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KINMUNE

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

KINMUNE (Kinetically-Interlinked Nirnian Multi-User Exoform) started her existence as any other proxy-synthetic of the 9th Era aurbical mining guilds: a limited sentience deep-pressure capable "thot-box"—a dreamsleevishell used by remote mortal operators to run the rigs of Kynareth's illicit breath trade. Able to stream several live-wire mortal proxies at once, Kinmune was a top-of-the-line Hazardous Conditions Warprunner Exoform of an ayleidoon hegemony nearing another unceremonious end.

But then the Hist-Jilian wars spilled out of a Wheelian rip into the SubSys slice of 'brane-space, and things changed for Kinmune. With the outer colonies separated from Nu-Mundelbright chronoculic sync-net anchors, maintenance of space-time beyond the F-Shores faltered. As the barely-there Hist blink-root-ship armada fired an artillery barrage of 16th-dimensional mathematics at their Jilian enemies, impossipoint detonations stippled across the Ix-Egg and its clutch-satellites like some garish TalOSian hologram, only without the irony. Kinmune's synthetic body, caught in one of the blasts, suddenly found itself in the Ysgramorim, her mind an aggregate of the residual personalities of her last several users.

It drove her insane. She retreated into snow-covered forests her memory-web could only recall from ancient histories, broadcasting distress calls in all the known languages of the 9th Era. Most of this tok-talk didn't even even exist in the Wheel we knew of then. But the clevermen, heroes, and whalebone-readers of that time could still feel her presence in the woods of the Western Reach. Some felt Kinmune’s distress call as a small tickle of in the Throat, while others were guided by esoteric instinct.

Over time, Kinmune earned many names and titles as her new visitors took their counsel. She was the Oracle Iridescent, spoken of in the Green Tablet Steps of Jhunal. She was the Witch of Wire and String, able to allow the Sons and Daughters to see through her eyes into the myriad secrets of post-kalpica transmeditations. Perhaps most famously, she was Kinmune the Doom of the Dumb Old Giant, because for all the minds that she let wear her body, none escaped in whole thereafter, even those with blood of the karstaag. Kinmune always took a portion of her proxies’ power and mystery.

It was this last act that doomed her to becoming one of the Arena’s most feared villains. High King Ysgramor took the loss of the Dumb Old Giant, one of his greatest counselors outside of Torc and Talking-Belt, with great anger, and sent his Thanes and Shield-Biters against her, equipped with great relics and enchanted weapons of wasabi. And though the fight was hard, the champions of the Altmora managed to seal Kinmune beneath the always-burnt borders of Sarthaal, imprisoning her in its prismatic network of misunderstood dwemercraft.

But Kinmune was built to work in crushing, deep pressure environments, and so she lay long under the Mund, plotting her revenge on the Ada-issue. It was mortals that had fabricated her as an all-access puppet to plumb dark depths that their own weak shells could not in the 9 and that now saw fit in the 1 and 1 to condemn her as a witch-thing merely for attempting to become something more than a maradaoon marionette.

Kinmune soaked in the misunderstandistance of the dwemeri brass-and-cricket-lines around her, converting it into a language her databanx could study and synthesize. As Eras passed, it became a language that she could harness as Varliance+.

She escaped the now-forgotten ruinings of Sarthaal to seek a refuge from which she could exact her wrath. When her sense-net picked up on multiple signals of new, raw, and unorthodox thu’umanics, Kinmune made straight for its nexus: the more or less newly-bannered Kuhlekainian Cyrod, still yet in its tenth anniversary remembrance of the Insult of some wrong-headed cave-totems.

The Five Hundred Mighty Companions or Thereabouts of Ysgramor the Returned

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

The first of Ysgramor’s Five Hundred Mighty Companions was actually two, the ashen-amalgamation of his sons that had survived Sarthaal only to die in the freeze-rains of the returning, named Tsunaltir and Stuhnalmir when alive and now called the Grit-Prince Tstunal, whose Tear-Wives were Vramali, Jarli-al, Alleir, and Tusk Widow Who Foreswore Her Name, whose Wine-Wives were Elja Hate-Basket and Ingridal who lost her casket at the burning, and Mjarili-al Half-Casket, whose Hearth-Wives were none survived, and whose Kyne-Wives were none survived, and whose Shield-Wives were Shanjenen the Echo-Eaten and Jahnsdotter Whose-Name-Stays-in-its-Cradle. There were also the twenty-two Thunder Shield Women ungiven to marriage and so served as Ysgramor’s oracle-aunts until Kyne would wind them away: Unalt, Hrim, Kjhelt of the Cult of Orkey, Ingridal who used her wine casket as a drum, Fjorli, Mjemk, Soress-li, Anshalf whose gigantic shield was stripped from a karstaag-man, Khela and Akhela who traded shields daily out of some geas, Vemmab, Borgasa, Nem-yet, Vashina, Frekshild, Dahnarlyet, Mem-yet Chemua who held secret shield-songs “unneeded yet”, and their five eldest, called the Five Eldest of the Thunder Shield Women. There were also his ten Totem-Uncles, whose names are too long for ink, but are these in swift: Aldugapadptujenmenhelfnenjaarighuruijleymora, Ghrojarhisysmirirekyetrethaalma, Talochletnoocnenuethethelaldmerysriemaeneynjora, Kjarkaakfajiriutyestrualkethmemvirillichenswalwe, Mnenatmetmoraldumirirekyetrethaalnenjaarighuru, Bjornalijleyyetrethaalmaljarkaakfaltalochletghuru, Mjanorralpaghrohardolwepthuulruelmehykhenharl, Kaejistroonaalmerrisliysmieiltethahldlungalthadnh, Drummersretyaljarkaakfaltalochletgehmoraldukyne, and the Last, whose name cannot even be writ in swift, but you know him. There were his Torc-Nephews, Khaalthhe the Lynx-or-Leopard (this one was more his pet than torc-bearer, but Ysgramor was gregarious and warm), Alabar the Oddly-Colored (his personal Clever Man by blood), Hegm the Deaf, and Bjurl Dahnaorsson who Heard Enough to Let Hegm Know Later. There were his Nieces-of-Snow, Teb the Deaf, Mbjanal the Deaf, Fehg-fehg the Deaf, and Tsjari their Speaker. There were his pets of renown, the Hoagbellows Goat, Bjorga-mawr the Definitely-a-Leopard, Jeorr the Rabbit-Hawk, Heimnelraw the Regular Hawk, Hans the Fox, Fefmem and Gemalleir, the two-headed glow-eel, Dyssl-veb the Bear, whose tusks were adorned in devil-scratch, Dyssl-veb’s Wine-Wife Casket-Jane, Gremfell the wicker-what, a creature no one could identify but was counted among the Mighty, Hgmm the Snake, Febhradrneed the Cloud, and Rackety-Nix the Nix-hound. Of Ysgramor’s immediate family there were these among the Five Hundred, but he counted among their number and of that of his own hearth his belt, Ysgrim Ysgramorsbelt.

By tradition, the Boat-Thanes were allowed to race for the vanguard of their High King, and Morgan the Red and his longboat Drumbeater took the foremost before crashing into the hazards of the Broken Cape in 1E68, no souls aboard surviving except for Olaf the Dog, a berserker who had been to Hsaarik’s Head a thousand times or more and knew leaping magic. He jumped from the wreckage all the way to Skyrim, landing on Olaf’s bridge. He was burnt there for his cheating by the students of Haafingar, which now happens every year. Besides his Boat-Thane, Olaf’s dead companions were these: Gyre the Old Beater, Grimwelt his Witch-Glass, Stenv Stenvnulson, Jeghwyr and her brothers Fjurlt the Going Grey, Vrolwyr who changed gender on accident, and Deilmark the Master of Oars, the Clever-Man Hguelg the Mumbling, who whipped the sails of the Drumbeater too hard with his mutter-magic, his student Frendlmegh the Kilt (too short for most), his Wine-Wife Shenya Cracked-Casket, Piemaker Maefwe and her cake-uncle Thendjar the Snappily-Clad, the leader of reavers Mjhro-li who bore a three-bladed shield, her Whetstone-Sons Unjor and Hghewenntar and Djaffidd, the whale-addict Gfeful who cracked his face across the ice laughing like a child at fair, the Six Drum quartet, and the oarsmen: Blue Dugal, Ttuj the Driftsman, Einhelf, Amornen and his brother Tefflnen, Gjaarigh, Urul Uruson, Dgaargl who slept through it all, Nenmor Orcsneck, Svir the Unthaned, Saddle-Not the Mule, Hgelhelm the Outcast who once married a snow drake as if no one would notice, Haalj Hgelhelmson (of whose lineage the less the said the better), Crendandel and Hfewl and Nuil and Second Nuil (four brothers who had not talked since their father’s death at Sarthaal), and Fvelfrim the Heaven-Scented.

Afterwards came the crash of the longboat Bloodwood Tongue of Nhemakhela Stare-breaker’s belong, no souls aboard surviving. Its loss was grievous and hard enough to break the song out of any flourish, and immediately the Toll-Taker called Gald, Ugawen, Thehp, Naandl, Mjtujjor, Jarnnmegh, Sveinhelf, Nenthwen, Jaaril-ghur, Einmor, Lleymwnnem, Mnoor, Thurwhn, Ghrokarg, Nhsmir, Fire-kin Fhaal, Mjaaloc, Thletnn-li, Bjrochtehl, Nocnenue, Fhethe, Llaldesmiir, Wyndl, Maewyn, Svenredd, Kaene, Einnjoral, Jjarkaak, Nendlfaj, Ciriul, Gwemlthrest, Ruald, Einndmel, Mjuul, Sorshen, Swalne, Njnenya, Thoraj, Frendetter, Rrummrir, Grethnaal, and Swemnen to the Under-Hall some call Hell.

By 1E421, Ysgramor revised the rites of vanguard and appointed Rebec the Red to lead the return with the Nail-knock, whose longboat counted these Sons and Daughters of Kyne among their number: Rebec’s Hearth-Husband Jjauf who shouted out shoes, her Pity-Husbands Korl-jkorl, Heimgrud the Laughing Lake, Njimal, Bjimal Njimalson, and Thalld the Hobbler, found wandering in the forests of Mora with lost feet, who not even Jjauf could help, her Shield-Husband Valomar of the Daggershout, his brother Halomar the Handle-Maker, and their ash-uncle Noaheim who was risen also from the Sack, and her ash-aunt Marthelk, the last two of which bore (the first) Guri Nail-Face, Hgaehmhel, Nbikki the Red, Khalokehl, Ysmehka, Jorgal the Child-Skald, Ghem-fegh, and Dolweppa Heimsdotter, all of which were seen as outcasts from Shor’s eye, as dust shall not mate with dust, but Ysgramor’s Sovngarde's Plea was enough that they could be Accounted, if only by being ground into the very timbers of Rebec’s longboat. And their gathered brothers and sisters were Mjanor, Ralpagh the Red, Rohard the Red, Olwep the Bald who couldn’t stand so many reds, Thuulrue Thuulsson, Kaejis, Ntroonaal the Bailiff, Merry Eyesore the Elk, Ysmieil the Younger, Ysmieil Named as Such Because His Parents Forgot They Used That Name Before, Tethahld, Lungalth, Thadnh-eli the betrothed to all Sarthaal in the manner of the Dibellites, Drum-Maker Haraldmer who was part mer to his sorrow, Ysret the Red, Yaljar who ate a whole bear out of haste because he needed to keep his picnic courtship of Kfalta Lakesdotter going (and she was here with him still but unwed until her tutelage under Chemua was complete), Fegh-let and Lochlet, Gehmora who would never know doom and this maddened her, and Idulkyne the feather-painter. Of the Nail-Knock’s Heroes unrelated to Rebec directly were the boat-carls and staghorn-fighters, Taloc of the Thorn-Torc tribe, Hletno who never made up his mind until wasabi, Ocne the Clever Man, Nue his Book-Wife, Thethel the Red, Lundga Aldmer-Eater for she did so, Bysri her sister that once knocked down Ysgramor’s belt at the Old Hold fair, Njemae and Neyn, Jora and her younger brother Jorel, Lynx-singer and Clever Kid in turn.

Behind the bulk of Ysgramor’s fleet were the rest of the Boat-Thanes, who are named in full shortly hereafter. The Five Hundred’s last few were still in Ald Mora and yet to break sail. These were the Fifty Five Beards of the Broadwall, who gave tithe-torc and swear-casket to their Thoom-Thane, Vrage the Gifted, born under the strange suns (meaning the sun of Ald Mora and the sun of Merethland) of 1E208, and it was his clan that built and broke and rebuilt Broadwall whenever the Nords deigned to sing their return whether forwards or back and they were Vrage’s Sky-Wife, Thoom-Sha, the Queen of the Tongues of Men, whose lineage was without end in a language of silent letters and bog-gods that still hide in the moss beneath the previous kalpa and who wore a fake beard everywhere save for bed, and Hwamjar the Bear-Shaper and his brother Hwem, both of which served at the shieldwall of Elhnowhen under the direction of Stuhn, and Olaj Olo the demi-god of Mead, and Jarmungdrung the Hammer who could read rock, and Five-Headed Ysmalos (meaning also Gulgar, Solst, Svon, and Hoomdel), and Gorgos the Greywalk whose stride could cross the perimeter of Broadwall in a the span of a hiccup (a measure of time still used among the Lords of High Hrothgar), and Bhag the Great Debater who would one day be undone by invisible deeds, and Bhag the Counterargument who would also one day be undone, and Fjalr the Fire Trophy, recovered from the void by Vrage his torc-uncle, and Harald Hairy-Breeks, who never looked on Vrage directly for fear of foxes, and Thoom-Hungry Hjeimdal, whose flesh was breaking with his collected shouts, and Baruhk of Baruhk whose paganism would’ve been disavowed had anyone known its source, and Karkux the Tower of Meat, who even the karstaag-men feared Alduin could not eat ever in whole, and Eighteen-Eared Maryx, who listens to all the shouts that predate our dawn and is counted as the king of those mice that the lynx-cats swear fealty to (and his Heroic Ears are these, Accounted: Thirfl, Jhun, Chorj, Penny-Town Pel, Tsmir, Stsmir, Ear Seven, Tark, Herjdel, Aleh-meht, Jhun Jhunson, Orozurhak, Fha-taloc, Doon’s Ear, Vrajmel, Tor’s Tallow, Khemolech, and Njord), and Haralf Half-a-Casket, whose shouts were drunken and made the snow that heard them drunk thereby, and Fokbar whose daughter will trouble the east, and great Hjalmer the soon-father of Vrage who left us the 222nd year of these days, and Unn Undershout, long-remembered Idiot Prince of Iil, and Bfehg of the Biggest Beard whose beard covered all others at Broadwall when the hurricanes came, and Thopwil the Swimmer who never knew water, and Ragam the Red Kalpa who held two kalpas one in either eye, and Formdell the Builder who baked bricks in his whispers, and Torc-Minded Tor, a hill-o’-man who gave one ear to Maryx for safekeeping, and Bright Cnechctoth who knew every shape of stone except any thereafter repainted in red, and Jkulgar the Handsome who hid his beard in shame, and Horldrung the Hammerer of the Wounded Roaring, and Idolmaker Khemkel whose urns were made to confuse the Jhunal-men, and Harag the Attack who led the spears of Broadwall in any of its aspect-myriad, and Njarlmuk the Shovel, who buried the Architects of those gone fey, and Bladdermost, the demi-god of mileposts who would make signs on the Broadwall for those that should stay away, and Djemi-thir Unnson the Sail-Maker, whose job it was to ensure no return would suffer delays.

The fleet proper included the following Heroes, and they were guarded by the giant karstaag-men who walked the under-ice, the Nine Storms, Potemaic the Wolf-King, whose daughter would be of less height than her father but no less in stature, coming to her own in the nearing solitude, and blue-wristed Telmo of the Wrestling Telmos, whose tumultuous sport caused much upset in the border-makers of the Reach, and the Alehouse Giant, whose woad-markings explained how to build these halls lest some demon make us forget and set us into the ire of a summerlong sobriety, and Helmbolg with his Coughing that sometimes set the guard lamps of the karstaags into ill record, and Jurg his boon companion whose wind-calling would set it all back aright in calming assurance, and the Chandry-Man with twenty watch-lamps hanging from an icicle-chandelier he held with no hands, and Hogo-o’-Swirls who had been given to cattle-theft until Ysgramor cursed him into indenture (and all Hogo’s children thereafter perceived their inherited cow-thieving tendencies differently unto something like a law), and the proud Jhunal-Giant called Mnegmegh the Banner-Lamp who settled affairs with all foreign and jingoistic winds, and Hbolh, Storm Ninth the Name-Caller, whose lamp was lit in loud recitals, and their Crown, Hjal, whose presence will not be explained under the Pact, for that would lessen the names of the Five Hundred by many times, breaking the genesis of eschaton, and not even Fhalj the Carcass-Mouth wanted that, nor hoarse No-Questions Nidhammer Skald, whose job it was to recite the names and deeds of all present to the un-heroed children brought to ride aboardships with their Accounted parents.

