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Douglas Goodall on Sermon Zero

Author: 
Sinder Velvin

Sinder Velvin: Talking about the Lessons of Vivec, why did you write Sermon Zero? Should it be interpreted as being official lore?

Douglas Goodall: I wrote it is as a kind of "me, too!" after reading the 36 Sermons. It was a tribute and a refutation.

I don't have any say anymore about whether it is official lore. I probably didn't leave extensive enough notes for them to make it official...

I figured that, regardless of whether the 36 Sermons were true or not (something that was not decided at Bethesda when I worked there), the author (whether it was really Vivec or not) would have competition. An opposing faction. An alternate take.

Note that Sermon Zero isn't actually present in Morrowind, as far as I remember. Books that are actually published in one of the Elder Scrolls games have precedence over ramblings on the forums.

Hint: The best place to hide something is in plain sight. I believe this hint also applies to the other Sermons.

Sinder Velvin: I understand that there is at least one secret message in Sermon Zero that has not yet been discovered by the fans - the third secret of the thrice-secret word. However, it is uncertain whether the fans will ever discover it, so could you tell us what the secret is? If not, could you give the community a hint (preferably not a very vague one, hehe)?

Douglas Goodall: The third secret isn't something else to decrypt. It's the meaning of the other messages (and of the sermon itself). As I said, the best place to hide something is in plain sight.

I wrote Sermon Zero in a few hours. I was in a hurry, so I stole the wording (though not the meaning) from the overly complicated Rennes-le-Chateau hoax. That might be a good place to start, as it will lead you to all kinds of nonsense, some of which will help you interpret my nonsense (and Kirkbride's nonsense). Assuming you have time to spend on nonsense.

The Nords' Totemic Religion

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride
The gods are cyclical, just like the world is. There are the Dead Gods, who fought and died to bring about the new cycle; the Hearth Gods, who watch over the present cycle; the Testing Gods, who threaten the Hearth and thus are watched; and the Twilight Gods, who usher in the next cycle. The end of a cycle is said to be preceded by the Dragonborn God, a god that did not exist in the previous cycle but whose presence means that the current one is almost over.
 
The Dead Gods
Dead Gods don’t need temples. They have the biggest one of all, Svongarde. Nord heroes and clever men visit the Underworld all the time. They bear a symbol to show that they have, which garners much respect.

 

  • The Fox - Shor
  • The Bear - Tsun
 
The Hearth Gods
The Hearth Gods have temples appropriate to their nature: Kyne’s are built on peaks, Mara’s are the halls of important Witches, Dibella’s are the halls of important Wives– the temples aren’t like those of the Imperials; as Hearth Gods, they are always homes to someone, and the highest-ranking female of that home is their de facto high priestess.
 
  • The Hawk, Kyne
  • The Wolf, Mara
  • The Moth, Dibella
 
The Testing Gods
The Testing Gods don’t really have temples – they are propitiated at battlegrounds or other sites where they caused some notable trouble. Nords understand that the Daedric Temples are something else entirely and think them as much of a waste of time as the formalized religion of the Nine Divines of Cyrodiil.
 
  • The Snake, Orkey
  • The Woodland Man, Herma Mora
 
The Twilight Gods
The Twilight Gods need no temples– when they show up, there won’t be any reason to build them, much less use them – another waste of time. That said, Nords do venerate them, as they always venerate the cycles of things, and especially the Last War where they will show their final, best worth.
 
  • The Dragon, Alduin - Alduin is venerated on the winter solstice by ceremonies at ancient Dragon Cult temples, where offerings are made to keep him asleep for one more year. Alduin is also the source of many common superstitious practices before any event of significance.
  • The Dragonborn God, Talos - Talos’ totem is the newest, but is everywhere – he is the Dragonborn Conquering Son, the first new god of this cycle, whose power is consequently unknown, so the Nords bless nearly everything with his totem, since he might very well be the god of it now, too. Yes, as first of the Twilight Gods, this practice might seem contradictory, but that’s only because, of all the gods, he will be the one that survives in whole into the next cycle.
 
Nord view of Imperial Religion
The Eight Divines are viewed by the Nords as a “Southern” import. They retain some of the taint of the Alessian Order, and are basically viewed as a religion for foreigners. Their gods are fine for them, but Nords need Nord gods.
 
Some of the gods are the same (or similar) – significantly these are the three female gods, which are far more important to the Nords than they are in the Imperial Cult. (Kyne is in fact the de facto head of the Nord pantheon.) The Nords are perplexed and disturbed by the Imperial Cult’s focus on the Dragon God – they regard this as a fundamental misunderstanding of the universe, and one likely to cause disaster in the end. (Which fits perfectly with the pessimistic Nord view of the world in general – things are likely to turn out badly, and it will probably be caused by some foreigner.) Lucky for the world that the Nords are so diligent about keeping Alduin asleep, while the southerners are busy trying to get his attention! Any mention of Akatosh in a Nord’s presence is likely to bring a muttered invocation to Alduin to stay asleep in response.
The Nords believe that, During the Oblivion Crisis, it was Talos (Dragonborn, Martin’s forefather) lending his aid, not Alduin.

