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Dranos's Diary

Author: 
Dranos Velador

The face I wear for my former allies is one of outrage. How dare we stand by and allow the Silken Ring to encroach on our territory. How dare we show weakness as they steal our contracts and kill our agents. My words stoke the fire as my knives provide the fuel and they are none the wiser. Indolent, arrogant, fools.

The Lady of Lace was pleased with my deception. The Morag Tong is chasing shadows, while the real threat mounts far from their notice. For my efforts, I have been invited to join the Silken Ring. Through them I will no longer merely pay lip service to Mephala, but do her bidding by my own hands. How can the promise of gold compare to reaping the blessings of the Daedra?

The Lady has asked one last thing of me before I may receive the blessings of the Spinner. An offering of devotion. A sacrifice befitting Mephala. Some other fool might be tempted to rush out and work their knife in her name. Not I. This requires care. My introduction must be perfect.

I have never desired ties. Why chain my heart to the weapons my enemies would wield against me? There have been moments though, where I have been handed those shackles and invited to clasp the lock closed. Nyri, was one such temptation. Perhaps it is now my turn to offer the bonds.

Nyri was unprepared for my advances, for good reason. I'd made my intentions clear before. I did not give her time to question my change of heart, as hers still harbored affection for me. Nyli's reason melted at my touch, and she has fallen into Mephala's web willingly.

I have whispered lies into Nyli's ear for many nights now. Seeded doubt in her mind about the Morag Tong. Convinced her that we should act without their sanction. I will lead her to the Silken Ring tonight. It will be perfect.

The look on Nyri's face as the dagger pierced her heart was exquisite. It was as if all the emotions she'd secreted away inside burst forth in one last agonizing torrent, before she died. The Lady of Lace was so moved by my sacrifice that I've caught her eye. As it should be.

I go now, into the Cradle of Shadows, to taste Mephala's true power. The reward for my devotion will be sublime.

This was that right move. I'm more sure of it than ever. Any doubts I had disappeared when I met the Lady of Lace. The power she offers is more than anything the fools back in Morrowind can imagine. One of many benefits gained from casting off the shackles of mortal whims to embrace a higher purpose. This is what the Morag Tong must have been before it became strangled by bureaucracy and beholden to false gods.

Loremaster's Archive: Cradle of Shadows

Author: 
Dranos Velador

From the Journal of Dranos Velador, Field Captain of the Silken Ring:

At long last, I've found it. I've found the Cradle of Shadows.

It was well hidden to be sure. The exterior is naught but a pile of overturned masonry, covered in lichens and old cypress roots. The Imperials took great pains to conceal it, but an assassin's eye misses very little.

The structure itself is unremarkable—a simple stone bastion, assembled in the tedious Colovian style. But you need only scratch the surface to find the truth of this place. Quiet horror hangs over the Cradle like a shroud. Mephala's servants lurk in every dark corner, just out of sight but always watching. Waiting. I've never felt more at home.

Mephala's presence only grows stronger as you descend. The fort's bleak stone walls give way to great caverns, where shadows dance like mad scamps and massive spider-webs glisten in the torchlight. Mephala's servants, the Spiderkith, stalk these chambers, whispering dark secrets to one another in a tongue no mortal understands. But this is still a pale reflection of what's to come.

Beyond the caves, the very fabric of reality begins to fray. Somehow Mephala's dark realm, the Spiral Skein, has claimed this place. Its inky tendrils stretch out in every direction, seducing pilgrims and prey alike--claiming them with a cold, chitinous embrace. This is what drove the Imperials to destroy the fort. They found this nexus and sought to hide it from the world. Shortsighted fools, the lot of them. How could someone turn their back on this sublime darkness?

After walking these gloomy hallways for a week or more, I feel the weight of it—the horror, I mean. It's as if all this dark beauty could collapse in on itself at any moment. Someone is holding open the nexus by will alone. I hear her in my dreams, urging me deeper and deeper into the Cradle, promising me glory, passion, and terror. Her name is Velidreth, the Lady of Lace. In time, I shall become her servant, and together we will bring this world to heel. All will fear Mephala. All will love Mephala. All will worship Mephala.