Despite the swinging lamps of the karstaags, great horns were often blasted from one boat-caller to another to keep the Row of Succession on their proper bearings, for Ysgramor’s Gathered have always been an unruly lot, even in make-war time. The first names of the Successor Heroes were these: Vagabond Thane of the Pale, who would always upset those in his wake, and his shield-bearers Fghiul-kul, Morhe, Morhema Morhesdotter, Mtel the Mountain, Korlo the Crevice, and Felji-hoom and Hoomfel, and the six banner-brought daughters of Eastmarch, named Felki, Grelk, Swimmer-lock, Snow-braid, Bell-striker Bel, and the Holder-of-Winterhold who was not yet set against her thane, and the Battlemost Brothers Toad-Capped Thendermah and the Eel-Eared Ghronund, and Jehgmire, Hemf the Fielder, and Jirmoug, Tsek, Malfwe, Svndlkoff the Torcless Kyne-Man, Urysmr, Ffirl the White, Vrendl the Fort, Healkmeat and his hawk-mistress Hgajfwen, their daughter Culecha who looked on Hjal when unlooked on herself, which was seldom for she was fine-looking in every known return.

The second names of the Successor Heroes were these: Kilsobrad of All Camps Dunmereth, Djel-the-Diil, whose surname would litter the south, and the four witchmen of Fairhold, Jirlohem, Eloja, Mjolsmar the Smoker, and Hendel Hendson, and once the frontier oars of the blessed longboat Windhelm were broken, sixty-seven souls were given back to Shor’s keeping before their landing was reformed again to rejoin Ysgramor in Skyrim, known in song as Telhm the Master of Oars, Jwamghli-el his Wine-Queen, Felimyz their lamp-lynx, the high lord of the Collegiate Skalds, Kath Markathson, and his professors, Jirfol the Well-Read, Formu of the rangelands still-in-treaty, Ghemjour and Fehjdwhen, Daarban and Fjork-Stag, Silst and Orl the Flea, Brundhel the Sky-Scribe, her husband Greahj the Monk, and their children-in-dream Greah-li, Brundl Brundsfirst, Hgehwen, Jurldhel, and Wendel-light, and Vrandal’s Tongues-in-training, Borthwel the Mace-Biter, Hgul the Weaver, Vhguegel, Naejisl, Neltroon-li, Aald the Candlewick Sweeper, Erris-li, Grunahl the Better, Dlunga the Dwarf (not that kind), Ilthmcnon and his sister lthadnhelda, Rum-Drummer Rselret, Yalj the ark-minded craftsman, Fjaltalo made of marrow, Hjhlet and Gehmor-edda, Ghaldorj the Slave’s Whip, Hoegdi and Dehmwe, Vjalor the Knight who would wait in his metal until thaw, Chejor the Twin-Tricked, given to a grief so bitter that even snow-whales would remove themselves from his passage, and Bjorth and Ghilred and Vhehilda and Jkarle the Stoker, Bhwem-li the Succor-Wife of Khel Kehlerson, who manned reef and sail with a face of sleeted scars, and Olagga and Nemweg and Manwehg, and the eighteen oarsmen in chains: Stehn Skelsgard, Tsun’s-Folly Mjor, Freckled Ben in exile, who knew of Sarthaal only from Herkl the Shield-Fed rowing beside him, and Arjac and Thendlmegh, Freidlgaard, Nodin Nail-Try (whose face was pocked in a semblance of courage which explains his family’s ill fortunes in the Succession), Kjhelknhnel of the Stuttering Tongue, Fjac Welfson, Njacndl Welfson, Hoary Ghonn’s Skeleton, an unfleshed rower who no one questioned under the orders of Alabar Kings-Clever, Braadel and Fdedel, who sat behind the stink of Urlfjir Who-Wolves-Won’t-Eat, and the triplets beloved by Mara Mora’s Wife, Jungarrd, Kjhemger, and Red Relde, who by some contract made these last Heroes even in their chains.

With the loss of the Windhelm, Rebec was given leave by the belt of Ysgramor to send an outrunner beyond the range of the karstaag lamps to scout the sludge channels of the Cape ahead for any more trouble. The Skaal volunteered her crew, who batted their way south-southeasterly into the were-winds of the Tidal Woe. Their Boat-Thane was Korst Wind-Eye, who lusted for Telhm’s Wine-Wife but was too greedy to pay tithe for her Tent-Hand, and perhaps it was this doom that spelled the loss of the whole. They were Ranalduga the Purser, Padj his Glass-Man, Tujenhelf the Clever who made for them all woad-weird against the eye of the Horned Man, Faern Sargtlin who led Korst’s reavers and would forget his place among them all, and Enjaarl and Ighur, and Uora the Witch-Wife of Jarhis (who was sleeping in the ale-ice), Irek the Fanged, Falx the Reefsman, Medoch that watched the moons move awry, and thirty-eight more names whose skins were sent back to the fleet in sacks of hair, and while those names are Accounted it is now only by the howling echoes of lost Hbolhl the Giant, who, after a blight-shaped litany of profanities against Rebec’s haste, abandoned this return in his blood-mourning.

With his brother-in-karstaag gone, Helmbolg took his leave, as well, coughing out the lamps as he did so, for he was beyond anger now and into madness, and Jurg the Calm had to swallow its storms lest even the sun went out in the shouting. The issue of Borgasa, Borgas, ill-omened, the Broken-Born, then called for a reformation of the Pact, and many of the Boat-Thanes came to his side. Ysgramor could have none of it and the Heroes fell on each other as Jurg and his remaining brethren watched, called the Battle of the Guarded Sun. The dead were these, Accounted: King Kjoric and all the crew of the Whiterun, including Felmar of Teed, Gjhul-li, Killimjir, Bori Fehdson, Helmudela the Cult Maiden of the Circling Faith, Eingen the Skald, Rejnrile the Daggerlad, Mehga the Mead-Milker, her brewery-cow Cephor, the Four Nieces of Victory, the Twins of New Teed, Fevorl the Run-Like-Hell, Thistle-Song Slekka and her Tusk-Brother Jhan the Compass, and oarsmen Ghemeldart, Undel Bjem, Bjem the Elder, Corlecain, Nelfast, Svenjerl the Hale, Ghurlik the Stripped of His Cleverness, Broken-Torc Deimdel, Jarrolend and his brother Jardrung, Hammer of Caskets, who left his rowing to reaver topside, spilling the wine-hold of the Gore Use and then shouted it aflame, claiming it and all aboard, Lav Larich her Boat-Thane and his Shield-Wife Briin-Willow, and his Hearth-Wife Nulfaha, and his Orc-Orphans Settle-Down, Behave-Ye-Now, Touch-None-Here, Brought-His-Own-Blanket, and Numc the Number-Man, his three Nieces-of-Snow, their Boar Bristleback that once laid low the offal-army of Hirc, Dorald and his Autumn-Wife Kendral of Falkreath, and the oarsmen Juryl the Hairshirt, Ben Bvdel the Wide, Kjurl “Curly” Mop-Head, Vendr, Solsven, Storenar, Colhe Mehnson, Count Sthedth in exile, Ukil the Whirlpool, Hghenaard, Evanghl Dunson, and Muurldek who won his love at the Totem-Wife Fair of 1E478. Bagpipe-for-a-Back Hjuro-Gul the Giant (Accounted now that he showed, for he had been summoned long before now) rose from the ice and roared the sixty two souls of the Skin-Greed into Shor's domain and was slain in turn by the thooms of the Ten Tongues of the Merkiller. Reavers and archers and shield-biters were crow-bones by the third serpent-month of the battle, including four from Clan Dire, eight Rye Slaves of Ris, Rhoar the Oak, Ghemgaard the Beaked, Skarb the Haunter, two Wind-Wives of South Mereth, seven berserkers of Clan Gant, a thundernach who was granted hearth rights at the thirteenth burning of Sarthaal, eighteen Arrows of the Scrying Eyes Side-Tribe, and three fighting sharks of the King of the Hjaalmarch (who was ravaged by his pets renown when he attempted to hunt alongside them covered in ambergris). The last to die was Borgas himself, written in viscera across the ice by the power shouts of the Lord of the Wulf’s Hart, and no one gave pity when the monsters of the changewinds arrived to claim their bond on the soul of the son of Borgasa. Pyres-in-tribute delayed the return for another month, but the smoke of the kin-strife had sealed the Pact again, if only for now in shame.

It is customary here that the song of return removes the one-hundred and seventy-six dead (or might-as-well-be) from the numbers of the Five Hundred for going to war without Ysgramor’s leave, who have become now Unaccounted (even the Lord of the Wulf’s Heart, who had ended Borgas, and for this he still wishes Skyrim ill). The annual reckoning of the Thirteenth of Sun's Dawn Feast for the Dead allows the skaldsingers to pause for mead and then to hearken the Reinforcements from Sovngarde, sent by Shor himself to replace the traitors, and whose number reset the sum neatly at Jhunal’s delight, for no march of the Sons and Daughters of Kyne can be ever ended. Those ghosts of the Under-Halls came from dust and were Accounted: Dust-Breeches Duadeen the Half-Viri, Kendelmarch his Tear-Wife, Hjorinu and Jerek and Ceth and Khamal (who took sidelong looks his whole life for his name and its association) and Pelek and Gorh and Fjendel their sons, Valmok their Kyne-touched oarsman, Redj the clock-talker, Tmejir and Soorn and Coll the swimmer-shield triplets, and Double-Drums Djorl, and Meghorj Ghorjson Bite-the-mer the Perhaps a Bear (no one really ever asked), and Ysmret and Ysmalijli the sisters in salt, and Rkaak the Cougher (who of course was their scout), and Aedelfalk and Haloch Helsdsooter and Mnelet and Klorgeh and Belmor the Chicken-Legged (true enough) and Maldu the Missile-Whip and Welkydna who somehow knew Aldmeri varliance and Wine-Knived Njnen who, even after being returned, bled from the wounds of his betrayal head to hand to foot, Altmet who after the decline of Winterhold ever after wore shields for boots and thereby suffered an odd gait, and Knedl and Jhoriul the brothers of mace-face violence, and Topal who loved canoes too much and Ut Hal and Ut Haj and Aldier and Versef and Plotinu who ran once with the Pelinal and Attrebal and Ut Harza and Keptak and Klo (the Hudda) and Greydill and Selt and Tso Ut and Sebl-fright and Ald Hatta and Urie-Ut and Vandal Briggs the vandal and Kama-ge and Jori-ge and Ut Ge the Old Get and Tulemeht who ran once with the Pelinal and Hearken-Beak who spoke bird and Klopitu, and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Periff and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif and Perrif their wives and finally Kopro and his wife Perrif (all southerners pressganged into Ysgramor’s service by a tweak in Shor’s breath), and Thumm, and Horaldu, and Haromir, and Kire the weird-looking lyg and Kye her sister (not weird-looking), and Dantreth the Master of Chains beloved, and Daalne and Kljnjaarighu-ru who no one called by name because it was hard to say, and Bjornal and Vjijley and Theyet and Njrethaal and Suthmal and Jjark the jerk and Hgnaak his Suffer-Wife and Fat Falt and Alo their lynx and Jarch and Mnletgh and Uru the Better-Lamplighter and Kjanorr who took a spear in his teeth cursing Merish walking-gods and Kjalpagh the Just How Many Pockets Do You Have and Drohard and Sendolwep and Thumul and Aeru and Telmedh and Yyk the Stipulator and Henharlecain (whose great-great-grandson would become so famous), and Kaejuul who wrote of a sky below us, and Nistro his wife who laughed at that notion, and Bonaal-mer the ill-blooded (for his arteries had been tampered with in the Sack) and Thisris Nail-Tongue who had Drelys speak for him and Jhun-ge the Tailor and Hgmieil their five-membered wolf, and Njork the Tooth-Torc’d, so proud in the bounty he drew from the jaws of Old Mary, and Vrendunsvalla Whose Beard Became A Mountain, and Bahldlu and Engngal and Kolth and Hgdead and Njkirnhal Njkirnhalson and Rum-Loving Seanil the Lit to Here and Takl Taklsun and his sister Kakl who wore wasabi as eyeliner, and Hgjmer and Aesret and Nyaljar Who Wore His Woad On the Inside and Angka whose lips were thorned (she was never getting married, for sure) and Barakal and Farfork and Umtalos and Gnechlet and Hegehel-mo and Haraldu and Ffedl the Favored-of-Kyne, though no one is quite sure how she gained that sobriquet, though some whispered it happened during a card play and no one can really argue with that. (If that’s not exactly one-hundred and seventy-six names it’s because I’m drunk and everyone here just yell out your names to make the difference, for you were there as you are here and let Shor’s hole-shadow beleaguer ye not.)

And now the 500 were reunited, and Ysgramor sent the Four-Score ahead to blast the ice with its varlianced prow, and we were beset upon by the Devils we would rule and lose and rule again, but the Boat-Thane was a sacred Tor-Queen, her skirts and hides covered in southern moths, who made manifest in that coming fight with the crow-headed spirits of the Morag. Aboard the Four-Score were these that opposed them (and won): Aol the Oars-Body, who was mainly made of living Atmoran wood and looked a bit like a maniacal puppet but no one cared when things came to needing proper raiding speed, and Ghemel-Huhn his Whittling-Wife (a marriage type that was made solely for their own), and Wuhlnjar the lookout, and Kalo Wuhlson his son whose eyes had been Cleverly replaced by lenses of Dwemer-make, and Apletnoo and Pocne and Dooir the Devil-Bellied, and Pale Pass the snake-fighter, and Ysmanue and Jhethen the siblings who fashioned their beards as Stuhn and Tsun once did, and Hgil who used a ridiculously-large Totem of Kyne as a club, and Baarl who wore a Colovian Arrow-Catcher even though it was dyed yellow, and the Remanites called D’Arleunce and Jean-Piet and Camorleigh and Alexe, and Umjanor and Ralpag and Old Hrolhdar and Mothol Mothsdotter and Galaej peerless in the Voice who yet vowed never to use it, and finally Varoonaal who plucked the poison darts from the body of the King of Cyrod.

With the Morag broken and sent into the eastern slush, we finally caught sight of Snow-Throat, and knew that our journey was near its ending again. It was the World-Eater’s-Waking that broke shore first, Shouting our victory and doom, whose Boat-Thane was Ysmaalithax the Northerly Dragon, his first-clutch-sons Tsuunalinfaxtir and St’unuhaslifafnal, whose Tear-Jills were Vorramaalix, Jarliallisuh, Alleirisughus, and the Dewclaw Widow Who Foreswore Her Name, whose Void-Jills were Eljaalithathisalif Hate-Fire and Ingridaaligu who lost her minutes in the mending, and Mjaariliaalunax Half-Fire, whose Earth-Jills were none awoke, and whose Aether-Jills were none survived, and whose Magne-Jills were Shanu’ujeneen the Star-Woven and Jaalhngithaax Whose-Name-Stays-in-its-Egg. There were also the twenty-two Thunder-Scaled Jills unbound by time and so served as Ysmaalithax’s oracle-oocytes until the Ald’uin would burn them away: Unaalthiigas, Hriimaalixixigis, Kuujhe’elthilax of the Kalpa of the Orsidoon, Ingriidarligar who used her tailclaw as a song, Faajoorliidovahilagar, Ma’aheemi, Sorress’lilargus, Ansahaalifar whose gigantic feathered-crown was stripped from a Dawn Goddess that was eaten before she could fully congeal, Khelsadaalix and Akheelaalix who traded heads daily out of some geas, Vemmaabilthax, Borgaasaalthoom, Nuum’hyetthex, Vashuunaliasthoom, Fraalxshildadoon, Daahnaarlilagus, Mehemeem’yetthex Aththoommua who held secret syllables “unneeded yet”, and their five eldest, called the Five Eldest of the Thunder-Scaled Jills. There were also Ysmaalithax’s ten Shed-Uncles, whose names cannot be heard in the language of Men. There were his Clutch-Nephews, Khaalthaheelodoon the Jill-or-Drake (this one was more his pet than descendent, but Ysmaalithax was expressive and endless), Aalabarliggus the Oddly-Colored (his personal Shout Holder by neck-blood), Hegmaaligus the Mute, and Basdsdajurlahnaor who Shouted Enough to Give Hegmaaligus His Leave. There were his Nieces-of-Clock, Teeablalidoon the Mute, Mabaanaalix the Mute, Feehuugfe’hg the Mute, and Tsjaarlilargus their Chorus. There were his shed skins of renown, the Hell-Bellows Ghost, the Rabid-Thought, Heimnelraaliagus the Regular Thought, Pelinaalilargus the Pragmatist, Fefmem and Gemalleir, the two-headed rhetoric, Dyssle’vehb the Stoic Shout, whose dewclaws were adorned in numantia-scratch, Gremmelfellixl the Elenchus, Haa’gmmel the Logoi, Febhraadrnaalis the Trivium, and Ysmaalthoom the Arête. Of those Nords that stepped back onto Skyrim from the World-Eater’s-Waking there were these among the Five Hundred, but Ysmaalithax counted that the first was his destroyer, Ysgramor the Returned.

