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The Truth of Minotaurs

Author: 
Tyronius Liore

By Tyronius Liore, Scholar of Imperial Antiquities

By this point, you must have read the inane ramblings of the now disgraced sage, Nonus Caprenius. It brings me no joy to cast aspersions on his name. Caprenius was once an eminent scholar whose mastery of beastly sciences far surpassed that of his peers. Alas, his obsession with the bull-men and their dubious origins proved too much for the community to bear. Allow me to clarify this matter and put it to rest once and for all.

Caprenius, clearly in the throes of some mania, suggests that minotaurs are the descendants of Alessia and her legendary consort Morihaus, the bull-man. Beyond being lightly heretical, this assertion finds no basis in historical fact. The fate of Alessia's son, Belharza the Man-Bull, is well known - catalogued (obliquely) by countless scholars of the period. He met his fate at the biting-tips of Elven spears. That much is certain. Connecting the Slave-Queen to a brutish race of bull-headed savages merely because they share a physical feature makes no more sense that connecting men to guars since we both walk on two legs.

The fact is that minotaurs are the bitter fruit of some spell or alchemical process gone awry. There is no great conspiracy - no zealously guarded secret - just an unfortunate, ghastly accident. Truly, who could look at one of these bovine brutes and see the proud legacy of Akatosh stirring in their blood? These are the ravings of a disturbed mind, and should be treated as such.

Take my advice - when you see a minotaur, don't inquire about its noble lineage. If you wish to survive the encounter, kill it or flee.

Gold Coast Guide

Author: 
Astinia Isauricus

The Gold Coast: Retreat for the Longhouse Emperors
By Astinia Isauricus, Publication Date: 8th Rain's Hand, 2E 566

The Gold Coast serves as a wonderful destination for travelers that seek the most interesting sights in Cyrodiil and enjoy the fine weather and sandy yellow beaches of Anvil. While caution is always warranted whenever traveling abroad, the visionary polices and leadership of Emperor Leovic have dramatically increased safety across our shores. The Emperor himself often vacations with us, and there is no better time than now to take that trip you've always desired to the temperate Gold Coast.

With bright sun and clear waves, the Gold Coast enjoys a pleasant climate fueled by warmer currents from the Abecean Sea. We offer a verdant paradise perfect for a hearty sort looking for true adventure on a reasonable budget. The Imperial Navy, tasked by our great Emperor with patrolling the Abecean Sea and ensuring safety and security across the region, makes its home port in Anvil, and no pirate dares challenge our Emperor's might. His capable, well-armed navy and accomplished soldiers ensure your safety.

This guide will familiarize you with the Gold Coast's history and its many wonderful travel destinations.

* * *
A Fertile Land Bound by Two Great Rivers

Two rivers of significant size border the Gold Coast. To the north, the Brena River separates Cyrodiil from Hammerfell, and to the south, the Strid River marks the border with Valenwood. Both rivers are crucial trade routes to the interior of the continent. In years past, numerous pirate clans laid claim to both rivers, but the presence of the Imperial Navy has put an end to such activities.

To truly appreciate the scale of our great rivers, one must witness the bustle of good-laden galleons sailing up and down the Brena and the Strid at the peak of trade season. While we welcome you to sail our rivers in summer, we advise against winter visits. In those months, humidity and fog make the rivers most unpleasant.

* * *
The Beauty and Mystery of the Western Uplands

Much of the Gold Coast interior consists of rocky highlands and low mountains dotted with trees, including dense oak, beech, and ash forests in the foothills. These areas make for perfect hiking tours or guided expeditions to our many ancient ruins, which are of particular interest to scholars and historians. As much of Colovia's wealth comes from logging, our lumber magnates maintain operations across the Gold Coast. Colovian wood remains in great demand for construction and weaponry.

Our highlands are also prone to heavy seasonal fog, which has sparked a number of superstitions, including tales of "bull men" stalking our ruins! While these are merely rumors spread by bandits inhabiting the highlands, we do suggest you carry weapons or travel with an armed escort. In the Gold Coast, your safety is our paramount concern, and we work hard to make your stay as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.

The Historic City of Kvatch

The hilltop city of Kvatch is one of the oldest Colovian cities in Cyrodiil, with a rich history and vibrant tradition. The inhabitants of Kvatch enjoy a reputation for being well-read and pleasant, as well as conservative and pious. For those devout travelers who wish to commune with or learn more about the Divines, the priests of Kvatch welcome pilgrims for devotions and worship with open arms.

The legendary Great Cathedral of Akatosh dominates Kvatch's skyline, with an awe-inspiring profile and elegant interior. With shrines to each of the Divines, the Cathedral draws visitors from far and wide to gaze upon its majesty and beauty.The venerable Order of the Hour, protectors of the Primate of Akatosh and the Cathedral, can often be seen going about their duties in and around the Cathedral. They supplement the efforts of the Kvatch Warders, who have kept watch over the city for generations. Between the two groups, Kvatch remains one of the safest places in all of the Empire.

