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Evening Star, 3E 432

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

The Roll Call

Dhavin (chair)
Arielle Woodhouse (scribe)
Svontilda Loud-Laugh (presenter)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Varinturco (present)
Ulrorn Blackbeard (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Jo'Hamiir (present)
Shahavra (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)
Artonia Melus (present)
Thoroth (present)
Quiritonwe (present)
Speaks-with-feathers (present)

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were not approved for their harsh and uncollegial criticisms of fellow LAHS members.

During an unusually fierce debate over the minutes, a poor choice of words from Vandril led Gondyr to believe that Vandril has been using marked cards in some sort of game between the two of them. Vandril more or less admitted to this and suggested that Gondyr lacked the wit to notice and therefore deserved to lose. This led to a quite undignified exchange of blows, after which Vandril left (swearing revenge and assassins and conjurations and all kinds of terrible things), and I tended to Gondyr's minor wounds.

Since the LAHS required a new scribe, nominations were taken, followed by a vote. Gondyr nominated me, and as there were no other nominations or objections, I, Arielle Woodhouse, am the new scribe of the LAHS. I shall endeavor to be more faithful to the proceedings than my predecessor. I daresay the minutes may be less beer stained and in a more legible hand as well.

The Pledge and Call to Order

As we have guests this evening (welcome Svontilda and Speaks-with-feathers!), the LAHS shall begin with our noble pledge:

We, the members of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society, an official chapter of the Tamriel Historical Society, do hereby pledge to study the past, to respect our ancestors, to seek the truth, to speak clearly, to listen patiently, to debate politely, and to drink and be merry.

After recent events, I think we can all use a gentle reminder about why we are here.

Presentation: Svontilda Loud-Laugh on the Thu'um

 

Ulrorn introduced a friend of his by the name of Svontilda who has made a study of the thu'um. Svontilda is a boisterous Nord and quite a character. She had no trouble holding the full attention of the LAHS, especially after promising not just a discussion of the thu'um, but an actual demonstration!

The general sense of Svontilda's speech is that a "thu'um" is a concentrated shout that can break things, move objects, and (at least in legend) sharpen blades, slay foes at a distance, and various seemingly magical deeds. The practice of the thu'um is called "The Way of the Voice," and those who use it are called "Tongues." Svontilda believes the Way of the Voice originally came from Atmora, and that at least some of the legends about it are accurate, though much of the knowledge of the thu'um is now lost. True to her word, Svontilda breaks mugs from across the room, flips the pages of a book without touching it, makes Gondry's drawn sword ring as if struck, and knocks over a chair. Svontilda insists that she has only a basic understanding of the thu'um, and that a true master, even though much knowledge has been lost, can do much more.

After the impressive demonstration, most of the questions naturally involve how to perform a thu'um, but Svontilda says that (ironically) the Way of the Voice cannot be described in words. Learning to make a thu'um requires extensive training and practice, and there is no simple "trick" to it.

Jo'Hamiir seems particularly intrigued by the demonstration and asks if anyone can learn the thu'um or if it is something only Nords (and Atmorans, if any survive) can do. Svontilda does not know, as she's never seen anyone other than a Nord trained in the thu'um. She speculates that anyone could learn to do it, and while it would be unusual for a Tongue to take an apprentice who is not a Nord, she does not know of any traditions that would prevent it.

Dhavin speculates that the thu'um may not be entirely natural. He lists several well-known accounts linking magic with music or song, and he suggests that when one learns the thu'um, one is actually learning a specialized kind of magic. Svontilda seems upset at this notion, and insists that the thu'um is entirely non-magical. However, when pressed, she cannot think of any reason why magic could not explain it. Dhavin asks if anyone born under the Atronach has learned the thu'um (which might suggest a non-magical nature), but Svontilda does not know the answer (she was born under the Thief, and her father, who taught her the thu'um was born under the Tower).

Varinturco has some rather harsh criticisms of Svontilda's demonstration and even accuses her of trickery (of so-called "stage" magic, the kind of tricks sometimes used in lower class theaters that cannot afford Mages Guild fees). He claims that the demonstrated effects of the thu'um could have been done with magic or trickery, especially if she had an accomplice in the LAHS (for instance, someone else pushed the chair over or cast a telekenesis spell while everyone was looking at her). Svontilda offers to demonstrate again under whatever restrictions Varinturco deems necessary, but the Altmer claims that nothing will be necessary, as he already knows it is trickery.

Dhavin and I apologize to Svontilda for the Altmer's unfortunate attitude, and she is gracious enough to accept. Unfortunately, as no one has any further questions, Svontilda's presentation ends with these (surely baseless!) accusations.

The Debate

The LAHS did not have a scheduled debate this evening, so the debate was mostly over what to debate. There was no final decision, though I did have several very interesting private conversations with LAHS members about the history of Tamriel. Perhaps some of them can be persuaded to turn their specialties into presentations for the edification of their fellow scholars. As these conversations were not officially part of the meeting, they were not recorded.

Motion to Adjorn

There was no official close to the meeting this evening, though the meeting was probably over long before Gondyr and I carried Dhavin and Ulrorn home in a borrowed wheelbarrow. A motion to restrict the quantity of drink may be needed.

 

Sun's Dusk, 3E 432

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

The Roll Call

Dhavin (chair)
Vandril Indoril (your humble scribe)
Thoroth (presenter)
Shahavra (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Artonia Melus (present)
Varinturco (present)
Arielle Woodhouse (present)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the last meeting were approved after some trivial objections about "personal comments" and "failing to record my presentation accurately." Your humble scribe has been told to "shape up." Since no one else wants the job, it is an empty threat.

