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Loveletter From the Fifth Era, The True Purpose of Tamriel

Michael Kirkbride

Hello, everyone. While visiting the demons of the Haight last night, I was handed the document that follows. I was drunk, so I cannot describe the courier, but I can verify that it is, indeed, from the Fifth Era (!) of Tamriel from an author unknown to me, even in visions.

It will be of interest to many lore scholars here; indeed, since it concerns Vivec’s “Scripture of Love” it was very much of interest to me.



Ald Sotha Below, 5E911
House Sul Progenitor House, duly noted under the digital house,
Whirling School Prefect Approved
Chronocule Delivery: souljewel count: 78888-00-00-00-000

My name is Jubal-lun-Sul, of House Sul, whose name is known and heard throughout the Scathing Bay and the Nine times Nine Thrones. Our lord is High Alma Jaroon, of House Jaroon, whose city is the First City of the New North, where all who Went Under from Landfall settled and made peace with the Worm, when we were not Eighty and One separate peoples but One, carrying the tibrols on our back together and cutting tunnels by the light and heat that all mer wore, with equal dust in every mouth. My family’s name comes from the first child born in the Velothiid, Haeko-dol-Sul, and, like him, we are salt merchants. Our crest is the tusk of the bat-tiger. Our bloodline is registered by C0DA.

The Digitals say we come from another star, but so many have forgotten. I have not, for my lineage granted me audience with Memory, and I have spoken with the Wheels of Lull. I have seen proof, as any who come Up during Landfall Season, when the winds die down enough Above that all may make pilgrimage under the banner of Vehk and Vehk. Though many Above have renounced Memory, they too remember.


I tell you now, brothers and sisters of the coming 4th, that the holy Scripture of Love contains all you need to avoid the perils of the Landfall. By chronocules granted by the ‘neers of Lull, this warning is given freely and by Love. Sermon 35 begins properly:

“The formulas of proper Velothi magic continue in ancient tradition, but that virility is dead, by which I mean at least replaced. Truth owes its medicinal nature to the establishment of the myth of justice. Its curative properties it likewise owes to the concept of sacrifice. Princes, chiefs, and angels all subscribe to the same notion. This is a view primarily based on a prolific abolition of an implied profanity, seen in ceremonies, knife fighting, hunting, and the exploration of the poetic. On the ritual of occasions, which comes to us from the days of the cave glow, I can say nothing more than to loosen your equation of moods to lunar currency.”

The C0DA broke when Twice Vehk appeared again from Aether, but they captured enough of Him to render the words stable again. In this passage, He describes the goal of the Lunar God, who some of you still ascribe the name “Lorkhan”. When stabilized, the words become proof:

All creation is subgradient. First was Void, which became split by AE. Anu and Padomay came next and with their first brush came the Aurbis.

Void to Aurbis: naught to pattern.

“Later, and by that I mean much, much later, my reign will be seen as an act of the highest love, which is a return from the astral destiny and the marriages between. By that I mean the catastrophes, which will come from all five corners. Subsequent are the revisions, differentiated between hope and the distraught, situations that are only required by the periodic death of the immutable. Cosmic time is repeated: I wrote of this in an earlier life. An imitation of submersion is love's premonition, its folly into the underworld, by which I mean the day you will read about outside of yourself in an age of gold. For on that day, which is a shadow of the sacrificial concept, all history is obliged to see me for what you are: in love with evil.”

The marriages of the Aether describe the birth of all magic. Like a pregnant [untranslatable], the Aurbis exploded with its surplus. Will formed and, with it, the Potential to Action. This is the advent of the first Digitals: mantellian, mnemolia, the aetherial realm of the etada. The Head of this order is Magnus, but he is not its Ward, for even he was subcreated by the birth of Akatosh.

Aurbis to Aetherius: possibility to maintenance by time.

“To keep one's powers intact at such a stage is to allow for the existence of what can only be called a continual spirit. Make of your love a defense against the horizon. Pure existence is only granted to the holy, which comes in a myriad of forms, half of them frightening and the other half divided into equal parts purposeless and assured. Late is the lover that comes to this by any other walking way than the fifth, which is the number of the limit of this world. The lover is the highest country and a series of beliefs. He is the sacred city bereft of a double. The uncultivated land of monsters is the rule. This is clearly attested by ANU and his double, which love knows never really happened.”

Lull calls this a refutation of sorts, but the wise may know it as the first appearance of Nu-Mantia, which is Liberty. Rather, the road to Liberty.

Another subcreation happened to the wheels of the etada, a shore that all of creation crashed against, the terminus of limits known as Oblivion. An echo of the Void before but unalike, many spirits fled here and came to power by merely harnessing the impossibility of Limit+All.

Aetherius to Oblivion: creation to destruction.

“Similarly, all the other symbols of absolute reality are ancient ideas ready for their graves, or at least the essence of such. This scripture is directly ordered by the codes of Mephala, the origin of sex and murder, defeated only by those who take up those ideas without my intervention. The religious elite is not a tendency or a correlation. They are dogma complemented by the influence of the untrustworthy sea and the governance of the stars, dominated at the center by the sword, which is nothing without a victim to cleave unto. This is the love of God and he would show you more: predatory but at the same time instrumental to the will of critical harvest, a scenario by which one becomes as he is, of male and female, the magic hermaphrodite.”