But don't think Kvatch serves only as a destination for worship and reflection. It also hosts one of the oldest fighting pits in Tamriel - the legendary Kvatch Arena. While no arena can rival the one in Imperial City, many of that arena's best fighters got their start right here on the Gold Coast. Enjoying a match at the Kvatch Arena provides a great opportunity to see novice fighters before they earn a place in Imperial City.

* * *
The Cosmopolitan Paradise of Anvil

The port of call when journeying to the Gold Coast, Anvil is the crown jewel of the Abecean Sea!

As the Gold Coast's finest port city, Anvil hosts retreats for royalty and dignitaries from across Cyrodiil and beyond. The wise and noble Count Ephrem Benirus bears the title of Imperial Prefect and governs this fine city at the pleasure of the Emperor, who often visits during the summer months. A lucky visitor may witness our great Emperor Leovic waving to his loyal subjects from the balcony of Anvil Castle.

Travelers from all over come to take advantage of the wonderful open air markets, filled with curiosities and delicacies from across Tamriel. Others come to dine at the many fine eateries. Still others frolic on the sandy beaches and swim the clear waters of the Abecean Sea. While the city has many luxurious accommodations for noble families and those of means, some of the citizenry also cater to visitors with a smaller purse, offering guest rooms in their own cozy, beach-front cottages.

Ultimately, there is no more desirable travel destination than the temperate and beautiful Gold Coast. Whether you come on a pilgrimage to the Great Cathedral of Akatosh, stay to enjoy the exciting fights at the Kvatch Arena, delve into our ancient ruins, or take in the metropolitan splendor of Anvil, you will find the luxuries and adventures you seek on the edge of the Abecean Sea. Come soon. We look forward to seeing you!

Governor Fortunata

Author: 
Braccus Klinicus

 

Esteemed Count Carolus Aquilarios,

I am once again writing to you on behalf of my master, the Provincial Governor of Anvil and the almost universally accepted ruler of the entirety of the Gold Coast—the beautiful and the beguiling, the brave and the bawdy, the one and the only, Fortunata ap Dugal.

Her Excellency has ordered me to request for this one last time that you finally acquiesce and bow down before her Governorship. Accept her as the true and solitary leader of all she surveys. In return, she promises to allow you to retain some semblance of rulership over Kvatch and your uncle's original holdings, provided you declare your faithfulness and undivided loyalty to the Her Excellence's banner. It is, after all, the right thing to do.

Need I remind you that, unlike yourself, Fortunata was not born to nobility. Everything she has attained she earned through blood and sweat and deception. You must admit, she really is a remarkable woman! It didn't take her long to rise to the top of the Gold Coast Trading Company, securing a place on the ruling council of the shipping magnates and filling the company's coffers with unprecedented amounts of gold. She had a dream and an ambition that went beyond mere business, however. In short order, she used her connections and considerable charms to rally the Red Sails pirates to her side, amassing an armada of merchant vessels and pirate ships united under her white flag emblazoned with a blood-red saber. That was when she earned the title of Pirate Queen.

Thanks to your uncle's ill-timed revolution, Anvil was left nearly defenseless and ripe for conquest—and that's exactly what Fortunata did. She sailed her armada into port, squelched a few half-hearted attempts to repel her approach, and took Anvil Castle as her own. The city leaders saw the value in accepting Fortunata's leadership and quickly set out to garner Her Excellence's favor. That was when she took the title of Provincial Governor.

Now, Her Eminence knows all about your objections to the fact that she has annexed the entire Gold Coast and placed everything southwest of Varen's Wall under her protection. She has done this because she cares and because she has the means and resources to fulfill her promise to the people of the Gold Coast. Why can't you just accept her generosity and stop this continuous bickering? Don't we have real problems to deal with here? The Dark Brotherhood, for example, operates openly throughout our region, flouting our power and threatening everything we all hold dear. I wouldn't be surprised if they're responsible for the recent murders that have plagued both our cities. You can't deal with them. Primate Artorius and his Cathedral can't stop them. Submit to Fortunata's rule and let her do what she does best.

In the end, do you really think you have any other choice?

In Governor Fortunata's name, I remain,

Braccus Klinicus, Master Scribe of Anvil Castle

Groundskeeper's Letter

Author: 
Groundskeeper Gavros

Linus,

All right, lad. Arentus tells me you burst into the Undertaker's office in a tizzy because you spied a ghost outside the crematorium or some such. You're new to the work, so I'll spare you a tongue-lashing. The truth is you'll see a lot of "ghosts" here in the Memorial District. The good news is they aren't spooks. They're just plain old grave-robbers. These damned Khajiit cover themselves in flour then scamper around all night looking for trinkets. It would be funny if it weren't such a pain in the arse cleaning up after them.

