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The Argonian Mating Ritual

Author: 
Valrendil of the Crystal Tower

by Valrendil of the Crystal Tower, Research-Appointee to the Thalmor

I shall endeavor to shed light on these most mysterious creatures, the Argonians, paying particular attention to their mating rituals.

Many speak in whispers of the Hist, a faceless entity with whom all Argonians claim bonds. According to legend, the Hist lives at the heart of Black Marsh in a tree that routinely walks the lands, patrolling its borders.

Some say the wandering Hist is a metaphor for the Argonian condition. Doomed to toil amongst the fetid swamps, they desire a way out of their misery. Somehow the Argonians continue to survive, their numbers neither rising nor falling regardless of adversity.

The lizard-folk view mating as a simple call to procreation by their leader, the Hist. To participate in this annual event, Argonians travel to the town of Hissmir and engage in several trials. The trial winners are allowed to mate, while losers must return the following year.

Though I was unable to observe this year's trials, I hope to attend next year in order to learn more about these strange and sub-Elven reptilians.

Crafting Motif 9: Argonian Style

Author: 
Doctor Alfidia Lupus

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

This morning my maid Dariella came to me all a-twitter with the news that there was a lizard-woman at the door, asking for me and insisting it was urgent. There aren't many Argonians in the City, and it occurred to me this might be a relative of Seif-ij, sent with some dreadful news about Morian, so I donned my University robe and hurried down.

There was indeed a young lizard-woman waiting in the street, clad in a fetching spidersilk jumper adorned with intricate spiral designs. She said her name was Lifts-Her-Tail (which I thought must be a joke, but who can tell, given these reptilians' impassive features), and she'd been sent to bring me to her master, Desh-Wulm the Perspicuous. She said she didn't know what it was about, but it was a matter of some urgency, and she was to lead me to her master immediately. I nodded, nervously, and followed.

The Argonian lass led me out the Temple gate and down to the Docks, far out on the end of which we found a curious old house I'd never before noticed, with a dark sign by the door that read "The Xanmeer"—a word unfamiliar to me. We went inside to find a large house entirely occupied by Argonians, a dozen or so who seemingly lived there using all the rooms in common. Everywhere I looked I saw Argonian hangings, sculptures, and fetishes, all made from natural materials such as shells, bone, and feathers, glowing with bright spiral and geometric designs. If these objects were representative of what the Argonians used in their home regions, then snakeskin, tortoise shell, jagged teeth, turquoise and jade, all of which we would consider exotic materials, must be commonplace in Black Marsh,.

Lifts-Her-Tail led me up a ramp that had apparently replaced the house's staircase. On the upper level she introduced me to a humid room that, to me at least, smelled of decay and mold. Coughing, I entered, discovering a room almost entirely full of potted jungle plants—some of them seemingly long-dead and rotting. I stepped on something that squished beneath my sandal and stepped involuntarily back, but the lizard-lass gently took my hand, drew me past a wall of ferns and into the center of the room.

There, incongruously, I discovered a large porcelain Nibenese bathtub, like the one in my own vanity chamber, though this one was filled almost to the rim with a noisome, greenish mud. And lying in this mud, nose barely above the surface, was the oldest Argonian I'd ever seen.

In fact, the withered and wizened lizard-man looked so much like a mummy I was startled when it opened its mouth and spoke. In a voice like creaking leather, the reptilian slowly said, "I am Desh-Wulm. You are Al-Phid, Brightest Star of the City. You are welcome in my uxith—my nest."

He seemed to be looking someplace over my shoulder, and I saw that the old lizard's eyes were clouded over with an opalescent film—he was blind. This infirmity was somehow reassuring, enabling me to regain my self-possession and fall gratefully into the routines of etiquette. I bowed—though he couldn't see it—and said, "I am honored to be received into your home, venerable Desh-Wulm. How can one such as I be of service to an Elder of Wisdom?"

"You can beware!" he croaked, scaled hands emerging from the mud and levering him up on the rim of the bathtub. "Your dryskin mages—the weft unravels about them," he said, more calmly, making an unfamiliar spiral gesture above the tub. "It is wrong. The Aurbic skeins should not be disjoined with intent of malice."

I had been around wizards long enough to guess at what he meant. "Morian?" I gasped. "And Divayth? They're in danger? What can I do?"

Desh-Wulm clacked his jaws twice, and then said, "You are capable. You must stop them. You will prevail. If not," three sharp spines rose up from his brow, "there will be ill dreams and serration for all who swim the river. Kaoc!" The old Argonian suddenly began thrashing about in the tub, spilling muck over the sides. "Theilul!"

Lifts-Her-Tail deftly picked up a jug that seemed to be made from a single insect's carapace, uncorked it, and poured some brown liquor down the old lizard-man's throat. "Go!" she hissed, pointing toward the door. "Do as he says! Now!"
I turned, ran out of the room, down the ramp, out the door, and back to the Imperial City.

GT Noonan's Posts

Author: 
GT Noonan

Scribs in Morrowind society

You have all seen the Scrib. It's what you would get if you stepped on a Spider, a Roach, and a Puppy all at the same time. I imagine that if and when the children in Vvardenfell come out from hiding, you might see them walking these Scribs around the block on a leash. Fairly tamed little buggers until you kick one. Then it turns on ya with quite a punch.

On Khajiit and Argonian variants (08/08/00)

The Pocket Guide explains the Khajiit rather well. They basically are one race, but range from very humanoid to perhaps an actual cat-like appearance. You could probably mistaken the most humanoid one for a human, while the most beast-like one you might take as a cheetah or something. This is my best idea/suggestion anyways. The same can probably be said for the Argonians. They may range from either a very humanlike apprearance to a crocodile-like appearance. I guess it depends on how many times they decide to lick the tree (refer to the PGE).

On Khajiit

Remember, Khajiit come in many forms. The closer you get to their homelands, the more wild they may appear. Though wild looking, this does not mean they are more primitive thinkers. There may or may not be different forms of the Khajiit in MW (I'm not the animator, so I wouldnt know) so just keep your eyes open for them.

Also, another point to be taken is that since Dark Elves use Khajiit and Argonian slaves, the nature of these slaves is most likely to be more Kitty-like, or primitive. There are reasons for the look, so dont think that it was just a snap decision.

[...]

5) Perhaps in future products, you can have the choice to play different types of Khajiit. Gentlemen prefer Ohmes... although I have to admit I like the way the Suthay-raht (sometimes called ja-Khajiit, though this is either a deliberate insult or a translation error) in Vvardenfell have turned out.
6) If Khajiit have six breasts, which I will neither confirm nor deny, only the top two have visually-pleasing fat deposits in most "beeds."
7) Only three "breeds" of Khajiit have the, um, adaptation discussed in The Real Barenziah which occurs in Earth-cats for entirely different reasons.
8) Khajiit are not like cats in every way. They are not exactly like humans either. I should know because I made all this stuff up.

