arum and I rode on to the ruins. By land, they can only be reached using narrow paths that wind down the face of the cliff from above, where any misstep threatens to send one tumbling into the sea foaming about the jagged rocks below. The city's original entrance to the surface must have been in the part of the city to the northeast - the part that fell into the sea long ago when the eruption of Red Mountain created this mind-bogglingly vast crater. After successfully navigating the treacherous path, we found ourselves in a large chamber, open to the sky on one side, disappearing into the darkness on the other. As we stepped forward, our boots crunched on piles of broken metal, as common in Dwarven ruins as potsherds in other ancient sites. This was obviously where the looters brought their finds from deeper levels, stripping off the valuable outer casings of the Dwarven mechanisms and leaving their innards here - easier than lugging the intact mechanisms back up to the top of the cliff. I laughed to myself, thinking of the many warriors unwittingly walking around Tamriel with pieces of Dwarven mechanisms on their backs. For that, of course, is what most �Dwarven armor� really is - just the armored shells of ancient mechanical men. I sobered when I thought of how exceedingly valuable an intact mechanism would be. This place was obviously full of Dwarven devices, judging from the litter covering the floor of this vast chamber - or had been, I reminded myself. Looters had been working over this site for centuries. Just the casing alone would be worth a small fortune, sold as armor. Most Dwarven armor is made of mismatched pieces from various devices, hence its reputation for being bulky and unwieldy. But a matched set from an intact mechanism is worth more than its weight in gold, for the pieces all fit together smoothly and the wearer hardly notices the bulk. Of course, I had no intention of destroying my finds for armor, no matter how valuable. I would bring it back to the Society for scientific study. I imagined the astonished cries of my colleagues as I unveiled it at my next lecture, and smiled again.

I picked up a discarded gear from the piles at my feet. It still gleamed brightly, as if new-made, the Dwarven alloys resisting the corrosion of time. I wondered what secrets remained hidden in the maze of chambers that lay before me, defying the efforts of looters, waiting to gleam again in the light they had not seen in long eons. Waiting for me. It remained only to find them! With an impatient gesture to Master Arum to follow, I strode forward into the gloom.

Master Arum, Ten Penny and I spent several days exploring the ruins while my assistants set up camp at the top of the cliff and hauled supplies and equipment from the village. I was looking for a promising area to begin excavation -- a blocked passage or corridor untouched by looters that might lead to completely untouched areas of the ruins.

We found two such areas early on, but soon discovered that the many winding passages bypassed the blockage and gave access to the rooms behind. Nevertheless, even these outer areas, for the most part stripped clean of artifacts by generations of looters, were full of interest to the professional archaeologist. Behind a massive bronze door, burst from its hinges by some ancient turmoil of the earth, we discovered a large chamber filled with exquisite wall-carvings, which impressed even the jaded Ten Penny, who claimed to have explored every Dwarven ruin in Morrowind. They seemed to depict an ancient ritual of some kind, with a long line of classically-bearded Dwarven elders processing down the side walls, all seemingly bowing to the giant form of a god carved into the front wall of the chamber, which was caught in the act of stepping forth from the crater of a mountain in a cloud of smoke or steam. According to Master Arum, there are no known depictions of Dwarven religious rituals, so this was an exciting find indeed. I set a team to work prying the carved panels from the wall, but they were unable to even crack the surface. On closer examination the chamber appeared to be faced with a metallic substance with the texture and feel of stone, impervious to any of our tools. I considered having Master Arum try his blasting magic on the walls, but decided that the risk of destroying the carvings was too great. Much as I would have preferred to bring them back to the Imperial City, I had to settle for taking rubbings of the carvings. If my colleagues in the Society showed enough interest, I was sure a specialist could be found, perhaps a master alchemist, who could find a way to safely remove the panels.

I found another curious room at the top of a long winding stair, barely passable due to the fall of rubble from the roof. At the top of the stair was a domed chamber with a large ruined mechanism at its center. Painted constellations were still visible in some places on the surface of the dome. Master Arum and I agreed that this must have been some kind of observatory, and the mechanism was therefore the remains of a Dwarven telescope. To remove it from ruins down the narrow stairway would require its complete disassembly (which fact no doubt had preserved it from the attention of looters), so I decided to leave it in place for the time being. The existence of this observatory suggested, however, that this room had once been above the surface. Closer examination of the structure revealed that this was indeed a building, not an excavated chamber. The only other doorways from the room were completely blocked, and careful measurements from the top of the cliff to the entry room and then to the observatory revealed that we were still more than 250 feet below the present ground level. A sobering reminder of the forgotten fury of Red Mountain.

This discovery led us to focus our attentions downward. Since we now knew approximately where the ancient surface lay, we could rule out many of the higher blocked passages. One wide passage, impressively flanked with carven pillars, particularly drew my interest. It ended in a massive rockfall, but we could see where looters had begun and then abandoned a tunnel through this debris. With my team of diggers and Master Arum's magery to assist, I believed we could succeed where our predecessors had failed. I therefore set my team of Dark Elves to work on clearing the passage, relieved finally to be beginning the real exploration of Kemel-Ze. Soon, I hoped, my boots would be stirring up dust that had lain undisturbed since the dawn of time.

With this exciting prospect before me, I may have driven my diggers a bit too hard. Ten Penny reported that they were beginning to grumble about the long days, and that some were talking of quitting. Knowing from experience that nothing puts heart back into these Dark Elves like a taste of the lash, I had the ringleaders whipped and the rest confined to the ruins until they had finished clearing the passageway. Thank Stendarr for my foresight in requisitioning a few legionnaires from Seyda Neen! They were sullen at first, but with the promise of an extra day's wages when they broke through, they soon set to work with a will. While these measures may sound harsh to my readers back in the comforts of civilization, let me assure you that there is no other way to get these people to stick to a task.

The blockage was much worse than I had first thought, and in the end it took almost two weeks to clear the passage. The diggers were as excited as I was when their picks finally broke through the far end into emptiness, and we shared a round of the local liquor together (a foul concoction, in truth) to show that all was forgiven. I could hardly restrain my eagerness as they enlarged the hole to allow entry into the chamber beyond. Would the passage lead to entire new levels of the ancient city, filled with artifacts left by the vanished Dwarves? Or would it be only a dead end, some side passage leading nowhere? My excitement grew as I slid through the hole and crouched for a moment in the darkness beyond. From the echoing sounds of the stones rattling beneath my feet, I was in a large room. Perhaps very large. I stood up carefully, and unhooded my lantern. As the light flooded the chamber, I looked around in astonishment. Here were wonders beyond even my wildest dreams!

As the light from my lamp filled the chamber beyond the rock fall, I looked around in astonishment. Everywhere was the warm glitter of Dwarven alloys. I had found an untouched section of the ancient city! My heart pounding with excitement, I looked around me. The room was vast, the roof soaring up into darkness beyond the reach of my lamp, the far end lost in shadows with only a tantalizing glimmer hinting at treasures not yet revealed. Along each wall stood rows of mechanical men, intact except for one oddity: their heads had been ritually removed and placed on the floor at their feet. This could mean only one thing -- I had discovered the tomb of a great Dwarven noble, maybe even a king! Burials of this type had been discovered before, most famously by Ransom's expedition to Hammerfell, but no completely intact tomb had ever been found. Until now.

But if this was truly a royal burial, where was the tomb? I stepped forward gingerly, the rows of headless bodies standing silently as they had for eons, their disembodied eyes seeming to watch me as I passed. I had heard wild tales of the Curse of the Dwarves, but had always laughed it off as superstition. But now, breathing the same air as the mysterious builders of this city, which had lain undisturbed since the cataclysm that spelled their doom, I felt a twinge of fear. There was some power here, I felt, something malevolent that resented my presence. I stopped for a moment and listened. All was silent.

Except... it seemed I heard a faint hiss, regular as breathing. I fought down a sudden surge of panic. I was unarmed, not thinking of danger in my haste to explore past the blocked passage. Sweat dripped down my face as I scanned the gloom for any movement. The room was warm, I suddenly noticed, much warmer than the rest of the labyrinth thus far. My excitement returned. Could I have found a section of the city still connected to a functioning steam grid? Pipes ran along the walls, as in all sections of the city. I walked over and placed my hand on one. It was hot, almost too hot to touch! Now I saw that in places where the ancient piping had corroded, small jets of steam were escaping -- the sound I had heard. I laughed at my own credulity.

I now advanced quickly to the far end of the room, giving a cheerful salute to the ranks of mechanical soldiers who had appeared so menacing only moments before. I smiled with triumph as the light swept back the darkness of centuries to reveal the giant effigy of a Dwarven king standing on a raised dais, his metal hand clutching his rod of office. This was the prize indeed! I circled the dais slowly, admiring the craftsmanship of the ancient Dwarves. The golden king stood twenty feet tall under a freestanding domed cupola, his long upswept beard jutting forward proudly as his glittering metal eyes seemed to follow me. But my superstitious mood had passed, and I gazed benevolently on the old Dwarven king. My king, as I had already begun to think of him. I stepped onto the dais to get a better look at the sculpted armor. Suddenly the eyes of the figure opened and it raised a mailed fist to strike!

I leaped to one side as the golden arm came crashing down, striking sparks from the steps where I had stood a moment before. With a hiss of steam and the whir of gears, the giant figure stepped ponderously out from under its canopy and strode towards me with frightening speed, its eyes tracking me as I scrambled backwards. I dodged behind a pillar as the fist whistled down again. I had dropped my lantern in the confusion, and now I crept into the darkness outside the pool of light, hoping to slip between the headless mechanisms and thus escape back to the safety of the passageway. Where had the monster gone? You would think that a twenty-foot golden kind would be hard to miss, but he was nowhere to be seen. The guttering lamp only illuminated a small part of the room. He could be hiding anywhere in the gloom. I crawled faster. Without warning, the dim ranks of Dwarven soldiers in front of me went flying as the monstrous guardian loomed before me. He had cut off my escape! As I dodged backwards, blow after blow whistled down as the implacable machine followed me relentlessly, driving me into the far corner of the room. At last there was nowhere left for me to go. My back was to the wall. I glared up at my foe, determined to die on my feet. The huge fists lifted for one final blow.

The room blazed with sudden light. Bolts of purple energy crackled across the metal carapace of the Dwarven monster, and it halted, half-turning to meet this new threat. Master Arum had come! I was about to raise a cheer when the giant figure turned back to me, unharmed by the lightning bolt hurled by Master Arum, determined to destroy this first intruder. I shouted out �Steam! Steam!� as the giant raised his fist to crush me into the floor. There was a hiss and a gust of bitter cold and I looked up. The monster was now covered with a shell of ice, frozen in the very moment of dispatching me. Master Arum had understood. I leaned against the wall with relief.

The ice cracked above me. The giant golden king stood before me, the shell of ice falling away, his head swiveling towards me in triumph. Was there no stopping this Dwarven monstrosity?! But then the light faded from his eyes, and his arms dropped to his sides. The magical frost had worked, cooling its steam-driven energy.

As Master Arum and the diggers crowded around me, congratulating me on my narrow escape, my thoughts drifted. I imagined my return to the Imperial City, and I knew that this would be my greatest triumph yet. How could I possibly top this find? Perhaps it was time to move on. Recovering the fabled Eye of Argonia... now that would be a coup! I smiled to myself, reveling in the glory of the moment but already planning my next adventure.
249bk_Telvanni_Vault_Ledger[This book contains meticulous records of all commerce and transactions via the Telvanni Vault as well as an up to date account of the current inventory.]
250bk_thelostprophecy

The Lost Prophecy



[from the Apographa of the Dissident Priests, annotated by Gilvas Barelo, Abbot of Holamayan]

From seventh sign of eleventh generation,
Neither Hound nor Guar, nor Seed nor Harrow,
But Dragon-born and far-star-marked,
Outlander Incarnate beneath Red Mountain,
Blessed Guest counters seven curses,
Star-blessed hand wields thrice-cursed blade,
To reap the harvest of the unmourned house.

Notes

Lines 1-3: 'Of ancient family, but not of the four great Ashlander clans. Born under foreign stars and the sign of the Dragon -- the Imperial sign.'

Line 4-5: 'Outlander Incarnate' appears as a formal epithet, stressing the linkage between the words. The Outlander Incarnate is a 'blessed guest', one not born of the tribes but accepted as a guest with rights of hearth and hospitality. Under Red Mountain he will confront and balance against seven curses. See the 'Seven Curses' prophecy; also, Dagoth Ur is served by his seven kin, once great wizard-lords, called 'ash vampires' by the Ashlanders.

Line 6-7: 'Star-blessed' suggests Azura, the Daedra Lord and patron of magic, fate, and prophecy. 'Thrice-cursed blade' may refer to a weapon called Keening, associated in certain legends with the Battle of Red Mountain and Dwemer craftlord Kagrenac. 'Reap the harvest' is a reference to the proverb, "You harvest from the seeds you plant," which means you get what your labors deserve, in both a positive sense of reward and negative sense of punishment. The 'unmourned house' could be either or both of the lost Great Houses of the Dunmer -- House Dwemer and House Dagoth.

251bk_thesevencurses

The Seven Curses



[from the Apographa of the Dissident Priests, annotated by Gilvas Barelo, Abbot of Holamayan]

through the doors of the unmourned house
where scoffers scoff and schemers scheme
from the halls of the oath-breaking house
rings seven curses of gods blasphemed


first curse, Curse-of-Fire
second curse, Curse-of-Ash
third curse, Curse-of-Flesh
fourth curse, Curse-of-Ghosts
fifth curse, Curse-of-Seed
sixth curse, Curse-of-Despair
seventh curse, Curse-of-Dreams

Notes

Lines 1-3: Ambiguous. May refer to the impiety of the god-mocking House Dwemer, or the treacherous diplomacy of the subtle House Dagoth, or both. House Dagoth, however, was reviled as oath-breakers for their treachery at Red Mountain. It may, however, refer to unspecified broken oaths of peace between Lord Nerevar and Lord Dumac, founders of the Grand Council. Nerevar and Dumac were loyal friends until the disagreements between the Dwemer and the other Great Houses broke out in open conflict.

Line 4: The Dwemer were the mockers and profaners of the divine.

Lines 5-6: The curses of fire and ash would come from Red Mountain where Dagoth Ur rules. These were the earliest reported threats from Red Mountain.

Line 7: Curse of flesh suggest blight diseases, especially corprus. The fire and ash storms preceded the threats of blight and corprus.

Line 8-10: Obscure. May refer to as-yet-unrecognized threats from Dagoth Ur.

Line 11: Recent reports of soul sickness and disturbed dreams come from townfolk and Ashlanders alike. That the seventh and final curse has begun suggests the threat presented is about to reach a crisis.

252bk_tiramgadarscredentials

To the Esteemed Archmage Trebonius,

The man delivering this letter is one Tiram Gadar. Though a Dunmer, he was raised in the Imperial Province. I recommend him as an advisor on the politics of the Dunmer in Vvardenfell.

Sincerely,
Acatto, Imperial Battlemage

253bk_treasuryorders

Dearest Tenisi,

Your assistance has been profitable to us both, in many ways. I have but one more favor to ask. Find the land deeds for the Ascadian Isles. Replace the documents owned by Rovone Arvel with those of your own clever design.

Soon we will have enough to leave Vvardenfell together. Until then, you know what must me done, know also that you have my love.

Odral Helvi

254bk_treasuryreportKJAH SDFH KLJH FAKL SDJH FAKL DSHF KJAD SHFL KJAN SDCJ NASO ERUH AUWO IYEF HADS CHNK SNCL KNAS JROR IEWU PIWE HJKF NBDS LKJV NKLA SDNF OHRF OIQP REWF HSAD KJVH AKSJ DNFP OQRE HFOI DSAP
255bk_truenatureoforcs

The True Nature of Orcs



Orcs were born during the latter days of the Dawn Era. History has mislabeled them beastfolk, related to the goblin races, but the Orcs are actually the children of Trinimac, strongest of the Altmeri ancestor spirits. When Trinimac was eaten by the Daedroth Prince Boethiah, and transformed in that foul god's insides, the Orcs were transformed as well. The ancient name for the Orcs is 'Orsimer,' which means 'The Pariah Folk.' They now follow Malauch, the remains of Trinimac.

Who is Malauch?

He is more commonly know as the Daedroth Prince Malacath, 'whose sphere is the patronage of the spurned and ostracized, the sworn oath, and the bloody curse.' He is not technically a Daedra Lord, nor do the other Daedra recognize him as such, but this is fitting for his sphere. Of old he was Trinimac, the champion of the High Elven pantheon, in some places more popular than Auri-El, who protected them against enemies without and within. When Trinimac and his followers attempted to halt the Velothi dissident movement, Boethiah ate him. Trinimac's body and spirit were corrupted, and he emerged as Malacath. His followers were likewise changed for the worse. Despised by everyone, especially the inviolate Auri-El, they quickly fled to the northern wastes, near Saarthal. They fought Nords and Chimer for a place in the world, but did not get much. In Skyrim, Malacath is called Orkey, or Old Knocker, and his battles with Ysmir are legendary.

256bk_truenoblescode

The True Noble's Code
by Serjo Athyn Sarethi



The honorable warriors of the Great House Redoran are the hereditary defenders of the Morrowind. To be a noble of House Redoran is more than being a great warrior. One must follow the triune virtues of duty, gravity, and piety.

A Redoran's duty is first to the Tribunal Temple, second to the Great House Redoran, and third to one's family and clan. In the Battle of Red Mountain, warriors of House Redoran died bravely for their duty to the Tribunal. By defending House Redoran from the schemes of Telvanni wizards and the lies of untrustworthy Hlaalu, the true noble shows duty to House Redoran. Following the Temple's guidelines of mercy and generosity show duty to one's family and clan.

A Redoran noble must know the virtue of gravity. It is not the Redoran way to laugh at serious matters, for it shows disrespect. It is not the Redoran way to spread rumors, for they fester and breed dissention.

A Redoran must show piety to the Aedra and Daedra, our creators and ancestors. For without the divine, we would not have the chance to serve. And without divine law, we would not know right from wrong. And without giving thanks for these things, we would forget out place and our purpose.

Great House Redoran praises all the skills of war. Not because we believe war is good or honorable in its own right, but because this knowledge is necessary to perform one's duty. House Redoran's warrior fight with a long blade and a shield or with a spear. A noble of House Redoran must also learn to use a bow and must be athletic enough for the long marches to battle. A Redoran wears heavy or medium armor depending on rank and strategy. A noble of House Redoran is expected to know how to repair and maintain his own armor.

Those who are born to House Redoran have been taught their skill and virtues by kin and clan. Those who seek to enter House Redoran as retainers must satisfy an examiner in the Redoran Council Hall that their skills are suitable for service to House Redoran.

Whether born to the blood of House Redoran, or adopted into service of House Redoran by oath, those who seek to advance in the ranks of House Redoran must demonstrate their virtues by service and obedience. And only when one has mastered all the skills and virtues can one truly call himself a noble of the Great House Redoran.

257bk_uleni's_papers

*Certification of Ghost-Free Hospitality *

By Authority of the Super Extra Very Sovereign Council of Mages Without Digits Within Bowels

Hereas the Gateway Inn and all its dark and secret places have been found to be completely free of spooks, boojums, snarks, spectral goats, revenant toiletries, or cannibal vampire anchovies,

Muthsera Mistress Dunmer-from-Far-Away Mage-Lady, Lord High Inspector of Hostelry for the Town of Sadrith Mora aforesaid, does pronounce the Gateway Inn free and clean of all otherworldly, hostile, and malign entities, with the exception of the profound and displeasing odor that arises from the Prefect of Hospitality, which, despite the preternatural magnitude of its offensiveness, may well derive from altogether more mundane sources.

Signed,

Muthsera Mistress Dunmer-from-Far-Away Mage-Lady
Representing the Super Extra Very Sovereign Council of Mages Without Digits Within Bowels

258bk_VagariesOfMagica

[a passage from the text of THE VAGARIES OF MAGICKA]

"...but take care, lest power enfeeble the fundaments, and curtail the flow through the Congeries, except when functions be warranted. And safeguard that the Congeries shall not be abused by prideful wizards, confident in their skill and blinded by their ambitions. In this, hold the ordering of the Congeries among the oldest and most trusted of mages, and make secure this ordering through arcane codes and keys to confound even the most clever students.

"The Restorals must be most carefully guarded, for how often have even the wise lusted to overreach their bodies and souls with vitality and mana. And also must the Magicka Fountains be damped and banked, sanctioning their engendering only to the reconsecration of essential arcane engines and templates, and then only by common assent of the Council."
259bk_vampiresofvvardenfell1

Vampires of Vvardenfell
Volume I



[excerpts]

...The violent antipathy of Morrowind culture toward necromancy ensures that vampires are virtually unknown in Morrowind...

...The Temple does not acknowledge the existence of Western vampire hunting orders. Nonetheless, interviews with Temple officials persuade me that the Dunmer of Morrowind are experienced and knowledgeable in the handling of these menaces. On the other hand, they freely admit that even a large community of vampires might easily escape detection in the remote wastelands, or in the subterranean labyrinths of abandoned strongholds and wizard towers....

...The "ash vampire" of Ashlander legend is not undead. Sorceries and blessings affecting the undead reportedly have no effect on these creatures. No specimen has ever been examined, and no references have ever linked these legends with the known clans of Tamrielic vampires....

...Vvardenfell's three known bloodlines differ greatly in their approach to prey. The Quarra bloodline features exceptional strength and endurance, and attacks in a state of ecstatic frenzy. Aundae vampires are potent spellcasters, seeking to hypnotize victims before feeding, while the swift and agile Berne clan vampires prefer stealth and ambush, first poisoning the victim with a bite, then withdrawing to a safe distance, returning to feed only when the prey has weakened...

...It is supposed that vampirism is contracted from wounds received from a vampire. Since few victims survive vampiric attacks or feedings, the process of contracting the disease is little understood. Some have suggested that victims may willingly submit themselves to the will of a vampire, but no real evidence of this exists....

...During the incubation phase, lasting up to 72 hours, the vampirism disease exhibits no symptoms, and may be cured by general spellcraft or cult blessings. However, during incubation, some victims have reported sleep disturbances and troubling dreams. After symptoms are exhibited, however, the disease is incurable and irreversible....

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Vampires of Vvardenfell
Volume II



[excerpts]

... In the West, a shadowy fraternity of vampire hunters is believed to be primarily composed of formerly afflicted vampires who have been cured of the disease. According to legend, the Vampire Hunters refuse to reveal the cure to the disease for fear that it may encourage depraved thrill seekers from deliberately infecting themselves.

In the East, the Western tradition of Vampire Hunters is unknown. Vampirism is known to be incurable, and even if it were curable, a cured vampire would be an abomination to be destroyed. Since the disease is infallibly cured if treated within three days, failure to treat oneself after an encounter with a vampire would be considered a deliberate attempt to contract the disease, and a mark of monstrous depravity....

... In Temple doctrine, one ancient tradition holds that, among his many other crimes, Molag Bal, the Father of Monsters, spawned the first vampire upon the corpse of a defeated foe. Several different versions of this story exist, with the foe variously identified as a Daedra Lord, a Temple Saint, or a powerful beast creature. This account of the origin of vampirism is peculiar to Morrowind, appearing nowhere else in Imperial lore. Unfortunately, scholarly inquiry upon this topic is discouraged by the Temple, which controls access to the only substantial collection of historical and cultural records in Morrowind....

... Though the Dunmer believe the disease is incurable, a Buoyant Armiger of former years named Galur Rithari insisted that he was cured of vampirism. Initially imprisoned by the Temple for heresy, he later recanted, was released, and served his final years as a librarian in the Hall of Wisdom in Vivec. It is interesting that previous to his imprisonment for heresy, Rithari had been posted to the Buoyant Armiger garrison at Bal Ur, a pilgrimage site known as the �birthplace of Molag Bal.�

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Varieties of Faith in the Empire
by Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College



This is my best attempt at a listing of the pantheons and associated divine spirits of Tamriel's dominant cultures. This list is by no means complete (the Imperial City of Cyrodiil alone boasts a vast host of saints and holy spirits). It only includes the most important spirits revered by native members of the culture. Other et'Ada, especially Daedra, are often familiar known to many cultures, though specific names are included here only when they possess a particular cultural significance. The omission of any reference to the worships of the Argonians of Black Marsh is a result of my complete inadequacy in reconciling the obscure and contradictory accounts available to me on that subject.

THE EIGHT PANTHEONS

CYRODIIL: Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, Shezarr, Tiber Septim, Morihaus, Reman

SKYRIM: Alduin, Dibella, Orkey, Tsun, Mara, Stuhn, Kyne, Jhunal, Shor, Ysmir, Herma-Mora, Maloch

ALTMER: Auri-El, Trinimac, Magnus, Syrabane, Y'ffre, Xarxes, Mara, Stendarr, Lorkhan, Phynaster

BOSMER: Auri-El, Y'ffre, Arkay, Z'en, Xarxes, Baan Dar, Mara, Stendarr, Lorkhan, Herma-Mora, Jone, Jode

DUNMER: Almalexia, Vivec, Sotha Sil, Boethiah, Mephala, Azura, Lorkhan, Nerevar, Molag Bal, Malacath, Sheogorath, Mehrunes Dagon

YOKUDA: Satakal, Ruptga, Tu'whacca, Zeht, Morwha, Tava, Malooc, Diagna, Sep, HoonDing, Leki, Onsi,

BRETONY: Akatosh, Magnus, Y'ffre, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, Sheor, Phynaster

ELSWEYR: Alkosh, Khenarthi, Riddle'Thar, ja-Kha'jay, Mara, S'rendarr, Lorkhaj, Rajhin, Baan Dar, Azurah, Sheggorath

NOTES ON THE DIVINE SPIRITS OF THE PANTHEONS

Akatosh (Dragon God of Time): Akatosh is the chief deity of the Nine Divines (the major religious cult of Cyrodiil and its provinces), and one of two deities found in every Tamrielic religion (the other is Lorkhan). He is generally considered to be the first of the Gods to form in the Beginning Place; after his establishment, other spirits found the process of being easier and the various pantheons of the world emerged. He is the ultimate God of the Cyrodilic Empire, where he embodies the qualities of endurance, invincibility, and everlasting legitimacy.

Alduin (World Eater): Alduin is the Nordic variation of Akatosh, and only superficially resembles his counterpart in the Nine Divines. For example, Alduin's sobriquet, 'the world eater', comes from myths that depict him as the horrible, ravaging firestorm that destroyed the last world to begin this one. Nords therefore see the god of time as both creator and harbinger of the apocalypse. He is not the chief of the Nordic pantheon (in fact, that pantheon has no chief; see Shor, below) but its wellspring, albeit a grim and frightening one.

Alkosh (Dragon King of Cats): Pre-ri'Datta Dynasty Anaquinine deity. A variation on the Altmeri Auri-El, and thus an Akatosh-as-culture-hero for the earliest Khajiiti. His worship was co-opted during the establishment of the Riddle-T'har, and he still enjoys immense popularity in Elsweyr's wasteland regions. He is depicted as a fearsome dragon, a creature the Khajiit say 'is just a real big cat'. He repelled an early Aldmeri pogrom of Pelinal Whitestrake during mythic times.

Almalexia (Mother Morrowind): Most traces of Akatosh disappeared from ancient Chimer legends during their so-called 'exodus', primarily due to that god's association and esteem with the Altmeri. However, most aspects of Akatosh which seem so important to the mortal races, namely immortality, historicity, and genealogy, have conveniently resurfaced in Almalexia, the most popular of Morrowind's divine Tribunal.

Arkay (God of the Cycle of Life and Death): Member of the Nine Divines pantheon, and popular elsewhere as well. Arkay is often more important in those cultures where his father, Akatosh, is either less related to time or where his time aspects are difficult to comprehend by the layman. He is the god of burials and funeral rites, and is sometimes associated with the seasons. His priests are staunch opponents of necromancy and all forms of the undead. It is said that Arkay did not exist before the world was created by the gods under Lorkhan's supervision/urging/trickery. Therefore, he is sometimes called the Mortals' God.

Auri-El (King of the Aldmer): The Elven Akatosh is Auri-El. Auri-El is the soul of Anui-El, who, in turn, is the soul of Anu the Everything. He is the chief of most Aldmeri pantheons. Most Altmeri and Bosmeri claim direct descent from Auri-El. In his only known moment of weakness, he agreed to take his part in the creation of the mortal plane, that act which forever sundered the Elves from the spirit worlds of eternity. To make up for it, Auri-El led the original Aldmer against the armies of Lorkhan in mythic times, vanquishing that tyrant and establishing the first kingdoms of the Altmer, Altmora and Old Ehlnofey. He then ascended to heaven in full observance of his followers so that they might learn the steps needed to escape the mortal plane.

Azura (Goddess of Dusk and Dawn): Azura was the god-ancestor that taught the Chimer the mysteries needed to be different than the Altmer. Some of her more conventional teachings are sometimes attributed to Boethiah. In the stories, Azura is often more a communal cosmic force for the race as a whole than an ancestor or a god. Also known as the Anticipation of Sotha Sil. In Elsweyr, Azurah is nearly a wholly separate entity, yet she is still tied into the origins of Khajiiti out of Altmeri stock.

Baan Dar (The Bandit God): In most regions, Baan Dar is a marginal diety, a trickster spirit of thieves and beggars. In Elsweyr he is more important, and is regarded as the Pariah. In this aspect, Baan Dar becomes the cleverness or desperate genius of the long-suffering Khajiit, whose last minute plans always upset the machinations of their (Elven or Human) enemies.

Boethiah (Prince of Plots): Heralded by the Prophet Veloth, Boethiah is the original god-ancestor of the Dark Elves. Through his illuminations, the eventual 'Chimer', or Changed Folk, renounced all ties to the Aldmer and founded a new nation based on Daedric principles. All manner of Dark Elven cultural 'advances' are attributed to Boethiah, from philosophy to magic to 'responsible' architecture. Ancient Velothi allegories are uniformly heroic successes of Boethiah over enemies of every type, foundation stories of Chimeri struggle. Also known as the Anticipation of Almalexia.

Diagna (Orichalc God of the Sideways Blade): Hoary thuggish cult of the Redguards. Originated in Yokuda during the Twenty Seven Snake Folk Slaughter. Diagna was an avatar of the HoonDing (the Yokudan God of Make Way, see below) that achieved permanence. He was instrumental to the defeat of the Lefthanded Elves, as he brought orichalc weapons to the Yokudan people to win the fight. In Tamriel, he led a very tight knit group of followers against the Orcs of Orsinium during the height of their ancient power, but then faded into obscurity. He is now little more than a local power spirit of the Dragontail mountains.

Dibella (Goddess of Beauty): Popular god of the Nine Divines. In Cyrodiil, she has nearly a dozen different cults, some devoted to women, some to artists and aesthetics, and others to erotic instruction.

Herma-Mora (The Woodland Man): Ancient Atmoran demon who, at one time, nearly seduced the Nords into becoming Aldmer. Most Ysgramor myths are about escaping the wiles of old Herma-Mora. Also called the Demon of Knowledge, he is vaguely related to the cult origins of the Morag Tong ('Foresters Guild'), if only by association with his brother/sister, Mephala.

HoonDing (The Make Way God): Yokudan spirit of 'perseverance over infidels'. The HoonDing has historically materialized whenever the Redguards need to 'make way' for their people. In Tamrielic history this has only happened three times -- twice in the first era during the Ra Gada invasion and once during the Tiber War. In this last incarnation, the HoonDing was said to have been either a sword or a crown, or both.

Jhunal (Rune God): The Nordic god of hermetic orders. After falling out of favor with the rest of that pantheon, he became Julianos of the Nine Divines. He is absent in modern Skyrim mythology.

Jode (Big Moon God): Aldmeri god of the Big Moon. Also called Masser or Mara's Tear. In Khajiti religion, Jode is only one aspect of the Lunar Lattice, or ja-Kha'jay.

Jone (Little Moon God): Aldmeri god of the Little Moon. Also called Secunda or Stendarr's Sorrow. In Khajiti religion, Jone is only one aspect of the Lunar Lattice, or ja-Kha'jay.

Julianos (God of Wisdom and Logic): Often associated with Jhunal, the Nordic father of language and mathematics, Julianos is the Cyrodilic god of literature, law, history, and contradiction. Monastic orders founded by Tiber Septim and dedicated to Julianos are the keepers of the Elder Scrolls.

Kyne (Kiss At the End): Nordic Goddess of the Storm. Widow of Shor and favored god of warriors. She is often called the Mother of Men. Her daughters taught the first Nords the use of the thu'um, or Storm Voice.

Kynareth (Goddess of Air): Kynareth is a member of the Nine Divines, the strongest of the Sky spirits. In some legends, she is the first to agree to Lorkhan's plan to invent the mortal plane, and provides the space for its creation in the void. She is also associated with rain, a phenomenon said not to occur before the removal of Lorkhan's divine spark.

Leki (Saint of the Spirit Sword): Goddess daughter of Tall Papa, Leki is the goddess of aberrant swordsmanship. The Na-Totambu of Yokuda warred to a standstill during the mythic era to decide who would lead the charge against the Lefthanded Elves. Their swordmasters, though, were so skilled in the Best Known Cuts as to be matched evenly. Leki introduced the Ephemeral Feint. Afterwards, a victor emerged and the war with the Aldmer began.

Lorkhan (The Missing God): This Creator-Trickster-Tester deity is in every Tamrielic mythic tradition. His most popular name is the Aldmeri 'Lorkhan', or Doom Drum. He convinced or contrived the Original Spirits to bring about the creation of the mortal plane, upsetting the status quo -- much like his father Padomay had introduced instability into the universe in the Beginning Place. After the world is materialized, Lorkhan is separated from his divine center, sometimes involuntarily, and wanders the creation of the et'Ada. He and his metaphysical placement in the 'scheme of things' is interpreted a variety of ways. In Morrowind, for example, he is a being related to the Psijiic Endeavor, a process by which mortals are charged with transcending the gods that created them. To the High Elves, he is the most unholy of all higher powers, as he forever broke their connection to the spirit plane. In the legends, he is almost always an enemy of the Aldmer and, therefore, a hero of early Mankind.

Lorkhaj (Moon Beast): Pre-ri'Datta Dynasty Anaquinine deity, easily identified with the Missing God, Lorkhan.

Magnus (Magus): The god of sorcery, Magnus withdrew from the creation of the world at the last second, though it cost him dearly. What is left of him on the world is felt and controlled by mortals as magic. One story says that, while the idea was thought up by Lorkhan, it was Magnus who created the schematics and diagrams needed to construct the mortal plane. He is sometimes represented by an astrolabe, a telescope, or, more commonly, a staff. Cyrodilic legends say he can inhabit the bodies of powerful magicians and lend them his power. Associated with Zurin Arctus, the Underking.

Malacath (God of Curses): Malacath is the reanimated dung that was Trinimac. A somewhat weak but vengeful Daedra, the Dark Elves say he is also Malak, the god-king of the orcs. He always tests the Dunmer for physical weakness.

Malooc (Horde King): An enemy god of the Ra Gada. Led the goblins against the Redguards during the first era. Fled east when the army of the HoonDing overtook his goblin hordes.

