Skip navigation


'A Type of Zero Still to Be Discovered' -- a traditional Dwemeri children's rhyme --

Michael Kirkbride

Wake up, khundakar, it¡¦s a new day, traditional style, and thank you for breathing.

Wake up, suchi-el, get dressed, reconsider your [science], here¡¦s an official daguerreotype.

Good morning, Ae, here¡¦s a side of the story you seldom suffer.

Good morning, Aurbis, you¡¦ve got numbers to ignore.

Look out, First Moon, wearing those are dangerous in this industry, so try to enjoy.

Look out, Second Moon, not everything is inexplicable and extortion is for [skeptics].

Nice day, khundakar, we have your table ready, the divinities are already waiting.

Nice day, suchi-el, the world-nirn cannot be mapped, so forward your dismissals to the eight givers.

Afternoon, Ae, I hope all is well in the world of modern folklore.

Afternoon, Aurbis, the reports are true, there is a type of zero still to be discovered, all [critics- ?] agree.

Good night, First Moon, stay out past [supper], return these to the [proper authorities].

Good night, Second Moon, it¡¦s time to go, love the metal all you want, three easy ways of comfort.

Bedtime, khundakar, put away your star-mobiles, [anecdotes- ?], and bone collection.

Bedtime, suchi-el, stay over, bring your astrolabe, we think there¡¦s still some ghosts.

Sleep well, my children, tomorrow I¡¦ll buy you both the sea.


The Real Nerevar


[This Telvanni retainer's informal history of Nerevar lists no sources.]

When the Dunmer followed Veloth to Morrowind, they were many warring clans, with no law or leader in common. One Dunmer warlord, Nerevar, had the ambition to rule all the Dunmer.

In that time, House Dwemer were great enchanters, so Nerevar went in secret to a Dwemer smith and asked for an enchanted ring that would help him. The ring gave its wearer great powers of persuasion; for safety, it was enchanted to instantly kill anyone who wore it except Nerevar. The ring was called Moon-and-Star, and it helped Nerevar unite the various clans into the First Council.

Later, however, disputes over religion divided the Council, with House Dwemer and House Dagoth on one side and all the other Houses on the other. Dwemer and Dagoth invited Orc and Nord clans as allies, and held northwest Morrowind, while Nerevar mustered the other Houses and nomad tribes and marched to meet the Dwemer-Dagoth-Westerner forces.

The armies met at Red Mountain, a Dwemer stronghold. The Dwemer were defeated, with great slaughter, and terrible sorceries were used, resulting in the utter extermination of House Dwemer, House Dagoth, and their allies. Nerevar was killed in the battle, and his ring lost, but Nerevar's alliance survives in Morrowind's ruling political institution, the Grand Council.


Imperial Geographical Society



Hammerfell is the eternal outsider of the human lands, either regarded by the Imperial citizen as Tamriel's dark and exotic west or its most tempestuous and dangerous quarter, full of barbarians and cutthroats. Both descriptions are apt, and can be equally attributed to its people, the proud and savage Redguards. 

Some three thousand years ago the continent of Yokuda suffered a cataclysm that sunk most of it into the sea, driving its people towards Tamriel. The bulk of these refugees landed at the uninhabited isle of Herne, while the rest continued on to the mainland. This vanguard "warrior wave" of Yokudans, the Ra Gada, swept into the country, quickly slaughtering and enslaving the beastfolk and Nedic villagers before them, bloodily paving the way for their people who waited at Herne, including the Na-Totambu, their kings and ruling bodies. The fierce Ra Gada became, phonetically, the Redguards, a name that has since spread to designate the Tamrielic-Yokudan race in general. They ultimately displaced the Nedic peoples, for their own agriculture and society was better organized and better adapted to Hammerfell's harsh environment. They took much of Nedic custom, religion, and language for themselves in the process, and eventual contact with the surrounding Breton tribes and Colovian Cyrodilics hastened their own assimilation into the larger Tamrielic theater. Yoku, the Redguard oral language, was almost entirely replaced as the need for foreign commerce and treaties increased.

Under the provincial organization of the Second Empire, two Redguard "parties" formed to aid Cyrodiil's administration of Hammerfell. The ancient Na-Totambu ruling class retained the rights of noble council as the Crowns, and the much-admired warriors of the Ra Gada were finally granted rights of ownership within their tribal districts. This empowerment fundamentally changed the Ra Gada, who began to call themselves the Forebears, firmly announcing their status as the first Redguards on Tamriel. This republic, however, lasted only so long as the Cyrodiils were strong enough to support it. During the Imperial Interregnum, control reverted back to the hereditary monarchy of the Na-Totambu. The new "High King" was even so bold as to move his throne from Old Hegathe to the more prosperous Forebear city of Sentinel, which had, by this time, mastered a third of the trade of the Iliac Bay.