What are Argonians like, biologically? (01/15/01)

Because they ARE "morphically diverse" (as you put it), I would seriously say that Argonians can be very mammalian or reptilian. They can be warm blooded or cold blooded. They can lay eggs or have very humanlike deliveries. Remember, given the nature of their being, they can appear as simple crocodile-like creatures or humans with scales and tails. The possibilities are quite great actually.

Do they have matched upper and lower teeth sets, like humans? (01/15/01)

Well, once again, they can. And then there are the ones that allow birds to clean their teeth.

Argonians can't kiss. (01/15/01)

Very UNtrue, given the structuring of the Argonian in question.

What Earth reptile are Argonians most like? (01/15/01)

Unanswerable. They can look like whatever reptilian creature you wanna imagine in my mind. Hell, maybe even turtle-like if you wish.

Are Argonians emotional? (01/15/01)

Depends on the evolved status of the particular Argonian. The less "humanlike", the more out of touch with its feelings and emotions (I would imagine). We can honestly tell if a crocodile or a salamander shows emotions, so I can only pretend to know this answer. Specualtion probably depends on how far you want to go into a character.

What is a typical Argonian view of each of the other races? (01/15/01)

I take it you are talking about an Argonian of humanlike evolution and STILL residing in Black Marsh. If so, their feelings are probably more geared towards the Dark Elves and the Cyrodils. There may be some disgust for the Dark Elves due to enslavement and there may be some, but very little, lack of trust for the Cyrodils. They tolerate all races however, and most likely fear none of them. Afterall, who is gonna risk conquering Black Marsh at the expense of getting the Fever?

Are the Argonians naturally diverse, or are there multiple species of Argonains? (01/15/01)

No, not another race, simply a version of the same. 

The Hist Sap may very well play a large part in this. The sap is the possible agent for their evolved or de-evolved appearance? I think so. You heard the term "licking trees" from MK once? Secreted sap from the trees lends a powerful toxin which may allow an Argonian to "graduate" to another stage of evolution. This may be a ritual event for certain members of clans or perhaps citizens who are awarded the "right" to evolve. I cant actually say its "evolving" but thats a more comprehensible term to use for this case. If you take on the form of a crocodile or newt, this doesnt exactly mean you are "lower" or "unintelligent". I think the sap only alters the appearance and not the mental. This is ONE race, not a series of subraces. There is only ONE Argonian species. Just as Obsidian said, dogs are all one species too, but they take on many appearances. The same can be seen with the Khajiit.

Why do Argonians look different in each TES game? (01/15/01)

The reason for the Argonians looking differeht all the time in different TES games really is just part of OUR evolution in design and such. With the ability for Argonians to look different due to their ritual tree licking, it allows us to keep the pace of the game going steady and looking new and almost original in all of the upcoming games. Seeing the same characters over and over could lend itself to some real boredom. But, this isnt just some excuse that we use for making changes either. It was simply an idea that sounded cool and works well within the game and for our design purposes also.

The origin of the Dwemer - includes some interesting contradictions with later lore (01/22/01)

This myth and legend takes place long, long ago, before the Empire was established, and even before the northerners touched foot on Tamrielic shorelines. Elves (Dunmer) were the predominant race of the continent, alongside the much smaller races of beastmen. A traveling band of elves were crossing through a mountainous range in the northeastern region of Tamriel. They encountered a friendly group giants and established relations amongst the two races. The giants had never encountered any human-like races and were bewildered at the small appearance of the elves. The towering giants stood many, many heads over them. The elves of course, were really not too much different in appearance or size than a typical human, but the giants were not aware of this since they had never seen a human. The giants labeled the elves as "Dwarves", claiming that they were just smaller versions of themselves. Over several years, this tag became a widespread label, and these Elves were known as Dwarves.

The Dumner translation of the word Dwarf is Dwemer. So, strangely enough, all Dunmer would use the term "Dwemer", while the northerners/newcomers rerered to this ancient race as Dwarves, taking on the translation of the giants. It is unknown, but perhaps the newcomers encountered the ginats before they did the elves.

Little is known as to the significance of this legend, but it is told to children all over Tamriel. Many would swear by it while many others will claim it is simply a bogus story.

[...]

Ok, "according" to the legend, the Dunmer originated from the Dwemer. They WERE once also known as Dwemer. The giants thought they were small people, and so called them Dwarves (just as we call short people midgets and dwarves). After many many generations perhaps, the name Dwarf, or the translation "Dwemer", finally just became the tag. I am not saying that the labeled Dunmer accepted the name, they may have just tolerated it. I mean afterall, to them it just meant "a short person". Remember, they have/had no concept of the D&D Dwarves, so would not think of themselves as being compared to them. It also doesnt make them a different race. They were by no means a different race. This was many many years before the Empire was even a thought, so the Houses didnt even exist back then either. The Dunmer operaterd their race through a network of tribes. When the Dwemer was heard about by other Dunmer tribes, they were considered as another tribe. But, for reasons perhaps unknown (hehehe) to many, this tribe was not accepted by other Dunmer tribes. Many things would occur in the years following the creation of the Dwemer, right up until the disappearance.

On horses in Morrowind (04/09/01)

Sorry, the Empire got smart and discontinued use of horses in Morrowind. For 2 main reasons....

1: The environemt is not suitable for horses. The ashy air creates bad vegetation for horses and upon munching on grass and such, they drop dead. Ashgut sounds like a good term for the ash/gastro poisoning. Imagine having charcoal fill up your digestive tract. Cant be a pretty picture, especially when black goo starts leaking from every hole on your body, right before you pop.

2: Dark Elves find horses to be a great dish. The Alpo Bistro! No Imperial guard wants to walk outside his house and see a Dark Elven family picnicking on his steed.

The Empire adopted using Guar and Siltstriders since they are more indiginous to the area. In many cases, Guar and Siltstriders are more advantageous than horses anyways.

On Hist (04/16/01)

This is neither a typo nor bad grammar. The PGE will tell you that the Hist are "a relatively intelligent strain" of Argonians. The Guide contains many inaccuracies, and this is one of them. You will also notice that the Guide mentions "a certain type of spore tree" that native Argonians might worship. Speaking generally, it is these trees that are the Hist. As for the relationship, I'm not talking yet. :)

On the ALMSIVI (04/19/01)

This brings us back to the topic of Vivec and company. Speaking only about Vivec (this goes for his pals of course too), is he REALLY considered a God who lives among people? General Patton swept across a many battlefield, and many think him a great man. But, that doesnt exactly make him a God ya know. In a fantasy setting now, Vivec once did the same. He faught in a great battle and currently uses his "aquired" magics to hold off the blighted forces. More can be learned about him in Morrowind, but from what we "currently" know about him, we cannot trully label him a God can we? Maybe he is no more than a simple hero. *shrugs* Almalexia may be no more either. Just as many (in OUR existense of course) may believe Jesus to have just been a considerate, caring human being. I think its all a matter of personal belief, but interesting all the same.