"What are they looking for" you ask? Well, you were just a twinkle in your old mum's eye at the time, but this place used to be a market. A damn fine one at that—the best in Cyrodiil. Used to be full of people haggling over spices, and bolts of silk, and fine jewelry. Wish you could have seen it. Anyway, when Varen showed up with his Colovian troops, Leovic's legion made their last stand here. I was still a pup at the time, you see? Spent the better part of a week tucked away in a sewer pipe waiting for it to stop. It was a week solid of sleeping on wet cobblestones and drinking bloody sewer water—hearing nothing but shouting, and clanging steel, and explosions that damn near rattled the teeth out of my head. By the time it was all over, the whole district was gone. And I mean, gone. Wasn't a single thing standing taller than my knee, and I was just nine or ten. Then there were the bodies. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe. I hope I never have to smell something like that again. Smelled like that dog you dug out from under Elliana's carriage, except you couldn't get away from it. It was everywhere.

Soon as Varen tossed old Leovic in the gutter, he set his men to work gathering up all the bodies and throwing them in mass graves. By the time he was done, there wasn't room for a market anymore. So he converted the whole district into a graveyard. The Memorial District.

But enough with the history lesson—back to the Khajiit. They've got this fool notion that there are still jewels and such scattered throughout the district. I'll tell you right now, if there were still valuables here, I would have found them. And if I found them, I sure as spit wouldn't still be here turning a spade.

Tomorrow, I want you to go to old-man Varus' house. Buy a good, strong bow. Next time you see a "ghost" put an arrow in its arse, and see if it sticks. Bet you ten drakes it shrieks like a housecat that got its tail stuck in a door.

— Groundskeeper Gavros

Chancellor Abnur Tharn Answers Your Questions (2)

Author: 
Anonymous

August 10, 2015

“To the most esteemed Chancellor Abnur Tharn,

With the recent legalization and advocacy of the necromantic arts within Cyrodiil as well as the institutionalization of The Order of the Black Worm, will prospective students of necromancy be provided an opportunity to study at the Imperial City? Furthermore, after this business of the so called 'Three Banners War' is over, how will a new Emperor be chosen to replace the glorious Empress Regent, Clivia Tharn?

Sincerely, Othelion Ralnor"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “After the expulsion of the treacherous Mages Guild from the Imperial City, the Empire of Cyrodiil needed to endorse a more inclusive and responsible caretaker of the magical arts, so the Arcane University was turned over to the stewardship of the Fellowship of Anchorites, sometimes jocularly known as the Order of the Black Worm. Unfortunately, since the University has been occupied by invading Daedra, we haven't had time to assess their new policies, and must hold judgment in abeyance.

“Once these parvenu Alliances have been beaten back to their provinces, as they always are, the Empire will return to its normal practices: prospective Emperors will arise in times of need, and those who are worthy will be recognized by the Elder Council and ascend to the Ruby Throne. But until such a time of need arises, there will be no need to 'replace' our Empress Regent, who is beloved by her subjects, and who reigns by divine right."

 

“To the illustrious Abnur Tharn, Chancellor of the Elder Council and Lord of Nibenay,
Fair and humble greetings from another son of Nibenay, and much gratitude for your attention in these trying times. Many of us here in Cyrodiil know of your efforts to save the Empire, and pray for your success. Anyway, to business. I have always been fascinated with Imperial culture and the ways of government. I know that you have served as Chancellor for many years, but it is the role of Imperial Battlemage that intrigues me most. I have seen documents recording several different Imperials family names holding the post at different times in history, implying that it isn't an inherited post, but nothing as to how one is selected. Hence, my question: how is the Imperial Battlemage chosen, and in what capacity do they serve the Empire?

My prayers, and the prayers of all Cyrod are with you, Chancellor. May Akatosh keep you safe and Reman see you victorious." – Aurelius Aelius of Leyawiin, Episcopate of the Cult of Reman, sometime Freedom Fighter

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “An excellent question, my dear Episcopate, and one that requires a somewhat discursive answer, as the phrase 'Imperial Battlemage' has more than one meaning. Early in the annals of the Empire, the distinction between mages and warriors was more pronounced than it is today. The idea of combining a wizard with an armored warrior was innovative at first, and the original Imperial Battlemages were an elite unit separate from the Imperial Legions. They were further exalted under the Reman Emperors, who granted the title 'Imperial Battlemage' to the unit's leader, and made him an advisor to the Elder Council. Nowadays, when every cohort includes a cadre of spellcasters, 'Imperial Battlemage' just refers to a legion's war-caster troops. But to a student of Imperial history such as I, the name still carries weight, and I wear the title 'Imperial Battlemage' with pride!"

 

“Esteemed Chancellor Abnur Tharn,

My Lord Abnur Tharn, I pray this message reaches you. Due to recent events I imagine we will need all the Divine help we can get to place this letter into your hands.

As a deserter from the Imperial Legion I now live in High Rock, away from my friends and family trapped in the Heartland. Can you tell this homesick soldier what the state of living is for those still in Cyrodiil? Due to the obvious instability (and madness) of the central government, have local leaders stepped up to keep their people safe and fed?