Our grim work begins here, in the Cradle of Shadows.

Inexplicable Patron Questions

Author: 
Divayth Fyr

June 20th, 2014

Vivec and Mephala stated, "As known in the West, Mephala is the demon prince of murder, sex, and secrets. All of these themes contain subtle aspects and violent ones (assassination/genocide, courtship/orgy, tact/poetic truths); Mephala is understood paradoxically to contain and integrate these contradictory themes." How does this make him/her a "Good" Daedra? If anything, Mephala is just a "Better" Daedra. – Dylan Barnes

Divayth says: “Your question can most charitably be described as simple-minded. See my enclosed essay.”

Good morning, I'm a soldier in the army of the Ebonheart Pact, and there's Nord calling himself Bruhn Crimson Fur. He is very dumb and can't even get the basics of Four Corners of the House of Troubles, but he asked me to write this question to you. I apologize in advance, but here it is: "Hey, Dark Elf. I battled a Dremora a couple of months ago and he called his master Malog Bear, Keeper of Coldharbour since the fall of Lyg. I don’t give a damn about that Lyg, but ask that magic-pagic guy of yours if that means Molag Bear wasn't such a huge bastard before, but started out as a lowly Dremora." - Teryn Redoran

Divayth says: “Your attempts at humor are both feeble and dim. Therefore I predict a great future for you as a comedian in the cornerclubs, as you will surely appeal to the masses.”

I have often heard that Mephala's sphere of influence is obscured to mortals. Yet, from all available evidence, we can (with a fair amount of certainty) conclude that her sphere is spiders, and spiderweb-like manipulation of mortal fates, or “schemes,” to put it plainly. This sphere is, however, held by Molag Bal, the God of Schemes. Considering that Mephala is a "Good Daedra" whereas Molag Bal is a "Bad Daedra," I am curious to know if there is any known conflict between the two. – Sathron

Divayth says: “Though your question is poorly stated, there is a germ of sense in what you ask. Suffice to say that the schemes of the Prince Molag Bal, though ambitious in scale, are entirely lacking in the subtlety and nuance of those of the Webspinner.”

So I've been thinking about the Ebony blade and Ebony Mail, which are both artifacts for their respective Daedric Princes' champions. However, we know that Ebony is the blood of Lorkhan's heart solidified. How, then, is it that not one, but two Daedric Princes have artifacts specifically made from Ebony? Did Boethiah and Mephala trick Lorkhan into believing that they would both sacrifice themselves to creation and later tell Auri-El and Trinimac (after creation) when they knew that the Aedra were pissed? – Mr_Flippers

Divayth says: “Ah, the transmundane entity who jocularly styles himself ‘Mister Flippers’ deigns to grace us with a question. And a good one—as any question I cannot definitively answer is, by definition, a good question. Boethiah and Mephala are certainly among the Princes whose existence antedates the creation of the (current) Mundus, and given their natures it is beyond conjecture that they couldn’t resist meddling with said creation in some way, shape, or form. But could they ‘trick’ Lorkhan, whose very essence was chicanery? Consider: Ebony is a substance whose acquisition and use tempts mortals into acts of achievement that transcend their usual limitations. Did Lorkhan ‘intend’ this? Alas, the concept is self-referential, and therefore nugatory.”

Rumors of the Spiral Skein

Author: 
the Derisive Necromite

Mephala! Webspinner! Teacher of the Secret Arts! Queen of the Eight Shadows of Murder! Though others may reign over us, deep in the night we still hear your whisper!

And we do not forget.

In Oblivion you keep your secrets, and the secrets of all those entangled in your webs of subterfuge and semblance. The Spiral Skein is your realm, and like Nirn, in its center is a Tower: the Pillar Palace of Mephala, whose true name is too awful to be uttered.

Spun 'round this pillar, like spokes, are the Eight Strands of the Skein. To each its own space, and to each space its sin.