So, this raises the question.... "Are the 'Gods' in Morrowind an excuse for the existence of magic and the absense of other things (like the Dwarves)? Or are they actual, existing entities of great and bewildering power?" *ticking of machinery in many minds begins*

On the 1st PGE and its contradictions with modern (Morrowind era) lore (04/22/01)

Remember! The PGE was written in a "tourists" view. Much like reading a diary. You cannot expect the "fictional" author of the writing to be right about everything. By putting something in concrete, you limit yourself downplay suspense and originality for further developments and such. Not everything we say is always true. Sometimes, even we developers speak out of personal beliefs and idealisms about certain aspects of TES. And it is NOT always correct.... many times, it is INcorrect purposely. ;)

Not to be cruel, but its keeps everything very dynamic and ever evolving. Just because we tell you a red stick is white, it doesnt mean it isnt really green.

Slavery, beast races, and the PGE (04/24/01)

All opinions are very acceptable and I understand (although I may not agree ) any resentment towards the direction of the evolving TES game world. With all due respect, however, there are TONS of events and such in the TES world that are STILL yet unknown to the general fanbase, yet, most is known to the developers. Of course, things such as slavery of the beast races in Morrowind are not something new and pulled out of the developer compost heap. Slavery was a known issue since Daggerfall, believe it or not. It may not have been an issue in Daggerfall, but it is being used now. Even in the game Morrowind, visiting as a beast race, you are known as an Imperial citizen and are NOT looked at as a slave or a worthy slave. You are treated as any other Imperial citizen. Argonians and Khajiit alike. The fact that you may have played as a beast race in Arena and visited a town in Morrowind would still have nothing to do with the fact that there was slavery. I played extensivelt through Arena years and years ago, and this fact does not at all phase me. It is simply something that I look at now and think, "Wow. I visited Morrowind as a Khajiit in Arena and didnt notice a slave/servant situation anywhere. Wonder why I notice it now in THIS game." Sure, that's a thought of mine, but I accept it. As a gamer, a TES fan, and a developer, I totally agree on the direction things have taken thus far.

Of course, with the exclusion of Khajiit and Argonians in Battlespire, I dont know what to say. That was just a design decision. It doesnt mean that they were NOT in the TES universe, it just meant that we did not implement them. Who knows, it may go deeper. Perhaps, at that time, the Imperial Battlemages did not allow beast races to join the Elite Battle college. That's just an idea, not an answer. In all, it was an action shooter. Not a TRUE BEEF TES RPG. On that note, certain different rules had to be applied anyways.

With Redguard, you only played a Redguard. Couldnt play another race. Well, another case of "an action/adventure game", so alternate rules applied. Of course, Redguard was the game that initially hinted on at the slavery and multiple beast breeds, so it was a stepping stone game. It was a good build up to the deeper stuff within the TES universe. And trust me, it gets so much deeper that decades of games will need to be made to find out more and more of the dirt within Tamriel.

The PGE.... what can I say? Of course, depending on what individual, what race, or what class of character wrote it, it would be biased in some manner. IT IS NOT A TES BIBLE. It was never intended to be. It was a fun little "insight" about "ones" visit to various provinces around Tamriel. I thought it was a fairly informative reading and provided readers with some clues, gossip, myths, and mysteries. It was a sort of Dante's Inferno, so to speak, set within Tamriel. Like when National Gepgraphic goes to the wild rain forests of Peru to study the Madrigal Spider Monkey, we take their word for it that they did indeed study this thing for 4 years, through harsh rains, blistering heat, and monsoons. It did indeed swing from tree to tree as a nocturnal creature. It has a mating cycle much like the chimpanzee. It even has a fairly high intelligence. They then come back to the states, edit this hour long program to bring us an exclusive Ntional Geographic Undercover show on Discovery Channel, and they tell us all they had to learn about this creature. An hour later, the credits roll and we sit and ponder what an incredible find this is, and we wonder just how much they ACTUALLY had correct through their 4 year study. Then, more skeptisism sets in and you realise that NONE of this may be true. This monkey doesnt even exist. This may all be for entertainment reasons. Discovery Channel just won the nightly rating with millions of viewers. Hmmm. Basically, you know deep down inside, you wont believe it unless you could actually see this monkey (do you recall the mammoth that was dug up? funny how we see so little of it, yet we believe). Tjis goes back to the PGE. It "states" many things, but these things are a ploy, perhaps, to get the reader to more involve themselves in the subject and do a little research on their own. That's the way I look at it anyways.

So there you have it. My own little Reading Rainbow. But you dont have to take MY word for it.

Background on Hircine (04/25/01)

My knowlege of the Daedra is limited. What I do know though is, Hircine is an antlered Daedric fiend. I wouldnt call him the God Of Hunt, but he is a great Hunter. The Hunter of Mortal Souls and a favored high ranking General of Mehrunes Dagon, the Prince of Destruction. Clavicus Vile may perhaps even be of some blood relation to Hircine. Clavicus is the owner of a shapeshifting beats that takes the typical appearance of a large dog. Dont get the two mistaken. :p

On Khajiit in Morrowind (06/18/01)

Many of the Khajiit in Morrowind will appear to be more "wild", if thats the right way to put it. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that most are slaves. A Khajiit with this appearance may be better suited for slavery. As with Argonians. Maybe the more "beast-like" forms are just bred that way by Dark Elves because they can manage more and heavier work. I dunno, but it sounds good to me. :)

On dragons (09/02/01)

Dragons are not native to Vvardenfell due to the harsh environment. In Redguard, the present dragon is in control of the Empire. Could it be that the existing dragons work with the Empire in return for protection and spoils? If this "were" the case, many dragons probably reside in or around the Cyrodilian/Imperial province. Remember, the symbol of a dragon appears in the Imperial crest. Of course, like in Redguard, they could be dispatched to regions where the Empire needs them. As for Morrowind, there is little protection, if any that the Empire could offer them, especially in Vvardenfell. As for the Skylamps, that's a strange idea that they are natural predators to dragons. If anything, the Cliff Racers may be a natural predator if they attacked dragons in packs, or flocks. I guess the Cliff Racers could be much like the creatures that were in the movie Pitch Black. Not totally, but just in their predatory nature. This could be one theory why dragons either moved out or never existed in Vvardenfell.

More on dragons and their relationship to the empire (09/04/01)

It is also hinted in Battlespire within a journal and in the remains, that the Imperial Battlemages used dragonmounts for security on the Battlespire. In level 1, you will find the remains of an Imperial dragon names Dragonne Papre' and his rider. The journal contains tidbits about the troubles in the spire and what may have happened so that only their decayed bodies remain.

As far as the Empire actually being in alliance with dragon's, there are many hints that lead on to this. Lord Richton was able to summon the Imperial Dragon, N'falilaargas for support in the Battle of Stros M'kai. The Battlespire incident. The look of the Imperial crest. Even the rumors that Tiber Septim WAS a dragon, shapeshifted into human form. Oh, dragon's exist, and there is proof that they do, but in what quantities? Hmmm.....