Signed, Flonius Oaken-Hull"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Have local leaders stepped up to protect our people? More so than you, deserter. Conditions in Cyrodiil, particularly in the vicinity of the Imperial City, will remain difficult until such time as our invaders are inevitably repulsed. That time is delayed, and the suffering of the Cyrods is prolonged, so long as deserters like yourself value safety over your Imperial duty. Return now, Flonius Oaken-Hull, help your fellow citizens, and the terms of your punishment for desertion will be … mitigated. Probably."

 

"Chancellor Abnur Tharn, I presume. You appear rather blue and translucent to me, but that's an effect of viewing you through the memospore. Otherwise, you resemble your official portrait fairly closely. I have a question for you pertaining to the Imperial cultural identity. You are famously a Nibenese nationalist who will wax poetic about the superior nature of the Nibenese, and their various accomplishments, especially when it pertains to your own noble lineage. I was born a Breton, though I later changed my name to an Imperial one, so I can understand this pride in bloodlines and heritage. It's prevalent among my native people as well.

To the meat of the inquiry: The Longhouse Emperors never really fit in, did they? They were seen as alien usurpers at worst, and as uncouth provincials at the best of times. Do you think it's possible that an Emperor of, say, civilized Bretonic or Nordic blood would integrate any better into Imperial society? Both of these peoples have been vassals of the Cyrodiilic Empire in the past. I do believe the Bretons were first brought into the fold by the militant but far-sighted Hestra back in the First Era, although the...excesses of the Alessian Priesthood later caused them to secede.

Would a Breton who has more fully embraced Imperial culture and values be seen any differently? Is there any hope that such a monarch and his descendants could form a lasting dynasty in time? I ask this because I admittedly am a Battlemage fighting for the Daggerfall Covenant, and it has occurred to me that my liege King Emeric may face tough opposition from the Elder Council were we to successfully seize the Imperial City. What course of action would you suggest, hypothetically, for a foreign-born monarch to be well received by both the common folk and the nobility of Cyrodiil?" – Legate Cyclenophus of the Bretonic Imperial Restoration Society

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “What is the Empire of Cyrodiil, really? It is the Empire of Humanity, and has welcomed all men and women into its embrace since its beginning in St. Alessia's Slave Rebellion, which fought for all the tribes enslaved by the Heartland Elves. Under Alessia's banner, Colovian fought beside Nede, Nord fought beside Nibenese, and the accursed Ayleids were overthrown. White-Gold Tower, the hub of Tamriel, came into human hands, and so it has been ever since.

“Historically the folk of Nibenay, the most sophisticated and subtle of our human societies, have provided the lion's share of Emperors to the Ruby Throne, but there have also been Emperors of Colovian or Nord extraction, some of whom made very creditable rulers. The Empire has always welcomed new peoples under the Red Diamond, regardless of background. After the crossbred Breton folk finally threw off the yoke of their Elven masters, did not Empress Hestra reach out to beckon them to join us? Even such latecomers to Tamriel as the Redguards were admitted to the Imperial brotherhood when Hammerfell was made an official province.

“So I say to, yes, Cyclenophus, yes—even a noble Breton like your Warchieftain Emeric could conceivably, under conditions that are unlikely but by no means beyond the realms of possibility, be found worthy to ascend the throne of Cyrodiil. It would help if he followed your lead, noble legate, and showed a becoming respect by adopting a less harsh-sounding and more Imperial name—perhaps Emeritus, or Emicio. Perhaps you could persuade him to it?"

 

“Chancellor Tharn,

Before Mannimarco's recent departure from the City, what role did the King of Worms play in post-Soulburst Imperial politics? Your daughter Clivia has de jure regency following Emperor Varen's disappearance, but it is commonly claimed that Mannimarco is, in fact, the one who sits the Ruby Throne. Additionally, how does Clivia mean to reassert her right to rule, given that the Alliances sent forth a new pretender almost daily?" – Legoless, Doyen of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Alas, Sir Doyen, you are ill-informed, but you are probably not to blame—the Alliance spy services put so much effort into disparaging and discrediting our recent governing nobility that it should come as no surprise that credulous folk believe their lies. Take, for example, your use of the title 'King of Worms' regarding Mannimarco. Really, man, just think for a moment: who would actually call himself 'King of Worms'? That should have been a clear indication that whatever followed was going to be slander and character assassination.

“In point of fact, Lord Mannimarco has never been more than an advisor to the throne. Though valued for his wisdom and experience, he is ineligible on several counts for actual rule in Cyrodiil. Furthermore, in the current temporary disarray, his whereabouts are unknown. Doubtless, like everyone else in this troubled time, he is simply doing his best to help his people get through it.

“As for the Alliance pretenders, they are beneath contempt. As ephemeral as moths, they flare for a moment in the candle flame and are gone, soon to be forgotten. Their widows and widowers may remember their names, but Cyrodiil will not."