First is a cavern of plinths and pedestals. Each is a lie, for they pretend to hold up the sky—and the sky is the greatest lie of all.

Second are the chambers of envy, for compared to the cavern above they are cramped and confined, and therefore they hate the cavern.

Third are grottoes alluring and seductive, for their walls and ceilings glow like a million stars that sing a song of love. But the glowing lights are maggots, and the song they sing is decay.

Fourth are the tunnels of fear, for they are eternally dark, and where there is darkness, there is dread.

Fifth are the halls where fair is foul and foul is fair, and every belief is a betrayal.

Sixth is the arena of murder, for ever shall betrayal be followed by murder.

Seventh are the arcades of avarice and appetite, for contained therein are all things mortals would kill or die for.

Eighth is the flaming skein of fury, for as death comes to all mortals, therefore all treasures are lies.

This is the Spiral Skein. The tower is One. The strands are Eight. The lessons are Forever.

The Obsidian Husk

Author: 
Anonymous

The origin of the artifact known as the Obsidian Husk is shrouded in mystery. Some believe it to be a fragment of Oblivion, having followed a visiting Daedra from that plane. Others believe it to be magical in nature, containing a trapped shred of Mephala's essence. Whatever its origin, its powers are formidable.

The Husk has two known functions discovered and passed down by members of the Spider Cult, which I have recorded below. Additional spells may be tied to the artifact, but the Husk never stays in the possession of a single individual for long. Members of Mephala's Cult have been known to scheme and battle over it.

It can create and control all manor of shades from minor shadowlings to creatures of complexity and aberrant intellect (and untold power).

The most powerful Spider Cultists have found that they can use the Husk to enchant others. The afflicted are shrouded in shadow, and granted supernatural agility and strength, but lose their minds — these "shades" follow the beck and call of the Obsidian Husk's master.

With Regards to the Ebony Blade

Author: 
Anonymous

The following is an intercepted Morag Tong memorandum in full, noted here for conjecture on the Daedric artifact Ebony Blade:

Before I begin, let me preface by stating: the Daedric Prince Mephala and her worshippers value arcanum above all else—you will learn this, in time. To Hermaeus Mora, knowledge is power, but Mephala concerns herself with only the choicest morsels: knowledge secluded, undisclosed.

The various Daedric artifacts associated with Mephala share this disposition, chief among them, the Ebony Blade, of which little is known. The records of the Tong themselves disagree on the properties locked within the Blade's metal. But I'll share what I know about it, and in return, you will complete your first assignment for the guild. I hope you'll find the Flowers of Gold a suitable base of operations. Your room is a favorite of mine. Warm and dry.

First: the Blade initially passed into the Morag Tong's notice (this decade, at least) when our brother Orndras obtained it, taking it from Rivis, another brother. Rivis had the Blade kept in a safehouse for years, hidden from his fellow Morag Tong. How did Orndras find Rivis out? He'll take that secret to his grave, but his handlers whispered that the Web Spinner herself had told him. Even the Tong is unsure how the Blade is connected to Mephala, whether it is an extension of her physical form, or if her essence is bound to it, but it's important to her. And that makes it important to us.

Second: Rivis was an ambitious mage, one of the Tong's most powerful. And he was not about to allow Orndras to leave his safehouse with the Ebony Blade in tow. There was a duel between them, and when Orndras drew first blood with the Blade—and failed to kill—he was surprised Rivis did not engulf him in a fiery spell. It's possible the Blade can silence a mage, stymie the flow of magicka, or simply absorb it.

Third: Rivis was keen with an edge, and better skilled than Orndras. But Orndras wielded the Ebony Blade, and the wounds he suffered stitched themselves together as the battle continued—as Orndras dealt his less-precise cuts. Perhaps a restorative property of the Blade.

Fourth: Rivis' last words were, "The Vampire will be the end of us all." Orndras believed he was referring to the Blade, that Rivis had hidden it out of legitimate fear. I believe that even the most venerable of the Morag Tong will say anything when backed into a corner. I have.