Even more on dragons in Tamriel

All of the dragons didnt die. They have their own means of remaining "hidden" from Tamriel's populace. Whether its shapeshifting, hiding deep in the mountains or jungles, or even in very protective custody of secret Imperial strongholds, they do exist.

The reason the dragons left Morrowind was because of the food chain being broken. Cliffracers were in such great numbers that they food became scarce for the dragons, so they moved on. Even if they stuck around and killed the cliffracers off, the food would still be at a shortage.

The dragon from Redguard fell easily for many reasons. Cyrus was more than just a Redguard. Playing the game will explain much about his abilities. Also, no matter big the dragon was, he was confined in a rather tight space. Try wrestling with someone in a box the size of a microwave. Plus, Naffy wasnt the smartest of dragons, as working for Lord Richton should say that much alone. His greed got the better of him. Not such a noble dragon.

Also, as Battlespire hinted, there is (or was) an elite Imperial dragon mount guard (TES Dragoons). Search for a document relaying a wing mounted guard's final words about his mount, PaprDragn.

On Dunmeri strongholds

Best Westerns. The were basically fortified stronghold/checkpoint/hotels for travelers. There are no records of any of the strongholds ever being held under siege or used in any battles/wars, but it is quite possible that they were used for warriors as layover posts while travelling.

Was Dyviath Fyr the Hero of Battlespire? (10/10/05)

While Fyr is not the hero of the event that occured at the Battlespire, it is not known if he has any connection to the actual hero. Even devs sometimes like a mystery.

What is Fyr's connection to the throne of Tamriel? (10/10/05)

It's mostly personal. Access to Imperial facilities which house documents and such are of great interest. Fyr has a great respect for the throne even though he may not believe in it.

Fyr is not exactly an active member of the Telvanni Council. He is more like a consultant or advisor to them. Though, he respects their command and WILL carry out most requests laid down by them.

In all, the Telvanni Council and the Imperial Throne are treated quite the same in Fyr's eyes. Fyr is kinda what you could call the Flower Child of Tamriel.

 

Mark Nelson's Posts

Author: 
Mark Nelson

On Argonians and their role in Morrowind (04/18/01)

The Argonians are a slave race in Morrowind, but there are certainly a good deal of free Argonians as well, living as productive members of society. Therefore, you'll find a number of them playing vital roles in your questing (unless affamu has replaced them all with his beloved khajit ). But, given their stature as slaves, don't expect their history to play a vital part in this game. That's not to say I wouldn't like to include it in various ways, which I'm working diligently on sneaking past the ever-watchful eyes of Ken. Shhhh...don't tell. Personally, I'd love for a future game to explore Black Marsh in great detail. I think there are a lot of folks out there who dig on the lizard folk, and would like to see them developed more. Same goes for the Khajit, but you'll have to ask Affa about the furry guys.

Clarifying the Hist (04/22/01)

Okay...here's my attempt to clear up a little confusion (or maybe create some more, which could be more fun :) ) without giving away too much:

The PGE says the Hist are an intelligent strain of Argonians. But it was written as a piece of Imperial propaganda. So, the author is writing with a bias, and, in some cases, is misinformed.

The creation myth says that the Hist were the first trees, and sentient. But, it is, above all, a myth. So, it shouldn't be taken too literally, either.

When it came time for me to flesh out the Argonian history (and you can't have Argonian history without a little "hist"), I had to try and decipher what truths could be gleaned from the various sources. So...the Hist are trees, and very special to the Argonians, for reasons I'm not gonna go into yet. Perhaps the author of the PGE got a little confused when hearing Argonians talk about the Hist. Could be that what they were saying led him to believe that they were speaking about other Argonians (read into that what you will). There has been talk about how the Hist (and Hist sap) are related to Argonian sexuality. This hasn't changed...it's still related. And, it's not a taboo topic; I just don't think it's the most interesting one out there.

Maybe that answers a couple of questions. Might raise a few, too. Rest assured, though, that our goal isn't to deviate from the established mythos of the Elder Scrolls.

Does Argonian skin provide natural protection? (08/15/01)

This is something that has been discussed a bit, but I'll touch on it again. Because of their physiology, Argonians do have some natural protections. However, their hides aren't an "armor," exactly. Sure, it's a lizardlike skin, but not all lizard skin is as tough as alligator skin. Think of the Argonian skin as more of a snake's skin (no, they're not going to be shedding it :p ). It offers some protection, but it's certainly not as thick or durable as actual armor. 

Morrowind's clothing (01/08/02)

...the tailors of Morrowind, due to the unusually harsh environments, have been forced to use unusual materials for their clothing needs. While they first experimented with a wool woven from the fur of the waste rat, this proved to be unpopular. The material, while fairly durable, stank to high heaven when wet. Additionally, the scent tended to attract other waste rats, making the garments especially unsuitable for children and the elderly.

After many years of searching the continent for a suitable material (now referred to as the Great Chafing), the intrepid craftsmen discovered the silk of the blight moth. Though not truly a blighted creature, it's coloration resembled the ash grey left by the mysterious disease infecting the land. The silk, it turned out, was incredibly resilient, pliable, and easy to work with. It also readily accepted magicks, making it a popular material for enchanters. After years of experimentation, tailors perfected the weaving of this delicate silk into thread.

Today, you'll find almost all of the clothing of Morrowind is made of this super strong blight moth silk, as it never degrades, is highly resistant to damage from the elements, and even seems to repair itself from damage. Lo, the wonders of Morrowind.

On musical Argonians (01/31/02)

We actually talked about something similar to this one day. The discussion was about Argonians and their culture, and music was mentioned. The question arose as to whether Argonians would have music based around their slave culture. Do they sing Argonian Spirituals? If so, it would be influenced by native music from Black Marsh (think deep, resounding drums, haunting woodwinds), but also by Dunmer culture. But then Argonian character was taken into account. They are very proud and very patient, and wouldn't give the Dunmer the satisfaction of hearing them sing. This really has no bearing on the game, but it was fun to talk about.

Do Argonians lay eggs? (11/07/03)

Men and Mer assume much about Argonians, but who among them has ventured deep into Black Marsh and lived to tell about it? They assume that Argonians lay eggs because they resemble the tree-dwelling lizards that scurry about on four legs. Yet they assume Argonians have live births, because the females have breasts with which they might suckle their young. Perhaps it is both, as necessity demands. All live at the whim of the Great Root.

Argonian egg-laying, again (11/10/03)

Never underestimate the adaptability of Argonians, or, more specifically, the power of the Hist to allow Argonians to adapt.

I wouldn't expect to hear an Argonian born in Skyrim (or on Solstheim, for that matter) mention being hatched. Nor would I expect to hear more transient Argonians (say, members of a small, nomadic tribe) speak about laying eggs. However, in warmer climates, in places with established, stable, and permanent communities, you would likely see a great number of eggs.