We begin to see the first inkling of emergence, which by its nature requires the merging of two-fold powers. Inevitably, this leads to another gradient, but this time by forceful process: the Trap of the Lunar God. The Aedra are Named at this time, having lent their hands to what was to be the arena of the eternally impossible: Mundus, or Exactness.

Oblivion to Mundus: debris of all possibility to anchor of all things.

“Mark the norms of violence and it barely registers, suspended as it is by treaties written between the original spirits.”

When one visits Memory, you become filled with the first ideas of the Lunar God, and see the trap within the trap. Vehk knows it at this point, and sees for all of you, and realizes the need for treaty: avenue of escape, first stone.

C0DA translation: if all previous gradients continue along this path, especially given that there is now a centerpoint, impossible Mundus, the process of continuation can be pre-figured.

The echo of the Void is Oblivion. The echo of Oblivion is now mortal death. Death results in reappropriation of spirit towards its aligned AE—either to the god-planet Aedra or the Principalities of Oblivion. Vehk’s name for this transaction, mentioned above, is “lunar currency”.


Mundus to Mortal Death: centerpoint to the soon recycled.

“This should be seen as an opportunity, and in no way tedious, though some will give up for it is easier to kiss the lover than become one.”

Here we come to the Scripture’s greatest resignation: to imagine the subcreation AFTER mortal death, which by pattern would mean an echo of Mundus, and through this imagining, the failures of so many.

The Digitals' record of the Lunar God’s involvement in all of this is called the Great Pain: “The Lunar God failed by his own devices, to show the new progeny how they might not.”

You in the Fourth Era have already witnessed many of the attempts at reaching the final subgradient of all AE, that state that exists beyond mortal death. The Numidium. The Endeavor. The Prolix Tower. CHIM. The Enantiomorph. The Scarab that Transforms into the New Man.

Simply put, as the Gods cannot know joy as mortals, their creation, so mortals may only understand the joy of Liberty by becoming the progenitors of the models that can make the jump past mortal death.

And so many of you give up.

Mortal Death to Z (Z being the state-gradient echo of Mundus Centerex): antinymic to [untranslatable].

“The lower regions crawl with these souls, caves of shallow treasures, meeting in places to testify by way of extension, when love is only satisfied by a considerable (incalculable) effort.”

Those who do not fail become the New Men: an individual beyond all AE, unerased and all-being. Jumping beyond the last bridge of all existence is the Last Existence, The Eternal I.


A whole World of You.


God outside of all else but his own free consciousness, hallucinating for eternity and falling into love: I AM AND I ARE ALL WE.

C0DA Digitals have confirmed that a subject in sensory deprivation begins to hallucinate after only twenty minutes. Scale unto this along the magical spectrum and maintenance of time, which is forever, and you begin to see the Lunar God’s failure as Greatest Gift. As above, “This is the love of God.”

Why Love?

Know Love to avoid the Landfall, my brothers and sisters of the past.

The New Man becomes God becomes Amaranth, everlasting hypnogogic. Hallucinations become lucid under His eye and therefore, like all parents of their children, the Amaranth cherishes and adores all that is come from Him.


God is Love.


God is Love.


God is Love.



And that is how the message ended. Do with it what you will and freely discuss. I know what I am doing with it, but then, I’ve been trying and trying for years. “Considerable effort”, indeed.

And perhaps it is no accident that this falls on 9/11. Love to its Memory. And my love to Kurt Kuhlmann, whose birthday was destroyed by the will of critical harvest.



Lord Vivec's Sword-Meeting With Cyrus the Restless

Michael Kirkbride

Gather, sit. Drink to Papa and tell Morwha you’re sorry for what you’ve done wickedly this day save for the customary curses allowed towards our enemies, the fair skins and the green skins and the sataks that roll in the dirt with no skins at all. Most importantly, listen, here’s another tale of Sura of the Bend’r Mark, the Maverick-Sword of the Crowns, called Cyrus in the tongue of the Septims.

Mind you, this story isn’t necessarily true, for no tale of Cyrus the Restless is true in its entire, and yet that has never really mattered. Indeed, you’ll come to see that sometimes stories that aren’t necessarily true can still sometimes win the day.Now these were the days after the Tiber War had come to Hammerfell with its banners and phalanxes and its skill at sea, which came to nothing except for treaty, for no empire of men may rule the sons and daughters of Yokuda. We are superior in every way to all the other races of this world and they know it. The Hoon Ding guides us; all others can Make Way.That is, unless those others do not come from this world at all, and are instead spirits of the Far Shores or the In-Between-- against these gods and demons and mad shapers, all men can be humbled. But is that not the point? Different rules apply to gods and demons and mad shapers.Of these, I talk now of the demon-king of the Star-Wounded East, Vehk and Vehk the Circle Talker, anon Ansu-Gurleht in Yoku, the God of Makes Us Women, whose powers are so terrible that even Redguards must bend to His will, though foreign and thus benighted; if He comes, we run until we can’t. There is no shame in this; we are allowed to run from disaster; witness the loss of Yokuda, where our running was blessed by windy Tava who filled our sails with escape. And Ansu-Gurleht is surely disaster.But there was one of us that didn’t run from Him. Cyrus never ran from anything except for the killing of Hakan, and that was so long ago that it doesn’t really count.