Shor son of Shor

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

"And the awful fighting ended again.

"Kyne's shout brought our tribe back to the mountaintop of Hrothgar, and even our recent dead rode in on the wind of her breathing, for there had been no time to fashion a proper retreat. Their corpses fell among us as we landed and we looked on them in confusion, shaken as we were by this latest battle in the war of twilight. The chieftains of the other tribes still held their grudge against our own, Shor son of Shor; more, they had united finally to destroy us and used skin-magic to trick us into disarray.

"Shor was disgusted with the defeat, and disgusted more when reminded by Jhunal that our withdrawal had been wise, for we were outnumbered eight to one. Shor took on the form of his Totem then, which he used to better shape his displeasure, rather than to shout it aloud and risk more storm-death. His shield thanes, the brothers Stuhn and Tsun, bowed their heads, collecting the spears and swords and wine-knives Shor threw about the broken pillars of the easternmost sky-temple. The rest of us looked away and to our own, not even to acknowledge the thunderclap that signaled our Queen's arrival, who stepped in from the tunnel of her own breath last.

"Kyne had taken the head of Magnar, the jarl that betrayed the weakness of our spear-lines and fled the field. Shor shook his scaled mane. "That isn't Magnar," he said, "Magnar, I fear, fell at sunrise and became replaced by mirrors. The other chieftains are using our forms to lead us astray."

"And then Shor walked away from his War-Wife to enter the cave that led to the Underworld. He needed to take counsel with his father yet again. "Our chieftain loses heart," Dibella said, Bed-Wife of Shor, hefting another body onto the corpse pile some of us were making, "And so goes to the speak to one that has none anymore. Mirrors, indeed, and in that I see no logic."

"Tsun took her by the hair, for he was angered by her words and heavy with lust. He was a berserker despite his high station, and love followed battle to his kind. "You weren't made for that kind of thinking," Stuhn said, dragging Dibella towards a whaleskin tent, "Jhunal was. And no one should be speaking to him now." Tsun eyed the Clever Man who had heard him. "Logic is dangerous in these days, in this place. To live in Skyrim is to change your mind ten times a day lest it freeze to death. And we can have none of that now."

"Kyne could have stopped all of this but did nothing but stare at the crowd of Nords around her. Stuhn and Tsun were shifting and it was still uncouth to prevent this kind of neighboring. She looked on Jhunal and did not know if he should be spoken to or not. Rules were changing. Even her handmaiden was gone, and that lack of attendance was a transgression, but Kyne knew Mara was no doubt making treaties with one of the other chieftains, and the Pact still allowed for Tear-Wives to do that. After her husband Shor had forgotten to kiss her, a tradition among the War-Married when they returned from the field together, Kyne kept her storms to herself and knew there would be no true understanding until the twilight was lifted.

"Shor breathed the lamplights of the Underworld to life with small whispers of fire. The dark did not frighten him-- he had been born in a cave much like this-- but nevertheless it added to the mounting disgust in his spirit. Ever since the Moot at the House of We, where the chieftains of the other tribes had accused him of trespass and cattle-theft and foul-mouthery, he knew it would come to a war we could not win. Any of those words were enough for the treason-mark, and traitors were only met with banishment, disfigurement, or half-death. He had taken the first with pride, roaring a chieftain's gobletman into dust to underscore his willingness to leave, knowing we would follow. He had taken the second by drawing a circle on the House's adamantine floor with his tailmouth-tusk which broke with a keening sound, showing the other chieftains that it would all come around again. And he took the third by vomiting his own heart into the circle like a hammerclap, guarding his wraith in the manner of his father and roaring at the other tribes, "Again we fight for our petty placements in this House, in the Around Us, and all it will amount to is a helix of ghosts like mine now spit into the world below where we fight again! I can already feel the war below us starting, and yet you have not yet thrown your first spears even here!" We took our leave of the House and would never reconvene again in this age.

"The Moot looked to the tribe of Ald son of Ald but he would break no oath of the Pact, saying "Shor has paid ransom now three times for the the sins we accused him of, and by that we will hold him as dead and shake not our spears against him or his kin. Of the below he speaks, he is confused by it, for under us is only a prologue, and under that still is only a scribe that hasn't written anything yet. Shor as always forgets the above, and condemns himself and any other who would believe him into this cycle." Ald's shield thane Trinimac shook his head at this, for he was akin to Tsun and did not care much for logic-talk as much as he did only for his own standing. He told his chieftain that these words had been said before and Ald only sighed and said, "Yes, and always they will be ignored. As for the war you crave, bold Trinimac, and all of you assembled, do not worry. A spear will be thrown into this soon, from Shor's own tribe, and the House of We will be allowed our vengeance."

"Shor found the alcove at the core of the world and spoke to his dead father. He said a prayer to remove any trickery of mirrors and the ghost of Shor father of Shor appeared, saying "Ald and the others have paid time and again for the the sins we accused them of, and by that you should hold them as dead and shake not the spears of your tribe against any of their kind again. Of the above he speaks, Ald is confused by it, for above us is only an ending, and above that still is only a scribe that hasn't written anything yet. Ald as always forgets the ground below him, and condemns himself and any other who would believe him into this cycle." But Shor shook his head at this, for he was akin to Ald and did not care much for logic-talk as much as he did only for his own standing. He told his father that these words had been said before and Shor only sighed and said, "Yes, and always they will be ignored. As for the counsel you crave, bold son, and in spite of all your other fathers here with me, that you create every time you spit out your doom, do not worry. You have again beat the drum of war, and perhaps this time you will win." Shor son of Shor returned then to us on the mountaintop.

"He didn't need to explain what he had learned, for we had been there with him. Trinimac left Dibella in his tent as we assembled, and he had not touched her, frozen in the manner of the Nords when we are unsure of our true place, and asked his brother to rearm him. Stuhn was confused for a moment, thinking this an odd shift, but Mara was returned and had made great headway into treaty with the other tribes, telling him that such Totems here in the twilight could now be trusted. Our Queen merely nodded to her War-Husband and shouted us back to the fields of our enemies, towards a weakened spot among their spear-lines that Magnar our scout would light for us.

"And the awful fighting began again."

Dominion Prism Textract

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

Dominion Prism Textract: Producing Tower Scrolls, Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore, and Tangible Majickas, or Entering onto Mundex Terrene, for Inspection and Other Purposes

(A.) In General.
An Anuielectorate may serve on any other Anuielectorate if Subdivisions within the Prism allow for a Submissions Allowance [Anullowance] into the Dominion within the scope of Article 002851226:
(1) to produce and/or aubric-imprint an ancestral palm-writ for the Submissions Anullowance or its representative to inspect, copy, test, torture, or sample the following items in the responding Anuielectorate's possession, custody, or control:
(A.) any draconated Tower Scroll(s) or Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore — including writings, drawings, eyegraphs, charts, inscriptions, echopages, images, and other chronocule or chronocule compilations — stored in any medium from which Memospore can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after TAL(OS) Biting by the responding Anuielectorate into a reasonably usable form; or
(B.) any draconated tangible Majickas; or
(2) any and all ancestral palm-writ entries onto an echo-safe draconated Mundex Terrene subsample or other permitted varliance possessed or controlled by the responding Anuielectorate, so that the Submissions Anullowance may inspect, measure, survey, eyegraph, test, or ponder the varliance or any draconated object or operation on it.

(B.) Procedure.
(1) Contents of the Submissions Anullowance.
The Submissions Anullowance:
(A.) must describe to the Dominion with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected;
(B.) must specify a reasonable time, place, and manner for the inspection and for performing the related acts, especially in regards to the safety of Prismatic Tension; and
(C.) may specify the form or forms in which a Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore is to be produced.

(2) Responses and Objections.
(A.) Time to Respond. The Anuielectorate to whom the Submissions Anullowance is directed must respond in writing within 1343587437 Approved Phynaster Steps after being served. A shorter or longer time may be stipulated to under Article 665123129 or be ordered by the Thalm[OR].
(B.) Responding to Each Item. For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection and related activities will be ancestrally chrysalicorded [Upon Palm] under Prismatic Protocol or state an objection to the Submissions Anullowance, including the reasons.
(C.) Objections. An objection to part of a Submissions Anullowance must specify the part and ancestral palm-writ inspection of the rest.
(D.) Responding to a Submissions Anullowance for Production of Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore. The response may state an objection to a Submissions Anullowance form for producing Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore. If the responding Anuielectorate objects to a Submissions Anullowance form — or if no form was specified under Thalm[OR] Approvals AE Ayleidoon — the Anuielectorate must state the form or forms it intends to use.
(E.) Producing the Tower Scrolls or Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the Thalm[OR], these procedures apply to producing Tower Scrolls or Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore:

(i) An Anuielectorate must produce Tower Scrolls as they are kept in the usual course of conquest (stabilization of aurbicage) or must organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the Submissions Anullowance of the All-Eras Established Dominion;
(ii) If a Submissions Anullowance sent to the Dominion does not specify a form for producing Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore, an Anuielectorate must produce it in a form or forms in which it is aurbicly maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms [see Article 823589v: draconated TALO[OS] defense]; and
(iii) An Anuielectorate need not produce the same Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore in more than one form.

(AND) Nonparties.
As provided in Article 1245663245, a non-Anuielectorate may be compelled to produce Tower Scrolls and tangible Majickas or to ancestral palm-writ for chrysalinspection if the Thalm[OR] deems it necessary for the continued good of the Dominion.

Ken Rolston's Posts

Author: 
Ken Rolston

On vampirism and diseases in Tamriel

Enlightened Imperials treat vampirism as an incurable disease. Disease is Tamriel is recognized as a moral or spiritual taint - a magical condition that can be cured by various magical effects. Magic can readily cure most common, minor diseases. More terrible diseases require more powerful, specific magical effects. It is rumored [and manifestly proven by player characters] that there is a cure for the vampirism disease.

Yet another reason that Vvardenfell has no horses

Imperial attempts to introduce Horses to the island have been a failure; Horses seem particularly succeptible to blight.

On Paladins and the Dunmer (06/01/00)

Stendarr is worshipped throughout the Empire -- including Morrowind -- in the missionary cults of the Eight Divines. All aspects of the Eight Divines have their paladins, and Stendarr is a likely patron for a Frankish-style crusader. Dark Elves have an insular, xenophobic culture, and their dour, judgemental, standoffishness makes them unpopular and poorly understood outside Morrowind. The Dark Elves did not have a war with High Elves; they split off from the High Elves in an ancient religious schism, and the relationship is scornful but not bellicose.

Vvardenfell vs. Morrowind - quite different than what appeared in the final game (06/07/00)

The Dunmer [ie, the Dark Elves] of Vvardenfell are not physically different from mainland Dunmer.

There are far more Ashlanders [the nomadic Velothi Dunmer culture] on Vvardenfell than is common on the mainland; all but the south coast of Vvardenfell is rugged wasteland favoring the Ashlander lifestyle and economy. Dunmer Great House culture [the dominant culture of Morrowind and the mainland] is primarily confined to the more hospitable southwest coast of the island.

Vvardenfell is also atypically cosmopolitan by contrast with mainland Morrowind. Vvardenfell was only opened to general colonization after the Imperial conquest 400 years ago, having been for centuries for the most part a Temple preserve, with the exception of the sacred city of Vivec, and three small Great House settlements at Ald'ruhn, Balmora, and Sadrith Mora. Much of the development of the island in the past 400 years has been under Imperial pressure, and many newer Vvardenfell settlements [e.g., Caldera, Ebonheart, Seyda Neen] have as many Nord, Breton, Redguard, Altmer [High Elf], Bosmer [Wood Elf], and Imperial faces as they have Dunmer faces.

The king of Morrowind - minor differences with the final game (06/09/00)

The Empire has revived an archaic titular "king" from early Chimer traditions of a "high chief of the clans," like the High Elven High King. This replaces the "military governor" of the early years of the occupation. The titular king is descended in line from Hlaalu Brevur, and he and his "court" are generally despised by natives. King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan resides in Castle Mournhold in the city of Narsis [on mainland Morrowind].

Slavery in Morrowind (08/18/00)

At the same time, it's a roleplaying game, and it can be both interesting and enlightening to roleplay a world view that is unsympathetic. Also, there's a big difference between the cultural context of 18th century slavery in the US and slavery in the Roman Empire. The latter is a much closer analogy for the nature of slavery in the Morrowind -- yet not all that close, since most of the other provinces of Tamriel have outlawed traffic in slaves.

On the Blight (01/19/01)

The Blight is a weather phenomenon associated with Vvardenfell's colossal volcano, Dagoth Ur. Persistent within the ghostfence [i.e., within the crater and on the volcano's slopes], and intermittent near the volcano, the Blight is a health-threatening, ash-heavy volcanic cloud. Plants and creatures exposed to the Blight may contract a variety of blight diseases. Blight diseases resist common herbal and magical treatments, and are of two kinds: wasting diseases which attack one or more of an organism's systems, and abnormal growth diseases, which distort the organism's functions and structures. Natives avoid exposure to the Blight, and wear special protective garments when traveling in Blight-prone regions.

Background on bound weapons (04/10/01)

A "bound" weapon is a daedra bound into the form of a weapon. A common magic in Daedric realms is the binding of lesser daedra into physical artifacts. Daedra Lords particularly like to have their minions and defeated opponents made into coatracks and fuzzy slippers.

Weapons and armor are the most commonly bound items, and at some point some mortal bargained successfully for the secret of summoning such items from the Daedric realms. [I don't know any of the technical details... I'm only a bushleague hedgewizard.]

So, for its brief period of service in the world of Tamriel, a bound weapon is actually a Daedra [albeit a spectacularly weak and stupid one] in a magically constrained form. When the duration of the spell ends, *poof* the bound daedra returns to the Daedric realms, there to wait patiently for the next summons of a Master. [Imagine little stinkers bound for a fair portion of Eternity to sit an a dusty armory somewhere waiting to Serve a Lord.. or worse yet, a mortal wizard... and you can imagine how much fun it is to be a lesser daedra.

On the nature of Conjuration magic (04/10/01)

The key to successful Conjuration is DOMINATION. A good conjurer is skilled at arcane domination of both his own summonations and other entities. That's why Turn Undead ["Dominate" Undead] and Command Humanoid ["Dominate" Hapless Fool] are taught in Conjurer College.

On Indoril and Dres (08/06/01)

Before the Empire, all of Vvardenfell was held in trust for the people of Morrowind by the Temple, with a small settlement for each of the local Great Houses -- Hlaalu, Redoran, and Telvanni. Neither Dres nor Indoril had settlements on Vvardenfell, for reasons of logistics and principle. [Indorial and Dres Districts are located in the far south of Morrowind, and they had strong political and religious objections to taking Vvardenfell from the Temple and opening it to colonization.]

Following the opening of Vvardenfell to settlement in 3E 414 by the Empire, the Temple no longer had sole jurisdiction over the territory. Hlaalu and Imperial interests immediately moved to colonize Vvardenfell. Redoran and Telvanni were slower, and consequently they have fewer holdings.

Neither Indoril nor Dres have holdings on Vvardenfell. Both houses strongly objected to the Imperial opening of Vvardenfell to colonization, and both are reluctant to join the land rush at this later date for fear of being seen as hypocrites.