The Shonni-etta excerpts

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

NOTE: this document is features graphic violence and sexual content. It is not safe for work, school, or for minors.


 

The sister of Sed-Yenna was called Shonni-Et, and they both were black haired vestals of the Diblashuut, which was the aspect of Beauty as belly-magicks in those times, practiced by the easternmost tribes of Ut Cyrod before the giving over to the borders of the ashmeri.

Sed-Yenna was eldest and so it was she who climbed the hill and held Reman Born-a-Man aloft for the glory of Cyrodiil Recome.

Shonni-Et, for her part, stayed among the crowd at the foot of Sancre Tor at this blessing, among the broken knights and beggars, the shepherds and bull-butchers and drum-beaters and moth-faced pariahs and war-runners, and all of them stayed the appropriate eight steps away from her jeweled anklets, exposed and painted as in the fashion of the keptulets-who-are-gone. She was hard in the eyes but wept anyways. The One had granted the Empire its Son again, and the Long Night had passed.

Now El-Estia was the true mother of Reman but, with the Chim-el Adabal renewed into flesh-covenant, She had flown riverward like all nirnada whose deeds are done and then writ in water. It became the duty thereafter that Sed-Yenna and Shonni-Et to become the midwives of the Child Ut Cyrod, and to raise him in the fashion of the Nibenese.

By their train was the babe Reman carried into White-Gold Tower, and at Rumare the Goddess of Beauty herself appeared, releasing the sisters of all their other functions to her temple. “But for this,” the Goddess said, “When he has reached manhood, teach him all that you know of the flesh, and then save within yourselves his seed, and let it not take purchase within either of you, store it all, whichsoever body-cup he spills into, and in secret make of it bread for him to eat. And keep this new edict of the Convention quiet from all others, even from him, and know by this mention that it is my lord Aka the King of Heaven who commands it.”

Then the Dragon of Heaven appeared encircling them, King of Time, eating his lower length in symbol, speaking in the manner of the aether, which is mostly dream, "This I do command, for Reman was conceived of the imperial earth, and by his sacred measure he shall be as it should be: of an immortal fire that binds heaven to the mundane, Light made Man, and Order, fed ever by the seed of first stasis, anon Anu. And his wives will share forever in the blessing of Beauty if this should be so, their fair aspect frozen eternal, youth-radiant unto the ending of days. Aad semblio aurbex, aad semblio ae ehlnokhan, ae na-sen-ae-mantella, dracochrysalisanu."

*****

These clumsy knights of Colovia had no chance at all, splitting apart wetly as Shonni-Et whistled her spit like a carousel of blades, or folding like bone and paper as Sed-Yenna cracked great helms in the soft iron of her knee-hollows, and instead of asking the purpose of this betrayal from his vassals, Reman only rose to ejaculate on them as they fell, and after years of training in the Diblashuut he could do this without hands.

This last gave the sisters pause and left one knight alive, though crushed and laced in red, and Reman was surprised to see them move from defending him to collecting his climax, though he thought no more of it than their desire to have him always in whole. He kneeled to the broken Colovian as his wives smeared themselves in their labors and said to him, "You have dishonored your station, me, and our dragons wise. Why did you attempt this and for whom?" 

He got back only a proud laughter the color of bruise and these cracked words from the restless West: "The Boy Crown Reman who lets priory girls fight his duels asks me this? That you have no idea why or wherefrom this sword issue came, this only underscores your unworthy claims of sovereignty and your misbegotten birth in dirt. You were just another rumor of snakes to us, it seemed, but after twelve years you have finally proved that here."

Reman took the knight's helm off during this accusation to see the vulgar mouth more clearly, the lips and teeth that framed him to this barbaric angle, and then the Chim-el Adabal in his forehead erupted into balefire, saying, "None But Ourself". Reman then bit out the knight's teeth with his own, growling against and with this new-known power, worrying the lower jaw until it tore free, his hands held hard against the knight's flailing and now tongueless chokes, and his biting increased into a skipping blur until the knight's face exploded into his own.

Reman then had two aspects himself, a red and ragged mask of the West hanging from temple to neck, and through its tears the glow of righteous Niben, and to Sed-Yenna and Shonni-Et he spoke in this manner, saying, "Tell me now what else does not believe in or belong to me."

*****

The summer of his thirteenth saw the assembled lords of Colovia having offered their swords to the lowest step of the throne of White-Gold, Reman naked save for paint, with an idiot chorus to his godsblood left and a quartet of heavy-horned minotaur teamsters to his godsblood right, and his wives entwined around his legs, and a crown of crows in a stately arc about his brow-embedded jewel. 

