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Antecedants of Dwemer Law

Author: 
Anonymous

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

 

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

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

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

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

Aicantar's Lab Journal

Author: 
Aicantar

Uncle Calcelmo got back from Mzinchaleft today. Lots of artifacts this trip. He even brought me something- a spider that didn't completely shatter when the guards smashed it. He wants me to get it working again. My first big research project!

Spider Centurion Research, Week 1

I've reassembled the spider with spare parts from the museum. All the joints move, just not on their own. Uncle said the spider needed a 'control crystal' with the right 'electroharmonic signature'. The Guards are out looking for one now.

Spider Centurion Research, Week 2

After yesterday's incident, I assembled a staff to hold the crystal. It actually works! When you use the staff, it creates a beacon of some kind, and the spider just walks on over to it. Better yet, it doesn't attack everyone on sight now!

Spider Centurion Research, Week 3

Apparently it will still attack, just not on sight. During this morning's experiment, one of the newer guards was startled and drew his sword, and he was dead before anyone could react. Did it actually detect hostile intent?

Spider Centurion Research, Week 4

Further testing confirms that the spider seems to detect the intent of its controller in some way. Last week, it tried to defend me from a threat. This week, I snapped at a guard who interrupted my latest test, and it lashed out at him. Fascinating!

Spider Centurion Research, Week 5

No one appreciates my work. Uncle Calcelmo is buried in his Falmer research, and doesn't have time to help me with the spider anymore.

The Guards are all afraid of it. I keep telling them it's harmless as long as I keep it under control, but there have been too many accidents. They just don't believe me.

I wanted to show the Jarl, but I can't seem to get the spider to leave the lab - it looks like its control crystal only works up here. Maybe if I can reattune the enchantment...?

Dwemer History and Culture

Author: 
Hasphat Antabolis

Chapter 1

Marobar Sul and the Trivialization
of the Dwemer in Popular Culture

by
Hasphat Antabolis

 

While Marobar Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer was definitively debunked in scholarly circles as early as the reign of Katariah I, it remains one of the staples of the literate middle-classes of the Empire, and has served to set the image of the Dwemer in the popular imagination for generations of schoolchildren. What about this lengthy (but curiously insubstantial) tome has proved so captivating to the public that it has been able to see off both the scorn of the literati and the scathing critiques of the scholars?

Before examing this question, a brief summary of the provenance and subsequent career of Ancient Tales would be appropriate. First published around 2E670, in the Interregnum between the fall of the First Cyrodilic Empire and the rise of Tiber Septim, it was originally presented as a serious, scholarly work based on research in the archives of the University of Gwylim, and in the chaos of that era was taken at face value (a sign of the sad state of Dwemer scholarship in those years). Little is known of the author, but Marobar Sul was most likely a pseudonym of Gor Felim, a prolific writer of "penny dreadful romances" of that era, who is known to have used many other pseudonyms. While most of Felim's other work has, thankfully, been lost to history, what little survives matches Ancient Tales in both language and tone (see Lomis, "Textual Comparison of Gor Felim's A Hypothetical Treachery with Marobar Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer"). Felim lived in Cyrodiil his whole life, writing light entertainments for the elite of the old Imperial capital. Why he decided to turn his hand to the Dwemer is unknown, but it is clear that his "research" consisted of nothing more than collecting the peasants' tales of the Nibenay Valley and recasting them in Dwemer guise.

The book proved popular in Cyrodiil, and Felim continued to churn out more volumes until the series numbered seven in all. Ancient Tales of the Dwemer was thus firmly established as a local favorite in Cyrodiil (already in its 17th printing) when the historical forces that propelled Tiber Septim to prominence also began to spread the literature of the "heartland" across the continent. Marobar Sul's version of the Dwemer was seized upon in a surge of human racial nationalism that has not yet subsided.

The Dwemer appear in these tales as creatures of fable and light fantasy, but in general they are "just like us". They come across as a bit eccentric, perhaps, but certainly there is nothing fearsome or dangerous about them. Compare these to the Dwemer of early Redguard legend: a mysterious, powerful race, capable of bending the very laws of nature to their will; vanished but perhaps not gone. Or the Dwemer portrayed in the most ancient Nord sagas: fearsome warriors, tainted by blasphemous religious practices, who used their profane mechanisms to drive the Nords from Morrowind. Marobar Sul's Dwemer were much more amenable to the spirit of the time, which saw humans as the pinnacle of creation and the other races as unenlightened barbarians or imperfect, lesser versions of humans eager for tutelage. Ancient Tales falls firmly in the latter camp, which does much to explain its enduring hold on the popular imagination. Marobar Sul's Dwemer are so much more comfortable, so much friendlier, so much more familiar, than the real Dwemer, whose truly mysterious nature we are only beginning to understand. The public prefers the light, trivial version of this vanished race. And from what I have learned in my years of studying the Dwemer, I have some sympathy for that preference. As the following essays will show, the Dwemer were, to our modern eyes, a remarkably unlikeable people in many ways.

Dwemer Inquiries

Author: 
Thelwe Ghelein

Dwemer Inquiries Vol I
Their Architecture and Civilization

by
Thelwe Ghelein, Scholar

[Literal Translation: In the Deep Halls, far from Men
Forsaken Red Mountain, Twisted Kin
Hail the Mind, Hail the Stone
Dwarven Pride, Stronger than bone]

It has been my life's work to investigate the Dwemer, their dubious history and mysterious banishment. My goal with this text is to share my findings and conclusions based on eighty years spent studying their unique architectural remains.

The Migration of the Deep-Elves from their ancestral Dwemereth, now Morrowind, is a generally accepted fact. Recorded history supports this, specifically mentioning the Rourken Clan's refusal to join King Dumac in the forming of the First Council, and their subsequent exodus to Hammerfell. The architectural premise is also sound, as the building habits of the Dwarves adapted and changed, albeit slowly and in subtle ways, over time and land. I propose that some of these differences are stylistic as well as practical.

Traditional viewpoints suggest that the Vvardenfell Dwemer were the most prolific of their kind. Based on my excavations throughout Skyrim, Morrowind and High Rock, I am not sure that this is the case. While Vvardenfell is almost cluttered with dwarven ruins poking through the surface of the landscape, the construction of those ruins is fundamentally different from the majority of what I've observed elsewhere.

Further, as we delve into Vvardenfell ruins, we notice that their internal structure is quite different. While major civic and operational chambers are found near the surface in a Vvardenfell Ruin, that is not typically the case on the Mainland. Minor passageways and storehouse rooms are near the surface, but more important locations don't occur until we explore much deeper.

Because such major locations are well-hidden in Dwemer Ruins outside of Morrowind, many scholars believed they were in fact not present in ruins outside that province. This premature conclusion led some to believe such sites to be mere outposts. My research has shown this not to be the case.

There are a few theories that may explain this difference. Perhaps Clan architects simply had their own styles and preferences when it came to civic planning. This seems only somewhat likely, as Dwarven techniques were based on empirical study, there was likely little room for creative interpretation when it came to building technique. Geological makeup of the terrain almost certainly played a role, especially in a region like Northern Skyrim where the ground near the surface is very rocky and often frozen, versus the volcanic substratum common in Vvardenfell or the ubiquitous aquifers found in Hammerfell. It's possible that Dwarven architects in the North were not even able to excavate larger structures until reaching more pliable stratum.

This scholar would like to suggest, however, that many structures west of Morrowind were built after 1E420. When the Clan Rourken left Vvardenfell, it seems evident that several clans broke off to create their own settlements, and chose to live in greater isolation than their Eastern brethren. This theory is particularly fascinating, because it leads me to believe that Dwarven architects may have developed even more elaborate methods of hiding their strongholds over time.

This opens the distinct possibility that undisturbed dwarven archaeological sites exist throughout Tamriel, even in southern areas like Cyrodiil or Black Marsh where Dwarves are not believed to have ever had a significant presence. Though we ought not get carried away on flights of fancy, one could extrapolate this logic to suggest that some Dwarven Clans were living among us for much longer than previously believed, perhaps well beyond the disappearance during the War of the Red Mountain in 1E700.