Douglas Goodall's Posts

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

On the difficulty of keeping lore consistent between games (04/08/01)

You have no idea. NO idea.

Seriously, I have re-learned the necessity of GREP. I only wish Arena and Daggerfall had left more documents for me to search... Redguard and the early Morrowind stuff is all easily searchable for contradictions. Still, I fear several are inevitable.

AND I should note that I was a big fan of the series, which makes this much easier... I only THOUGHT I knew everything about Tamriel... I can't imagine coming to work here without already being something of an Elder Scrolls loremaster.

On Dwemer trivia (pre-Morrowind) (04/19/01)

"I never told you or have been told myself that House Dagoth was not *linked* to Dwarves. It's just that House Dagoth *was not* Dwarves. See the difference?"

Right. The Dwemer didn't divide themselves into "Houses" anyway.

"Actually, according to "The Songs of King Wulfharth", some dude called Dagoth Ur killed Dumac the Dwarfking during the Battle of the Red Mountain. The Songs controverse each other, so take it with a grain of salt. After all, it's a legend, and a Nordic one. Nords, after all, might not have a clue as to what was going on."

Well, the Nords *were* there... Only the combined might of the Dunmer and Dwemer could drive the foreigners out to found Resdayn. After the Battle of Red Mountain and the mysterious disappearance, the Dunmer no longer needed Dwemer technology for defense -- by then, they had the Tribunal.

"On a side note, Dunmer traditionally place family name first and given name second, as in "Indoril Nerevar" and "Hlaalu Brevur"."

Um. I suppose you're referring to the

If they place the family name first, how do you explain that the quote about Brevur the Betrayer was spoken by Paulus Hlaalu?

Your first guess was a good one, but it is not the right one. Not that it matters in the larger scheme of things.

For instance, Indoril Nerevar's full and formal name would be Serjo Indoril Nerevar Mora.

I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up.

Raptormeat: Lakene had a good point, but not many people ever thought that way. Certainly not enough to destroy a whole race... Unless, of course, a whole race can be destroyed by the actions of one person...

Xachariah II: The Dwemer did not use solar panels. Good guess, though.

"Only Boethiah can change a race's skin. Only the Dwarves can cover it in tin foil."

Carry on.

Clarifying some Khajiit information (04/19/01)

"It has got something to do with Khajiit Culture ..."

YM: Biology

Their culture came from their odd biology. They missed out on Y'ferr's decree, so Lorkhaj played a little trick on them...

"Depending on WHEN a Khajiit is born , she looks more human or feline. The most humanoid breed , looks almost like elves , but with tails and soft fur covering parts of the torso."

One of the "humanoid" breeds looks like that.

"Depending on their Khajiit Breed they have different duties to do in Khajiit society..."

This is more a practical matter than some kind of caste-system. Obviously there are jobs you cannot do without opposable thumbs, etc.

If you ever move to Tamriel, keep in mind that there is a whole province just waiting to be introduced to the tasty fishy stick.

On the mortality of gods (04/20/01)

Arkay and the King of Worms were once mortal...

And what about Tosh Raka?

On the Khajiit breeds as seen in the games (04/20/01)

The breeds of Khajiit in the various games:

Arena: Ohmes
Daggerfall: censored>
Morrowind: suthay-Raht

There are no Ohmes or in Morrowind.

The "jaguar men" are cathay-Raht... a little different from the suthay-Raht. The screenshot Khajiit (see the above link or the screenshots section) are suthay-Raht. S'rathra and Joto were also suthay-Raht.

On the meaning of "Khajiit" (04/22/01)

You'll have to wait for the game. Or later. You need to read "Ta'agra for the Unclawed."

I'll give you some hints, though.

khaj = desert

-iit (when applied to places) = "one who lives/walks in"

On what the Ta'Agra (04/22/01)

A "beta version" of it.

Back when I had time to do that sort of thing, I set up grammar rules, etc. The vocabulary is limited, and it doesn't *sound* as cool as the pseudo-english of S'rathra in Redguard. It needs more work, but I no longer have time to do that sort of thing. I'm only on the forums now while waiting for my computer to... Oh. It's done now. Excuse me.

On Khajiit phalic barbs (04/22/01)

"There's no accounting for taste."

I don't know who wrote/said that. I suspect it is a "modern" and anonymous quote. In any case, my profile will disprove this notion.

And, in the spirit of tastelessness, only some breeds of Khajiit have the... traits that Therris had in Real Barenziah. While all Terran felines have this trait (and many carnivorae have something similar), it makes no biological sense for the Khajiit to have it... unless Khajiit women are not sexually receptive year-round like human women or always ovulate during intercourse... The fiction from Daggerfall somewhat disproves that notion as well, thus the dilemna.

I thought of a couple explanations for this and eventually settled on one which I should save for later revelation.

I retroactively removed this trait from most of the Khajiit. I'm allowed to do that because I said so. So there. Therris was obviously a cathay-Raht, since he clearly wasn't a Senche, [censored], [censored], or [haven't made up a name yet]. Ohmes don't have this trait at all and suthay-Raht (like the Khajiit in Morrowind) have it only to a slight degree.

So far, this is the only "design" topic I've brought up that even Ken was unwilling to comment on...

Perhaps if I get around to writing the other volumes of Khajiit Physiology, the game itself will have a more lucid explanation.

Answering some questions about Bretons and Knights (04/26/01)

"1.What is the stereotype on the breton knights? (are they seen as the most chivalric?, mystic?, or what?)
2.Which of the eight divines is held in the most accord by the bretons?
3.Any ideas on what the breton unique ability will be for Morrowind?
4.Is the bretons penchant for magic tied in with them being a particularly relgious group of people?"

1. There's more than one order of Breton Knights... Why not make up one you like playing?
2. Like most of the Empire, Bretons worship all of the Eight Divines (and there's a strong Emperor Cult in a few places), but they are not generally devout. The Bretons used to be ruled by witch-kings and High Rock has more witch covens than many provinces... Alas, this is not relevant for a Knight. If you're looking at playing a Breton religious crusader, feel free. Each of the Divines supports a Knightly Order, in addition to the other Knightly Orders (Bretons are a Knightly people, if not a particularly religious one).
3. Yes.
4. Their talent for magic comes from their history. There's a clue in the link Raptormeat posted.

Perhaps you should read Heroic Achievements of the Bretons... That's a joke, btw.

Is that joke too obscure?

On whether "the Daedra were created by the 'intelligent races' of Tamriel" (04/28/01)

A similar argument was made by the opponents of the Allesian heresy. Might I direct the interested scholar once more to volume XI of Marobar Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer... which doesn't exactly answer your question, but is quite interesting.

More on the Hist (04/30/01)

"1) i wonder, will the Hist will be modeled as an NPC??? one gets killed, and has Argonian Eggs when you search it.
2) are the Hist related to Spriggans?"