Thassad II was the last of these "High Kings," for upon his death in CE862, the honorable Forebears retook Sentinel by force. Crown Prince A'tor then sailed from Stros M'kai to avenge his father, resulting in one of the bloodiest massacres of Tamrielic history. Tiber Septim, in his rightful duty as Heir to the Reman Dynasty, answered the Forebears' plea for help, sending his men to end the mad Prince's butchery. A'tor found it impossible to stand against the superiority of the Imperial legions; many of the Crowns had deserted him after seeing the glory of the reborn Empire. He and a few loyalists fled back to Stros M'kai, doggedly pursued by the West Navy, where they were soundly defeated at the Battle of Hunding Bay. The Emperor, in his wisdom, deemed it best to assume responsibility for Hammerfell's lawful restoration as a republic and provincial territory, where presently the Redguards spend their days as proud subjects of the new Cyrodilic Empire1.

Physically, the Redguards can be intimidating to an outsider, with their dark skin and wooly hair, tall, gaunt frames and finely toned physiques. Custom and dress differs by district: the Redguards of Elinhir are Colovian in fashion and taste, while some in Rihad go naked in the streets. In demeanor, they are haughty and easily provoked, and, to the last, obsessed with personal honor. Though it is widely acknowledged that Hammerfell is home to the finest warriors of the Empire, they are but indifferent soldiers, being unwilling to defer to authority or endure military discipline, and few serve in the Ruby ranks. There is no standing army in Hammerfell, only paid militias of the oft-contested border-states and along its coastline. Ancient tradition has predisposed the Redguards to knightly orders, though, customarily in the service of royal families. Initiates of these orders must prove themselves in dangerous, even deadly, tests of skill. The youths of Crown Totambu, for example, must sail to the Dwemer Ruins of Stros M'kai, to avoid its deathtraps and "wrestle its mechanical men back into shape" before they can join the Knights of the Scarab. The more severe Order of Diagna, on the other hand, stages an annual recreation of the Siege of Orsinium, where their initiates must play the part of the Orcs....

The colonization of Hammerfell was a slow process, since it was mainly a barren and rocky place, with the vast Alik'r desert in the center, and only a few grasslands that hugged the coastline in horseshoe fashion. As such, Redguard civilization is divided into the cosmopolitan coastal cities on one hand, and the numerous nomadic tribes that wander the desert itself on the other. The former have adopted Breton or Imperial manners of dress and architecture, modified with motifs and styles from lost Yokuda, and some have even reorganized their gods and tribal spirits to fit into the traditional Imperial pantheon of Eight Divines2. The nomads are more primitive, either with trace-Nedic influences or stubbornly Yokudan, throwback castaways even to other Redguards. Devotees of Satakal the Serpent God are strewn among them, historically causing the A'likr border-states no end of strife. These revered madmen depend entirely on the charity of the other Redguards, though sometimes they rise in perilous bands, terrorizing the countryside in old Ra Gada fashion. Many, as in Rihad, go nude, rolling around in the dirt and nipping at the legs of passersby, "striking out" as if they were snakes themselves, while others perform terrible exhibitions of"shedding their skin". They have been seen rolling in the desert sand sidewinder-fashion in continuous, hundred-mile stretches, from Balhar all the way to the Nohotogrha oasis. The Satakals have never liked the Imperial presence, and have recently taken to harassing3 its civil servants. The Provisional Governors have been forced to run them out of the cities for the safety of its garrisoned troops and the native citizenry at large.

Tourists have, historically, given wide berth to the Redguard cities outside of those facing the Iliac Bay. Considering the (mostly deserved) reputation of its people, Hammerfell is frequently seen as intolerant of "foreigners," where trespass is dealt with in blood. This is a shame, and a situation that the Emperor seeks to rectify, for Hammerfell itself is a beautiful country. From the twin moonrises over the Alik'r shade-temples to the austere ramparts of Old Hegathe, everywhere there is the appearance of antique splendor. Its people are harsh-- four hundred years of internal conflict and corrupt government have made them so-- but, taken singly, the Redguard is often a masterful work of a man. Perhaps a guiding power like the Empire, steering Hammerfell clear of the foul agents of A'tor's legacy, and protecting her from the avarice of her Elven neighbors4, will bring the same prosperity to her people that it seeks to bring to the world.