It was unseemly hot in the chamber, with maidens and viziers and emissaries and animals asleep or even dead on its tiles or in cool corners, and risen things waved insect wings as fans, stirring the scents of moth-clouds down in a dust that clung to skins and sometimes changed them. No one had said a word since the kings and counts of the West swore out their oaths that morning. The sun broke across the glassworks and made a steam of the collected sweat.

The Imperator then stirred, and Shonni-Et made move to love him, with now Sed-Yenna cleaning his feet with sponge-felts from the Pyadon. And Reman gave his acquiesce, willing his blood into brandy for his younger wife to drink, and when one of the lords of Colovia, the Kvetchi, hissed out an impatience it so unnerved the beggar-king of Bruhmaht that the latter beheaded him without rising, placing his sword back quickly on the steps, its blood now drawing sweet-flies from the tails of the teamsters.

Unknown Posts

Author: 
Anonymous

Kier-jo

Kier-jo thinks it is very much like a thing an Elder Way-warder would say.

"The Weakest Souls, called Men, will bring Sithis into every Quarter."

"The Worshippers of the Unnamed Lord, know as 'Argonians' on Nirni, are the Descendents of Boethiah and the Serpent-men."

"The Khajiit, created as Servants by the Aldmer, Rebelled against the Natural Order and Conspired with the Doom Drum to End the Merethic Era."

Kier-jo hears it all before.

Tiber Septim was seen in more than one part of Tamriel at the same time and you are content.
Stormcrown was a Breton, no a Nord, no an Atmoran, and you sit and play in the sand.
A numidium rises in the West and does Eight Things for the Psijics and you do not question.
Your monkeys dance on the Tower and the stars change and you do not remember.
You read the words of the Sermon, but you are blind to the truths between them.
The darkness is reborn, crowned and conquering, and you pull the covers tighter and sleep.

When will you realize what happened to the Dwarves?

When will you Wake from the Elven Lie that all Men believe?

Jobasha (Douglas Goodall?)

Jobasha says don't you fall for the Elven Lie. The Tower is older than the elves, as old as music. For it is the Word and the start of words and the end (and the end of ALMSIVI as Vivec may say or not say).

The Tower of today is not The Tower of yesterday. Jobasha's heresy lies in knowing even Ahnurr changes, as do all stars when they can walk.

Where do you go when Alkosh breaks?
So where are you now as Alkosh holds the stars to their courses?
Speak, if you know the words. Keep silent, if you remember.

Wise Azurah gives us the Lattice... But the moons, in death, are distillers only. As glass moves light, but requires a flame.

The Lattice breaks before. The monkeys dance. Lorkhaj sends a star. That star, chained and unchained, pokes holes in the moons once, twice, three times.

We Khajiit must climb, then, in a way men and mer cannot. And with us we carry the sugar of a star or a bone or a watery king. For if sugar is not worthy of a Walker, is it worthy of Ja-Kha'jay?

So Jobasha does not fear. All "et'Ada" have laws, customs, weakness. Even if they "cannot be spelled, pronounced, ennumerated in the Mundus" (and there is another weakness of the Elven Lie).

"The Dragon is bound with noble sighs.
The Serpent is bound with shifting tones.
The Sun is bound with metal flames.
The Earth is bound with secret knots."
-- The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible

But perhaps Jobasha should give an even more famous example:

"Daedroth, do you keep the faith?"
"Bide, and we abide. Turn, and we return."

Who knows, survives.

The Motheaters Song

Who controls the Septim crown?
Who keeps the Allesian Heresy down?
We do, we do

Who knocked Yokuda off the maps?
Who keeps the Dwemer under wraps?
We do, we do

Who dances a little dance and does not tell?
Who breaks time and thinks it's swell?
We do, we do

Who spills coffee on the Chaos Staff?
Who makes the Truth Monkeys laugh?
We do, we do

 

Ted Peterson's Posts

Author: 
Anonymous

Who was Jyggylag prior to the Shivering Isles? (c. Feb 2001)

Jyggalag was thrown into "On Oblivion" to add an additional daedra prince in case we needed one down the road for -- I don't know -- the daedra of poisons or unattractive hairdos.

On the disappearance of Artaeum (05/10/03)

Some have suggested that Sotha Sil's bargain with the daedra is what caused Artaeum to vanish for several hundred years. I think it's much more because of Vanus Galerion's "democratization" (and capitalization) of magic, bringing some of the secrets of the Psijics off the island. They were suddenly threatened, and they withdrew. When they came back, the older master Iachesis was gone, and they were in a different world. In "The Wolf Queen," Potema mocks the Psijics, saying that their off-spring the Mages Guild is now much more powerful. Perhaps they feel their contradictory philosophy lends them some of their old glamour. Perhaps they are onto something they learned in their time away from Mundus.

After all, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Why is the name "Atmora" derived from the Aldmeri language if it was populated by men? (11/16/03)

The common name for a place is not necessarily the name given to it by its original inhabitants. America comes from Italian, Britain comes from Latin, Japan comes Chinese (though invented by Japanese scholars from the Middle Chinese phrase nzyet-pwun-kwuk, "land of the rising sun," which became Nippon or Nihon, and the English used the Chinese word "Japan"), et cetera.