The captain had them restow the Carrick at Herne and once more at Jabbur before moving into the waters of the Abecean. The map to Old Yokuda came from the Lame Cat of Wayrest, like always. There was no agenda save the looting of a particular temple; at least that’s all Cyrus would let on about; but some of the raga of the crew were eager just to see the homeland of their forebears. True stories had come that Yokus still lived among the stark remains; that some did not or could not flee when cataclysm came; others that the orichalc isles were a place of censure handed down from the no-totambu. And everyone knew the self-exiled ansu still lived there who did not witness the ho no shira, or the capture of Volen, or the Make Way of Diagna, and so were left to the sword-singing of their histories behind the Curtain of Run.

The captain set their course south-southwest, slanting across the spring trades into the Sea of Pearls to the puzzlement of the crew. Some of the older among them muttered darkly of the guardians of the western approaches, but nothing was sighted during the long weeks of smooth sailing. At twilight on the 12th day out of Jabbur, Coyle, long-learned in the navigations, took sighting of the non-constellation of Sep and abruptly Cyrus changed course to the north. The old hands explained to the new that they had crossed the Line that day and it was now safe to bear up for Old Yokuda. The winds, which had been fair, now turned into the north and gusted with growing ferocity, often threatening to lay the Carrick on her beam if not for the skill of her crew. After weary days of this, they finally made landfall on the 17th day.


Coyle, stay with the ship and start the trim. If the locals come, you speak the language. Anchor’s dropped right, sir, and Borden’s already got his raiders filed. Good, we move soon, night’s falling. Take Haekele with you, Captain, he speaks Yoku, too, and reads it if he don’t lie. Noted. We go to the spot S’rathra marked and nowhere else. Sen nung ni-Bateki tro ki-lodo. What? It’s a prayer, Cap’n, to the God of We Like Our Bodies Just Like They Are. Fair enough. Ach, heathens help us. No offense, sir. It’s a just tradition, Captain. Aye, these isles tro zhang-ga let. Shut up and get your kit.


By torchlight they made for the interior, badlands all of it and worse. Sharp drops would appear along the stone pathways or the high wet walls, all of it jagged from the mythic wars against the Aldmer and still gleaming with eldritch-foam. Cyrus was reminded of the geographies of Morrowind and Masser, though the wind smelled sweeter here. He choked out an order for rope to get them across the Tendu Shreds that was coming sooner than his crew had thought possible. Their captain had memorized the map, since he knew they would approach the temple under cover of night. He passed some licorice to Fornower, the youngest of those present.

The temple was nestled in the Shreds, unlit save for the foam that gave it an underwater glow, and Borden said a small word to Tsun to keep his cool. "All in a day’s," he said.

Broken and worked, the temple held a glimmering language above its entrance. Haekele of Alik’r moved closer. Cyrus raised a hand.

"It’s Daedric," the Captain said. "I can read that."

At the mention of the Lords of Misrule, the crew of the Carrick were set to a heavier unease.

"’The Virtue of the Little Reward’," Cyrus read aloud. Then he frowned at the writing. "Well, I’m glad I could work that out for us." And then he guided them in.


The statue looks dunmer. Shh. But that makes no sense, sir, they ain’t much fer sailin. Just find the jewel if we can, this place looks pretty bare. Doesn’t look ransacked, though. Cap, look there, that’s probably why. It’s a gate. That’d keep anyone out. Hand the torch. Move up, Gar, what’s its aura read? Look on the walls. Shh, what’s it read? We’re fine, sir, it can’t open, it’s ‘fire-locked. The Emperor’s good for something then. I’m serious, look on the walls. Those kings, they aren’t dunmer, they’re raga. No, they’re women, see. All of them is with child. Look. For. The. Jewel. Oh no, Captain, this is a temple to Ansu-Gurleht! Who the hell is that?


They found that the jewel was in parts, three by three, one for each etching of the pregnant Yoku kings of the Temple of Ansu-Gurleht the Seed-Bringer. With careful knives they pried them out and by Gar’s small enchantments they formed them into one, the Glass Opal of the Nogru.


Borden took out his sword. "That came from the gate, sir."

Cyrus looked at the arching columns of the temple center, long cracked by age and with traces of wheel-carvings. "Yeah," he said.

The gate spoke again. "Drop the bauble, rude shapes, I am bathing in pico-filament moltings that come in six beautiful colors the Aurbis hasn’t even revealed yet, and I really do not want to make this journey. You should also know that I’m very dangerous."

"Move," Cyrus said, and the crew of the Carrick ran.


The route back to the beach was quicker, as they jumped what they had had to climb before, and the discretion of their movements they put aside as fast as the sun could rise. Some of them thought foolishly that daylight might keep their pursuer away, as he was undoubtedly a dark thing perhaps not given to new mornings, but Cyrus yelled at them to run. Better than Gar, he could feel when strange things were moving against him.