Fifth: Orndras retrieved the Blade, made a detailed report to his handlers—and then attempted to slaughter them. He murdered all but one. His actions had no discernible rhyme or reason or motive, and he was last seen on the third floor of the Flowers of Gold.

Return the Ebony Blade to us, whether Orndras comes with it or not. Look for a Dunmer with a scar under his left eye.

The Thief God's Treasures

Author: 
Wafaruz the Veracious Spitter

Rajhin, he who is fleet of foot, the very embodiment of speed, agility, and slyness, has borrowed many treasures from coffers across the lands. No possession is safe from his desire—not even those of the Daedric Princes.

Rajhin's most well-known plunder was the celebrated Ring of Khajiit, named after our people. It was once the Anticipation's Finger, and only found its way to Tamriel because it was stolen from the eighth arm of the Webspinner herself. With the Ring of Khajiit, Rajhin grasped the spark of godhood. It wrapped him in shadow so dark that none could reach him. Not the Anticipation of Vivec; not even the passage of time.

But Rajhin wasn't finished. On his way out, he spied the killing word of the Spider, the black edge of shadow, and claimed it, as well. So swift were these takings that the Anticipation of Vivec was unaware anything went missing. Dark and sharp was the anger that followed, but Rajhin was no longer there. Rajhin is not cruel, or malicious—sometimes, when the Moons fit his mood, he gives them back.

From the Webspinner's threads, Rajhin found his way to a land where all trees have fallen, and the only currency is knowledge. There, Rajhin pillaged the Book that Knows from the one who knows it all and disappeared amongst sheaves in the wind. The lord of that land has never stopped seeking his treasured volume, and, sometimes, when the Moons are right—he finds it. Because, sometimes, Rajhin gives it back.

They say that, eventually, Rajhin took too much, too often, that the Ring of Khajiit tired of his capers. They say that the Ring abandoned Rajhin as he was surrounded by enemies, that it was his undoing. This one knows that Rajhin simply gave the Ring back.

Interview with a Spider Cultist

Author: 
Anonymous

The Cult of the Spider is an outlawed form of worship honoring the Daedric Prince Mephala, more properly known as the Anticipation of Vivec.

Notoriously secretive, the cult's methodologies and practices have been largely a mystery to those outside its embrace … until now. My research into the cult's existence has permitted me a unique opportunity: a private interview with one of its members.

— So tell me, how did you come to be a member of the Spider Cult?
Cultist: As it is with all things, the weavings of Her web led me into the Spinner's embrace.

— You mean Mephala herself recruited you?
Cultist: Is the fly recruited into the Spider's web? No. I could as much avoid this fate as avoid my own mortality.

— Interesting. Let's talk about your fellow enthusiasts for a moment. What can you tell me about the other members of your cult?
Cultist: I can't share their names, but I could tell you what they do. We have a leader called "the Widow." She gives us our purpose and communes with the Spinner Herself. Sometimes these purposes require a killing. Such responsibilities fall to our Deathweavers, who carry out the act in accordance with the Spinner's will. The rest of us are labeled Scuttlers, as we hurry along more discreet paths to weave our master's webs.

— Fascinating. Have you ever killed anyone in the name of your master?
Cultist: Not yet.

— Is there any truth to the claim that Spider Cults are little more than debauched orgy clubs?
Cultist: There is some truth to that, yes.

— Oh. Would you care to elaborate?
Cultist: Seduction and copulation are powerful tools. Often, induction into the cult requires a member to engage in such activities with the Widow or a designee. Some Webs are more … zealous about this practice than others.

— I see. How exactly would a prospective member apply?
Cultist: Is this for your research?

— Naturally.
Cultist: How unfortunate. I could share that information with you, but only if you are actually going to join us.

— Ah. Well … that's not out of the question. Perhaps this is all part of Mephala's plan, eh? Caught in her web, as it were?
Cultist: I believe this interview is over.

The Book of Daedra

Author: 
Anonymous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Brothers of Darkness

Author: 
Pellarne Assi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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