 

“Hail Chancellor, while many harbor ill feelings about your involvement in the Planemeld I feel more sympathetic toward your situation, you were tricked and in the shock that resulted upon you learning this you chose the most logical path of survival, who are we to criticize when none of us have faced such a dilemma? I ask you this: considering the state of flux within Cyrodiil at this time, and the lack of Imperial leadership; who cares for the interests of the Imperials of Cyrodiil? Their land is disputed on all sides by foreigners, the few Imperial soldiers that remain do so in small groups spread thin and seemingly not in contact with each other, nobody stands by the gates of the Imperial City, attempting to regain access. The only organized effort I have witnessed from the once proud people of Cyrodiil comes from your niece, who wages war in Bangkori against the fearsome and united Daggerfall Covenant. Does Septima hold the interests of those in Cyrodiil at heart as she wages war, or does your daughter, Clivia? And if Clivia is in fact ruling as Empress-Regent where is she, and how does she contact her people to co-ordinate anything? Your family seems to hold what is left of Imperial power Chancellor Tharn, I wonder whether you feel confident they can keep it, and bring your people back from the brink of despair.

With Regards, Asrien Lagerborn, scholar of Kerbol's Hollow"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “As Dark Anchors fall, Daedra swarm, and provincials strut and posture in the Heartland of Cyrodiil, all may appear to be chaos and ruin. But so long as the Empire exists as an idea in the heart of humanity, so long as true men and women refuse to accept the shackles of Elven overlords or Daedric Princes, the Empire of Cyrodiil can never truly fall. Rest assured, the Empress Regent and her loyal Elder Council are taking active steps to ensure that no trespasser in Cyrodiil, from Alliance or Oblivion, shall long profit from their invasion. Measures are being adopted that will once more bring the Empire to the fore. The course of history tends inevitably toward a Tamriel under the Red Diamond, with all mortals beholden to the wise decrees that issue from the White-Gold Tower. Such is our future, for I have seen it."

 

“Chancellor Tharn,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Mages Guild today to inquire on our fallout with the Empire, the legalization of Necromancy, and the future of our order in the Imperial City.

First off, what was your stance on the affair of our expulsion at the time? I imagine that you played a major role in it due to your associations with the King of Worms. Speaking of the Order of the Black Worm, how did the general public react to Necromancy suddenly being made legal, a practice condemned for many years in history? I understand Arch-Mage Vanus Galerion was always strongly opposed to the practice, and I cannot imagine that he had any kind words for you on that, which leads to my final question for you. Should the Mages Guild reestablish itself in the Arcane University, an order strongly opposed to Necromancy, do you think that the Black Arts will once again be declared an illegal practice?

Thank you for your time today, and I sincerely hope that you have learned from your mistakes in the past on allying with Mannimarco, otherwise we will have to come for you.

Wizard Solinar, Daggerfall Mages Guild"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Once again I am confronted with ignorance and misunderstanding, and must make an effort to educate a benighted provincial who has fallen prey to libelous propaganda. Urgencies impend, but I must be patient, for a wise ruler leads by example.

“The Mages Guild of Cyrodiil was implicated in the event some call 'the Soulburst,' allegations that were substantiated after due process of investigation. The organization's legal standing under the Guilds Act was revoked, and stewardship of the Arcane University was awarded to Mannimarco's Fellowship of Anchorites—on a probationary basis, of course. Lord Mannimarco is a broad-minded wizard who declared an intention to nullify some of the arbitrary strictures formerly imposed by the Mages Guild. I believe some Colovians objected to this liberalization, but frankly, such arcane matters don't have much to do with the pursuit of good governance in a time of turmoil, so I paid little attention. As to what the Mages Guild might do should they somehow redeem themselves and return to a position of responsibility in Cyrodiil, you are in a better position to address that than I."

 

"Hmm? Oh, did my astral projection go through? Well then, dearest Chancellor, I hope you still aren't hiding-er, I mean I hope you're still under heavy guard to prevent you from becoming prey to the many horrors that reside within the Imperial City. Never mind the fact that your daughter and several of your friends and family are risking their lives to free the Ruby Isles from the influence of Molag Bal, but...like a swarm of Vvardenfell echkin I erect the spine of irritation and digress. I really do hope you're alright old...friend? No, associate – that's a much more neutral word! Anyway Tharn, I had a question that needs answering and since you're the only person still alive that may know the answer then I decided to risk contacting you. I have heard rumors that my associates at the Imperial Geographical Society and the Imperial Census have been forced to scatter to the wind now that their headquarters in the Imperial City have been destroyed. Because of this, I fear for the 'proper' collection and recordation of the many arts, literature, and ideas that will spring forth from this troubled time. Without such sanctioned groups working to store away present knowledge, how do you and the rest of the Elder Council believe our descendants in the coming eras will view these troubled times we live in?" – Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “In fact, this is no trivial problem! Your question is astute, especially from an Argonian. (You were tutored by an Imperial, weren't you? I've always said that, given the right mentor, even the children of Black Marsh can be taught useful skills.) Reliable records are essential to a government's fair and efficient administration of the law. The wanton destruction of archives and scriptoriums by the invading Alliances may, in the end, be their most heinous crime. And the Daedra are even worse! Though citizens may be slaughtered, in time a new generation will rise to replace them—but history, once lost, is gone forever. How will taxes be accurately assessed when there are no documents to tell us who owns what? How will the Cyrods of the future be taught about their glorious antecedents if no one knows of their trials and triumphs? Why, a thousand years from now, even my own wise and heroic leadership may be forgotten, or at least not properly appreciated in its entirety. Paper and parchment are so very vulnerable. (Hmm. Stone statues? Graven tablets? Journals hurled forward through time? There must be a solution….)"