Mauloch (Malacath): An Orcish god, Mauloch troubled the heirs of King Harald for a long time. Fled east after his defeat at the Battle of Dragon Wall, ca. 1E660. His rage was said to fill the sky with his sulphurous hatred, later called the "Year of Winter in Summer".

Mara (Goddess of Love): Nearly universal goddess. Origins started in mythic times as a fertility goddess. In Skyrim, Mara is a handmaiden of Kyne. In the Empire, she is Mother-Goddess. She is sometimes associated with Nir of the 'Anuad', the female principle of the cosmos that gave birth to creation. Depending on the religion, she is either married to Akatosh or Lorkhan, or the concubine of both.

Mehrunes Dagon (God of Destruction): Popular Daedric power. He is associated with natural dangers like fire, earthquakes, and floods. In some cultures, though, Dagon is merely a god of bloodshed and betrayal. He is an especially important deity in Morrowind, where he represents its near-inhospitable terrain.

Mephala (Androgyne): Mephala is the Webspinner, or the Spider God. In Morrowind, he/she was the ancestor that taught the Chimer the skills they would need to evade their enemies or to kill them with secret murder. Enemies were numerous in those days since the Chimer were a small faction. He/she, along with Boethiah, organized the clan systems that eventually became the basis for the Great Houses. He/she founded the Morag Tong. Also called the Anticipation of Vivec.

Molag Bal (God of Schemes, King of Rape): Daedric power of much importance in Morrowind. There, he is always the archenemy of Boethiah, the Prince of Plots. He is the main source of the obstacles to the Dunmer (and preceding Chimer) people. In the legends, Molag Bal always tries to upset the bloodlines of Houses or otherwise ruin Dunmeri 'purity'. A race of supermonsters, said to live in Molag Amur, are the result of his seduction of Vivec during the previous era.

Morihaus (First Breath of Man): Ancient cultural hero god of the Cyro-Nordics. Legend portrays him as the Taker of the Citadel, an act of mythic times that established Human control over the Valley Heartland. He is often associated with the Nordic powers of thu'um, and therefore with Kynareth.

Morwha (Teat God): Yokudan fertility goddess. Fundamental deity in the Yokudan pantheon, and the favorite of Tall Papa's wives. Still worshipped in various areas of Hammerfell, including Stros M'kai. Morwha is always portrayed as four-armed, so that she can 'grab more husbands'.

Nerevar (Godkiller): The Chimeri king of Resdayn, the Golden Age of old Veloth. Slain during the Battle of Red Mountain, Nerevar was the Herald of the Triune Way, and is the foremost of the saints of Dunmeri faith. He is said to have killed Dumac, the Last Dwarven King, and feasted on his heart.

Onsi (Boneshaver): Notable warrior god of the Yokudan Ra Gada, Onsi taught Mankind how to pull their knives into swords.

Orkey (Old Knocker): A loan-god of the Nords, who seem to have taken up his worship during Aldmeri rule of Atmora. Nords believe they once lived as long as Elves until Orkey appeared; through heathen trickery, he fooled them into a bargain that 'bound them to the count of winters'. At one time, legends say, Nords only had a lifespan of six years due to Orkey's foul magic. Shor showed up, though, and, through unknown means, removed the curse, throwing most of it onto the nearby Orcs.

Phynaster: Hero-god of the Summerset Isles, who taught the Altmer how to naturally live another hundred years by using a shorter walking stride.

Rajhin (Footpad): Thief god of the Khajiiti, who grew up in the Black Kiergo section of Senchal. The most famous burglar in Elsweyr's history, Rajhin is said to have stolen a tattoo from the neck of Empress Kintyra as she slept.

Reman (The Cyrodiil): Culture god-hero of the Second Empire, Reman was the greatest hero of the Akaviri Trouble. Indeed, he convinced the invaders to help him build his own empire, and conquered all of Tamriel except for Morrowind. He instituted the rites of becoming Emperor, which included the ritual geas to the Amulet of Kings, a soulgem of immense power. His Dynasty was ended by the Dunmeri Morag Tong at the end of the first era. Also called the Worldly God.

Riddle'Thar (Two-Moons Dance): The cosmic order deity of the Khajiiti, the Riddle'Thar was revealed to Elsweyr by the prophet Rid-Thar-ri'Datta, the Mane. The Riddle'Thar is more a set of guidelines by which to live than a single entity, but some of his avatars like to appear as humble messengers of the gods. Also known as the Sugar God.

Ruptga (Tall Papa): Chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon. Ruptga, more commonly 'Tall Papa', was the first god to figure out how to survive the Hunger of Satakal. Following his lead, the other gods learned the 'Walkabout', or a process by which they can persist beyond one lifetime. Tall Papa set the stars in the sky to show lesser spirits how to do this, too. When there were too many spirits to keep track of, though, Ruptga created a helper out the dead skin of past worlds. This helper is Sep (see below), who later creates the world of mortals.

Satakal (The Worldskin): Yokudan god of everything. A fusion of the concepts of Anu and Padomay. Basically, Satakal is much like the Nordic Alduin, who destroys one world to begin the next. In Yokudan mythology, Satakal had done (and still does) this many times over, a cycle which prompted the birth of spirits that could survive the transition. These spirits ultimately become the Yokudan pantheon. Popular god of the Alik'r nomads.

Sheogorath (The Mad God): The fearful obeisance of Sheogorath is widespread, and is found in most Tamrielic quarters. Contemporary sources indicate that his roots are in Aldmeri creation stories; therein, he is 'born' when Lorkhan's divine spark is removed. One crucial myth calls him the 'Sithis-shaped hole' of the world.

Sheor (Bad Man): In Bretony, the Bad Man is the source of all strife. He seems to have started as the god of crop failure, but most modern theologians agree that he is a demonized version of the Nordic Shor, born during the dark years after the fall of Saarthal.

Sep (The Snake): Yokudan version of Lorkhan. Sep is born when Tall Papa creates someone to help him regulate the spirit trade. Sep, though, is driven crazy by the hunger of Satakal, and he convinces some of the gods to help him make an easier alternative to the Walkabout. This, of course, is the world as we know it, and the spirits who followed Sep become trapped here, to live out their lives as mortals. Sep is punished by Tall Papa for his transgressions, but his hunger lives on as a void in the stars, a 'non-space' that tries to upset mortal entry into the Far Shores.

Shezarr (God of Man): Cyrodilic version of Lorkhan, whose importance suffers when Akatosh comes to the fore of Imperial (really, Alessian) religion. Shezarr was the spirit behind all human undertaking, especially against Aldmeri aggression. He is sometimes associated with the founding of the first Cyrodilic battlemages. In the present age of racial tolerance, Shezarr is all but forgotten.

Shor (God of the Underworld): Nordic version of Lorkhan, who takes sides with Men after the creation of the world. Foreign gods (i.e., Elven ones) conspire against him and bring about his defeat, dooming him to the underworld. Atmoran myths depict him as a bloodthirsty warrior king who leads the Nords to victory over their Aldmeri oppressors time and again. Before his doom, Shor was the chief of the gods. Sometimes also called Children's God (see Orkey, above).

Sotha Sil (Mystery of Morrowind): God of the Dunmer, Sotha Sil is the least known of the divine Tribunal. He is said to be reshaping the world from his hidden, clockwork city.

Stendarr (God of Mercy): God of the Nine Divines, Stendarr has evolved from his Nordic origins into a deity of compassion or, sometimes, righteous rule. He is said to have accompanied Tiber Septim in his later years. In early Altmeri legends, Stendarr is the apologist of Men.

Stuhn (God of Ransom): Nordic precursor to Stendarr, brother of Tsun. Shield-thane of Shor, Stuhn was a warrior god that fought against the Aldmeri pantheon. He showed Men how to take, and the benefits of taking, prisoners of war.

Syrabane (Warlock's God): An Aldmeri god-ancestor of magic, Syrabane aided Bendu Olo in the Fall of the Sload. Through judicious use of his magical ring, Syrabane saved many from the scourge of the Thrassian Plague. He is also called the Apprentices' God, for he is a favorite of the younger members of the Mages Guild.

Tava (Bird God): Yokudan spirit of the air. Tava is most famous for leading the Yokudans to the isle of Herne after the destruction of their homeland. She has since become assimilated into the mythology of Kynareth. She is still very popular in Hammerfell among sailors, and her shrines can be found in most port cities.

Tiber Septim (Talos, the Dragonborn): Heir to the Seat of Sundered Kings, Tiber Septim is the most important hero-god of Mankind. He conquered all of Tamriel and ushered in the Third Era (and the Third Empire). Also called Ysmir, 'Dragon of the North'.

Trinimac: Strong god of the early Aldmer, in some places more popular than Auri-El. He was a warrior spirit of the original Elven tribes that led armies against the Men. Boethiah is said to have assumed his shape (in some stories, he even eats Trinimac) so that he could convince a throng of Aldmer to listen to him, which led to their eventual Chimeri conversion. He vanishes from the mythic stage after this, to return as the dread Malacath (Altmeri propaganda portrays this as the dangers of Dunmeri influence).

Tsun: Extinct Nordic god of trials against adversity. Died defending Shor from foreign gods.

Tu'whacca (Tricky God): Yokudan god of souls. Tu'whacca, before the creation of the world, was the god of Nobody Really Cares. When Tall Papa undertook the creation of the Walkabout, Tu'whacca found a purpose; he became the caretaker of the Far Shores, and continues to help Redguards find their way into the afterlife. His cult is sometimes associated with Arkay in the more cosmopolitan regions of Hammerfell.

Vivec (Master of Morrowind): Warrior-poet god of the Dunmer. Vivec is the invisible keeper of the holy land, ever vigilant against the dark gods of the Volcano. He/she has saved the Dunmeri people from certain death on numerous occasions, most notably when he/she taught them how to breathe water for a day so that he/she could flood Morrowind and kill the Akaviri invaders, ca. 2E572.

Xarxes: Xarxes is the god of ancestry and secret knowledge. He began as a scribe to Auri-El, and has kept track of all Aldmeri accomplishments, large and small, since the beginning of time. He created his wife, Oghma, from his favorite moments in history.
Y'ffre (God of the Forest): Most important deity of the Bosmeri pantheon. While Auri-El Time Dragon might be the king of the gods, the Bosmer revere Y'ffre as the spirit of 'the now'. According to the Wood Elves, after the creation of the mortal plane everything was in chaos. The first mortals were turning into plants and animals and back again. Then Y'ffre transformed himself into the first of the Ehlnofey, or 'Earth Bones'. After these laws of nature were established, mortals had a semblance of safety in the new world, because they could finally understand it. Y'ffre is sometimes called the Storyteller, for the lessons he taught the first Bosmer. Some Bosmer still possess the knowledge of the chaos times, which they can use to great effect (the Wild Hunt).

Ysmir (Dragon of the North): The Nordic aspect of Talos. He withstood the power of the Greybeards' voices long enough to hear their prophecy. Later, many Nords could not look on him without seeing a dragon.

Z'en (God of Toil): Bosmeri god of payment in kind. Studies indicate origins in both Argonian and Akaviri mythologies, perhaps introduced into Valenwood by Kothringi sailors. Ostensibly an agriculture deity, Z'en sometimes proves to be an entity of a much higher cosmic order. His worship died out shortly after the Knhaten Flu.

Zeht (God of Farms): Yokudan god of agriculture. Renounced his father after the world was created, which is why Tall Papa makes it so hard to grow food.

Zenithar (God of Work and Commerce, Trader God): Member of the Nine Divines, Zenithar is understandably associated with Z'en. In the Empire, however, he is a far more cultivated god of merchants and middle nobility. His worshippers say, despite his mysterious origins, Zenithar is the god 'that will always win'.

262bk_varoorders

[This note details shipments of standard supplies such as drinks, food, and furniture to the Varo Tradehouse. One entry that catches your eye is for three crates of cheese that arrived earlier this week.]
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Vivec and Mephala



Who is ALMSIVI?

Morrowind is holy country, and its gods are flesh and blood. Collectively, these gods are called the Tribunal, the triune ALMSIVI, three deities exemplifying Dunmeri virtues. Almalexia is Mercy, Vivec is Mastery, and Sotha Sil is Mystery. Vivec is easily the most popular of them all. Vivec is also the most public, for he is the beloved Warrior-Poet of the True People, paradoxically beautiful and bloody. Vivec is an artistic violence. Vivec is represented in Temple literature and liturgy as one of the divine kings of Morrowind. He guards the sacred Velothi subcontinent of Vvardenfell, and stands guard over Red Mountain, the gate to hell. He is part of the holy Tribunal, a god of the New Temple, and an aspect of the blessed and righteous ALMSIVI.

This explicit presentation of Vivec the Guardian God-King and Warrior-Poet is the one most accessible and familiar to Westerners. However, it is important to remember that Vivec is also known to the Dunmer as the transcendent evolution of the daedra that anticipated him, Black Hands Mephala, a foundation figure of the earliest Chimer. This darker side of Vivec does not appear in the popular literature and liturgy, but is instinctively understood and accepted by the Dunmer as an integral part of Vivec's divine aspect. A more complete appreciation of the complex nature of Vivec requires an understanding of the nature of Vivec's Anticipation, Mephala, and the darker themes represented by this Daedra Lord's modes and motivations.

Who is Mephala?

Each of the three Tribunes of the Temple were represented in the dawn of Chimeri culture by their Anticipations. These Anticipations are known to the West as the sinister Daedra Lords Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala. In Temple theology, however, Azura is the Anticipation of Sotha Sil, the Mage-Lord of Almsivi. Boethiah is the Anticipation of Almalexia, Almsivi's Mother and Lady. Mephala is the Anticipation of Vivec. According to legend, under the guidance of these three Daedra Lords, a discontented throng of Altmer transformed themselves into a new people and founded a new land. And while Boethiah, the so-called Prince of Plots, provided the revolutionary methods needed to bring about this transformation, Mephala was the shadowy implementer of those methods.

As known in the West, Mephala is the demon of murder, sex, and secrets. All of these themes contain subtle aspects and violent ones (assassination/genocide, courtship/orgy, tact/poetic truths); Mephala is understood paradoxically to contain and integrate these contradictory themes. And all these subtle undercurrents and contradictions are present in the Dunmer concepts of Vivec, even if they are not explicitly described and explained in Temple doctrine.

The Dunmer do not envision Lord Vivec as a creature of murder, sex, and secrets. Rather, they conceive of Lord Vivec as benevolent king, guardian warrior, poet-artist. But, at the same time, unconsciously, they accept the notion of darker, hidden currents beneath Vivec's benevolent aspects.

For example, one of the most striking persistent myths associated with Vivec is the story that Vivec conspired with his co-rulers Almalexia and Sotha Sil in the murder of Lord Nerevar, the greatest of Dunmer heroes and generals. The story is derived from Ashlander oral tradition, and is flatly contradicted by all Temple traditions. Nonetheless, the tale is firmly established in the Dunmer imagination, as if to say, "Of course Vivec would never have conspired to murder Lord Nerevar, but it happened so long ago... who can know the truth?"

The public face of Vivec is benign, sensitive, compassionate, and protective of his followers. At the same time, the Dunmer seem irrationally comfortable with the hidden aspects of Vivec, the darker components of violence, lust, and conspiracy associated the more primitive and ruthless impulses of the Anticipations.

264bk_vivecs_plan

The Plan to Defeat Dagoth Ur



For the past twenty years the Tribunal have tried unsuccessfully to execute this plan. However, we failed because we were required to stage an assault and simultaneously maintain the Ghostfence to prevent the threatened large-scale breakout of Dagoth Ur's blighted hosts. With the Nerevarine leading the assault, and the Tribunal free to devote their full energies to maintaining the Ghostfence, this plan has a greater chance of success. Unfortunately, however, the loss of the artifacts Sunder and Keening, and the recent increase in Dagoth Ur's strength, poses new problems for the execution of the plan.

Therefore, our proposed plan has the following five phases:

1. A series of aggressive raids to scout inside the Ghostfence.
2. A series of aggressive raids to neutralize Dagoth Ur's ash vampire kin, and recover artifacts from the bodies of his kin.
3. An assault of Gate Citadel Vemynal to neutralize Dagoth Vemyn and recover the artifact hammer Sunder.
4. An assault of Gate Citadel Odrosal to neutralize Dagoth Odros and recover the artifact blade Keening.
5. An assault of Citadel Dagoth with the artifacts Wraithguard, Sunder, and Keening to sever Dagoth Ur's connection to the Heart of Lorkhan, and thus to Destroy Dagoth Ur.

Phase 1: Raids inside the Ghostfence

The Tribunal, Ordinators, and Buoyant Armigers are familiar with the terrain, and will provide maps and current intelligence reports. The region inside the Ghostfence is dangerous, and the Nerevarine will need to be familiar with its particular challenges. After measuring skills and resources against Dagoth Ur's defenses, the Nerevarine will know better how to pace a campaign, alternating raids with improving skills, getting better equipment, and stockpiling resources.

Phase 2: Raids upon Ash Vampire Citadels

Dagoth Ur's kin have become markedly more powerful in recent decades, after remaining stable for thousands of years. If they can be individually isolated and destroyed, they will not be able to support Dagoth Ur in later stages of the war. It may also be that the dramatic increase in their power comes from items enchanted by Dagoth Ur. Salvage of such items might contribute to our resources.

Phase 3: Assault on Gate Citadel Vemynal

Essential to recover the artifact hammer Sunder for Phase 5. The Ash Vampire Dagoth Vemyn has possession of Sunder, and probably seeks to discover the secrets of its enchantments. He may also have access to notebooks and journals of Kagrenac that have survived in the Dwemer workshops of Vemynal.

Phase 4: Assault on Gate Citadel Odrosal

Essential to recover the artifact blade Keening for Phase 5. The Ash Vampire Dagoth Odros has possession of Keening, and probably seeks to discover the secrets of its enchantments. He may also have access to notebooks and journals of Kagrenac that have survived in the Dwemer workshops of Odrosal.

Phase 5: Assault on Citadel Dagoth

All the previous stages are preparations for this stage. Recent expeditions show that Citadel Dagoth has undergone extensive expansion; the location will need to be explored carefully. The known route to the Heart Chamber will be well-defended; alternative routes may exist. Dagoth Ur will have anticipated our plan to destroy him by attacking the Heart, and he will almost certainly personally oppose approach to the Heart Chamber. Together the Tribunal could not defeat him, and he has grown stronger since then. Admittedly, the Tribunal had the distraction of maintaining the Ghostfence simultaneous with fighting Dagoth Ur, but, even so, the challenge seems daunting.

The adoption of this phased campaign seems to offer the best chances for success. In retrospect, the Tribunal's decision to directly assault Citadel Dagoth rather than proceed step-by-step through lesser objectives must be seen to have been a serious error. The Tribunal did not feel it had the option of a slow-paced and deliberate campaign, given that they had many other competing priorities, not the least of which was the maintenance of the Ghostfence and the outer defenses surrounding Red Mountain. The Nerevarine, on the other hand, should be best served by a careful, step-by-step advance, with the additional advantage of building confidence along the way while successes would undermine Dagoth Ur's own assurance in his defenses.

Employing Kagrenac's Tools against Dagoth Ur

The source of Dagoth Ur's supernatural power is the Heart of Lorkhan. The Heart is also the source of the Tribunal's divine powers.

During mythic times, the gods took and hid Lorkhan's heart beneath Red Mountain as a punishment for creating the mortal plane. The Dwemer discovered the heart while building underground colonies. High Craftlord Kagrenac created enchanted tools intended to tap the power of the heart. The War of the First Council was fought to prevent this sacrilege. Kagrenac's use of these tools and the disappearance of the Dwemer race marked the end of the war. Kagrenac's tools were recovered by Lord Nerevar and Dagoth Ur. Dagoth Ur was left to guard the tools while Nerevar came to consult with us, his advisors. In Nerevar's absence, Dagoth Ur experimented with the tools upon the heart, and was corrupted. We returned to discover a deranged Dagoth Ur who refused to turn over the tools. When he attacked us, we drove him away.

We left Red Mountain with the tools, and subsequently Sotha Sil discovered their secrets. Collectively we used the tools to establish a connection with the Heart, enabling ourselves to transform our mortal natures. Thus we became the Tribunal.

Dagoth Ur had survived our attacks, and without the tools, in a manner not well understood, Dagoth Ur also managed to establish a connection with the Heart and to transform himself into an immortal being.

Our plan to destroy Dagoth Ur also runs the risk of destroying the Tribunal. The plan is to permanently disrupt Kagrenac's enchantments upon the Heart, severing connections with Dagoth Ur and ourselves, and rendering us all once again mortal. A mortal Kagrenac may then be destroyed by mundane means. The loss of godhood and the possible death of the Tribunal are judged a necessary risk and sacrifice.

The normal procedure for establishing connection with the Heart is a three-step process. The wearer of Wraithguard strikes the Heart with the hammer Sunder, causing the Heart to produce a pure tone. Then the wearer of the Wraithguard strikes the Heart with the blade Keening, shattering the pure tone into a prism of tone-shades. These tone-shades are then imprinted upon the substance of the wearer of Wraithguard, giving him an immortal and divine nature.

The Nerevarine will not be taught the secret rituals required to perform the third step. Instead, The Nerevarine will strike the Heart with Keening for a second time, causing its tones to diverge into unstable patterns of interference. Further repeated strikes with Keening will further disrupt the tones, with the ultimate result of shattering and dispelling Kagrenac's original enchantments binding the Heart, thereby severing the Heart's links with Dagoth Ur, and with any surviving Heartwights, and with the Tribunal. Destroying Kagrenac's enchantments on the Heart will also stop the corrupt effusion of the Heart's divine power, and end the Blight on Morrowind.

The Nerevarine may be tempted to steal the power of the Heart. Dagoth Ur and Sotha Sil alone know this secret. Dagoth Ur may, in extremity, propose to teach the Nerevarine to use Kagrenac's tools to become a god. We doubt that the Nerevarine is fool enough to trust Dagoth Ur, and are content to take this risk.

Be warned! The Nerevarine cannot safely equip either Keening or Sunder unless wearing Wraithguard. The Nerevarine will be injured every moment while holding either of these artifacts unless protected by Wraithguard; persistence will be rewarded with death. If Nerevarine can equip an item while not wearing Wraithguard and receive no injury, the item is a counterfeit.

One last note. Dagoth Ur must not get hold of Wraithguard. The Nerevaine must prepare and use a Recall or Almsivi Intervention if there is any risk of death or capture.


The Element of Surprise
Dagoth Ur will not expect you to destroy Kagrenac's enchantments on the Heart. He does not know it is possible, he would not do it himself, and he knows we have never tried it. He will not believe anyone would want to sacrifice the promise of such power. Further, advancement in House Dagoth, as in all Great Houses, is by challenge and confrontation within the hierarchy. The Nerevarine's challenges and defeats of ash vampires and battles with the Sixth House will be viewed in that light.

Dagoth Ur and his kin may assume The Nerevarine's ambition is to control the Heart. Given that assumption, it is only reasonable that the Nerevarine would try to defeat each of Dagoth Ur's subordinates in turn, working up to Dagoth Ur. If the Nerevarine can defeat Dagoth Ur, and control the Heart, so much the better. But logically the Nerevarine would wish rise as high in the hierarchy as possible before cutting a deal with head of the House.

Dagoth Ur should try to recruit the Nerevarine into House Dagoth. It may be possible to pretend to join him, then betray him. However, any attempt to deceive him will be very risky. House Dagoth has a tradition of subterfuge and treachery, and because he is a deceiver, he will expect deception.

Closing Remarks

We place no compulsion upon the Nerevarine to adhere to the plans described here. We believe that they offer the best chance of destroying Dagoth Ur. But we have also chosen to place our trust in the Nerevarine's judgement and skill. Frankly, we see no alternative.

If there are doubts or questions, speak with Vivec. He has agreed to serve as the Nerevarine's guide and counselor for this campaign.

It may be that if the Nerevarine succeeds, the Tribunal will not survive. Such sentiments as might have been expressed to the Tribunal should, in that case, be addressed to the land and people of Morrowind.

May the happy convergence of fortune and prayer meet in our destiny.

On behalf of Lady Almalexia and Lord Sotha Sil,

Vivec
265bk_vivec_murders

Nerevar at Red Mountain



[The following is from the Apographa, the hidden writings of the Tribunal Temple. It is a scholarly retelling of a tradition transmitted through the Ashlanders concerning the battle at Red Mountain and subsequent events. The Ashlanders associate this tale with the telling of Alandro Sul, a shield-companion of Nerevar who came to live among the Ashlanders after the death of Nerevar and during the ascension of the Tribunal. There are many variant treatments of this story, but the primary elements are consistent throughout the tradition. The murder of Nerevar, the tragic fate of Dagoth Ur, and the profane source of the Tribunal's divine power are denied by Temple doctrine as ignorant Ashlander superstition, and not widely known among civilized Dunmer.]

Resdayn, present day Morrowind, was contested ground between two very different types of mer: the Chimer, who worshipped Daedra, and the Dwemer, who worshipped a profane and secret power. These two people warred with each other constantly until their lands were invaded by a young, vibrant, and violent alien culture, the Nords.

Two heroes, one from the Chimer and one from the Dwemer, Indoril Nerevar and Dumac Dwarf-Orc, made peace between their people and together ousted the alien invaders. Then these two heroes worked long and hard to maintain that peace thereafter, though their counselors thought it could not last or, worse, that it shouldn't. Nerevar's queen and his generals-- Almalexia, Sotha Sil, Vivec-- told him to claim all Resdayn for his own. But Nerevar would not listen, for he remembered his friendship with Dumac. There would be only peace.

Until Dagoth-Ur arrived. House Dagoth had discovered the source of the profane and secret power of the Dwemer: the legendary Heart of Lorkhan, which Dumac's people had used to make themselves immortal and beyond the measure of the gods. In fact, one of the their high priests, Kagrenac, was building a New God so that the Dwemer could claim Resdayn for their own.

The Tribunal urged Nerevar again to make war on the Dwarves. Nerevar was troubled. He went to Dumac, his friend of old, and asked if what Dagoth-Ur said was true. But Kagrenac and the high priests of the Dwemer had kept their New God secret from their King, and Dumac said the Dwemer were innocent of any wrongdoing. Nerevar was troubled again and made pilgrimage to Holamayan, the sacred temple of Azura, who confirmed that all that Dagoth-Ur said was indeed true and that the New God of the Dwemer should be destroyed for the safety of not only Resdayn, but for the whole world. When Nerevar went back and told his Tribunal what the goddess had said, his queen and generals felt themselves proved aright and again counseled him to war. There were reasons that the Dwemer and Chimer had hated each other forever.

Finally, Nerevar, angered that his friend Dumac would lie to him, went back to Vvardenfell. This time the Chimer King was arrayed in arms and armor and had his hosts around him, and he spoke harshly to Dumac Dwarf-Orc, King of Red Mountain. "You must give up your worship of the Heart of Lorkhan or I shall forget our friendship and the deeds that were accomplished in its name!" And Dumac, who still knew nothing of Kagrenac's New God, but proud and protective as ever of his people, said, "We shall not relinquish that which has been our way for years beyond reckoning, just as the Chimer will not relinquish their ties to the Lords and Ladies of Oblivion. And to come at my door in this way, arrayed in arms and armor and with your hosts around you, tells me you have already forgotten our friendship. Stand down, my sweet Nerevar, or I swear by the fifteen-and-one golden tones I shall kill you and all your people."

And so the Chimer and Dwemer went to war. The Dwemer were well-defended by their fortress at Red Mountain, but the bravery and cleverness of Nerevar's queen and generals drew most of Dumac's armies out into the field and kept them there, so that Nerevar and Dagoth-Ur could make their way into the Heart Chamber by secret means. There, Nerevar met Dumac and the Dwarf King and they both fell from grievous wounds. Dagoth-Ur slew Kagrenac and took the tools the Dwemer used to tap the power of the Heart. He went to his dying lord Nerevar and asked him what to do with these tools. And Nerevar summoned Azura again, and she showed them how to use the tools to separate the power of the Heart from the Dwemer people.

And on the fields, the Tribunal and their armies watched as the Dwemer turned into dust all around them as their stolen immortality was taken away.

Back in Red Mountain, Nerevar told Dagoth-Ur to protect the tools and the Heart Chamber until he returned. Dagoth-Ur said, "But shouldn't we destroy these tools at once, so that they might never be used for evil again?" But Nerevar was confused by his wounds and his sorrow (for he still loved Dumac and the Dwemer people) and so went to the fields outside of Red Mountain to confer with his queen and his generals, who had foreseen that this war would come and whose counsel he would not ignore again. "I will ask the Tribunal what we shall do with them, for they have had wisdom in the past that I had not. Stay here, loyal Dagoth-Ur, until I return."

Then Nerevar told his queen and generals all that had transpired under Red Mountain and how the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals and of the wondrous power of the Heart of Lorkhan. The Tribunal decided that the Chimer should learn how to use this power so that Nerevar might claim Resdayn and the world for their people. Nerevar did not expect or want this, so he asked his queen and generals to help him summon Azura yet again for her guidance. But the Tribunal had become as greedy as Kagrenac upon hearing of the power of the Heart and they coveted it. They made ritual as if to summon Azura as Nerevar wanted but Almalexia used poisoned candles and Sotha Sil used poisoned robes and Vivec used poisoned invocations. Nerevar was murdered.

Then Azura came forth anyway and cursed the Tribunal for their foul deeds. She told them that she would use her powers over dusk and dawn to make sure Nerevar would come back and make things right again. But the Tribunal laughed at her and said that soon they would be gods themselves and that the Chimer people would forget their old ways of worship. And Azura knew this would be true and that it would take a long time before her power might bring Nerevar back. "What you have done here today is foul beyond measure and you will grow to regret it, for the lives of gods are not what mortals think and matters that weigh only years to mortals weigh on gods forever." And so that they might know forever their wicked deeds Azura changed the Chimer into Dunmer, and their skin turned ashen and their eyes into fire. "Let this mark remind you of your true selves who, like ghouls, fed on the nobility, heroism, and trust of their king."

And then the Tribunal went into Red Mountain and met with Dagoth-Ur. Dagoth-Ur saw what had been done, for his skin had changed as well, and he tried to avenge the death of Nerevar but to no avail. He was driven off and thought dead. The Tribunal found the tools he had been guarding and, through study of Kagrenac's methods, turned themselves into gods.

Thousands of years after their apotheosis, the Tribunal are still the gods of Morrowind and the old ways of worship are remembered only by a few. And the murder of Nerevar is known to fewer. But his queen and generals still fear his return, for the words of Azura linger long and they see the mark of her curse on their people every day.
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The Battle of Red Mountain, and the Rise and Fall of the Tribunal



[The following is a transcript of the words of Lord Vivec, addressed to a Dissident Priest, Malur Omayn, who confronted Vivec with the Ashlander traditions surrounding the Battle of Red Mountain and with prophecies of the Nerevarine, and to unnamed magistrates of the Inquisition who joined Vivec in interrogating the Dissident Priest.]

Who can clearly recall the events of the distant past. But you have asked me to tell you, in my own words, the events surrounding the Battle of Red Mountain, the birth of the Tribunal, and the prophecies of a Nerevar reborn. Here is what I can tell you.

When the Chimer first abandoned the herds and tents of their nomadic ancestors, and built the first Great Houses, we loved the Daedra, and worshipped them as gods. But our brethren, the Dwemer, scorned the Daedra, and mocked our foolish rituals, and preferred instead their gods of Reason and Logic. So the Chimer and Dwemer were always at bitter war, until the Nords came and invaded Resdayn. Only then did the Chimer and Dwemer put away their strife and join together to cast out the invaders.

Once the Nords were driven out, General Nerevar of the Chimer and General Dumac of the Dwemer, who had come to love and respect one another, resolved to make peace between their peoples. In that time I was but a junior counselor to Nerevar, and Nerevar's queen, Almalexia, and his other favorite counselor, Sotha Sil, always doubted that such a peace might long survive, given the bitter disputes between Chimer and Dwemer, but by negotiation and compromise, Nerevar and Dumac somehow managed to preserve a fragile peace.

But when Dagoth Ur, Lord of House Dagoth, and trusted as a friend by both Nerevar and the Dwemer, brought us proof that High Engineer Kagrenac of the Dwemer had discovered the Heart of Lorkhan, and that he had learned how to tap its powers, and was building a new god, a mockery of Chimer faith and a fearsome weapon, we all urged Nerevar to make war on the Dwarves and to destroy this threat to Chimer beliefs and security. Nerevar was troubled. He went to Dumac and asked if what Dagoth Ur said was true. But Kagrenac took great offense, and asked whom Nerevar thought he was, that he might presume to judge the affairs of the Dwemer.

Nerevar was further troubled, and made pilgrimage to Holamayan, the sacred temple of Azura, and Azura confirmed that all that Dagoth Ur said was indeed true and that the creation of a New God of the Dwemer should be prevented at all costs. When Nerevar came back and told us what the goddess had said, we felt our judgements confirmed, and again counseled him to war, chiding Nerevar for his na�ve trust in friendship, and reminding Nerevar of his duty to protect the faith and security of the Chimer against the impiety and dangerous ambitious of the Dwemer.

Then Nerevar went back to Vvardenfell one last time, hoping that negotiations and compromise might once again preserve the peace. But this time the friends Nerevar and Dumac quarreled bitterly, and as a result, the Chimer and Dwemer went to war.

The Dwemer were well-defended by their fortress at Red Mountain, but Nerevar's cunning drew most of Dumac's armies out into the field and pinned them there, while Nerevar, Dagoth Ur, and a small group of companions could make their way into the Heart Chamber by secret means. There, Nerevar the Chimer King met Dumac the Dwarf King and they both collapsed from grievous wounds and draining magics. With Dumac fallen, and threatened by Dagoth Ur and others, Kagrenac turned his tools upon the Heart, and Nerevar said he saw Kagrenac and all his Dwemer companions at once disappear from the world. In that instant, Dwemer everywhere disappeared without a trace. But Kagrenac's tools remained, and Dagoth Ur seized them, and he carried them to Nerever, saying, "That fool Kagrenac has destroyed his own people with these things. We should destroy them, right away, lest they fall into the wrong hands."

But Nerevar was resolved to confer with his queen and his generals, who had foreseen that this war would come and whose counsel he would not ignore again. "I will ask the Tribunal what we shall do with them, for they have had wisdom in the past that I had not. Stay here, loyal Dagoth Ur, until I return." So Nerevar told Dagoth Ur to protect the tools and the Heart Chamber until he returned.

Then Nerevar was carried to us where we waited on the slopes of Red Mountain, and he told us all that had transpired under Red Mountain. What Nerevar had said was that the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals and that the Heart of Lorkhan held wondrous powers. [Only later did we hear from others present that Dagoth Ur had thought the Dwemer destroyed, not made immortal. And no one knows for sure what really happened there.]

After hearing Nerevar, we gave our counsel as he requested, proposing, "We should preserve these tools in trust for the welfare of the Chimer people. And who knows, perhaps the Dwemer are not gone forever, but merely transported to some distant realm, from which they may some day return to threaten our security once again. Therefore, we need to keep these tools, to study them and their principles, so that we may be safe in future generations."

And though Nerevar voiced his grave misgivings, he was willing to be ruled by our counsel, under one condition: that we all together should swear a solemn oath upon Azura that the tools would never be used in the profane manner that the Dwemer had intended. We all readily agreed, and swore solemn oaths at Nerevar's dictation.