The Pledge and Call to Order

Thoroth, whose drinking apparently started well before the meeting, leads the LAHS in the pledge. In deference to future generations, I shall not record his creative and non-traditional version.

Continuing the general tone of scribe-bashing, Dhavin calls the meeting to order with the old joke about the Sload, the Tribunalist, and the innkeep's daughter.

One Motion from the Chair

Dhavin moves that the pledge, having reached its penultimate expression in Thoroth's drunken stutter this evening, no longer be required to open each meeting. The motion is seconded and passes 7-3.

Presentation: Thoroth on Trees (and alot of Jagga)

As best as your humble scribe can tell, Thoroth's presentation is about trees. It is more of a religious service than a scholarly presentation. Thoroth arrived quite drunk, and continued to drink that horrible rot throughout his presentation. Although the presentation is amusing in its own way, it contains nothing of scholarly value, unless you're interested in the wide variety of trees that grow in Valenwood. And how they smell. And what kinds of bugs and birds live in each one. And how lovely they are, oh my, yes. And a thrilling heartbeat-by-heartbeat description of how they grow.

I shall imediately begin work on a presentation regarding the eleven varieties of ash in Vvardenfell.

The Debate

As fate decreed that the entire evening be wasted on frivolity, this evening's debate is on... how the city of Daggerfall got its name.

Gondyr recalls a story from his childhood (such scholarship!) that the first settlers to arrive in Daggerfall knew that the nation to the south was called "Hammerfell" after that old tale about Volendrung being flung by some Dwemer chieftain or one of the Daedra or the first Anumidium, etc. These alleged settlers then thought (for whatever reason) that Daggerfall was even further from the alleged thrower and asked themselves, "What could be thrown further than a hammer?" A dagger, of course! So Volenfell becomes Hammerfell becomes Daggerfall. Clever. Since the half-breed witch-men couldn't find the right side of their horse, much less their southern neighbors, your scribe finds this story unlikely.

Shahavra the Ignorant Beast wonders if the name Hammerfell was in common use when Daggerfall was founded.

Your humble scribe points out that so-called "Volenfell" is a bad translation of an Aldmeris name, and pre-dates the Orcs, much less the Yokudans, the Breton half-breeds, and fanciful stories about hammers flying across the sky like dying gods.

Varinturco moves that my grasp of Aldmeris is faulty and insists that I reveal my etymology (for the record, Vool Ineffel Direnn). I move that Varinturco is a no-talent hanger-on who would love to get a bit of real knowledge without paying the price. Varinturco suggests that my knowledge comes from "a source in Oblivion" and that is what it is worth. I strongly suggest that Varinturco forgets his manners, and should recall to whom he speaks, and the hands that lie behind. Dhavin moves that we both keep silent, and, most unfairly, this motion passes 8-2. I shall be silent, but I shall no forget.

When the conversation returns to the dull debate, Dhavin wastes our time with a story from HIS childhood (!) about an early Nord chieftain who settled in High Rock and marked the borders of his lands by how far he could throw a dagger.

Arielle the Modern Mechanist asks how far a dagger can be thrown, and whether this could actually encompass a kingdom or even a small city.

Dhavin admits that a dagger can't actually be thrown very far, but suggests that the city's name "could have come from a dagger-throwing event of some kind." Or perhaps the chieftain was a master of the thu'um (some kind of singing, I gather), and could throw daggers with his voice(!). While this notion is rightfully mocked, Dhavin claims that Ulrorn the Absent knows someone who has studied this thu'um, and that he will invite her to speak at the next meeting. Lovely.

Artonia wonders if the name could be from a natural feature, such as a series of deadly (dagger) rapids or a waterfall that resembled a dagger in some way. There is only one problem with this theory... None of the LAHS have actually been to Daggerfall, and no one remembers hearing or reading anything about any falls or rapids nearby.

Motion to Adjourn

Several rounds of debate ensue, but no actual facts are presented, and Dhavin finally moves to adjourn. An entire evening wasted.

 

Frostfall, 3E 432

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

The Roll Call

Dhavin (chair)
Vandril Indoril (your humble scribe)
Arielle Woodhouse (presenter)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Varinturco (present)
Shahavra (present)
Ulrorn Blackbeard (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Jo'Hamiir (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)
Artonia Melus (present)

Review and Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were strongly approved for their superior flammability and absorption.

The Pledge and Call to Order

Those present lead each other in the LAHS pledge. Dhavin mutters something about bears that could be construed as a call to order.

A Spontaneous Presentation

The clean-shaven Ulrorn Blackbeard requests the floor. As silence (or ongoing chatter) is taken for agreement in Cyrodilic law, the floor is granted. Ulrorn apologizes for his behavior at the previous meeting, pleading an excess of drink and some childhood training in the Art of Conjuration.

Three Motions from the Chair

Dhavin moves that Ulrorn is kind of a jerk. The motion is seconded. A vote is taken without debate. The motion passes unanimously, 10-1.

Dhavin further moves that, due to the series of events that prematurely ended last month's meeting, Ulrorn should buy the first round. This motion also passes unanimously, 10-1.

Finally, Dhavin moves that after the untimely fire at the Broken Arrow Tavern and Grill, we shall henceforth be known as the Lusty Argonian Historical Society after our quaint new location. The motion passes 6-5.