They ran across the sand towards the boats and their shipmates knew enough to start the casting off. "Pull her up," Coyle yelled, "They’ve caused trouble!"

The wind fell around them, and then a shadow, and then a bright half-star behind. Cyrus turned to see, and maybe he was smiling because he liked this kind of thing, and from the rock edges Vivec appeared, making the men gasp. No one had expected a dunmer on these shores, nor one so oddly arraigned.

"I’ll deal with him," Cyrus said, and Borden waited a second to receive the Opal, but his captain wouldn’t toss it. "No hard feelings, but I don’t really trust you, Borden. Go!"

Vivec was half-golden and half-blue and all of him glowing, and he was armored lightly, and carried a small shield and a curved sword at his side. His head was bald except for flame, and he smiled with evil.

"Stay back, dunmer," Cyrus said, eyeing his head. "I can’t have you burning my boat."

Vivec walked closer. Afterward, men aboard the Carrick said they could smell a fortune in bug-musk.

"You don’t know me," Cyrus said, "so I’ll tell you once--"

And then Vivec spoke, and the winds of the beach died down when he did for he was the Lord of the Middle Air and they were indentured to him. He said to Cyrus, "Oh, I know you, raga. I know that you forced an armistice with the Cyrodiil, which I have done, though by other designs. I know also that even after speaking well and rendering your people free again, you remained a thief at heart in the days after; these days, in fact, which I have also done and still do, again in my own way."

And here the god of the East smiled a bit too lovingly. "And let it be said here that you have no idea how much I absolutely adore thieves."

Cyrus for his part was circling around Vivec, making a trough in the sand, some place in which to move easier when the fight came. His men watched from the deck of his ship. Some had brought bows and arrows, but Coyle moved them away with a hand.

Vivec lifted his legs to float in the lotus position, his head to the side with the smile vanished and replaced by a dole of remorse without mocking. "I know how you die," he said, "and the trouble your soul will have reaching the far shores of your taken stars because of things you did to the discredit of the Hist, and how their long roots run even into the void tendril-feeling for your final entrance. I know how you think now, at this moment, that there are no paths except for the drowned lamp, or the wrongheaded romance of saberplay in a landscape of long regret, taking whosoever will ride with you through the still-sought salvation spread across each water lash, wandering your heart to find some purchase beyond the admonishment of the moons; flagellant without end."

Vivec’s eyes went to the Glass Opal cradled in the pirate’s arm and frowned. He looked at Cyrus, dourly, saying, "I know all of this about you, Sura, and more, and it grants us a kinship despite your crime against me, and so it pains me yet that I think you really know nothing of me and my mastery. Or do you? I am the city that walks, the wise and benevolent eye of the ALMSIVI, and it has been such for uncounted red generations, each adding its mark then and forevermore, the worship of the construction-everlasting, Architect Amen. What could you possibly know of me?"

Cyrus had never changed his expression. "I know you’re talking," he said, "because I see your mouth moving and I hear words." And with that he dropped the stolen jewel and drew his saber.

Vivec then drew his own sword, slow yet perfectly, whipping around to angle it to his left. "Hmm," he said. "Yes, fine, I think."

The two moved in closer, Vivec gently floating so that the bonemold of his right armor faced Cyrus. "Death despite kinship has ever been our way," he said, "I know too how it feels to murder the husband of my sister."

At this last, Cyrus was finally angered, understanding now that this champion of Morrowind was truly able to read his mind, which he had vouchsafed from even the closest to him, and this is why he hated all spirits of aether. It read on his face, which thereafter hardened. "Tell me, demon," he asked, "since you know how I die: is it this fight?"


"Good to hear," Cyrus said, and attacked.

Vivec spun in midair cross-legged, never moving his swordarm from its initial position. He spoke, "Fa-Nuit-Hen," the name of an old master, and Cyrus fell from eight wounds that appeared without mortal notice. Coyle could not stop the men from firing then.

Bleeding into the sand, Cyrus could see Vivec above him with no sword in his hand at all but instead the stolen jewel of the Nogru, and an array of seventeen arrows fanned around his firehead aspect peacock-style, caught by demon magic. Cyrus could not get up and Vivec spoke, "And I know of your late father, the playwright, and though some of its local color is lost on me, I am fond of his work. That is why I have let you live. I adore poetry, too."

The Lord of the Middle Air vanished, and Coyle sent boats to the shore with medicines and their sugarcat surgeon, who had taken passage sometime after Herne.


You cannot go back. We must cast off. Captain, take us into this no more. A demon’s mercy only comes once. Quit staring at your sword, sir. Yokuda was lost for a reason. Let’s just go. Why not just send the crows an invitation in lights. Please, captain, let us cast off. I mean, we brought some from Akavir, they’d see ‘em surely. You can’t even move. We’ve heard the stories of Ansu-Gurleht, the raga among us at least; the gods say it’s okay to hightail it. Great work, Haekele, those were right magicsome words. Go get the skooma-pipe and tell him it’s a scalpel day again. Please let us just leave this haunted place. Cut up suits you, cap, pregnant don’t; listen to the men. You cannot go back. With all due respect, sir, you’re dumber than I look.