So then we went with Nerevar back into Red Mountain and met with Dagoth Ur. Dagoth Ur refused to deliver the tools to us, saying they were dangerous, and we could not touch them. Dagoth Ur seemed to be irrational, insisting that only he could be trusted with the tools, and then we guessed that he had somehow been affected by his handling of the tools, but now I feel sure that he had privately learned the powers of the tools, and had in some confused way decided he must have them for himself. Then Nerevar and our guard resorted to force to secure the tools. Somehow Dagoth Ur and his retainers escaped, but we gained the tools, and delivered them to Sotha Sil for study and safe-keeping.

For some years we kept the oaths we swore to Azura with Nerevar, but during that time, in secret, Sotha Sil must have studied the tools and divined their mysteries. And at last he came to us with a vision of a new world of peace, with justice and honor for nobles, and health and prosperity for the commoners, with the Tribunal as immortal patrons and guides. And dedicating ourselves to this vision of a better world, we made a pilgrimage to Red Mountain and transformed ourselves with the power of Kagrenac's tools.

And no sooner than we had completed our rituals and begun to discover our new-found powers, the Daedra Lord Azura appeared and cursed us for our foresworn oaths. By her powers of prophecy, she assured us that her champion, Nerevar, true to his oath, would return to punish us for our perfidy, and to make sure such profane knowledge might never again be used to mock and defy the will of the gods. But Sotha Sil said to her, "The old gods are cruel and arbitrary, and distant from the hopes and fears of mer. Your age is past. We are the new gods, born of the flesh, and wise and caring of the needs of our people. Spare us your threats and chiding, inconstant spirit. We are bold and fresh, and will not fear you."

And then, in that moment, all Chimer were changed into Dunmer, and our skins turned ashen and our eyes into fire. Of course, we only knew at that time that this had happened to us, but Azura said, "This is not my act, but your act. You have chosen your fate, and the fate of your people, and all the Dunmer shall share your fate, from now to the end of time. You think yourselves gods, but you are blind, and all is darkness." And Azura left us alone, in darkness, and we were all afraid, but we put on brave faces, and went forth from Red Mountain to build the new world of our dreams.

And the new world we shaped was glorious and generous, and the worship of the Dunmer fervent and grateful. The Dunmer were at first afraid of their new faces, but Sotha Sil spoke to them, saying that it was not a curse but a blessing, a sign of their changed natures, and sign of the special favor they might enjoy as New Mer, no longer barbarians trembling before ghosts and spirits, but civilized mer, speaking directly to their immortal friends and patrons, the three faces of the Tribunal. And we were all inspired by Sotha Sil's speech and vision, and took heart. And over time, we crafted the customs and institutions of a just and honorable society, and the land of Resdayn knew millennia of peace, equity, and prosperity unknown to other savage races.

But beneath Red Mountain, Dagoth Ur had survived. And even as the light of our bold new world shined ever more brightly, beneath Red Mountain, the darkness gathered, a darkness that was close kin to the bright light that Sotha Sil coaxed from the Heart of Lorkhan with the Tools of Kagrenac. As the darkness grew, we fought it, and crafted walls to confine it, but we never could destroy it, for the source of the darkness was the same source as the source of our own divine inspiration.

And in these latter days of Morrowind, reduced to a subjugated province of the Western Empire, as the glory of the Temple fades, and the dark tide rises from Red Mountain, we are reminded of Azura and her promised champion's return. We have waited, blind, and in darkness, mere shadows, drained of our ardent vision, in shame of our folly, in fear of our judgement, and in hope of our deliverance. We do not know if the outlander claiming to fulfill the prophecies of the Nerevarine is our old companion Nerevar reborn, or a pawn of the Emperor, or a catspaw of Azura, or some simple twist of fate. But we insist you adhere to Temple doctrine, and conform to the strictures dividing the Hierographa from the Apographa, and that you not speak that which must not be spoken openly. Act as a dutiful priest should, in accordance with your vows of obedience to the canons and archcanons, and all will be forgiven. Defy me, and you will know what it is to stand against a god.

-- Vivec
267bk_V_hlaaluprison

Prisoners currently being held in the Hlaalu Prisons:

Frelene Acques held for questioning.

Ralyn Farothran held for attempting to bribe an noble of House Hlaalu.

268bk_Warehouse_log[This appears to be the records of incoming and outgoing shipments, complete with dates and business partners.]

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The War of the First Council



[This account by the Imperial scholar Agrippa Fundilius is based on various Imperial and Dunmer sources, and written for Western readers.]

The War of the First Council was a First Age religious conflict between the secular Dunmer Houses Dwemer and Dagoth and the orthodox Dunmer Houses Indoril, Redoran, Dres, Hlaalu, and Telvanni. The First Council was the first pan-Dunmer governing body, which collapsed over disputes about sorceries and enchantments practiced by the Dwemer and declared profane by the other Houses.

The Secular Houses, less numerous, but politically and magically more advanced, and aided by Nord and Orc clans drawn by promise of land and booty, initially campaigned with great success in the north of Morrowind, and occupied much of the land now comprising Redoran, Vvardenfell, and Telvanni District. The Orthodox Houses, widely dispersed and poorly organized, suffered defeat after defeat until Nerevar was made general of all House troops and levies.

Nerevar secured the aid of nomad barbarian tribesmen, and contrived to force a major battle at the Secular stronghold of Red Mountain on Vvardenfell. The Secular forces were outmaneuvered and defeated with the help of Ashlander scouts, and the survivors forced to take refuge in the Dwemer stronghold at Red Mountain.

After a brief siege, treason permitted Nerevar and his troops to enter the stronghold, where the Secular leaders were slain, and Nerevar mortally wounded. General slaughter followed, and Houses Dwemer and Dagoth were exterminated. Nerevar died shortly thereafter of his wounds.

Three of Nerevar's associates among the Orthodox Houses, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, succeeded to control of the re-created First Council, re-named the Grand Council of Morrowind, and went on to be come the god-kings and immortal rulers of Morrowind known as the Tribunal, or Almsivi.

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Waters of Oblivion



A hundred and twenty numbered ages in the void that fated folk had grown deep-schooled in evil. Then the Bright Gods resolved to punish those faithless spirits, and shatter the unruly caitiffs, those huge, unholy scathers, loathsome to the Light. They repented exceedingly that they had gazed upon Oblivion, and seen there the first of dark kin, and welcomed them as brothers and sisters.

The Principalities of Victory beheld how great was the wickedness of the wayward spirits, and saw that they were bold in sin and full of wiles. They resolved then to chasten the tribes of daedra, and smite darkkind with hammer and hand.

But ever shall Darkness contest the Light, and great were the Powers that breathed the void and laid waste upon one another, and no oath might bind them, so deep were they in envy and perfidy. For once the portals are opened, who shall shut them upon the rising tide?

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Where were you when the Dragon Broke?



Corax, Cyrodiil, Elder Council:

�No one understands what happened when the Selectives danced on that tower. It would be easy to dismiss the whole matter as nonsense were it not for the Amulet of Kings. Even the Elder Scrolls do not mention it -- let me correct myself, the Elder Scrolls cannot mention it. When the Moth priests attune the Scrolls to the timeless time their glyphs always disappear. The Amulet of Kings, however, with its oversoul of emperors, can speak of it at length. According to Hestra, Cyrodiil became an Empire across the stars. According to Shor-El, Cyrodiil became an egg. Most say something in a language they can only speak sideways. The Council has collected texts and accounts from all of its provinces, and they only offer stories that never coincide, save on one point: all the folk of Tamriel during the Middle Dawn, in whatever 'when' they were caught in, tracked the fall of the eight stars. And that is how they counted their days.�

Mehra Nabisi, Dunmer, Triune Mistress of the New Temple:

�Accounts of the Middle Dawn are the province of the Empire of Men, and proof of the deceit that call themselves the Aedra. Eight stars fell on Tamriel, one for each iniquity that Lorkhan made clear to the world. Veloth read these signs, and he told Boethiah, who confirmed them, and he told Mephala, who made wards against them, and he told Azura, who sent ALMSIVI to steer the True Folk clear of harm. Even the Four Corners of the House of Troubles rose to protect the periphery of your madness. We watched our borders and saw them shift like snakes, and saw you run around in it like the spirits of old, devoid of math, without your if-thens, succumbing to the Ever Now like slaves of the slim folly, stasis. Do not ask us where we were when the Dragon Broke, for, of all the world, only we truly know, and we might just show you how to break it again.�

R'leyt-harhr, Khajiit, Tender to the Mane:

�Do you mean, where were the Khajiit when the Dragon Broke? R'leyt tells you where: recording it. 'One thousand eight years,' you've heard it. You think the Cyro-Nordics came up with that all on their own. You humans are better thieves than even Rajhin! While you were fighting wars with phantoms and giving birth to your own fathers, it was the Mane that watched the ja-Kha'jay, because the moons were the only constant, and you didn't have the sugar to see it. We'll give you credit: you broke Alkosh something fierce, and that's not easy. Just don't think you solved what you accomplished by it, or can ever solve it. You did it again with Big Walker, not once, but twice! Once at Rimmen, which we'll never learn to live with. The second time it was in Daggerfall, or was it Sentinel, or was it Wayrest, or was it in all three places at once? Get me, Cyrodiil? When will you wake up and realize what really happened to the Dwarves?�

Mannimarco, God of Worms, the Necromancers:

�The Three Thieves of Morrowind could tell you where they were. So could the High King of Alinor, who was the one who broke it in the first place. There are others on this earth that could, too: Ysmir, Pelinal, Arnand the Fox or should I say Arctus? The Last Dwarf would talk, if they would let him. As for myself, I was here and there and here again, like the rest of the mortals during the Dragon Break. How do you think I learned my mystery? The Maruhkati Selectives showed us all the glories of the Dawn so that we might learn, simply: as above, so below.�

272bk_widowdeed

By the Grace of ALMSIVI, Lords and Rulers of All

By the Grace of Hlaren Ramoran, Councilor of House Redoran, Lord of Gnisis

Attested by his trusted servant, Hetman Abelmawia Eribael

This document grants all rights of tenancy, residence, bounty, and vocation in the lands adjoining the Vabdas Clan Hearth, including the lands along the river bluff for 80 paces east and west of the hearth and the lands for 80 paces north of the hearth and the lands south of the heart as far as the river bluff, to the Miner Mansilamat Vabdas and his Goodwife Pulaya Vabdas.

Seal of Hetman Abelmawia
273bk_wildelves

On Wild Elves
by Kier-jo Chorvak



In the wilds of most every province of Tamriel, descended philosophically if not directly from the original inhabitants of the land, are the Ayleids, commonly called the Wild Elves. While three races of Elven stock -- the Altmer (or High Elves), the Bosmer (or Wood Elves), and the Dunmer (or Dark Elves) -- have assimilated well into the new cultures of Tamriel, the Ayleids and their brethren have remained aloof toward our civilization, preferring to practice the old ways far from the eyes of the world.
The Wild Elves speak a variation of Old Cyrodilic, opting to shun Tamrielic and separating themselves from the mainstream of Tamriel even further than the least urbanized of their Elven cousins. In temperament they are dark-spirited and taciturn -- though this is from the point of view of outsiders (or �Pellani� in their tongue), and doubtless they act differently within their own tribes.
Indeed, one of the finest sages of the University of Gwilym was a civilized Ayleid Elf, Tjurhane Fyrre (1E2790-2E227), whose published work on Wild Elves suggests a lively, vibrant culture. Fyrre is one of the very few Ayleids to speak freely on his people and religion, and he himself said �the nature of the Ayleid tribes is multihued, their personalities often wildly different from their neighbor[ing] tribes� (Fyrre, T., Nature of Ayleidic Poesy, p. 8, University of Gwilym Press, 2E12).
Like any alien culture, Wild Elves are often feared by the simple people of Tamriel. The Ayleids continue to be one of the greatest enigmas of the continent of Tamriel. They seldom appear in the pages of written history in any role, and then only as a strange sight a chronicler stumbles upon before they vanish into the wood. When probable fiction is filtered from common legend, we are left with almost nothing. The mysterious ways of the Ayleids have remained shrouded since before the First Era, and may well remain so for thousands of years to come.

274bk_wordsclanmother

Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi
to her Favored Daughter



Ahnissi tells you. You are no longer a mewing kitten and you have learned to keep secrets from Ahnissi, and so Ahnissi tells you.

In the beginning there were two littermates, Ahnurr and Fadomai. After many phases, Fadomai said to Ahnurr, "Let us wed and make children to share our happiness."

And they gave birth to Alkosh, the First Cat. And Ahnurr said, "Alkosh, we give you Time, for what is as fast or as slow as a cat?"

And they gave birth to Khenarthi, the Winds. "Khenarthi, to you we give the sky, for what can fly higher than the wind?"

And they gave birth to Magrus, the Cat's Eye. "Magrus, to you we give the sun, for what is brighter than the eye of a cat?"

And they gave birth to Mara, the Mother Cat. �Mara, you are love, for what is more loving than a mother?�

And they gave birth to S'rendarr, the Runt. �S'rendarr, we give you mercy, for how does a runt survive, except by mercy?"

And many phases passed and Ahnurr and Fadomai were happy.

And Ahnurr said, �We should have more children to share our happiness.� And Fadomai agreed. And she gave birth to Hermorah. And she gave birth to Hircine. And she gave birth to Merrunz and Mafala and Sangiin and Sheggorath and many others.

And Fadomai said:

�Hermorah, you are the Tides, for who can say whether the moons predict the tides or the tides predict the moons?�

�Hircine, you are the Hungry Cat, for what hunts better than a cat with an empty belly?�

�Merrunz, you are the Ja'Khajiit, for what is more destructive than an kitten?�

�Mafala, you are the Clan Mother, for what is more secretive than the ways of the Clan Mothers?�

�Sangiin, you are the Blood Cat, for who can control the urges of blood?�

�Sheggorath, you are the Skooma Cat, for what is crazier than a cat on skooma?�

And Ahnurr said, "Two litters is enough, for too many children will steal our happiness."

But Khenarthi went to Fadomai and said, "Fadomai-mother, Khenarthi grows lonely so high above the world where not even my brother Alkosh can fly." Fadomai took pity on her and tricked Ahnurr to make her pregnant again.

And Fadomai gave birth to the Moons and their Motions. And she gave birth to Nirni, the majestic sands and lush forests. And she gave birth to Azurah, the dusk and the dawn.

And from the beginning, Nirni and Azurah fought for their mother's favor.

Ahnurr caught Fadomai while she was still birthing, and he was angry. Ahnurr struck Fadomai and she fled to birth the last of her litter far away in the Great Darkness. Fadomai's children heard what had happened, and they all came to be with her and protect her from Ahnurr's anger.

And Fadomai gave birth to Lorkhaj, the last of her litter, in the Great Darkness. And the Heart of Lorkhaj was filled with the Great Darkness. And when he was born, the Great Darkness knew its name and it was Namiira.

And Fadomai knew her time was near. Fadomai said:

"Ja-Kha'jay, to you Fadomai gives the Lattice, for what is steadier than the phases of the moons? Your eternal motions will protect us from Ahnurr's anger." And the moons left to take their place in the heavens. And Ahnurr growled and shook the Great Darkness, but he could not cross the Lattice.

And Fadomai said:

"Nirni, to you Fadomai leaves her greatest gift. You will give birth to many people as Fadomai gave birth today." When Nirni saw that Azurah had nothing, Nirni left smiling.

And all Fadomai's children left except Azurah. And Fadomai said, "To you, my favored daughter, Fadomai leaves her greatest gift. To you Fadomai leaves her secrets." And Fadomai told her favored daughter three things.

And Fadomai said, "When Nirni is filled with her children, take one of them and change them. Make the fastest, cleverest, most beautiful people, and call them Khajiit."

And Fadomai said, "The Khajiit must be the best climbers, for if Masser and Secunda fail, they must climb Khenarthi's breath to set the moons back in their courses."

And Fadomai said, "The Khajiit must be the best deceivers, for they must always hide their nature from the children of Ahnurr."

And Fadomai said, "The Khajiit must be the best survivors, for Nirni will be jealous, and she will make the sands harsh and the forests unforgiving, and the Khajiit will always be hungry and at war with Nirni."

And with these words, Fadomai died.

After many phases, Nirni came to Lorkhaj and said, "Lorkhaj, Fadomai told me to give birth to many children, but there is no place for them."

And Lorkhaj said, "Lorkhaj makes a place for children and Lorkhaj puts you there so you can give birth." But the Heart of Lorkhaj was filled with the Great Darkness, and Lorkhaj tricked his siblings so that they were forced into this new place with Nirni. And many of Fadomai's children escaped and became the stars. And many of Fadomai's children died to make Nirni's path stable. And the survivors stayed and punished Lorkhaj.

The children of Fadomai tore out the Heart of Lorkhaj and hid it deep within Nirni. And they said, "We curse you, noisy Lorkhaj, to walk Nirni for many phases."

But Nirni soon forgave Lorkhaj for Nirni could make children. And she filled herself with children, but cried because her favorite children, the forest people, did not know their shape.

And Azurah came to her and said, "Poor Nirni, stop your tears. Azurah makes for you a gift of a new people." Nirni stopped weeping, and Azurah spoke the First Secret to the Moons and they parted and let Azurah pass. And Azurah took some forest people who were torn between man and beast, and she placed them in the best desserts and forests on Nirni. And Azurah in her wisdom made them of many shapes, one for every purpose. And Azurah named them Khajiit and told them her Second Secret and taught them the value of secrets. And Azurah bound the new Khajiit to the Lunar Lattice, as is proper for Nirni's secret defenders. Then Azurah spoke the Third Secret, and the Moons shone down on the marshes and their light became sugar.

But Y'ffer heard the First Secret and snuck in behind Azurah. And Y'ffer could not appreciate secrets, and he told Nirni of Azurah's trick. So Nirni made the deserts hot and the sands biting. And Nirni made the forests wet and filled with poisons. And Nirni thanked Y'ffer and let him change the forest people also. And Y'ffer did not have Azurah's subtle wisdom, so Y'ffer made the forest people Elves always and never beasts. And Y'ffer named them Bosmer. And from that moment they were no longer in the same litter as the Khajiit.

And because Y'ffer had no appreciation for secrets, he shouted the First Secret across all the heavens with his last breath so that all of Fadomai's children could cross the Lattice. But Azurah, in her wisdom, closed the ears of angry Ahnurr and noisy Lorkhaj so they alone did not hear the word.

275bk_words_of_the_wind

Words of the Wind



[This is a volume of verse collected from Ashlander wise women. 'May I shrink to dust' is from the Ahemmusa Ashlanders of the Grazelands.]

May I shrink to dust
In your cold, wild Wastes,
And may my tongue speak
Its last hymn to your winds.

I pray for the herder
That whistles to his guar at play.
I pray for the hunter
That stalks the white walkers.
I pray for the wise one
That seeks under the hill,
And the wife who wishes
For one last touch of her dead child's hand.

I will not pray for that which I've lost
When my heart springs forth
From your soil, like a seed,
And blossoms anew beneath tomorrow's sun.

276bk_Yagrum's_Book

Tamrielic Artifacts



The following are notes I have gathered, over the past centuries, of items of unimaginable significance. All have been seen, owned, and lost, again and again throughout Tamriel. Some may be myth, others may be hoax, but regardless, many have lost their lives attempting to find or protect these very coveted items.

Lord's Mail

Sometimes called the Armor of Morihaus or the gift of Kynareth, this is an ancient cuirass of unsurpassable quality. It grants the wearer power to absorb health, resist the effects of spells, and cure oneself of poison when used. It is said that whenever Kynareth deigns the wearer unworthy, the Lord's Mail will be taken away and hidden for the next chosen one.

Ebony Mail

The Ebony Mail is a breastplate created before recorded history by the Dark Elven goddess Boethiah. It is she who determines who should possess the Ebony Mail and for how long a time. If judged worthy, its power grants the wearer added resistance of fire, magicka, and grants a magical shield. It is Boethiah alone who determines when a person is ineligible to bear the Ebony Mail any longer, and the goddess can be very capricious.

Spell Breaker

Spell Breaker, superficially a Dwemer tower shield, is one of the most ancient relics of Tamriel. Aside from its historical importance in the Battle of Rourken-Shalidor, the Spell Breaker protects its wielder almost completely from any spell caster, either by reflecting magicks or silencing any mage about to cast a spell. It is said that Spell Breaker still searches for its original owner, and will not remain the property of anyone else for long. For most, possessing Spell Breaker for any length of time is power enough.

Chrysamere

The Paladin's Blade is an ancient claymore with offensive capabilities surpassed only by its own defenses. It lends the wielder health, protects him or her from fire, and reflects any spells cast against the wielder back to the caster. Seldom has Chrysamere been wielded by any bladesman for any length of time, for it chooses not to favor one champion.

Staff of Magnus

The Staff of Magnus, one of the elder artifacts of Tamriel, was a metaphysical battery of sorts for its creator, Magnus. When used, it absorbs an enemy's health and mystical energy. In time, the Staff will abandon the mage who wields it before he becomes too powerful and upsets the mystical balance it is sworn to protect.

Warlock's Ring

The Warlock's Ring of the Archmage Syrabane is one of the most popular relics of myth and fable. In Tamriel's ancient history, Syrabane saved all of the continent by judicious use of his Ring, and ever since, it has helped adventurers with less lofty goals. It is best known for its ability to reflect spells cast at its wearer and to improve his or her speed and to restore health. No adventurer can wear the Warlock's Ring for long, for it is said that the Ring is Syrabane's alone to command.

Ring of Phynaster

The Ring of Phynaster was made hundreds of years ago by a man who needed good defenses to survive his adventurous life. Thanks to the Ring, Phynaster lived for hundreds of years, and since then it has passed from person to person. The Ring improves its wearer's overall resistance to poison, magicka, and shock. Still, Phynaster was cunning and cursed the ring so that it eventually disappears from its holder's possessions and returns to another resting place, discontent to stay anywhere but with Phynaster himself.

Ring of Khajiit

The Ring of the Khajiit is an ancient relic, hundreds of years older than Rajhin, the thief that made the Ring famous. It was Rajhin who used the Ring's powers to make himself invisible and as quick as the breath of wind. Using the Ring, he became the most successful burglar in Elsweyr's history. Rajhin's eventual fate is a mystery, but according to legend, the Ring rebelled against such constant use and disappeared, leaving Rajhin helpless before his enemies.

Mace of Molag Bal

Also known as the Vampire's Mace, the Mace of Molag Bal drains its victims of magicka and gives it to the bearer. It also has the ability to transfer an enemy's strength to its wielder. Molag Bal has been quite free with his artifact. There are many legends about the Mace. It seems to be a favorite for vanquishing wizards.

Masque of Clavicus Vile

Ever the vain one, Clavicus Vile made a masque suited to his own personality. The bearer of the Masque is more likely to get a positive response from the people of Tamriel. The higher his personality, the larger the bonus. The best known story of the Masque tells the tale of Avalea, a noblewoman of some renown. As a young girl, she was grossly disfigured by a spiteful servant. Avalea made a dark deal with Clavicus Vile and received the Masque in return. Though the Masque did not change her looks, suddenly she had the respect and admiration of everyone. A year and a day after her marriage to a well connected baron, Clavicus Vile reclaimed the Masque. Although pregnant with his child, Avalea was banished from the Baron's household. Twenty one years and one day later, Avalea's daughter claimed her vengeance by slaying the Baron.

Mehrunes Razor

The Dark Brotherhood has coveted this ebony dagger for generations. This mythical artifact is capable of slaying any creature instantly. History does not record any bearers of Mehrune's Razor. However, the Dark Brotherhood was once decimated by a vicious internal power struggle. It is suspected that the Razor was involved.

Cuirass of the Savior's Hide

Another of Hircine's artifacts was the Cuirass of the Savior's Hide. The Cuirass has the special ability to resist magicka. Legend has it that Hircine rewarded his peeled hide to the first and only mortal to have ever escaped his hunting grounds. This unknown mortal had the hide tailored into this magical Cuirass for his future adventures. The Savior's Hide has a tendency to travel from hero to hero as though it has a mind of its own.

Spear of Bitter Mercy

One of the more mysterious artifacts is the Spear of Bitter Mercy. Little to nothing is known about the Spear. There are no recorded histories but many believe it to be of Daedric origin. The only known legend about it is its use by a mighty hero during the fall of the Battlespire. The hero was aided by the Spear in the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon and the recapturing of the Battlespire. Since that time, the Spear of Bitter Mercy has made few appearances within Tamriel.

Daedric Scourge

The Daedric Scourge is a mighty mace forged from sacred ebony in the Fires of Fickledire. The legendary weapon of Mackkan, it was once a fierce weapon used to send spirits of black back into Oblivion. The weapon lhas the ability to summon creatures from Oblivion, Once a tool used against the Daedric Lords in the Battlespire, it now roams the land with adventurers.

Bow of Shadows

Legend has it that the Bow of Shadows was forged by the Daedra Nocturnal. The legendary ranger, Raerlas Ghile, was granted the Bow for a secret mission that failed, and the Bow was lost. Raerlas did not go down without a hearty fight and is said to have, with the aid of the Bow, taken scores of his foes with him. The Bow grants the user the ability of invisibility and increased speed. Many sightings of the Bow of Shadows have been reported, and it is even said that the sinister Dark Elf assassin of the Second Era, Dram, once wielded this bow.

Fists of Randagulf

Randagulf of Clan Begalin goes down in Tamrielic history as one of the mightiest warriors from Skyrim. He was known for his courage and ferocity in battle and was a factor in many battles. He finally met his fate when King Harald conquered Skyrim. King Harald respected this great hero and took Randagulf's gauntlets for his own. After King Harald died, the gauntlets disappeared. The King claimed that the Fists granted the bearer added strength.

Ice Blade of the Monarch

The Ice Blade of the Monarch is truly one of Tamriel's most prized artifacts. Legend has it that the Evil Archmage Almion Celmo enchanted the claymore of a great warrior with the soul of a Frost Monarch, a stronger form of the more common Frost Atronach. The warrior, Thurgnarr Assi, was to play a part in the assassination of a great king in a far off land, and become the new leader. The assassination failed and the Archmage was imprisoned. The Ice Blade freezes all who feel its blade. The Blade circulates from owner to owner, never settling in one place for long.

Ring of Surroundings

Little is known of this prize but it is said that it lends the wearer the ability to blend in with their surroundings.

Boots of the Apostle

The Boots of the Apostle are a true mystery. The wearer of the boots is rumored to be able to levitate, though nobody has ever seen them used.

The Mentor's Ring

This ring is a prized possession for any apprentice to magic. It lends the wearer the ability to increase their intelligence and wisdom, thus making their use of magic more efficient. The High Wizard Carni Asron is said to be the creator of the Ring. It was a construct for his young apprentices while studying under his guidance. After Asron's death, the Ring and several other possessions vanished and have been circulated throughout Tamriel.

Ring of the Wind

No facts are known about this Ring, but the title and the few rumors lend one to think it grants the wearer added speed.

Vampiric Ring

One of the more deadly and rare artifacts in Tamriel is the Vampiric Ring. It is said that the Ring has the power to steal its victim's health and grant it to the wearer. The exact nature and origin of the Ring is wholly unknown, but many elders speak of its evil creation in Morrowind long, long ago by a cult of Vampire followers. The Vampiric Ring is an extremely rare artifact and is only seen every few hundred cycles of the moons.

Eleidon's Ward

Eleidon was a holy knight of legend in Breton history. He was a sought after man for his courage and determination to set all wrongs right. In one story, it is said that he rescued a Baron's daughter from sure death at the hands of an evil warlord. For his reward, the Baron spent all of his riches to have an enchanted shield built for Eidelon. The Shield granted Eleidon the opportunity to heal his wounds.

Staff of Hasedoki

Hasedoki was said to have been a very competitive wizard. He wandered the land in search for a wizard who was greater than he. To the best of all knowledge, he never found a wizard who could meet up to his challenge. It is said that he felt so lonely and isolated because so many feared his power, that he bonded his life-force into his very own staff, where his soul remains to this very day. Magic users all over Tamriel have been searching for this magical staff. Granting its wielder a protection of magicka, it is a sure prize for any magic user.

Bloodworm Helm

The King of Worms was said to have left behind one of his prized possessions, the Bloodworm Helm. The Helm is a construct of magically formed bone. The Helm allows the user to summon skeletons and control the undead. It would be a prized artifact to a necromancer.

Dragonbone Mail

This cuirass is one of the greatest artifacts any collector or hero could own. It is constructed of real dragon bone and was enchanted by the first Imperial Battlemage, Zurin Arctus, in the early years of the Third Era. It is a truly exquisite piece of work and many have sought to possess it. The properties of the Cuirass allow the wearer to be resist fire, and to damage an enemy with a blast of fire. Little is known about the involvement of Zurin Arctus with the enchantment of the Cuirass, but an old tale speaks of a debt that he owed to a traveling warrior. Like the warrior, the Dragonbone Mail never stays put for long.

Skull Crusher

The Skull Crusher is an amazingly large, and powerful weapon. The Warhammer was created in a fire, magically fueled by the Wizard, Dorach Gusal, and was forged by the great weaponsmith, Hilbongard Rolamus. The steel is magically hardened and the weight of the weapon is amazingly light, which makes for more powerful swings and deadly blows. The Warhammer was to be put on display for a festival, but thieves got it first. The Skull Crusher still travels Tamriel in search of its creators.

Goldbrand

This magical Sword is almost a complete mystery. Thieves tell tales about its golden make and how it was actually forged by ancient dragons of the North. Their tales claim that it was given to a great knight who was sworn to protect the dragons. The Sword lends its wielder the ability to do fire damage on an enemy. Goldbrand has not been sighted in recent history and is said to be awaiting a worthy hero.

Fang of Haynekhtnamet

Black Marsh was once known to be inhabited with what the Argonians called the Wamasus. Northern men considered them to be intelligent dragons with lightning for blood. One such mighty beast, Haynekhtnamet, was slain by the Northern men, though it took 7 days and nights, and a score of men. One of the surviving men took a fang home as a trophy. The fang was carved down into a blade and fashioned into a small dagger. The Dagger mysteriously houses some of the beast's magical properties and grants the user the ability to do shock damage on an opponent. This unique Dagger is seen occasionally by traveling heroes.

Umbra Sword

The Umbra Sword was enchanted by the ancient witch Naenra Waerr, and its sole purpose was the entrapment of souls. Used in conjunction with a soul gem, the Sword allows the wielder the opportunity to imprison an enemy's soul in the gem. Naenra was executed for her evil creation, but not before she was able to hide the Sword. The Umbra Sword is very choosy when it comes to owners and therefore remains hidden until a worthy one is found.

Denstagmer's Ring

All that is known of this Ring is that it may grant the user protection from certain elements. Even the name Denstagmer is a mystery.

Helm of Oreyn Bearclaw

One of Valenwood's legendary heroes is Oreyn Bearclaw. Son of King Faume Toad-Eye, he was a respected clan hunter and a future leader. Wood Elven legend claims Oreyn single handedly defeated Glenhwyfaunva, the witch-serpent of the Elven wood, forever bringing peace to his clan. Oreyn would go on to accomplish numerous other deeds, eventually losing his life to the Knahaten Flu. His Helm stood as a monument of his stature for future generations to remember. The Helm was lost eventually, as the Clan split, and is now a treasured artifact for adventurers. The Helm of Oreyn Bearclaw is rumored to improve the wearers agility and endurance.
Daedric Crescent Blade

Probably the most rare and even outlawed item of all the great prizes is the Daedric Crescent Blade. The Blade was used by Mehrunes Dagon's Daedric forces in the capture of the Imperial Battlespire. These extremely unique Blades were gathered up and destroyed after the Battlespire was recaptured by the Empire. All but one it seems. Though the Empire believes them all to be destroyed, it is rumored that one still remains in existence, somewhere in Tamriel, though none have ever seen it. The Blade lends it's weilder the ability to do great damage on an enemy and allows him to paralyze and put heavy wear on his enemy's armor. Quite the prize for any mighty warrior, if it does indeed exist.
277bk_yellowbook426

Yellow Book of Great House Hlaalu

Councilors of House Hlaalu
Vvardenfell District
Imperial Era 426

Mistress Velanda Omani, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Lord of Omani Plantation, Elmas Island, East Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Dram Bero, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Gentleman of No Fixed Residence, Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Crassius Curio, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Curio Manor, Hlaalu Compound, Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Yngling Half-Troll , by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Yngling Manor, Canton of St. Olms, Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Nevena Ules, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Ules Manor, Suran, Ascadian Isles, Bal Ur, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Council Affairs of Note

King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, High Councilor and Lord of Morrowind, grants relief to merchants complaining of high tariffs on imported alcoholic beverages.

The council is pleased to report a reduction in the incidence of theft and violent crime in the Hlaalu House Districts, thanks to the vigilance of the Legions and stern sentences by the magistrates. The council laments the unfortunate disturbances of the public peace resulting from the increasingly aggressive competition between the Thieves Guild and the Camonna Tong for control of the black markets.

A minor tax revolt in Balmora was suppressed without undue harm to life and property. The council sent deputations to the Duke to express their concerns over the high tax rates and the injurious effect of high tariffs on trade.

278bk_yellowbookofriddles

The Yellow Book of Riddles

For earnest pleasure, and the strengthening of the mind, the author here collects all that he has learned of the art of riddling, by dint of diligent study, and through years of discourse with others of similar inclination.

[[The posing and puzzling of riddles is a convention of polite aristocratic Western society. Nobles and social aspirants collect books of riddles and study them, hoping thereby to increase the chances of their appearing sly and witty in conversation.]]

A metal neither black nor red
As heavy as man's golden greed
What you do to stay ahead
With friend or arrow or steed

dael :rewsnA ehT

A man says, "If you lie to me I will slay you with my sword. If you tell me the truth, I will slay you with a spell." What must you say to stay alive?

.drows a htiw em yals lliw uoY :rewsnA ehT

A Bosmer, was slain. The Altmer claims the Dunmer is guilty. The Dunmer says the Khajiit did it. The Orc swears he didn't kill the Bosmer. The Khajiit says the Dunmer is lying. If only one of these speaks the truth, who killed the Bosmer?

crO ehT :rewsnA ehT

279bk_ynglingledger[This is a ledger showing how Yngling Half-Troll misdirected funds he was supposed to spend on restoring the Temple in the Redoran Compound in Vivec.]

280bk_ynglingletter

Ser Yngling,

I must admit that I was surprised by your request for funds to repair the House Hlaalu Temple in Vivec. Before our meeting last week I knew only that you were an outlander and not a member of our Temple. Once again, I ask that you forgive an old man for heeding to false rumors. Now that I have met you, I am sure that your motives are pure, and you can restore the Temple to its former glory.

House Hlaalu has neglected its Temple in Vivec for many years and it is in a state of disrepair. Given the difficulty of this restoration, I would be pleased to contribute 50,000 drakes to your efforts.