Presentation: Arielle Woodhouse on the Dragon Break

The lively and entertaining Arielle Woodhouse proposes several theories about how the existence of so-called "Dragon Breaks" could be determined once and for all (as if any serious scholar still believed in such a ridiculous notion). Her arguments depend on whether Akatosh controls time for "everything" or if the various et'Ada (and "perhaps certain related natural processes, like the oceans and falling dust and things like that") could still act when Akatosh is broken or sleeping or having a smoke or whatever it is he does or does not do during these alleged "breaks."

For instance, Arielle suggests that if tapestries and paintings from the later part of the First Era showed the constellations differently, this could be taken as evidence that time continued in some sense, at least for the et'Ada in the heavens.

Arielle presents flaky evidence for this notion consisting of sketches of various paintings and tapestries of constellations (or that coincidentally have some stars in the background). These sketches are densely covered with lines, dates, overlays of modern constellations, etc.

I gently remind Arielle that few paintings (not to mention tapestries!) survived from the First Era, certainly far fewer than the number of defaced sketches she brought, so the whole point is moot. Unfortunately, Arielle continues to believe the paintings are genuine, even though she admits that some of them are mere copies of earlier works.

Jo'Hamiir suggests that Arielle look at the works of some obscure and irrelevant Khajiit who hid some kind of secret message in tapestries. The significance of these hidden messages is lost to the LAHS as the betmer rambles (for longer than it takes me to go through two mugs!) about fanciful relationships between the constellations and the moons and towers of all kinds.

Your humble scribe moves that Jo'Hamiir has been taking the sugar again. Most unfairly, the motion is not seconded.

Arielle moves that Jo'Hamiir prepare a presentation on this topic. Dhavin seconds the motion, and, most unfortunately, it passes. (I, for one, have heard just about as much as I can take of what passes for "scholarship" among the beast races.)

Jo'Hamiir makes an appeal based on a busy work schedule, but, alas, his appeal falls on blunt ears.

Julius draws upon his archeological experience at Dwemer ruins. He points out that Dwemer Orreries often contain metal plates with constellations engraved upon them. These plates, he assures the LAHS, show the stars in roughly the same location they are in today. Since the Dwemer left 600 years before the first so-called "Dragon Break," this strongly suggests that the stars do not move, and that Arielle is completely and utterly wrong. Again. Arielle does not have an adequate response to these objections, and, desperate to save her crazy theory, she suggests that the Dwemer were somehow engraving the stars of the future rather than those of the present day.

Varinturco suggests that the painters were merely ignorant of astronomy or perhaps idealized the constellations for artistic effect. Arielle claims this is unlikely because of various "consistencies among the inconsistencies" (!) in the tapestries and she returns to pointing at the sketches and talking about Akatosh-knows-what because I stopped listening at this point in favor of few rounds of cards with Gondyr. Your humble scribe remains undefeated, and Gondyr falls further in debt.

Arielle's passionate, truthful, and exciting presentation with immediate implications for our daily lives is too intense for many present, especially once the food arrives. The end of her presentation is met with loud snores of approval and favorable chewing sounds.

Gondyr moves that Arielle should have a few more drinks.

Dhavin moves that Gondyr has ulterior motives. Ulrorn seconds the motion with a humorous gesture.

Before Dhavin's motion can be voted on, Arielle moves her (still full) mug at Ulrorn's head. Her motion easily passes without a vote, revealing the quality workmanship of the tavern walls. After having passed, the motion is redundantly seconded by an empty mug and two chicken bones.

A serving girl takes the floor and moves that the LAHS "quiet down." She withdraws the motion after receiving a sum of twenty Septims.

Second Presenter Absent

Thoroth surprised no one in failing to show up again. Therefore, whatever drunken ramblings he will try to pass off as a presentation will have to wait for another night.

The Debate

The evening's debate was on whether a Daedra's protonymic changes or remains constant.

Gondyr argues that the protonymic is an "essential" part of a Daedra and that changing the protonymic would change the Daedra. Since the Daedric "Princes" have been unchanged (with the possible exception of Malacath, of course) for many years, this suggests (to Gondyr's fevered imagination) that the protonymic is "as unchanging and eternal as the Admantium Tower."

Ulrorn shows unexpected insight when he says, "Its name may change, but if you banish a Scamp, it's still a Scamp." After some slurred explanations, he is apparently asserting that the changes necessary to alter a Daedra's protonymic are smaller than the changes necessary to alter a Daedra's nature. Or, in other words, Azura would still be the morning and evening star, even if her protonymic changed. Boethiah would still govern insights, even with another protonymic. Etc. Gondyr tries to argue against Ulrorn (which is surely not a difficult task), but he is distracted by a passing serving girl and loses the floor.

Shahavra tells a fanciful tale about an unfortunate Dagi who lazily summoned the same daedroth twice and painfully learned that the protonymic only works once. This would favor the idea that the protonymic does change, if the Khajiit were not all liars.

Dhavin points out that various Daedra have had their protonymics discovered in the past. He argues that since no Daedra "Princes" are currently enslaved, this suggests that the protonymic is, as he puts it, a "one trick pony."

Ulrorn moves that Dhavin spends too much time with horses. Ulrorn withdraws this motion under threat of Dhavin's long memory and fertile imagination.