Now in his time asleep or under the knife, Cyrus didn’t know that Coyle had set out with a few other sailors, all of them Yoku-speakers. Knowing his captain too well, the young man went to find the fabled ansus, the sword saints of orichalc. Coyle kept no hope that he should be so lucky—the ansus kept their citadels hidden, and komodos protected them under color of rock. In the village of Bu-tabar, which topples down the eltheric breaks like survivor pearls, Coyle learned that the ansus were seeking to hold counsel with Cyrus anyway. He met them on the Samarand Road and they were three as in tradition- a young one, an aged one, and a daughter of neither. They had a train of followers to carry their sword collections and their memories-in-stone. Seeing the crew of the Carrick, the daughter ansu reenacted the Falls of Diag-leeki with twin falchions, playing every part; since she did so in under a minute, it meant hello-don’t-be-useless.

"I should warn you," Coyle told the elder in the old tongue, "Captain Cyrus doesn’t know any Yoku at all."


Coyle brought the elder ansu and the young one to meet Cyrus in the surgeon’s hold; the daughter stayed abovedecks with their train, to protect them and to warn the sailors with displays. The young ansu greeted the captain in Yoku, which Coyle translated for him. Cyrus merely nodded and lifted up, bandaged across his eight wounds, and the sugarcat hissed at the needless movement. Startled by the sound, the young ansu took a Walled Consequence stance. Coyle brushed the surgeon away quickly and finally the elder spoke.

"We know of you, Surahoon," he said in the captain’s own speech, "And motions were multiplied the other morning on this beach, which is sword tremor, which we can feel, and that can only mean you encountered the Ansu-Gurleht."

Cyrus shrugged his shoulders. "If you mean the dunmer wizard, yeah, he was here. I almost had him. And no funny talk."

The young ansu dropped his stance. "He cannot be beaten," he told Cyrus, "We know every sword move created in history, and none of them would avail you, even if you learned them from our memories-in-stone, which we would be obliged to lend you if you asked. You killed the white king in the Hammerfell, after all."

"What?" Cyrus said. "The Emperor? I didn’t kill him."

"Of course you did; you were the Hoon Ding."

"No I didn’t and no I wasn’t."

The young ansu refused to listen. Behind his stone-feather mask he smiled in admiration. "You disarmed him, even, and would not kill him until he showed another knife. That is ra gada honor. We do not fight the unprotected. Your stories have come—"

"That wasn’t the Emperor," Cyrus said. "That was just—"

"Of course it was. That is why the Hammerfell stands. You were the Hoon Ding. In any case, the Ansu-Gurleht cannot be beaten. He was gifted by the Barons of Move Like This, who record sword moves from the future, as well."

"Right," Cyrus sighed. "Please remove yourself from my ship."

Coyle went to his captain. "Sura," he whispered, "nogo tur—"

"Not an option, Coyle." Cyrus turned to the ansu. "Now go. The fight with the dunmer is my own. I appreciate the advice but you’re—"

"Will you not take our memories-in-stone, at least?"

"Why?" Cyrus said. He tried to keep his temper. "You’ve already said that they’re useless against him."

The elder lifted a hand. "The Hoon Ding could—"

"Look, I am not –"

"The Hoon Ding could read the stones and show you what we say is true—that no move exists that will get past the Ansu-Gurleht."

The elder looked through the floor of the hold. "At least not now," he said, "The Hoon Ding would show you that he will not manifest in you in this fight."

"Good," Cyrus said. "He’d get in my way." And with that he lay back down. The elder looked up from the floor, and set his head to the side.

"Surahoon," he said, "We are the ansu, the greatest warriors that live in men. Our swords sent the Left-Handers into the oceans, whose empire was four times the size of the white king. When we fight, our swords can kill the laws of nature itself. Yokuda is as you see it because our hira-dirg swords can cut the atomos, the uncuttable, and we did. We are the ansu, and we tell you now that you cannot beat the Ansu-Gurleht. How do you think he came by that name? Who do you think was our finest student?"

Coyle stepped back. He shook his head. Cyrus for his part just shrugged again.

"Then your finest student is a painted hussy," he said, "And a foreign one at that. Great work. He’s quick enough, sure, but I’ve cut down his kind before."

Cyrus lifted his head for a second, looking to Coyle. "He talks a lot, too, and seems to like that. Is there a God of Talk to Death here, too?"

"Yes," Coyle said, "But Ansu-Gurleht is the—"

"Of course there is," Cyrus said, "I can work with that, then. Hopefully he’ll be holding his sword as he’s yakking away so my Redguard honor will remain intact when I run my saber into his mouth mid-sentence."

The young ansu spoke with the elder’s voice. "We are telling the Hoon Ding to run."

Cyrus smiled and closed his eyes.

"Where’s the money in that?"


Bellguard down, over, hold. The Bone Shaver. Strike at 80 grams, any degree but this one. The Ephemeral Feint. Breathe in and then forget the breath; you cannot replace it until he is down, to fight as if dead: second principle of pneumansu. The Vectoring Cygnet. Arm out, knee down, coal on the teeth to hide your smile. The Pankratosword, but this is forbidden. Arc the bones that otherwise cannot bend. The Threat of Mirrors. Using the Math Athlete, you could occur several places during a single duel, illustrious and sure. Paint fake eyes all over your face and then hide your real ones among them; the opponent can no longer read where you look. The Premeditated Modesty. The Fingers-Knife serves as five, protecting your cardinal points and your central theory; five thrusts, spaced microseconds apart, like tapping the desk bored, waiting for morning bread.