Archcanon Saryoni

281bookskill_acrobatics1

Realizations of Acrobacy
by Master Rhunen Zebavi



Master Gothren agreed to see the acrobats because he needed entertaining. For months now, he had been struggling with his fellow Telvanni Councilor, Master Neloth. Recently he always found himself on the defensive. It was intolerable - Master Gothren losing a battle with the contemptible Neloth. Inspired by their master's weapon, Mehrunes' Razor, Neloth's normally cowardly troops had been nigh invincible. Gothren's own troops had no hope, except to pray that Mehrunes Dagon would reclaim his artifact. Considering how much havoc it was causing, it seemed likely that the daedra prince would allow Master Neloth its use for some time to come.

An acrobatic distraction would be a welcome relief.

�What tricks can your troupe perform?� asked the wizard to the lead acrobat, Rhunen.

�Mighty Gothren, alas, we know no tricks. All the realizations of acrobacy we perform are real with no illusions. We wish we knew tricks, for it's far too time-consuming to have to master actual feats.�

�Very well, what realizations of acrobacy can you perform?� asked Gothren with what almost looked like a smile.

�Master Jereth will dazzle you as he juggles fifteen flaming globes while hopping across broken glass. Master Tulkiande will astound you as she supports her body with one finger while rotating hoops in ornate patterns with her legs. Master Mearvis will take a simple ebony blade --�

�And the outlander female?� asked the Ashkhan with some disapprobation and a dismissive gesture toward the Redguard woman in the troupe.

�Master Senyndie? Ah, Mighty Gothren, she hails from the Alik'r Desert of Hammerfell where she won renown for her skill at climbing sheer surfaces. You must see her at work to believe it. She moves vertically like you and I move horizontally.�

�That is all very well, but I do not like outlanders in my court,� said the Ashkhan. �Many are spies.�

�Oh, well, Master Neloth felt similiarly that --�

�Neloth?!� roared Gothren. �You entertained that whoreson?!�

�Two days ago, yes. I remember that he said there have been strained relations between you two. He also had some concerns about the outlanders in our troupe, though it was our Khajiit tumbler Master S'Rabba who he was particularly suspicious of. In fact, the irony is that he thought S'Rabba was a spy for you. Well, you know Khajiit. Actually, maybe you don't.�

�They are a slave race who hold little interest to me,� growled Gothren.

�You're like Master Neloth then,� said Rhunen quickly, fully aware of Gothren's growing rage, which that particular comment had only enflamed. �He wasn't used to Khajiit either. Or their dark sense of humor. He took some sarcastic comments from Master S'Rabba literally, and we all ended up being tortured for information about you and your troops. You probably haven't had the experience of being tortured for information you don't have, have you? I wouldn't recommend it. Eventually, we were let go on the understanding that we would never set foot in Sadrith Mora again. Actually, not all of us were let go. Master S'Rabba had apparently died under torture. You have probably had experience torturing the slave races and know how easily they break.�

�No, I haven't,� replied Master Gothren. The fury was dead.

�We should have probably left then, but we decided that he still owed us for the entertainment we provided under torture. We weren't sure how to collect, but he mentioned during the course of his ravings that he had a very valuable bauble. A razor of some kind.�

�Mehrunes' Razor,� he gasped. �What -- what did you do?�

�Masters Harakostil and Thelegorm compressed themselves low enough to squirm under the gates so they could lower the bridge into the main courtyard of the stronghold. Masters Tulkiande, Mearvis, Jereth, and I formed a pyramid to give Master Senyndie a boost up to the tower of Tel Naga. She scaled it to the top --�

�She scaled it?� asked Gothren, who was familiar with the tower.

�It was high, but the surface of these Telvanni mushrooms is practically a ladder to someone of Master Senyndie's skills. In a few minutes' time, she was in the room with the razor in hand. In a few more minutes, she was back down the tower and we were running for the Gateway Inn. Now, with all humility, I would say that no one is faster on their feet than our troupe, but Master Neloth's guards were surprisingly quick. I sent the troupe through the gate to the docks while I distracted the guards.�

�I confess, I never associated brave actions with traveling acrobats,� said Gothren.

�It wasn't bravery, it was economics,� smiled Rhunen. �I considered the amount of gold and time it takes to train a good troupe, and it seemed smarter to try to save everyone. In any case, I lured the guards around to the back of the Gateway Inn, far from the others, and when I was sure they were safe, I jumped off the wall and into the water."

�You jumped off the wall?�

�Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did. It's pretty tall. It was a simple matter, especially since I could land in the water. Still, it's only a matter of rolling and twisting the body like so. I'll demonstrate it if you want.�

�Later, if you please,� said the Ashkhan. �What happened then?�

�We arrived here at court,� said Rhunen simply.

�And when did Master Neloth get Mehrunes' Razor back from you?�

�Mighty Gothren, that part of the story hasn't happened yet,� said Rhunen. �Are you ready for us to perform for you now? I hadn't told you yet about our latest realization of acrobacy when Master Mearvis takes a simple ebony blade and juggles it in one hand and a handful of marshmerrow reeds in the other. I don't want to give the whole effect away, but at the end of the act, you have some very fine sheets of papyrus.�

�It sounds delightful, Master Rhunen,� said Gothren. �I look forward to seeing it in a few days time, but I must leave now to meet Master Neloth on the field. I will soon return for a victory celebration, and I want to see all your realizations of acrobacy. In the meantime, you will be honored guests with every luxury the Archmagister of House Telvanni can afford.�

�So the room and board will be almost as nice as a third rate show in Rihad,� said Senyndie as they took their rooms a few hours later. �Why do we bother with these backwoods performances?�

�There are already so many jugglers in Rihad,� said Rhunen with a shrug.
282BookSkill_Acrobatics2

A Dance In Fire, Chapter I
by Waughin Jarth



Scene: The Imperial City, Cyrodiil
Date: 7 Frost Fall, 3E 397

It seemed as if the palace had always housed the Atrius Building Commission, the company of clerks and estate agents who authored and notarized nearly every construction of any note in the Empire. It had stood for two hundred and fifty years, since the reign of the Emperor Magnus, a plain-fronted and austere hall on a minor but respectable plaza in the Imperial City. Energetic and ambitious middle-class lads and ladies worked there, as well as complacent middle-aged ones like Decumus Scotti. No one could imagine a world without the Commission, least of all Scotti. To be accurate, he could not imagine a world without himself in the Commission.

�Lord Atrius is perfectly aware of your contributions,� said the managing clerk, closing the shutter that demarcated Scotti's office behind him. �But you know that things have been difficult.�

�Yes,� said Scotti, stiffly.

�Lord Vanech's men have been giving us a lot of competition lately, and we must be more efficient if we are to survive. Unfortunately, that means releasing some of our historically best but presently underachieving senior clerks.�

�I understand. Can't be helped.�

�I'm glad that you understand,� smiled the managing clerk, smiling thinly and withdrawing. �Please have your room cleared immediately.�

Scotti began the task of organizing all his work to pass on to his successor. It would probably be young Imbrallius who would take most of it on, which was as it should be, he considered philosophically. The lad knew how to find business. Scotti wondered idly what the fellow would do with the contracts for the new statue of St Alessia for which the Temple of the One had applied. Probably invent a clerical error, blame it on his old predecessor Decumus Scotti, and require an additional cost to rectify.

�I have correspondence for Decumus Scotti of the Atrius Building Commission.�

Scotti looked up. A fat-faced courier had entered his office and was thrusting forth a sealed scroll. He handed the boy a gold piece, and opened it up. By the poor penmanship, atrocious spelling and grammar, and overall unprofessional tone, it was manifestly evident who the writer was. Liodes Jurus, a fellow clerk some years before, who had left the Commission after being accused of unethical business practices.


�Dear Sckotti,


I emagine you alway wondered what happened to me, and the last plase you would have expected to find me is out in the woods. But thats exactly where I am. Ha ha. If your'e smart and want to make lot of extra gold for Lord Atrius (and yourself, ha ha), youll come down to Vallinwood too. If you have'nt or have been following the politics hear lately, you may or may not know that ther's bin a war between the Boshmer and there neighbors Elswere over the past two years. Things have only just calm down, and ther's a lot that needs to be rebuilt.

Now Ive got more business than I can handel, but I need somone with some clout, someone representing a respected agencie to get the quill in the ink. That somone is you, my fiend. Come & meat me at the M'ther Paskos Tavern in Falinnesti, Vallinwood. Ill be here 2 weeks and you wont be sorrie.




-- Jurus

P.S.: Bring a wagenload of timber if you can.�


�What do you have there, Scotti?� asked a voice.

Scotti started. It was Imbrallius, his damnably handsome face peeking through the shutters, smiling in that way that melted the hearts of the stingiest of patrons and the roughest of stonemasons. Scotti shoved the letter in his jacket pocket.

�Personal correspondence,� he sniffed. �I'll be cleared up here in a just a moment.�

�I don't want to hurry you,� said Imbrallius, grabbing a few sheets of blank contracts from Scotti's desk. �I've just gone through a stack, and the junior scribes hands are all cramping up, so I thought you wouldn't miss a few.�

The lad vanished. Scotti retrieved the letter and read it again. He thought about his life, something he rarely did. It seemed a sea of gray with a black insurmountable wall looming. There was only one narrow passage he could see in that wall. Quickly, before he had a moment to reconsider it, he grabbed a dozen of the blank contracts with the shimmering gold leaf ATRIUS BUILDING COMMISSION BY APPOINTMENT OF HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY and hid them in the satchel with his personal effects.

The next day he began his adventure with a giddy lack of hesitation. He arranged for a seat in a caravan bound for Valenwood, the single escorted conveyance to the southeast leaving the Imperial City that week. He had scarcely hours to pack, but he remembered to purchase a wagonload of timber.

�It will be extra gold to pay for a horse to pull that,� frowned the convoy head.

�So I anticipated,� smiled Scotti with his best Imbrallius grin.

Ten wagons in all set off that afternoon through the familiar Cyrodilic countryside. Past fields of wildflowers, gently rolling woodlands, friendly hamlets. The clop of the horses' hooves against the sound stone road reminded Scotti that the Atrius Building Commission constructed it. Five of the eighteen necessary contracts for its completion were drafted by his own hand.

�Very smart of you to bring that wood along,� said a gray-whiskered Breton man next to him on his wagon. �You must be in Commerce.�

�Of a sort,� said Scotti, in a way he hoped was mysterious, before introducing himself: �Decumus Scotti.�

�Gryf Mallon,� said the man. �I'm a poet, actually a translator of old Bosmer literature. I was researching some newly discovered tracts of the Mnoriad Pley Bar two years ago when the war broke out and I had to leave. You are no doubt familiar with the Mnoriad, if you're aware of the Green Pact.�

Scotti thought the man might be speaking perfect gibberish, but he nodded his head.

�Naturally, I don't pretend that the Mnoriad is as renowned as the Meh Ayleidion, or as ancient as the Dansir Gol, but I think it has a remarkable significance to understanding the nature of the merelithic Bosmer mind. The origin of the Wood Elf aversion to cutting their own wood or eating any plant material at all, yet paradoxically their willingness to import plantstuff from other cultures, I feel can be linked to a passage in the Mnoriad,� Mallon shuffled through some of his papers, searching for the appropriate text.

To Scotti's vast relief, the carriage soon stopped to camp for the night. They were high on a bluff over a gray stream, and before them was the great valley of Valenwood. Only the cry of seabirds declared the presence of the ocean to the bay to the west: here the timber was so tall and wide, twisting around itself like an impossible knot begun eons ago, to be impenetrable. A few more modest trees, only fifty feet to the lowest branches, stood on the cliff at the edge of camp. The sight was so alien to Scotti and he found himself so anxious about the proposition of entering the wilderness that he could not imagine sleeping.

Fortunately, Mallon had supposed he had found another academic with a passion for the riddles of ancient cultures. Long into the night, he recited Bosmer verse in the original and in his own translation, sobbing and bellowing and whispering wherever appropriate. Gradually, Scotti began to feel drowsy, but a sudden crack of wood snapping made him sit straight up.

�What was that?�

Mallon smiled: �I like it too. 'Convocation in the malignity of the moonless speculum, a dance of fire --'�

�There are some enormous birds up in the trees moving around,� whispered Scotti, pointing in the direction of the dark shapes above.

�I wouldn't worry about that,� said Mallon, irritated with his audience. �Now listen to how the poet characterizes Herma-Mora's invocation in the eighteenth stanza of the fourth book.�

The dark shapes in the trees were some of them perched like birds, others slithered like snakes, and still others stood up straight like men. As Mallon recited his verse, Scotti watched the figures softly leap from branch to branch, half-gliding across impossible distances for anything without wings. They gathered in groups and then reorganized until they had spread to every tree around the camp. Suddenly they plummeted from the heights.

�Mara!� cried Scotti. �They're falling like rain!�

�Probably seed pods,� Mallon shrugged, not turning around. �Some of the trees have remarkable --�

The camp erupted into chaos. Fires burst out in the wagons, the horses wailed from mortal blows, casks of wine, fresh water, and liquor gushed their contents to the ground. A nimble shadow dashed past Scotti and Mallon, gathering sacks of grain and gold with impossible agility and grace. Scotti had only one glance at it, lit up by a sudden nearby burst of flame. It was a sleek creature with pointed ears, wide yellow eyes, mottled pied fur and a tail like a whip.

�Werewolf,� he whimpered, shrinking back.

�Cathay-raht,� groaned Mallon. �Much worse. Khajiti cousins or some such thing, come to plunder.�

�Are you sure?�

As quickly as they struck, the creatures retreated, diving off the bluff before the battlemage and knight, the caravan's escorts, had fully opened their eyes. Mallon and Scotti ran to the precipice and saw a hundred feet below the tiny figures dash out of the water, shake themselves, and disappear into the wood.

�Werewolves aren't acrobats like that,� said Mallon. �They were definitely Cathay-raht. Bastard thieves. Thank Stendarr they didn't realize the value of my notebooks. It wasn't a complete loss.�
283BookSkill_Acrobatics3

A Dance in Fire, Chapter 4
by Waughin Jarth



Eighteen Bosmeri and one Cyrodilic former senior clerk for an Imperial building commission trudged through the jungle westward from the Xylo River to the ancient village of Vindisi. For Decumus Scotti, the jungle was hostile, unfamiliar ground. The enormous vermiculated trees filled the bright morning with darkness, and resembled nothing so much as grasping claws, bent on impeding their progress. Even the fronds of the low plants quivered with malevolent energy. What was worse, he was not alone in his anxiety. His fellow travelers, the natives who had survived the Khajiit attacks on the villages of Grenos and Athay, wore faces of undisguised fear.

There was something sentient in the jungle, and not merely the mad but benevolent indigenous spirits. In his peripheral vision, Scotti could see the shadows of the Khajiiti following the refugees, leaping from tree to tree. When he turned to face them, the lithe forms vanished into the gloom as if they had never been there. But he knew he had seen them. And the Bosmeri saw them too, and quickened their pace.

After eighteen hours, bitten raw by insects, scratched by a thousand thorns, they emerged into a valley clearing. It was night, but a row of blazing torches greeted them, illuminating the leather-wrought tents and jumbled stones of the hamlet of Vindisi. At the end of the valley, the torches marked a sacred site, a gnarled bower of trees pressed closed together to form a temple. Wordlessly, the Bosmeri walked the torch arcade toward the trees. Scotti followed them. When they reached the solid mass of living wood with only one gaping portal, Scotti could see a dim blue light glowing within. A low sonorous moan from a hundred voices echoed within. The Bosmeri maiden he had been following held out her hand, stopping him.

�You do not understand, but no outsider, not even a friend may enter,� she said. �This is a holy place.�

Scotti nodded, and watched the refugees march into the temple, heads bowed. Their voices joined with the ones within. When the last wood elf had gone inside, Scotti turned his attention back to the village. There must be food to be had somewhere. A tendril of smoke and a faint whiff of roasting venison beyond the torchlight led him.

They were five Cyrodiils, two Bretons, and a Nord, the group gathered around a campfire of glowing white stones, pulling steaming strips of meat from the cadaver of a great stag. At Scotti's approach, they rose up, all but the Nord who was distracted by his hunk of animal flesh.

�Good evening, sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering if I might have a little something to eat. I'm afraid I'm rather hungry, after walking all day with some refugees from Grenos and Athay.�

They bade him to sit down and eat, and introduced themselves.

�So the war's back on, it seems,� said Scotti amiably.

�Best thing for these effete do-nothings,� replied the Nord in between bites. �I've never seen such a lazy culture. Now they've got the Khajiiti striking them on land, and the high elves at sea. If there's any province that deserves a little distress, it's damnable Valenwood.�

�I don't see how they're so offensive to you,� laughed one of the Bretons.

�They're congenital thieves, even worse than the Khajiiti because they are so blessed meek in their aggression,� the Nord spat out a gob of fat which sizzled on the hot stones of the fire. �They spread their forests into territory that doesn't belong to them, slowly infiltrating their neighbors, and they're puzzled when Elsweyr shoves back at them. They're all villains of the worst order.�

�What are you doing here?� asked Scotti.

�I'm a diplomat from the court of Jehenna,� muttered the Nord, returning to his food.

�What about you, what are you doing here?� asked one of the Cyrodiils.

�I work for Lord Atrius's building commission in the Imperial City,� said Scotti. �One of my former colleagues suggested that I come down to Valenwood. He said the war was over, and I could contract a great deal of business for my firm rebuilding what was lost. One disaster after another, and I've lost all my money, I'm in the middle of a rekindling of war, and I cannot find my former colleague.�

�Your former colleague,� murmured another of the Cyrodiils, who had introduced himself as Reglius. �He wasn't by any chance named Liodes Jurus, was he?�

�You know him?�

�He lured me down to Valenwood in nearly the exact same circumstances,� smiled Reglius, grimly. �I worked for your employer's competitor, Lord Vanech's men, where Liodes Jurus also formerly worked. He wrote to me, asking that I represent an Imperial building commission and contract some post-war construction. I had just been released from my employment, and I thought that if I brought some new business, I could have my job back. Jurus and I met in Athay, and he said he was going to arrange a very lucrative meeting with the Silvenar.�

Scotti was stunned: �Where is he now?�

�I'm no theologian, so I couldn't say,� Reglius shrugged. �He's dead. When the Khajiiti attacked Athay, they began by torching the harbor where Jurus was readying his boat. Or, I should say, my boat since it was purchased with the gold I brought. By the time we were even aware of what was happening enough to flee, everything by the water was ash. The Khajiiti may be animals, but they know how to arrange an attack.�

�I think they followed us through the jungle to Vindisi,� said Scotti nervously. �There was definitely a group of something jumping along the treetops.�

�Probably one of the monkey folk,� snorted the Nord. �Nothing to be concerned about.�

�When we first came to Vindisi and the Bosmeri all entered that tree, they were furious, whispering something about unleashing an ancient terror on their enemies,� the Breton shivered, remembering. �They've been there ever since, for over a day and a half now. If you want something to be afraid of, that's the direction to look.�

The other Breton, who was a representative of the Daggerfall Mages Guild, was staring off into the darkness while his fellow provincial spoke. �Maybe. But there's something in the jungle too, right on the edge of the village, looking in.�

�More refugees maybe?� asked Scotti, trying to keep the alarm out his voice.

�Not unless they're traveling through the trees now,� whispered the wizard. The Nord and one of the Cyrodiils grabbed a long tarp of wet leather and pulled it across the fire, instantly extinguishing it without so much as a sizzle. Now Scotti could see the intruders, their elliptical yellow eyes and long cruel blades catching the torchlight. He froze with fear, praying that he too was not so visible to them.

He felt something bump against his back, and gasped.

Reglius's voice hissed from up above: �Be quiet for Mara's sake and climb up here.�

Scotti grabbed hold of the knotted double-vine that hung down from a tall tree at the edge of the dead campfire. He scrambled up it as quickly as he could, holding his breath lest any grunt of exertion escape him. At the top of the vine, high above the village, was an abandoned nest from some great bird in a trident-shaped branch. As soon as Scotti had pulled himself into the soft, fragrant straw, Reglius pulled up the vine. No one else was there, and when Scotti looked down, he could see no one below. No one, that is except the Khajiiti, slowly moving toward the glow of the temple tree.

�Thank you,� whispered Scotti, deeply touched that a competitor had helped him. He turned away from the village, and saw that the tree's upper branches brushed against the mossy rock walls that surrounded the valley below. �How are you at climbing?�

�You're mad,� said Reglius under his breath. �We should stay here until they leave.�

�If they burn Vindisi like they did Athay and Grenos, we'll be dead sure as if we were on the ground,� Scotti began the slow careful climb up the tree, testing each branch. �Can you see what they're doing?�

�I can't really tell,� Reglius stared down into the gloom. �They're at the front of the temple. I think they also have ... it looks like long ropes, trailing off behind them, off into the pass.�

Scotti crawled onto the strongest branch that pointed toward the wet, rocky face of the cliff. It was not a far jump at all. So close, in fact, that he could smell the moisture and feel the coolness of the stone. But it was a jump nevertheless, and in his history as a clerk, he had never before leapt from a tree a hundred feet off the ground to a sheer rock. He pictured in his mind's eye the shadows that had pursued him through the jungle from the heights above. How their legs coiled to spring, how their arms snapped forward in an elegant fluid motion to grasp. He leapt.

His hands grappled for rock, but long thick cords of moss were more accessible. He held hard, but when he tried to plant his feet forward, they slipped up skyward. For a few seconds, he found himself upside down before he managed to pull himself into a more conventional position. There was a narrow outcropping jutting out of the cliff where he could stand and finally exhale.

�Reglius. Reglius. Reglius,� Scotti did not dare to call out. In a minute, there was a shaking of branches, and Lord Vanech's man emerged. First his satchel, then his head, then the rest of him. Scotti started to whisper something, but Reglius shook his head violently and pointed downward. One of the Khajiiti was at the base of the tree, peering at the remains of the campfire.

Reglius awkwardly tried to balance himself on the branch, but as strong as it was it was exceedingly difficult with only one free hand. Scotti cupped his palms and then pointed at the satchel. It seemed to pain Reglius to let it out of his grasp, but he relented and tossed it to Scotti.

There was a small, almost invisible hole in the bag, and when Scotti caught it, a single gold coin dropped out. It rang as it bounced against the rock wall on the descent, a high soft sound that seemed like the loudest alarm Scotti had ever heard.

Then many things happened very quickly.

The Cathay-Raht at the base of the tree looked up and gave a loud wail. The other Khajiiti followed in chorus, as the cat below crouched down and then sprung up into the lower branches. Reglius saw it below him, climbing up with impossible dexterity, and panicked. Even before he jumped, Scotti could tell that he was going to fall. With a cry, Reglius the Clerk plunged to the ground, breaking his neck on impact.

A flash of white fire erupted from every crevice of the temple, and the moan of the Bosmeri prayer changed into something terrible and otherworldly. The climbing Cathay-Raht stopped and stared.

�Keirgo,� it gasped. �The Wild Hunt.�

It was as if a crack in reality had opened wide. A flood of horrific beasts, tentacled toads, insects of armor and spine, gelatinous serpents, vaporous beings with the face of gods, all poured forth from the great hollow tree, blind with fury. They tore the Khajiiti in front of the temple to pieces. All the other cats fled for the jungle, but as they did so, they began pulling on the ropes they carried. In a few seconds time, the entire village of Vindisi was boiling with the lunatic apparitions of the Wild Hunt.

Over the babbling, barking, howling horde, Scotti heard the Cyrodiils in hiding cry out as they were devoured. The Nord too was found and eaten, and both Bretons. The wizard had turned himself invisible, but the swarm did not rely on their sight. The tree the Cathay-Raht was in began to sway and rock from the impossible violence beneath it. Scotti looked at the Khajiiti's fear-struck eyes, and held out one of the cords of moss.

The cat's face showed its pitiful gratitude as it leapt for the vine. It didn't have time to entirely replace that expression when Scotti pulled back the cord, and watched it fall. The Hunt consumed it to the bone before it struck the ground.

Scotti's own jump up to the next outcropping of rock was immeasurably more successful. From there, he pulled himself to the top of the cliff and was able to look down into the chaos that had been the village of Vindisi. The Hunt's mass had grown and began to spill out through the pass out of the valley, pursuing the fleeing Khajiiti. It was then that the madness truly began.

In the moons' light, from Scotti's vantage, he could see where the Khajiiti had attached their ropes. With a thunderous boom, an avalanche of boulders poured over the pass. When the dust cleared, he saw that the valley had been sealed. The Wild Hunt had nowhere to turn but on itself.

Scotti turned his head, unable to bear to look at the cannibalistic orgy. The night jungle stood before him, a web of wood. He slung Reglius's satchel over his shoulder, and entered.

284BookSkill_Acrobatics4

The Black Arrow
Part I
By Gorgic Guine



I was young when the Duchess of Woda hired me as an assistant footman at her summer palace. My experience with the ways of the titled aristocracy was very limited before that day. There were wealthy merchants, traders, diplomats, and officials who had large operations in Eldenroot, and ostentatious palaces for entertaining, but my relatives were all far from those social circles.

There was no family business for me to enter when I reached adulthood, but my cousin heard that an estate far from the city required servants. It was so remotely located that there were unlikely to be many applicants for the positions. I walked for five days into the jungles of Valenwood before I met a group of riders going my direction. They were three Bosmer men, one Bosmer woman, two Breton women, and a Dunmer man, adventurers from the look of them.

�Are you also going to Moliva?� asked Prolyssa, one of the Breton women, after we had made our introductions.

�I don't know what that is,� I replied. �I'm seeking a domestic position with the Duchess of Woda.�

�We'll take you to her gate,� said the Dunmer Missun Akin, pulling me up to his horse. �But you would be wise not to tell Her Grace that students from Moliva escorted you. Not unless you don't really want the position in her service.�

Akin explained himself as we rode on. Moliva was the closest village to the Duchess's estate, where a great and renowned archer had retired after a long life of military service. His name was Hiomaste, and though he was retired, he had begun to accept students who wished to learn the art of the bow. In time, when word spread of the great teacher, more and more students arrived to learn from the Master. The Breton women had come down all the way from the Western Reach of High Rock. Akin himself had journeyed across the continent from his home near the great volcano in Morrowind. He showed me the ebony arrows he had brought from his homeland. I had never seen anything so black.

�From what we've heard,� said Kopale, one of the Bosmer men. �The Duchess is an Imperial whose family has been here even before the Empire was formed, so you might think that she was accustomed to the common people of Valenwood. Nothing could be further from the truth. She despises the village, and the school most of all.�

�I suppose she wants to control all the traffic in her jungle,� laughed Prolyssa.

I accepted the information with gratitude, and found myself dreading more and more my first meeting with the intolerant Duchess. My first sight of the palace through the trees did nothing to assuage my fears.

It was nothing like any building I had ever seen in Valenwood. A vast edifice of stone and iron, with a jagged row of battlements like the jaws of a great beast. Most of the trees near the palace had been hewn away long ago: I could only imagine the scandal that must have caused, and what fear the Bosmer peasants must have had of the Duchy of Woda to have allowed it. In their stead was a wide gray-green moat circling in a ring around the palace, so it seemed to be on a perfect if artificial island. I had seen such sights in tapestries from High Rock and the Imperial Province, but never in my homeland.

�There'll be a guard at the gate, so we'll leave you here,� said Akin, stopping his horse in the road. �It'd be best for you if you weren't damned by association with us.�

I thanked my companions, and wished them good luck with their schooling. They rode on and I followed on foot. In a few minutes' time, I was at the front gate, which I noticed was linked to tall and ornate railings to keep the compound secure. When the gate-keeper understood that I was there to inquire about a domestic position, he allowed me past and signaled to another guard across the open lawn to extend the drawbridge and allow me to cross the moat.

There was one last security measure: the front door. An iron monstrosity with the Woda Coat of Arms across the top, reinforced by more strips of iron, and a single golden keyhole. The man standing guard unlocked the door and gave me passage into the huge gloomy gray stone palace.

Her Grace greeted me in her drawing room. She was thin and wrinkled like a reptile, cloaked in a simple red gown. It was obviously that she never smiled. Our interview consisted of a single question.

�Do you know anything about being a junior footman in the employment of an Imperial noblewoman?� Her voice was like ancient leather.

�No, Your Grace.�

�Good. No servant ever understands what needs to be done, and I particularly dislike those who think they do. You're engaged.�

Life at the palace was joyless, but the position of junior footman was very undemanding. I had nothing to do on most days except to stay out of the Duchess's sight. At such times, I usually walked two miles down the road to Moliva. In some ways, there was nothing special or unusual about the village - there are thousands of identical places in Valenwood. But on the hillside nearby was Master Hiomaste's archery academy, and I would often take my luncheon and watch the practice.

Prolyssa and Akin would sometimes meet me afterwards. With Akin, the subjects of conversation very seldom strayed far from archery. Though I was very fond of him, I found Prolyssa a more enchanting companion, not only because she was pretty for a Breton, but also because she seemed to have interests outside the realm of marksmanship.

�There's a circus in High Rock I saw when I was a little girl called the Quill Circus,� she said during one of our walks through the woods. �They've been around for as long as anyone can remember. You have to see them if you ever can. They have plays, and sideshows, and the most amazing acrobats and archers you've ever seen. That's my dream, to join them some day when I'm good enough.�

�How will you know when you're a good enough archer?� I asked.

She didn't answer, and when I turned, I realized that she had disappeared. I looked around, bewildered, until I heard laughter from the tree above me. She was perched on a branch, grinning.

�I may not join as an archer, maybe I'll join as an acrobat,� she said. �Or maybe as both. I figured that Valenwood would be the place to go to see what I could learn. You've got all those great teachers to imitate in the trees here. Those ape men.�

She coiled up, bracing her left leg before springing forward on her right. In a second, she had leapt across to a neighboring branch. I found it difficult to keep talking to her.

�The Imga, you mean?� I stammered. �Aren't you nervous up at that height?�

�It's a cliche, I know,� she said, jumping to an even higher branch, �But the secret is not to ever look down.�

�Would you mind coming down?�

�I probably should anyhow,� she said. She was a good thirty feet up now, balancing herself, arms outstretched, on a very narrow branch. She gestured toward the gate just barely visible on the other side of the road. �This tree is actually as close as I want to get to your Duchess's palace.�

I held back a gasp as she dove off the branch, somersaulting until she landed on the ground, knees slightly bent. That was the trick, she explained. Anticipating the blow before it happened. I expressed to her my confidence that she would be a great attraction at the Quill Circus. Of course, I know now that never was to be.

On that day, as I recall, I had to return early. It was one of the rare occasions when I had work, of a sort, to do. Whenever the Duchess had guests, I was to be at the palace. That is not to say that I had any particular duties, except to be seen standing at attention in the dining room. The stewards and maids worked hard to bring in the food and clear the plates afterwards, but the footmen were purely decorative, a formality.

But at least I was an audience for the drama to come.

285BookSkill_Acrobatics5

The Mystery of Princess Talara
Part I
By Mera Llykith



The year was 3E 405. The occasion was the millennial celebration of the founding of the Breton Kingdom of Camlorn. Every grand boulevard and narrow alley was strung with gold and purple banners, some plain, some marked with the heraldic symbols of the Royal Family or the various principalities and dukedoms which were vassals of the King. Musicians played in the plazas great and small, and on every street corner was a new exotic entertainer: Redguard snake charmers, Khajiiti acrobats, magicians of genuine power and those whose flamboyant skill was equally impressive if largely illusion.

The sight that drew most of the male citizens of Camlorn was the March of Beauty. A thousand comely young women, brightly and provocatively dressed, danced their way down the long, wide main street of the city, from the Temple of Sethiete to the Royal Palace. The menfolk jostled one another and craned their necks, picking their favorites. It was no secret that they were all prostitutes, and after the March and the Flower Festival that evening, they would be available for more intimate business.

Gyna attracted much of the attention with her tall, curvaceous figure barely covered by strips of silk and her curls of flaxen hair specked with flower petals. In her late twenties, she wasn't the youngest of the prostitutes, but she was certainly one of the most desirable. It was clear by her demeanor that she was used to the lascivious glances, though she was far from jaded at the sight of the city in splendor. Compared to the squalid quarter of Daggerfall where she made her home, Camlorn at the height of celebration seemed so unreal. And yet, what was even stranger was how, at the same time, familiar it all looked, though she had never been there before.

The King's daughter Lady Jyllia rode out of the palace gates, and immediately cursed her misfortune. She had completely forgotten about the March of Beauty. The streets were snarled, at a standstill. It would take hours to wait for the March to pass, and she had promised her old nurse Ramke a visit in her house south of the city. Jyllia thought for a moment, picturing in her mind the arrangement of streets in the city, and devised a shortcut to avoid the main street and the March.

For a few minutes she felt very clever as she wound her way through tight, curving side streets, but presently she came upon temporary structures, tents and theaters set up for the celebration, and had to improvise a new path. In no time at all, she was lost in the city where she had lived all but five years of her life.

Peering down an alley, she saw the main avenue crowded with the March of Beauty. Hoping that it was the tale end, and desirous not to be lost again, Lady Jyllia guided her horse toward the festival. She did not see the snake-charmer at the mouth of the alley, and when his pet hissed and spread its hood, her charge reared up in fear.

The women in the parade gasped and surged back at the sight, but Lady Jyllia quickly calmed her stallion down. She looked abashed at the spectacle she had caused.
�My apologies, ladies,� she said with a mock military salute.

�It's all right, madam,� said a blonde in silk. �We'll be out of your way in a moment.�

Jyllia stared as the March passed her. Looking at that whore had been like looking in a mirror. The same age, and height, and hair, and eyes, and figure, almost exactly. The woman looked back at her, and it seemed as if she was thinking the same thing.

And so Gyna was. The old witches who sometimes came in to Daggerfall had sometimes spoke of doppelgangers, spirits that assumed the guise of their victims and portended certain death. Yet the experience had not frightened her: it seemed only one more strangely familiar aspect of the alien city. Before the March had danced it way into the palace gates, she had all but forgotten the encounter.

The prostitutes crushed into the courtyard, as the King himself came to the balcony to greet them. At his side was his chief bodyguard, a battlemage by the look of him. As for the King himself, he was a handsome man of middle age, rather unremarkable, but Gyna was awed at the sight of him. A dream, perhaps. Yes, that was it: she could see him as she had dreamt of him, high above her as he was now, bending now to kiss her. Not a one of lust as she had experienced before, but one of small fondness, a dutiful kiss.

�Dear ladies, you have filled the streets of the great capitol of Camlorn with your beauty,� cried the King, forcing a silence on the giggling, murmuring assembly. He smiled proudly. His eyes met Gyna's and he stopped, shaken. For an eternity, they stayed locked together before His Highness recovered and continued his speech.

Afterwards, while the women were all en route back to their tents to change into their costumes for the evening, one of the older prostitutes approached Gyna: �Did you see how the King looked at you? If you're smart, you'll be the new royal mistress before this celebration ends.�

�I've seen looks of hunger before, and that wasn't one of them,� laughed Gyna. �I'd wager he thought I was someone else, like that lady who tried to run us over with her horse. She's probably his kin, and he thought she had dressed up like a courtesan and joined the March of Beauty. Can you imagine the scandal?�

When they arrived at the tents, they were greeted by a stocky, well-dressed young man with a bald pate and a commanding presence of authority. He introduced himself as Lord Strale, ambassador to the Emperor himself, and their chief patron. It was Strale who had hired them, on the Emperor's behalf, as a gift to the King and the kingdom of Camlorn.