Julius idly asks if Aedra have protonymics. Varinturco boldly asserts that of course Aedra have protonymics (and, in fact, the fool argues that all living things do!), but that the protonymics of Aedra, men, and mer cannot be "spelled, pronounced, or ennumerated" in the Mundus. Not only would it be ineffective, it would be literally unknowable. Varinturco claims to be quoting a book by some crazy Altmer who lives in a giant clock, as if that gives his argument any additional weight. Varinturco rambles on about a "neonymic" (?) that is some kind of second protonymic, but he is, fortunately, interrupted.

Gondyr moves that Varinturco has had too much to drink. The motion is seconded by your humble scribe, but, alas, no vote is taken.

Arielle wonders if the act of banishment (due to the alleged dissolution of spirit) changes the nature of a Daedra enough to change their protonymic.

Quiet, beautiful Orphala (if only she were not an Orethi!) tells a poignant, if all too brief, story about a Daedra she met in Tear who feared banishment because he feared losing his love for another Daedra. Apparently, he believed that if he were banished, he would no longer be in love, for in the process of re-forming himself, he might forget his love or lose it. Orphala was not sure of the precise meaning of his words, but this suggests that the process is traumatic enough to change a Daedra's protonymic, if not their basic nature.

In light of this story, Gondyr and Dhavin enthusiastically agree with Arielle's theory. Even I, your humble scribe, cannot recall a counterexample for this idea, though I doubt anything regarding the Daedra it is so simple.

Dhavin moves that the LAHS vote on the idea that banishment itself changes the protonymic. The motion passes unanimously, in spite of Varinturco's repeated attempts to take the floor and discuss his "neonymic" notion.

Your humble scribe moves that this unprecedented agreement is a cause for celebration. This motion also passes unanimously.

Drinking ensues.

Just to spoil the rare consensus, Artonia recalls a story about the mysterious disappearance of the Battlespire several years ago. She heard a rumor from one of her aunts who was a Battlemage at the time (see what passes for scholarship these days?) that Mehrunes Dagon invaded the Battlespire(!), and he could resist his protonymic because he changed it or added some kind of surname (Varinturco begins shouting about that neonymic nonsense here again, but he is rightfully ignored). To prevent Mehrunes Dagon from reaching the rest of Tamriel, the Battlemages broke the moorings, thus the "disappearance" (if the "Battlespire" was ever more than legend, anyway). This is no less plausible than any other story I've heard over the years, but how anyone could know the truth of it when there were no survivors (or public evidence of any kind) is beyond my understanding. In conclusion, Artonia asks whether forward-thinking Daedra could change their protonymic or add some kind of surname to protect themselves from mortals who have learned their true, invocational name.

Varinturco finally gets his chance to take the floor, adding his febrile imaginings to Artonia's rumor. He claims to have met a survivor of the Battlespire (a man named, apparently, Chimer--and if that does not discredit this fanciful tale, I don't know what will). This "Chimer" (who is not a mer!) claims that Mehrunes Dagon did, indeed, attack the Battlespire (after cursing him to live forever or some such nonsense), and that he did, indeed, add a surname (or "neonymic" as Varinturco insists we call it) to his protonymic for additional protection. Varinturco goes on and on about the alleged trials of this "Chimer" and some nameless hero (we've all heard that one before!), but there's no point recording it for posterity when the fool is obviously making it all up.

Varinturco ends his rambling by moving that the LAHS summon Mehrunes Dagon, politely ask him his protonymic (and neonymic), banish him, summon him again, and "see if it works." This practical and entirely harmless motion fails due to laughter preventing a quorum.

Motion to Adjourn

Dhavin moves to adjourn on the grounds that Varinturco's motion would not have been humorous if the hour was not far too late. The motion is seconded and passes.

Gondyr makes one final, desperate move towards Arielle, but the motion trips and falls 0-1 due to Ulrorn's foot.

 

The Fourth Book of Dust

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

"For there is the plenum of the heavens and the plenum of the houses.
There is the plenum of Oblivion and the plenum of men and mer."

The Dreadful Theft of the Sun's Dusk Ale

Author: 
Rascien Wickersly

Jobasha tells you before that a Breton came to Jobasha's shop. Very nervous this Breton. As Jobasha said, the Breton sells Jobasha the minutes to a historical society. But this Breton also sells much fiction. Most of it very sadly autobiographical. Maybe this one is a good example.


"It was late last night that the dreadful theft occurred," Foroch said. "They took it all. Every drop of it."

That's how he greeted me. I said nothing at first. Foroch's brewery was high in the trees, and I had just climbed the Great Spiral all the way around from the dirt below. "I just. Stopped. To say. Goodbye. Because."

"I know it. You're off to Cyrodiil to get your education. You just dropped in for a bit of ale before leaving, is that it? Well, they took every drop of it, so there's no use begging a mug from me."

I didn't contradict him. I was still panting, and he was right. I came to see him for one last taste of his fine summer ale.

"But if you want to take a keg to that fancy studium of yours, I might have a deal for you."

"Didn't you say it was stolen?" I asked.

"I did say that, because it was stolen," said Foroch. "But if you can get it back, I'll let you take a keg of it. They didn't take my regular ale. They took the Sun's Dusk ale."

"I don't believe I've ever had the pleasure of that one," I said.

"Few have, for the brewing of it is a trying task. It takes years for all the meat and bugs to fall in. And--"

"Bugs?" I asked.