 

“Dear Chancellor,
I'm interested in your opinion on the ways soul gems are currently handled and on the way humanoid souls are caught.
The Mages Guild has already expressed criticism in this respect, but it doesn't feel able to do something about it.
Is it the handling of humanoid souls something currently accepted because of politics, or are we to expect an Imperial ban if the good relations between the Imperial Throne and the Realm of Oblivion should come to an end.
At the moment I have to assume that the current state is a concession to Molag Bal and his followers.
In times past it was only possible to bind humanoid souls in special black soul gems which, as I heard, are much better suited to harvest the full potential of humanoid souls, while the knowledge to use them was available only to more educated magicians and mystics.
With respect, Alessia Tharn, wandering magician"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “With respect, 'Alessia Tharn,' these arcane matters have nothing to do with law or governance, and are far beyond the competence of a simple politician like myself. However, it is my understanding that these Black Soul Gems one hears of are a recent invention—though who is responsible for their creation and spread among the wizardry of Tamriel is beyond me. Until recent times, the trapping and binding of souls into prepared crystals was a hit or miss proposition, uncertain and not well understood. Yet now it seems any hedge wizard who obtains a Black Soul Gem can accomplish it. It seems to me that this is a matter that must be sorted out by a consensus among Tamriel's magical community, though I don't know who might manage that since the Mages Guild has fallen into disrepute."

 

“Chancellor Tharn as an Argonian mage, this one once had chance to hear you speak before the current problems which engulf the Imperial city and it was obvious to all not only your brilliance but you loyalty to the imperial cause as such it is difficult for this humble Argonian to see how the Imperial city which you controlled now appears to be in ruins and little more than a playground for Molag Bal? Perhaps the more important question is what plans do you have to restore the city and restore your place as chancellor not outlaw?
Ash-Tal Argonian Sorcerer"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Outlaw? The Elder Council may have temporarily relocated to an undisclosed location, but as the legitimate governing body of the Empire of Cyrodiil, it is we, and only we, who decide who or what is within the law. War has come to the Imperial City before, but eventually the invaders will be repulsed, and as always, the people of the Heartland of Tamriel will rebuild! The fact that a few buildings here and there have been knocked down just shows that those structures were weak and in need of replacement. The strong structures are the ones that survive! The situation may look bleak, but that is when the people of the Nibenay Valley are at their most resilient—and loyal! For our true Cyrods know that their proven leadership is hard at work on their behalf to restore order, not just in the Imperial City, but in all Cyrodiil. And not just in Cyrodiil, but across Tamriel! For eventually, the peoples of Nirn always look to the heart of Tamriel for guidance and reassurance. They know that when the Empire is stable and all are deferential to Imperial will and regulation, peace and prosperity shall reign throughout the provinces, and the days of dissension and disorder will be past. For millennia the White-Gold Tower has stood for the rule of law—Imperial law!—and it always shall!"

Subtropical Cyrodiil: A Speculation

Author: 
Lady Cinnabar of Taneth

According to "The Heartland of Cyrodiil," by that old fraud Phrastus of Elinhir, the Nibenese valley and the Colovian hills have always enjoyed the temperate climate they have today, and early references to Cyrodiil as a subtropical jungle were merely errors on the part of one of the Heimskrs.

Really? What, then, of the "waving fronds" of Vahtacen mentioned in the Hosiric Lays? What of Khosey's "dense-jungl'd shore of Rumare" in the Tamrilean Tractates? Are these, as well, the mistakes of errant copyists?

No, I think it more likely that three millennia ago Cyrodiil's climate was warmer and wetter than it is today. The environment of the Heartland has changed. Which begs the question: how?

I've given a great deal of thought to this question, and would like to propose a hypothesis. However, I am not a scholar of deep mythohistory like Vanus Galerion or Beredalmo the Signifier, so let's just call the following … a speculation.

Tamriel is the center of Nirn; Cyrodiil is the center of Tamriel; and at the center of Cyrodiil stands that greatest of mortal-made structures, the White-Gold Tower of the Imperial City—which was patterned in open emulation of the Adamantine (or Direnni) Tower, the oldest structure in Tamriel, said to have been erected by the Aedra themselves.

This was no mere homage, whim, or coincidence: White-Gold was built in the semblance of Adamantine in order to echo the first Tower's undeniable mystical properties. And not just to echo them, but, due to its central location, to amplify them.