�The March of Beauty is but a precursor to the Flower Festival tonight,� he said. Unlike the King, he did not have to yell to be heard. His voice was loud and precise in its natural modulations. �I expect each of you to perform well, and justify the significant expense I've suffered bringing you all the way up here. Now hurry, you must be dressed and in position on Cavilstyr Rock before the sun goes down.�

The ambassador needn't have worried. The women were all professionals, experts at getting dressed and undressed with none of the time-consuming measures less promiscuous females required. His manservant Gnorbooth offered his assistance, but found he had little to do. Their costumes were simplicity itself: soft, narrow sheets with a hole for their heads. Not even a belt was required, so the gowns were open at the sides exposing the frame of their skin.

So it was long before the sun had set that the prostitutes turned dancers were at Cavilstyr Rock. It was a great, wide promontory facing the sea, and for the occasion of the Festival of Flowers, a large circle of unlit torches and covered baskets had been arranged. As early as they were, a crowd of spectators had already arrived. The women gathered in the center of the circle and waited until it was time.

Gyna watched the crowd as it grew, and was not surprised when she saw the lady from the March approaching, hand-in-hand with a very old, very short white-haired woman. The old woman was distracted, pointing out islands out at sea. The blonde lady seemed nervous, unsure of what to say. Gyna was used to dealing with uneasy clients, and spoke first.

�Good to see you again, madam. I am Gyna of Daggerfall.�

�I'm glad you bear me no ill will because of the whores, I mean horse,� the lady laughed, somewhat relieved. �I am Lady Jyllia Raze, daughter of the King.�

�I always thought that daughters of kings were called princess,� smiled Gyna.

�In Camlorn, only when they are heirs to the throne. I have a younger brother from my father's new wife whom he favors,� Jyllia replied. She felt her head swim. It was madness, speaking to a common prostitute, talking of family politics so intimately. �Relative to that subject, I must ask you something very peculiar. Have you ever heard of the Princess Talara?�

Gyna thought a moment: �The name sounds somewhat familiar. Why would I have?�

�I don't know. It was a name I just thought you might recognize,� sighed Lady Jyllia. �Have you been to Camlorn before?�

�If I did, it was when I was very young,� said Gyna, and suddenly she felt it was her turn to be trusting. Something about the Lady Jyllia's friendly and forthcoming manner touched her. �To be honest, I don't remember anything at all of my childhood before I was nine or ten. Perhaps I was here with my parents, whoever they were, when I was a little girl. I tell you, I think perhaps I was. I don't recall ever being here before, but everything I've seen, the city, you, the King himself, all seem ... like I've been here before, long ago.�
Lady Jyllia gasped and took a step back. She gripped the old woman, who had been looking out to sea and murmuring, by the hand. The elderly creature looked to Jyllia, surprised, and then turned to Gyna. Her ancient, half-blind eyes sparkled with recognition and she made a sound like a grunt of surprise. Gyna also jumped. If the King had seemed like something out of a half-forgotten dream, this woman was someone she knew. As clear and yet indistinct as a guardian spirit.

�I apologize,� stammered Lady Jyllia. �This is my childhood nursemaid, Ramke.�

�It's her!� the old woman cried, wild-eyed. She tried to run forward, arms outstretched, but Jyllia held her back. Gyna felt strangely naked, and pulled her robe against her body.

�No, you're wrong,� Lady Jyllia whispered to Ramke, holding the old woman tightly. �The Princess Talara is dead, you know that. I shouldn't have brought you here. I'll take you back home.� She turned back to Gyna, her eyes welling with tears. �The entire royal family of Camlorn was assassinated over twenty years ago. My father was Duke of Oloine, the King's brother, and so he inherited the crown. I'm sorry to have bothered you. Goodnight.�

Gyna gazed after Lady Jyllia and the old nurse as they disappeared into the crowd, but she had little time to consider all she had heard. The sun was setting, and it was time for the Flower Festival. Twelve young men emerged from the darkness wearing only loincloths and masks, and lit the torches. The moment the fire blazed, Gyna and all the rest of the dancers rushed to the baskets, pulling out blossoms and vines by the handful.

At first, the women danced with one another, sprinkling petals to the wind. The crowd then joined in as the music swelled. It was a mad, beautiful chaos. Gyna leapt and swooned like a wild forest nymph. Then, without warning, she felt rough hands grip her from behind and push her.

She was falling before she understood it. The moment the realization hit, she was closer to the bottom of the hundred foot tall cliff than she was to the top. She flailed out her arms and grasped at the cliff wall. Her fingers raked against the stone and her flesh tore, but she found a grip and held it. For a moment, she stayed there, breathing hard. Then she began to scream.

The music and the festival were too loud up above: no one could hear her - she could scarcely hear herself. Below her, the surf crashed. Every bone in her body would snap if she fell. She closed her eyes, and a vision came. A man was standing below her, a King of great wisdom, great compassion, looking up, smiling. A little girl, golden-haired, mischievous, her best friend and cousin, clung to the rock beside her.

�The secret to falling is making your body go limp. And with luck, you won't get hurt,� the girl said. She nodded, remembering who she was. Eight years of darkness lifted.

She released her grip and let herself fall like a leaf into the water below.
286BookSkill_Alchemy1

A Game At Dinner
by An Anonymous Spy



Forward From The Publisher:
The history behind this letter is almost as interesting and dark as the story it tells. The original letter to the mysterious Dhaunayne was copied and began circulating around the Ashlands of Vvardenfell a few months ago. In time, a print found its way to the mainland and Prince Hlaalu Helseth's palace outside Almalexia. While the reader may conclude after reading this letter that the Prince would be furious about such a work, impugning his highness with great malevolence, quite the reverse was true. The Prince and his mother, Queen Barenziah, had it privately printed into bound copies and sent to libraries and booksellers throughout Morrowind.

As matter of record, the Prince and the Queen have not officially stated whether the letter is a work of pure imagination or based on an actual occurrence. The House Dres has publicly denounced the work, and indeed, no one named Dhaunayne, despite the suggestions in the letter, has ever been linked to the house. We leave the reader to interpret the letter as he or she believes.

-- Nerris Gan, Publisher

***

Dark Liege Dhaunayne,

You asked for a detailed description of my experience last night and the reasons for my plea to House Dres for another assignment. I hope I have served you well in my capacity as informant in the court of Prince Helseth, a man who I have stated in many previous reports could teach Molag Bal how to scheme. As you know, I've spent nearly a year now working my way into his inner circle of advisors. He was in need of friendship when he first arrived in Morrowind and eagerly took to me and a few others. Still, he was disinclined to trust any of us, which is perhaps not surprising, given his tenuous position in Morrowind society.

For your unholiness's recollection, the Prince is the eldest son of Barenziah, who was once the Queen of Morrowind and once the Queen of the High Rock kingdom of Wayrest. At the death of her husband, Prince Helseth's stepfather, King Eadwyre, there was a power struggle between the Prince and Eadwyre's daughter, the Princess Elysana. Though details of what transpired are imperfect, it is clear that Elysana won the battle and became Queen, banishing Helseth and Barenziah. Barenziah's only other child, Morgiah, had already left court to marry and become Queen of the Summurset Isle kingdom of Firsthold.

Barenziah and Helseth crossed the continent to return to Morrowind only last year. They were well received by Barenziah's uncle, our current king, Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, who had taken the throne after Barenziah's abdication more than forty years ago. Barenziah made it clear that she had no designs on reclaiming the throne, but merely to retire to her family estates. Helseth, as you know, has lingered in the royal court, and many have whispered that while he lost the throne of Wayrest, he does not intend to lose the throne of Morrowind at Llethan's death.

I've kept your unholiness informed of the Prince's movements, meetings, and plots, as well as the names and characters of his other advisors. As you may recall, I've often thought that I was not the only spy in Helseth's court. I told you before that a particular Dunmer counselor of Helseth looked like a fellow I had seen in the company of Tholer Saryoni, the Archcanon of the Tribunal Temple. Another, a young Nord woman, has been verified to visit the Imperial fortress in Balmora. Of course, in their cases, they might well have been on Helseth's own business, but I couldn't be certain. I had begun to think myself paranoid as the Prince himself when I found myself doubting the sincere loyalty of the Prince's chamberlain, Burgess, a Breton who had been in his employ since his days in the court of Wayrest.

That is the background on that night, last night.

Yesterday morning, I received a curt invitation to dine with the Prince. Based only on my own paranoia, I dispatched one of my servants, who is a good and loyal servant of the House Dres, to watch the palace and report back anything unusual. Just before dinner, he returned and told me what he had witnessed.

A man cloaked in rags had been given entrance into the palace, and had stayed there for some time. When he left, my servant saw his face beneath the cloak -- an alchemist of infamous repute, said to be a leading suppliers of exotic poisons. A fine observer, my servant also noticed that the alchemist entered the palace smelling of wickwheat, bittergreen, and something alien and sweet. When he left, he was odorless.

He had come to the same conclusion as I did. The Prince had procured ingredients to prepare a poison. Bittergreen alone is deadly when eaten raw, but the other ingredients suggested something far deeper. As your unholiness can doubtless imagine, I went to dinner that night, prepared for any eventuality.

All of Prince Helseth's other counselors were in attendance, and I noticed that all were slightly apprehensive. Of course, I imagined that I was in a nest of spies, and all knew of the Prince's mysterious meeting. It is just as likely that some knew of the alchemist's visit, while others were simply concerned by the nature of the Prince's invitation, and still others merely unconsciously adopted the tense disposition of their fellow, better informed counselors.

The Prince, however, was in fine mettle and soon had everyone relaxed and at ease. At nine, we were all ushered into his dining hall where the feast had been laid out. And what a feast! Honeyed gorapples, fragrant stews, roasts in various blood sauces, and every variety of fish and fowl expertly and ostentatiously prepared. Crystal and gold flagons of wine, flin, shein, and mazte were at our seats to be savored as appropriate with each course. As tantalizing as the aromas were, it occurred to me that in such a maze of spices and flavors, a discreet poison would be undetectable.

Throughout the meal, I maintained the illusion of eating the food and drinking the liquor, but I was surreptitious and swallowed nothing. Finally, the plates and food were cleared from the table, and a tureen of a spicy broth was placed in the center of the banquet. The servant who brought it then retired, closing the banquet hall door behind him.

�It smells divine, my Prince,� said the Marchioness Kolgar, the Nord woman. �But I cannot eat another thing.�

�Your Highness,� I added, feigning a tone of friendliness and slight intoxication. �You know that every one at this table would gladly die to put you on the throne of Morrowind, but is it really necessary that we gorge ourselves to death?�

The others at the table agreed with appreciative groans. Prince Helseth smiled. I swear by Vaernima the Gifter, my dark liege, even you have never seen a smile such as this one.

�Ironic words. You see, an alchemist visited me today, as some of you already doubtless know. He showed me how to make a marvelous poison and its antidote. A most potent potion, excellent for my purposes. No Restoration spell will aid you once you've ingested it. Only the antidote in the tureen will save you from certain death. And what a death, from what I've heard. I am eager to see if the effects are all that the alchemist promised. It should be horribly painful for the afflicted, but quite entertaining.�

No one said a word. I could feel my heart beating hard in my chest.

�Your Highness,� said Allarat, the Dunmer I suspected of alliance with the Temple. �Have you poisoned someone at this table?�

�You are very astute, Allarat,� said Prince Helseth, looking about the table, eying each of his advisors carefully. �Little wonder I value your counsel. As indeed I value all in this room. It would be perhaps easiest for me to say who I haven't poisoned. I haven't poisoned any who serve but one master, any whose loyalty to me is sincere. I haven't poisoned any person who wants to see King Helseth on the throne of Morrowind. I haven't poisoned anyone who isn't a spy for the Empire, the Temple, the House of Telvanni, the House of Redoran, the House of Indoril, the House of Dres.�

Your unholiness, he looked directly at me at his last words. I know that in certainty. My face is practiced at keeping my thoughts from showing, but I immediately thought of every secret meeting I've had, every coded message I sent to you and the House, my dark liege. What could he know? What could he, even without knowing, suspect?

I felt my heart beating even faster. Was it fear, or poison? I couldn't speak, certain as I was that my voice would betray my calm facade.

�Those loyal to me who wish harm on my enemies may be wondering how can I be certain that the poison has been ingested. Is it possible that the guilty party, or dare I say, parties were suspicious and merely pretended to eat and drink tonight? Of course. But even the craftiest of pretenders would have to raise a glass to his or her lips and put empty forks or spoons in their mouths to play the charade. The food, you see, was not poisoned. The cups and cutlery were. If you did not partake out of fear, you're poisoned just the same, and sadly, missed an excellent roast.�

Sweat beaded on my face and I turned from the Prince so he would not see. My fellow advisors, all of them, were frozen in their seats. From the Marchioness Kolgar, white with fear, to Kema Inebbe, visibly shaking; from the furrowed, angry brow of Allarat to the statue-like stare of Burgess.

I couldn't help thinking then, could the Prince's entire counsellorship be comprised of nothing but spies? Was there any person at the table loyal? And then I thought, what if I were not a spy myself, would I trust Helseth to know that? No one knows better than his advisors both the depth of the Prince's paranoia and the utter implacability of his ambition. If I were not a spy for the House Dres, even then would I be safe? Could a loyalist be poisoned because of a not-so-innocent misjudgment?

The others must have been thinking the same, loyalists and spies alike.

While my mind whirled, I could hear the Prince's voice, addressing all assembled: �The poison acts quickly. If the antidote is not taken within one minute from now, there will be death at the table.�

I couldn't decide whether I had been poisoned or not. My stomach ached, but I reminded myself it might have been the result of sitting at a sumptuous banquet and not partaking. My heart shook in my chest and a bitter taste like Trama Root stung my lips. Again, was it fear or poison?

�These are the last words you will hear if you are disloyal to me,� said Prince Helseth, still smiling that damned smile as he watched his advisors squirming in their seats. �Take the antidote and live.�

Could I believe him? I thought of what I knew of the Prince and his character. Would he kill a self-confessed spy at his court, or would he rather send the vanquished back to his masters? The Prince was ruthless, but either possibility was within his manner. Surely the theatricality of this whole dinner was meant to be a presentation to instill fear. What would my ancestors say if I joined them after sitting at a table, eventually dying of poison? What would they say if I took the antidote, confessing my allegiance to you and the House Dres, and was summarily executed? And, I confess, I thought of what you might to do me even after I was dead.

I had grown so light-headed and filled with my own thoughts, that I didn't see Burgess jump from his seat. I was only suddenly aware that he had the tureen in his hands and was gulping down the liquid within. There were guards all around, though I never noticed them entering.

�Burgess,� said Prince Helseth, still smiling. �You have spent some time at Ghostgate. House Redoran?�

�You didn't know?� Burgess laughed sourly. �No House. I report to your stepsister, the Queen of Wayrest. I've always been in her employ. By Akatosh, you poisoned me because you thought I was working for some damnable Dark Elves?�

�You're half right,� said the Prince. �I didn't guess who you were working for, or even that you were a spy. But you're also wrong about me poisoning you. You poisoned yourself when you drank from the tureen.�

Your unholiness, you don't need to hear how Burgess died. I know that you have seen much over the many, many years of your existence, but you truly don't want to know. I wish I could erase the memory of his agonies from my own mind.

The council was dismissed shortly thereafter. I do not know if Prince Helseth knows or suspects that I too am a spy. I do not know how many others that night, last night, were as close as I was from drinking from the tureen before Burgess did. I only know that if the Prince does not suspect me now, he will. I cannot win at the games he mastered long ago at the court of Wayrest, and I beg your unholiness, my dark liege Dhaunayne to use your influence in the House Dres and dismiss your loyal servant from this charge.

****

Publisher's Note:
Of course, the anonymous writer's signature has not been on any reprint of the letter since the original.

287BookSkill_Alchemy2

The Cake and The Diamond
by Athyn Muendil



I was in the Rat and the Pot, a foreigner cornerclub in Ald'ruhn, talking to my fellow Rats when I first saw the woman. Now, Breton women are fairly common in the Rat and the Pot. As a breed, they seem inclined to wander far from their perches in High Rock. Old Breton women, however, are not so migratory, and the wizened old biddy drew attention to herself, wandering about the room, talking to everyone.

Nimloth and Oediad were at their usual places, drinking their usual stuff. Oediad was showing off a prize he had picked up in some illicit manner -- a colossal diamond, large as a baby's hand, and clear as spring water. I was admiring it when I heard the creaking of old bones behind me.

�Good day to you, friends,� said the old woman. �My name is Abelle Chriditte, and I am in need of financial assistance to facilitate my transportation to Ald Redaynia.�

�You'll want to see the Temple for charity,� said Nimloth curtly.

�I am not looking for charity,� said Abelle. �I'm looking to barter services.�

�Don't make me sick, old woman,� laughed Oediad.

�Did you say your name was Abelle Chriditte?� I asked, �Are you related to Abelle Chriditte, the High Rock alchemist?�

�Closely related,� she said, with a cackle. �We are the same person. Perhaps I could prepare you a potion in exchange for gold? I noticed that you have in your possession a very fine diamond. The magical qualities of diamonds are boundless.�

�Sorry, old woman, I ain't giving it up for magic. It was trouble enough stealing this one,� said Oediad. �I've got a fence who'll trade it for gold.�

�But your fence will demand a certain percentage, will he not? What if I could give you a potion of invisibility in exchange? In return for that diamond, you could have the means to steal many more. A very fair exchange of services, I would say.�

�It would be, but I have no gold to give you,� said Oediad.

�I'll take what remains of the diamond after I've made the potion,� said Abelle. �If you took it to the Mages Guild, you'd have to supply all the other ingredients and pay for it as well. But I learned my craft in the wild, where no Potion-makers existed to dissolve diamonds into dust. When you must do it all by hand, by simple skill, you are blessed with remnants those fool potion-makers at the Guild simply swallow up.�

�That sounds all very nice,� said Nimloth, �But how do we know your potion is going to work? If you make one potion, take the rest of Oediad's diamond, and leave, we won't know until you've gone whether the potion works or not.�

�Ah, trust is so rare these days,� sighed Abelle. �I suppose I could make two potions for you, and there'd still be a little bit of the diamond left for me. Not a lot, but perhaps enough to get me to Ald Redaynia. Then you could try the first potion right here and now, and see if you're satisfied or not.�

�But,� I interjected. �You could make one potion that works and one that doesn't, and take more of the diamond. She could even give you a slow-acting poison, and by the time she got to Ald Redaynia, you'd be dead.�

�Bleedin' Kynareth, you Dunmer are suspicious! I will hardly have any diamond left, but I could make two potions of two doses each, so you can satisfy yourself that the potion works and has no negative effects. If you still don't trust me, come along with me to my table and witness my craft if you'd like.�

So it was decided that I would accompany Abelle back to her table where she had all her traveling bags full of herbs and minerals, to make certain that she was not making two different potions. It took nearly an hour of preparation, but she kindly allowed me to finish her half-filled flagon of wine while I watched her work. Splintering the diamond and powdering the pieces required the bulk of the time; over and over again, she waved her gnarled hands over the gem, intoning ancient enchantments, breaking the facets of the stone into smaller and smaller pieces. Separately she made pastes of minced bittergreen, crushed red bulbs of dell'arco spae, and driblets of ciciliani oil. I finished the wine.

�Old woman,� I finally said with a sigh. �How much longer is this going to take? I'm getting tired of watching you work.�

�The Mages Guild has fooled the populace into thinking alchemy is a science,� she said. �But if you're tired, rest your eyes.�

My eyes closed, seemingly of their own volition. But there had been something in that wine. Something that made me do what she asked.

�I think I'll make up the potion as cakes. It's much more potent that way. Now, tell me, young man, what will your friends do once I give them the potion?�

�Mug you in the street afterwards to retrieve the rest of the diamond,� I said simply. I didn't want to tell the truth, but there it was.

�I thought so, but I wanted to be certain. You may open your eyes now.�

I opened my eyes. Abelle had made a small presentation on a wooden platter: two small cakes and a silver cutting knife.

�Pick up the cakes and bring them to the table,� said Abelle. �And don't say anything, except to agree with whatever I say.�

I did as I was told. It was a curious sensation. I didn't really mind being her puppet. Of course, in retrospect, I resent it, but it seemed perfectly natural at the time to obey without question.

Abelle handed the cakes to Oediad and I dutifully verified that both cakes were made the same way. She suggested that he cut one of the cakes in half, and she would take one piece and he'd take the other, just so he would know that they worked and weren't poisoned. Oediad thought it was a good idea, and used Abelle's knife to cut the cake. Abelle took the piece on the left and popped into her mouth. Oediad took the piece on the right and swallowed it more cautiously.

Abelle and all the bags she was carrying vanished from sight almost instantly. Nothing happened to Oediad.

�Why did it work for the witch and not for me?� cried Oediad.

�Because the diamond dust was only on the left-hand side of the blade,� said the old alchemist through me. I felt her control lessening as the distance grew and she hurried invisibly down the dark Ald'ruhn street away from the Rat and the Pot.

We never found Abelle Chriditte or the diamond. Whether she completed her pilgrimage to Ald Redaynia is anyone's guess. The cakes had no effect, except to give Oediad a bad case of droops that lasted for nearly a week.
288BookSkill_Alchemy3

The Song of the Alchemists
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part V
By Marobar Sul



When King Maraneon's alchemist had to leave his station
After a laboratory experiment that yielded detonation,
The word went out that the King did want
A new savant
To mix his potions and brews.
But he declared he would only choose
A fellow who knew the tricks and the tools.
The King refused to hire on more fools.

After much deliberation, discussions, and debates,
The King picked two well-learned candidates.
Ianthippus Minthurk and Umphatic Faer,
An ambitious pair,
Vied to prove which one was the best.
Said the King, �There will be a test.�
They went to a large chamber with herbs, gems, tomes,
Pots, measuring cups, all under high crystalline domes.

�Make me a tonic that will make me invisible,�
Laughed the King in a tone some would call risible.
So Umphatic Faer and Ianthippus Minthurk
Began to work,
Mincing herbs, mashing metal, refining strange oils,
Cautiously setting their cauldrons to burbling boils,
Each on his own, sending mixing bowls mixing,
Sometimes peeking to see what the other was fixing.

After they had worked for nearly three-quarters an hour,
Both Ianthippus Minthurk and Umphatic Faer
Winked at the other, certain he won.
Said King Maraneon,
�Now you must taste the potions you've wrought,
Take a spoon and sample it right from your pot.�
Minthurk vanished as his lips touched his brew,
But Faer tasted his and remained apparent in view.

�You think you mixed silver, blue diamonds, and yellow grass!�
The King laughed, �Look up, Faer, up to the ceiling glass.
The light falling makes the ingredients you choose
Quite different hues.�
�What do you get,� asked the floating voice, bold,
�Of a potion of red diamonds, blue grass, and gold?�
�By [Dwemer God],� said Faer, his face in a wince,
�I've made a potion to fortify my own intelligence.�

Publisher's Note:

This poetry is so clearly in the style of Gor Felim that it really does not need any commentary. Note the simple rhyming scheme of AA/BB/CC, the sing-song but purposefully clumsy meter, and the recurring jokes at the obviously absurd names, Umphatic Faer and Ianthippus Minthurk. The final joke that the stupid alchemist invents a potion to make himself smarter by pure accident would have appealed to the anti-intellectualism of audiences in the Interregnum period, but would certainly be rejected by the Dwemer.

Note that even "Marobar Sul" refuses to name any Dwemer gods. The Dwemer religion, if it can even be called that, is one of the most complex and difficult puzzles of their culture.

Over the millennia, the song became a popular tavern song in High Rock before eventually disappearing from everything but scholarly books. Much like the Dwemer themselves.

289BookSkill_Alchemy4

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Two



The netchiman's wife who carried the egg of Vivec within her went looking for the lands of the Indoril. Along the journey many spirits came to see her and offer instructions to her son-daughter, the future glorious invisible warrior-poet of Vvardenfell, Vivec.

The first spirit threw his arms about her and hugged his knowledge in tight. The netchiman's wife became soaked in the Incalculable Effort. The egg was delighted and did somersaults inside her, bowing to the five corners of the world and saying: 'Thus whoever performs this holy act shall be proud and mighty among the rest!'

The second spirit was too aloof and acted above his station so much that he was driven off by a headache spell.

The third spirit, At-Hatoor, came down to the netchiman's wife while she relaxed for a while under an Emperor Parasol. His garments were made from implications of meaning, and the egg looked at them three times. The first time Vivec said:

'Ha, it means nothing!'

After looking a second time he said: 'Hmm, there might be something there after all.'

Finally, giving At-Hatoor's garments a sidelong glance, he said: 'Amazing, the ability to infer significance in something devoid of detail!'

'There is a proverb,' At-Hatoor said, and then he left.

The fourth spirit came with the fifth, for they were cousins. They could ghost touch and probed inside the egg to find its core. Some say Vivec at this point was shaped like a star with its penumbra broken off; others, that it looked like a revival of vanished forms.

'From my side of the family,' the first cousin said, 'I bring you a series of calamities that will bring about the end of the universe.'

'And from my side,' the second cousin said, 'I bring you all the primordial marriages that must happen within them, each one.'

At this the egg laughed. 'I am given too much to bear so young. I must have been born before.'

And then the sixth spirit appeared, the Black Hands Mephala, who taught the Velothi at the beginning of days all the arts of sex and murder. Its burning heart melted the eyes of the netchiman's wife and took the egg from her belly with six cutting strokes. The egg-image, however, could see into what it had been before in ancient times, when the earth still cooled, and was not blinded. It joined with the Daedroth and took its former secrets, leaving a few behind to keep the web of the world from disentangling. Then the Black Hands Mephala put the egg back into the netchiman's wife and blew on her with magic breath until the hole closed up. But the Daedroth did not give her back her eyes, saying:

' God hath three keys; of birth, of machines, and of the words between.'
Within this Sermon the wise may find one half of these keys.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
290BookSkill_Alchemy5

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Eighteen



Now Vivec felt that he had taught the Hortator as much as he could before the war with the Dwemer came. The warrior-poet decided he had to begin his Book of Hours at that point, because the world was about to bend with its age.

Vivec entered the Mourning Hold and announced to Ayem that he was going to fight nine monsters that had escaped the Muatra.

'I will return,' he said, 'to deal the last blow to the grand architect of the Dwemer.'

Ayem said, 'Out of nine you will find only eight, though they be mighty. The last is already destroyed by your decision to create the Book of Hours.'

Vivec understood that Ayem meant himself.

'Why,' she asked, 'are you in doubt?'

Vivec knew that his doubt made him the sword of the Triune and so he did not feel shame or fear. Instead, he explained and these are the words:

'Can a member of the Invisible Gate become so archaic that its successor is not so much an improvement of the exact model, but rather a related model that is just needed more because of the currency of the world's condition? As the Mother, you do not have to worry, unless things in the future are so strange that even Seht cannot understand. Neither does the Executioner or the Fool, but I am neither.
'These ideals are not going to change in nature, even though they may change in representation. But, even in the west, the Rainmaker vanishes. No one needs him anymore.
'Can one oust the model not because the model is set according to an ideal but because it is tied to an ever-changing unconscious mortal agenda?'

This is what was said to Ayem when Vivec was whole. The wise shall not mistake this.

Ayem said, 'This is why you were born of a netchiman's wife and destined to merge with the simulacrum of your mother, gilled and blended in all the arts of the star-wounded East, under water and in fire and in metal and in ash, six times the wise, to became the union of male and female, the magic hermaphrodite, the martial axiom, the sex-death of language and unique in all the middle world.'
Vivec knew then why he would record his Book of Hours.

This sermon is forbidden.

In this world and others EIGHTEEN less one (the victor) is the magical disk, hurled to reach heaven by violence.

This sermon is untrue.

The ending of the world is ALMSIVI.
291BookSkill_Alteration1

Breathing Water
by Haliel Myrm



He walked through the dry, crowded streets of Bal Fell, glad to be among so many strangers. In the wharfs of Vivec, he had no such anonymity. They knew him to be a smuggler, but here, he could be anyone. A lower-class peddler perhaps. A student even. Some people even pushed against him as he walked past as if to say, �We would not dream of being so rude as to acknowledge that you don't belong here.�

Seryne Relas was not in any of the taverns, but he knew she was somewhere, perhaps behind a tenement window or poking around in a dunghill for an exotic ingredient for some spell or another. He knew little of the ways of sorceresses, but that they always seemed to be doing something eccentric. Because of this prejudice, he nearly passed by the old Dunmer woman having a drink from a well. It was too prosaic, but he knew from the look of her that she was Seryne Relas, the great sorceress.

�I have gold for you,� he said to her back. �If you will teach me the secret of breathing water.�

She turned around, a wide wet grin stretched across her weathered features. �I ain't breathing it, boy. I'm just having a drink.�

�Don't mock me,� he said, stiffly. �Either you're Seryne Relas and you will teach me the spell of breathing water, or you aren't. Those are the only possibilities.�

�If you're going to learn to breath water, you're going to have to learn there are more possibilities than that, boy. The School of Alteration is all about possibilities, changing patterns, making things be what they could be. Maybe I ain't Seryne Relas, but I can teach how to breathe water,� she wiped her mouth dry. �Or maybe I am Seryne Relas and I won't. Or maybe even I can teach you to breath water, but you can't learn.�

�I'll learn,� he said, simply.

�Why don't you just buy yourself a spell of water breathing or a potion over at the Mages Guild?� she asked. �That's how it's generally done.�

�They're not powerful enough,� he said. �I need to be underwater for a long time. I'm willing to pay whatever you ask, but I don't want any questions. I was told you could teach me.�

�What's your name, boy?�

�That's a question,� he replied. His name was Tharien Winloth, but in Vivec, they called him the Tollman. His job, such as it was, was collecting a percentage of the loot from the smugglers when they came into harbor to bring to his boss in the Camonna Tong. Of the value of that percentage, he earned another percentage. In the end it was very small indeed. He had scarcely any gold of his own, and what he had, he gave to Seryne Relas.

The lessons began that very day. The sorceress brought her pupil, who she simply called �boy,� out to a low sandbank along the sea.

�I will teach you a powerful spell for breathing water,� she said. �But you must become a master of it. As with all spells and all skills, you more you practice, the better you get. Even that ain't enough. To achieve true mastery, you must understand what it is you're doing. It ain't simply enough to perform a perfect thrust of a blade -- you must also know what you are doing and why.�

�That's common sense,� said Tharien

�Yes, it is,� said Seryne, closing her eyes. �But the spells of Alteration are all about uncommon sense. The infinite possibilities, breaking the sky, swallowing space, dancing with time, setting ice on fire, believing that the unreal may become real. You must learn the rules of the cosmos and then break them.�

�That sounds ... very difficult,� replied Tharien, trying to keep a straight face.

Seryne pointed to the small silver fish darting along the water's edge: �They don't find it so. They breath water just fine.�

�But that's not magic.�

�What I'm saying to you, boy, is that it is.�

For several weeks, Seryne drilled her student, and the more he understood about what he was doing and the more he practiced, the longer he could breath underwater. When he found that he could cast the spell for as long as he needed, he thanked the sorceress and bade her farewell.

�There is one last lesson I have to teach you,� she said. �You must learn that desire is not enough. The world will end your spell no matter how good you are, and no matter how much you want it.�

�That's a lesson I'm happy not to learn,� he said, and left at once for the short journey back to Vivec.

The wharfs were much the same, with all the same smells, the same sounds, and the same characters. His boss had found a new Tollman, he learned from his mates. They were still looking out for the smuggler ship Morodrung, but they had given up hope of ever seeing it. Tharien knew they would not. He had seen it sink from the wharf a long time ago.

On a moonless night, he cast his spell and dove into the thrashing purple waves. He kept his mind on the world of possibilities, that books could sing, that green was blue, that that water was air, that every stroke and kick brought him closer to a sunken ship filled with treasure. He felt magicka surge all around him as he pushed his way deeper down. Ahead he saw a ghostly shadow of the Morodrung, its mast billowing in a wind of deep water currents. He also felt his spell begin to fade. He could break reality long enough to breath water all the way back up to the surface, but not enough to reach the ship.

The next night, he dove again, and this time, the spell was stronger. He could see the vessel in detail, clouded over and dusted in sediment. The wound in its hull where it had struck the reef. A glint of gold beckoning from within. But still he felt reality closing in, and he had to surface.

The third night, he made it into the steerage, past the bloated corpses of the sailors, nibbled and picked apart by fish. Their glassy eyes bulging, their mouths stretched open. Had they only known the spell, he thought briefly, but his mind was more occupied by the gold scattered along the floor, the boxes that contained them shattered. He considered scooping as much he could carry into his pockets, but a sturdy iron box seemed to bespeak more treasures.

On the wall was a row of keys. He took each down and tried it on the locked box, but none opened it. One key, however, was missing. Thalien looked around the room. Where could it be? His eyes went to the corpse of one of the sailors, floating in a dance of death not far from the box, his hands tightly clutching something. It was a key. When the ship had begun to sink, this sailor had evidently gone for the iron box. Whatever was in it had to be very valuable.

Thalien took the sailor's key and opened the box. It was filled with broken glass. He rummaged around until he felt something solid, and pulled out two flasks of some kind of wine. He smiled as he considered the foolishness of the poor alcoholic. This was what was important to the sailor, out of all the treasure in the Morodrung.

Then, suddenly, Thalien Winloth felt reality.

He had not been paying attention to the grim, tireless advance of the world on his spell. It was fading away, his ability to breath water. There was no time to surface. There was no time to do anything. As he sucked in, his lungs filled with cold, briny water.

A few days later, the smugglers working on the wharf came upon the drowned body of the former Tollman. Finding a body in the water in Vivec was not in itself noteworthy, but the subject that they discussed over many bottles of flin was how did it happen that he drowned with two potions of water breathing in his hands.

292BookSkill_Alteration2

The Dragon Break Reexamined
by Fal Droon



The late 3rd era was a period of remarkable religious ferment and creativity. The upheavals of the reign of Uriel VII were only the outward signs of the historical forces that would eventually lead to the fall of the Septim Dynasty. The so called "Dragon Break" was first proposed at this time, by a wide variety of cults and fringe sects across the Empire, connected only by a common obsession with the events surrounding Tiber Septim's rise to power -- the "founding myth", if you will, of the Septim Dynasty.

The basis of the Dragon Break doctrine is now known to be a rather prosaic error in the timeline printed in the otherwise authoritative "Encyclopedia Tamrielica", first published in 3E 12, during the early years of Tiber Septim's reign. At that time, the archives of Alinor were still inaccessible to human scholars, and the extant records from the Alessian period were extremely fragmentary. The Alessians had systematically burned all the libraries they could find, and their own records were largely destroyed during the War of Righteousness.

The author of the Encyclopedia Tamrielica was apparently unfamiliar with the Alessian "year", which their priesthood used to record all dates. We now know this refers to the length of the long vision-trances undertaken by the High Priestess, which might last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Based on analysis of the surviving trance scrolls, as well as murals and friezes from Alessian temples, I estimate that the Alessian Order actually lasted only about 150 years, rather than the famous "one thousand and eight years" given by the Encyclopedia Tamrielica. The "mystery" of the millennial-plus rule of the Alessians was accepted but unexplained until the spread of the Lorkhan cults in the late 3rd era, when the doctrine of the Dragon Break took hold. Because this dating (and explanation) was so widely held at the time, and then repeated by historians down through today, it has come to have the force of tradition. Recall, however, that the 3rd era historians were already separated from the Alessians by a gulf of more than 2,000 years. And history was still in its infancy, relying on the few archives from those early days.