Dwemer Inquiries Vol II
Their Architecture and Civilization

by
Thelwe Ghelein, Scholar

[Literal Translation: In the Deep Halls, far from Men
Forsaken Red Mountain, Twisted Kin
Hail the Mind, Hail the Stone
Dwarven Pride, Stronger than bone]

The limited written record supports the perception of the Deep Elves as culturally revering the pursuits of logic and science. This stands in stark contrast to the belief system of most other mer cultures. When we imagine a society structured around such a central ideology, it seems reasonable that prolific scholars, especially in fields such as mathematics, metallurgy or architecture, would be elevated to social status like that of clergy in a more mystically-inclined culture. The idea is supported by a fragment of Dwemeris text recovered from a colony in Skyrim - Irkgnthand - which I believe to be associated with the Clan Rourken. The original Dwemeris and my translation Follow:

[Lit. Trans. Risen by order cousin-of-privilege Cuolec of Scheziline privileged duties. Clanhome building Hoagen Kultorra tradition to Hailed World shaper]

"To raise granted-cousin Cuolec of <untranslatable> privilege with duties for family-home building Hoagen Kultorra<?> tradition to father Mundus shaper"

Some scholars interpret this as evidence of Dwemer worship of Mundus, but I do not agree. My translation of this passage suggests that a respected Dwemer by the name of Cuolec was promoted to a civic position, probably tonal architect. The latter half of the fragment suggests that Cuolec's position requires him to build in a specific style.

The term Hoagen Kultorra has thus far eluded me, but I believe it may be the name of such a style. It's possible there were several styles, differing in their construction principles and typical structures.

One earmark of what I believe was the prevalent Dwemer style among Northern clans was a feature I call the Deep Venue. Deep Venues are often characterized as being made up of one or more expansive natural caverns in which several other structures will occur. Structures within the Venue may be carved from the stone itself, or freely erected upon the cavern floor. The largest and most impressive Venues, such as that found in Bthardamz, may even feature roads wide enough for ten large men to walk shoulder-meets-shoulder along it.

Arcanex are typically smaller structures. Very few have been properly studied before disruption by grave-robbers or greedy adventurers, but those few undisturbed sites have contained a surprising collection of magical objects such as soul-gems, alchemical concoctions and magical texts. Some scholars take these as evidence that the Dwemer did, in fact, dabble in the magical arts. Based on what we know of their culture, as well as the fact that most arcanex are minor structures compared to other common fixtures, I would suggest that these were centers of study and nothing more. Perhaps the Dwarves established these Halls as a means to study men and mer, who surely seemed as alien to them as the Dwemer seem to us today?

Great Animoculotories can be found in many Dwarven strongholds. These were the factories where the centurions and various other constructs were built. I have hoped to study these chambers for clues as to the means by which those mysterious automata are given life, but those same guardians make these especially difficult and dangerous areas to explore.

Dwemer Inquiries Vol III
Their Architecture and Civilization

by
Thelwe Ghelein, Scholar

[Literal Translation: In the Deep Halls, far from Men
Forsaken Red Mountain, Twisted Kin
Hail the Mind, Hail the Stone
Dwarven Pride, Stronger than bone]

My studies, and this text, have focused heavily on the fact that Dwemer archaeological sites west of Vvardenfell seem to be built at much greater depths than their counterparts near the Red Mountain. I believe there was a specific threshold to which Dwarven excavators would dig before the construction of vital structures would begin.

I have referred to this threshold as the "Geocline," but I have found that to often be redundant with the Deep Venue of a colony. Still, there is some variation in the actual depth of a Deep Venue, whereas the Geocline is always the marker where I reason the City proper begins.

Tunnels and chambers at more shallow depths, while often grand in their architectural style, appear to have served little in the way of critical civic purpose. Surplus stores of food, warehouse chambers that may have been used in trading with nearby surface settlements, or barracks for topside patrols are common above the Geocline.

These tunnels, I have observed, can meander in a seemingly more random pattern than those planned structures beneath. I hypothesize that this may be due to the unpredictable nature of any excavation, even to a race as clever as the Dwemer. Surely unexpected deposits of stone or geological events could make the effort difficult, and I think that these haphazard tunnels are often the result of the search for suitable substratum to build within.

I have found in a small number of ruins reference to a geological anomaly or place known as ""[Literal Translation: FalZhardum Din]. This is intriguing because the term not only appears in a few tablet fragments, but very specifically on ornate metal frames in the deepest reaches of the Strongholds Alftand, Irkgnthand and Mzinchaleft of Skyrim. I have yet to decipher the meaning of these elaborate carvings, but consider it highly strange that they occur in the deepest part of each of these ruin.

Risen by order cousin-of-privilege Cuolec of Scheziline privileged duties. Clanhome building Hoagen Kultorra tradition to Hailed World shaper"

The most reasonable translation of "" I have managed to decipher is "Blackest Kingdom Reaches", but I cannot imagine what that means.

I suspect there may be some pattern I am failing to notice. This creeping doubt has haunted my career in recent years, and I have begun to doubt if I will unravel some grand secret of the Dwarves in my lifetime, though it lies just under my nose - or indeed, under my feet.

Dwarves

Author: 
Calcelmo

Dwarves
The Lost Race of Tamriel, Volume I
Architecture and Designs

by
Calcelmo
Scholar of Markarth

 

Let me begin by correcting a common misconception. The proper term to use when referencing the ancient lost race of Tamriel is "Dwemer." It is a word whose meaning is roughly translated to "people of the deep" in the common tongue, and whose use has been widely replaced by the more ubiquitous nomenclature, "dwarves." I would like stated that I use the name "dwarves" in lieu of the more accurate term in these books out of sympathy for my readership, whom I can safely assume does not have the breadth of scholarship that 200 years of study has given me.

With that small point finished, let us begin our discussion on the dwarves by focusing on the indisputable artifacts they have left behind: their architectural and cultural designs. Unlike the more controversial areas of dwarven scholarship, the construction of dwarven cities and relics are well-founded due to the plethora of samples taken from the ruins these peoples have left behind. My own home city, Markarth, was originally one such ruin, and I can state from first-hand experience that all dwarven designs share a set of common principles that we can use to determine true artifacts from fakes and delineate patterns and methodologies that were important to their craftsmen.

First of all, we can say for certain that dwarven artisans favored stone, at least as far as their buildings were concerned. This is no surprise. With notable exceptions, the vast majority of dwarven architecture is found underground or carved out of mountains. It is possible, although only theoretically, that the dwarves first mastered masonry as a race quite early, and later examples of metalwork were added on to much earlier stone designs as the dwarves began to master more complex tools. Regardless, the foundation of all known dwarven ruins is built on stonework, and the structure of dwarven stonework is sharp, angular, and intensely mathematical in nature.

By a simple count, there are hundreds if not thousands of samples of dwarven buildings made of precise square shapes, and far fewer examples of discretely rounded or curved stonework, leading us to believe that early dwarves favored trusted, well-calculated designs based on angled lines rather than riskier, more imprecise calculations based on arcs and curves. This comparatively simple tradition of stonecutting has nevertheless resulted in buildings that are as structurally sound today as they were thousands of years ago, making the works of our most skilled masons today seem like child's play in comparison.

Metalwork as far as we know is the primary method used to make almost all dwarven crafts. We cannot, however, discount more easily destructible materials such as clay, paper, and glass from outside the scope of dwarven craftsmanship, but given the tendency of dwarven design to favor the long-lasting over the fragile, we can safely assume that at the very least metal was a heavy preference. And the metal used in all so-far-discovered dwarven relics is entirely unique to their culture.

No other race has replicated whatever process was used to create dwarven metal. Although it can be easily mistaken for bronze -- and in fact many forgers of dwarven materials use bronze to create their fake replicas -- it is most definitely a distinct type of metal of its own. I have personally seen metallurgists attempt to combine several different types of steel and common and rare ores in order to imitate dwarven metal's exclusive properties, but the only method that has been successful is to melt down existing dwarven metallic scraps and start over from there.

Dwarves
The Lost Race of Tamriel, Volume II
Weapons, Armor and Machines

by
Calcelmo
Scholar of Markarth

 

In our previous discussion on the dwarves (or "Dwemer" in the more correct, scholarly terminology), we looked into the properties of dwarven architecture and metallic crafts. In this continuing discussion of Tamriel's Lost Race, we shall examine the ways in which dwarves waged war and kept out trespassers. Unlike many other cultures still existing today, the dwarves built and relied on increasingly complicated machines for a wide variety of martial tasks, and weapons and armor created solely for the purpose of being wielded by dwarven warriors show remarkably fewer points of progress beyond the basic designs.

Let us begin by analyzing those basic weapons and armors. Anyone who has held a dwarven axe or worn a dwarven helmet can testify as to the ancient, ever-lasting quality of dwarven craftsmanship. Weapons do not deviate too greatly from their base function. Dwarven swords pierce through light armors with incredible effectiveness, owing primarily to the remarkable sharpness of tempered dwarven metal, and owing to a far lesser extent to its simple, double-edged design.

Compare and contrast a sharp, angular dwarven dagger to a curved elven blade, and it becomes a small logical leap to say that dwarven weaponsmiths relied almost exclusively on creating quality materials first, and merely allowed the form of those materials to flow from the method that weapon was intended to kill people.