What are these mystical properties? This leads us to the domain of Tower Lore, a realm fraught with scholarly conflict, but I will try to give a simple, and uncontroversial, summary.

When the Aedra were persuaded—or hoodwinked—by Lorkhan into creation of the Mundus, the physical flesh of Nirn was hung on a skeleton of joints, each of which radiated a palpable reality—the bones of the world, as it were.

At one of these mystical joint-points the Aedra erected a great structure, the Adamantine Tower, where they held a conclave to decide the fate of Lorkhan and the Mundus. In later times mortal mages discovered the Tower, and deduced its reality-affirming properties. The Merethic Elves then imitated it, erecting the White-Gold and Crystal Towers at other joint-points.

In doing this, what did the Ur-Elves hope to achieve? I would posit that, through their collective "possession" of such Towers in their realms, over time the Elves actually amended their local reality to conform to their desires.

Thus the Summerset archipelago, in the sphere of the Crystal Tower, is a warm and paradisiacal domain perfectly adapted to the Altmer. And Cyrodiil, in the sphere of the even-more-powerful White-Gold Tower, became a warm and subtropical jungle—which suited the ease-loving Ayleids.

But then the slaves of the Heartland High Elves rose up against their masters, conquered the valley of the Nibenay, and the Ayleids ruled no more. Thereafter, White-Gold Tower was the center of a human empire, peopled by Nedes and Cyro-Nords who originated in cooler, northern climes. And so the Tower of Cyrodiil responded to the desires of its new masters.

And that, I believe, is the answer to how the Heartland changed from subtropical to temperate: because once Men ruled in Cyrodiil, the local reality changed to meet their needs and wishes. Changed slowly, perhaps, almost imperceptibly, but inexorably—until Cyrodiil became the realm of temperate forests and fields we now know.

So, is that the truth of the matter? Have I deduced the answer to the mystery? I cannot be sure: I'm only a humble scholar, residing in the Tower of the Fifth Doctrine, which is neither White-Gold nor Adamantine. The only thing I'm quite sure of is that any theory propounded by Phrastus of Elinhir is almost certain to be wrong.

The Heartland of Cyrodiil

Author: 
Phrastus of Elinhir

The fertile farmlands of central Cyrodiil, around Lake Rumare and the Nibenay Valley, the region commonly known as "The Heartland," is temperate in climate, supporting the crops and livestock that feed all of central Tamriel. Rain and thunderstorms are frequent, but the region is free from the sandstorms of Hammerfell to the west or the monsoons of Black Marsh to the southeast.

Much has been made of the classical author Heimskr's characterization of Cyrodiil as a jungle or rainforest. My studies indicate that the use of the phrase "endless jungle" to describe Cyrodiil appears to be an error in transcription. Close study of the original, badly faded manuscript reveals that the phrase was miscopied, and should be more accurately rendered as "extensive uplands." The adjectives "an equatorial rain" as applied to the Nibenese forest do not appear in the original manuscript at all, and I would posit were added by the scribe in support of his previous erroneous use of "jungle." Lady Cinnabar of Taneth, of course, takes issue with this exegesis, but the flaws in her methods of scholarship have been well-documented elsewhere.

Thibaut's Cairn and its History

Author: 
Charonius of Sutch

Reaper's March has a long and bloody history. Its denizens have had ample need for a place to bury their dead. For the most respected, the rich, the powerful, that final resting place has often been the crypt known as Thibaut's Cairn.

Located southwest of the village now called Greenhill, the old Colovian crypt and the nearby village once shared a name. But … we're getting ahead of ourselves.

The Cairn is named for its most noted "guest," the famed Thibault of Kvatch. Thibault was a general of Colovia, and in his time some hundreds of years ago he was one of the anchor points for the Hastrel Cohort.

Those brave souls rode forth at the vanguard south, beside their comrades in the Linchal and Ontus cohorts. The purpose of their ride has been forgotten, just one of the numerous sorties into the March the Colovian kingdoms have attempted over the years.

Their ride would have been lost forever to the mists of time, if not for the unique relationship Thibault had with his cohort. Riding at his side south from the Kingdom of Kvatch was his wife Tertcia. Below Thibault in the command structure of his cohort were his children, though the number he had in place has now been lost to time. The members of his cohort owed him personal allegiance to a degree not often seen in modern Colovian cohorts. It's said when Thibault rode, even the nightsoil men of his township rode with him.

The details of Thibault's death, too, have been lost to us … but the impact of his death is still easy to see if you travel south of Arenthia in the Northern Woods. While the Linchal and Ontus cohorts rode back north, returning to home soil, the men and women of Hastrel cohort stayed and put down roots.

Tertcia's need to see her husband's legacy built was the motive for staying. The tales of her manipulations can be found in numerous other tomes, no doubt. Suffice it to say that she played the Wood Elves against the Khajiit and the Khajiit against the Wood Elves in a masterful dance. The result? A complex of crypts and an entire village, once known simply as "Thibault's Rest".