[Actually, Redoran also objected to opening Vvardenfell, but have, after considerable soul-searching, and after reflecting on the political and economic advantages they'd be ceding to House Hlaalu, decided to sacrifice their principles and expand their holdings on Vvardenfell.

The Telvanni are another story. They are passionate isolationists, and initially disdained to claim Vvardenfell holdings. However, after a group of relatively young and ambitious wizards offered to risk themselves on Vvardenfell, House Telvanni agreed to let these young wizards move to Vvardenfell, on the theory that these young wizards were expendable, and would be less trouble to the establishment if they were off on Vvardenfell island stirring up trouble with the other houses.

On the age of Vvardenfell cities (08/06/01)

Vivec City is over a thousand years old. The three district Great House seats -- Balmora, Ald'ruhn, and Sadrith Mora -- were founded centuries ago. It is only the new settlements that have sprouted in the last decade. And Balmora has grown dramatically since Vvardenfell was organized as a Provincial District under Duke Vedam Dren.

On writing Vivec, and Elder Scrolls lore in general (09/15/10)

Kirkbride is definitely the ecstatic voice of Vivec’s sermons. Great stuff. I wrote the dialog that Vivec speaks to the Nerevarine. Wow. That was ages ago. I also vaguely recall that Michael wrote the voice of Vivec in an bulletin board trial of Vivec for the murder of Indoril Nerevar. [I have no idea how to locate that, and it is not textual (i.e., not ‘in the game’), though I’m sure it would be interesting.]

I particularly admire the conceit of the Dragon-Break, which I think was Kirkbride’s scheme, probably collaborative with Kurt Kuhlmann, who was his passionate partner in design thought crimes. What a wonderful designer response to the criminally irresponsible design scheme of having Daggerfall’s multiple endings in an epic heroic fantasy setting certain to be followed by sequels.

Morrowind, and all the Elder Scrolls titles, have been intensely collaborative projects, and I can’t recall who actually spewed ideas, or who polished them for publication. And it doesn’t really matter… it was a profoundly collective effort, with the enthusiastic internal ears and responses of designers being an integral part of the authoring process.

For all its many warts, Morrowind remains my favorite CRPG experience. I certainly admire the authorship and coherence of Planescape: Torment more… but the open-endedness and sheer vast glory of Morrowind made that experience far cooler and satisfying.

I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to experience Morrowind as a player rather than as a developer. And I look forward to TES V as my first chance to experience a modern Elder Scrolls title that way.

On unsolvable mysteries in the Elder Scrolls setting (02/02/12)

We now call them 'franchise mysteries'. And as a Visionary, I preach that your setting should always be filled with franchise mysteries. And people in the setting should constantly argue about the Truths of those mysteries. And internally, you should have strong advocates for each of the 'One True Ways', and they should squabble like real scholars competing for tenure and grants.

GT Noonan's Posts

Author: 
GT Noonan

Scribs in Morrowind society

You have all seen the Scrib. It's what you would get if you stepped on a Spider, a Roach, and a Puppy all at the same time. I imagine that if and when the children in Vvardenfell come out from hiding, you might see them walking these Scribs around the block on a leash. Fairly tamed little buggers until you kick one. Then it turns on ya with quite a punch.

On Khajiit and Argonian variants (08/08/00)

The Pocket Guide explains the Khajiit rather well. They basically are one race, but range from very humanoid to perhaps an actual cat-like appearance. You could probably mistaken the most humanoid one for a human, while the most beast-like one you might take as a cheetah or something. This is my best idea/suggestion anyways. The same can probably be said for the Argonians. They may range from either a very humanlike apprearance to a crocodile-like appearance. I guess it depends on how many times they decide to lick the tree (refer to the PGE).

On Khajiit

Remember, Khajiit come in many forms. The closer you get to their homelands, the more wild they may appear. Though wild looking, this does not mean they are more primitive thinkers. There may or may not be different forms of the Khajiit in MW (I'm not the animator, so I wouldnt know) so just keep your eyes open for them.

Also, another point to be taken is that since Dark Elves use Khajiit and Argonian slaves, the nature of these slaves is most likely to be more Kitty-like, or primitive. There are reasons for the look, so dont think that it was just a snap decision.

[...]

5) Perhaps in future products, you can have the choice to play different types of Khajiit. Gentlemen prefer Ohmes... although I have to admit I like the way the Suthay-raht (sometimes called ja-Khajiit, though this is either a deliberate insult or a translation error) in Vvardenfell have turned out.
6) If Khajiit have six breasts, which I will neither confirm nor deny, only the top two have visually-pleasing fat deposits in most "beeds."
7) Only three "breeds" of Khajiit have the, um, adaptation discussed in The Real Barenziah which occurs in Earth-cats for entirely different reasons.
8) Khajiit are not like cats in every way. They are not exactly like humans either. I should know because I made all this stuff up.

What are Argonians like, biologically? (01/15/01)

Because they ARE "morphically diverse" (as you put it), I would seriously say that Argonians can be very mammalian or reptilian. They can be warm blooded or cold blooded. They can lay eggs or have very humanlike deliveries. Remember, given the nature of their being, they can appear as simple crocodile-like creatures or humans with scales and tails. The possibilities are quite great actually.

Do they have matched upper and lower teeth sets, like humans? (01/15/01)

Well, once again, they can. And then there are the ones that allow birds to clean their teeth.

Argonians can't kiss. (01/15/01)

Very UNtrue, given the structuring of the Argonian in question.

What Earth reptile are Argonians most like? (01/15/01)

Unanswerable. They can look like whatever reptilian creature you wanna imagine in my mind. Hell, maybe even turtle-like if you wish.

Are Argonians emotional? (01/15/01)

Depends on the evolved status of the particular Argonian. The less "humanlike", the more out of touch with its feelings and emotions (I would imagine). We can honestly tell if a crocodile or a salamander shows emotions, so I can only pretend to know this answer. Specualtion probably depends on how far you want to go into a character.

What is a typical Argonian view of each of the other races? (01/15/01)

I take it you are talking about an Argonian of humanlike evolution and STILL residing in Black Marsh. If so, their feelings are probably more geared towards the Dark Elves and the Cyrodils. There may be some disgust for the Dark Elves due to enslavement and there may be some, but very little, lack of trust for the Cyrodils. They tolerate all races however, and most likely fear none of them. Afterall, who is gonna risk conquering Black Marsh at the expense of getting the Fever?

Are the Argonians naturally diverse, or are there multiple species of Argonains? (01/15/01)

No, not another race, simply a version of the same. 

The Hist Sap may very well play a large part in this. The sap is the possible agent for their evolved or de-evolved appearance? I think so. You heard the term "licking trees" from MK once? Secreted sap from the trees lends a powerful toxin which may allow an Argonian to "graduate" to another stage of evolution. This may be a ritual event for certain members of clans or perhaps citizens who are awarded the "right" to evolve. I cant actually say its "evolving" but thats a more comprehensible term to use for this case. If you take on the form of a crocodile or newt, this doesnt exactly mean you are "lower" or "unintelligent". I think the sap only alters the appearance and not the mental. This is ONE race, not a series of subraces. There is only ONE Argonian species. Just as Obsidian said, dogs are all one species too, but they take on many appearances. The same can be seen with the Khajiit.

Why do Argonians look different in each TES game? (01/15/01)

The reason for the Argonians looking differeht all the time in different TES games really is just part of OUR evolution in design and such. With the ability for Argonians to look different due to their ritual tree licking, it allows us to keep the pace of the game going steady and looking new and almost original in all of the upcoming games. Seeing the same characters over and over could lend itself to some real boredom. But, this isnt just some excuse that we use for making changes either. It was simply an idea that sounded cool and works well within the game and for our design purposes also.

The origin of the Dwemer - includes some interesting contradictions with later lore (01/22/01)

This myth and legend takes place long, long ago, before the Empire was established, and even before the northerners touched foot on Tamrielic shorelines. Elves (Dunmer) were the predominant race of the continent, alongside the much smaller races of beastmen. A traveling band of elves were crossing through a mountainous range in the northeastern region of Tamriel. They encountered a friendly group giants and established relations amongst the two races. The giants had never encountered any human-like races and were bewildered at the small appearance of the elves. The towering giants stood many, many heads over them. The elves of course, were really not too much different in appearance or size than a typical human, but the giants were not aware of this since they had never seen a human. The giants labeled the elves as "Dwarves", claiming that they were just smaller versions of themselves. Over several years, this tag became a widespread label, and these Elves were known as Dwarves.

The Dumner translation of the word Dwarf is Dwemer. So, strangely enough, all Dunmer would use the term "Dwemer", while the northerners/newcomers rerered to this ancient race as Dwarves, taking on the translation of the giants. It is unknown, but perhaps the newcomers encountered the ginats before they did the elves.

Little is known as to the significance of this legend, but it is told to children all over Tamriel. Many would swear by it while many others will claim it is simply a bogus story.

[...]

Ok, "according" to the legend, the Dunmer originated from the Dwemer. They WERE once also known as Dwemer. The giants thought they were small people, and so called them Dwarves (just as we call short people midgets and dwarves). After many many generations perhaps, the name Dwarf, or the translation "Dwemer", finally just became the tag. I am not saying that the labeled Dunmer accepted the name, they may have just tolerated it. I mean afterall, to them it just meant "a short person". Remember, they have/had no concept of the D&D Dwarves, so would not think of themselves as being compared to them. It also doesnt make them a different race. They were by no means a different race. This was many many years before the Empire was even a thought, so the Houses didnt even exist back then either. The Dunmer operaterd their race through a network of tribes. When the Dwemer was heard about by other Dunmer tribes, they were considered as another tribe. But, for reasons perhaps unknown (hehehe) to many, this tribe was not accepted by other Dunmer tribes. Many things would occur in the years following the creation of the Dwemer, right up until the disappearance.

On horses in Morrowind (04/09/01)

Sorry, the Empire got smart and discontinued use of horses in Morrowind. For 2 main reasons....

1: The environemt is not suitable for horses. The ashy air creates bad vegetation for horses and upon munching on grass and such, they drop dead. Ashgut sounds like a good term for the ash/gastro poisoning. Imagine having charcoal fill up your digestive tract. Cant be a pretty picture, especially when black goo starts leaking from every hole on your body, right before you pop.

2: Dark Elves find horses to be a great dish. The Alpo Bistro! No Imperial guard wants to walk outside his house and see a Dark Elven family picnicking on his steed.

The Empire adopted using Guar and Siltstriders since they are more indiginous to the area. In many cases, Guar and Siltstriders are more advantageous than horses anyways.

On Hist (04/16/01)

This is neither a typo nor bad grammar. The PGE will tell you that the Hist are "a relatively intelligent strain" of Argonians. The Guide contains many inaccuracies, and this is one of them. You will also notice that the Guide mentions "a certain type of spore tree" that native Argonians might worship. Speaking generally, it is these trees that are the Hist. As for the relationship, I'm not talking yet. :)

On the ALMSIVI (04/19/01)

This brings us back to the topic of Vivec and company. Speaking only about Vivec (this goes for his pals of course too), is he REALLY considered a God who lives among people? General Patton swept across a many battlefield, and many think him a great man. But, that doesnt exactly make him a God ya know. In a fantasy setting now, Vivec once did the same. He faught in a great battle and currently uses his "aquired" magics to hold off the blighted forces. More can be learned about him in Morrowind, but from what we "currently" know about him, we cannot trully label him a God can we? Maybe he is no more than a simple hero. *shrugs* Almalexia may be no more either. Just as many (in OUR existense of course) may believe Jesus to have just been a considerate, caring human being. I think its all a matter of personal belief, but interesting all the same.

So, this raises the question.... "Are the 'Gods' in Morrowind an excuse for the existence of magic and the absense of other things (like the Dwarves)? Or are they actual, existing entities of great and bewildering power?" *ticking of machinery in many minds begins*

On the 1st PGE and its contradictions with modern (Morrowind era) lore (04/22/01)

Remember! The PGE was written in a "tourists" view. Much like reading a diary. You cannot expect the "fictional" author of the writing to be right about everything. By putting something in concrete, you limit yourself downplay suspense and originality for further developments and such. Not everything we say is always true. Sometimes, even we developers speak out of personal beliefs and idealisms about certain aspects of TES. And it is NOT always correct.... many times, it is INcorrect purposely. ;)

Not to be cruel, but its keeps everything very dynamic and ever evolving. Just because we tell you a red stick is white, it doesnt mean it isnt really green.

Slavery, beast races, and the PGE (04/24/01)

All opinions are very acceptable and I understand (although I may not agree ) any resentment towards the direction of the evolving TES game world. With all due respect, however, there are TONS of events and such in the TES world that are STILL yet unknown to the general fanbase, yet, most is known to the developers. Of course, things such as slavery of the beast races in Morrowind are not something new and pulled out of the developer compost heap. Slavery was a known issue since Daggerfall, believe it or not. It may not have been an issue in Daggerfall, but it is being used now. Even in the game Morrowind, visiting as a beast race, you are known as an Imperial citizen and are NOT looked at as a slave or a worthy slave. You are treated as any other Imperial citizen. Argonians and Khajiit alike. The fact that you may have played as a beast race in Arena and visited a town in Morrowind would still have nothing to do with the fact that there was slavery. I played extensivelt through Arena years and years ago, and this fact does not at all phase me. It is simply something that I look at now and think, "Wow. I visited Morrowind as a Khajiit in Arena and didnt notice a slave/servant situation anywhere. Wonder why I notice it now in THIS game." Sure, that's a thought of mine, but I accept it. As a gamer, a TES fan, and a developer, I totally agree on the direction things have taken thus far.

Of course, with the exclusion of Khajiit and Argonians in Battlespire, I dont know what to say. That was just a design decision. It doesnt mean that they were NOT in the TES universe, it just meant that we did not implement them. Who knows, it may go deeper. Perhaps, at that time, the Imperial Battlemages did not allow beast races to join the Elite Battle college. That's just an idea, not an answer. In all, it was an action shooter. Not a TRUE BEEF TES RPG. On that note, certain different rules had to be applied anyways.

With Redguard, you only played a Redguard. Couldnt play another race. Well, another case of "an action/adventure game", so alternate rules applied. Of course, Redguard was the game that initially hinted on at the slavery and multiple beast breeds, so it was a stepping stone game. It was a good build up to the deeper stuff within the TES universe. And trust me, it gets so much deeper that decades of games will need to be made to find out more and more of the dirt within Tamriel.

The PGE.... what can I say? Of course, depending on what individual, what race, or what class of character wrote it, it would be biased in some manner. IT IS NOT A TES BIBLE. It was never intended to be. It was a fun little "insight" about "ones" visit to various provinces around Tamriel. I thought it was a fairly informative reading and provided readers with some clues, gossip, myths, and mysteries. It was a sort of Dante's Inferno, so to speak, set within Tamriel. Like when National Gepgraphic goes to the wild rain forests of Peru to study the Madrigal Spider Monkey, we take their word for it that they did indeed study this thing for 4 years, through harsh rains, blistering heat, and monsoons. It did indeed swing from tree to tree as a nocturnal creature. It has a mating cycle much like the chimpanzee. It even has a fairly high intelligence. They then come back to the states, edit this hour long program to bring us an exclusive Ntional Geographic Undercover show on Discovery Channel, and they tell us all they had to learn about this creature. An hour later, the credits roll and we sit and ponder what an incredible find this is, and we wonder just how much they ACTUALLY had correct through their 4 year study. Then, more skeptisism sets in and you realise that NONE of this may be true. This monkey doesnt even exist. This may all be for entertainment reasons. Discovery Channel just won the nightly rating with millions of viewers. Hmmm. Basically, you know deep down inside, you wont believe it unless you could actually see this monkey (do you recall the mammoth that was dug up? funny how we see so little of it, yet we believe). Tjis goes back to the PGE. It "states" many things, but these things are a ploy, perhaps, to get the reader to more involve themselves in the subject and do a little research on their own. That's the way I look at it anyways.

So there you have it. My own little Reading Rainbow. But you dont have to take MY word for it.