As a culture that built almost exclusively underground, it's no surprise that dwarven armors are built to withstand incredibly heavy blows. Again, the fact that they are also resistant to being pierced by arrows or small blades is more of a testament to superior dwarven metallurgy over superior dwarven armorsmithing, but it would be erroneous to thus conclude that dwarven smiths did not take the manufacture of their weapons and armor very seriously. Every piece of war crafts I have examined show a remarkable amount of unnecessary detailing and personalization that is just as evident today among the most ardent blacksmiths.

A dwarven smith probably came from a long tradition that distinguished itself in way that, say, the grip of a mace would feel, or the design of the head of individual arrows. Although, due to the paltry lack of any cultural artifacts outside the weapons and armors themselves, this is only mere speculation.

The last, but probably most important discussion in this volume, pertains to the existence of dwarven machinery. Dwarves created and manufactured on a very broad scale thousands of mechanical apparatuses of varying complexity. The most simple of which is the standard "arachnid" design used to ward off trespassers. We are so far uncertain as to how the dwarves were able to bring to life these remarkably intelligent machines, but I have witnessed one stalk a highly trained thief for several hours, only to ambush him as he was dealing with a lock to some room or treasure trove -- I admit to have forgotten the details past the point at which it began spouting lightning at him.

Dwarven military machines also range from the human-sized "Sphere" warrior, which patrols the interiors of the ruins as a harmless ball only to emerge from it as a fully armed and armored automaton fighter, to the justly feared "Centurion" whose height ranges from twice to several hundred times human size depending on which reports you believe.

Dwarves
The Lost Race of Tamriel, Volume III
Culture and History

by
Calcelmo
Scholar of Markarth

 

In this final volume on our discussion on the dwarves (again, see the term "Dwemer" for references using the more scholastic name), we will attempt an examination into the distinct culture and history of Tamriel's Lost Race. We must, however, begin such a discussion with a warning. Despite what certain academic circles would like people to believe, there is so far no evidence that verifies any claim as to the dwarves' particular customs, morals, myths, legends, laws, systems of governance, or involvement in major historical events outside of those few examples that remain indisputable.

For instance, while we can say with absolute certainty that the disappearance of the entire dwarven race happened very suddenly, only the laziest of junior scholars would say that this event happened in the same day or even the same hour. There is simply no proof to dispute the theory that perhaps the dwarves disappeared from Tamriel gradually over the course of several years or indeed several decades.

There is also nothing that disproves the source of this disappearance as being attributable to mass deaths, plagues, magical contamination, experiments into the nature of Aetherius gone wrong, or even race-wide teleportation into one of the planes of Oblivion. There is simply too little that the dwarves left behind that points to the nature of their great vanishing act, and this same frustration applies to all aspects of their social structure and history.

What we know then can only be inferred by the writings of the other races which made contact with the dwarves before they left Tamriel. The dark elves ("Dunmer") for example teach that their great prophet Nerevar helped unite the dwarves and the elves in Morrowind against occupying Nord armies from Skyrim in the First Era, but Nord and Orc writings also indicate that the dwarves were also allied with them at various points and in various legendary battles of theirs.

Unfortunately, none of these legends and folk lore make an effort to describe the dwarves in great detail, only that they were a secretive people and that an alliance with them was unusual enough to warrant crafting a story around. And past the First Era, no race makes note of encountering any living dwarves at all. This is further confounded by the fact that so many of the dark elven writings on their relationship with the dwarves were lost during the tragic eruptions of Vvardenfell during the Oblivion Crisis nearly 200 years ago. What secrets they could have revealed about the Lost Race are now buried behind layers of molten earth along with so many unfortunate dark elven people.

Thus, we conclude our discussion on the dwarves on a somber note. As with all scholarly endeavors, we are left with more questions than we have answers, and the proof we so desperately search for is so often out of reach, denied even to the most fervent effort.

The mysteries the dwarves have left us with could easily warrant another century or so worth of personal examination from me, and quite possibly even several millennia of excavation of even one dwarven ruin would be insufficient to paint a complete picture on them. But what we can see from our threadbare tapestry of dwarven artifacts is a careful, intelligent, industrious, and highly advanced culture whose secrets we as students and teachers of their works can only hope to uncover some day.

Herbane's Bestiary: Automatons

Author: 
Herbane

Herbane's Bestiary:
Dwarven Automatons

 

9 Hearthfire

The Dwarves have been extinct for many an age, and perhaps for the best. To see men and women the size of large children, all with beards, would be a most disturbing sight. Still, whatever wrath the Dwarves brought from the gods that consumed an entire civilization surely must have been an awe-inspiring thing to witness.

The remnants of their civilization lie buried in the hearts of mountains, and scholars and thieves the world over descend on the skeletal remains of dwarven cities like vultures, to scrape clean the bones of the past, old knowledge waiting to be exhumed and treasures to be discovered. But many men lay murdered in those halls of the damned, because those dwarven ruins do not release their treasures without a fight.

My kin would tell the stories long ago, when I was just a child, about how adept the Dwarves were at building machines. They would say that before our time, dwarves harnessed the power of the earth, and wielded fire and hammers to reshape steel and bronze with a mechanical brilliance that breathed life into these now ancient constructs of metal and magic. In the dark halls and chambers amid the ceasless droning of grinding gears and venting steam, they lie in wait to confound or destroy would-be plunderers of the dwarven sanctums, as the grim watchmen of the last vestiges of culture from a dead race.

I descended into the humid darkness of Mzulft. The slow hiss of steam, creaking of metal and the rattle of old gears powering an empty city would unnerve most men. I could hear things in the darkness, skittering across the floor just out of sight and as I stepped over the bodies of plunderers or scholars who had not made it far, I knew it was not rats wandering these halls.

Small mechanical spiders set upon me with rapid movements, and machines sprouted from the walls and uncurled from spheres into contraptions that rolled on top of gears for legs and crossbows for arms. I could not help but marvel at these single purpose machines built for the murder of men. My sword and my shield are my strength and I am undeterred by such things because I had heard of greater things that roam these depths, and indeed something else in these chambers stirred, and it echoed with massive weight. As it lumbered closer, its feet struck the ground as if walking on massive pistons and as it loomed out of darkness, I could see it clear for the first time, axe for one hand, hammer for the other, as tall as five men, made of dull bronze with a face molded in the image of its masters. A Steam Centurion. The stories were true, these were the guardians of the greatest dwarven treasures.

We fought, and the dwarves must truly be extinct because our battle was surely booming enough to wake the dead. It came at me with hammer and axe, inhuman strength and great fortitude, and a purpose of nothing but murder. I dodged as it crushed the stone around me with futile strikes and I thrust and slashed at it with my blade and took every opening afforded as we shook the halls with violence. I refuse to be undone by a machine.

Where the average man would be long dead, I stood over the husk of this dead automaton, its steam escaping like a final gasp. I could have taken the dwarven artifacts and metal but left them there for others, for I would not hex my journey with the possessions of dead men and maybe that is where countless others go wrong.

I will continue to my journey across the lands, And perhaps one day Herebane will meet a worthy challenge, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.
 

The Falmer: A study

Author: 
Ursa Uthrax

I have studied, and traveled, and explored, and observed, and my hypothesis has finally been confirmed: that the twisted Falmer that inhabit the darkest depths of Skyrim are indeed the snow elves of legend.

No one really knows when the story of the snow elves began, but the ancient work "Fall of the Snow Prince," which is an account of the Battle of the Moesring as transcribed by Lokheim, chronicler to the chieftain Ingjaldr White-Eye, gives a rather vivid account of its ending.

According to this eyewitness account, the great Falmer leader known only as the Snow Prince died in glorious battle, and was buried with honor by his Nord slayers. The remaining snow elves were scattered or slain, and were never heard from again. Or so many thought.

But where the story of the ancient snow elves ends, that of the current-day Falmer begins. For when the snow elf host was shattered on that fateful day, it did not simply disperse - it descended. Into the earth, deep underground. For the Falmer sought sanctuary in the most unlikely of places - Blackreach, far beneath the surface of Skyrim, in the legendary realm of the Dwemer themselves.

Yes, Blackreach exists. I have been there, and unlike most of those who have witnessed its terrible glories, I have returned. And I now know the truth about the Falmer.

After their defeat by the Nords, the dwarves of old agreed to protect the Falmer, but at a terrible price. For these Dwemer did not trust their snow elf guests, and forced them to consume the toxic fungi that once grew deep underground. As a result, the snow elves were rendered blind.