Cyrus woke in the surgeon’s hold, dark lapping sounds coming through wood. The cat was still up going through bottles and washing linens. Seeing his captain wince, he nodded and said, “Bad moons in a big dream.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Before you even ask,” the cat said, “G’latha slipped no moonsugar in your last resting-water.”

Cyrus moved to a sitting position, wincing slightly from some pain in his lower back. “Then why?” he said.

“The sword-walkers left a memory-stone under your pillow.”

Cyrus moved the pillow and saw it: a dark rock weathered smooth with age, encrusted with traces of glistening curves. He glared at G’latha. “And you knew about this?”

“Yes,” the cat said. “G’latha found it amusing. Also, G’latha thought that maybe its magic would seep into your brainpan and teach you vaba maaszi lhajiito, do-sura.”

Cyrus got on his feet and grunted some admonishment. He found his sword near the cutter tools and hefted it, looking at its grip and wondering why it felt a bit off. Had the dunmer wizard knocked its balance out? Had he even set aside the saber in that whirling motion he’d made? Cyrus couldn’t remember. He remembered only how ridiculously fast it had all been.

“That book also teaches ahzirr traajijazeri,” he said to G’latha.

“Did you ever notice we hid that lesson at the bottom? Speaking of lessons, it seems like do-sura learned a few.”

“Yeah, there was a move called—oww.” Cyrus had attempted a swing but something across his skin tore sharply. “I was going to make a joke in there somewhere about skinning —oww. I reopened something.”

“G’latha was serious. Did you not notice what you did?”

Cyrus put his saber down. He was feeling dizzy. The sugarcat lent a hand.

“Here, sit back down for the needle,” G’latha said. Pawing his captain’s stitches lightly, his eyes flashed over to the sword.

Do-sura fights right handed,” he said, voice low, “Yet you just held your saber with your left.”


As morning rose, Cyrus scanned the beach again from topside. Some men were moving about nervously. Thorpe, the scrub, was close by, swabbing the decks, whistling some song from Sutch or thereabouts.

“Thugs mustn’t have ties to anything except ink and the glimmer of gold.”

Thorpe looked up from his brush. “What was that, sir?”

“Nothing,” Cyrus said, realizing he’d been heard. “Something an old villain of mine said to me once.”

“Ring a truth it’s got,” Thorpe said, going back to his work, “And if ye don’t mind me sayin’ so, there’s plenty of glimmer back homewards.” Thorpe started nodding at his own advice. “Scuttle’s that the Reachers have taken to the water to fight Old Mary,” he continued, “and those Bret’n buttertubs couldn’t outrun the Carrick on their best day.”

“That’s just it, Thorpe,” Cryus sighed. “The Reachers don’t stand a chance against the Dominion. But they’re trying. Same news you heard says the Thalmor sent a plague into Camlorn. It’s a matter of…" And Cyrus let the sentiment trail off. He had taken an interest in the sunrise.

“What’s that, sir?” Thorpe said, eyeing him. “Reconciling vengeance and honor again?”

“Yoku has forty-eight different versions of honor,” Cyrus said, “And they all trace their roots to ugak-ta, which means, more or less, “I’m pretty mad”. So that might be a yeah.”

Fornower walked by, fetching a saw. “Woke up speaking Yoku, cap?” he said.

“Strange night,” Cyrus said.

Thorpe let Fornower pass until he spoke again. “Ain’t a soul on this boat would think less of ye fer avoidin’ that whip-evil Velothi domino, Cy.”

“I know.”

Cyrus palmed the top of his saber-hilt, thinking. He frowned as he felt the same imbalance in the blade, even in its sheathe. He sighed again and looked over to Thorpe.

“Actually, there would be one that would think less of me.”


So it was that Cyrus the Restless came to a decision, which was ever preordained by his make, and let us not say that he did so easily, for that would be a lie, but still and alas: he was to meet the Ansu-Gurleht in single combat for satisfaction, if only the demon-king might be troubled again to show up. Cyrus had thought of ways to ensure this.

"Bring me maps and histories of the dunmer," he told the learned of his men, "And bring any here that know of the Ansu-Gurleht's aspect beyond local legend."

Borden showed with documents, for he was a reaver long, and had been to Morrowind before and after Armistice. He knew nothing much, however, of the dark elves beyond their ability to fight at raid time. "He's not a Redoran, I can say that," Borden said, scrolling out papered territories and pointing, "He was little armored, and those devils go weighted."

It was Gar that knew most of their dunmer politic, but he could not reveal much that wasn't tangled in old tale. "He may be the one named Vivec, because he mentioned ALMSIVI, which is some kind of god guiser cabal in their belief, with great hold on their nation. This "Vivec" is the only one of that group that frolics about outside their borders so much; one might say he's their public face or something."

Cyrus snorted.