It may be surmised that where Aldmeris was spoken, the land of the Nedic people was called Atmora, and the name has stuck, and the original name of the land by its inhabitants has vanished.

On the apperance of the Tsaesci, and the "truths" in fictional Tamrielic writings (05/07/04)

I never saw a Tsaesci
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you this right now:
I'd rather see than be one.

Carlovac Townway, the author of 2920, though quite a scholar, never saw a Tsaeci or any other Akavari (of which there are many, as has been noted) either. He attempted to write a historically accurate piece of fiction. I'd compare him and Waughin Jarth and a few other Tamrielic authors to writers like Sharon Kay Penman, who write meticulously researched historical fiction. Everything is true, but there's plenty of dramatic license, and, in this case, he hedged his bets with his description of the Potentates. 

To the people of Tamriel during the interregnum, the Potentates were snakes. But, it must be reasoned, they knew how to use their native weaponry, katanas and wakizashis and so on. Does that mean they must have had at least arms to use them? Townway reasoned yes.

Are Akavari Asians? Certainly not. Nirn is not earth, so there is no Tamriel = Europe, Akavir = Asia, Yokuda = Africa, Pyandonea = Australia, or any other direct comparisons. 

That said, we, the developers and ex-developers, who translate Tamrielic culture into a thing understandable by Earth dwellers, often use familiar words and concepts which carry with them some additional baggage. There are, for example, in Tamriel, slightly curved, single edged swords which are considered among the finest blades in existence. The easiest word to use to describe this is "katana." As in all translations, it conveys the essential meaning of the thing, but one shouldn't confuse the makers of the katana with the Japanese any more than one should assume that the origins of the Tamrielic claymore are Scottish.

Of course, none of this is to say that mod-makers shouldn't include Asian characters who are said to be from Akavir. Is it "true" to the lore? No. Is it contradictory to the lore? No again.

Are there any Tsaesci on Tamriel in the 3rd era? (05/14/04)

Is it reasonable to assume there might be a few Tsaesci slithering around Tamriel hither and yon? There are certainly stranger things ... 

Rebuttal to shrines and blessings disproving atheism in Tamriel (11/30/04)

It may not work because of the reasons given to you by the Temple of the Tribunal, the Benevolence of Mara, the witches of Glenmoril, or any of the other organized and disorganized religions of the land. That is not evidence, that is explanation, which is very, very different.

Rebuttal to "given the above, even Sheogorath might not be real" (11/30/04)

True, but I am.

I may, however, be less or more than I or you think I am. There are those who say that there is but one God with a split personality. Who could they be thinking of? 

Roleplaying profiles for Elysana and Sheogorath, from Lorana's RP (12/04/04)

Elysana

Age: 41

Height: 5’8”

Hair: Blonde

Eyes: Green

Occupation: Queen of Wayrest

Notes: The daughter of the late Queen Carolyna and King Eadwyre, stepdaughter of Queen Barenziah, stepsister of King Helseth of Morrowind and Queen Morgiah of Firsthold. She won the throne of Wayrest after a bitter struggle with Helseth, an impressive feat, proving her political acumen and strength.

She has been queen for over ten years now, and has two children by her consort prince. Under her, Wayrest has expanded its territory. A cold war exists between Wayrest, Daggerfall, and Sentinel, and a much warmer one between Wayrest and Orsinium.

It is said a serpent once bit her and died. Her admirers and enemies alike routinely call her the new Wolf Queen. She is powerful and paranoid, utterly ruthless and very, very smart.

Sheogorath

Age: Banana

Height: 48000 feet (in heels)

Hair: Luscious and brown and perky

Eyes: Two, roughly parallel, and blue

Occupation: Daedra Prince of Madness and Banker

Notes: A storm usually but not always precedes the arrival of the Mad God, otherwise known as the Dam Dog. His personality veers between a charmingly eccentric uncle and a blood-spattered homicidal maniac. 

How do you pronounse Psijic? (06/19/06)

Sidgick. But that ain't gospel.

Oblivion = hell? (06/29/06)

[Oblivion has been synonymous with hell for] exactly 10 years, since Daggerfall.

In fact, in Arena, there were no Daedra, only Demons (or maybe we spelled it Daimons? I don't remember). The first book "On Oblivion," calls Daimons a mispelling of Daedra ... our very first retcon ...

What's even worse, the first time the phrase "the marble jaws of Oblivion" is used was in the Emperor's intro to Daggerfall, talking of King Lysandus:

He was as great and loyal a subject, ally, and friend to me as you are. I did grieve for him ... but I now hear his spirit will not rest. It haunts his former kingdom crying for revenge. I do not know why such a good and loyal man would be so cursed, but perhaps you could find the reason. You could close the marble jaws of Oblivion and put his soul to peace.