Soon, the majestic snow elves were rendered powerless. They became the dwarves' servants... and then their slaves. But the Dwemer's treachery was so deep, so complete, that they made the fungi an essential part of the Falmer's diet. This guaranteed the weakness of not only their current Falmer thralls, but their offspring as well. The snow elves, for time eternal, would be blind.

But as is always the story with slaves and their masters, the Falmer eventually rebelled. Generations after they first sought solace among the dwarves, and experienced bitter betrayal, the Falmer rose up against their oppressors. The overthrew the dwarves, and fled even further down, into Blackreach's deepest, most hidden reaches.

For decade upon decade, the two sides waged a bitter conflict. A full-fledged and bloody "War of the Crag" that raged deep below Skyrim's surface, completely unbeknownst to the Nords above, a war whose battles and heroes must forever remain lost to our knowledge. Until one day, the war ended. For on that day, the Falmer went to meet their Dwemer foes in battle, only to find that the entire race had... vanished.

Finally free from the threat of their Dwemer overlords, the Falmer were able to spread freely throughout Blackreach. But years of fighting the dwarves had left them bloodthirsty and brutal. Feeling the need to conquer, to kill, they began mounting raids to the surface world.

And so the legends began. Of small, blind, goblin-like creatures who would rise from the cracks of the earth, in the dead of night, to slaughter cattle, attack lonely travelers, and steal sleeping babes from their cribs.

In recent years, however, the sightings of these creatures have become more and more frequent. Their raids, more organized. Their attacks, more brutal. In fact, one might even come to the conclusion that the Falmer are ready to change once again. Could it be true? Are the snow elves of ages past ready to reclaim their long-forgotten glory? Are they ready to surge to the surface, and make war upon the "light dwellers"?

If that happens - if the Falmer are indeed planning on reconquering Skyrim - I fear a horror neither man nor gods could possibly stand against.

Final Report to Trebonius

Author: 
Luagar

To the esteemed Archmage and Guildmaster of Vvardenfell, Trebonius Artorius

 

This will be my final contact with you on the issue of the Disappearance of the Dwarves, a mission that you sent me on some time ago. I have spent all the energy I care to on the issue, you can give me the promotion I asked for or not, it really doesn’t matter to me anymore as I’ve found employment elsewhere. However, I do not start assignments and then not finish, so here is my final report.

The Disappearance of the Dwarves, the Dwemer’s Folly

It is common knowledge to most that care to know that between the years of 1E 688 and 1E 700, during the War of the First Council, the Dwemer race collectively disappeared from known existence. During my travels I have sought long to learn the fate and/or the whereabouts of this race, but rather than state my conclusion outright at the beginning, I shall first tell how I came to my conclusion (plus I believe the added reading will do your crazed mind some good if you can actually managed to finish reading it).

During my travels, it was not long before I came into the knowledge that there was indeed one dwarf left. I believed that visitation to this being was to be essential to my understanding, and while it was informative, the state of Yagrum Bagarn left much to be desired (not only corprus but a great loss of memory). I do however wish to note some words which he spoke to me, and I in turned noted in my jounal, as there is much information in them;

"Lord Kagrenac, the foremost arcane philosopher and magecrafter of my era, devised tools to shape mythopoeic forces, intending to transcend the limits of Dwemer mortality. However, in reviewing his formulae, some logicians argued that side effects were unpredictable, and errors might be catastrophic. I think Kagrenac might have succeeded in granting our race eternal life, with unforeseen consequences -- such as wholesale displacement to an Outer Realm. Or he may have erred, and utterly destroyed our race."--Yagrum Bagarn

It was in these words that I came to learn of these ‘mythopoeic forces’ and of the goal of the Dwemer, to transcend mortality or achieve enlightenment. But I had heard stories of this before, it was these ‘tools’ that Yagrum spoke of that truly grasped my attention. So I set out to learn more, and soon learned from records that a group formerly known as the Dissident Priests had collected much information on these tools. So I went to Holamayan, and here found just the document I wished, Kagrenac’s Tools. It was only the first paragraph of this document that interested me however, and I thus copied it;

“Beneath Red Mountain, Dwemer miners discovered a great magical stone. By diverse methods, Lord Kagrenac, High Priest and Magecrafter of the ancient Dwemer, determined that this magical stone was the heart of the god Lorkhan, cast here in the Dawn Era as a punishment for his mischief in creating the mortal world. Determined to use its divine powers to create a new god for the exclusive benefit of the Dwemer, Kagrenac forged three great enchanted artifacts, which are called "Kagrenac's Tools." Wraithguard is an enchanted gauntlet to protect its wearer from destruction when tapping the heart's power. Sunder is a enchanted hammer to strike the heart and produce the exact volume and quality of power desired. Keening is an enchanted blade that is used to flay and focus the power that rises from the heart."--Kagrenac's Tools

It was in this I learned of the Heart of Lorkhan, how the Dwemer magecrafts had come to tap its power, and the true goals of the Dwemer, the creation of a new god from the substance of a dead one. With this new knowledge, I traveled to the city of Vivec, where I hoped to find more knowledge on this subject. Upon ‘convincing’ a guard to let me in, I made my way into the ‘Secret Library’ of Vivec. Here found another of my sources, the words of Vivec (the now departed god of the Dunmer), The Battle of Red Mountian. This document not only confirmed the Dissident Priests words that the Dwemer were creating a new god, but that at the time of the War of the First Council, they had already began work on it. It also provided me with a key bit of text;

“There, Nerevar the Chimer King met Dumac the Dwarf King and they both collapsed from grievous wounds and draining magics. With Dumac fallen, and threatened by Dagoth Ur and others, Kagrenac turned his tools upon the Heart, and Nerevar said he saw Kagrenac and all his Dwemer companions at once disappear from the world. In that instant, Dwemer everywhere disappeared without a trace.”--The Battle of Red Mountian

So, the Dwemer had disappeared when they had struck the Heart of Lorkhan with these tools that Kagrenac had devised. So I now knew the plans of the Dwemer as well as a small bit about how they came to disappear. But this alone left too much open for debate, so I had to search further. Upon inquiry of Dwemer Scholars in the area, I was directed to the small town of Gnisis, to a Telvanni Dunmer known as Baladas Demnevanni. This man was hard to convince, but he eventually gave me much priceless information, which I in turn noted;

“It was unfashionable among the Dwemer to view their spirits as synthetic constructs three, four, or forty creational gradients below the divine. During the Dawn Era they researched the death of the Earth Bones, what we call now the laws of nature, dissecting the process of the sacred willing itself into the profane. I believe their mechanists and tonal architects discovered systematic regression techniques to perform the reverse -- that is, to create the sacred from the deaths of the profane.

As the Dwemer left no corpses or traces of conflict behind, I believe that generations of ritualistic 'anti-creations' resulted in their immediate, but foreseen removal from the Mundus. They retreated behind math, behind color, behind the active principle itself. That the Dwemer vanished during a conflict with Nerevar and the Tribunal is merely coincidence.”--Baladas Demnevanni

This was quite intriguing, and I was thus brought into the idea of ‘creational gradients’ and ‘Earth Bones’. Upon further inquiry into the nature of these ‘Earthbones’, Demnevanni told me that; “As the books and other artifacts in Dwemer ruins rarely show signs of wear or age, I believe that the Dwemer knew of a preservative effect, perhaps a device still active which denies or controls the Earth Bones governing time and decay.” Upon even further inquiry on ‘Earth Bones’ and ‘creational gradients’ he only said that he hadn’t the time, but instead directed me to Altmeri Priests or the teachings of Vivec, which he vaguely remembered as having some mention of them.

So with this I went on faith and left the man alone in search of some Altmeri Priest, however, I soon came to find that there were no Altmeri Priests on Vvardenfell, but there were some records of their beliefs. Thus I came across The Monomyth, which towards the end gave a summary of the Altmeri beliefs. Indeed, it did note the Earth Bones, saying that some of the beings which created our world had to sacrifice themselves to the world and become these Ehlnofey, Earthbones, or laws of nature as Demnevanni had called them. So Demnevanni believed that the Dwemer could manipulate these parts of the creators, these Earthbones. On top of this I new that they had access to the Heart of Lorkhan and had worked on making a new god, but how did it all tie into together. But as the Monomyth mentioned no ‘creational gradients’, I now began searching for information on these as well as the ‘anti-creations’ which Demnevanni had mentioned, following his advise in looking for Vivec’s teachings. Oddly enough, my searching took me to one Hasphat Antabolis, who had come across Vivec years earlier. After buttering him up abit, he wrote his knowledge from this encounter down for me in a journal he entitled Vehk’s Teachings. I now note some of the most relevant parts of this journal;

What is the rim of the Wheel?
As the process of subcreation continued, both Anu and Padhome awakened. For to see your antithesis is to finally awaken. Each gave birth to their souls, Auriel and Sithis, and these souls regarded the Aurbis each in their own part, and from this came the etada, the original patterns. These etada eventually congealed.