Today, modern archaeology and paleonumerology have confirmed what my own research in Alessian dating first suggested: that the Dragon Break was invented in the late 3rd era, based on a scholarly error, fueled by obsession with eschatology and Numidiumism, and perpetuated by scholarly inertia.

293BookSkill_Alteration3

Sithis



Sithis is the start of the house. Before him was nothing, but the foolish Altmer have names for and revere this nothing. That is because they are lazy slaves. Indeed, from the Sermons, 'stasis asks merely for itself, which is nothing.'

Sithis sundered the nothing and mutated the parts, fashioning from them a myriad of possibilities. These ideas ebbed and flowed and faded away and this is how it should have been.

One idea, however, became jealous and did not want to die; like the stasis, he wanted to last. This was the demon Anui-El, who made friends, and they called themselves the Aedra. They enslaved everything that Sithis had made and created realms of everlasting imperfection. Thus are the Aedra the false gods, that is, illusion.

So Sithis begat Lorkhan and sent him to destroy the universe. Lorkhan! Unstable mutant!

Lorkhan had found the Aedric weakness. While each rebel was, by their nature, immeasurable, they were, through jealously and vanity, also separate from each other. They were also unwilling to go back to the nothing of before. So while they ruled their false dominions, Lorkhan filled the void with a myriad of new ideas. These ideas were legion. Soon it seemed that Lorkhan had a dominion of his own, with slaves and everlasting imperfections, and he seemed, for all the world, like an Aedra. Thus did he present himself as such to the demon Anui-El and the Eight Givers: as a friend.

Go unto the Sharmat Dagoth Ur as a friend.

AE HERMA MORA ALTADOON PADHOME LKHAN AE AI.

294BookSkill_Alteration4

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Thirteen



These were the days of Resdaynia, when Chimer and Dwemer lived under the wise and benevolent rule of the AMLSIVI and their champion the Hortator. When the gods of Veloth would retreat unto their own, to mold the cosmos and other matters, the Hortator would at times become confused. Vivec would always be there to advise him, and this is the second of the three lessons of ruling kings:

'The secret syllable of royalty is this: (You must learn this elsewhere.)
'The temporal myth is man.
'The magical cross is an integration of the worth of mortals at the expense of their spirits. Surround it with the triangle and you begin to see the Triune house. It becomes divided into corners, which are ruled by our brethren, the Four Corners: BAL DAGON MALAC SHEOG. Rotate the triangle and you pierce the heart of the Beginning Place, the foul lie, the testament of the irrefutable-for-a-span. Above them all is the horizon where only one stands, though no one stands there yet. It is proof of the new. It is the promise of the wise. Unfold the whole and what you have is a star, which is not my domain, but not entirely outside my judgment. The grand design takes flight; it is transformed not only into a star but a hornet. The center cannot hold. It becomes devoid of lines and points. It becomes devoid of anything and so becomes a receptacle. This is its usefulness at the end. This is its promise.
'The sword is the cross and ALMSIVI is the Triune house around it. If there is to be an end I must be removed. The ruling king must know this, and I will test him. I will murder him time and again until he knows this. I am the defender of the last and the last. To remove me is to refill the heart that lay dormant at the center that cannot hold. I am the sword, Ayem the star, Seht the mechanism that allows the transformation of the world. Ours is the duty to keep the compromise from being filled with black sea.
'The Sharmat sleeps at the center. He cannot bear to see it removed, the world of reference. This is the folly of the false dreamer. This is the amnesia of dream, or its power, or its circumvention. This is the weaker magic and it is barbed in venom.
'This is why I say the secret to swords is the mercy seat. It is my throne. I am become the voice of ALMSIVI. The world will know me more than my sister and brother. I am the psychopomp. I am the killer of the weeds of Veloth. Veloth is the center that cannot hold. Ayem is the plot. Seht is the ending. I am the enigma that must be removed. These are why my words are armed to the teeth.
'The ruling king is to stand against me and then before me. He is to learn from my punishment. I will mark him to know. He is to come as male or female. I am the form he must acquire.
'Because a ruling king that sees in another his equivalent rules nothing.'

This is what was said to the Hortator when Vivec was not whole.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
295BookSkill_Alteration5

The Lunar Lorkhan
by Fal Droon

I will not go into the varying accounts of what happened at Adamantine Tower, nor will I relate the War of Manifest Metaphors that rendered those stories unable to support most qualities of what is commonly known as "narrative." We all have our favorite Lorkhan story and our favorite Lorkhan motivation for the creation of Nirn and our favorite story of what happened to His Heart. But the Theory of the Lunar Lorkhan is of special note.



In short, the Moons were and are the two halves of Lorkhan's 'flesh-divinity'. Like the rest of the Gods, Lorkhan was a plane(t) that participated in the Great Construction... except where the Eight lent portions of their heavenly bodies to create the mortal plane(t), Lorkhan's was cracked asunder and his divine spark fell to Nirn as a shooting star "to impregnate it with the measure of its existence and a reasonable amount of selfishness."

Masser and Secunda therefore are the personifications of the dichotomy-- the "Cloven Duality," according to Artaeum-- that Lorkhan legends often rail against: ideas of the anima/animus, good/evil, being/nothingness, the poetry of the body, throat, and moan/silence-as-the-abortive, and so on -- set in the night sky as Lorkhan's constant reminder to his mortal issue of their duty.

Followers of this theory hold that all other "Heart Stories" are mythical degradations of the true origin of the moons (and it needn't be said that they observe the "hollow crescent theory" as well).

296BookSkill_Armorer1

The Armorers' Challenge
By Mymophonus



Three hundred years ago, when Katariah became Empress, the first and only Dunmer to rule all of Tamriel, she faced opposition from the Imperial Council. Even after she convinced them that she would be the best regent to rule the Empire while her husband Pelagius sought treatment for his madness, there was still conflict. In particular from the Duke of Vengheto, Thane Minglumire, who took a particular delight in exposing all of the Empress's lack of practical knowledge.

In this particular instance, Katariah and the Council were discussing the unrest in Black Marsh and the massacre of Imperial troops outside the village of Armanias. The sodden swampland and the sweltering climate, particular in summertide, would endanger the troops if they wore their usual armor.

�I know a very clever armorer,� said Katariah, �His name is Hazadir, an Argonian who knows the environments our army will be facing. I knew him in Vivec where he was a slave to the master armorer there, before he moved to the Imperial City as a freedman. We should have him design armor and weaponry for the campaign.�

Minglumire gave a short, barking laugh: �She wants a slave to design the armor and weaponry for our troops! Sirollus Saccus is the finest armorer in the Imperial City. Everyone knows that.�

After much debate, it was finally decided to have both armorers contend for the commission. The Council also elected two champions of equal power and prowess, Nandor Beraid and Raphalas Eul, to battle using the arms and armaments of the real competitors in the struggle. Whichever champion won, the armorer who supplied him would earn the Imperial commission. It was decided that Beraid would be outfitted by Hazadir, and Eul by Saccus.

The fight was scheduled to commence in seven days.

Sirollus Saccus began work immediately. He would have preferred more time, but he recognized the nature of the test. The situation in Armanias was urgent. The Empire had to select their armorer quickly, and once selected, the preferred armorer had to act swiftly and produce the finest armor and weaponry for the Imperial army in Black Marsh. It wasn't just the best armorer they were looking for. It was the most efficient.

Saccus had only begun steaming the half-inch strips of black virgin oak to bend into bands for the flanges of the armor joints when there was a knock at his door. His assistant Phandius ushered in the visitor. It was a tall reptilian of common markings, a dull, green-fringed hood, bright black eyes, and a dull brown cloak. It was Hazadir, Katariah's preferred armorer.

�I wanted to wish you the best of luck on the -- is that ebony?�

It was indeed. Saccus had bought the finest quality ebony weave available in the Imperial City as soon as he heard of the competition and had begun the process of smelting it. Normally it was a six-month procedure refining the ore, but he hoped that a massive convection oven stoked by white flames born of magicka would shorten the operation to three days. Saccus proudly pointed out the other advancements in his armory. The acidic lime pools to sharpen the blade of the dai-katana to an unimaginable degree of sharpness. The Akaviri forge and tongs he would use to fold the ebony back and forth upon itself. Hazadir laughed.

�Have you been to my armory? It's two tiny smoke-filled rooms. The front is a shop. The back is filled with broken armor, some hammers, and a forge. That's it. That's your competition for the millions of gold pieces in Imperial commission.�

�I'm sure the Empress has some reason to trust you to outfit her troops,� said Sirollus Saccus, kindly. He had, after all, seen the shop and knew that what Hazadir said was true. It was a pathetic workshop in the slums, fit only for the lowliest of adventurers to get their iron daggers and cuirasses repaired. Saccus had decided to make the best quality regardless of the inferiority of his rival. It was his way and how he became the best armorer in the Imperial City.

Out of kindness, and more than a bit of pride, Saccus showed Hazadir how, by contrast, things should be done in a real professional armory. The Argonian acted as an apprentice to Saccus, helping him refine the ebony ore, and to pound it and fold it when it cooled. Over the next several days, they worked together to create a beautiful dai-katana with an edge honed sharp enough to trim a mosquito's eyebrows, enchanted with flames along its length by one of the Imperial Battlemages, as well as a suit of armor of bound wood, leather, silver, and ebony to resist the winds of Oblivion.

On the day of the battle, Saccus, Hazadir, and Phandius finished polishing the armor and brought in Raphalas Eul for the fitting. Hazadir left only then, realizing that Nandor Beraid would be at his shop shortly to be outfitted.

The two warriors met before the Empress and Imperial Council in the arena, which had been flooded slightly to simulate the swampy conditions of Black Marsh. From the moment Saccus saw Eul in his suit of heavy ebony and blazing dai-katana and Beraid in his collection of dusty, rusted lizard-scales and spear from Hazadir's shop, he knew who would win. And he was right.

The first blow from the dai-katana lodged in Beraid's soft shield, as there was no metal trim to deflect it. Before Eul could pull his sword back, Beraid let go of the now-flaming shield, still stuck on the sword, and poked at the joints of Eul's ebony armor with his spear. Eul finally retrieved his sword from the ruined shield and slashed at Beraid, but his light armor was scaled and angled, and the attacks rolled off into the water, extinguishing the dai-katana's flames. When Beraid struck at Eul's feet, he fell into the churned mud and was unable to move. The Empress, out of mercy, called a victor.

Hazadir received the commission and thanks to his knowledge of Argonian battle tactics and weaponry and how best to combat them, he designed implements of war that brought down the insurrection in Armanias. Katariah won the respect of Council, and even, grudgingly, that of Thane Minglumire. Sirollus Saccus went to Morrowind to learn what Hazadir learned there, and was never heard from again.

297BookSkill_Armorer2

The Last Scabbard of Akrash
by Tabar Vunqidh



For several warm summer days in the year 3E 407, a young, pretty Dunmer woman in a veil regularly visited one of the master armorers in the city of Tear. The locals decided that she was young and pretty by her figure and her poise, though no one ever saw her face. She and the armorer would retire to the back of his shop, and he would close down his business and dismiss his apprentices for a few hours. Then, at mid-afternoon, she would leave, only to return at precisely the same time the next day. As gossip goes, it was fairly meager stuff, though what the old man was doing with such a well dressed and attractively proportioned woman was the source of several crude jokes. After several weeks, the visits stopped, and life returned to normal in the slums of Tear.

It was not until a month or two after the visits had stopped, that in one of the many taverns in the neighborhood, a young local tailor, having imbibed too much sauce, asked the armorer, �So whatever happened to your lady friend? You break her heart?�

The armorer, well aware of the rumors, simply replied, �She is a proper young lady of quality. There was nothing between her and the likes of me.�

�What was she doing at your shop every day for?� asked the tavern wench, who had been dying to get the subject open.

�If you must know,� said the armorer. �I was teaching her the craft.�

�You're putting us on,� laughed the tailor.

�No, the young lady had a particular fascination with my particular kind of artistry,� the armorer said, with a hint of pride before getting lost in the reverie. �I taught her how to mend swords specifically, from all kinds of nicks and breaks, hairline fissures, cracked pommels, quillons, and grips. When she first started, she had no idea how to secure the grips to the tang of the blade... Well, of course she was green to start off with, why wouldn't she be? But she weren't afraid to get her hands dirty. I taught her how to patch the little inlaid silver and gold filigree you find on really fine blades, and how to polish it all to a mirror sheen so the sword looks like the gods just pulled it from their celestial anvil.�

The tavern wench and the tailor laughed out loud. No matter what he alleged, the armorer was speaking of the young lady's training as another man speaks of a long lost love.

More of the locals in the tavern would have listened to the armorer's pathetic tale, but more important gossip had taken precedence. There was another murdered slave-trader found in the center of town, gutted from fore to aft. That made six of them total in barely a fortnight. Some called the killer �The Liberator,� but that sort of anti-slavery zeal was rare among the common folk. They preferred calling him �The Lopper,� as several of the earlier victims had been completely beheaded. Others had been simply perforated, sliced, or gutted, but �The Lopper� still kept his original sobriquet.

While the enthusiastic hooligans made bets about the condition of the next slave-trader's corpse, several dozen of the surviving members of that trade were meeting at the manor house of Serjo Dres Minegaur. Minegaur was a minor houseman of House Dres, but a major member of the slave-trading fraternity. Perhaps his best years were behind him, but his associates still counted on him for wisdom.

�We need to take what we know of this Lopper and search accordingly,� said Minegaur, seated in front of his opulent hearth. �We know he has an unreasonable hatred of slavery and slave-traders. We know he is skilled with a blade. We know he has the stealth and finesse to execute our most well-secured brethren in their most secure abodes. It sounds to me to be an adventurer, an Outlander. Surely no citizen of Morrowind would strike at us like this.�

The slave-traders nodded in agreement. An Outlander seemed most likely for their troubles. It was always true.

�Were I fifty years younger, I would take down my blade Akrash from the hearth,� Minegaur made an expansive gesture to the shimmering weapon. �And join you in seeking out this terror. Search him out where adventurers meet -- taverns and guildhalls. Then show him a little lopping of my own.�

The slave-traders laughed politely.

�You wouldn't let us borrow your blade for the execution, I suppose, would you, Serjo?� asked Soron Jeles, a young toadying slaver enthusiastically.

�It would be an excellent use for Akrash,� sighed Minegaur. �But I vowed to retire her when I retired.�

Minegaur called for his daughter Peliah to bring the slavers more flin, but they waved the girl away. It was to be a night for hunting the Lopper, not drinking away their troubles. Minegaur heartily approved of their devotion, particular as expensive as the liquor was getting to be.

When the last of the slavers had left, the old man kissed his daughter on the head, took one last admiring look at Akrash, and toddled off to his bed. No sooner had he done so then Peliah had the blade off the mantle, and was flying with it across the field behind the manor house. She knew Kazagh had been waiting for her for hours in the stables.

He sprung out at her from the shadows, and wrapping his strong, furry arms around her, kissed her long and sweet. Holding him as long as she dared to, she finally broke away and handed him the blade. He tested its edge.

�The finest Khajiiti swordsmith couldn't hone an edge this keen,� he said, looking at his beloved with pride. �And I know I nicked it up good last night.�

�That you did,� said Peliah. �You must have cut through an iron cuirass.�

�The slavers are taking precautions now,� he replied. �What did they say during their meeting?�

�They think it's an Outlander adventurer,� she laughed. �It didn't occur to any of them that a Khajiiti slave would possess the skill to commit all these 'loppings.'�

�And your father doesn't suspect that it's his dear Akrash that is striking into the heart of oppression?�

�Why would he, when every day he finds it fresh as the day before? Now I must go before anyone notices I'm gone. My nurse sometimes comes in to ask me some detail about the wedding, as if I had any choice in the matter at all.�

�I promise you,� said Kazagh very seriously. �You will not be forced into any marriage to cement your family's slave-dealing dynasty. The last scabbard Akrash will be sheathed into will be your father's heart. And when you are an orphan, you can free the slaves, move to a more enlightened province, and marry who you like.�

�I wonder who that will be,� Peliah teased, and raced out of the stables.

Just before dawn, Peliah awoke and crept out to the garden, where she found Akrash hidden in the bittergreen vines. The edge was still relatively keen, but there were scratches vertically across the blade's surface. Another beheading, she thought, as she took pumice stone and patiently rubbed out the marks, finally polishing it with a solution of salt and vinegar. It was up on the mantle in pristine condition when her father came into the sitting room for his breakfast.

When the news came that Kemillith Torom, Peliah's husband-to-be, had been found outside of a canton, his head on a spike some feet away, she did not have to pretend to grieve. Her father knew she did not want to marry him.

�It is a shame,� he said. �The lad was a good slaver. But there are plenty of other young men who would appreciate an alliance with our family. What about young Soron Jeles?�

Two days nights later, Soron Jeles was visited by the Lopper. The struggle did not take long, but Soron had had armed himself with one small defense -- a needle dipped in the ichor of poisonplant, hidden up his sleeve. After the mortal blow, he collapsed forward and stuck Kazagh in the calf with the pin. By the time he made it back to the Minegaur manorhouse, he was dying.

Vision blurring, he climbed up to the eaves of the house to Peliah's window and rapped. Peliah did not answer immediately, as she was in a deep, wonderful sleep, dreaming about her future with her Khajiiti lover. He rapped louder, which woke up not only Peliah, but also her father in the next room.

�Kazagh!� she cried, opening up the window. The next person in the bedroom was Minegaur himself.

As he saw it, this slave, his property, was about to lop off the head of his daughter, his property, with his sword, his property. Suddenly, with the energy of a young man, Minegaur rushed at the dying Khajiit, knocking the sword out of his hand. Before Peliah could stop him, her father had thrust the blade into her lover's heart.

The excitement over, the old man dropped the sword and turned to the door to call the Guard. As an after thought, it occurred to him to make certain that his daughter hadn't been injured and might require a Healer. Minegaur turned to her. For a moment, he felt simply disoriented, feeling the force of the blow, but not the blade itself. Then he saw the blood and then felt the pain. Before he fully realized that his daughter had stabbed him with Akrash, he was dead. The blade, at last, found its scabbard.

A week later, after the official investigations, the slave was buried in an unmarked grave in the manor field, and Serjo Dres Minegaur found his resting place in a modest corner of the family's opulent mausoleum. A larger crowd of curious onlookers came to view the funeral of the noble slaver whose secret life was as the savage Lopper of his competitors. The audience was respectfully quiet, though there was not a person there not imagining the final moments of the man's life. Attacking his own daughter in his madness, luckily defended by the loyal, hapless slave, before turning the blade on himself.

Among the viewers was an old armorer who saw for one last time the veiled young lady before she disappeared forever from Tear.
298BookSkill_Armorer3

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Six



You have discovered the sixth Sermon of Vivec, which was hidden in the words that came next to the Hortator.

There is an eon within itself that when unraveled becomes the first sentence of the world.

Mephala and Azura are the twin gates of tradition and Boethiah is the secret flame.

The Sun shall be eaten by lions, which cannot be found yet in Veloth.

Six are the vests and garments worn by the suppositions of men.

Proceed only with the simplest terms, for all others are enemies and will confuse you.

Six are the formulas to heaven by violence, one that you have learned by studying these words.

The Father is a machine and the mouth of a machine. His only mystery is an invitation to elaborate further.

The Mother is active and clawed like a nix-hound, yet she is the holiest of those that reclaim their days.

The Son is myself, Vehk, and I am unto three, six, nine, and the rest that come after, glorious and sympathetic, without borders, utmost in the perfections of this world and the others, sword and symbol, pale like gold.

There is a fourth kind of philosophy that uses nothing but disbelief.

For by the sword I mean the sensible.

For by the word I mean the dead.

I am Vehk, your protector and the protector of Red Mountain until the end of days, which are numbered 3333.

Below me is the savage, which we needed to remove ourselves from the Altmer.

Above me is a challenge, which bathes itself in fire and the essence of a god.

Through me you are desired, unlike the prophets that have borne your name before.

Six are the walking ways, from enigma to enemy to teacher.

Boethiah and Azura are the principles of the universal plot, which is begetting, which is creation, and Mephala makes of it an art form.

For by the sword I mean the first night.

For by the word I mean the dead.

There will be a splendor in your name when it is said to be true.

Six are the guardians of Veloth, three before and they are born again, and they will test you until you have the proper tendencies of the hero.

There is a world that is sleeping and you must guard against it.

For by the sword I mean the dual nature.

For by the word I mean animal life.

For by the sword I mean preceded by a sigh.

For by the word I mean preceded by a wolf.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

299BookSkill_Armorer4

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Twenty-Five



The Scripture of the City:

'All cities are born of solid light. Such is my city, his city.

'But then the light subsides, revealing the bright and terrible angel of Veloth. He is in his pre-chimerical form, demonic VEHK, gaunt and pale and beautiful, skin stretched painfully thin on bird's bones, feathered serpents encircling his arms. His wings are spread out behind him, their red and yellow ends like razors in the sun. The wispy mass of his fire hair floats as if underwater, milky in the nimbus of light that crowns his head. His presence is undeniable, the awe too much to bear.

'This is God's city, different from others. Cities from foreign countries put their denizens to sleep and walk to the star-wounded East to pay homage to me. The capital of the northern men, crusty with eon's ice, bows before Vivec the city, me it together.

'Self-thought streets rush through tunnel blood. I have rebuilt myself. Hyper eyed signposts along my traffic arm, soon to be an inner sea. My body is crawling with all gathered to see me rising up like a monolithic instrument of pleasure. My spine is the main road to the city that I am. Countless transactions are taking place in veins and catwalks and the roaming, roaming, roaming, as they roam over and through and add to me. There are temples erected along the hollow of my skull and I will ever wear them as a crown. Walk across the lips of God.

'They add new doors to me and I become effortlessly trans-immortal with the comings and goings and the stride-heat of the market where I am traded for, yell of the children hear them play, scoffed at, amused, desired, paid for in native coin, new minted with my face on one side and my city-body on the other. I stare with each new window. Soon I am a million-eyed insect dreaming.

'Red-sparking war trumpets sound like cattle in the ribcage of shuffling transit. The heretics are destroyed on the plaza knees. I flood over into the hills, houses rising like a rash, and I never scratch. Cities are the antidotes to hunting.

'I raise lanterns to light my hollows, lend wax to the thousands the candlesticks that bear my name again and again, the name innumerable, shutting in, mantra and priest, god-city, filling every corner with the naming name, wheeled, circling, running river language giggling with footfalls mating, selling, stealing, searching, and worry not ye who walk with me. This is the flowering scheme of the Aurbis. This is the promise of the PSJJJ: egg, image, man, god, city, state. I serve and am served. I am made of wire and string and mortar and I accede my own precedent, world without am.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
300BookSkill_Armorer5

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Twenty-Nine



The Scripture of the Numbers:

1. The Dragon Break, or the Tower. 1
2. The Enantiomorph. 68
3. The Invisible Gate, ALMSIVI. 112
4. The Corners of House of Troubles. 242
5. The Corners of the World. 100
6. The Walking Ways. 266
7. The Sword at the Center. 39
8. The Wheel, or the Eight Givers. 484
9. The Missing. 11
10. The Tribes of the Altmer. 140
11. The Number of the Master. 102
12. The Heavens. 379
13. The Serpent. 36
14. The King's Cough. 32
15. The Redeeming Force. 110
16. The Acceptable Blasphemes. 12
17. The Hurling Disk. 283
18. The Egg, or Six Times the Wise.
19. The Provisional House. 258
20. The Lunar Lattice. 425
21. The Womb. 13
22. Unknown. 453
23. The Hollow Prophet. 54
24. The Star Wound. 44
25. The Emperor. 239
26. The Rogue Plane. 81
27. The Secret Fire. 120
28. The Drowned Lamp. 8
29. The Captive Sage. 217
30. The Scarab. 10
31. The Listening Frame. 473
32. The False Call. 7
33. The Anticipations. 234
34. The Lawless Grammar. 2
35. The Prison-Shirt. 191
36. The Hours. 364

'The presence of deaf witness, this is what the numbers are. They hang onto the Aurbis as the last nostalgia of their godhood. The effigies of numbers are their current applications; this is folly, as above. To be affixed to a symbol is too, too certain.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
301BookSkill_Athletics1

The Ransom of Zarek
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part I
By Marobar Sul



Jalemmil stood in her garden and read the letter her servant had brought to her. The bouquet of joss roses in her hand fell to the ground. For a moment it was as if all birds had ceased to sing and a cloud had passed over the sky. Her carefully cultivated and structured haven seemed to flood over with darkness.

�We have thy son,� it read. �We will be in touch with thee shortly with our ransom demands.�

Zarek had never made it as far as Akgun after all. One of the brigands on the road, Orcs probably, or accursed Dunmer, must have seen his well-appointed carriage, and taken him hostage. Jalemmil clutched at a post for support, wondering if her boy had been hurt. He was but a student, not the sort to fight against well-armed men, but had they beaten him? It was more than a mother's heart could bear to imagine.

�Don't tell me they sent the ransom note so quickly,� called a family voice, and a familiar face appeared through the hedge. It was Zarek. Jalemmil hurried to embrace her boy, tears running down her face.

�What happened?� she cried. �I thought thou had been kidnapped.�

�I was,� said Zarek. �Three huge soaring Nords attacked by carriage on the Frimvorn Pass. Brothers, as I learned, named Mathais, Ulin, and Koorg. Thou should have seen these men, mother. Each one of them would have had trouble fitting through the front door, I can tell thee.�

�What happened?� Jalemmil repeated. �Were thou rescued?�

�I thought about waiting for that, but I knew they'd send off a ransom note and I know how thou does worry. So I remembered what my mentor at Akgun always said about remaining calm, observing thy surroundings, and looking for thy opponent's weakness,� Zarek grinned. �It took a while, though, because these fellows were truly monsters. And then, when I listened to them, bragging to one another, I realized that vanity was their weakness.�

�What did thou do?�

�They had me chained at their camp in the woods not far from Cael, on a high knoll over-looking a wide river. I heard one of them, Koorg, telling the others that it would take the better part of an hour to swim across the river and back. They were nodding in agreement, when I spoke up.

�'I could swim that river and back in thirty minutes,' I said.

�'Impossible,' said Koorg. 'I can swim faster than a little whelp like thee.'

�So it was agreed that we would dive off the cliff, swim to the center island, and return. As we went to our respective rocks, Koorg took it upon himself to lecture me about all the fine points of swimming. The importance of synchronized movements of the arms and legs for maximum speed. How essential it was to breathe after only third or fourth stroke, not too often to slow thyself down, but not too often to lose one's air. I nodded and agreed to all his fine points. Then we dove off the cliffs. I made it to the island and back in a little over an hour, but Koorg never returned. He had dashed his brains at the rocks at the base of the cliff. I had noticed the telltale undulations of underwater rocks, and had taken the diving rock on the right.�

�But thou returned?� asked Jalemmil, astounded. �Was that not then when thou escaped?�

�It was too risky to escape then,� said Zarek. �They could have easily caught me again, and I wasn't keen to be blamed for Koorg's disappearance. I said I did not know what happened to him, and after some searching, they decided he had forgotten about the race and had swum ashore to hunt for food. They could not see how I could have had anything to do with his disappearance, as fully visible as I was throughout my swim. The two brothers began making camp along the rocky cliff-edge, picking an ideal location so that I would not be able to escape.

�One of the brothers, Mathais, began commenting on the quality of the soil and the gradual incline of the rock that circled around the bay below. Ideal, he said, for a foot race. I expressed my ignorance of the sport, and he was keen to give me details of the proper technique for running a race. He made absurd faces, showing how one must breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth; how to bend one's knees to the proper angle on the rise; the importance of sure foot placement. Most important, he explained, was that the runner keep an aggressive but not too strenuous pace if one intends to win. It is fine to run in second place through the race, he said, provided one has the willpower and strength to pull out in the end.

�I was an enthusiastic student, and Mathais decided that we ought to run a quick race around the edge of the bay before night fell. Ulin told us to bring back some firewood when we came back. We began at once down the path, skirting the cliff below. I followed his advice about breath, gait, and foot placement, but I ran with all my power right from the start. Despite his much longer legs, I was a few paces ahead as we wound the first corner.

�With his eyes on my back, Mathais did not see the gape in the rock that I jumped over. He plummeted over the cliff before he had a chance to cry out. I spent a few minutes gathering some twigs before I returned to Ulin at camp.�

�Now thou were just showing off,� frowned Jalemmil. �Surely that would have been a good time to escape.�

�Thou might think so,� agreed Zarek. �But thou had to see the topography -- a few large trees, and then nothing but shrubs. Ulin would have noticed my absence and caught up with me in no time, and I would have had a hard time explaining Mathais's absence. However, the brief forage around the area allowed me to observe some of the trees close up, and I could formulate my final plan.

�When I got back to camp with a few twigs, I told Ulin that Mathais was slow coming along, dragging a large dead tree behind him. Ulin scoffed at his brother's strength, saying it would take him time to pull up a live tree by the roots and drop it on the bonfire. I expressed reasonable doubt.

�'I'll show thee,' he said, ripping up a ten foot tall specimen effortlessly.

�'But that's scarcely a sapling,' I objected. 'I thought thou could rip up a tree.' His eyes followed mine to a magnificent, heavy-looking one at the edge of the clearing. Ulin grabbed it and began to shake it with a tremendous force to loosen its roots from the dirt. With that, he loosened the hive from the uppermost branches, dropping it down onto his head.

�That was when I made my escape, mother,� said Zarek, in conclusion, showing a little schoolboy pride. �While Mathais and Koorg were at the base of the cliff, and Ulin was flailing about, engulfed by a swarm.�

Jalemmil embraced her son once again.

Publisher's Note:

I was reluctant to publish the works of Marobar Sul, but when the University of Gwylim Press asked me to edit this edition, I decided to use this as an opportunity to set the record straight once and for all.

Scholars do not agree on the exact date of Marobar Sul's work, but it is generally agreed that they were written by the playwright "Gor Felim," famous for popular comedies and romances during the Interregnum between the fall of the First Cyrodilic Empire and the rise of Tiber Septim. The current theory holds that Felim heard a few genuine Dwemer tales and adapted them to the stage in order to make money, along with rewritten versions of many of his own plays.

Gor Felim created the persona of "Marobar Sul" who could translate the Dwemer language in order to add some sort of validity to the work and make it even more valuable to the gullible. Note that while "Marobar Sul" and his works became the subject of heated controversy, there are no reliable records of anyone actually meeting "Marobar Sul," nor was there anyone of that name employed by the Mages Guild, the School of Julianos, or any other intellectual institution.

In any case, the Dwemer in most of the tales of "Marobar Sul" bear little resemblance to the fearsome, unfathomable race that frightened even the Dunmer, Nords, and Redguards into submission and built ruins that even now have yet to be understood.

302BookSkill_Athletics2

A Dance in Fire, Chapter 3
by Waughin Jarth



Mother Pascost disappeared into the sordid hole that was her tavern, and emerged a moment later with a scrap of paper with Liodes Jurus's familiar scrawl. Decumus Scotti held it up before a patch of sunlight that had found its way through the massive boughs of the tree city, and read.


Sckotti,

So you made it to Falinnesti, Vallinwood! Congradulatens! Im sure you had quit a adventure getting here. Unfortonitly, Im not here anymore as you probaby guess. Theres a town down rivver called Athie Im at. Git a bote and join me! Its ideal! I hope you brot a lot of contracks, cause these peple need a lot of building done. They wer close to the war, you see, but not so close they dont have any mony left to pay. Ha ha. Meat me down here as son as you can.

-- Jurus


So, Scotti pondered, Jurus had left Falinesti and gone to some place called Athie. Given his poor penmanship and ghastly spelling, it could equally well be Athy, Aphy, Othry, Imthri, Urtha, or Krakamaka. The sensible thing to do, Scotti knew, was to call this adventure over and try to find some way to get back home to the Imperial City. He was no mercenary devoted to a life of thrills: he was, or at least had been, a senior clerk at a successful private building commission. Over the last few weeks, he had been robbed by the Cathay-Raht, taken on a death march through the jungle by a gang of giggling Bosmeri, half-starved to death, drugged with fermented pig's milk, nearly slain by some kind of giant tick, and attacked by archers. He was filthy, exhausted, and had, he counted, ten gold pieces to his name. Now the man whose proposal brought him to the depths of misery was not even there. It was both judicious and seemly to abandon the enterprise entirely.

And yet, a small but distinct voice in his head told him: You have been chosen. You have no other choice but to see this through.

Scotti turned to the stout old woman, Mother Pascost, who had been watching him curiously: �I was wondering if you knew of a village that was at the edge of the recent conflict with Elsweyr. It's called something like Ath-ie?�

�You must mean Athay,� she grinned. �My middle lad, Viglil, he manages a dairy down there. Beautiful country, right on the river. Is that where your friend went?�

�Yes,� said Scotti. �Do you know the fastest way to get there?�

After a short conversation, an even shorter ride to Falinesti's roots by way of the platforms, and a jog to the river bank, Scotti was negotiating transport with a huge fair-haired Bosmer with a face like a pickled carp. He called himself Captain Balfix, but even Scotti with his sheltered life could recognize him for what he was. A retired pirate for hire, a smuggler for certain, and probably much worse. His ship, which had clearly been stolen in the distant past, was a bent old Imperial sloop.

�Fifty gold and we'll be in Athay in two days time,� boomed Captain Balfix expansively.

�I have ten, no, sorry, nine gold pieces,� replied Scotti, and feeling the need for explanation, added, �I had ten, but I gave one to the Platform Ferryman to get me down here.�

�Nine is just as fine,� said the captain agreeably. �Truth be told, I was going to Athay whether you paid me or not. Make yourself comfortable on the boat, we'll be leaving in just a few minutes.�

Decumus Scotti boarded the vessel, which sat low in the water of the river, stacked high with crates and sacks that spilled out of the hold and galley and onto the deck. Each was marked with stamps advertising the most innocuous substances: copper scraps, lard, ink, High Rock meal (marked �For Cattle�), tar, fish jelly. Scotti's imagination reeled picturing what sorts of illicit imports were truly aboard.

It took more than those few minutes for Captain Balfix to haul in the rest of his cargo, but in an hour, the anchor was up and they were sailing downriver towards Athay. The green gray water barely rippled, only touched by the fingers of the breeze. Lush plant life crowded the banks, obscuring from sight all the animals that sang and roared at one another. Lulled by the serene surroundings, Scotti drifted to sleep.

At night, he awoke and gratefully accepted some clean clothes and food from Captain Balfix.

�Why are you going to Athay, if I may ask?� queried the Bosmer.

�I'm meeting a former colleague there. He asked me to come down from the Imperial City where I worked for the Atrius Building Commission to negotiate some contracts,� Scotti took another bite of the dried sausages they were sharing for dinner. �We're going to try to repair and refurbish whatever bridges, roads, and other structures that got damaged in the recent war with the Khajiiti.�

�It's been a hard two years,� the captain nodded his head. �Though I suppose good for me and the likes of you and your friend. Trade routes cut off. Now they think there's going to be war with the Summurset Isles, you heard that?�

Scotti shook his head.