"You can't just go dumping them in, you know," Foroch said, "they have to fall naturally. Crosswings have a fierce bitterness when they die afraid. First, you must stretch seventeen strings of Alfiq-gut over each barrel. Then you must press fresh boar meat onto the strings, being careful not to let any fall before it has properly rotted. Then you must dust the meat with the finely chopped skins of the red-striped frog to make sure the crosswings are drunk and happy when they fall. You do this every month for three or more years, until you have enough meat and bugs to fill the barrel. And that's not even counting the enchantments. You have spells to attract the crosswings and mimics. And spells to keep out the flipbacks, tree-hoppers, and hoarvor young. There are spells to encourage the green mold and prevent the brown and white molds. Then you have to seal the barrel for nine or more years until the last of the green mold turns--"

"It sounds very difficult," I said, preferring ignorance when it came to Green Pact brewing. "Do you know who took it?"

"It was those filthy, miserable Imga," spat Foroch. "Six kegs I had. They're the only ones who could carry a keg over each shoulder. And the brewery stinks of them."

I knew which Imga he was talking about. Boff's band. "Aren't they in their clearing? Why don't you round up a few mer and take it back?"

"I can see you've no proper understanding of the matter. I can't talk with them. I'm the proper owner, so seeing them would acknowledge the theft. You Bretons are half elven, or so they say. Imga will listen to you."

"Why me? I've lived here a few years, but I'll always be an outsider," I said.

"Perfect."

"I only know what you just told me," I said.

"Perfect."

"And as you just pointed out, I don't fully understand the situation," I said, desperately.

"Perfect."

That's how I got the job.

I walked the Great Spiral all the way back down and set out towards the Imga's clearing. As a Breton living in Valenwood, I often saw things from an unusual perspective. Namely, the forest floor. The Bosmer around Greenheart rarely went all the way to the ground, unless they planned on leaving the city. This had a few unfortunate consequences, I thought, when I tripped over a deer antler jutting out above the other garbage. Since the Bosmer rarely visited the ground, they had no qualms about throwing their trash down from the treetops and forgetting about it.

I knew I was getting close to the Imga's clearing when I heard the drumming. This was a bad sign. They usually only got out the drums when they'd been drinking. I hoped they still had some of Foroch's ale left.

When I got in sight of the clearing, I waited patiently for the end of their impromptu concert. I'd never be an admirer, but there was something to be said for their music. What the Imga lacked in rhythm, they made up for in enthusiasm. Pickler saw me first and stopped beating the hollow log he'd almost mashed down to pulp. "What is that terrible smell?"

"I do believe it's a man, Pickler," said Boff.

"Indeed. It has that spoiled milk odor," said Noggin, the last member of Boff's clan.

"Boff," I said. "It's been a long time."

"Duke Boff to you, nemer," he said, as he adjusted his cloak and pulled himself up to this full height.

"Of course, Duke Boff," I said quickly. "Forgive me. The long journey has left me without any graces."

"You're lucky I'm in such a forgiving mood today," said the Duke. "What brings you to my lands?"

"My Lord, I heard that you acquired some of Foroch's ale."

"Oh?" Boff asked. "Do you want it? I might be looking for a buyer."

"I take it there's still some left, then?" Perhaps this journey wasn't wasted after all.

"Yes," said Duke Boff, slowly. "We haven't finished it yet."

"Why don't we give him a taste?" Pickler asked, with a grin.

"That sounds like a fine idea, Pickler. Fetch one of the kegs."

I watched as Pickler lumbered off into the forest, but he passed out of sight before I could see where the kegs were hidden. He returned carrying a keg so effortlessly that I flinched when he slammed it on the ground. Obviously, the keg was still nearly full. He produced a wooden bowl and worked the tap just enough for a few swallows of ale, crinkling his wide nose as he poured.

I took the bowl and sniffed it. I've heard that some connoisseurs judge ales and wines by their aroma, but with Bosmer drinks, this is simply a wise precaution. The Sun's Dusk Ale smelled nothing like Foroch's summer ale. Nor did it resemble the less palatable Bosmer drinks, such as Jagga, which has a truly unique odor. It smelled, if anything, like a juicy steak marinated with plum wine and coriander. I took a sip and gently closed my eyes. It was dreams of flying. It was the breathless moment of my first kiss. It was a gentle fire that brought a deep smile to my face. It was happiness, distilled.

When I recovered my senses I said, "Frostfire! What is this?"

"That's what I said," said Pickler.

"No, Pickler, you said, 'By the rotted and flaking third claw of Herma Mora, what is this putrid filth?'"

Putrid filth? I couldn't believe my ears. This ale was surely a gift from the gods!

"As bad as it is," said Noggin, "I can't see why Foroch won't let us have a taste."

"He did it just to spite us, Noggin," said Duke Boff. "He never gives us the respect we deserve. He always has some excuse to ignore the old deal."

"What does this taste like to you?" I asked.

"Bitter," said Boff.

"Rotten," said Pickler.

"It's like that stuff that comes out when you squash a crosswing between your fingers," said Noggin.

"Indeed," said Boff. "I hope the winds pick up tonight and carry the stench away from my lands."

"Hm," I said. "Boff? Would you return the ale if Foroch says you're allowed to have some?"

"Duke Boff to you," said the Duke automatically. "I wouldn't want my subjects in Greenheart to think that I am a harsh ruler. If Foroch says we can have some of the ale, he can have all the kegs back."

"It's the principle of the thing," said Noggin.

"Duke Boff," I asked, "can you have these back at Foroch's by midnight?"