Anu’s firstborn, for he mostly desired order, was time, anon Akatosh. Padhome’s firstborn went wandering from the start, changing as he went, and wanted no name but was branded with Lorkhan. As time allowed more and more patterns to individualize, Lorkhan watched the Aurbis shape itself and grew equally delighted and tired with each new shaping. As the gods and demons of the Aurbis erupted, the get of Padhome tried to leave it all behind for he wanted all of it and none of it all at once. It was then that he came to the border of the Aurbis.

He saw the Tower, for a circle turned sideways is an “I”. This was the first word of Lorkhan and he would never, ever forget it."--Vehk's Teachings

This gave me some knowledge on creation and subcreation, which I also believed to be vital in knowing before understanding ‘creational gradients’ or ‘anti-creations’. There was of course more information provided by this document, but I will not quote it all directly here, but rather simply reference it as I have provided a copy of the document (and all my used documents actually) attached to this letter.  Anyway, to sum it up, Lorkhan continued this act of subcreation, convincing other spirits (similarly to the Altmeri beliefs) to create the Mundus (or the hub of Vehk’s ‘wheel’). It also mentions the Earth Bones, but not by name, simply saying that “The spokes of the Wheel are the eight gifts of the Aedra, sons and daughters of Aetherius… The center of the Wheel was another circle, the hub, which held everything together. The etada called this Mundus.” In this I learned that the subcreations and related them to the ‘creational gradients’ of Demnevanni. I also managed to draw a connection between these ‘subcreations’ of Vehk’s teachings and the ‘souls’ of the Altmeri “Heart of the World”.

So, the original Altmeri force, Anu, created its soul, Anuiel. This soul then was combined with Sithis to form the Aurbis, where its various forms could ponder the whole. But then one of these various forms, these Aspects of Aurbis, after the addition of time to stabilize them, then wanted to create a place for its own aspect to reflect on him, this was Lorkhan. He wanted to create a soul of the Aurbis, which was in the Auriel, who was in turn the soul of Anuiel, who was in turn the soul of Anu. I believe that this has something to do with the “I” that the Teachings refer to Lorkhan seeing.

It is this that I related to the subcreations of Vehk’s Teachings and how Lorkhan made the Mundus. You see, he designed it in a way to copy the Aurbis, but instead of creating it only within himself as Anuiel had, he instead contracted the help of various others which resulted in the Mundus. This related back to the Earth Bones in that of these ‘various others’, the Aedra, some would be forced to sacrifice parts of themselves to stabilize the Mundus, and Lorkhan would have to sacrifice his entirety to it (though perhaps unwillingly).

So now I knew what these ‘creational gradients’ where, I believe a creational gradient to be formed each time one of these ‘souls within a soul’ was created. And I knew what the Earthbones where. Now I just had to tie all of this into the plans of the Dwemer, but how to do it. Baladas had said that the Dwemer disliked being so any number of creational gradients below the divine, so they sought reverse these creational gradients through this ‘anti-creation’, “to create the sacred from the deaths of the profane.” Now, all of this was quite compelling, what more was there to be said, the Dwemer tried to go ‘anti-create’ their way back to the divine. But I knew that the words of one Dunmer scholar alone would not convince, and I still didn’t know how the Dwemer planned on going about this or what it had to do with their new god, which I later learned to be called Numidium. I only knew that they used the Earthbones and Heart of Lorkhan, but that was it. So I traveled again, to the largest housing of knowledge I could think of that might help me learn of this, the Imperial Library of Cyrodiil.

In the Imperial Library I found just the documents I would need. The first was an obscure document which the Library came across randomly and kept around as it was interesting to passing scholars. This document they called the “Loveletter from the Fifth Era” and indeed the date marked in the headings did date the Fifth Era, 5E911 to be exact. This source stated that “all creation is subgradient”, and gave numerous examples of this. Another thing of note to this particular topic was the following quote;

“You in the Fourth Era have already witnessed many of the attempts at reaching the final subgradient of all AE, that state that exists beyond mortal death. The Numidium. The Endeavor. The Prolix Tower. CHIM. The Enantiomorph. The Scarab that Transforms into the New Man… Those who do not fail become the New Men: an individual beyond all AE, unerased and all-being. Jumping beyond the last bridge of all existence is the Last Existence, The Eternal I.”--The Loveletter from the Fifth Era

This was interesting for its stating that this “final subgradient” was this reaching of “The Eternal I”. It had also said that the Numidium was an attempt at reaching this. This “Eternal I” I could not help but relate back to “Vehk’s Teachings” in which he had said that the “I” is the Tower, and states farther that;

“At its simplest, the state of chim provides an escape from all known laws of the divine worlds and the corruptions of the black sea of Oblivion. It is a return to the first brush of Anu-Padomay, where stasis and change created possibility. Moreso, it the essence needed to hold that 'dawning' together without disaster. One that knows CHIM observes the Tower without fear. Moreso: he resides within.”

So the Dwemer where trying to reach this “Eternal I” through the use of the Numidium, or so this Loveletter stated. But what did this “Eternal I” have to do with Demnevanni’s ‘anti-creations’. Well, the answer to that I found also in the Loveletter, where it stated that “All creation is subgradient. First was Void, which became split by AE. Anu and Padomay came next and with their first brush came the Aurbis.” So the first brush of Anu-Padomay that Vehk had referenced was the Aurbis. So the Dwemer where trying to return to the first state of the gods, the god where first the aspects of Anuiel in the Aurbis before Lorkhan had convinced them to create the Mundus, or so said the Altmeri creation myth. This now made sense, as ‘anti-creation’ would take them back to the Aurbis, reversing what Lorkhan had done.

But now, how where they planning on going about this, that is where my second document that I found at the Imperial Library comes in. The second was a compendium of various interviews placed into journal format by one who called himself “Skeleton Man”. There was one particular interview of this “Skeleton Man” that interested my knowledge, and I noted it in my own journal;

Xal, a Human Maruhkati, Port Telvanis:
Ah. I will tell you the truth, because you will believe none of it. The Brass God is Anumidum, the Prime Gestalt. He is also called the divine skin. He was meant to be used many times by our kind to transcend the Gray Maybe.
The first to see him was the Shop Foremer, Kagrenac of Vvardenfell, the wisest of the tonal architects [Mechanists - MN] Do not think as others do that Kagrenac created the Anumidum for petty motivations, such as a refutation of the gods. Kagrenac was devoted to his people, and the Dwarves, despite what you may have read, were a pious lot-he would not have sacrificed so many of their golden souls to create Anumidum's metal body if it were all in the name of grand theater. Kagrenac had even built the tools needed to construct a Mantella, the Crux of Transcendence. But, by then, and for a long time coming, the Doom of the Dwarves marched upon the Mountain and they were removed from this world.
--Skeleton Man's Interview

So the Brass God would be used as a divine skin and the souls of the Dwemer would be used to create it. So that is why they disappeared, because they sacrificed their souls to make their Brass God which they would use to return to the “first brush of Anu-Padomay,” and basically be, ‘anti-created’. But why would they think that they had to all become one with this Brass God in order to do this, well the answer was right there in front of me. As the Altmeri creation myth states, the Mundus was created as a place where the aspects of the Aspects could reflect on themselves. So to return to the state of the original Aspects of Aurbis, the aspects of Mundus would need to be forced back together into their former shape, or something close to this. So the Dwemer with this in mind, began the creation of the body of their god, the would be Aspect of Aurbis, with the Heart of the World, the Heart of Lorkhan, as its heart and main power supply. They then planned on combining their entire race with this god in order to anti-create their way back to the Aurbis, their many aspects as Dwemer would be reverted back into godly form as one singular Aspect.

Now Xal states that the souls became Anumidum’s metal body, but you ask, why would they do this. Well, this is where the Earthbones that Demnevanni spoke of come into play. Dwemeri metal was no ordinary metal, as Baladas stated, it could defeat time and decay. The Dwemeri souls would become immortal in this state, and at the same time become one to form their god. Kagrenac hit the Heart with the tools during the Battle of Red Mountian and caused this to happen, and the Dwemer disappeared, just as he had intended for them to. But why did the Brass God stay, why wasn’t it activated as a god once the Dwemer became one with it. That I do not yet know. Perhaps it was the Tribunal there that stopped this from occurring, disconnecting the god before it could leave. Perhaps Kagrenac simply didn’t see far enough ahead and just binding all the Dwemeri souls together to form a god wasn’t enough, perhaps reaching this “Eternal I” is more of a personal venture than a collective one as the Dwemer believed. Perhaps it even failed because all of the Dwemeri souls where not sacrificed, there is still one left afterall.