�I've done my share of smuggling skooma down the coast, even helping some revolutionary types escape the Mane's wrath, but now the wars've made me a legitimate trader, a business-man. The first casualties of war is always the corrupted.�

Scotti said he was sorry to hear that, and they lapsed into silence, watching the stars and moons' reflection on the still water. The next day, Scotti awoke to find the captain wrapped up in his sail, torpid from alcohol, singing in a low, slurred voice. When he saw Scotti rise, he offered his flagon of jagga.

�I learned my lesson during revelry at western cross.�

The captain laughed, and then burst into tears, �I don't want to be legitimate. Other pirates I used to know are still raping and stealing and smuggling and selling nice folk like you into slavery. I swear to you, I never thought the first time that I ran a real shipment of legal goods that my life would turn out like this. Oh, I know, I could go back to it, but Baan Dar knows not after all I've seen. I'm a ruined man.�

Scotti helped the weeping mer out of the sail, murmuring words of reassurance. Then he added, �Forgive me for changing the subject, but where are we?�

�Oh,� moaned Captain Balfix miserably. �We made good time. Athay's right around the bend in the river.�

�Then it looks like Athay's on fire,� said Scotti, pointing.

A great plume of smoke black as pitch was rising above the trees. As they drifted around the bend, they next saw the flames, and then the blackened skeletal remains of the village. Dying, blazing villagers leapt from rocks into the river. A cacophony of wailing met their ears, and they could see, roaming along the edges of the town, the figures of Khajiiti soldiers bearing torches.

�Baan Dar bless me!� slurred the captain. �The war's back on!�

�Oh, no,� whimpered Scotti.

The sloop drifted with the current toward the opposite shore away from the fiery town. Scotti turned his attention there, and the sanctuary it offered. Just a peaceful arbor, away from the horror. There was a shudder of leaves in two of the trees and a dozen lithe Khajiit dropped to the ground, armed with bows.

�They see us,� hissed Scotti. �And they've got bows!�

�Well, of course they have bows,� snarled Captain Balfix. �We Bosmer may have invented the bloody things, but we didn't think to keep them secret, you bloody bureaucrat.�

�Now, they're setting their arrows on fire!�

�Yes, they do that sometimes.�

�Captain, they're shooting at us! They're shooting at us with flaming arrows!�

�Ah, so they are,� the captain agreed. �The aim here is to avoid being hit.�

But hit they were, and very shortly thereafter. Even worse, the second volley of arrows hit the supply of pitch, which ignited in a tremendous blue blaze. Scotti grabbed Captain Balfix and they leapt overboard just before the ship and all its cargo disintegrated. The shock of the cold water brought the Bosmer into temporary sobriety. He called to Scotti, who was already swimming as fast as he could toward the bend.

�Master Decumus, where do you think you're swimming to?�

�Back to Falinesti!� cried Scotti.

�It will take you days, and by the time you get there, everyone will know about the attack on Athay! They'll never let anyone they don't know in! The closest village downriver is Grenos, maybe they'll give us shelter!�

Scotti swam back to the captain and side-by-side they began paddling in the middle of the river, past the burning residuum of the village. He thanked Mara that he had learned to swim. Many a Cyrodiil did not, as largely land-locked as the Imperial Province was. Had he been raised in Mir Corrup or Artemon, he might have been doomed, but the Imperial City itself was encircled by water, and every lad and lass there knew how to cross without a boat. Even those who grew up to be clerks and not adventurers.

Captain Balfix's sobriety faded as he grew used to the water's temperature. Even in wintertide, the Xylo River was fairly temperate and after a fashion, even comfortable. The Bosmer's strokes were uneven, and he'd stray closer to Scotti and then further away, pushing ahead and then falling behind.

Scotti looked to the shore to his right: the flames had caught the trees like tinder. Behind them was an inferno, with which they were barely keeping pace. To the shore on their left, all looked fair, until he saw a tremble in the river-reeds, and then what caused it. A pride of the largest cats he had ever seen. They were auburn-haired, green-eyed beasts with jaws and teeth to match his wildest nightmares. And they were watching the two swimmers, and keeping pace.

�Captain Balfix, we can't go to either that shore or the other one, or we'll be parboiled or eaten,� Scotti whispered. �Try to even your kicking and your strokes. Breath like you would normally. If you're feeling tired, tell me, and we'll float on our backs for a while.�

Anyone who has had the experience of giving rational advice to a drunkard would understand the hopelessness. Scotti kept pace with the captain, slowing himself, quickening, drifting left and right, while the Bosmer moaned old ditties from his pirate days. When he wasn't watching his companion, he watched the cats on the shore. After a stretch, he turned to his right. Another village had caught fire. Undoubtedly, it was Grenos. Scotti stared at the blazing fury, awed by the sight of the destruction, and did not hear that the captain had ceased to sing.

When he turned back, Captain Balfix was gone.

Scotti dove into the murky depths of the river over and over again. There was nothing to be done. When he surfaced after his final search, he saw that the giant cats had moved on, perhaps assuming that he too had drowned. He continued his lonely swim downriver. A tributary, he noted, had formed a final barrier, keeping the flames from spreading further. But there were no more towns. After several hours, he began to ponder the wisdom of going ashore. Which shore was the question.

He was spared the decision. Ahead of him was a rocky island with a bonfire. He did not know if he were intruding on a party of Bosmeri or Khajiiti, only that he could swim no more. With straining, aching muscles, he pulled himself onto the rocks.

They were Bosmer refugees he gathered, even before they told him. Roasting over the fire was the remains of one of the giant cats that had been stalking him through the jungle on the opposite shore.

�Senche-Tiger,� said one of the young warriors ravenously. �It's no animal -- it's as smart as any Cathay-Raht or Ohmes or any other bleeding Khajiiti. Pity this one drowned. I would have gladly killed it. You'll like the meat, though. Sweet, from all the sugar these asses eat.�

Scotti did not know if he was capable of eating a creature as intelligent as a man or mer, but he surprised himself, as he had done several times over the last days. It was rich, succulent, and sweet, like sugared pork, but no seasonings had been added. He surveyed the crowd as he ate. A sad lot, some still weeping for lost family members. They were the survivors of both the villages of Grenos and Athay, and war was on every person's lips. Why had the Khajiiti attacked again? Why -- specifically directed at Scotti, as a Cyrodiil -- why was the Emperor not enforcing peace in his provinces?

�I was to meet another Cyrodiil,� he said to a Bosmer maiden who he understood to be from Athay. �His name was Liodes Jurus. I don't suppose you know what might have happened to him.�

�I don't know your friend, but there were many Cyrodiils in Athay when the fire came,� said the girl. �Some of them, I think, left quickly. They were going to Vindisi, inland, in the jungle. I am going there tomorrow, so are many of us. If you wish, you may come as well.�

Decumus Scotti nodded solemnly. He made himself as comfortable as he could in the stony ground of the river island, and somehow, after much effort, he fell asleep. But he did not sleep well.

303BookSkill_Athletics3

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon One



He was born in the ash among the Velothi, anon Chimer, before the war with the northern men. Ayem came first to the village of the netchimen, and her shadow was that of Boethiah, who was the Prince of Plots, and things unknown and known would fold themselves around her until they were like stars or the messages of stars. Ayem took a netchiman's wife and said:

'I am the Face-Snaked Queen of the Three in One. In you is an image and a seven-syllable spell, AYEM AE SEHTI AE VEHK, which you will repeat to it until mystery comes.'
Then Ayem threw the netchiman's wife into the ocean water where dreughs took her into castles of glass and coral. They gifted the netchiman's wife with gills and milk fingers, changing her sex so that she might give birth to the image as an egg. There she stayed for seven or eight months.
Then Seht came to the netchiman's wife and said:
'I am the Clockwork King of the Three in One. In you is an egg of my brother-sister, who possesses invisible knowledge of words and swords, which you shall nurture until the Hortator comes.'
And Seht then extended his hands and multitudes of homunculi came forth, each like a glimmering rope through the water, and they raised the netchiman's wife back to the surface world and set her down on the shoals of Azura's coast. There she lay for seven or eight more months, caring for the egg-knowledge by whispering to it the Codes of Mephala and the prophecies of Veloth and even the forbidden teachings of Trinimac.
Seven Daedra came to her one night and each one gave to the egg new motions that could be achieved by certain movements of the bones. These are called the Barons of Move Like This. Then an eighth Daedroth came, and he was a Demiprince, called Fa-Nuit-Hen, or the Multiplier of Motions Known. And Fa-Nuit-Hen said:
'Whom do you wait for?'
To which the netchiman's wife said the Hortator.
'Go to the land of the Indoril in three months' time, for that is when war comes. I return now to haunt the warriors who fell and still wonder why. But first I show you this.'
Then the Barons and the Demiprince joined together into a pillar of fighting styles terrible to behold and they danced before the egg and its learning image.
'Look, little Vehk, and find the face behind the splendor of my bladed carriage, for in it is delivered the unmixed conflict path, perfect in every way. What is its number?'
It is said the number is the number of birds that can nest in an ancient tibrol tree, less three grams of honest work, but Vivec in his later years found a better one and so gave this secret to his people.

'For I have crushed a world with my left hand,' he will say, 'but in my right hand is how it could have won against me. Love is under my will only.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
304BookSkill_Athletics4

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Eight



And presently Nerevar and Vivec were within sight of the capital and the Four Corners of the House of Troubles knew that it was not time to contest them. The caravan musicians made a great song of entrance and the eleven gates of the Mourning Hold were thrown wide.

Ayem was accompanied by her husband-state, a flickering image that was channeled to her ever-changing female need. Around her were the Shouts, a guild now forgotten, who carried with them the whims of the people, for the Velothi then were still mostly good at heart. The Shouts were the counselors of Ayem and the country, though they sometimes quarreled and needed Seht to wring them into usefulness. Ayem approached Nerevar, who was by now adorned in the flags of House Indoril. He gifted her with the simulacrum of the netchiman's wife and the egg of Vivec inside.

Ayem said to Nerevar, 'Seht who is Azura has revealed that war is come and that the Hortator that shall deliver us will approach with a solution walking at his side.'

Nerevar said, 'I have traveled out of my way to warn you of the deceit of our enemies, the Dwemer, but I have learned much on the journey and have changed my mind. This netchiman's wife you see at my side is a sword and a symbol and there is prophecy inside. It tells me that, like it, we must for awhile be like he is and, as a people, cloaked in our former enemies, and to use their machines without shame.'

At which Vivec spoke aloud, 'Boethiah-who-is-you wore the skin of Trinimac to cleanse the faults of Veloth, my Queen, and so it should be again. This is the walking way of the glorious.'
Seht appeared out of a cloud of iron vapor and his minions made of their blood a chair. He sat beside Ayem and looked on the rebirth of mastery.
Vivec said to them, his Triune:

'My rituals and ordeals and all the rhymes within,
Use no other motive than the revelation of my skin.'

Ayem said, 'AYEM AE SEHTI AE VEHK. We are delivered and made whole, the diamond of the Black Hands is uncovered.'
Seht said, 'Wherever so he treads, there is invisible scripture.'
To which the Shouts were silent in sudden reading.
Vivec then reached out from the egg all his limbs and features, merging with the simulacrum of his mother, gilled and blended in all the arts of the star-wounded East, under water and in fire and in metal and in ash, six times the wise, and he became the union of male and female, the magic hermaphrodite, the martial axiom, the sex-death of language and unique in all the middle world.
He said, 'Let us now guide the hands of the Hortator in war and its aftermath. For we go different, and in thunder. This is our destiny.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
305BookSkill_Athletics5

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Thirty-One



Many more years passed in Resdaynia, and the high priests of the Dwemer were almost ready to make war on the rulers of Veloth. The Hortator had become the husband of Ayem during this time, and the first saint of the Triune way. Vivec had tired of fighting his sons and daughters, and so took a respite from trying to find them.

The Hortator said to his wife, 'Where is Vivec, my teacher? I love him still, though he grows cold. His lamentations, if I may call them that, have changed the skin of the whole country. He is hardly to be found anywhere in Veloth of late. The people grow dark because of it.'

And Ayem took mercy on her troubled husband and told him that the sword of the Triune had been fighting minor monsters stirred up by the Dwemer as they worked on their brass siege machines. She took the Hortator inside her and showed him where his master was.
ALMSIVI, or at least that aspect that chose to be Vivec, sat in the Litany Hall of the False Thinking Temple after his battle with the Flute-and-Pipe Ogres of the West Gash. He began writing, again, in his Book of Hours. He had to put on his Water Face first. That way he could separate the bronze of the Old Temple from the blue of the New and write with happiness. Second, he had to take another feather from the Big Moon, further rendering it dead. That way he could write about mortals with truth. Third, he recalled the Pomegranate Banquet, where he was forced to marry to Molag Bal with wet scriptures to cement his likeness as Mephala and write with black hands. He wrote:

The last time I heard his voice, showing the slightest sign of impatience, I learned to control myself and submit to the will of others. Afterwards, I dared to take on the sacred fire and realized there was no equilibrium with the ET'ADA. They were liars, lost roots, and the most I can do is to be an interpreter into the rational. Even that fails the needs of the people. I sit on the mercy seat and pass judgment, the waking state, and the phase aspect of the innate urge. Only here can I doubt, in this book, written in water, broadened to include evil.

Then Vivec threw his ink on this passage to cover it up (for the lay reader) and wrote instead:

Find me in the blackened paper, unarmored, in final scenery. Truth is like my husband: instructed to smash, filled with procedure and noise, hammering, weighty, heaviness made schematic, lessons learned only by a mace. Let those that hear me then be buffeted, and let some die in the ash from the striking. Let those that find him find him murdered by illumination, pummeled like a traitorous house, because, if an hour is golden, then immortal I am a secret code. I am the partaker of the Doom Drum, chosen of all those that dwell in the middle world to wear this crown, which reverberates with truth, and I am the mangling messiah.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
306BookSkill_Axe1

The Third Door
by Annanar Orme



I.

I sing of Ellabeth, the Queen of the Axe,
Who could fell a full elm with two hatchet hacks.
She could rip apart Valenwood just for her fun.
She studied under Alfhedil in Tel Aruhn.
He taught her the jabs, the strokes, and the stance
To make an ax-swing into an elegant dance.
He taught her the barbed axes of the Orcs bold,
The six-foot-long axes favored in Winterhold,
The hollow-bladed axes of the Elves of the West,
Which whistle when they swing through flesh.
With a single-headed axe, she could behead two men.
With a double-headed axe, she could fell more than ten.
Yet where she lives in legend has most to do
With the man who hacked her own heart in two.

II.

Nienolas Ulwarth the Mighty, who hailed from Blackrose,
The only man who could best Ellabeth with ax blows,
In a minute, she chopped fifty trees; he, fifty-three.
She felt at once that he was the only man for she.
When she professed her love, Nienolas just laughed.
He said he loved more his ax handle and shaft.
And if they weren't enough to slake all his desire
There was another woman named Lorinthyrae.
Fury gripped the Queen of the Axe, the maid Ellabeth,
And her thoughts turned to pondering musings of death.
Mephala and Sheogorath gave her a revengeful scheme
And for weeks, she worked on it in a state like a dream.
In the still of the night, she kidnapped her rival
And then told her choices between doom and survival.

III.

Lorinthyrae awoke in a house in the moors
In a room lightly furnished except for three doors.
Ellabeth explained that behind one of the doors the lass
Would find Ellabeth's and her love, the great Nienolas.
Behind the second lived a ravenous demon.
And behind the third, an exit to freedom.
She must choose a door, and to aid her decision
If she pondered too long, the axe'd make a division.
Lorinthyrae wept, and Ellabeth felt contrite,
And opened the door to her immediate right.
It led to the moors, and as she slipped through the gloom,
She advised Lorinthyrae to likewise abandon the room.
Lorinthyrae ignored her and did not feel her will bend.
Nienolas was largely behind the first door she opened.

IV.

Ellabeth had lied; there was no demon of lore.
The top third of Nienolas was behind the third door.
307bookskill_axe2

The Axe Man



Of all the members of the Morag Tong I've spoken with, none disturbed me as much as Minas Torik. A quiet and reserved man who never drank, never visited a brothel or even uttered a curse, he was famous for his ability to make people disappear. Once a person was targeted by the Brotherhood and Torik was sent to them, they would simply cease to be. I asked him once what his weapon of choice was, and was equally startled by his answer.

�I only likes to use axes,� he said in his typical, quiet voice.

The image of this silent, dour fellow attacking anyone with a weapon as inherently bloody and violent as an axe so frightened and intrigued me that I questioned him about it further. This is an inherently dangerous activity, for assassins are not typically keen to give out their stories. Torik did not mind the questions, though it took some time to get the full story out of him, as naturally shy and reserved as he was.

It seemed that Torik had been orphaned as a very young age and sent to live with his uncle, a saltrice plantation owner in Sheogorad in northern Vvardenfell. The man promised to show his nephew the business and eventually make him a partner when he was old enough. In the meantime, the boy was put to work as his uncle's house servant.

It was a grueling life as the old man was very particular about how things should be done. The boy was first required to give all the floors in the house a thorough scouring, from the attic to the cellar. Whenever the floor was not cleaned to the uncle's satisfaction, which was frequent, Torik was thrashed and forced to begin again.

The boy's second duty was to ring the bell that would bring the laborers into the house. This was done at least four times a day, once for each meal, but if his uncle had any news or additional instructions for the laborers -- which he frequently did -- the bell might need to be sounded a dozen times or more. It was a huge iron bell in the tower and the boy quickly discovered that he had to throw his entire body into the motion of pulling the chain in order to have it sound loud enough to bring everyone in from the field. If he was tired and did not pull the backbreaking chain hard enough, his uncle was soon at his side to beat him until he rang the bell loud and clear.

Torik's third task was dusting all the shelves in his uncle's vast library. As deep and old as the shelves were, he was required to work with a long, heavy duster on a rod. The only way that he could reach to the back of the shelves was to hold the duster at his shoulder and then swing it out in a sweeping motion. Again, if the uncle saw any dust left over or felt that the boy was not working as hard as he ought to, the punishment was swift and severe.

After several years, Minas Torik grew into a young man, but his job responsibilities were not increased. His uncle promised to teach him the business, once Torik had demonstrated his mastery of his servile assignments. Divorced from any knowledge of any work other than his own, Torik never knew how badly in debt his uncle was and how poorly the farm's yield was.

In his eighteenth year, Torik was called into the cellar by his uncle. He thought that he had not done a good enough job scouring the floor down there, and was frightened of the beating to come. What he found, however, was his uncle packing his goods into crates.

�I'm leaving Morrowind,� he explained. �The business has gone sour, so I thought I'd try my luck running a caravan in Skyrim. I understand there's good money to be made, trading fake Dwemer artifacts to the Nords and Cyrodiils. I wish I could take you with me, my lad, but there won't be much need for scouring, bell pulling, and dusting where I'm going.�

�But uncle,� said Torik. �I can't read, I knows nothing of the business you promised to teach me. What wills I dos on my own?�

�I'm certain you can find a job in some domestic capacity,� shrugged the uncle. �I've done my best with you.�

Torik had never stood up to his uncle before, and felt no anger only a sort of coldness that gripped his heart. Among his uncle's possessions being packed away was an old heavy iron axe, allegedly of Dwemer manufacture. He picked it up in his hands and was surprised to find that it was not much heavier than his dusting rod. In fact, it felt very comfortable as he pulled it over his shoulder and swung it out as he had done so many times before. In this instance, however, he swung it into his uncle's right arm.

The old man screamed with pain and rage, but for some reason, Torik didn't feel frightened anymore. He propped the axe against his other shoulder, and swung it out again. It cut a swath across the old man's chest and he fell to the floor.

Torik hesitated before lifting the axe above his head. It was another natural position for him, like he was ringing a bell. Over and over again, he swung down as if he was calling the laborers in from the field. Except that this time, there was no sound except for a wet thump, and no laborers came in from the field. Of course, his uncle had sent them away hours before.

After a time, there was nothing left of his uncle that couldn't be washed down the cellar drain. The process of cleaning up came easily to Torik as well. Blood scrubbed up much quicker than the usual grime and saltrice flour that littered the cellar floor.

It was well known that Torik's uncle was planning to leave Morrowind, so his disappearance provoked no suspicion. The house and all the belongings were sold to the debt collectors, but Torik took the axe. It seemed that his uncle had given him some worthwhile business skills after all.

308BookSkill_Axe3

The Seed
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part II
By Marobar Sul



The hamlet village of Lorikh was a quiet, peaceful Dwemer community nestled in the monochrome grey and tan dunes and boulders of the Dejasyte. No vegetation of any kind grew in Lorikh, though there were blackened vestiges of long dead trees scattered throughout the town. Kamdida arriving by caravan looked at her new home with despair. She was used to the forestland of the north where her father's family had haled. Here there was no shade, little water, and a great open sky. It looked like a dead land.

Her mother's family took Kamdida and her younger brother Nevith in, and was very kind to the orphans, but she felt lonely in the alien village. It was not until she met an old Argonian woman who worked at the water factory that Kamdida found a friend. Her name was Sigerthe, and she said that her family had lived in Lorikh centuries before the Dwemer arrived, when it was a great and beauteous forest.

�Why did the trees die?� asked Kamdida.

�When there were Argonians only in this land, we never cut trees for we had no need for fuel or wooden structures such as you use. When the Dwemer came, we allowed them to use the plants as they needed them, provided they never touched the Hist, which are sacred to us and to the land. For many years, we lived peaceably. No one wanted for anything.�

�What happened?�

�Some of your scientists discovered that distilling a certain tree sap, molding it and drying it, they could create a resilient kind of armor called resin,� said Sigerthe. �Most of the trees that grew here had very thin ichor in their branches, but not the Hist. Many of them fairly glistened with sap, which made the Dwemer merchants greedy. They hired a woodsman named Juhnin to start clearing the sacred arbors for profit.�

The old Argonian woman looked to the dusty ground and sighed, �Of course, we Argonians cried out against it. It was our home, and the Hist, once gone, would never return. The merchants reconsidered, but Juhnin took it on his own to break our spirit. He proved one terrible, bloody day that his prodigious skill with the axe could be used against people as well as trees. Any Argonian who stood in his way was hewn asunder, children as well. The Dwemer people of Lorikh closed their doors and their ears to the cries of murder.�

�Horrible,� gasped Kamdida.

�It is difficult to explain,� said Sigerthe. �But the deaths of our living ones was not nearly as horrible to us as the death of our trees. You must understand that to my people, the Hist are where we come from and where we are going. To destroy our bodies is nothing; to destroy our trees is to annihilate us utterly. When Juhnin then turned his axe on the Hist, he killed the land. The water disappeared, the animals died, and all the other life that the trees nourished crumbled and dried to dust.�
�But you are still here?� asked Kamdida. �Why didn't you leave?�

�For us, we are trapped. I am one of the last of a dying people. Few of us are strong enough to live away from our ancestral groves, and sometimes, even now, there is a perfume in the air of Lorikh that gives us life. It will not be long until we are all gone.�

Kamdida felt tears welling up in her eyes. �Then I will be alone in this horrible place with no trees and no friends.�

'We Argonians have an expression,� said Sigerthe with a sad smile, taking Kamdida's hand. �That the best soil for a seed is found in your heart.�

Kamdida looked into the palm of her hand and saw that Sigerthe had given her a small black pellet. It was a seed. �It looks dead.�

�It can only grow in one place in all Lorikh,� said the old Argonian. �Outside an old cottage in the hills outside town. I cannot go there, for the owner would kill me on sight and like all my people, I am too frail to defend myself now. But you can go there and plant the seed.�

�What will happen?� asked Kamdida. �Will the Hist return?�

�No. But some part of their power will.�

That night, Kamdida stole from her house and into the hills. She knew the cottage Sigerthe had spoken of. Her aunt and uncle had told her never to go there. As she approached it, the door opened and an old but powerfully built man appeared, a mighty axe slung over his shoulder.

�What are you doing here, child?� he demanded. �In the dark, I almost took you to be a lizard man.�

�I've lost my way in the dark,� she said quickly. �I'm trying to get back to my home in Lorikh.�

�Be on your way then.�

�Do you have a candle I might have?� she asked piteously. �I've been walking in circles and I'm afraid I'll only return back here without any light.�

The old man grumbled and walked into his house. Quickly, Kamdida dug a hole in the dry dirt and buried the seed as deeply as she could. He returned with a lit candle.

�See to it you don't come back here,� he growled. �Or I'll chop you in half.�

He returned to his house and fire. The next morning when he awoke and opened the door, he found that his cottage was entirely sealed within an enormous tree. He picked up his axe and delivered blow and after blow to the wood, but he could never break through. He tried side chops, but the wood healed itself. He tried an upper chop followed by an under chop to form a wedge, but the wood sealed.

Much time went by before someone discovered old Juhnin's emaciated body lying in front of his open door, still holding his blunted, broken axe. It was a mystery to all what he had been chopping with it, but the legend began circulating through Lorikh that Hist sap was found on the blade.

Shortly thereafter, small desert flowers began pushing through the dry dirt in the town. Trees and plants newly sown began to live tolerably well, if not luxuriantly. The Hist did not return, but Kamdida and the people of Lorikh noticed that at a certain time around twilight, long, wide shadows of great, bygone trees would fill the streets and hills.

Publisher's Note:

"The Seed" is one of Marobar Sul's tales whose origins are well known. This tale originated from the Argonian slaves of southern Morrowind. "Marobar Sul" merely replaced the Dunmer with Dwemer and claimed he found it in a Dwemer ruin. Furthermore, he later claimed that the Argonian version of the tale was merely a retelling of his "original!"

Lorikh, while clearly not a Dwemer name, simply does not exist, and in fact "Lorikh" was a name commonly used, incorrectly, for Dunmer men in Gor Felim's plays. The Argonian versions of the story usually take place on Vvardenfell, usually in the Telvanni city of Sadrith Mora. Of course the so-called "scholars" of Temple Zero will probably claim this story has something to do with "Lorkhan" simply because the town starts with the letter L.
309BookSkill_Axe4

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Five



Finally the simulacrum of the netchiman's wife became unstable. The Dwemer in their haste had built it shoddily and the ashes of Red Mountain slowed its golden tendons. Before long it fell on its knees beside the road to the lands of the Indoril and pitched over, to be discovered eighty days later by a merchant caravan on its way to the capital of Veloth, anon Almalexia.

Vivec had not been among his people all the days of his pre-life so he stayed silent and let the Chimer in the caravan think that the simulacrum was broken and empty.

A Chimeri warrior, who was protecting the caravan, said, 'Look here how the Dwemer try to fool us as ever, crafting our likenesses out of their flesh-metals. We should take this to the capital and show our mother Ayem. She will want to see this new strategy of our enemies.'

But the merchant captain said, 'I doubt that we shall be paid well for the effort. We can make more money if we stop at Noormoc and sell it to the Red Wives of Dagon, who pay well for the wonders made by the Deep Folk.'

But another Chimer, who was wise in the ways of prophecy, looked on the simulacrum with disquietude. 'Was I not hired on to help you seek the best of fortunes? I say you should listen to your warrior, then, and take this thing to Ayem, for though manufactured by our enemies there is something in it that will become sacred, or has been already.'

The merchant captain took pause then and looked on the simulacrum of the netchiman's wife and, though he heeded always the advice of his seers, could do no more than think of the profits to be made at Noormoc. He thought mainly of the Red Wives' form of recompense, which was four-cornered and good wounded, a belly-magic known nowhere else under the moons. His lust made him deny Ayem his mother. He gave order to change course for Noormoc.

Before the caravan could get underway again, the Chimeri warrior who had counseled a passage to the capital threw his money to the merchant captain and said, 'I will pay you thus for the simulacrum and warn you: war is coming with the shaggy men of the north and I will not have my mother Ayem at uneven odds with one enemy while tending to another.'

'Nerevar,' the merchant captain said, 'this is not enough. I am Triune in my own way, but I follow the road of my body and demand more.'

Then Vivec could not remain silent anymore and said into Nerevar's head these words:


'You can hear the words, so run away
Come, Hortator, unfold into a clear unknown,
Stay quiet until you've slept in the yesterday,
And say no elegies for the melting stone'


So Nerevar slew the merchant captain and took the caravan for his own.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
310BookSkill_Axe5

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Sixteen



The Hortator wandered through the Mourning Hold, wrestling with the lessons he had learned. They were slippery in his mind. He could not always keep the words straight and knew that this was a danger. He wandered to find Vivec, his lord and master, the glory of the image of Veloth, and found him of all places in the Temple of False Thinking. There, clockwork shears were taking off Vivec's hair. A beggar king had brought his loom and was making of the hair an incomplete map of adulthood and death.

Nerevar said, 'Why are you doing this, milord?'

Vivec said, 'To make room for the fire.'

And the Hortator could see that Vivec was out of sorts, though not because of the impending new power to come. The golden warrior-poet had been exercising his Water Face as well, learned from the dreughs before he was born.

Nerevar said, 'Is this to keep you from the fire?'

Vivec said, 'It is so that I may see with truth. It, and my place here at the altar of Padhome in the house of False Thinking, serve so that I may see beyond my own secrets. The Water Face cannot lie. It comes from the ocean, which is too busy to think, much less lie. Moving water resembles truth by its trembling.'

Nerevar said, 'I am afraid to become slipshod in my thinking.'

Vivec said, 'Reach heaven by violence then.'

So to quiet his mind the Hortator chose from the Fight Racks an axe. He named it and moved on to the first moon.

There, Nerevar was greeted by the Parliament of Craters, who knew him by title and resented his presence, for he was to be a ruling king of earth and this was the lunar realm. They shifted around him in a pattern of entrapment.

'The moon does not recognize crowns or scepters,' they said, 'nor the representatives of kingdoms below, lion or serpent or mathematician. We are the graves of those that have migrated and become ancient countries. We seek no Queens or thrones. Your appearance is decidedly solar, which is to say a library of stolen ideas. We are neither tear nor sorrow. Our revolution succeeded in the manner that is was written. You are the Hortator and unwelcome here.'

And so Nerevar carved at the grave ghosts until he was out of breath and their Parliament could make no new laws.

He said, 'I am not of the slaves that perish.'

Of the members of Parliament only a few survived the Hortator's attack.

A surviving Crater said, 'Appropriation is nothing new. Everything happens of itself. This motif is by no means unassociated with hero myths. You have not acted with the creative impulse; you fall below the weight of destiny. We are graves but not coffins. Know the difference. You have only dug more and supplied no ghosts to reside within. Central to your claim is the predominance of frail events. To be judged by the earth is to sit on a throne of wonder why. Damage us more and you will find naught but the absence of our dead.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
311BookSkill_Axe5_open

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Sixteen



The Hortator wandered through the Mourning Hold, wrestling with the lessons he had learned. They were slippery in his mind. He could not always keep the words straight and knew that this was a danger. He wandered to find Vivec, his lord and master, the glory of the image of Veloth, and found him of all places in the Temple of False Thinking. There, clockwork shears were taking off Vivec's hair. A beggar king had brought his loom and was making of the hair an incomplete map of adulthood and death.

Nerevar said, 'Why are you doing this, milord?'

Vivec said, 'To make room for the fire.'

And the Hortator could see that Vivec was out of sorts, though not because of the impending new power to come. The golden warrior-poet had been exercising his Water Face as well, learned from the dreughs before he was born.

Nerevar said, 'Is this to keep you from the fire?'

Vivec said, 'It is so that I may see with truth. It, and my place here at the altar of Padhome in the house of False Thinking, serve so that I may see beyond my own secrets. The Water Face cannot lie. It comes from the ocean, which is too busy to think, much less lie. Moving water resembles truth by its trembling.'

Nerevar said, 'I am afraid to become slipshod in my thinking.'

Vivec said, 'Reach heaven by violence then.'

So to quiet his mind the Hortator chose from the Fight Racks an axe. He named it and moved on to the first moon.

There, Nerevar was greeted by the Parliament of Craters, who knew him by title and resented his presence, for he was to be a ruling king of earth and this was the lunar realm. They shifted around him in a pattern of entrapment.

'The moon does not recognize crowns or scepters,' they said, 'nor the representatives of kingdoms below, lion or serpent or mathematician. We are the graves of those that have migrated and become ancient countries. We seek no Queens or thrones. Your appearance is decidedly solar, which is to say a library of stolen ideas. We are neither tear nor sorrow. Our revolution succeeded in the manner that is was written. You are the Hortator and unwelcome here.'

And so Nerevar carved at the grave ghosts until he was out of breath and their Parliament could make no new laws.

He said, 'I am not of the slaves that perish.'

Of the members of Parliament only a few survived the Hortator's attack.

A surviving Crater said, 'Appropriation is nothing new. Everything happens of itself. This motif is by no means unassociated with hero myths. You have not acted with the creative impulse; you fall below the weight of destiny. We are graves but not coffins. Know the difference. You have only dug more and supplied no ghosts to reside within. Central to your claim is the predominance of frail events. To be judged by the earth is to sit on a throne of wonder why. Damage us more and you will find naught but the absence of our dead.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
312BookSkill_Block1

The Death Blow of Abernanit
With Explains by the sage Geocrates Varnus



Broken battlements and wrecked walls
Where worship of the Horror (1) once embraced.
The bites of fifty winters (2) frost and wind
Have cracked and pitted the unholy gates,
And brought down the cruel, obscene spire.
All is dust, all is nothing more than dust.
The blood has dried and screams have echoed out.
Framed by hills in the wildest, forelorn place
Of Morrowind
Sits the barren bones of Abernanit.

When thrice-blessed Rangidil (3) first saw Abernanit,
It burnished silver bright with power and permanence.
A dreadful place with dreadful men to guard it
With fever glassed eyes and strength through the Horror.
Rangidil saw the foes' number was far greater
Than the few Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers he led,
Watching from the hills above, the field and castle of death
While it stood, it damned the souls of the people
Of Morrowind.
Accursed, iniquitous castle Abernanit.

The alarum was sounded calling the holy warriors to battle
To answer villiany's shield with justice's spear,
To steel themselves to fight at the front and be brave.
Rangidil too grasped his shield and his thin ebon spear
And the clamor of battle began with a resounding crash
To shake the clouds down from the sky.
The shield wall was smashed and blood staunched
The ground of the field, a battle like no other
Of Morrowind
To destroy the evil of Abernanit.

The maniacal horde were skilled at arms, for certes,
But the three holy fists of Mother, Lord, and Wizard (4) pushed
The monster's army back in charge after charge.
Rangidil saw from above, urging the army to defend,
Dagoth Thras (5) himself in his pernicious tower spire,
And knew that only when the heart of evil was caught
Would the land e'er be truly saved.
He pledge then by the Temple and the Holy Tribunal
Of Morrowind
To take the tower of Abernanit.

In a violent push, the tower base was pierced,
But all efforts to fell the spire came to naught
As if all the strength of the Horror held that one tower.
The stairwell up was steep and so tight
That two warriors could not ascend it side by side.
So single-file the army clambered up and up
To take the tower room and end the reign
Of one of the cruellest petty tyrants in the annals
Of Morrowind,
Dagoth Thras of Abernanit.