Background on Hircine (04/25/01)

My knowlege of the Daedra is limited. What I do know though is, Hircine is an antlered Daedric fiend. I wouldnt call him the God Of Hunt, but he is a great Hunter. The Hunter of Mortal Souls and a favored high ranking General of Mehrunes Dagon, the Prince of Destruction. Clavicus Vile may perhaps even be of some blood relation to Hircine. Clavicus is the owner of a shapeshifting beats that takes the typical appearance of a large dog. Dont get the two mistaken. :p

On Khajiit in Morrowind (06/18/01)

Many of the Khajiit in Morrowind will appear to be more "wild", if thats the right way to put it. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that most are slaves. A Khajiit with this appearance may be better suited for slavery. As with Argonians. Maybe the more "beast-like" forms are just bred that way by Dark Elves because they can manage more and heavier work. I dunno, but it sounds good to me. :)

On dragons (09/02/01)

Dragons are not native to Vvardenfell due to the harsh environment. In Redguard, the present dragon is in control of the Empire. Could it be that the existing dragons work with the Empire in return for protection and spoils? If this "were" the case, many dragons probably reside in or around the Cyrodilian/Imperial province. Remember, the symbol of a dragon appears in the Imperial crest. Of course, like in Redguard, they could be dispatched to regions where the Empire needs them. As for Morrowind, there is little protection, if any that the Empire could offer them, especially in Vvardenfell. As for the Skylamps, that's a strange idea that they are natural predators to dragons. If anything, the Cliff Racers may be a natural predator if they attacked dragons in packs, or flocks. I guess the Cliff Racers could be much like the creatures that were in the movie Pitch Black. Not totally, but just in their predatory nature. This could be one theory why dragons either moved out or never existed in Vvardenfell.

More on dragons and their relationship to the empire (09/04/01)

It is also hinted in Battlespire within a journal and in the remains, that the Imperial Battlemages used dragonmounts for security on the Battlespire. In level 1, you will find the remains of an Imperial dragon names Dragonne Papre' and his rider. The journal contains tidbits about the troubles in the spire and what may have happened so that only their decayed bodies remain.

As far as the Empire actually being in alliance with dragon's, there are many hints that lead on to this. Lord Richton was able to summon the Imperial Dragon, N'falilaargas for support in the Battle of Stros M'kai. The Battlespire incident. The look of the Imperial crest. Even the rumors that Tiber Septim WAS a dragon, shapeshifted into human form. Oh, dragon's exist, and there is proof that they do, but in what quantities? Hmmm.....

Even more on dragons in Tamriel

All of the dragons didnt die. They have their own means of remaining "hidden" from Tamriel's populace. Whether its shapeshifting, hiding deep in the mountains or jungles, or even in very protective custody of secret Imperial strongholds, they do exist.

The reason the dragons left Morrowind was because of the food chain being broken. Cliffracers were in such great numbers that they food became scarce for the dragons, so they moved on. Even if they stuck around and killed the cliffracers off, the food would still be at a shortage.

The dragon from Redguard fell easily for many reasons. Cyrus was more than just a Redguard. Playing the game will explain much about his abilities. Also, no matter big the dragon was, he was confined in a rather tight space. Try wrestling with someone in a box the size of a microwave. Plus, Naffy wasnt the smartest of dragons, as working for Lord Richton should say that much alone. His greed got the better of him. Not such a noble dragon.

Also, as Battlespire hinted, there is (or was) an elite Imperial dragon mount guard (TES Dragoons). Search for a document relaying a wing mounted guard's final words about his mount, PaprDragn.

On Dunmeri strongholds

Best Westerns. The were basically fortified stronghold/checkpoint/hotels for travelers. There are no records of any of the strongholds ever being held under siege or used in any battles/wars, but it is quite possible that they were used for warriors as layover posts while travelling.

Was Dyviath Fyr the Hero of Battlespire? (10/10/05)

While Fyr is not the hero of the event that occured at the Battlespire, it is not known if he has any connection to the actual hero. Even devs sometimes like a mystery.

What is Fyr's connection to the throne of Tamriel? (10/10/05)

It's mostly personal. Access to Imperial facilities which house documents and such are of great interest. Fyr has a great respect for the throne even though he may not believe in it.

Fyr is not exactly an active member of the Telvanni Council. He is more like a consultant or advisor to them. Though, he respects their command and WILL carry out most requests laid down by them.

In all, the Telvanni Council and the Imperial Throne are treated quite the same in Fyr's eyes. Fyr is kinda what you could call the Flower Child of Tamriel.

 

Mark Nelson's Posts

Author: 
Mark Nelson

On Argonians and their role in Morrowind (04/18/01)

The Argonians are a slave race in Morrowind, but there are certainly a good deal of free Argonians as well, living as productive members of society. Therefore, you'll find a number of them playing vital roles in your questing (unless affamu has replaced them all with his beloved khajit ). But, given their stature as slaves, don't expect their history to play a vital part in this game. That's not to say I wouldn't like to include it in various ways, which I'm working diligently on sneaking past the ever-watchful eyes of Ken. Shhhh...don't tell. Personally, I'd love for a future game to explore Black Marsh in great detail. I think there are a lot of folks out there who dig on the lizard folk, and would like to see them developed more. Same goes for the Khajit, but you'll have to ask Affa about the furry guys.

Clarifying the Hist (04/22/01)

Okay...here's my attempt to clear up a little confusion (or maybe create some more, which could be more fun :) ) without giving away too much:

The PGE says the Hist are an intelligent strain of Argonians. But it was written as a piece of Imperial propaganda. So, the author is writing with a bias, and, in some cases, is misinformed.

The creation myth says that the Hist were the first trees, and sentient. But, it is, above all, a myth. So, it shouldn't be taken too literally, either.

When it came time for me to flesh out the Argonian history (and you can't have Argonian history without a little "hist"), I had to try and decipher what truths could be gleaned from the various sources. So...the Hist are trees, and very special to the Argonians, for reasons I'm not gonna go into yet. Perhaps the author of the PGE got a little confused when hearing Argonians talk about the Hist. Could be that what they were saying led him to believe that they were speaking about other Argonians (read into that what you will). There has been talk about how the Hist (and Hist sap) are related to Argonian sexuality. This hasn't changed...it's still related. And, it's not a taboo topic; I just don't think it's the most interesting one out there.

Maybe that answers a couple of questions. Might raise a few, too. Rest assured, though, that our goal isn't to deviate from the established mythos of the Elder Scrolls.

Does Argonian skin provide natural protection? (08/15/01)

This is something that has been discussed a bit, but I'll touch on it again. Because of their physiology, Argonians do have some natural protections. However, their hides aren't an "armor," exactly. Sure, it's a lizardlike skin, but not all lizard skin is as tough as alligator skin. Think of the Argonian skin as more of a snake's skin (no, they're not going to be shedding it :p ). It offers some protection, but it's certainly not as thick or durable as actual armor. 

Morrowind's clothing (01/08/02)

...the tailors of Morrowind, due to the unusually harsh environments, have been forced to use unusual materials for their clothing needs. While they first experimented with a wool woven from the fur of the waste rat, this proved to be unpopular. The material, while fairly durable, stank to high heaven when wet. Additionally, the scent tended to attract other waste rats, making the garments especially unsuitable for children and the elderly.

After many years of searching the continent for a suitable material (now referred to as the Great Chafing), the intrepid craftsmen discovered the silk of the blight moth. Though not truly a blighted creature, it's coloration resembled the ash grey left by the mysterious disease infecting the land. The silk, it turned out, was incredibly resilient, pliable, and easy to work with. It also readily accepted magicks, making it a popular material for enchanters. After years of experimentation, tailors perfected the weaving of this delicate silk into thread.

Today, you'll find almost all of the clothing of Morrowind is made of this super strong blight moth silk, as it never degrades, is highly resistant to damage from the elements, and even seems to repair itself from damage. Lo, the wonders of Morrowind.

On musical Argonians (01/31/02)

We actually talked about something similar to this one day. The discussion was about Argonians and their culture, and music was mentioned. The question arose as to whether Argonians would have music based around their slave culture. Do they sing Argonian Spirituals? If so, it would be influenced by native music from Black Marsh (think deep, resounding drums, haunting woodwinds), but also by Dunmer culture. But then Argonian character was taken into account. They are very proud and very patient, and wouldn't give the Dunmer the satisfaction of hearing them sing. This really has no bearing on the game, but it was fun to talk about.

Do Argonians lay eggs? (11/07/03)

Men and Mer assume much about Argonians, but who among them has ventured deep into Black Marsh and lived to tell about it? They assume that Argonians lay eggs because they resemble the tree-dwelling lizards that scurry about on four legs. Yet they assume Argonians have live births, because the females have breasts with which they might suckle their young. Perhaps it is both, as necessity demands. All live at the whim of the Great Root.

Argonian egg-laying, again (11/10/03)

Never underestimate the adaptability of Argonians, or, more specifically, the power of the Hist to allow Argonians to adapt.

I wouldn't expect to hear an Argonian born in Skyrim (or on Solstheim, for that matter) mention being hatched. Nor would I expect to hear more transient Argonians (say, members of a small, nomadic tribe) speak about laying eggs. However, in warmer climates, in places with established, stable, and permanent communities, you would likely see a great number of eggs.

Michael Kirkbride's Posts

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

What are Nix-Hounds?

They are arthropods. In fact, they were created by Vivec to hunt Dreughs during a time-lost campaign against the Altmer of the sea.

Background on Guars and Tiber Septim's love of tigers

Lizards. Another little known fact is that the Imperials often refer to Guars as 'Tigers'. Here's why: during a tour of Morrowind in the earliest days of the Armistace, Tiber Septim became enamored of the beasts. On the mainland, and specifically the Deshaan Plains, Guars are striped. This, coupled with the fact that His Holiness was never able to pronounce 'Guar' correctly (his troubles with the provincial Chimeric tongue is legendary), led to Septim finally callings them 'Tigers', from a fabled recollection of a storybook beast he loved as a youth. The new name stuck. Even now, Dres slavers often refer to their cattle-Guar as Tigers.

On the different stages of Kwama

The Warrior is the combined version of Forager and Worker. The former jumps through the hole in the latter's mouth and its head pops out the other end; then the whole symbiote stands up. Voila: Warrior form.

Vehkship: in character fragment:

Belief-engines, properly called the “Auxiliary Semi-Shockpoint Nilgularity”, provide energy for short dream-sleeve jumps in case a Vehkship’s main ego is damaged, allowing the C0DA Paravant to potentially get to the safety of a voidyard orbital.

By creating the equivalent of an Nu-class Mnemolic, shrinking it instantaneously via a creatia tesseract array, and then projecting the resulting moth-talk well to a nil-point just outside the ego’s hull, an ASSN can slingshot the Paravant into era-streams without the needed energies of nearby aetheric bodies or shockpoint application.

The ASSN is strictly Last Ditch technology, however. It’s often deemed as too dangerous for its own good, because it works on the rarified principles of Phynaster’s Inversion, a set of mathematics that doesn’t exist in our own dimension. Vehkships have vanished in nil-space trying to make an ASSN jump—indeed, the celestial irregularity known as the M4bV Legerity, in which the C0DA Oblivion Vanquisher appears and implodes in perpetuity, is the belief system’s most famous cautionary tale.

What appears to be an Altmeri commentary on Talos:

To kill Man is to reach Heaven, from where we came before the Doom Drum's iniquity. When we accomplish this, we can escape the mockery and long shame of the Material Prison.

To achieve this goal, we must:

1) Erase the Upstart Talos from the mythic. His presence fortifies the Wheel of the Convention, and binds our souls to this plane.

2) Remove Man not just from the world, but from the Pattern of Possibility, so that the very idea of them can be forgotten and thereby never again repeated.

3) With Talos and the Sons of Talos removed, the Dragon will become ours to unbind. The world of mortals will be over. The Dragon will uncoil his hold on the stagnancy of linear time and move as Free Serpent again, moving through the Aether without measure or burden, spilling time along the innumerable roads we once travelled. And with that we will regain the mantle of the imperishable spirit.

On the Redguards:

No, I was actually referring to The Black Panthers and their radicalism.

As some people know I'm not really a fan of the United Colors of Beneton approach to Tamrielicreation, which smacks of white guilt and offensery rather than some holistic form of beautiful inclusion. Thus, it's my fault that the Asian analogues got eaten. Oops. Looks like others are bringing 'em back, though. But I promise my choice had nothing to do with Yellow Peril, it had to do with co-opting "coolness of color" without thinking about it intelligently and compassionately.

(Hunkers down for the flame.)

That said, when I started writing Redguard I really thought about how unique the black people of Tamriel were: they came in and kicked ass and slaughtered the indigenes while doing so. They invaded. It was the first time I had encountered the idea of "black imperialism"...and it struck me big time, as something 1) new, 2) potentially dangerous if taken as commentary, and 3) potentially rad if taken as commentary.

Who knows. AVault did say it had a story worthy of being on stage, and Michael Mack (Cyrus) once thanked me for giving him words that "Black folks don't get to say" (referring to Cyrus' speech and the reversal of Son to the Father)... which broke my heart and made me puff my chest all at the same time.

Which is a long way of saying: panther-love.

Numidium's siege of Alinor:

It's not the Brass God that wrecks everything so much as it is all the plane(t)s and timelines that orbit it, singing world-refusals.

The Surrender of Alinor happened in one hour, but Numidium's siege lasted from the Mythic Era until long into the Fifth. Some Mirror Logicians of the Altmer fight it still in chrysalis shells that phase in and out of Tamrielic Prime, and their brethren know nothing of their purpose unless they stare too long and break their own possipoints.

Monotheism in Tamriel:

The Skaal are animistic, not monotheistic. Huge difference there.

As for the lists of cultural pantheons, they are not exhaustive - Dagon, it seems, plays a larger role in Nordic myths than the author (me) of Varieties of Faith was aware of.

The Alessian Order was the most successful attempt at monotheism in Tamrielic history-- and even they knew better than refute other religions in their entirety, only co-opt and lessen them.

The Dwemer are special in their views. If one could misinterpret the name of their religion (they were said to be 'pious'), one might name it negalithic refusatronic world-navel-gazinism.

Historically, the magical nature Nirn frowns on monotheism. With a hammer this big. That kind of Maruhkati-talk gets you erased.

Mythic relationships:

As far as the Anuad:

Nirn (Female/Land/Freedom catalyst for birth-death of enantiomorph)/ Anu-Padomay (enantiomorph with requisite betrayal)/ ?* (Witnessing Shield-thane who goes blind or is maimed and thus solidifies the wave-form; blind/maimed = = final decision)

*Seek and you shall find. I hid it.

Bonus:

King Hrol (seeker/Healer of Kingdom), "from the lands beyond lost Twil". Twil as Twilight. Grey Maybe. Aurbis. His knights numbered "eighteen less one," the number of the Hurling Disk.

SPACE GODS BEGAT REMAN! NEWS AT ZERO-SUM, PACIFIC STANDARD GRADIENT!

On the plausibility of Mankar Camoran's claims:

Also in all fairness, there's enough evidence to support the Mankar's claims that I was happy that it went in. The idea really flips the idea of Tamriel on its head.

Imagine the Oblivion realm of Attribution's Share, for example, with eight powerful daedra (one of which is Boethiah) wielding divine power over their realm, and all their subjects bound to the whims of that power; now imagine it under an ur-theology and creation myth(s) as complicated as anything on Tamriel, where the myriad mortals of Nirn were, to the denizens of the Eight Divines of Attribution's Share, in fact, "daedra".

This realm would be surrounded by the Void, just like Tamriel, in turn surrounded by Aetherius, and who's to say that the big hole known as the Sun doesn't hit their shores, as well?

Lorkhan the Padomaic could be exactly what the Mankar says he is: the dead Lord of a lost daedric realm whose "gods" are powerful Liars.

On the different time-dragons:

Don't forget that gods can be shaped by the mythopoeic forces of the mantlers-- so Tosh Raka could be an Akaviri avatar of Akatosh with a grudge against his mirror-brother in Cyrodiil.

Just like Akatosh-as-we-usually-know-him could time-scheme against his mirror-brother of the Nords, Alduin, to keep the present kalpa-- perhaps his favorite-- from being eaten.

Notice all the coulds.

On Nerevar's face being the Indoril helm:

The Indoril masks were official, and they each depicted his true visage. There was also a special Daedric helmet version in the Morrowind Art Book, but its look depicted his more terrible aspect as Hortator and Padomaic champion.

I may say lots of things, but Lord Indoril Nerevar the Hortator was my beloved from the get go during my tenure as MW's Art Director.

Edit: to Lorus, that's his bonewalker version, lost to the annals of most Tribune histories. Nerevar, while betrayed or not, was still dear to ALMSIVI after death.

On the "most powerful" being:

Talos.