The Dwarves5

Hammerfell's original name was Volenfell, named for the Dwemer "City of the Hammer" whose ruins lay nearly submerged by the sands of the Alik'r. Legend holds that these Dwemer were the self-exiled Rourken clan of Resdayn (Morrowind), who refused to participate in making peace with the Dark Elves. Thus, the Rourken chieftain threw his mighty hammer, Volendrung, across Tamriel, promising to lead his clansmer to "wherever it should fall." This mythic image has been depicted on the walls of several ruins in Hammerfell: a mass exodus of golden-clad dwarves, trudging through the Cyrodilic forests, Volendrung a falling star in the nightsky before them, urging them on. Sadly, these same ruins offer no clues to the mysterious disappearance of the Dwarves from Tamriel, which was everywhere the same, ca. 1E700. Before quitting this subject, we might as well address the oft-used misnomer for the Dwemer, the "Dwarves." There is nothing to suggest that the Dwemer were any less towering over humans than the early Aldmeri were; indeed, extant Dwarven goldmail more or less fits every human lucky enough to possess it. Imperial excavation of ancient and wondrous Dwarven machinery supports the Dlyxexic theory that the translation of Dwemer as "Deep Elves" might instead be read as "Smart Elves," despite the incongruity of that notion. Perhaps, then, the "brilliant students" of the titanic Ehlnofey mentioned in the Anuad are the Dwarves, and that their giant masters gave them this sobriquet.


Places of Note:


Second capital of Hammerfell, Sentinel sits on the edge of the Iliac Bay. It is most definitely a merchant power, for it sits on a rocky run of hills, and the barren plains behind it offer no good soil before they run into the desert sands of the Alik'r. Its principal street is a vast marketplace stretching from the harbor all the way to the badlands gate. Sentinel Palace is the oldest and largest Redguard architectural monument, quickly built during the Ra Gada firestorm to ward against the Bretons and added to ever thereafter. Currently, this Palace is the headquarters of Provisional Governor Senecus Goddkey, who has been helping to administer the Forebear principalities since Baron Volag's6 disappearance. Since its Imperial reorganization, Sentinel has become an exotic retreat for the nobility of Daggerfall and Wayrest, who delight in its native cooking, craftsmanship, and the bizarre morality-plays of its Royal Theatre.

Stros M'kai

Formerly the principality of Thassad II's heir, A'tor, Stros M'kai's small island serves as the office of Provisional Governor Amiel Richton, who is charged with the protection and patrol of Hammerfell's barbarous southern coast. Lord-Admiral Richton7 was the officer who defeated Prince A'tor in the Battle of Hunding Bay, and is the latest of a long line of heroes to serve in the Colovian West Navy. Stros M'kai itself would be an unassuming little port, famous only for its Dwemer Ruins, were it not for its presently strategic location near the Cape of the Blue Divide8, the waters of the dread Aldmeri Dominion.


Annotations by YR:

1. "The most formidable of all the ills that threaten the future of the Empire arises from the presence of the Redguards within its provinces ~"
2. "Hardly. The Redguards tolerate worship of Arkay, Zenithar and Kynareth because they approximate certain agriculture deities brought over from Yokuda ~ Most of the other Imperial gods are disregarded as tobr'a (useless, thus evil). By far the most popular gods in Hammerfell are Tall Papa, and his children: Hunding, Leki and Ansei."
3. "hitting, he means"
4. "I grow weary of pointing these out ~ I trust you will find the rest ~"
5. "Characteristic human logic ~ Why would any self-respecting Mer refer to himself as a 'dwarf', even if it were a name given by the blessed Earthbones? ~ obsessed with anatomy they are ~ it does not even occurto them that stature may refer to things outside of the physical ~"
6. "Rumors persist that this Baron Volag is hiding in the hills with his personal 'blood-drinkers', waiting for a sign of weakness in the Empire."
7. "Evidently, Richton is breaking down under the pressure of his assignment ~ Stros M'Kai is very important to the Emperor and it is vital that Richton clear its waters of pirates and the sort ~ even the 'Restless League' does not realize this (more concerned with sanctity and that mess, I gathered~)"
8. "North of the Blue Divide. The ship of my passage was captured by pirates calling themselves the 'Restless League.' They threw over crates from the cargo-hold ~ crates full of arms meant for the Empire at Stros M'kai. And they robbed everyone aboard ~ though their leader, after seeing this, my annotated pamphlet, and guessing my intent let me keep it, telling me 'We must not act and speak as if asleep.' ~ ??"


Senilius' Report

Senilius Cadiusus

Nchuleftingth Excavation Report 11

Our excavations have turned up little in these last few days. I have found nothing new in the ruins. Everything seems as clean and undisturbed as the day we first opened the outer doors. I know there are unexplored depths. I can feel massive Dwemer machinery still running beneath my feet, even as I write this, but I can find no way to get to it. You must not give up on us for a lack results this soon, Edwinna. I am sure a great discovery lies somewhere below.