They awaited a victory cry from the first to scale the tower
But silence only returned, and then the blood,
First only a rivulet and then a scarlet course
Poured down the steep stairwell, with the cry from above,
�Dagoth Thras is besting our army one by one!�
Rangidil called his army back, every Ordinator and
Buoyant Armiger, and he himself ascended the stairs,
Passing the bloody remains of the best warriors
Of Morrowind
To the tower room of Abernanit.

Like a raven of death on its aerie was Dagoth Thras
Holding bloody shield and bloody blade at the tower room door.
Every thrust of Rangidil's spear was blocked with ease;
Every slash of Rangidil's blade was deflected away;
Every blow of Rangidil's mace was met by the shield;
Every quick arrow shot could find no purchase
For the Monster's greatest power was in his dread blessing
That no weapon from no warrior found in all
Of Morrowind
Could pass the shield of Abernanit.

As hour passed hour, Rangidil came to understand
How his greatest warriors met their end with Dagoth Thras.
For he could exhaust them by blocking their attacks
And then, thus weakened, they were simply cut down.
The villain was patient and skilled with the shield
And Rangidil felt even his own mighty arms growing numb
While Dagoth Thras anticipated and blocked each cut
And Rangidil feared that without the blessing of the Divine Three
Of Morrowind
He'd die in the tower of Abernanit.

But he still poured down blows as he yelled,
�Foe! I am Rangidil, a prince of the True Temple,
And I've fought in many a battle, and many a warrior
Has tried to stop my blade and has failed.
Very few can anticipate which blow I'm planning,
And fewer, knowing that, know how to arrest the design,
Or have the the strength to absord all of my strikes.
There is no greater master of shield blocking in all
Of Morrowind
Than here in the castle Abernanit.

My foe, dark lord Dagoth Thras, before you slay me,
I beg you, tell me how you know how to block.�
Wickedly proud, Dagoth Thras heard Rangidil's plea,
And decided that before he gutted the Temple champion,
He would deign to give him some knowledge for the afterlife,
How his instinct and reflexes worked, and as he started
To explain, he realized that he did not how he did it,
And watched, puzzled, as Rangidil delivered what the tales
Of Morrowind
Called �The death blow of Abernanit.�

(1) �The Horror� refers to the daedra prince Mehrunes Dagon.
(2) �Fifty winters� suggests that the epic was written fifty years after the Siege of Abernanit, which took place in 3E 150.
(3) �Thrice-blessed Rangidil� is Rangidil Ketil, born 2E 803, died 3E 195. He was the commander of the Temple Ordinators, and �thrice-blessed� by being blessed by the Tribunal of Gods.
(4) �Mother, Lord, and Wizard� refers to the Tribunal of Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil.
(5) �Dagoth Thras� was a powerful daedra-worshipper of unknown origin who declared himself the heir of the Sixth House, though there is little evidence he descended from the vanished family.

313bookskill_block2

The Mirror
by Berdier Wreans



The wind blew over the open plain, jostling the few trees within to move back and forth with the irritation of it. A young man in bright green turban approached the army and gave his chieftain's terms for peace to the commander. He was refused. It was to be battle, the battle of Ain-Kolur.

So the chief Iymbez had decreed his open defiance and his horsemen were at war once again. Many times the tribe had moved into territory that was not theirs to occupy, and many times the diplomatic approach had failed. It had come to this, at long last. It was just as well with Mindothrax. His allies may win or lose, but he would always survive. Though he had occasionally been on the losing side of a war, never once in all his thirty-four years had he lost in hand-to-hand combat.

The two armies poured like dual frothing streams through the dust, and when they met a clamor rang out, echoing into the hills. Blood, the first liquor the clay had tasted in many a month, danced like powder. The high and low battle cries of the rival tribes met in harmony as the armies dug into one another's flesh. Mindothrax was in the element he loved.

After ten hours of fighting with no ground given, both commanders called a mutual and honorable withdrawal from the field.

The camp was positioned in a high-walled garden of an old burial ground, adorned by springtide blossoms. As Mindothrax toured the grounds, he was reminded of his childhood home. It was a happy and a sad recollection, the purity of childhood ambition, all of his schooling in the ways of battle, but tinged with memories of his poor mother. A beautiful woman looking down at her son with both pride and unspoken sorrow. She never talked about what troubled her, but it came as no surprise to any when she took the walk across the moors and was found days later, her throat slit open by her own hand.

The army itself was like a colony of ants, newly shaken. Within a half hour's time after the end of the battle, they had reorganized as if by instinct. As the medicos looked to the wounded, someone remarked, with a measure of admiration and astonishment, �Look at Mindothrax. His hair isn't even out of place.�

�He is a mighty swordsman,� said the attending physician.

�The sword is a greatly overvalued article,� said Mindothrax, nevertheless pleased with the attention. �Warriors pay too much attention to striking and not enough in defending strikes. The proper way to go into battle is to defend yourself, and to hit your opponent only when the ideal moment arises.�

�I prefer a more straight-forward approach,� smiled one of the wounded. �It is the way of the horse men.�

�If it is the way of the Bjoulsae tribes to fail, then I renounce my heritage,� said Mindothrax, making a quick sign to the spirits that he was being expressive not blasphemous. �Remember what the great blademaster Gaiden Shinji said, 'The best techniques are passed on by the survivors.' I have been in thirty-six battles, and I haven't a scar to show for them. That is because I rely on my shield, and then my blade, in that order.�

�What is your secret?�

�Think of melee as a mirror. I look to my opponent's left arm when I am striking with my right. If he is prepared to block my blow, I blow not. Why exert undue force?� Mindothrax cocked an eyebrow, �But when I see his right arm tense, my left arm goes to my shield. You see, it takes twice as much power to send force than it does to deflect it. When your eye can recognize whether your opponent is striking from above, or at angle, or in an uppercut from below, you learn to pivot and place your shield just so to protect yourself. I could block for hours if need be, but it only takes a few minutes, or even seconds, for your opponent, used to battering, to leave a space open for your own strike.�

�What was the longest you've ever had to defend yourself?� asked the wounded man.

�I fought a man once for an hour's time,� said Mindothrax. �He was tireless with his bludgeoning, never giving me a moment to do aught but block his strikes. But finally, he took a moment too long in raising his cudgel and I found my mark in his chest. He struck my shield a thousand times, and I struck his heart but once. But that was enough.�

�So he was your greatest opponent?� asked the medico.

�Oh, indeed not,� said Mindothrax, turning his great shield so the silvery metal reflected his own face. �There is he.�

The next day, the battle recommenced. Chief Iymbez had brought in reinforcements from the islands to the south. To the horror and disgrace of the tribe, mercenaries, renegade horsemen and even some Reachmen witches were included in the war. As Mindothrax stared across the field at the armies assembling, putting on his helmet and readying his shield and blade, he thought again of his poor mother. What had tortured her so? Why had she never been able to look at her son without grief?

Between sunrise and sundown, the battle raged. A bright blue-sky overhead burned down on the combatants as they rushed against one another over and over again. In every melee, Mindothrax prevailed. A foe with an ax rained a series of strokes against his shield, but every one was deflected until at last Mindothrax could best the warrior. A spear maiden nearly pierced the shield with her first strike, but Mindothrax knew how to give with the blow, throwing her off balance and leaving her open for his counterstrike. Finally, he met a mercenary on the field, armed with shield and sword and a helm of golden bronze. For an hour and a half they battled.

Mindothrax tried every trick he knew. When the mercenary tensed his left arm, he held back his strike. When his opponent rose his sword, his shield rose too and expertly blocked. For the first time in his life, he was battling another defensive fighter. Stationary, reflective, with energy to battle for days if need be. Occasionally, another warrior would enter into the fray, sometimes from Mindothrax's army, sometimes from his opponent's. These distractions were swiftly dispatched, and the champions returned to their fight.

As they fought, circling one another, matching block for blow and blow for block, it dawned on Mindothrax that here at last he was fighting the perfect mirror.

It became more a game, almost a dance, than a battle of blood. It was not until Mindothrax missed his own step, striking too soon, throwing himself off balance, that the promenade was ended. He saw, rather than felt, the mercenary's blade rip across him from throat to chest. A good strike. The sort he himself might have delivered.

Mindothrax fell to the ground, feeling his life passing. The mercenary stood over him, prepared to give his worthy adversary the killing blow. It was a strange, honorable deed for an outsider to do, and Mindothrax was greatly moved. Across the battlefield, he heard someone call a name, similar to his own.

�Jurrifax!�

The mercenary removed his helmet to answer the call. As he did so, Mindothrax saw through the slits of his helmet his own reflection in the man. It was his own close-set eyes, red and brown hair, thin and wide mouth, and blunt chin. For a moment he marveled at the mirror, before the stranger turned back to him and delivered the death stroke.

Jurrifax returned to his commander and was well paid for his part in the day's victory. They retired for a hot meal under the stars in a garden by an old cairn that had previously been occupied by their foes. The mercenary was strangely quiet as he observed the land.

�Have you been here before, Jurrifax?� asked one of the tribesmen who had hired him.

�I was born a horseman just like you. My mother sold me when I was just a babe. I have always wondered how my life might have been different had I not been bartered away. I might never have been a mercenary.�

�There are many things that decide our fate,� said the witch. �It is madness to try to see how you might have taken this turn or that in the world. There are none exactly like yourself, so it is foolish to compare.�

�But there is one,� said Jurrifax, looking to the stars. �My master, before he set me free, said that my mother had twin sons when I was born. She could only afford to raise but one child, but somewhere out there, there is a man just like me. My brother. I hope to meet him.�

The witch saw the spirits before her and knew the truth that the twins had met already. She remained silent and stared into the fire, banishing the thoughts from her head, too wise to tell all.

314BookSkill_Block3

A Dance in Fire, Chapter 2
by Waughin Jarth



It was a complete loss. The Cathay-Raht had stolen or destroyed almost every item of value in the caravan in just a few minutes' time. Decumus Scotti's wagonload of wood he had hoped to trade with the Bosmer had been set on fire and then toppled off the bluff. His clothing and contracts were tattered and ground into the mud of dirt mixed with spilt wine. All the pilgrims, merchants, and adventurers in the group moaned and wept as they gathered the remnants of their belongings by the rising sun of the dawn.

�I best not tell anyone that I managed to hold onto my notes for my translation of the Mnoriad Pley Bar,� whispered the poet Gryf Mallon. �They'd probably turn on me.�

Scotti politely declined the opportunity of telling Mallon just how little value he himself placed on the man's property. Instead, he counted the coins in his purse. Thirty-four gold pieces. Very little indeed for an entrepreneur beginning a new business.

�Hoy!� came a cry from the wood. A small party of Bosmer emerged from the thicket, clad in leather mail and bearing arms. �Friend or foe?�

�Neither,� growled the convoy head.

�You must be the Cyrodiils,� laughed the leader of the group, a tall skeleton-thin youth with a sharp vulpine face. �We heard you were en route. Evidently, so did our enemies.�

�I thought the war was over,� muttered one of the caravan's now ruined merchants.

The Bosmer laughed again: �No act of war. Just a little border enterprise. You are going on to Falinesti?�

�I'm not,� the convoy head shook his head. �As far as I'm concerned, my duty is done. No more horses, no more caravan. Just a fat profit loss to me.�

The men and women crowded around the man, protesting, threatening, begging, but he refused to step foot in Valenwood. If these were the new times of peace, he said, he'd rather come back for the next war.

Scotti tried a different route and approached the Bosmer. He spoke with an authoritative but friendly voice, the kind he used in negotiations with peevish carpenters: �I don't suppose you'd consider escorting me to Falinesti. I'm a representative for an important Imperial agency, the Atrius Building Commission, here to help repair and alleviate some of the problems the war with the Khajiit brought to your province. Patriotism --�

�Twenty gold pieces, and you must carry your own gear if you have any left,� replied the Bosmer.

Scotti reflected that negotiations with peevish carpenters rarely went his way either.

Six eager people had enough gold on them for payment. Among those without funds was the poet, who appealed to Scotti for assistance.

�I'm sorry, Gryf, I only have fourteen gold left over. Not even enough for a decent room when I get to Falinesti. I really would help you if I could,� said Scotti, persuading himself that it was true.

The band of six and their Bosmer escorts began the descent down a rocky path along the bluff. Within an hour's time, they were deep in the jungles of Valenwood. A never-ending canopy of hues of browns and greens obscured the sky. A millennia's worth of fallen leaves formed a deep, wormy sea of putrefaction beneath their feet. Several miles were crossed wading through the slime. For several more, they took a labyrinthian path across fallen branches and the low-hanging boughs of giant trees.

All the while, hour after hour, the inexhaustible Bosmer host moved so fast, the Cyrodiils struggled to keep from being left behind. A red-faced little merchant with short legs took a bad step on a rotten branch and nearly fell. His fellow provincials had to help him up. The Bosmer paused only a moment, their eyes continually darting to the shadows in the trees above before moving on at their usual expeditious pace.

�What are they so nervous about?� wheezed the merchant irritably. �More Cathay-Raht?�

�Don't be ridiculous,� laughed the Bosmer unconvincingly. �Khajiiti this far into Valenwood? In times of peace? They'd never dare.�

When the group passed high enough above the swamp that the smell was somewhat dissipated, Scotti felt a sudden pang of hunger. He was used to four meals a day in the Cyrodilic custom. Hours of nonstop exertion without food was not part of his regimen as a comfortably paid clerk. He pondered, feeling somewhat delirious, how long they had been trotting through the jungle. Twelve hours? Twenty? A week? Time was meaningless. Sunlight was only sporadic through the vegetative ceiling. Phosphorescent molds on the trees and in the muck below provided the only regular illumination.

�Is it at all possible for us to rest and eat?� he hollered to his host up ahead.

�We're near to Falinesti,� came the echoing reply. �Lots of food there.�

The path continued upward for several hours more across a clot of fallen logs, rising up to the first and then the second boughs of the tree line. As they rounded a long corner, the travelers found themselves midway up a waterfall that fell a hundred feet or more. No one had the energy to complain as they began pulling up the stacks of rock, agonizing foot by foot. The Bosmer escorts disappeared into the mist, but Scotti kept climbing until there was no more rock left. He wiped the sweat and river water from his eyes.

Falinesti spread across the horizon before him. Sprawling across both banks of the river stood the mighty graht-oak city, with groves and orchards of lesser trees crowding it like supplicants before their king. At a lesser scale, the tree that formed the moving city would have been extraordinary: gnarled and twisted with a gorgeous crown of gold and green, dripping with vines and shining with sap. At a mile tall and half as wide, it was the most magnificent thing Scotti had ever seen. If he had not been a starving man with the soul of a clerk, he would have sung.

�There you are,� said the leader of the escorts. �Not too far a walk. You should be glad it's wintertide. In summertide, the city's on the far south end of the province.�

Scotti was lost as to how to proceed. The sight of the vertical metropolis where people moved about like ants disoriented all his sensibilities.

�You wouldn't know of an inn called,� he paused for a moment, and then pulled Jurus's letter from his pocket. �Something like 'Mother Paskos Tavern'?�

�Mother Pascost?� the lead Bosmer laughed his familiar contemptuous laugh. �You won't want to stay there? Visitors always prefer the Aysia Hall in the top boughs. It's expensive, but very nice.�

�I'm meeting someone at Mother Pascost's Tavern.�

�If you've made up your mind to go, take a lift to Havel Slump and ask for directions there. Just don't get lost and fall asleep in the western cross.�

This apparently struck the youth's friends as a very witty jest, and so it was with their laughter echoing behind him that Scotti crossed the writhing root system to the base of Falinesti. The ground was littered with leaves and refuse, and from moment to moment a glass or a bone would plummet from far above, so he walked with his neck crooked to have warning. An intricate network of platforms anchored to thick vines slipped up and down the slick trunk of the city with perfect grace, manned by operators with arms as thick as an ox's belly. Scotti approaches the nearest fellow at one of the platforms, who was idly smoking from a glass pipe.

�I was wondering if you might take me to Havel Slump.�

The mer nodded and within a few minutes time, Scotti was two hundred feet in the air at a crook between two mighty branches. Curled webs of moss stretched unevenly across the fork, forming a sharing roof for several dozen small buildings. There were only a few souls in the alley, but around the bend ahead, he could hear the sound of music and people. Scotti tipped the Falinesti Platform Ferryman a gold piece and asked for the location of Mother Pascost's Tavern.

�Straight ahead of you, sir, but you won't find anyone there,� the Ferryman explained, pointing in the direction of the noise. �Morndas everyone in Havel Slump has revelry.�

Scotti walked carefully along the narrow street. Though the ground felt as solid as the marble avenues of the Imperial City, there were slick cracks in the bark that exposed fatal drops into the river. He took a moment to sit down, to rest and get used to the view from the heights. It was a beautiful day for certain, but it took Scotti only a few minutes of contemplation to rise up in alarm. A jolly little raft anchored down stream below him had distinctly moved several inches while he watched it. But it hadn't moved at all. He had. Together with everything around him. It was no metaphor: the city of Falinesti walked. And, considering its size, it moved quickly.

Scotti rose to his feet and into a cloud of smoke that drifted out from around the bend. It was the most delicious roast he had ever smelled. The clerk forgot his fear and ran.

The �revelry� as the Ferryman had termed it took place on an enormous platform tied to the tree, wide enough to be a plaza in any other city. A fantastic assortment of the most amazing people Scotti had ever seen were jammed shoulder-to-shoulder together, many eating, many more drinking, and some dancing to a lutist and singer perched on an offshoot above the crowd. They were largely Bosmer, true natives clad in colorful leather and bones, with a close minority of orcs. Whirling through the throng, dancing and bellowing at one another were a hideous ape people. A few heads bobbing over the tops of the crowd belonged not, as Scotti first assumed, to very tall people, but to a family of centaurs.

�Care for some mutton?� queried a wizened old mer who roasted an enormous beast on some red-hot rocks.

Scotti quickly paid him a gold piece and devoured the leg he was given. And then another gold piece and another leg. The fellow chuckled when Scotti began choking on a piece of gristle, and handed him a mug of a frothing white drink. He drank it and felt a quiver run through his body as if he were being tickled.

�What is that?� Scotti asked.

�Jagga. Fermented pig's milk. I can let you have a flagon of it and a bit more mutton for another gold.�

Scotti agreed, paid, gobbled down the meat, and took the flagon with him as he slipped into the crowd. His co-worker Liodes Jurus, the man who had told him to come to Valenwood, was nowhere to be seen. When the flagon was a quarter empty, Scotti stopped looking for Jurus. When it was half empty, he was dancing with the group, oblivious to the broken planks and gaps in the fencework. At three quarters empty, he was trading jokes with a group of creatures whose language was completely alien to him. By the time the flagon was completely drained, he was asleep, snoring, while the revelry continued on all around his supine body.

The next morning, still asleep, Scotti had the sensation of someone kissing him. He made a face to return the favor, but a pain like fire spread through his chest and forced him to open his eyes. There was an insect the size of a large calf sitting on him, crushing him, its spiky legs holding him down while a central spiral-bladed vortex of a mouth tore through his shirt. He screamed and thrashed but the beast was too strong. It had found its meal and it was going to finish it.

It's over, thought Scotti wildly, I should have never left home. I could have stayed in the City, and perhaps found work with Lord Vanech. I could have begun again as a junior clerk and worked my way back up.

Suddenly the mouth released itself. The creature shivered once, expelled a burst of yellow bile, and died.

�Got one!� cried a voice, not too distantly.

For a moment, Scotti lay still. His head throbbed and his chest burned. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement. Another of the horrible monsters was scurried towards him. He scrambled, trying to push himself free, but before he could come out, there was a sound of a bow cracking and an arrow pierced the second insect.

�Good shot!� cried another voice. �Get the first one again! I just saw it move a little!�

This time, Scotti felt the impact of the bolt hit the carcass. He cried out, but he could hear how muffled his voice was by the beetle's body. Cautiously, he tried sliding a foot out and rolling under, but the movement apparently had the effect of convincing the archers that the creature still lived. A volley of arrows was launched forth. Now the beast was sufficiently perforated so pools of its blood, and likely the blood of its victims, began to seep out onto Scotti's body.

When Scotti was a lad, before he grew too sophisticated for such sports, he had often gone to the Imperial Arena for the competitions of war. He recalled a great veteran of the fights, when asked, telling him his secret, �Whenever I'm in doubt of what to do, and I have a shield, I stay behind it.�

Scotti followed that advice. After an hour, when he no longer heard arrows being fired, he threw aside the remains of the bug and leapt as quickly as he could to a stand. It was not a moment too soon. A gang of eight archers had their bows pointing his direction, ready to fire. When they saw him, they laughed.

�Didn't anyone ever tell you not to sleep in the western cross? How're we going to exterminate all the hoarvors if you drunks keep feeding 'em?�

Scotti shook his head and walked back along the platform, round the bend, to Havel Slump. He was bloodied and torn and tired and he had far too much fermented pig's milk. All he wanted was a proper place to lie down. He stepped into Mother Pascost's Tavern, a dank place, wet with sap, smelling of mildew.

�My name is Decumus Scotti,� he said. �I was hoping you have someone named Jurus staying here.�

�Decumus Scotti?� pondered the fleshy proprietress, Mother Pascost herself. �I've heard that name. Oh, you must be the fellow he left the note for. Let me go see if I can find it.�
315BookSkill_Block4

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Seven



As the caravan of Nerevar now made for the capital of Veloth, anon Almalexia, there came great rumblings from the oblivion. A duke among scamps wandered into the House of Troubles, pausing before each scripture door to pay his respects, until finally he was met by the major domo of Mehrunes Dagon.

The Duke of Scamps said, 'I was summoned by Lord Dagon, master of the foul waters and fire, and I have brought the pennants of my seven legions.'

The major domo, whose head was a bubble of foul water and fire, bowed low, so that the head of the Duke of Scamps became enclosed in his own.

He saw the first pennant, which commanded a legion of grim warriors who could die at least twice.

He saw the second pennant, which commanded a legion of winged bulls and the emperor of color that rode upon each.

He saw the third pennant, which commanded a legion of inverted gorgons, great snakes whose scales were the faces of men.

He saw the fourth pennant, which commanded a legion of double-crossed lovers.

He saw the fifth pennant, which commanded a legion of jumping wounds looking to hop onto a victim.

He saw the sixth pennant, which commanded a legion of abridged planets.

He saw the seventh pennant, which commanded a legion of armored winning moves.

To which the major domo said, 'Duke Kh-Utta, your legions while mighty are not enough to destroy Nerevar or the Triune way. Look upon the Hortator and see the wisdom he takes to wife.'

And they looked into the middle world and saw:

Evaporating in a throng of thunder
Of red war and chitin men,
Where destines
Take him further from our ways
The heat that we have wanted
And pray they still remember,
Where destines
Clothe the distance,
Glad in the golden east that we saw it now,
Instead of the war and repair
Of the oblivious fracture
A curse on the Hortator
And two more on his hands

And the Duke of Scamps saw the palms of the Hortator, upon which the egg had written these words of power: GHARTOK PADHOME GHARTOK PADHOME.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
316BookSkill_Block5

The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec: Sermon Thirty-Two



The Scripture of the Mace, First:

'The pleasure of annihilation is the pleasure of disappearing into the unreal. All those that would challenge the sleeping world will seek membership in this movement. I denounce the alienation of the Cloven Duality with a hammer.'

Second:

'Take from me the lessons as a punishment for being mortal. To be made of dirt is to be treated as such by your jailers. This is the key and the lock of the Daedra. Why do you think they escaped the compromise?'

Third:

'Velothi, your skin has become the pregnant darkness. My brooding has brought this on. Remember that Boethiah asked you to become the color of bruise. How else to show yourselves people of the exodus into the vital: pain?'

Fourth:

'The sage who is not an anvil: a conventional sentence and nothing more. By which I mean dead, the fourth walking way.'

Fifth:

'A proper comprehension of the virtues: stage-managed and to be murdered.'

Sixth:

'In the end, rejoice as a hostage released from drumming torment but that savors his wound. The drum breaks and you find it to be a nest of hornets, which is to say: your sleep is over.'

Seventh:

'The suspicious is spectacle and the lie is only a theoretical inspiration.'

Eighth:

'But then why, you ask, do the Daedra wish to meddle with the Aurbis? It is because they are the radical critique, essential as all martyrs. That some are more evil than others in not an illusion. Or rather, it is a necessary illusion.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
317bookskill_blunt weapon1

The Hope of the Redoran
by Turiul Nirith



One of the few magical arts the Psijics of Artaeum have kept to themselves, away from the common spells and schools of the Mages Guild, is the gift of divination. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, omens and prophesies abound in Tamriel, some of substance, others of pure folly, and still others so ambiguous as to be unverifiable. There are still other prophesies kept secret, from the prophesies of Dro'Jizad in Elsweyr and the Nerevarine in Morrowind, to the Elder Scrolls themselves.

The Nord nobility have a tradition of having omens read for their children. In general, these readings are of the obscure variety. One of my acquaintances told me that her parents were told, for example, that their daughter would have her life rescued by a snake, and so gave her the name Serpentkin in a special ceremony. And this young lady, Eria Valkor Serpentkin, was indeed saved by a snake many years later, when an assassin creeping on her stepped on a danswyrm viper.

Occasionally, omens seem to be almost purposefully misleading, as if Boethiah had crafted them as traps. I recall one particularly. Many, many years ago, a male child was born into House Redoran. It was a very difficult birth, and the mother was delirious and near death by the time it was over. She chanted just as her son came into the world and she passed from it.

Fortune has smiled this day not frowned
My child will be mighty in mind and in arm
He shall bring hope to House Redoran
Neither spell nor blade shall hurt the man
Nor illness nor poison cause any harm
His blood shall never drop on the ground

The boy, named Andas, was indeed extraordinary. He never was ill and never suffered so much as a scratch all through his childhood. He was also quite intelligent and strong, which, combined with his invulnerability, caused many to call him, after his mother's omen, the Hope of the Redoran. Of course, any one who is called the Hope of the Redoran will eventually develop some taint of impertinence, and it wasn't long before he had enemies.

His worst enemy was his cousin Athyn, who had borne much abuse at the hands of Andas. Primary among the grudges was that Athyn had been sent to Rihad to complete his education at Andas's insistence. When Athyn returned from Hammerfell, it was because of the death of his father, who had also been a councilor of the House. Athyn was old enough to take his seat in the Council, but Andas claimed the seat as well, saying that his cousin had been gone too long from Morrowind and didn't understand politics as he did. The majority of the House agreed with Andas, wanting to see the Hope of Redoran rise quickly.

Athyn exercised his right to combat his cousin for the seat. No one thought he had any chance of winning, of course, but the battle was scheduled to commence the following morn. Andas whored and dined and drank with the councilors that night, confident that his place in the House was secured and the hopeful new dawn of House Redoran was rising. Athyn retired to his castle with his friends, Andas's enemies, and his servants he had brought from Hammerfell.

Athyn and his friends were discussing the duel morosely when one of his old teachers, a warrior called Shardie, came into the hall. She had grown quite proud of her student over the years in Hammerfell, proud enough to accompany him across the Empire to his family's lands, and wanted to know why they had so little confidence in his odds in the battle. They explained to her Andas's uncommon blessings and the nature of his mother's omen.

�If he can't be harmed by disease, poison, magicka, and his blood can never be spilled, what hope have I of ever besting him?� cried Athyn.

�Have you remembered nothing I taught you?� replied Shardie. �Is there no weapon you can think of that will slay without blood? Are swords and spears and arrows the only items in your arsenal?�

Athyn quickly realized the weapon Shardie was speaking of, but it seemed absurd. Not only absurd, but pathetic and primitive. Still, it was the only hope he had. All that night, Shardie trained him in the art and techniques, showing him the various swings and stances her people had developed in Albion-Gora; counter-attacks, feints, and blocks imported from Yokuda; the classic one and two-handed grips for the most ancient weapon in history.

The cousins faced one another the next morning, and never have two combatants looked so unevenly matched. Andas's entrance brought a great cheer, for not only was he much beloved as the Hope of the Redoran, but as his victory was a foregone conclusion, most wanted to be in good standing with him. His shining mail and blade drew admiration and awe. By contrast, Athyn drew a gasp of surprise and only a smattering of polite applause. He appeared costumed and armed like a barbarian.

As Shardie had suggested, Athyn allowed Andas to attack first. The Hope of the Redoran was eager to finish the battle and take the power he deserved quickly. The blade pushed by Andas's mighty arm slashed across Athyn's chest, but shallowly, and before it could be counterswung, Athyn knocked it back with his own weapon. When Athyn attacked and wounded Andas, the Hope of the Redoran was so surprised by being hurt for the first time in his life, he dropped his sword.

The less said about the end of the battle, the better. Suffice it to say that Athyn, wielding a simple club, battered Andas to death without spilling a drop of blood.

Athyn took his father's seat as councilor, and it was then said that the hope in the omen referred to Athyn, not Andas. After all, had Andas not tried to take the councilor seat away from his cousin, Athyn, being not very ambitious, might have never tried to get it. It can certainly be argued that way, I suppose.

318BookSkill_Blunt Weapon2

The Importance of Where
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part III
By Marobar Sul



The chieftain of Othrobar gathered his wise men together and said, �Every morning a tenfold of my flock are found butchered. What is the cause?�

Fangbith the Warleader said, �A Monster may be coming down from the Mountain and devouring your flock.�

Ghorick the Healer said, �A strange new disease perhaps is to blame.�

Beran the Priest said, �We must sacrifice to the Goddess for her to save us.�

The wise men made sacrifices, and while they waited for their answers from the Goddess, Fangbith went to Mentor Joltereg and said, �You taught me well how to forge the cudgel of Zolia, and how to wield it in combat, but I must know now when it is wise to use my skill. Do I wait for the Goddess to reply, or the medicine to work, or do I hunt the Monster which I know is in the Mountain?�

�When is not important,� said Joltereg. �Where is all that is important.�

So Fangbith took his Zolic cudgel in hand and walked far through the dark forest until he came to the base of the Great Mountain. There he met two Monsters. One bloodied with the flesh of the chieftain of Othrobar's flock fought him while its mate fled. Fangbith remembered what his master had taught him, that �where� was all that was important.

He struck the Monster on each of its five vital points: head, groin, throat, back, and chest. Five blows to the five points and the Monster was slain. It was too heavy to carry with him, but still triumphant, Fangbith returned to Othrobar.

�I say I have slain the Monster that ate your flock,� he cried.

�What proof have you that you have slain any Monster?� asked the chieftain.

�I say I have saved the flock with my medicine,� said Ghorick the Healer.

�I say The Goddess has saved the flock by my sacrifices,� said Beran the Priest.

Two mornings went by and the flocks were safe, but on the morning of the third day, another tenfold of the chieftain's flock was found butchered. Ghorick the Healer went to his study to find a new medicine. Beran the Priest prepared more sacrifices. Fangbith took his Zolic cudgel in hand, again, and walked far through the dark forest until he came to the base of the Great Mountain. There he met the other Monster, bloodied with the flesh of the chieftain of Othrobar's flock. They did battle, and again Fangbith remembered what his master had taught him, that �where� was all that was important.

He struck the Monster five times on the head and it fled. Chasing it along the mountain, he struck it five times in the groin and it fled. Running through the forest, Fangbith overtook the Monster and struck it five times in the throat and it fled. Entering into the fields of Othrobar, Fangbith overtook the Monster and struck it five times in the back and it fled. At the foot of the stronghold, the chieftain and his wise men emerged to the sound of the Monster wailing. There they beheld the Monster that had slain the chieftain's flock. Fangbith struck the Monster five times in the chest and it was slain.

A great feast was held in Fangbith's honor, and the flock of Othrobar was never again slain. Joltereg embraced his student and said, �You have at last learned the importance of where you strike your blows.�

Publisher's Note:

This tale is another, which has an obvious origin among the Ashlander tribes of Vvardenfell and is one of their oldest tales. "Marobar Sul" merely changed the names of the character to sound more "Dwarven" and resold it as part of his collection. The Great Mountain in the tale is clearly "Red Mountain," despite its description of being forested. The Star-Fall and later eruptions destroyed the vegetation on Red Mountain, giving it the wasted appearance it has today.

This tale does have some scholarly interest, as it suggests a primitive Ashlander culture, but it talks of living in "strongholds" much like the ruined strongholds on Vvardenfell today. There are even references to a stronghold of "Othrobar" somewhere between Vvardenfell and Skyrim, but few strongholds outside of sparsely-settled Vvardenfell have survived to the present. Scholars do not agree on who built these strongholds or when, but I believe it is clear from this story and other evidence that the Ashlander tribes used these strongholds in the ancient past instead of making camps of wickwheat huts as they do today.

The play on words that forms the lesson of the fable -- that it is as important to know where the monster should be slain, at the stronghold, as it is to know where the monster must be struck on its body to be slain -- is typical of many Ashlander tales. Riddles, even ones as simple as this one, are loved by both the Ashlanders and the vanished Dwemer. Although the Dwemer are usually portrayed as presenting the riddles, rather than being the ones who solve it as in Ashlander tales.

319bookskill_blunt weapon3

Night Falls On Sentinel
By Boali



No music played in the Nameless Tavern in Sentinel, and indeed there was very little sound except for discreet, cautious murmurs of conversation, the soft pad of the barmaid's feet on stone, and the delicate slurping of the regular patrons, tongues lapping at their flagons, eyes focused on nothing at all. If anyone were less otherwise occupied, the sight of the young Redguard woman in a fine black velvet cape might have aroused surprise. Even suspicion. As it were, the strange figure, out of place in an underground cellar so modest it had no sign, blended into the shadows.

�Are you Jomic?�

The stout, middle-aged man with a face older than his years looked up and nodded. He returned to his drink. The young woman took the seat next to him.

�My name is Haballa,� she said and pulled out a small bag of gold, placing it next to his mug.

�Sure it be,� snarled Jomic, and met her eyes again. �Who d'you want dead?�

She did not turn away, but merely asked, �Is it safe to talk here?�

�No one cares about nobody else's problems but their own here. You could take off your cuirass and dance bare-breasted on the table, and no one'd even spit,� the man smiled. �So who d'you want dead?�

�No one, actually,� said Haballa. �The truth is, I only want someone ... removed, for a while. Not harmed, you understand, and that's why I need a professional. You come highly recommended.�

�Who you been talking to?� asked Jomic dully, returning to his drink.

�A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend.�

�One of them friends don't know what he's talking about,� grumbled the man. �I don't do that any more.�

Haballa quietly took out another purse of gold and then another, placing them at the man's elbow. He looked at her for a moment and then poured the gold out and began counting. As he did, he asked, �Who d'you want removed?�

�Just a moment,� smiled Haballa, shaking her head. �Before we talk details, I want to know that you're a professional, and you won't harm this person very much. And that you'll be discreet.�

�You want discreet?� the man paused in his counting. �Awright, I'll tell you about an old job of mine. It's been - by Arkay, I can hardly believe it - more 'n twenty years, and no one but me's alive who had anything to do with the job. This is back afore the time of the War of Betony, remember that?�

�I was just a baby.�

�'Course you was,� Jomic smiled. �Everyone knows that King Lhotun had an older brother Greklith what died, right? And then he's got his older sister Aubki, what married that King fella in Daggerfall. But the truth's that he had two elder brothers.�

�Really?� Haballa's eyes glistened with interest.