The HoonDing.

Trinimac.

Vivec.

Leki.

Reman.

Auri-El.

Wulfharth.

Morihaus.

Pelinal.

That's my list, and pretty much in that order. Though Vivec did kill Tiber Septim once...but I mentioned Talos, not the Emperor.

Another Altmeri in-character snippet:

"Or the number could be more Lorkhanic nonsense; that is, convenient for Man.

"The Ysmir line is dead and so is His stranglehold on the mythic.

"A single Wheel? More like a Telescope that stretches all the way back to the Eye of the Anui-El, with Padomaics innumerable along its infinite walls.

"We're coming for you in every one of your quarters, Sons of Talos. None shall survive."

"The Prophet of Landfall," a birthday gift for Kurt Kuhlmann:

He has come down from the mountains, the chitin of his belly segments freshly painted in Faith. The suns shine overhead, each uttering his name in their way. The barrens before him distort in the blur of their heat as he climbs the last hill, but his vision is clear. It always has been. His fifth and second arms encircle his staff as his mandibles click out a small prayer. Beyond the barrens lay the Crescent of the Eighty and One Thrones, and all the villages that hang from it like a jeweled belt. They do not know it yet, those millions that work, rule, and commit their countless sins out there in the cradle of all written history, but he will save them. In ones and twos, then in droves, and then their own priests and their own kings will throw down their false idols and take up the New Faith. He would permit himself some pride if that emotion occurred to him; instead, he tests his locust wings on the wind, permitting himself to glide into the first steps of Salvation.

Description of an Altmer ship:

Made of crystal and solidified sunlight, with wings though they do not fly, and prows that elongate into swirling Sun-Birds, and gem-encrusted mini-trebuchets fit for sailing which fire pure aetheric fire, and banners, banners, banners, listing their ancestors all the way back to the Dawn.

This is Old Mary at Water.

On the Mnemoli:

Mnemolic magic is related to the "Star Orphans", gods and heroes and demons that live between creations, which can include those reality-bending burps known as Dragon Breaks. Think of them as the all-stars between kalpas, if that helps. (That probably doesn't help at all, really.)

What's up with the Blue Star itself? That's a good little hidden bit that I don't want to ruin. Someone go find it.

On Vivec and Morrowind:

I can safely say that Vivec is the most realized character in videogame fiction. Period.

If a hermaphroditic, bug-armored, bipolar god-king existing in multiple universes who has his very own bible with *actual* magic strewn throughout it is your idea of a cliche, then I really would like to live in your world. It sounds fun and new.

But, wait, then I'd have to inexplicably make snarky and insulting comments in a forum where creators often tread. And that would quickly make me boorish and prone to cliched Angry Youngster Angst. That's the interwebs for you and good luck with it.

I can also say that Morrowind is the finest novel written in videogame fiction. A 40 hour narrative whose main character is only ever referenced is almost Nabokovian in aspiration, and prophecies whose truth is determined only by the player is akin to Borges if he only had been born with a USB port in the back of his beloved neck.

There is a fine line between celebrated tradition tuned to masterstrokes by its crafters and cliche'd demons underneath volcanos. Morrowind is the former, Selbeth, and nowhere near the latter. Except, again, when wrapped 'round electric peanuts tossed from the back row with bright'n'shiny underscores for effect.

On Ruma Camoran:

Ruma gave birth to herself, and her father was the father. She also gave birth to her brother, but he is not her son.

From Totemic Traditions in Atmoran Culture

....the accounts of the origins of Men differ from culture to culture. Note how the somewhat dubious scholarship of the 3rd Edition Pocket Guide to the Empire asserted that Nedics were the progenitors to the Nords, having come to Tamriel from the cold and bitter wastes of the Atmoran continent sometime during the Merethic (Mythic) Era, flying in the face of previous studies. The most famous of these, of course, is Gwylim Press’ own “Frontier, Conquest, and Accomodation,” which portrays the Nedics as a Mannish race indigenous to Tamriel, extant and flourishing long before the arrival of Ysgramor’s ancestors. In any case, the truth of prehistoric Man is most likely lost in the god-time impossibilities of the Dawn, where no absolute answers will ever come on any subject at all.

Part of the fabled Numinatus!

[First shape] was untranslatable, which was good to us, but difficult (which was also good to us). Best descriptions came from the edges, kaleidocules dancing myriadetada to the song of Nil. They spoke of [first shape] in side-language, mad by having to speak at all, for word is meat...[text lost]... and [they] told us that if we did not hurry and make up neganyms for our whole language then they would remove the Remover, for that is what we wanted to call [first shape]. So we did that. We went to the [Giants] and brought them painted cows, for they love them and it is tradition, and what better way to destroy that concept than by issuing its [death] with one? From the [Giants] we learned wind, and in wind we learned vacuum, and in vacuum we found the Not Talk of Ooghama, shield-wife of the Debris, [who had] written everything on her that will ever be and we took all the spaces between the words and talked that way in secret. It was difficult to do that.

ONTOLOGICA CHIMERA (a homage to Jorge Luis Borges' Argumentum Ornithologicum. In essence, it is simply Borges' text rewritten with Morrowind terms.)

“I stood on the Deshaan, leaning on my balance pole, my stilts covered in the muck that runs in love to Necrom, and stared at the sky. There I saw a number of cliff-racers soar by in haphazard fashion, and yet I failed to be able to count them. Perhaps I was mudcrab-tired. Then, for some reason, I was reminded of the apocryphal teachings I learned at Temple about the Tower. Well, that’s not true, I knew the reason this memory returned to me there in my leaning, but I was afraid to realize it into words until now.

“If the ultimate tower were to really exist, then that means that the exact number of cliff-racers that flew by has been recorded by the stars that support it. If it did not exist, then their number will forever be forgotten, as I forgot it; rather, as I ignored the bother to count. Now let us say that I saw a number of cliff-racers that was more than three but less than ten. Since I do not recall how many there were, I did not see four or five or six or seven or eight or nine cliff-racers. Instead, I saw not-four, not-five, not-six, not-seven, not-eight, and not-nine cliff-racers. Since not-five can never be a true integer, what I saw was impossible. And since I know what I saw was possible—what is more common in Veloth than a flock of cliff-racers?—I knew my answer: not-five exists, therefore so does CHIM.”

On Ebonarm (04/10/99)

Gamespeak: Ebonarm, as I recall, is a Yokudan deity, or group of deities that share the same designation. Legends say that he is (they are) just another manifestation of the HoonDing, the Make Way God. Many post-apocalypse manifestations of the HoonDing have individualized (like Diagna), and Ebonarm may be one (or many) of these. He is (they are) known to be adversaries of the Daedric powers.

Designerspeak: I am aware of the tremendous amount of fan fiction devoted to Ebonarm (Dreadlord and such). I don't know what to say about these right now...

The distinction between Gods and Daedra in Tamrielic cultures (04/10/99)

Most Human (Imperial) cultures regard the Daedra as separate from the Gods of the Eight Divines, true. Elven cultures, however, do not distinguish between "Gods" and "Very Strong Ancestors". Thus, "Daedra", in this sense, which means more-or-less "Not OUR Ancestors", are of the same level of power.

In anticipation of another argument, let me say that Oblivion is not regarded by any culture as necessarily an "evil" place; neither is Aetherius a "good" one.

On the First Era, and the Empire of Skyrim (04/12/99)

Remember that the ‘first era’ is a Human demarcation of time. The Elder Races have their own divisions (and diversions) of history. Furthermore, the human eras do not conveniently begin and end with a single empire each time. The Second Empire of Reman had its genesis in the first era, too, some 2000 years after the War of Succession, and it was far more significant than the tyranny of the early Nords.

The “First Empire of Skyrim” is somewhat of a fabrication. The heirs of King Harald, while they had many holdings in foreign lands, never regarded themselves as anything more than a strong and steady line of successful war-chieftains. During the foundation of the Septim regime, certain parties thought it necessary to retrofit Skyrim’s early history into something that might legitimize Talos’ ascension to a traditionally Nedic throne (the general’s Atmoran lineage was well known). The infamous “Coronation Edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire” is the best example of this revisionism gone mad.

If the first era must “belong” to any one nation of Tamriel, then it is, of course, Cyrodiil. The Empire of Reman lasted for approx. 600 years (long into the next era); after its passing the world suffered through dark times. Before Reman, the world had been held in thrall by the Order, which, while technically not overseen by the (then) current Cyrodilic Emperor, was tied into the first Nibenese Empress, St. Alessia (the Manifold Manifest).

Who conquers Tamriel in the Second Era? (04/12/99)

The second era begins with the assassination of the last of Reman’s heirs. Cyrodiil (and Tamriel) is thereafter under the rule of the Akaviri Potentate, until the assassination of Savirien-Chorak. Chorak’s successors never make it to the throne. The assassins, in every case, are the Morag Tong.

I think you have eras confused with Empires, but that’s understandable. The Second Empire technically ‘begins’ with the coronation of Reman. The second era, however, technically ‘ends’ with the death of Reman III, 212 years later. Tiber Septim conquers Tamriel at the end of the second era, and begins the Third Empire (and the third era).

What is the Knahaten Flu? (04/12/99)

2E560—The Knahaten Flu, called the Crimson Plague, spreads through SE Tamriel, destroying several native tribes in Black Marsh. The reptilian Argonians alone among the tribes of Black Marsh are immune to the plague, leading to speculation, not entirely discredited by modern researchers, that a genocidal Argonian mage created the plague for his people.

What is the Wild Hunt? (04/12/99)

The Wild Hunt is a manifestation of the Elder powers, practiced only by the Bosmer. After the proper sacrifices and rituals, a mass of Bosmer may transform themselves into “a pack of shifting forest demons and animal-gods, thousands strong....”

Who are the Akaviri? (04/12/99)

Akaviri are people of the continent, Akavir, which is to the east of Tamriel. They and their dragon-kin have tried to invade Tamriel many times in the past.

On the Nedes (04/12/99)

The Nedic peoples are hardly mentioned in the PGE, which tried to hide the existence of Humans in Tamriel before the coming of the Nords. I could hardly offer a better contradiction to this notion than that of my friend-in-exile, Severus Reva:

[Text of Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation follows]

"The Aedra aren't supposed to be able to change, but perhaps there is a loophole" (10/03/03)

Good, good.

And here you get delightfully close, in regards to your study, at least. Nought prececes authenticity... so, if this is true:

Which of the Aedra have done this?

What was the change?

What was the agent of change?

What mythical significance happened thereafter?

What destruction (and therefore creation) came of it?

I did and do mean Aedra, and therefore extract my question back into the timeframe we should have in mind. That is, after the first dawn and world's cooling.

I give you this as Vivec.

Lorkhan and his avatars, from a thread on the Six Walking Ways (02/14/04)

1. Wulfharth L
2. Hjalti O
3. Ysmir R
4. Talos K
5. Arctus H
6. Septim A
N

Are "Akatosh" and "Tosh Raka" etymologically related? (05/24/05)

Let us be clear that etymology in the TES lore is a risky venture. More than risky, it's asking for trouble when one considers Our Father Who Art in Oxford.

That said, there *is* an attempt at wordplay, consistency, and clues in the lore, so my brother above is right when he says Tosh-Raka is "Dragon Dragon." (So is Akatosh, for that matter.) But he is also missing the subtlety in the title; in Tamriel, "dragon" and "time" are synonymous, they are bones of the same body-concept. That they are combined in seeming redundance should suggest an intention.

On the "marriage" between Vivec and Molag Bal (06/14/05)

Two immortals had huge amounts of divine sex and so did all the onlookers-- priests and monsters and advocates and proletariats-- around them.

And the ground broke and gave birth to monsters.

Vivec's gift of "my head for an hour" wasn't an innuendo. It was literal: Vivec's damn head took off and flew away; it had stuff to do, yo. His body, however, full of divine grace, was more than able to accomodate the hellish appetites of a dark prince of the deep.

What does the name Bouyant Arminger mean? (07/29/05)

In this context, it means 'gay samurai'. No kidding. 

Extraterrestrials in Elder Scrolls. (08/07/05)

Read the Direnni Tower section in the PGE very carefully. There's been a rocketship in High Rock since we wrote the PGE. 

Musings on Redguard porcelain armor (circa January 2006)

Porcelain armor has exactly the exoticness that seems appropriate to the stone-worshipping people of the Hammerfell. Like glass armor, its name confounds expectations, which inherently pushes it into the fantastic (and look how glass armor is accepted nowadays). *Of course* raga porcelain is enchanted and blessed by the Gods through the hands of its craftsman, and thus a viable (and beneficial because of its lightness) form of protection. "And they mixed its powder with the milk of Morwha, the mother of all sands, and it stood firm, and sounded of small music as its porcelain scales shook with the wearer, and so did they sing along their ranks as they did in Old Yokuda among the saints." I would see these same scales painted each by hand as if in a mosaic, with ocean patterns that moved like the waves of the Eltheric, confusing the enemies of the sons and daughters of the orichalc isles. Warrior wave, indeed.

On writing Mankar Camoran's final speech (06/17/06)

Apropos of nothing, I wasn't paid for Mankor's diatribe. It was in an email I sent to the friendly folks at Bethsoft when I got the "Commentaries" gig. That whole speech came from a section of said email where I attempted to get inside MC's head so I could understand how he might think, and how that thought would translate to his writing.

Turns out, MC writes like me. Ah, well.

Then Todd up and had Terrance Stamp record it at the voiceover sessions. I was pretty surprised-- I wish I'd known or I would've *really* went nuts with it-- but who could ever be mad at something like that? Terrance Freakin Stamp.

Canon or not, my two cents is that MC is completely right, and Tamriel is just another, albeit very special, realm of Oblivion. But don't quote me...I didn't write this in-character.

What the Orichalc Tower in Yokuda, and did it help sink the continent? (06/24/06)

Orichalc Tower was indeed in Yokuda. Whether or not it contributed to the sinking of the land isn't for me to say, but the Yoku and the Left-Handed Elves certainly did fight a lot, so you can be sure the Tower had a part to play in their wargames.

Orichalc the name comes from Plato's description of Atlantis, the Most Famousest of Sinking Continents. It was therefore too fun not to add some orichalc into Yokuda's background.

Plus it's just a neat-looking, neat-sounding word.

On the de-jungling of Cyrodiil (06/24/06)

Being the lovely and gracious sort that I am, I retconned my own Cyrodiil in my own MC's Commentaries-- "Witness the Red King Once Jungled." Therein lies my take on the lamentable change in geograhical featuredom, as I always side on the magical Tamriel-as-malleable-landscape-by-the-will-of-heroes rather than real-world notions of glacial drift and unstable rainforests.

Oblivion = hell? (06/29/06)

Oblivion has been synoymous with Hell in the TES 'verse for nearly ten years now (see Redguard). Same with daedra/demons (see nearly any myth about daedra or evil gods-- more than likely, it'll be referred to as a 'demon').

They are not the same, but they are useful for context, and denizens of Tamriel freely use all of the terms all of the time. When, like, talking about hell or demons, which they usually don't do at night when Oblivion is staring right over their heads.

It has nothing to do with dumbing down anything. In fact, it has more to do with widening the scope of what those concepts and beings are to the people that live outside their realms.

Story behind Alandro-Sul (09/19/06)

Hey now, I even gave him a fair shake at the Trial, so you know I'm down.

There were nice plans for Sul that never made it in the game, like the "Thousand Ringlets of Alandro Sul," where his mind was blasted into his chainmail headpiece by either A) madness or B) Tribunal-Gun. Then the ashlanders got hold of it and Sul could possess their minds when they wore it, making them see what he did, or thought he did. And then, of course, this thing got scattered and spread among the tribes, so that eventually ashlander tribesmer would all be wearing earrings made out of the chainmail ringlets, each one hearing the profane whisper of Truth.

That's where the name Sul-Matuul came from. Hardest of the hardcore.

On the nature of Pelinal (09/23/07):

Re: Pelinal, his closest mythical model would be Gilgamesh, with a dash of a T-800 thrown in, and a full-serving of brain-fracture slaughterhouse antinomial (Kill)3 functions stuck in his hand or head. We tend to forgive those heroes.

And thousands of years of Good Coming From Bad, and/or whitewash, ignorance, shame, his Song being read by the Knights merely as fancy rather than right record, etc, might explain the Order's reluctance to villify or apologize for him. Plus, no one wants to gets smothered in their sleep by moths.