But that is different question than the one you sent me to answer, you told me to find out why they disappeared, and I have. Perhaps I'll return to the question later, but as for now as my exhausting research is over.

Signed and sealed,
Luagar Anulam, Herald of the Triune Way

Attatched Documents:
--Kagrenac's Tools
--The Battle of Red Mountian
--The Monomyth
--Vehk's Teachings
--The Loveletter from the Fifth Era
--Skeleton Man's Interview

 

 

Addendum:

I said once that I might return to the question of the Dwemer, and thus I am here. I concluded before that the sacrifice of the Dwemer's souls in creation of the Anumdium was the direct cause of their disappearance, and while I do not wish here to amend the general thesis of my previous letter regarding the goals of the Dwemer, I have come to believe that my statement regarding the immediate cause of their disappearance was hastily made. Allow me to explain, 

It was the words of Xal the Marukhati which formed the crux of my previous letter, and so it is again to him that we turn: 

"The Brass God is Anumidum, the Prime Gestalt. He is also called the divine skin. He was meant to be used many times by our kind to transcend the Gray Maybe... This Warp is but a realization of the trap that is the Gray maybe, and that champion of release, the Brass God, has but reminded us again what the failure of his misuse means in the Arena Mundus."--Xal

While this may appear simply a restatement of what has been already concluded, you may notice that the statement "he was meant to be used many times by our kind" goes unaccounted for in my previous letter, to great folly, and the reason is simple; if the divine skin was meant to be used many times, to be a 'champion of release', it is only natural that the Anumidium would not have disappeared following it's use by the Dwemer. This answers the question of "why did the Brass God stay."

But if the Brass God was not meant to leave, how is it that the Dwemer expected to ascend as one? I turn again to words which in my haste I failed to analyze thoroughly enough, this time those of Baladas Demnevani: 

“I believe their mechanists and tonal architects discovered systematic regression techniques to perform the reverse -- that is, to create the sacred from the deaths of the profane.--Baladas Demnevanni

There is a key word to draw from this, and that word is 'systematic'. Just as the et'ada did not jump directly to the subgradient of Mundus, neither did the Dwemer intend to make their jump back all at once. To put it simply, when Kagrenac struck the Heart during the Battle of Red Mountain this was not the first time he had done so, nor was it this specific striking that bound the souls of the Dwemer to the Brass God. The Dwemer were bound to the Brass God long before the war, as I note here:

"House Dagoth had discovered the source of the profane and secret power of the Dwemer: the legendary Heart of Lorkhan, which Dumac's people had used to make themselves immortal and beyond the measure of the gods..." --Nerevar at Red Mountain

Notice the key words here: the Dwemer 'had used', it was done already, a fact stated again elsewhere:

"And Nerevar summoned Azura again, and she showed them how to use the tools to separate the power of the Heart from the Dwemer people. And on the fields, the Tribunal and their armies watched as the Dwemer turned into dust all around them as their stolen immortality was taken away." --Nerevar at Red Mountain

As noted, the Dwemer were already bound, they had to be separated from the Heart. But what is the significance of this? It is twofold. On the first, it is in part an explanation what Denmevani described as 'systematic regression'; the Dwemer were working their way back up the ladder, and an immortality (comparable to what Dagoth Ur would devise later) was the first step.

On the second, it means perhaps sacrificing their souls isn't what destroyed their bodies. Afterall, if the Dwemer were already immortal, and if the Numidium was already near completion one would assume that it already had its body, the body of the Dwemeri souls. The Dwemer souls had already been bound to create the body of the Brass God, the divine skin. For a final note we must turn to the most obscured of sources, The Sermons of Vivec, which refers to the Numidium as 'a walking star':

"Each of the aspects of the ALMSIVI then rose up together, combining as one, and showed the world the sixth path. Ayem took from the star its fire, Seht took from it its mystery, and Vehk took from it its feet, which had been constructed before the gift of Molag Bal and destroyed in the manner of truth: by a great hammering. When the soul of the Dwemer could walk no more, they were removed from this world."--Sermon 36

For those familiar with the Sermons you might recall that 'the gift of Molag Bal' was the syllable CHIM, which corroborates the conclusions of the previous letter regarding to the goal of the Dwemer (for those who feel that texts found outside the province of Morrowind have no hold on the happenings inside), but that point is not why I cite the sermon. Rather, I cite it to note the way in which the godking Vivec refers to the Brass God, specifically as 'the soul of the Dwemer'. The Dwemer had already sacrificed their souls to create an 'oversoul' in the Anumidium (what one might call a 'divine skin' in the likeness of brass); it is with the deactivation of the golem, the destruction of their collective soul, that they are removed.

And so we have come to observe many things, but at more questions remain unanswered. Again, how were the Dwemer expected to ascend as one, and how were we meant to follow them, how was the divine skin "meant to be used many times by our kind."

In answer, take note of what has been said. While the Dwemer remained many individuals, they were bound as one soul to the Brass God; the Dwemer were many, but their soul was one. Their souls were one as the divine skin, and yet the Brass God itself was not meant to depart, but be used many times. How can this be? I believe the answer one of two: either the Dwemer planned on systematically uniting the whole of Nirn into the Brass God, or the golem is simply a mold; that is, a mold around which to form a divine skin, one which is meant to be used time and again. The Dwemer's disappearance was planned in one way or another, but others were meant to follow in their footsteps.

And yet there is still one question. The Dwemer may have planned to disappear, but did they meant to disappear just then? They were bound as one soul already at the time of the Battle, but did that soul, that divine skin around the mold of the Numidium ascend; or was it disrupted by the Tribunal? There are two accounts, one in which Kagrenac causes the Disappearance (The Battle of Red Mountain), one in which the Tribunal do (Nerevar at Red Mountain). But which is correct? Did Kagrenac unite them finally into the mold needed to ascend, did their disappearance mark their success? Or did the Tribunal successfully separate the Dwemer from the Heart, so that their disappearance marks their failure. Either way their souls sat as the oversoul of the Brass God, either way their goal was The Eternal I, but who hit the Heart at Red Mountain? Kagrenac or the Tribunal? Did they succeed or fail?

This, I think, is the final mystery of the Dwemer (at so far as regards their disappearance). Who hit the Heart. Disappearance was the goal, but without knowing who struck the Heart it we cannot say whether they disappeared into ascension or into merely dust, and even if it was Kagrenac who struck the Heart there is still the question of whether he succeeded - afterall there is still one Dwemer left.

 

Signed and sealed,

 

Luagar Anulam

 

On Tonal Architecture

Author: 
Harold Trontskii (TSBasilisk)

To my esteemed colleagues of the Imperial Library,

It has been some time since last I wrote to you. Since my last note, I have continued my exploration of various ruins, and have acquired various articles originating in Morrowind concerning the Dwemer. In addition, the staggering events which unfolded in Red Mountain, have revealed astonishing facts, which have led me to this new theory.

Last I wrote, I referred to the "unlife" of the golems, and how the Dwemer might have utilized the power of the Daedra themselves. As events revealed, it was not the Daedra who were used, but Lorkhan himself! However, I was interested in how the power was drawn from the Heart. As most know, the Heart of Lorkhan acts as an anchoring point for the energy of Mundus, the final spark of creation. Thus, the Dwemer must have used extraordinarily odd means to extract energy without endangering all of the world.

What set me on this path was a portion of the Dunmeri Apographa, Nerevar at Red Mountain. In it, Dumac swore by the "fifteen-and-one golden tones". This caught my eye, and set me to thinking about the Profane Tools and Kagrenac's title, Chief Tonal Architect. The Tools are said to have brought forth a tone from the Heart, which was then manipulated, either to imprint powers on the bearer of the Tools, or to shape the enchantments. Sunder rendered a single pure tone, and Keening shattered this into lesser tones, most likely fifteen. This explains their source.

But why fifteen? The answer lies not in the Heart, or even on Mundus, but without. The Daedric Princes. Although most people view there as being sixteen, Malacath is not truly a Daedric Prince, merely a corrupted hero-god. Thus, originally only fifteen Daedric Princes dwelt in Oblivion. Why are the linked to the Heart? Because the Heart deals with energy, the province of Change and Padomay, the realm of the Daedra. All together, the tones form a single pure tone, the original voice of Padomay. Each sub-tone represents a unique form of Change, which the Daedric Princes rule over.