Now, I'm not sayin' that Oblivion is the afterlife in TES. But Uriel here, unlike in the beginning of Oblivion where he uses the exact same phrase (well, which of us don't have our favorite catch phrases?) clearly means "the marble jaws of Oblivion" to mean "the grave." It's the simplest sort of a metaphor. Why are the jaws marble? Not just because it's hard -- it's because that's what graves are made out of.

All that said, Oblivion is not fire and brimstone and pitchforks. At least, it's not only that.

On the divines definitely being real (06/05/06)

Well ... amazing magical things in a highly magical world are not necessarily proof, even though the priests say they are.

Don't worry, MK will agree with you that there is conclusive proof of the Aedra in TES. I just wouldn't be doing my duty as Sheogorath without pointing out that just because a million people believe a foolish thing does not make it less of a foolish thing.

On the Trial of Vivec and future roleplays in the series influencing lore (06/05/06)

I have never said [the Trial of Vivec is canon]. It might turn out to be, but I actually subscribe to the spirit of the much maligned phrase of Pete's that it's not canon unless it's in the games. The trial and the RP that sprung from it, which continues on in the "From The Ashes" thread, have definitely influenced some lore that subsequently appeared in Oblivion and in the PGE.

On "canon" and "noncanon" sources (06/05/06)

I would like to propose that instead of there being a black-and-white distinction between canon and non-canon, loreists refer to Primary and Secondary Sources. A Secondary Source, such as a comment from MK or a reference in the Trial or RP, may be 100% accurate and become a Primary Source when it is later published in a game; it may remain a useful reference, such as a scholar's commentary on Shakespeare, which is informed and likely true, though not actually part of a play or sonnet; or, it may be disproved on later Primary Source evidence.

Christiane Meister

Author: 
Anonymous

On High Elves (02/07/01)

From what I understand, the High Elves in Morrowind are far from effeminate. True, their culture revolves around looks, but in a rather harsh way. In fact, they will kill any offspring that do not fit the "ideal". Perhaps this is one of the reasons that their race is on the decline... low birth rates aside.

On Bonemold (03/30/01)

Bonemold armor comes from ground up bones and is mixed with resin and left to set in a...mold. Kinda like plaster of Paris but much tougher I believe they use bug shells as some of the molds, thus giving a bug-like appearance to that armor as well. Why not just use chitin then? Well, apparently this paste, once set is much stronger than chitin. Chitin is very easily punctured by pointy things, unless it's a weevil - those suckers are tough to pin. :)

Are Ash Slaves undead? (08/23/01)

Ash Slaves aren't dead...yet... they aspire to be the next incarnation to better serve their god :)

Differences between male and female Argonians (09/05/01)

You may actually be able to tell males and females apart. Clothed or no. The careful observer will note that male Argonians have larger crests or horns often augmented with gold and earings. The females generally have very short horns, but they like to dress themselves up with jewelry and feathers. Another distinguishing factor is that males are much more brightly colored than the drab females. If you have no basis for comparison, always look in the eyes as there is no typical mammalian physiological dimorphism. Females always have red eyes.

Differences between male and female Khajiit (09/06/01)

Actually, the one in the background of that screenshot is a female. The females tend to be darker in coloration and have larger, rounder eyes as well as typical humanoid (albeit fur covered) female physiology. They have also succumbed to human fashion whims by wearing earrings, of a feminine design - not those hoop earrings the males are so fond of.

 

Shane Liesegang's Posts

Author: 
Anonymous

Is there like a definite guide or bible of the elder scrolls? (12/16/10)

Kurt's brain.

The origin of the Songs of Return. (11/13/11)

Lady Nerevar: "...assuming that in-universe the text is transcribed from oral tradition (ala Beowulf and the like)."

You're right about the in-world authorship.

In the real world, I'm the one to blame for that particular set of books. :-)

The plural of Oghma Infinium (03/05/12)

For future reference, the proper plural is "Oghmas Infinium."

 

Pete Hine's Posts

Author: 
Anonymous

Do Argonians lay eggs? (11/06/03)

Argonians are ovoviviparous. [Wow. I was SURE I'd never have to use that word again.] They don't lay eggs like reptiles.
Note that Lady Argonians have big bumps on their chests.

Does Bethesda consider Obscure Texts and developer comments as "actual lore" or "canon"? (24/11/11)

It depends.

 

 

Matt Grandstaff's Posts

Author: 
Matt Grandstaff

The existence and nature of Emperor Ami-el (12/23/13)

Talked to folks at the office. This is how we have the events listed in our timeline:

1E 358 - Emperor Ami-El of Cyrodiil lends his forces to Skyrim in a military campaign against the Direnni Hegemony in the Western Reach. Anti-Aldmer sentiments rise as Skyrim loses more and more of Greater Bretony to the Direnni.