No comment on the exact relationship between the Hist and the Argonian reproductive cycle, but it's cool. As for egg-laying, this is an interesting question. While the majority of reptiles do lay eggs, there are a number that have live births (basically, the eggs hatch internally). I guess I had pictured the Argonians going more the live birth route, because they are so humanoid, but the concept of them laying eggs is an interesting one. Have to think more on that.

As for your questions:
1) Nope, no Hist NPCs to be found, although I think it's a really cool idea. Remember, we're gonna be in Morrowind this time around, and won't be delving into murky Black Marsh quite yet. The Argonians are pretty touchy when it comes to crossing their borders.

2) Nah. Hist are much cooler.

On Ebonheart(s) (05/11/01)

There is a city of Vivec and a Castle Ebonheart and a city of Ebonheart. 2 of the 3 are in the game Morrowind. The third may or may not exist, but it would help explain some gaps, etc.

On musical Argonians (01/31/02)

I thought they should use the marsh itself as their primary musical instrument like the Baka Forest People use rivers. And play lots of odd percussion instruments like water drums and bohdans and djimbes and udus. And make slowed-down bird-call noises.

I wanted the Khajiit to be arrhythmic jazz musicians.

A sample of Ta'agra in response to an attempt to crack Morrowind's cyphers (07/17/04)

Pleased is Jobasha at your work. Very good for smooth skins and blunt ears. The Imperial and Telavanni ciphers broken? Oh, but Redoran is easiest of all! A Sermon here, a Sermon there... But so many sermons hide their secrets like naughty children. Jobasha would suggest a study of Sermon Zero if Jobasha were not so kind and wise. And the fine tapestries of my close friend your kind calls "Cherim."
 
Of course, Jobasha could ruin this game for you, but where would Jobasha be then? No, the big secrets are for the ja-Kha'jay.
 
But Jobasha is so pleased, he forgets himself. Jobasha tells you three truths, gives you three gifts, like the eighth keeper on the road to the western lands...
 
Ahziss zwinthodurrarr rabi.
"I have a yellow writing utensil.
Ahziss liter ajo'iiliten rabiba.
"My brother has a wonderful girl."
Ahziss aaliter vakasash.
"I wish I was my brother."
Is the Cherim of Sermon Zero the same Cherim as the famous tapestrist? (07/18/04)
A common misunderstanding. Cherim is Jobasha's good friend, shared much sugar, many sands. Cherim is famous tapestry maker, puts the ja'Kha'Jay in every one. White Gold is one of his best, one of the least often seen. It shows the White Tower, a dragon spirals around it, a moth priest at the top. Very famous moment, but few men remember.
 
Have you not heard of Muzariah and her death at the hands of the Three Angry Men? Muzariah was Indoril by birth and a painter by choice. Her best painting lies in the cellars of the Imperial Palace by Imperial decree. No one wishes to destroy such beauty, but no one wishes it to be seen. A dilemna.
 
But Jobasha says too much. 

 

Argonian

Author: 
B

Argonians - OblivionArena Description
Argonians hail from the province of Black Marsh. They are a highly evolved race of reptilians, at home in any marsh-like environment from which they hail. They are known for their intelligence, agility, and speed. Because of their reptilian nature, Argonians do not tire easily while swimming, and seldom drown. They can also swim faster than any other race. They are adept at any art involving the arcane, or involving thievery and sleight of hand.

Know ye this also: Thy race is born of the swamps, thou hast stayed thyself from the open fields, for thou art hunters of a different sort, those who stalk thy prey in the still black waters...

Argonian - MorrowindDaggerfall Description
The strange reptilian people of Black Marsh seem equally comfortable in the water - surely no other race of Tamriel can swim faster or for longer than Argonians. An intelligent, quick-footed, and agile people, Argonians often train in magery and thievery.

Battlespire Description
No beast races present.

Morrowind Description
Little is known and less is understood about the reptilian denizens of Black Marsh. Years of defending their borders have made the Argonians experts in guerilla warfare, and their natural abilities make them equally at home in water and on land. They are well-suited for the treacherous swamps of their homeland, and have developed natural immunities to the diseases and poisons that have doomed many would-be explorers into the region. Their seemingly expressionless faces belie a calm intelligence, and many Argonians are well-versed in the magical arts. Others rely on stealth or steel to survive, and their natural agility makes them adept at either. They are, in general, a reserved people, slow to trust and hard to know. Yet, they are fiercely loyal, and will fight to the death for those they have named as friends.

Shadowkey Description
A highly evolved reptilian race native to the Black Marsh region. Agile and cunning, Argonians make excellent thieves. Argonians also have Merchant Sense; they buy goods lower and sell higher than other races

Oblivion Description
This reptilian race, well-suited fot the treacherous swamps of its homeland, has developed natural immunities to disease and poisons. They can breathe water and are good at picking locks.

Skyrim Description
This reptilian race, well-suited for the treacherous swamps of their Black Marsh homeland, has developed a natural resistance to diseases and the ability to breathe underwater. They can call upon the Histskin to regenerate health very quickly.

Elder Scrolls Online Description
The Argonians are possessed of a cool intellect, and are well-versed in the magical arts, stealth, and the use of blades. They are also guerilla warfare experts, long accustomed to defending their borders from invaders. They often serve as the scouts and skirmishers for the forces of the Pact.

Elder Scrolls Legends Description
Born in the treacherous swamps of the Black Marsh, this reptilian race is known for its natural endurance.

The War with the Trees: Argonia and the Black Marsh

Author: 
Imperial Geographical Society

Map of Black Marsh

It has been called the Garbage Heap of Tamriel, to where everything rotten and despoiled eventually flows. Its borderlands and coasts have been ravaged by civilization after civilization, but its heart is inviolate, for so poisonous is its air, ground, and water, its mysteries are secure. Detractors long ago called the southeastern swampland of Tamriel "Black Marsh," but to its admirers, of whom there are a few, it is Argonia.

History

Every Province of Tamriel has its secret histories, but no land in the Empire is as undocumented and unexplored as Black Marsh. We know that Topal the Pilot and other early Aldmeri explorers passed through the "fetid, evil swamp lands and their human lizards," suggesting an early primitive species that might be related to the modern day Argonians. By the phrasing of the poet's words, it is also clear that Black Marsh had begun its long tradition of being a place no one would want to live in, man or mer, which it maintains into the present day.

Argonian RaceYet people did live there, and people did move there. Compared to much of Tamriel, there have been a large variety of cultures that have live in Black Marsh at different points in the past. Most surprisingly from a modern perspective, we hear of few wars or conflicts between these cultures until well into the Second Era.

In additional to the reptilian Argonians, who are today Black Marsh's most visible denizen, there were once tribes of men - Kothringi, Orma, Yespest, Horwalli - and tribes of mer - the Barsaebic Ayleids and the Cantemiric Velothi - and even a tribe who may have been related to the Khajiit of Elsweyr, the vulpine Lilmothiit. Some were sent to Black Marsh as refugees of prisoners, other settled along the coastal waterways and adapted to its strange and usually insalubrious environment.