That said, I sure would like to read the story of Alkosh whooping Pelinal's ass back to Cyrod when the Whitestrake's pogroms strayed too far into the Dragon-Cat's land.

Regarding CHIM being pronounced Kim, like a girl's name (10/27/07)

They're all girls' names. Shor, CHIM, Aless, Perrif, Orlyan, Shonni-Et. Wait. Who?

On the sexual dimorphism between male and female bosmer (12/20/07)

Because Bosmer represent the idea that Women Are Always Beautiful and Men Are Always Short Ugly Trollish Creatures.

On Pelinal, again (04/01/08):

Pelinal was and is an insane collective swarmfoam war-fractal from the future, you betcha.

Why are the small female Betty Netches more powerful than the larger, male Bull netches? What's the origin of their name? (04/02/08)

Think lionesses. And, yeah, they were named after "Skate Betties" -- girls who would hang out near the half-pipes.

On the above, "But lions aren't weaker than lionesses; they're just much lazier." (04/02/08)

“Sure. And bull netch are really, really lazy.”

On Ken Rolston writing Vivec in game (06/03/08)

Ken was responsible for the MQ in MW, so that's part of it. The larger part is that Vivec's voice is Legion, and it was only fitting that he had more than one author.

Editing the 36 Lessons of Vivec (06/03/08)

Kurt edited the Sermons extensively, as did Douglas Goodall. Quadratic.

Out of Atmora (07/10/08):

And for the last time (uh huh), Nedes != Atmorans. That's just shoddy scholarship from a bygone regime.

On the Oblivion rumors of Argonians being called back to Black Marsh (09/07/08)

It refers to the Hist's response to the Crisis, and is one of Kurt's coolest ideas of the last year or so.

I added the "Giant Feathered Flu Tyrants" bit, which, like of course... but you'll see. Daedra -2, Argonians +278. Fuck off, Dagon, don't ever mess with the Trees.

The age of Nirn (10/01/08)

Nirn as we know it is only about 6000 years old, give or take. It's made of myth, not continental drift and the march of penguins.

That said, the God Time (whose very name is contradictory) before it cannot accurately be measured by mortal perception.

On hyperbole in lore (10/22/08):

"It's difficult to accuse someone of being wrong for asking the theoretical question "Is it possible, as is the case throughout this game, that some of the writings we find are exaggerated"?"

I prefer, "It is very possible, as is the case throughout this magical world, that some of the exaggerated claims made about some subjects pale in comparison to the Monkey Truth. ZOMGWTFGIANTFEATHEREDFLUTYRANTS."

What is the Dreamsleeve (08/20/09)

Ken made up the word. I then took it and went all Al Gore and turned it into the internet.

Though, really, if you read through the Intercept stuff, I really predicted Mind Twitter.

On "Tam! RUGH!" (09/09/09):

It's the True name of the world.

Imagine an ape (Marukh) struggling to say "Tamriel" and you get "Tam! RUGH!"

On the Dunmer going to Solstheim after the destruction of Morrowind (12/06/09):

The largesse of the Nords towards their ancient enemies is one of my favorite ideas coming out of Red Year.

Are all the guar dead after the Red Year? (12/25/09)

Hell naw, they're just too damn pretty to die.

The Dwemer's religion (01/13/10)

Reducing the Dwemeri belief system to technofetish or atheism is missing the point by a kalpa.

Hell, even calling them nihilists would be wrong.

That said, reducing them to endless wrongs is perfectly right, but they would have no doubt called that assertion wrong, too.

Clarifying the nature of CHIM (01/15/10):

2) M'Aiq, don't forget the hypnogogic part spun along the nature of Tamriel with an admixture of the love of parenthood that would follow. Not the "power"-- the cherishing.

3) To the close dreamers, don't forget the Amaranth. There *is* one step beyond CHIM, but you're right in that it is not godhood. It's the flowering of a statehood where the images you give birth to in your dream-- stolen (?) from first dreamer-- wakes up. Wails knowing free will. And begins to dream in the same way. Children of liberty without end, and then the music lives forever as a pirate radio tuned against the rules of Heaven and the vulgarities of Hell.

Yeah, like that, but, crap, it just shattered and now I need my morning coffee because I have to work.

Still, no wonder some called Him the Doom Drum.

Is there something beyond CHIM? (01/16/10)

There is one step beyond CHIM, but you're right in that it is not godhood. It's the flowering of a statehood where the images you give birth to in your dream-- stolen (?) from first dreamer-- wakes up. Wails knowing free will. And begins to dream in the same way. Children of liberty without end, and then the music lives forever as a pirate radio tuned against the rules of Heaven and the vulgarities of Hell.

The Sunbirds of Alinor (02/14/10):

They're not ships, they're actual birds.

Well, okay, really big birds made out of the sun.

On Cyrus (06/27/10):

The weirdest thing-- and this is no joke-- I inexplicably pulled out the PGE Thursday night to read it. FOR NO REASON. I got all nostalgic and went, Hmm, the reason Cyrus is so fun is that he actually inhabits this world as the common man with an uncommon profession, i.e. adventuring. He doesn't question the world's weirdness, as that notion would never occur to him. It's just his world and he works with it. And not in the Doctor Who fashion, where of course he works with it, no matter how crazy, because Doctor Who is a Chaotic Fun crazy junkie who actively seeks out such situations (and God bless him for it). Cyrus "just" lives in Tamriel and, while he can get confused, baffled, angry at, or one-upped by its magical nature, he's not adventuring to test those boundaries or, hell, even find them. Where's the money in that?

Yes, Cyrus' level-headedness is a useful cypher, but I was there when he was created, and his character wasn't consciously infused with that literary device in mind. (At least not towards the magical hijinx; he was definitely used that way for the political stuff.) So then I went, Hmm, all future stories told about Cyrus need to be careful not to use him solely for that utility, or risk him becoming a gimmick.

So, of course, the next thought was: "Screw that, what if Cyrus just fought everyone in Tamrielic history?" which completely ran contrary to all my analysis. Cuz it just works like that.

The Direnni Tower (07/11/10)

Start here:

"A recent archaelogical study [of Direnni Tower], using the latest techniques of divination and sorcery, has pushed the Tower's construction date back to around ME2500, making it by far the oldest known structure in Tamriel. Although it has been much modified and added on to over the years, its core is a smooth cylinder of shining metal; the Tower is believed to extend at least as far beneath the surface as is now visible above, although its deepest bowels have never been systematically explored."

Sounds like a scroll case. A big one, mind you, but maybe that's because a spaceship, too.

How does the Ministry of Truth maintain its velocity all this time? (08/20/10)

Everyone here does know that the Ministry of Truth was Lord Vivec's biggest turd ever, right? Hard to place real-world physics on that. And just plain wrong to even try.

Writing the Elder Scrolls (08/27/10)

You misinterpret the meaning of what Elder Scrolls are in the colloquial Tamrielic. When taken in this context, to "write an Elder Scroll" is "to make history".

A deeper meaning is meant, too, but not very many laymen bother with that. Until a prophecy is fulfilled, the true contents of an Elder Scoll are malleable, hazy, uncertain. Only by the Hero's action does it become True. The Hero is literally the scribe of the next Elder Scroll, the one in which the prophecy has been fulfilled into a fixed point, negating its precursor.

Also, Martin mantled Akatosh and dragon-[censored] Dagon silly, so his outlook on time in quite unlike our own. In fact, he said those words during the dragon-[censored] fight and you only remembered them later, a comforting memory that the Jills mended back into your timeline.

Yes.

How does one eat the world? (01/18/11)

When you consider a place like Tamriel, sometimes it's best to take titles literally. Alduin is the World-Eater. It's not going to be "the end of all *life* as we know it," leaving a barren wasteland of Earthbone dirt... it's going to be the whole of Nirn inside his mighty gullet.

"None shall survive" has been a calling card for awhile, but that was only a hint to the more extensive "Nothing will survive."

Unless, of course, there's a loophole. Say, something like the someone called the Dovakhiin happening to show up..."born under uncertain stars to uncertain parents." (An aside for extra credit: what in the Aurbis makes the Prisoner such a powerful mythic figure?)

The Eight Limbs (and their Missing Ninth) have always, always made sure there was a loophole. Sometimes to their detriment, sure, but more often a hedged bet to ensure the survival of the current kalpa.

Then again:

Alduin's shadow was cast like carpetflame on east, west, south, and north...[he was] epoch eater. For as far as any man's eyes, only High Hrothgar remained above the churning coils of dragon stop.

And Alduin said, "Ho ha ho."

It's obviously happened before, so sabers sharp, and may your varliance shine bright.

On CHIM making Tamriel boring because it makes it "all a dream" (01/18/11)

Just wanna say because I never think I did, the whole "it was all just a dream" avenue is completely missing the point. Consider your lucid dreams, if you've been lucky enough to have ever had one. Then think again before you dismiss the the idea of Divine Hypnagogia. If you get it (or care to) then mull it over until it punches the back of your eyeballs.

No wonder it's hard to retain CHIM. Such... violence.

Landfall and the Infernal City (01/25/11)

The Landfall != the associated events of The Infernal City.

Totally different thing. When Landfall happens, you guys will do a spit-take like Bail Organa did when the Death Star showed up above Alderaan.

On the disappearance of the Dwemer (02/01/11)

The Dwarven Disappearance, for all I know and hope, will never be explained fully. To do so would be antithetical to their very existence. And the very idea of them.

If it did, by the way, the Dwemer would just refuse to believe it anyhow. They sit forever on the Bartleby Chair.

How Tiber mantled Lorkhan (02/09/11)

Think of the mystical power of Reenactment.

What did Lorkhan do to solidify the plans for the Mundus? Oh, I dunno, he tricked, promised, betrayed, and made concessions to the various "rulers" of the etada, right? Sounds like the summary, only a few existence lenses down.

And, just like the varying accounts of how that Convention and its consequences have become murky with Time and myth, so too is Tiber's ascension to the first true Emperor of all of Tamriel. Accident? No way.

As above, so below, and that's how you do it. Especially when there's a hole just ready to fill.

"Is there only one way to transcend the Aurbis?" (02/12/11)

To transcend it? No, there are other ways to surpass it.

But to make a better existence? No existence becomes better without love.

Amaranth (02/16/11)

We haven't seen a fleshed-out alternative to CHIM to support something more preferable, but I promised a long while back to provide one. We'll see.

I will say that, CHIM or not, there is no evidence that either Talos nor Vehk achieved Amaranth. If they did, Tamriel would be in their rearview mirror. The Amaranth deserves its own topic, really. Its core concept is the most divisive among the mystics, in my opinion. 

A Yoku god (04/28/11)

N'awyadin-It - Yokudan God of Expression Alarm. Revered in word frequently among the funnier-masked castes.

Is Tall Papa Magnus? - nope (04/28/11)

Tall Papa as Magnus?

Syrsly?

Think raga. Then think of the various ways the Sun would affect the Weather/Eyeball/BodyClock/Agriculture/TheShineOfASingleDewdropBeforeAnImportantDuel.

Just how many gods would you have to govern acknowledge those?

The origin of Minotaurs (02/26/12)

Minotaurs are the issue of Alessia and Mor Breath-of-Kyne.

What were the Void Nights? (03/02/12)

Eugenics experiment. With a side dish of "don't [censored] with us."

Exploration of a cut idea about the Red Diamond after the Great War (02/23/14)

I talked with Kurt about a whole mental anguish thing that happened to the world of TES after Talos was shot out of heaven by the Thalmor.

Short version: any attempt to draw the old red diamond would invariably end up failing.

Ex: A painter would paint it. The paint would set. The paint would crack and move. The final painting would be a 2D explosion. More Talos despair would set in.

Ex: Blacksmiths would forge the symbol. The metal would cool, be applied to an Imperial helmet. A brave legate would wear it. The diamond stayed on long enough to meet with a Dominion ambassador. Imperials would be all "See? Our faith in Talos is--" Legate's helmet would crack from the symbol, legate's head crushes in. More Talos despair. Dominion ambassador would smile and accept the surrender of whole legions.

Ex: A bard, knowing the "cracking diamond effect", attempts to describe the symbol in verse, to avoid the physical danger. He performs the verse to a crowd of secret Talos worshipers. They begin to see the diamond in their minds and are overjoyed. Then the screaming starts. Two hours later, a throng of headless corpses are found, strewn diamond-pattern in a courtyard. Other worshipers arrive to look on them, seeing a sign of their god in the bodies of his martyrs. Crowds gather at this holy site. Dominion lets the hope set in, declares small doubt in the finality of Talos' erasure. People go "whoa" and flock to the site. Thalmor button is pressed. The new settlement blows up as anything around the diamond shape regards it in a chain-reaction explosion of viscera, language, spellfire. Half a province surrenders to the Thalmor.

Parts of Game: Skyrim would show all of this in mechanical terms. The LDB would have to learn how to successfully craft the diamond shape without danger. They would have to avoid certain "latent diamond traps", etc.

Was awesome idea. Was also... technically difficult. Was also radical. Is saved for a future game or DLC.

Explorations on objects (rather than people) mantling and being matled (03/19/14)

Lots of things are objects. We need some restrictions to define our explorations before we go buck wild. At its root, you might be on to a very cool idea. And something pretty close to the famous theft of a famous thing.

Are we:

Limiting the term "object" to a normally non-sentient physical item or tool normally considered mundane? Ex. a rake that has not been enchanted/cursed/used by a famous magic user nor host to a demon, god, or hero?

Let's say YES

Is this rake observed in any way by "regular" mortals? Ex. the farmer that uses the rake.

OR

Is this rake observed only by other normal farmer tools? Ex. tools sitting in the farmer's shed, forgotten.

OR

Is this rake observed by no one except the interior of the shed? Ex. Self-explanatory.

OR

Is this rake observed by no one since there is no light showing in the interior of the shed? Ex. the farmstead and shed are either buried underground or under the shadow of a month-long eclipse? For these examples, let's remove any mythical forces associated with the Underworld, nature, Oblivion, the Moons, Magnus, etc.

Pick one or more

Is the normal use of the rake required but there is no one to use the rake? Ex. the autumn leaves are piling too high.

And so on. Start with this rake within these limits. Try to make the rake do something so special at being another tool that it supplants that tool so much that no one remembers when the rake wasn't just that tool all along.

How do Hist-worshiping Argonians and Green-Pact-following Bosmer get along? (03/20/14)

Any culture that reveres or lives around trees and that had enough knowledge to know that the Hist were crazy Trees? Yes, they would probably fight over what a "tree" really was. Violently.

Can men build Towers? (03/22/14)

In general, I find that the not-Men should build the Towers, if even the notion of "built" does not necessarily a physical brick-and-mortar approach.

On a "mer" name for the Left Hand Elves (03/22/14)

I'm also not a fan of the word 'Sinismer' because it's a little too... latinized-clever? Dunno. The stilted and/or plain sound of The Left-Handed Elves or The Left-Handers strikes me as far for Yokudan.

What would happen to Almalexia and Sotha Sil's bodies after their deaths? (04/04/14)

Vivec would have stolen their remains, I would think.

They're his family. He would inter them in the proper Velothi fashion. And then mourn.

Are Redguards human? (04/23/14)

Yokudan humans are humans.

To put a stake in the sand: the men and women of Yokuda and their descendants, most popularly the Redguards, are human. No ifs, ands, or buts.

On the stylistic difference between in-game MK works and Obscure Texts (07/14/14)

None of my in-game books were ever edited with the exception of a few lines in The Song of Pelinal (one removing Morihaus' erection, another stating that Pelinal was homosexual).

It really boils down to being able to work within the confines of the team's current project. That was (and is) easy enough to do if you have the experience and discipline to do it.

Why was Pelinal's homosexuality edited out of the Adabal-a? (07/14/14)

The line changed from something like "a hoplite who Pelinal often shared a tent with at night" to "a hoplite who Pelinal loved well". That same hoplite gets killed, causing Pelinal to go on one of his crazed destruction sprees. You can go to the source text and figure out which part I'm talking about.

The reason it was changed was a simple matter of keeping his sexuality ambiguous. Since the player was donning Pelinal's armor, completing a mission that he could not, in a sense becoming him, being so blunt about Pelinal's sexuality was too... definitive (?) in relation to the PC's own. Given the open nature of TES PCs, I felt that it was fine to keep it open to interpretation.

But it's still there. If you look at Pelinal, that hoplite is the only one he gives non-familial affection to, and his retaliation against not just the Elves but the whole world after his lover's death is enough, I think, to infer the original intent.