When did Serana get put to sleep? (09/05/2013)

The intention was that Serana went to sleep in the late second era, between the Reman and Septim empires. Her initial dialogue is just her surprise that there’s an Empire in Cyrodiil, as there hadn't been when she went to sleep.

 

ESO - Balac Thurm Main Quest

Author: 
Anonymous

Rescuing the Moth Priests

"A signet ring the Prophet has carried with him since his days in the Moth Priest's library."

"Greetings, <<1>>. <<2>> told me you're a friend of the Moth Priests. I know you saved him from the cultists in <<3>> and recovered the <<4>> from them. Your arrival is a blessing. The people of Aldcroft are in more trouble than they know."

"First you: then I, then our Titanborn. The Moth Priests shall follow us too. Each and every existence depends upon this moment. This here. This now. Now go!"

"I need to find a Moth priest in Shornhelm and offer my help against the Worm Cult."

"I learned that during the night of the kidnapping, a wagon parked outside the Moth Priests' chapterhouse drove off towards Shornhelm's west gate. I should visit the gate and ask if the wagon was seen there."

"The trail of the wagon led me to a hidden cave tucked away in the mountains west of <<1>>. If the Moth Priests are in here somewhere, I have to rescue them."

"I've found the captive Moth Priests, who were kidnapped by members of the Black Worm Cult. Fortunately one of the priests had a recall stone on him. I can use it to teleport all of us out of the cave to the Ancestor Moth sanctuary, Gudrun's Retreat."

"A mighty Daedra lord is attempting to steal the Amulet of Kings! Sai Sahan and I must stop him before he can break the warding."

"The Daedra lord is defeated. The Amulet of Kings is secure, but it appears drained from the warding spell that it created. I should take it and escape."

"I've escaped the Worm Cultists' cave with the Moth Priests in tow. I should exit the room I'm in and see who else is here at Gudrun's Retreat."

"Welcome to Gudrun's Retreat, <<1>>.Now, I'm curious - why in Shor's name did you bring a Dremora Kynval here?"

"The Kynval was disguised as a Moth Priest. I rescued the priests from a group of Worm Cultists."

What the Balac is and how to fix it.

"I should listen to the Prophet. He has seen a vision in the scrolls regarding how I can repair the Staff of Towers."

"It's a magic staff, wrought by some High Elf ages ago. They say the Balac's bound to the very bones of the world, with power enough to breach the walls of Oblivion. It was taken in battle by the sons of Men, long ago, and hidden. But I know where."

"Can you not sense it, <<1>>? The staff - it is broken, incomplete! The Maruhkites, their Dragonbreak... the Balac that was is no more."

"Very good. Now listen well.\n\nThe Balac was formed from the energies of this world - and from these energies we may draw again, to restore the Balac's power."

"The Codex supposedly contains one of the most dangerous secrets in Tamriel - the location of the Balac. It is the Balac that will allow us to free <<1>> from Molag Bal's cold prison."

"The Balac? By what right do you ask of such things? Only the most exalted brethren even know of its existence. And here you, an intruder, come seeking it for yourself. I think not."

"Well enough, Lyris. Well enough. We have the location of the Balac, do we not? And our foretold friend has arrived! The wheel revolves. We cannot ask for more."

"To restore the Balac, to repair its broken parts, you must undertake a greater journey still. Across Tamriel you will travel, into darkened depths and upon luminous heights. Are you for the task, <<1>>? Are you willing?"

"The Prophet's portal stone will get you to the ruins. From there, you must locate the Balac on your own. Go with caution, <<1>>. Gods only know what else you'll find in there."

"The Mages Guild will get you to the Canulus Refuge, have no doubt. From there you must find the Balac on your own. Now hurry - the Planemeld hastens even as we speak!"

"Back from the Canulus Refuge! And that must be the Balac!\n\nWell go on, I don't know what's to be done with it. Give it to the old man."

"Strangeness surrounds us! It is the Balac you bear, but I expected something... different. Here, give it to me. I must examine the staff."

"The Balac? It is ancient, it is might. It is the work of Gods and mer. It is the staff that beats the Doom Drum! I can say little else. What it does, or from whence it came - such questions are obscured to me."

"I know little enough myself.... It is clear the staff was forged through the land, of Nirn itself - channeled magics wrought material.The Balac is ancient, perhaps beyond time. It has seen and done more than you or I can imagine."

 

Charging the Balac at each of the Towers

"There are many objects of Divine origin scattered throughout Tamriel with which one might recharge something as powerful as the Amulet of Kings. The difficulty is determining which is the safest and most logical to utilize."

"<<1>> believes the energies of the Crystal Tower can be tapped by the Balac, and will partially return the staff to its former power. The anchor of the Crystal Tower is called Crystal-like-Law; its energies tie the tower to Nirn."

"Charge the Balac within the Adamantine Tower"
"Charge the Balac within the Crystal Tower"
"Charge the Balac within Red Mountain"
"Charge the Balac to the Zero Stone"
"Charge the Balac to Crystal-like-Law"

"You say you are willing. Then let your journey begin. The towers await, their stones laid within. The Balac will be drawn to them, as the light is drawn to the dawn."