The cities of Stormhold and Gideon were originally founded by the Ayleids (their Ayleid names are unknown), but were so far removed from their culture in the heartland that they never were attacked by the Alessian army when it rose in revolt. The southern coastal regions, not surprisingly, were the realms of the Lilmothiit, though they were a nomadic group and left few enduring signs of their existence that were not covered up by later civilizations. The Black Marsh elves settled in the eastern regions near present-day Archon, Arnesia, and Thorn.

The origin of the species associated with the name "Argonian" is the stuff of myth, not history. We know they were spoken of in various terms by the early non-reptilian inhabitants of Black Marsh, as everything from funny curiosities that would wander in from the misty, mephitic inland bayous for short times, to noble heroes who saver the innocent from horrors of the swamps, to savage monsters who terrorized communities.

The historian Brendan the Persistent writes, "The Argonian people have, throughout Temrielic history, been perhaps the most misunderstood, vilified, and reviled of all the sentient races. Yet, those who have taken the time to experience Argonian culture have gained a greater appreciation for this noble and beautiful people." It should be noted that the historian disappeared during his final expedition into the deeper swamps of Black Marsh.

Rumors and speculation also abound regarding the Hist, a species of giant spore tree growing in the innermost swamps of Argonia. Some have maintained that natives worship the trees; others claim the trees are, in fact, a sentient race, more ancient than all the races of man and mer. No reliable accounts of expeditions into central Argonia exist to lend credence to these claims, and modern Argonians are reticent to speak of the mysterious trees.

The Argonians, as they came to be called, only occasionally left their homeland, though we find individuals in other parts of Tamriel in the early years of the First Era. The expatriates from Black Marsh did no offer any great insight into the tribal customs of their people, preferring to assimilate into the larger Tamrielic culture. Certainly, outside experience with the natives of Black Marsh in their own folkways, at least in any official capacity, was sporadic until middle of the First Era.

A very successful enterprise of bandits and thieves had long been exploiting the swampland of southeastern Tamriel, a convenient location to the riches of the Empire, where one could disappear without recourse. The coastline alonf the east of Topal Bay had become notorious for acts of piracy, and in 1E 1033, the Empress Hestra demanded the head of the most infamous of the brigadiers, "Red" Bramman.

After many an unsuccessful battle in the Bay, the Imperial Navy discovered the pirate-king's means of escaping capture: a narrow, winding river which emptied into the Bay near Soulrest, its mouth screen by dense thickets of mangroves. The Imperial Fleet followed the course deeper into the heart of Black Marsh than any non-Argonian had ever been before. They eventually caught Bramman in his bandit kingdom not far from what is no called Blackrose, and took his head for the Empress. More importantly, they provided the first reliable accounts of the true culture of Black Marsh.

The Argonians in the interior swamps of Black Marsh were skittish and little wonder, as the contact they had with men from the outside was from the like of Bramman and other brigands. Imperial civilization was, to them, rape, pillage and slavery. As the Cyrodiils pushed deeper into their land, trying to settle it along the pirate routes, they encountered stronger and more violent resistance with each incursion. Once the pirate menace was dealt with, the First Empire was generally content to leave Black Marsh to its native inhabitants.

It was not until the time of the Second Empire that Black Marsh was first "conquered", at least in name. In 1E 2811, at the Battle of Argonia, the last organized army of reptilians in Black Marsh's history was defeated, and they retreated to Helstrom, into the impenetrable center of the Province where the men and mer wouldn't follow. The following year, Black Marsh was officially incorporated into the Cyrodilic Empire.

The coastal areas and some parts of the interior where it was safe to travel received Imperial leaders to rule in the emperor's name. The land that had once been the home of freedom for Tamriel's criminals became its greatest prison state. Anyone considered too dangerous to hold in "civilized" dungeons in other Provinces was sent to Black Marsh. Its most famous convicts include the notorious axe murderer Nai, the heretic Devir-Mir, and Tavia, the wife of the last emperor of the First Era, who was sent to Gideon in 1E 2899, accused of treason. The worst of the dungeons was constructed in the following era by Potentate Versidue-Shaie on the ruins of the Lilmothiit community called Blackrose. The Rose, as it is called, is still the most secure and notorious prison of our own time, where Jagar Tharn's associates who were not executed await their final end.

IBlack Marshn the chaos of the Second Era, banditry returned to Black Marsh in force. Slave traders from Morrowind were freer than ever to exploit their southern neighbor, and entire tribes of Argonians were dragged in chains to the Dunmer land. Former Imperial officials founded warlord dynasties which earned a reputation for tyranny even in that dark time.

Whether the terrible Khahaten Flu arose from natural causes, or was created by an Argonian shaman in retaliation for his people's oppression, is still a matter of debate. But its result was clear. The plague began in Stormhold in 2E 560, and quickly spread to every corner of Black Marsh, killing all those not reptilian stock. For over forty years, it held the Province in its grip, decimating entire cultures (notably, the Kothringi) and driving outsiders from the land.

Even when the land became inhabitable again, fear of the disease kept most outsiders away. House Dres of Morrowind continued to send slavers into the north, but few others saw any reason to trouble themselves with the land. Even Tiber Septim, it was said, thought twice before conquering Black Marsh for his new Empire. The borders of the province fell easily to his forces, but he wisely decided to avoid strategically unimportant inner swamps, and thus met with little resistance.

Black Marsh's position in the Third Era has been much the same as it has been throughout the other times in history. The Empire finds strategic benefit in holding the coasts, and keeps its most dangerous criminals in Black rose and other dungeons closer to its interior. The heart of Black Marsh remains the sole province of the reptilian Argonians, and any further annexation of this area by Imperial forces seems unlikely.

Current Events

Black Marsh continues to be a "backward" land economically by Imperial standards. Most of the agriculture is grown by subsistence farmers, though recently more has been shipped abroad, of Tamriel. Banditry appears to be on the decline in recent years, with most criminal acts being perpetrated not by outsiders, but by natives, such as the "Naga" thugs of Argonian stock. Rumors persists of gangs such as these smuggling powerful drugs across the borders of Black Marsh, but this has remained unproven to this day. Still, the Emperor's fleet guards the Topal Bay carefully, protecting merchants from the pirates who have never truly been eliminated.

Imperials continue to rule in the Empire's name along the coastal cities of the Province, but most have native Argonians as advisors. These Archeins also act as governors in the rural areas that still make up the majority of Black Marsh. Beyond the reach of the Empire, there is little supervision of the inner swamplands, and it is unknown whether or not these areas even recognize Imperial rule of the Province.

Since the abolishment of slavery, Black Marsh's relationship with its northern neighbor Morrowind has been much improved, though border clashed continue as Argonians have begun to reclaim land conquered during the Arnesian War. There have also been reports of minor skirmishes with Imperial troops along the coastal regions, but it is not believed that there is any threat posed by these isolated incidents.