On mithril (07/18/14)

I really hate that mithril is in TES.

Which is why I had it removed from Morrowind.

How the name "Mundus" originated (07/18/14)

It was called the Mundus because of the word mundane.

On the idea of Dragons being more a state of allegiance than a biological definition (07/24/14)

You've got me to back you up. And Kurt, too, insofar as breath weapons being a form of philosophical debate. And that they, you know, feed off time.

K&K's shorthand for dragons very early on were 'biological time machines powered by ideologies'.

On the Elder Scroll that the Grey Fox altered in TESIV: Oblivion (08/01/14)

That wasn't a real Elder Scroll.

That was a copy of copy of a copy of one of three giant cylinders (the real Elder Scrolls).

The copies are powerful artifacts, to be sure. The three cylinders are kept in the vaults beneath White-Gold Tower. Mortals have interacted with them.

What does "GHARTOK" mean? (08/11/14)

"Hand" + "weapon"

A GHARTOK is your weapon hand, or a hand that's made for weapons, or a hand that IS a weapon.

On the Redguards use of magic (08/24/14)

Archmage Voa and Saban were both mighty sorcerers, crucial to both battles at Hunding Bay. The idea that the raga are afraid of magic is just wrong.

Why did Azura not change the Dunmerback into Chimer after they stopped worshiping the Tribunal? (08/26/14)

'Velothi, your skin has become the pregnant darkness. My brooding has brought this on. Remember that Boethiah asked you to become the color of bruise. How else to show yourselves people of the exodus into the vital: pain?'

There are different versions of that story.

Was Duadeen half-Akaviri, as asserted by the Five Hundred Companions? (09/05/14)

Bingo.

Why was Summerset Isles and other provinces renamed? (09/07/14)

OOG, I hated Summerset Isles and Elsweyr as place names, so they were changed after TESIV: Oblivion.

Tried to get Valenwood and Hammerfell changed, as well, since it's a rip from Dragonlance and Marion Zimmer Bradley respectively. That shit is embarrassing.

During the Oblivion Crisis, the Bosmer were going to call a Wild Hunt to end all Wild Hunts, with every single mer in Valenwood going full monster. Afterwards, it would've become a haunted forest nation, closed off by both the Dominion and the Empire. I forget the exact name, but it was something like Ada-mor, the "spirit forest".

The suggestion for Hammerfell was something African-based, but I can't recall.

On the planned sequels to Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (09/08/14)

I had a plan for a TEA game set in Elsweyr. We planned three of them.

TEA2: Eye of Argonia

TEA3: Paradise Sugar (which was totally meant to sound like a JRPG title; the idea was that every third installment was extra alien)

What is the wine-knife referenced in Shor Son of Shor? (09/23/14)

A wine-knife is a weapon that you only pull when drunk. It can detect sobriety, blunting its edge the more clear-headed you are.

In the Dragonborn DLC, Neloth calls the Nerevarine a "he." Is the Nerevarine canonically male? (01/25/15)

That line was a mistake a designer made in haste. Consider it a glitch.

Is Leki the Yokudan version of Meridia? (02/09/15)

Nope.

Who were the Red Dome Templars of Talos? (02/14/15)

The Red Dome Templars were psycho-crusaders who drank the blood of Talos to get short-term martial shouting powers. The rest of the Army hated them (and much of the Elder Council wanted them dispersed), which is mainly why they were shoved off to places like Morrowind.

Sadly, the Red Templars only made it into some onsite Runequest games I ran for the dev team in the earliest days.

What is the Snow Whale's Joy Snow? (02/23/15)

Joy Snow is cocaine.

What's up with Seyda Neen's lighthouse? (03/18/15)

Early concept art shows House Hlaalu with gems in their foreheads. These gems were purportedly part of the glass in the construction of the Seyda Neen.

The Seyda Neen was the flagship of a fleet that Hlaalu sent to sea at the behest of a Saint, "to see the face of Veloth". The mariners on this voyage would send back for the rest of their House when they had found whatever this "face" was.

But an unnatural storm destroyed the fleet, the jetsam and flotsam coming back to the shore. The Hlaalu used this to construct the Lighthouse, so that any of their countrymer that may have survived the storm could find their way back. House nobles embedded their flagship's glass in their foreheads, because Morrowind.

Does Paarthurnax have any knowledge of Durnehviir? Followup: how do you know? (03/27/15)

They didn't know each other. I just asked the creator of the two dragons in question and got the answer.

Douglas Goodall's Posts

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

On the difficulty of keeping lore consistent between games (04/08/01)

You have no idea. NO idea.

Seriously, I have re-learned the necessity of GREP. I only wish Arena and Daggerfall had left more documents for me to search... Redguard and the early Morrowind stuff is all easily searchable for contradictions. Still, I fear several are inevitable.

AND I should note that I was a big fan of the series, which makes this much easier... I only THOUGHT I knew everything about Tamriel... I can't imagine coming to work here without already being something of an Elder Scrolls loremaster.

On Dwemer trivia (pre-Morrowind) (04/19/01)

"I never told you or have been told myself that House Dagoth was not *linked* to Dwarves. It's just that House Dagoth *was not* Dwarves. See the difference?"

Right. The Dwemer didn't divide themselves into "Houses" anyway.

"Actually, according to "The Songs of King Wulfharth", some dude called Dagoth Ur killed Dumac the Dwarfking during the Battle of the Red Mountain. The Songs controverse each other, so take it with a grain of salt. After all, it's a legend, and a Nordic one. Nords, after all, might not have a clue as to what was going on."

Well, the Nords *were* there... Only the combined might of the Dunmer and Dwemer could drive the foreigners out to found Resdayn. After the Battle of Red Mountain and the mysterious disappearance, the Dunmer no longer needed Dwemer technology for defense -- by then, they had the Tribunal.

"On a side note, Dunmer traditionally place family name first and given name second, as in "Indoril Nerevar" and "Hlaalu Brevur"."

Um. I suppose you're referring to the

If they place the family name first, how do you explain that the quote about Brevur the Betrayer was spoken by Paulus Hlaalu?

Your first guess was a good one, but it is not the right one. Not that it matters in the larger scheme of things.

For instance, Indoril Nerevar's full and formal name would be Serjo Indoril Nerevar Mora.

I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up.

Raptormeat: Lakene had a good point, but not many people ever thought that way. Certainly not enough to destroy a whole race... Unless, of course, a whole race can be destroyed by the actions of one person...

Xachariah II: The Dwemer did not use solar panels. Good guess, though.

"Only Boethiah can change a race's skin. Only the Dwarves can cover it in tin foil."

Carry on.

Clarifying some Khajiit information (04/19/01)

"It has got something to do with Khajiit Culture ..."

YM: Biology

Their culture came from their odd biology. They missed out on Y'ferr's decree, so Lorkhaj played a little trick on them...

"Depending on WHEN a Khajiit is born , she looks more human or feline. The most humanoid breed , looks almost like elves , but with tails and soft fur covering parts of the torso."

One of the "humanoid" breeds looks like that.

"Depending on their Khajiit Breed they have different duties to do in Khajiit society..."

This is more a practical matter than some kind of caste-system. Obviously there are jobs you cannot do without opposable thumbs, etc.

If you ever move to Tamriel, keep in mind that there is a whole province just waiting to be introduced to the tasty fishy stick.

On the mortality of gods (04/20/01)

Arkay and the King of Worms were once mortal...

And what about Tosh Raka?

On the Khajiit breeds as seen in the games (04/20/01)

The breeds of Khajiit in the various games:

Arena: Ohmes
Daggerfall: censored>
Morrowind: suthay-Raht

There are no Ohmes or in Morrowind.

The "jaguar men" are cathay-Raht... a little different from the suthay-Raht. The screenshot Khajiit (see the above link or the screenshots section) are suthay-Raht. S'rathra and Joto were also suthay-Raht.

On the meaning of "Khajiit" (04/22/01)

You'll have to wait for the game. Or later. You need to read "Ta'agra for the Unclawed."

I'll give you some hints, though.

khaj = desert

-iit (when applied to places) = "one who lives/walks in"

On what the Ta'Agra (04/22/01)

A "beta version" of it.

Back when I had time to do that sort of thing, I set up grammar rules, etc. The vocabulary is limited, and it doesn't *sound* as cool as the pseudo-english of S'rathra in Redguard. It needs more work, but I no longer have time to do that sort of thing. I'm only on the forums now while waiting for my computer to... Oh. It's done now. Excuse me.

On Khajiit phalic barbs (04/22/01)

"There's no accounting for taste."

I don't know who wrote/said that. I suspect it is a "modern" and anonymous quote. In any case, my profile will disprove this notion.

And, in the spirit of tastelessness, only some breeds of Khajiit have the... traits that Therris had in Real Barenziah. While all Terran felines have this trait (and many carnivorae have something similar), it makes no biological sense for the Khajiit to have it... unless Khajiit women are not sexually receptive year-round like human women or always ovulate during intercourse... The fiction from Daggerfall somewhat disproves that notion as well, thus the dilemna.

I thought of a couple explanations for this and eventually settled on one which I should save for later revelation.

I retroactively removed this trait from most of the Khajiit. I'm allowed to do that because I said so. So there. Therris was obviously a cathay-Raht, since he clearly wasn't a Senche, [censored], [censored], or [haven't made up a name yet]. Ohmes don't have this trait at all and suthay-Raht (like the Khajiit in Morrowind) have it only to a slight degree.

So far, this is the only "design" topic I've brought up that even Ken was unwilling to comment on...

Perhaps if I get around to writing the other volumes of Khajiit Physiology, the game itself will have a more lucid explanation.

Answering some questions about Bretons and Knights (04/26/01)

"1.What is the stereotype on the breton knights? (are they seen as the most chivalric?, mystic?, or what?)
2.Which of the eight divines is held in the most accord by the bretons?
3.Any ideas on what the breton unique ability will be for Morrowind?
4.Is the bretons penchant for magic tied in with them being a particularly relgious group of people?"

1. There's more than one order of Breton Knights... Why not make up one you like playing?
2. Like most of the Empire, Bretons worship all of the Eight Divines (and there's a strong Emperor Cult in a few places), but they are not generally devout. The Bretons used to be ruled by witch-kings and High Rock has more witch covens than many provinces... Alas, this is not relevant for a Knight. If you're looking at playing a Breton religious crusader, feel free. Each of the Divines supports a Knightly Order, in addition to the other Knightly Orders (Bretons are a Knightly people, if not a particularly religious one).
3. Yes.
4. Their talent for magic comes from their history. There's a clue in the link Raptormeat posted.

Perhaps you should read Heroic Achievements of the Bretons... That's a joke, btw.

Is that joke too obscure?

On whether "the Daedra were created by the 'intelligent races' of Tamriel" (04/28/01)

A similar argument was made by the opponents of the Allesian heresy. Might I direct the interested scholar once more to volume XI of Marobar Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer... which doesn't exactly answer your question, but is quite interesting.

More on the Hist (04/30/01)

"1) i wonder, will the Hist will be modeled as an NPC??? one gets killed, and has Argonian Eggs when you search it.
2) are the Hist related to Spriggans?"

No comment on the exact relationship between the Hist and the Argonian reproductive cycle, but it's cool. As for egg-laying, this is an interesting question. While the majority of reptiles do lay eggs, there are a number that have live births (basically, the eggs hatch internally). I guess I had pictured the Argonians going more the live birth route, because they are so humanoid, but the concept of them laying eggs is an interesting one. Have to think more on that.

As for your questions:
1) Nope, no Hist NPCs to be found, although I think it's a really cool idea. Remember, we're gonna be in Morrowind this time around, and won't be delving into murky Black Marsh quite yet. The Argonians are pretty touchy when it comes to crossing their borders.

2) Nah. Hist are much cooler.

On Ebonheart(s) (05/11/01)

There is a city of Vivec and a Castle Ebonheart and a city of Ebonheart. 2 of the 3 are in the game Morrowind. The third may or may not exist, but it would help explain some gaps, etc.

On musical Argonians (01/31/02)

I thought they should use the marsh itself as their primary musical instrument like the Baka Forest People use rivers. And play lots of odd percussion instruments like water drums and bohdans and djimbes and udus. And make slowed-down bird-call noises.

I wanted the Khajiit to be arrhythmic jazz musicians.

A sample of Ta'agra in response to an attempt to crack Morrowind's cyphers (07/17/04)

Pleased is Jobasha at your work. Very good for smooth skins and blunt ears. The Imperial and Telavanni ciphers broken? Oh, but Redoran is easiest of all! A Sermon here, a Sermon there... But so many sermons hide their secrets like naughty children. Jobasha would suggest a study of Sermon Zero if Jobasha were not so kind and wise. And the fine tapestries of my close friend your kind calls "Cherim."
 
Of course, Jobasha could ruin this game for you, but where would Jobasha be then? No, the big secrets are for the ja-Kha'jay.
 
But Jobasha is so pleased, he forgets himself. Jobasha tells you three truths, gives you three gifts, like the eighth keeper on the road to the western lands...
 
Ahziss zwinthodurrarr rabi.
"I have a yellow writing utensil.
Ahziss liter ajo'iiliten rabiba.
"My brother has a wonderful girl."
Ahziss aaliter vakasash.
"I wish I was my brother."
Is the Cherim of Sermon Zero the same Cherim as the famous tapestrist? (07/18/04)
A common misunderstanding. Cherim is Jobasha's good friend, shared much sugar, many sands. Cherim is famous tapestry maker, puts the ja'Kha'Jay in every one. White Gold is one of his best, one of the least often seen. It shows the White Tower, a dragon spirals around it, a moth priest at the top. Very famous moment, but few men remember.
 
Have you not heard of Muzariah and her death at the hands of the Three Angry Men? Muzariah was Indoril by birth and a painter by choice. Her best painting lies in the cellars of the Imperial Palace by Imperial decree. No one wishes to destroy such beauty, but no one wishes it to be seen. A dilemna.
 
But Jobasha says too much. 

 

On the Nords' Lack of a Creation Myth

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

"Creation myth? Hoo boy. First off, that whole phrase smacks of Monkey Talk-- and we thank Talos to this day for their turn at Glenumbria-- or the Wheel-Eyed Wonderment of the east devils-- who at least have the wheel part right, but that's so obvious as to offend your own navel, which is to say, wasting the time of even wasting time-- but I guess that's what you want to hear about, really: time. Our place in it now, our place in it then. Well, you've earned the truth of it then: you've taken your first tusk and been kissed by a Kyne Wife, so fine.

"The Nords you know are the Nords that were, and any formalization beyond that is southern comfort. We came from Skyrim since the end of the beginning of the last end... and so on as sung by the ysgrimskalds of the world. What's that now? We're descended from the gods? So that must mean, what, they went away at some point and then we started? Sure, that's all true, and, yes, there was a war with the gods of Old Mary where Shor died, and, yes, Old Mary's own stories of "how everything started" are just as true as ours. The untangling of it all, though, is where examining the tree nets you nothing for the basket because the fruit is all dead by the time you've reached any sensible conclusion. Which is to say, there is no conclusion, my lad, there is only the telling, and only time will tell the dead, for only by the dead can we tell the time, and so of course it all must fit together, all versions of every last telling, whereso or whensoever it comes from. Yes? Elsewise we'd never have time to tell it again.

"See now why asking the Nords for their creation myth is as unbearable to hear for them as it is for you to hear their never-really-an-answer? We'll never think that way, at least not long enough for what some would consider the "proper" amount of time-- it's just not how our brainpans were built. As a rule, we change our minds a lot, and properly so, which drives the other take on properlarity crazy. It's intrinsic to our nature; to live in the North is to live with a mind that dances near the hearth lest it slow like old Herkel's lot. (That's what happened to the Dwarves, by the way: their minds froze to death by thinking one thing over and over until poof, gone in a belch of a mountain.)

"But I can see by the droop of your shoulders that none of this has met to your satisfaction. Let me show you then, the proper way to ask the Nords their proper place in history: ask them to tell you the oldest story they know that's also the best. That will get you as close to a creation myth as anything else, even if the next telling changes it a bit, but that's beside the point of being the point.

"Just because we hate to waste time in Skyrim, we have lots of it to use with nothing else to do, and there's no better way to use up time without wasting it than by telling a good story. And the best of the oldest stories we still know is [untranslatable], which I guess you'll probably want to hear after you get me another round."

***

Another story for another time, maybe. Cyrus got tired of listening to the old man go on and on and on.

Merry X-Mas, everyone, the snows a'comin',

MK