"Sure, we can do that," said the Duke. "And then we can listen to Foroch say we can have the Sun's Dusk Ale anytime we want."

"It's a deal," I said. "I need to hurry back to Foroch. I fear he may take some convincing."

Foroch was waiting for me at the entrance of the brewery. His crossed arms and scowl didn't bode well. "I see you're back," he said, "and without my Sun's Dusk ale. Well, I'm not giving you any of the summer ale. Not when--"

"The Imga," I panted.

"I send you out on a simple job--"

"Should be."

"And you dare to come here--"

"Bringing it back."

"Empty handed--"

"By midnight."

"Without even an apology! No, the first words out of your mouth were... Did you say the Imga are bringing it tonight?"

"Yes," I said.

"How much is left?" asked Foroch.

"Almost all of it, I believe. I think they only tapped one of the kegs."

"Excellent," said Foroch, getting out a couple of mugs. "This calls for a celebration."

"Wait," I said. "Wait. Please. I need to explain the terms."

"Terms? Your words fill me with dread," said Foroch as he swiftly put the mugs away. "What did you promise the filthy Imga?"

"That you would let them have as much of the Sun's Dusk as they wanted, once they--"

"Wha... You... Why... If I... How could..." For once, Foroch was speechless.

"Wait," I said. "Let me explain."

I had no chance to explain until nearly midnight. Foroch, who soon regained the gift of speech, ranted and raved about me, the Imga, and our common ancestors until he nearly lost his voice. When Foroch finally wound down, I tried to explain again. "The Imga won't ask for much ale," I said.

"Won't! Won't! Have you never drunk with an Imga? Their thirst is legendary. The Abecean Sea wouldn't sate them."

"They don't like the ale," I said.

"Insult to injury! Now they criticize my ale after stealing it."

"Listen," I said. "They won't drink much of the ale because they hate the stuff. That's why they didn't tap any of the other kegs."

"Maybe there is some sense in your plan after all," Foroch rasped. "But, still, to give the Sun's Dusk to the Imga..."

"You'll have to if you want any of it back," I said. "If you think it's bad for them to steal it, imagine them dumping the barrels in the river while they pinch their noses."

"There are precedent and principles, you see. We've lived together since the days of Aldmeris. And now, having lost our empire, our honor, our rights and dignities, now a man asks me to break traditions older than the arrival of men. To break traditions the filthy Imga half remember and rarely obeyed. There are times, Rascien, when I must say that I hate you men nearly as much as I hate the Imga and the Khajiit."

I was shocked. Not at the sentiment, for it was common in Valenwood, but that it was spoken so plainly. "In all the years I've lived here," I said, "I've never heard--"

"I said it, and I meant it," said Foroch, staring into his mug. "And we'll not speak of it again."

Our silence was broken by the arrival of the Imga and the ale.

Foroch stood unsteadily. "So you've brought me a gift, have you?"

"No gift, Foroch," said Boff. "This is the ale we rightfully stole and--"

"Rightfully?! Rightfully?!" spat Foroch.

The Imga interrupted Foroch's fast-approaching rant by slamming the kegs on the floor, shaking the entire brewery and knocking a few mugs off the shelves.

Boff placed his elbows on a keg and leaned forward. "I want to hear it, Foroch. I want to hear the whole formal thing."

"Not on your life," said Foroch, backing away. "You ask too much, Boff."

"Duke Boff to you, Bosmer." Boff's mouth hung open, as if he was surprised by his own words.

Foroch went speechless again. He grinded his teeth together and glared at me. I whispered, "Think of the ale, Foroch. Think of the ale."

"I, Foroch," he spat, "acknowledge that you fil... you lyi... chea.... mis... That you, Duke Boff, R-Rightfully stole these barrels and that..."

"And from now on we can have as much of this ale as we want, having rightfully stolen it."

"And from now on," said Foroch through clenched teeth. "You may have. As much. Ale. As you want."

Boff held out his hand. Foroch stared at it a full minute before shaking it hastily.

"How about a mug all around to close the deal?" I asked. I couldn't resist.

"Maybe just a swallow," said Boff. I could almost see him turning green beneath his fur.

Foroch scowled the whole time he poured. Boff scowled the whole time he drank. And me? I sipped the best brew in all Tamriel and smiled.

My smile didn't fade until halfway to Silvenar when I discovered that the keg Foroch gave me was the tapped one and already half empty.

The Water-getting Girl and the Inverse Tiger

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

Part One, Tiber Septim's Favorite Bedtime Story

This is the first part of what is reputedly Tiber Septim’s favorite childhood story. The Emperor’s fascination with tigers has been documented elsewhere, though it is this translator’s belief that it was Orylon’s particular nature that colored that appeal. Such notions may become more apparent in the story’s second installment.


Whoa-ho! Are you listening? Watch me beat my drum and tell no lies; may hard fruit from this tibrol tree fall upon my head if I lie (I will not!)! Come, sit! Or dance with your backsides, for I am beating my drum!

I tell you the tale of Perrif, the water-getting girl, (no, not that Perrif, another Perrif -- this is an old story and in those days most girls were named after the Paravania), and Orlyan the Inverse Tiger of Cyrod, Black with Orange Stripes, Old Stony, Lord of Dark Fleas and Cake Batter, Always Roaring!