"The power to restore the Balac lies within the Anchor Towers of Tamriel. Each tower is laid upon a singular stone,  its essence and foundation, the connection to Nirn. Find the stones, one to each tower, and bolster the Balac upon their energies."

"Do not travel by land to the towers! It is out of the question. The Balac is too precious, and there are many dangers out in the world.Seek the Mages Guild I say, for they are allies still, and know much of the magics of teleportation."

"I am inside the Adamantine Tower. Now I must find a way to the Zero Stone and imbue the Balac with its power."

"The Anchor Towers await - Adamantine, Crystal, Red Mountain. Through they alone can the Balac be restored. Ask now of each tower, and I will tell what I may know."

"Find first the Zero Stone, at the heart of Adamantine Tower. In the halls above and dungeons below Clan Direnni rules. They will despise your intrusion, and guard the Zero Stone ferociously. But you must find it, tap its power, tap its power.

"The Zero Stone will restore the staff. It was laid by the gods themselves, back before the dawn.It's so simple! And yet... I fear the journey will be anything but."

"Your friends in the Daggerfall Covenant would gladly send you to Balfiera Island. They always need more reinforcements for their war. Just ask for a battlemaster in one of your alliance cities."

"In the light of the scrolls, through the veil of permeation, I saw three steps to the end."

"First there is an island of war: the place called Balfiera. You must go there to begin."

"Second: the tower, the one called Adamantine. You must get inside. Through depths and darkness you go, downwards, never up."

"And last, the Zero Stone, the core and foundation. Place the staff upon the stone. Its eternal surface connects to Nirn, to recharge and renew."

Canulus Refuge

"The Alessians took the Balac at Glenumbra Moor. What they did with it none can say. Their last refuge at Lake Canulus fell long ago, but the vaults beneath were never plundered. If the Balac isn't there, some word of where it's hidden will be."

"I found a note indicating that the Balac is being kept in a place called the Archives. I will need to find the Archives if I am to recover the staff."

"<<1>> has sent me in search of a book called the <<2>>.\n\nHe believes it is somewhere inside a ruined monastery in Cyrodiil, a place called the Canulus Refuge. I can use Seagrave's portal stone to travel there instantly."

"I appear to be trapped in some sort of dungeon within the Canulus Refuge. I need to find a way out if I am going to recover the <<1>>."

"I have solved the Maruhkite's riddle, and the barrier is down. <<1>> must be located somewhere beyond it."

"I ventured into the depths of the Canulus Refuge and secured the magical staff known as the Balac. I then returned to Lyris Titanborn's hideout and handed the staff over to the Prophet."

"Not by any road, that's for certain. I've a portal stone a wizard enchanted for me: it will send you all the way to Cyrodiil. Take this ring: it will bring you right back after you're finished."

"Aye, and so we'll begin. It's time we recover the Balac. Thanks to you, we know where the Balac was last kept. But we needed a fast, safe way into the Canulus Refuge. The old man here has solved that problem for us, thanks to his portal stone."

"Ah! Of course! Now listen well: The Balac sits in another's hands, suspended from life, out of place, out of time. Hidden, protected, this defender waits, surrounded by death in the depths of his home - a place once called the Canulus Refuge."

"The Spell of Sheathing. It protected this room, isolating me from the world while my brother Maruhkites were slaughtered by heretics. Now you have broken the Sheath. You must die, and then I shall begin the Order's rebirth."

 

Puzzles and books in Canulus Refuge

"<This statue bears an inscription.>"I am the champion against tyranny, the liberator of slaves, the destroyer of elves. Who am I?\" <Below, three names glow with the same energy that surrounds the Balac.>"

"<This statue bears an inscription.>"I am the true god of time, free from elven aspect, resplendent fruition of the Dragon Break. Who am I?\"<Below, three names glow with the same energy that surrounds the Balac.>"

"<This statue bears an inscription.>"I am the true prophet, beholder of visions, proclaimer of the faith. Who am I?\" <Below, three names glow with the same energy that surrounds the Balac.>"

"<You read the title page of this venerable tome.>"The Maruhkati Sermons\" "Words and Teachings from the Visionary Maruhk, the Indelible Prophet, the Leader of the Faith\"<The rest of the text has rotted away and is completely illegible.>"

"<You read the title page of this resplendent tome.>"The Supreme Spirit"A Treatise on the Splendor of Akatosh, Dragon God of Time, the One,the Only\""

"<You read from the Trials of St. Alessia.>"Akatosh made a covenant with Alessia in those days. He gathered the tangled skeins of Oblivion and knit them fast with the bloody sinews of his Heart. He gave them to Alessia, saying, 'This shall be....'\""

"<You read the title page of this poetic tome.>"The Song of Pelinal, Volume Three: On His Enemy\""