Now, the history of that little town is an interesting tale as well …

Journal of Culanwe

Author: 
Culanwe

It seems fitting that the servant of the Queen of Dawn and Dusk should try to broker peace between the Nedes and the Ayleids. Her realm is between times, between places, and between realities. If I can help two peoples who have such hatred of each other find peace, I will have accomplished something, at least, in my time in this mortal realm. I sense Azura guiding me, and her strength flows within me, but it is her wisdom I need now.

23 Sun's Height
Did I say I needed Azura's wisdom? Nay, I need her patience. Only an immortal could put up with these … people! The Nedes are well-named. Yes, they spent many years shackled and tormented by the Ayleids, but none alive today remember that suffering first-hand! The recompense they demand continues to escalate, even as the pride of the Ayleids swells. I sense they will break off negotiations any day now, and we may go from uneasy peace to outright war.

Ah, Azura—keep me from speaking with them! The power of my voice can change their reality, but that would be a bandage on an infected wound. Nothing but true change can allay the anger between these peoples.

27 Sun's Height
The worst has happened. One of the Ayleids is dead, a messenger killed while running errands. The Ayleids suspect the Nedes and they do not deny it. Rather, they take umbrage … as if the death of one messenger cannot be measured against the long suffering they endured. This will not go well. My voice may be the only answer.

29 Sun's Height
I stand amazed. I did use my voice, but only … adjusted reality somewhat, to forestall conflict. The true miracle came from a Nede and an Ayleid. Both outsiders to the negotiation, they joined together to solve the mystery of the murdered messenger … and found the culprit neither Nede nor Ayleid! A servant of Molag Bal was responsible, his aim to sabotage these negotiations!

The two heroes have done what I could not. They've brought Nede and Ayleid together against a common foe. I foresee hostilities between these two peoples ended.

 

2 Last Seed
With the wedding of the two heroes, the breach has been closed. But I cannot imagine Molag Bal will let this go unchallenged. I will seek an answer … a way to shield these peoples in Azura's name. As long as I live, the Harvester of Souls shall not touch what we have created here today. Azura, give me strength. Let my voice change the world as long as I am in it.

The Whithering of Delodiil

Author: 
Anonymous

There was, in those days, a city in the Heartland, Delodiil by name. And it was a city of pleasant promenades, of learned scholars, of meticulous artisans, and of lissome dancers. And also did Delodiil have warriors fierce and proud, who protected the promenades, and the scholars, and the artisans, and the dancers. And though the warriors were few, they were bold.

Now the people of Delodiil worshiped many gods, for they were devout and held all the Divines in reverence. But above all others they did venerate the Lady of Light, building for Merid-Nunda a chapel of colored rays and beams, which was for glory like a piece of Aetherius brought down to the mortal world. And the people of Delodiil were proud thereon.

But across the valley was another city, Abagarlas, which was to the darkness as Delodiil was to the light. Now Abagarlas had as many citizens as Delodiil, but few were dancers, artisans, and scholars, because most were warriors fierce and proud. These warriors were lended to other states and cities for the making of war in return for wealth. And thus did Abagarlas, in its own way, prosper.

Now the King of Abagarlas saw the chapel of lights that was the pride of Delodiil, and he said, "Is not Abagarlas as great a city as Delodiil? We shall have a great chapel of our own." And he decreed that much of the wealth of Abagarlas be spent in the building of a shrine to his own patron Divine, who was the Lord Mola Gbal. And the people of Abagarlas reared up a vast shrine to Mola Gbal, but they were but rude soldiers rather than artisans, and the shrine was misshapen, ill-colored, and burdensome to look upon. But it was, nonetheless, larger than Delodiil's chapel of lights, and thus the King of Abagarlas boasted that his city was greater therefore than Delodiil. But the people of Delodiil evinced no dismay, and went about their business as before.

And this unconcern of the Delodiils ate a hole into the heart of the King of Abagarlas, and he was vexed unto madness. He sent soldiers to profane the small shrine to Merid-Nunda in Abagarlas, and then went to his vast shrine to Mola Gbal, where he swore a mighty oath. And slaying a family of visiting Delodiils on the altar, the King vowed that he would gather his army, march across the valley, and capture all the Delodiils, sacrificing them to Mola Gbal within the chapel of lights.

And the King of Abagarlas mustered all his soldiers, and on a night in which the skies were lit by a furious racing aurora, he marched them across the valley to Delodiil. But when the King and his army arrived they found the land empty, for the city of Delodiil was gone, unto every brick!

And the King thought he heard laughter in the lights in the skies, mirth that turned to shrieks of fear that came, not from above, but from back across the valley. In haste the King marched his soldiers back to his city, but when they arrived at Abagarlas, they found it utterly destroyed as if by scorching light. And of the families of the soldiers and the King, nothing could be found but their shadows burnt into the walls of the city.
Thus Abagarlas. But of the fate of Delodiil, nothing more was known.