Long ago near a river branch of the Topal, a Kothri village sat there very sad: the men were away at skirmish and only the women, girls, and infirm elders were left. They were surrounded by jungle, a great batch of it between their huts and their portion of the river, and tigers were everywhere in those days hide-hissing in the trees. A three-beat for Tigers! Klo! Klo! Klo! So glad you are gone! You ate us! We will make due with pigment drawings! A four beat for their demise! Klo! Klo! Kloppa!

One morning it was Perrif’s turn to go get the water (she was eight or nine or ten, I forget! Forgetting is fine, so nothing will fall on me! Ha!). Everyone warned her not to take too long! “The stripe-cats are out! They did not sleep last night because they can hear better than we can and the skirmish where our men are (while far away to us is cat-senses-close to them) is keeping them up and hungry!”

Little Perrif, though, was very brave putting the jugs all in a row on top of her head and making for the jungle roads. But she was not stupid, so she sang a song to Dibe-Mara-Kin, our mothers in the Around-Us, and with that small blessing felt very, very confident. And she was almost to the water before any tigers found her at all, but they surely did! “Don’t run, little water-getting girl!” they said (there were maybe three or four, I forget!) “We will kill you quick, we promise, but only if you don’t make us run!” Perrif ran so fast that even the tigers went, “Wow, that’s an impressive stride, some forty in two drum beats with five jugs on her head”, and that is how come we use this measurement in our current My Tribe Is Better Than Yours Games! No lie! Klo! Hudda!! Kloppa!

She ran so fast that she was able to find a giant rock to hide behind, hoping the tigers would lope right past her. And they did! “Thank you, three mothers,” she whispered, kneeling and keeping the jugs steady with her hands, and praying some more to DMK just in case. After a while, it all seemed safe, and that is when the giant rock spoke up! (You heard me!)

"Praying is all well and good," the rock said, booming, "But I'm the one who hid you from the tigers! My moss-shade! My stone-bigness! And now you owe me a favor!" And it was true, she did, little Perrif, for in those days as it is now the laws of fancy-story must be kept, and in this case it was courtesy obligation, favor for favor. A three-beat for Favors! Klo! Klo! Klo! (Pay all of yours BACK!)

The rock said, "So now! Roll me to the river and wash me! I'm filthy from the ages!" And now Perrif could kind of make out a face in the rock, but it was covered so much in grub and lichen that there wasn't much to speak of, so she told herself she was thinking nonsense. While she was looking, the stone spoke up again, saying, "Roll me, girl! It’s river-time for me! I'm so dirty I can’t stand myself!"

So Perrif began to push, unearthing the rock from the tangle of the jungle floor, and it seemed very light to her despite its size, but she explained away the ease of the effort by tiger-fear (which was still on her!). It was lots and lots of pushing, and so the stone began to sing:

Roll me down down down to the river that welcomes me
Ge-rulla seb-seb-seb ytri topali ke wel’kyn-ge
I am a Welcome Stone
Ge una Wel’kyn Bal
Just ask anyone of age, little girl, for they remember me
Yn set ghyn aka, ky’naless, synd laru’me ge
I am a Welcome Stone
Ge yni Wel’kyn Bal
Wash me up up up and see! A familiar face! Too long gone!
K’yness-ge bes bes bes ad’soon! Ha’phyn fex! Ald’ald-het!
I am Orlyan, the Long Gone Stone
Ge yni Orlyan, the Ald-Het Bal
The Around-Us will be happy to see me again!
Aurbex lemha je-je ad’soon al-ge!
But it might go, “Wait, you looked different before!”
Hyn detta set, “Ka, g’e lr’khn nymbo!”
I am a Verily Stone!
Ge yni V’arla Bal!
But it might go, “Wait, you looked different before!”
Hyn detta set, “Ka, g’e lr’khn nymbo!”
I am a Verily Stone!
Ge yni V’arla Bal!

(At this point in the story we traditionally get down with the get down! Here comes the drum! Klo! Hudda!! Everyone get down! Klo! Hudda!! Dance with your necks and big asses!)

After a long time of pushing, Perrif finally got the big rock near the river’s edge. She flopped to her backside, wiping off sweat, saying, “Please hold on, mister big rock, we’re almost there. I’m just really tired and somewhere we lost the jugs and that’s going to get me in big trouble, which is going to be even worse if I stay out too late. Which I assume will happen, as I have to wash you still.”

(It was true; the other villagers were getting worried already!)

And then the rock made a wistful-yet-gravelly sound, being so close to the water, saying, “All right, little water-getting girl, rest a bit. I’m content for the moment, just being able to look at the water. Look how silly it is! Water is the silliest thing!” And, at that, the rock started to laugh, O HO! HO HO!, dust and little leaves falling to reveal a face!

Perrif gasped! The rock’s face had a wide nose and heavy-lidded eyes and a mouthful of stony fangs, for all the world looking like a big-assed tiger head! She screamed, “Wait, you looked different before!”

Stone: "No kidding?"

Perrif: "No kidding. What happened? You were just a normal hiding rock and now you look like a stripe-cat!"

Stone: "Ah, well, it must be because Welcome Stones like me absorb some of the thoughts of those that touch us. And you can’t help but imagine a tiger!"

Now by this point little Perrif had become so overcome by tiger-fear that she yelped despite herself, kicking the big rock! And then she yelped again because she hurt her foot, and fell down, and got hurt more, and the Welcome Stone couldn’t help but laugh because she looked so stupid. But when Perrif saw that laugh all she saw was the tiger teeth going up and down GRIND GRIND GRIND, and so she kicked the stone again in panic, this time with both feet. And WHOA did the stone start to roll down the hill going WHOA-HO NOW towards the river but little Perrif didn’t notice because the tiger-fear made her run, run, run!