Thus, Tonal Architecture deals with the arrangement of Change in new fashions. Chaotically arranging them destroys the previous enchantments, as seen by the Nerevarine's defeat of Dagoth Ur. By looking at the Princes, we can see which Tones would have been desired, and which would have been discarded. Ironically, Azura's own sphere, Static Change, may have been used by those she hated to slow their aging until the proper arrangement of Tones was completed.

But how can the Tools elicit these tones? To understand, I turned to a fairly disreputable source: The Five Songs of King Wulfharth. A vocal tradition until recently, most of the tale is likely corrupt. However, secret songs refer to the Profane Tools, calling Keening "a dagger made of the sound of the shadow of the moons". The moons, according to many, are the remains of Lorkhan's body. The shadow which falls upon them is the decay which has befallen his immortal flesh. The force which can cause the immortal to decay is powerful indeed. Sunder, "a hammer of divine mass", was imbued in some way so that it had a relation to the Heart's own true essence. Thus, Sunder could cause a resonance with the Heart, creating a single tone. Keening, bearing a force which tears the immortal apart, then took that tone and reduced it to its components, shaping them as needed.

Wraithguard acts as a shield against these energies. When held, the power of the weapons deals mortal blows to the wielder if not protected. Keening sucks the life from them, and Sunder overwhelms the life. Wraithguard blocks both assaults, allowing the wearer to be safe.

With these Tools and the Heart, Kagrenac most likely wove an enchantment designed to cause a transformation in his race's very nature, granting additional power, knowledge, and pushing them beyond the Gray Maybe. However, any error could have been fatal. Mixing in a bit of Destructive or Random Change would turn transcendence into chaos. Perhaps Kagrenac, in his haste, allowed an element of the wrong Change to enter his work. Were it Destructive, the Dwemer are gone, destroyed. Should it have been Random, there is no knowing their end. My personal belief is that an element of Static Change was snuck in at the end, either by Nerevar through the Tools or Azura as Kagrenac worked desparately, leaving the Dwemer stranded between Mundus and their intended level of existence.

Regardless, this concludes my rather convoluted commentary on Tonal Architecture. I bid you all a good day.

-- Harold Trontskii (TSBasilisk)
Chief excavator of an undisclosed Dwemer ruin

Aldmeri Alphabets

Author: 
Lady Nerevar

 

All Merish languages share similar forms due to their common origin the Aldmeri. Back in the early days of lore scholarship, the nature of this alphabet was one of the biggest mysteries of the Elder Scrolls. Now, between Skyrim's fonts for Dwemer and Falmer, Oblivion's examples of the Ayleid language, and a pre-Morrowind Dwemer alphabet, the translation of these alphabets has become commonplace. There are, of course, lingering secrets, and we hope that this page will perhaps help you in making your own discovery.

Dwemer (Runes) - This version of the alphabet is found throughout Hammerfell's Stros M'kai ruins and on documents in Morrowind. It was the first variant of the font to be designed, and features two glyphs not found in other alphabets (see below). Its J, P, X and Z runes are quite different than their alternatives in other alphabets.
Dwemer (Script) - A more calligraphic variant of Dwemeris, found on pipes and doors throughout Vvardenfell. Since only two examples exist, this is an incomplete alphabet. The letters that we do have are quite different than their runic counterparts. All are significantly looser, and the A, D, F, G, I, and N glyphs vary in shape.
Dwemer (Skyrim) - This is the Skyrim variant of the Dwemer script, available in True Type format in the game's files. Its letters are curvier than the traditional runes, but largely retain the same shape. The P and S glyphs are notable exceptions.

Ayleid - Very similar to Dwemer, though less angular. Like the Dwemer script, this alphabet is incomplete due to lack of references. The letter B is the biggest difference.

Falmer - Also found in Skyrim, this font is beautifully embellished with additional strokes, and its lines are very calligraphic, varying in weight and ending in serifs. However, once stripped down, the letters are largely identical to the Dwemer runes (this can be seen in the Simple variant). The letter H is perhaps the only differing glyph.

The Alphabet

In addition to the alphabet above, the Dwemer Runes font (found in both Hammerfell and Morrowind) makes use of two special glyphs: , which capitalizes the letter it precedes and hence marks the start of a sentence; and , which indicates that the following glyph is to be read as a number rather than a letter. Interestingly, there does not appear to be a number for zero, despite its presence in Dwemeri writings. These two symbols don't appear to be found in the other scripts.

Reading & Pronunciation

There are three styles of translation for the Dwemer, Ayleid, and Falmer languages. The first, most complex, and, in my opinion, most interesting assigns sounds to the glyphs, and uses them to form words in Dwemeri, just like real life letters do. The second, simpler version is to assign an English letter to each glyph, and use that to form words in Dwemeri, Ayleid, or Falmeri. The third version assigns English letters and uses them to directly write English words.

Our best example of the pronunciation of Dwemeri glyphs comes from the game Redguard, where Cyrus must speak a passage in Dwemeri to open a door. The passage, learned in the Book of Dwarven Lore, reads "Shahbth ih awerk. Stuh ndah bthahhrk. Awerd sheh ahhmzrteh." Contrary to previous theories, it does not have anything to do with the inscription on the door (more on that in the Translation section below). In Dwemeri, the phrase would read "". The pronunciation of the rest of the letters (found in the chart above) comes to us from a Redguard-era concept document, courtesy of Michael Kirkbride. Note that the letter for H is actually a different pronunciation of A.

The names of most Dwemer ruins can also be pronounced in this system. For example, the ruin Mzahnch in Morrowind can be spelled as MHN: . Other names, like Mzark (which can be spelled MR, ), have vowels added for easier pronunciation  The biggest hickup is the syllable Zel, which is found in many Skyrim ruins but is absent from this version of the alphabet, perhaps indicating a shift in pronunciation.

More examples exist for the direct glyph to letter to Aldmeri word translation. Most interesting is a "Rosetta Stone" which includes both Falmer and Dwemer inscription. The Dwemeris on this stone varies quite a bit from the pronunciations above, indicating, once again, a change in the language. It is also possible that there existed several forms of transcription or formal and informal versions of the language. Both the Falmeri, which is strikingly similar to Ayleid, and Dwemeri versions of the text will be described below.

 

Translation

Most examples of Dwemeri text are, sadly, just random letters. This may be in part due to the fact that no font for the language existed in the Morrowind and Redguard days, when most of the texts were made. Of the Falmer alphabet, most examples are simply Falmer glyphs standing in for English letters, and have not been preserved here.

This example of the Dwemer Script style, found on doors throughout Vvardenfell, is an homage to GT Noonan's father. It reads:

In loving memory,
Gary Noonan,
Sr.

The image depicts Dumac and features a tiny scarab.

Another example of the Script style, these pipes read "Wormgod." This was the online name of GT Noonan, a Morrowind developer.

Golem plans, found on both Vvardenfell and Stros M'kai. The two columns at the left read:

A  B
F  G
L  M
Q  R
V  W

The small text at the bottom, below the columns, reads:

ESTU
WXWZ

The three large letters at the bottom are "S U V," and the two small letters, one pair next to the golem's head, the other in the bottom left of the paper, are "B D"

These airship plans are found on both Vvardenfell and Stros M'kai. The text in the bubble, enlarged at right, says:

B G M R

The _ symbol at the top is used to denote a capital letter. The | next to the B does not seem to match up to any Dwemeri letter. This is the same sequence as in the right column in the golem plans (minus the W), and again below in the limeware pottery and Stros M'kai ruins. The sequence is also found on the robe of the Dwemer depiction of the Lord constellation.

These letters correspond to the constellations Ritual, Shadow, Lady, and Golem. They might function as ideographs rather than letters in some contexts.

This pattern, found on limeware pottery popular with Vvardenfell's elite, repeats the B G M R sequence. It is unclear whether this pottery is a Dwemer original or an artist's copy.

The left column is another example of the B G M R sequence, this time from a floor panel in Stros M'kai.

The same letters are repeated again out of order on the right side.

This is the carving from the door mentioned above. Contrary to what Cyrus reads, the letters actually say:

HI
NO
ST

This bit is actually an Easteregg. According to Michael Kirkbride, who made the area, the door was originally not accessible (hence, "no street"), and you had to take another way around. Later, they included the bookshop and the secret password, but left the texture as a joke to themselves.

Inscriptions found on a broken golem in Stros M'kai. They read:

1. U O T Y P K

2. L ? ? Y ?

3.U P Y T R

4. # P K H

5. # Y O U T

This is the Vvardenfell variant, a similar emblem is found in brass on Stros M'kai. The letters on it are "M M E"

An oscillating machine connected to the steam pipes which run through Stros M'kai. It reads:

M  N  O
R   E   T
W  X  Y

Architectural trim found in Stros M'Kai. They read:

G W # O P
S H _ V T B S Q R

The _ indicates the start of a new sentence.