If only the secret of Passwall were not lost nearly a generation ago. With a few of those precious scrolls, I would be in the lower levels already where the real discoveries are to be made.

There is some good news. I have also discovered that "Mzuleft" you were looking for. Apparently "Mzuleft" is the proper name for the large Dwemer ruins south of Dagon Fel. Be careful not to confuse them with the ruins of "Nchardahrk" nearby.

The last of the Dwemer centurion spiders in the upper levels was finally disabled and dismantled for study. I wish we could study them while they are still active, but that is far too dangerous.

I also heard a strange story about the centurion spider that we captured and sent back to Cyrodiil. The ship captain I hired wrote to me with an odd story. He said that the spider nearly broke through its cage several times while near Vvardenfell, but once he left he Sea of Ghosts, the centurion suddenly stopped working. What happened next shows that he had more wits than I gave him credit for. He ordered the ship turned about and as they approached Vvardenfell again, the centurion began moving just as suddenly. This is a curious phenomenon and certainly deserves more investigation.

Your servant,
Senilius Cadiusus

Nchunak's Fire and Faith


[This book is a translated account of Nchunak's travels among the various colonies of the Dwemer explaining the theories of Kagrenac.]

I made inquiry as to the state of enlightenment among the people he spoke for. He answered that with respect to the theories of Kagrenac, there was but one scholar near who could guide the people through the maze that leads to true misunderstanding.

He informed me, however, that in Kherakah the precepts of Kagrenac were taught. He said that nothing pleased him more than to see the Dwemer of Kherakah, the most learned people in the world, studying Kagrenac's words and giving consideration to their place in the life to come, and where neither planar division nor the numeration of amnesia nor any other thing of utility was more valued than the understanding of the self and its relationship to the Heart.

I was gracious enough to receive this as a high compliment, and, removing my helm, I thanked him and departed with an infinity of bows.

Kagrenac's Tools

Gilvas Barelo

[summarized from the Apographa by Gilvas Barelo, Abbot of Holamayan, and various of the Dissident Priests ]

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

When Kagrenac used these tools on the heart in the Battle of Red Mountain, no one knows what happened, but the Dwemer race disappeared entirely from the mortal world. Lord Nerevar and Lord Dagoth retrieved these tools, and didn't know what to do with them. Nerevar asked Dagoth to guard the tools while he went to consult with his counselors, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. He left and spoke with his three counselors, and they decided to return together to Red Mountain to decide what to do.

But while Nerevar was gone, Dagoth was tempted and confused by the powers of the tools. When Nerevar and the counselors arrived, he refused to give up the tools, claiming he had sworn to Nerevar to protect them. Then Dagoth fought with Nerevar and the counselors, and was mortally wounded and driven off, and the tools were recovered.

Then Nerevar and his counselors decided to take the tools for safekeeping. They all swore a great oath never to use the tools, but after Nerevar's death, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil yielded to temptation. They took these tools themselves and went to Lorkhan's heart buried beneath Red Mountain, and gave themselves divine powers.

But Dagoth had not died. We don't know what happened, but this is what we believe. His experiments with Kagrenac's Tools had joined him to the heart's divine nature in some way, so that he learned to draw power directly from the heart.

We conjecture that Dagoth Ur, driven by anger and greed, used the heart without caution and restraint, and, as a result, he has become terribly powerful, and terribly mad. But the Tribunal showed great care and restraint in their use of the tools, and so they were not driven mad, and they did many good things. Nonetheless, the Tribunal, too, appear to heave been corrupted by the heart's power, though more subtly.

Kagrenac's Tools are cursed. Stealing power from the heart of a god is a terrible folly, and fated to disaster. The Tribunal is losing its battle to control the power of the heart. They are sustained by the same tainted power that drives Dagoth Ur mad. They grow weak, and cannot protect us from Dagoth Ur. But even if they could, would we be wise to worship gods such as these? They conceal the truth from us out of shame. They persecute the Nerevarine and the Dissident priests out of shame, when they should be welcoming them and enlisting their aid against Dagoth Ur.

The Tribunal have done much good for Morrowind and the Dunmer. But they succumbed to the temptation of Kagrenac's Tools, and though these tools once may have seemed the instruments of salvation, now they must be seen as instruments of doom.

Book of Dwarven Lore


Book of Dwarven Lore Cover
Book of Dwarven Lore Page 1
Book of Dwarven Lore Page 2