"<You read the title page of this exhaustive tome.>"The First Empress: An Accounting of the Rise of the Slave-Queen Alessia and the Subsequent Defeat of the Ayleids of Cyrod"Authored by Brenton Mannerly, humble servant of the Alessian Order\""

"<You read the title page of this ponderous tome.>"The Staff of Towers"An Examination of the Fabled Artifact, Its Origins, and a History of Its Activity\""

"<You read the title page of this enigmatic tome.> The Lost Maruhkites: Stories of the Forgotten Sect"

"<You read the title page of this journal-like book.> "Sanctuary and the Staff "Final Confessions of a Maruhkite\""

 

The Marukhati Selectives

"Fanatics! Devotees, they would say, of the Alessian Order. Supposedly they were wiped out during the War of Righteousness.Ha! Their secrets didn't die so easily."

"Antonius, The fires of righteousness burn around us; the faithless scour the land. But our sacrifice will preserve our legacy -- an Akatosh free from the loathsome aspects of merfolk. In your hands the Balac will be protected. Yours in Faith,\nGalla"

"Galla, The Balac is the map and the path, left for us by the Selective. The Dragon cannot be unbroken. We must realign the Archives to keep it safe -- out of place, out of time. -Antonius"

"Antonius, The way to the Balac is sealed, and only Alessia's faithful shall pass. Pray we slip loose of Arkay's bonds to serve eternally. I taste the lies of the heretics on the wind, like bitter ash. They draw near. Yours in Faith,Galla"

"Daybook of Scorian Antissus, Catechumen of Maruhk - Twelfth of Rain's Hand: Peppered mutton again. No surprise: our cook is a Breton. At least there were grilled leeks to go with it. After dinner, practice for two bells with the Blessed Expungers...."

"\"And so it was ordained, by the glorious spirit of Queen Alessia herself. Let the Elven lie be purged from the Empire, through the doom of its progenitors, the Ayleids, slavers, the original enemy of man.\""

"I have seen your success. It is written in the scrolls. With the Balac in hand you shall triumph, our enemies vanquished, the Planemeld extinguished! Do you understand? The Balac is the key, and you shall find it. Are you willing? Are you ready?"

"We abide in the \"Gray Maybe.\" What can any of us speak but riddles? If our enemies have their way, there will be no more riddles... only the dead and deadly certainty."

 

The final battle at Adamantine Tower

"The what reveals the where. It is Balfiera Island a rock upon the Iliac Bay. The bickering factions of Tamrial vie for its control. An endless arena of war. The battlemasters of the Daggerfall Covenant will readily send you there to die."

"To Balfiera, the island of war - to Adamantine, the tower's depths - to the foundation the Zero Stone! Upon that timeless stone the staff must be charged."

"There is but one tower on that island - the one named Adamantine. Enter the tower,but go down, not up. In those ancient depths, in the dungeons far below, you will find the foundation - the Zero Stone. It alone can restore the Staff of Towers.”

"The Prophet has opened a portal to Balfiera Isle and the Adamantine Tower. I will be bringing the Amulet of Kings with me."

"I must descend into the depths below the tower and locate the Zero Stone, a massive source of Divine power from the Dawn Era."

Abnur Tharn is here, speaking to his Legion soldiers through a magical projection. I should have words with him.

There is a path leading down not far from here. Abnur Tharn's soldiers and Worm Cult agents stand between me and the Zero Stone.

"I've entered into some kind of ancient Ayleid observatory built up around the tower spire. I need to find my way through.

I've reached the Seal of the Stars. I must determine the configuration of constellations that will allow me through.

The way is open. The Zero Stone awaits.

The last of Abnur Tharn's minions stand in my way, hoping to delay me while the Imperial gorges himself on the energy of the Zero Stone.

Abnur Tharn has turned Lyris Titanborn into an undying servant and has set her against me. I must defeat them both to get to the Zero Stone.

Lyris Titanborn is dead, and Abnur Tharn's own demise is little penance for his crime. It is time to empower the Amulet of Kings and find my way, unerringly, to my soul.

I am in some kind of vision. The Amulet is attuning itself to my soul's location.

I will now be able to find my way to wherever my soul is kept, no matter who possesses it. The Prophet has appeared in the flesh through one of his portals. I should speak with him.

The Prophet has asked me to set and light Lyris's funeral pyre.

Lyris has been laid to rest, and her spirit will find its way to the Nord afterlife in Sovngarde. I should finish my business with the Prophet so we can return to the Harborage and prepare for our final task.

"I have entered a twisting descent into the world's heart. The only way forward is down."

"And last1 the Zero Stone1 the core and foundation. Place the staff upon the stone. Its eternal surface connects to Nirn, to recharge and renew."

"I hear it! The Zero Stone echoes from within the staff. You have succeeded. We are one step closer to life, one step further from annihilation."

"I've safely returned to Gudrun's Retreat. I should speak to the Prophet and tell him what transpired beneath the Adamantine Tower."