"I'm telling you just what I know, Captain. The Pocketguide says they never come out at all, the ALMSIVI. Better texts link him to the Daedroth Mephala."

"Oh," Borden added, "Them Redorans also speak less distinguished than the dandyman you...well, I would say you fought, but that'd be generous in description. No offense, as always."

"Mephala?" Cyrus said. "Which Lord is that?"

Gar flipped through a book, looking for something to back up what he was already going to say. "The Webspinner in day parlance; otherwise it gets hazy. Ties to the Morag Tong, ties to sordid other cults in the provinces, running gamut from drugs to dibbledark to, hell, fashion trends even. Weird one, this Mephala."

"Weird is relative," Cyrus quoted.

A crowd had gathered; men with rope or hidden eagerness or barely covered discomfort. Their captain was stubborn and famous for it. No matter the disposition, each Carricker needed to be a part. Coyle was among them, about to say something until Hiddleman spoke up.

"Prizewise, what yer talkin past all this raga noise is we get the Nogru Opal back, yeah?"

The men of the Carrick shifted then, eyeing their captain and the dumb marine from Anvil. Coyle took the stead. He said, "Yes, Hiddle. No action Sura decides goes tobr'a way. Settle in and give scandal no glance."

Cyrus took the heed, but his nature couldn't stop his color despite it. "Listen, all of you. Runners were sent inland, and they're coming back with trade. The locals have never seen fireworks, and we stole plenty from Ko. Orichalc's en route in abundance, which will gather drake like even the oldest here have never witnessed. S'rathra's shiny is only going to make us richer, and I aim to get it back from that dunmer princess without a doubt."

Cyrus looked at the men to see the measure of their waver. "Without a doubt, you hear," he said. "Because no power lays me low like that on any ground, foreign or however-you-like. I’m Redguard. He insulted me, and let me live. In plain, don't trouble on my motive and your payday’ll come tonight."

He looked to Borden. "Bring me my armor." He turned to Gar. "Find me the worst thing I might say to this Vivec." He turned to Coyle. "Load the cutter. I go within the hour."


With no need for secrecy this time, Cyrus went a more direct route to the temple of the Ansu-Gurleht. Near a crossroads that split on the westernmost fall of the Tendus there was a wayside shrine to Morwha, with a sprawling statue inside of a fashion he had seen before in his own lands. He left coin there in a wax-hollowed candle holder on the goddess' knees and felt a sudden relief in the wound of his lower back. He nodded to the ugly, fat face of the Yoku mother spirits and gave thanks and moved on.

The day became hot, for he was unused to wearing chainmail and helm and greaves, and heavy padding underneath all of it. He'd done so at times, battled in armor, but even at war in M'kai or the Rim he went without it and relied on speed instead, because his fighting style did. There would be no speed against the demon-king of the dunmer, Cyrus had learned, only force and hard defense. His mind was heady with the sword-thought of the ansus. It was all of it breath and geometry of edge and lessons that were lost on him because he had not the physical training for them.

He wondered about the Barons of Move Like This and the impossibility of their designs; how they were an advantage of Vivec's that few warriors could compensate for. He wondered how that any stone-knowledge he'd absorbed had already been dealt with by a countermove that did not exist yet; and that the Ansu-Gurleht had no doubt trained in it. Finally, he wondered of various ways to just plain cheat.

"There is nothing you can say to insult this Tribune, Captain," Gar had said. "He is divine and goes all back all eras. He has endured slights from every power-- of the dark, and of the starkeepers, and of the lesser royalty of Man-- and delivered them back with laughter. His main joy is foul effrontery, one could say, and will gain you nothing."

Cyrus told Gar he wasn't helping.

"Actually, I'm trying," Gar said. "More than insulting him with something unlikely to earn anything but amused contempt, I'm afraid that he would counter with something worse. He has a godsmind, Captain. He knows he could unshake you, and you cannot suffer that to happen in your duel with him."


It had somehow rained only inland the past day. The earth near the Shredstart was soft and unlovely, broken by stream. Cyrus stopped and looked down a wide gulf, thinking in Yoku, netu anselim, which was the small version of the thought "turn back". Below, salmon leapt upwards along a low river in their unparsible function.

Another Yoku phrase almost rose, but Cyrus smothered it, saying only, "Yes, that's just about right." The salmon and their desperate natal stretch was an answer he agreed to.

He set the unease of the stone-knowledge into his stomach, removing it for a moment to become again what he remembered himself to be and not what magic had wrought, the ancestor idioms breaking across a bank inside him.

He cursed the ansus for their interference. No one should be made to swallow a language whole. He looked to the fish again and shrugged, finally moving on. Yes, he thought, it's only a fool that picks which dooms he subscribes to if he has more than one that breach his sky...but, well, there you go.

"I'm coming for you, woman," he said, quickening.


And when he saw that the entrance to the temple had been sealed by a seamless plane of ebony, Cyrus wondered if he had come for nothing. Then all thoughts of honor went away and he wondered instead if the Carrick had anything aboard that might cut godsblood, because he would be stinking rich.

Then the right half of the ebony plane turned to gold, and both halves moved like fluid in the air, a vision of trapped rain raining along a hectic compass; and Vivec formed from this mercurial swirling and floated there, finally smiling. He had not changed in his arraignment, Cyrus noted. And he notices that I have. Great. Hush.