This type of lexicon appears twice in Skyrim, once to store the "accumulated memories of centuries of Dwemer" in Avanchnzel, and again to record an Elder Scroll. Interestingly, it used the Dwemer Runes from Morrowind, rather than the Skyrim script.

Most of the text is too small to make out, even when enhanced. That which we can read appears to be random.

This lexicon also uses the runic script. The lefthand edge reads:

- H
UMH-
YKXF-
-XNC
-KORA
G_CQ-
FL IT
UEZF
-PZL
-S -

The top triangle:

EB
G--O
--PTE-
-E-HM --QTY
-- - V --- -
C---Y -GUK- ---

And the bottom triangle:

--KYVT-L----
-BNBXCEKHHFG
G_RBCEXA-
ADIF
-DB-

We also have two more extensive examples in the form of two Dwemer texts which we were able to get translated in Morrowind. Baladas Demnevanni gives us their contents, but the actual letters appear to be gibberish. In the transcriptions, the underscore (_) represents the glyph indicating a capital letter and start of a new sentence. The number sign (#) indicates the glyph that means the letters should be read as numbers, and any letters following # that have a numerical equivalent have it listed in superscript. You'll see that both these glyphs are not properly used.

Divine Metaphysics, is, according to Baladas Demnevanni, "an explanation of how the Dwemer tried to make a new god, Anumidium, using Kagrenac's tools and the sacred tones on Lorkhan's Heart."

VTEL ITSATDBNB CEK
PAG_LQNDF ADIF GLNQ
KORAB SG RBLEXAOP
EDTF TXKIHM N#QXY U
UGBL BUH B V RZFH B
VM CVMCW CGUKC UM
XFSODI KY VTDL ITS
Q_AXBYE_G# A1 FS WAV
HL WCGPYA XOAPD ZK
Z ERUZF GZ H BAW
XNC ATDBNB CEK HFGD
IV_LQOGSE G IMOQRN
BCREM PZLAD YFTKI#
F6#G7A1WI8 GBZIPWEHK C

ZM NGFTS C#YD4Y BA_L
HWI AN_RBI PQ_VWR
KR_#UPN VELNHR XZO
RV TWZYX NU RX#STB2
OS _ROAQ OQPFK EGY
LP HL_ROIWHC DYOF
BFR XWVAK UMHO _R
XFV Y T #OG7 HFX RH
U NGCA RW SHV VR B
R D_ KGN VL TAQN SG
QLI VHFMYZ_UDCKN H
_#OHE5Y O GFF_P YO
D XWCWTH SIQPN W#ND4
O N IQGAH FVC KWYB

 

Egg of Time, by Bthuand Mzahnch, is, ironically, "a refutation of the idea that linking to a divine source of power can be dangerous if interrupted."

Q_AXBYE_G# E FX NAV
IV_LQOFSE G IMOQRN
F#G7A1WH8 GBZIPWEHK C
EDTG TCKIHM N#QXZ U
UGBL BUH B V RZF H B
VM CVMCW CGUKC UM
HL WCGPYA XOAPD YK
XFSODI KY VTDC ITS
XNC ATDBNB CEK HFGD
KORAB SG RBCEXEOP
PAG_CQNDF ADIF GLNQ
VTDL ITSATDBNB CEK
S ERUZF GZ H BEW
BCREM PZLAD YFTKI#

YFTKI# XNC GZ T BEW
CEK GNLQATDBNB V
CVMCW RBCEXAOP VM B
KORAB SG ADIF TGFD
PZLAD ITSATDBNB BUH
XOAPD CEK Z ERUZF
VTDL VTDL PAG_CQNDF
ITS C BCREM WCGPYA
XFSOFI KY HL YK XY
UM CGUKC RZFH UGBL
EFTF H U TCKIHM N#Q
F#G7A1W B G IMOQRN E
GBZIPWGHK IV_LQOGSE
Q_AXBYE_G# FS WAV

We have only two examples of Ayleid script, one presumably from the 1st era, and another from the end of the 3rd.

A carved pillar in the middle of Cloud Top. Why the only extant Ayleid text is found in the middle of an Imperial fort, we'll probably never know. It reads:

Av latta magicka
av molag anyamis

This translates to "From light, magic; from fire, life." This is a reversal on the phrase as seen in Ayleid Inscriptions and their Translations. The second M in "anyammis" has been omitted.

This inscription was found in Anvil's Chapel of Dibella, written in the priest's blood. It says:

As oiobala Umarile, Ehlnada racuvar.

According to the Prophet, this translates to "by the eternal power of Umaril, the mortal gods shall be cast down." This same text is found on the trim of the Knights of the Nine box.

 

Although there are numerous examples of Falmer script, they all translate directly into English, and we have not listed them here (you can find them all in the Skyrim Books section of the library).

There is however one Falmer example that is signification: a "Rosetta Stone" like stele found in Calcelmo's tower in Markarth. It features both Dwemer and Falmer script, and presumably says the same in both. Due to the similarity between Ayleid and Falmeri, we are able to translate some parts.

The Dwemer text at the top reads:

Chun thuamer arkngd chend duathand, th ahvardn btham. Amz thuamer ahrkanch kemelmzulchond aka Mora, th thuangz ahrk, th duum melz thuabtharng, th kanthaln duabcharn mzin thuastur, btharumz thua mer zel. Abakch duumarkng tuathumz amakai, th abakch avatheled kagr tuamkingth mzan. Du chal fahl ngark, che du fahl bthun ur. Du chal fahl ngalft, che du bthun ur. Du abak chal thu abazun nchur duabthar, nchul duanchard. Th ur thuanchuth irknd, ur irkngth eftardn, thunch fahlz. Bthun abak dua mzual th nchuan duarkng, chun fahlbthar thuanchardch anum ralz, th eftar thuachendraldch kagren thua vanchningth.

The Falmer, at the bottom:

Ye sa sou meldi calne tarn va nou molagnenseli,ye trumbi nou bala. Ilpen av sou meldi nagaiale as guntumnia, spantelepe-laelia arani Morae, ye sou liebali racuvane, ye nu rautane sye, ye nu hautalle nou buroi gume sou gravuloi, sa metane sye garlis. Frey as gandra dwemera tarcellane sou agea, ye frey as emeratis Avatheledia carelle sou anyamissi bisia silya. Nu hecta sou arcten, rias nu nemalauta ge. Nu hecta sou epegandra, rias ne nemalauta ge. Nu frey sepa sye arcta varlor denai, cullei noue staneia.Ye ry sou alasil auta, ry loria shanta, abagaiavoy. Malautavoy fey nou darre ye alata nou malae, asma moraga sou anyamis av sercen pado, ye gethena sou wend narilia vey emeratu sou oia bisia.

The translation of the text was recently provided to us by Kurt Kuhlmann, its author. You can find a line by line translation here.

And so it was that your people were given passage to our steam gardens, and the protections of our power. (literally “protection of our mathematics”) Many of your people had perished under the roaring, snow-throated kings of Mora, and your wills were broken, and we heard you, and sent our machines against your enemies, to thereby take you under.Only by the grace of the Dwemer did your culture survive, and only by the fifteen-and-one tones did your new lives begin.We do not desire thanks, for we do not believe in it. We do not ask for gratitude, for we do not believe in it.We only request you partake of the symbol of our bond, the fruit of the stones around us. [lit. “we only ask you to accept”] (literally “the fruit of our stones”)And as your vision clouds, as the darkness sets in, fear not.Know only our mercy and the radiance of our affection, which unbinds your bones to the earth before, and sets your final path to the music of your new eternity.

 

Constellations

Certain Dwemer runes also symbolize constellations on the Orrery in Stros M'Kai. Although there does not appear to be a connection between each glyph and the constellation it represents, this subject merits further study. You can read more about Dwemeri constellation depictions here.

Glyph Translation Constellation
A, aah, 1 Thief
B, bth, 2 Ritual
D, nd, 4 Lover
E, eh, 5 Lord
F, ft, 6 Mage
G, ngth, 7 Shadow
H, ah, 8 Steed
I, ih, 9 Apprentice
K, rk Warrior
M, mz Lady
N, nch Tower
R, rd Golem

 

Special thanks to: Aquiantus and Nigedo, authors of the original Dwemer Runes article and webmasters of the Academy for Dwemer Studies. To Michael Kirkbride, for providing the original alphabet, and his stories about its use and creation. To Gary Noonan, for his translations. To Zaethron, for his creation of the Ayleid runes. To everyone who has over the years worked to figure out these tongues, created resources, theorized, dreamt and wondered. To all who remember magic.