More troubling is the recent prison break at the formidable Blackrose Prison. Though it has since been sealed and its weak points mended, some of the worst murderers, thieves, and political revolutionaries had already escaped into the swamps. It is believed unlikely that any of them could have survived the cruel, dangerous lands of inner Black Marsh.

The Wild Regions

Author: 
Imperial Geographical Society

 

Argonia

These vast swamplands were once part of the Second Empire, which, in 1E2837, had seized a large portion of it to create the Imperial Province of Black Marsh. Many humans still refer to the region by that name, but the Elves call it Argonia, after some ancient battlefield where many of their ancestors fell1. Thus, the native inhabitants of the swamplands, a collection of beastly tribes of "lizard-men," have become, in common parlance, the Argonians.

Argonians are rarely seen outside of their homeland, except for a relatively intelligent strain called the hist. Individuals of this strain are repulsive, but peaceful enough to be tolerated among the human kingdoms, and can be found as far from Black Marsh as western Hammerfell. The rest of the Argonians are primitive, reclusive, and practice heathen rituals of nature worship that necessitates a proximity to a certain type of spore-tree, which grows only in the interior of their native swamplands.

Black Marsh never regained its Provincial status after the dissolution of the Second Empire, though some parts of it are still considered Imperial territories. In CE560, the Knahaten Flu spread through greater Argonia, claiming the lives of the Kothringi tribesmen, the only humans to have persisted in the area for long. The hist proved immune to the effects of this plague, leading to wild rumors that they had, in fact, created it through a manipulation of their cherished spore-trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pyandonea

Far to the south of the Summerset Isles is the island kingdom of Pyandonea, home to the Maormer, a rare breed of tropical elf. It is covered mostly in dense rain forest, and is a playground for the southern water spirits. The Maormer almost never travel to Tamriel or visit their cousins at Summerset, for they were exiled from the latter kingdom in ancient times. They are known to possess a strange, chameleon-like skin, an involuntary process that is similar to the forest-coupling skills of the Bosmer. They also practice a powerful form of snake magic. With this, they have tamed the sea serpents of their island for use as steeds and warbeasts. The Maormer ruler is King Orgnum, a deathless wizard who is said to be the Serpent God of the Satakal (see Hammerfell).

Thras

The coral kingdoms of Thras, a set of islands southwest of the Chain in the Abecean Sea, are home to a godless tribe of beastmen called the Sload. These amphibious slugmen, perhaps the most hated race in all of Tamriel, were long thought to be extinct. After the Sload released the Thrassian Plague in 1E2200, which claimed more than half of the continent's population, the largest allied naval force in Tamrielic history sailed to Thras, slaughtered all the Sload they could find, and, with great unknown magicks, sunk their coral kingdoms into the sea.

Sadly, it has been reported that Thras has risen again, and that its masters, the Sload, have recently been seen in various areas of Tamriel. Citizens are encouraged to avoid these beasts, and contact the nearest Imperial authorities when they learn of one's existence. Much is remembered about the slugmen, and has been collected for you in the nearby sidebar. Be vigilant.

Collected from the Notes of Bendu Olo, West King of Anvil and Baron-Admiral of the All Flags Navy, and Dealer of Swift Justice to the Foul Spot of Thras.

Life Cycle:

Juvenile: Disgusting little amorphous grubs.

Adolescent: Soft, squishy octopuslike things that cannot emerge on land.

Adult: No outside limit to age or size. Individuals seen on land in Tamriel tend to be older, corpulent adults; the trait of greed is common in these individuals, and they excel as merchants and smuggling entrepreneurs. Younger adults lack essential surface survival skills, and are rarely seen on land. Older adults collapse under their own weight unless buoyed by water.

Gifts:

Perfect memory. They cannot read or write, but they remember everything they see or hear.

Magic-adept: All land-traveling Sload know the Recall spell at a high level of skill, and use it casually and frequently as the default mode of travel. It also provides the best defense; they teleport out of difficulty instinctively. We must be on our feet!

Liabilities:

Poor grasping ability, weak tool use. [Sload slowly adapt their outer integument to conform with surfaces and objects, permitting them to pick things up or climb things like disgusting slugs.] Slow! They think very quickly, but never enough to suit their careful, deliberate personalities. They move slowly, and act slowly. It takes them a long time to come to decisions. They can answer questions quickly, if they choose to… which they seldom do.

Cautious. They have no word in their language for adventure. The closest equivalent means 'tragic disaster'. All their heroic myths are about individuals who sit around and think for years and years, consulting cautiously with wise Sload, until finally they act - always deliberately, always successfully. All their mythic villains act quickly, and always fail.

Morally Repugnant: Every Sload individual encountered has been a grasping, callous, godless, self-loving schemer. They do not seem to experience or display any familiar human emotions, though they are skilled diplomats and actors, and produce gross, exaggerated parodies of human behavior [laughter at lame jokes, weeping at apparent misfortunes, furious tirades at folly or ineptitude]. They have no compunctions about blasphemy, theft, torture, kidnapping, murder, or genocide. They break laws whenever they calculate it in their best interests. They do not perceive or honor friendship or loyalty in the familiar human terms, except for a cheerful affinity for those who defeat them or trick them in any endeavor. The adult form does not apparently reproduce, and shows no interest in the fate of its offspring.

 

Orsinium

Literally, 'Orsinium' means Orc-Town in the early Aldmeris. The goblin-ken (orcs, ogres, gremlins, and other beastfolk) that live in Orsinium favor the Elvish name for their settlement, for it suggests, at least to human ears, a glorious and beautiful fortress-city instead of the squalid and filth-ridden village-and-keep that it is. It was founded during the Camoran Dynasy, when hundreds of beastmen were set free by the rulers of the Summerset Isles and allowed to settle lands north of Valenwood. These Orcish tribes chose an uninhabited mountain region near Old H'roldan in High Rock, for their people were (and most still are) dependent on a rare shaggy giant centipede herdbeast that can live only at high altitudes on alpine and sub-alpine forage.

Orsinium did possess considerable strength during the First Era, when Orcish refugees fleeing the Ra Gada invasion of Hammerfell joined the beastman army already gathering there. This army was determined to take control of the Bjoulsae River and force the kingdom of Wayrest to pay Orsinium regularly for its use. Other powers of the area rose to confront the Orcs, principally the Yokudan Order of Diagna and the chieftan-kings of early Daggerfall. The Siege of Orsinium lasted thirty years and ended in its ruin.

Orsinium briefly became an Imperial territory under the Akaviri Potentate, though this ended with the death of Savirien-Chorak in CE431. The Orcs have recently petitioned the New Emperor to grant them a similar status, but Tiber Septim is famous for his hatred of their kind, and has yet to bestow the beastfolk good answer.


Annotations by YR:

1. "Does anyone on the Thalmor know what the humans are talking about?"