Stone: "Hey, now waittaminnit! You come back here and wash--"

KER-SPLASH! The stone sunk like a rock.

End of Part One.

 

More on the Psijic Endeavor

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

What is the Psijic Endeavor?

The basis for the teachings of the Prophet Veloth, founder of present day Morrowind and father of Dunmeri culture. Veloth describes the Psijic Endeavor as a process of glorious apotheosis, where time itself is bent inward and outward into 'a shape that is always new'. Those who can attain this state, called chim, experience an ineffable sense of the godhead, and escape the strictures of the world-egg.

It should be noted that, while Veloth is given credit for establishing the anti-laws that govern the Endeavor, this process has its antecedents in the teachings of the Black Hands Mephala, Boethiah, Azura, Trinimac, and, of course, Lorkhan, through that lord's association with PSJJJJ.

What is "chim"?

From the Ehlnofex: an ancient sigil connoting 'royalty', 'starlight', and 'high splendor'. As with most characters of that dangerous language, the sigil CHIM constantly distorts itself. Those scholars that can perceive its shape regard it as a Crowned Tower that threatens to break apart at the slightest break in concentration.

Representations of the chim, and by extension the Psijic Endeavor, are always protean values, such as the anumidi models renowned by the Dwemer, the Scarab of contemporary astrolothurges, and the Striking ("exact egg-cracking") of old Argonia. All of these representations possess an innate and constant aspect of transformation.

What is the purpose of the Psijic Endeavor?

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

I am confused. What is the relationship of the Psijic Endeavor and the Tower?

Ah. Because from within one, you may regard the other.

That helps little. What examples of the Psijic Endeavor exist today?

The world you stand on is said to be the first attempt at chim. It is also admittedly the most famous. That it was choreographed by Lorkhan and ultimately failed is well-documented, but whether or not this failure was intentional is still disputed.

Wait. Why would anyone want to purposely fail the process of CHIM?

And this is the most-reached destination of all that embark upon this road. Why would Lorkhan and his (unwitting?) agents sabotage their experiments with the Tower? Why would he crumble that which he esteems?

Perhaps he failed so you might know how not to.

 

On Aldmeri Ancestor Worship

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

Ancestor worship is the common center of all Aldmeri religions. The application of that worship is an entirely different thing, and the designs of the Order have nothing to do with the Endeavor, though they may have inspired some to take that road.

The arbitrary and the motivated in regarding one's divine ancestors: ignoring a manifest concern for belief in them as us, instead we concern ourselves with intensity and its relationship with action, valorizing ‘little narratives’ and proliferation of narratives in our native cultures to the point that there is no perch from extraneous content. Pure subjectivity is no longer possible; instead it becomes akin to sensory deprivation, yet without the fear, for we sense things that remind us of the dawn: the sacrifice into the stabilizing bones, new-built towers with broken intentions, and first metals gone blue from exposure to the long sun. The quest toward the ur-you for certainty and foundations is not innocent. However, it is an honest vindication for truth and superhuman ideals, which means it should be regarded as such by our own sense of fault: we made this, we dreamed this, we made it viable by voting with our seductions, we will live again to show our genuine applause.

 

More about Aedra - Daedra

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

"Sons and daughters of" should be read as associates of/associated with, especially insofar as this association was a conscious choice.

Today the common parlance is that only the eight that followed Lorkhan and created the Mundus are truly "Aedra," but this is folly. Some were not even the strongest of the Aetherius-aligned etada at the time, but were made as such by their creation of the dawn.

Remember, even the word "Daedra" started as a youthful rebellion.

I promised no riddles, but we speak here of the family-trees of the earliest divine planets, thrones, and seekers. Aurbis was created from the two, its energies coalesced into first forms, and these in turn made of the Aurbis what they could; keep sons and daughters in that context and it becomes easier to see them.

 

Concerning the Psijic Order and the Psijic Endeavor

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

What is the relationship between the Psijic Order and the Psijic Endeavor?

Nothing but a namesake, I am sorry to say. Now we can end that mystery. The Endeavor is a method of achieving the Tower and then what to do after. The Order is not, and does not really care for the idea of the Endeavor at all, thinking it wrong-headed nearly from the start.

So what is the Psijic Order?

A monastic order of the Altmer, impressive with age, and obsessed with a kind of mythic genealogy, made famous by their monomythism. Theirs was mostly the study of reverse-ancestry as a means to combat spiritual and material degradation. Or at least it was, I should say, as I do not know what they do now and do not much care. They were wrong-headed nearly from the start.

It is interesting to note that their original views were very unorthodox for Altmer, and thus their exile from Alinor. These views included the suggestion that Anu’s son, the Time Dragon, was formed in reaction to Padhome’s influence. In effect, Anu had finally done something. This inconceivable effect gave rise to an equally inconceivable cause, and so PSJJJJ was named and the Order eventually took his name.

Veloth was not a member of these exiles, no. Some of the Order’s precepts and ideas do (or did) flourish in the beginnings of the Alessian Order, the Temple of the One in Cyrodiil, most Maruhkati sects (including the Selectives, though they would deny it), Ancestral-Mothism, and, most famous of all, the Mages Guild.

Now we can move on safely to the Endeavor. Any questions up to this point?