Vivec spoke. "So the ansus I sent didn't ward you off, little cut? I willed them to, for I have mentioned my liking of thieves, and thus I sought to help you, raga doon, Cyrus the Restless."

"Tung den uta-no-mongo, Ansu-Gurleht."

Vivec cocked his head, which lit aflame at the wondering. "Well, something stuck, at least. And I give help whether you wish it or not. What I will not give is my toy of the westernmost west, the Opal of the Nogru, whose chieftains I lady-made in long ages before your kind came to the Tamri-el."

"We'll see about that," Cyrus said.

"Tenacity," Vivec said, drawing his sword swiftly, "I adore that, too. I am the circumvention of the Black Hands of excess, and now have the rule of it, and it was not bought without tenacity. May I name you as wife after this is over?"

And with that the Ansu-Gurleht angled his sword down in the position he had done at the beach, point down, blade edge forward, 60 degrees rise-wise from the ground. He floated lotus fashion and stopped smiling. His eyes were watching the future, Cyrus knew, so think of a way around all of this, damn it.

Cyrus drew his saber, holding it left-handed in the Tempest Attrition.

Vivec was impressed and said so. "That stance allows you a riposte," he said. Then he smiled again. "If you're quick enough."

Cyrus moved to Havoc Canal and Vivec nodded. "Better. Your build favors that. But what if I've enchanted my skin to harden at each instance?"

Zero-sum Interrupt.

"Can you even do that, silly raga?"

"Test me."

"No," Vivec said, "For I would prefer to imagine that you could. It would mean that I would bleed prior to the cut itself, bypassing all healing; moreso, and this is what pleases me utmost... it would mean that I have indeed helped you."

Cyrus had his moment then, where he had maneuvered the duel from the start: pride. Pride was the Ansu-Gurleht's weakness. "Milord," Cyrus said, "Forgive me my little grace, but I deny your help again. Indeed, I turn my back to it, and betray it, and malign it. That should be familiar to you."

Vivec paused. "It is," he said.

"As should this," Cyrus said, moving to the Pankratosword.

Vivec paused longer. And then he laughed loud. "You would not!"

"I say again, test me."

"You would destroy the home of your ancestors even more? And in the fashion that they had done, which is now forbidden in your hands?"

Cyrus didn't move from his stance.

"All for an Opal which you could never thereafter spend?"

"You would be finished," Cyrus said. "And I would be rid of the one who shamed me. So why wouldn't I? You shouldn't have sent your saints to me, Ansu-Gurleht. I am not much like them at all."

"Cut the atomos and you die, too."

"What, the Barons of Move Like This didn't teach you a countermove to this?" Cyrus said. "Oh, wait, they wouldn't have. The Pankratosword is stricken from the record."

Vivec laughed again. He was delighted. He said, "The things they said about you were true, Redguard, whether you wish to believe it or not."

Vivec bowed his head.

"I make way," he said. "I drop my sword."

And the demon-king did, though it hovered a few inches from the ground.

Vivec continued. "And thus we come to stalemate, for I am unarmed and you cannot--"

"No," Cyrus said, moving his sword to Vivec's throat, "You overestimate my Redguard honor, boy. Different rules apply to gods and demons and mad shapers. And you, Ansu-Gurleht, you're all three."

"I should kiss you," Vivec smiled.

"The jewel'd do better," Cyrus said, "Thank you very much. Summon it, send it to my ship, and we're done."

"This is what you ransom for your shame," Vivec said, chiding, the Opal of Nogru floating out from within the temple. It flew off south and east. "You're easily bought."

Cyrus turned to go, but Vivec stopped him, saying,"And I had so wanted to see the Pankratosword, and so believed you ired enough to bring its ruin on us both. What stopped you, Surahoon?"

"Old advice," Cyrus said. And he pointed his saber to Vivec's face and its two colors. "And you're wearing it, sure enough."

At the apex of the temple's upper reaches, Cyrus turned back, calling to Vivec. "Ink and gold, milord," he said. "And the general mystery of dangerous men, you see. Well met, Tribune, and farewell."

He left the Ansu-Gurleht forever.

And that's how the story goes, with a duel that was not a duel, and with a story that wasn't true. Cyrus, you see, never knew how to actually use the Pankratosword, only how to hold it at threat. After all, its use was forbidden and thus held in no stone at all after the fall of Old Yokuda.

When he returned to his ship, the Carrickers cheered and asked loudly over one another the same questions: how the fight went with the Ansu-Gurleht, and how their captain had become the victor. Cyrus smiled then, and wouldn't answer, moving them to hustle and trim, for they were casting off.

It was Fornower who got the truth of it, handing Cyrus half a bit of licorice. "For your mighty deeds, now plus one: some bitten-on licorice of the Bay" he said. "But, c'mon, Cap, and tell just me, then. How'd you beat him?"

"Yeah, well," Cyrus said. He chewed and swallowed. "I cheated."



Lament for Pelinal

Michael Kirkbride

[Scholars disagree as to whether Morihaus’ famous lament belongs in the fragmentary volumes of “The Song of Pelinal” or the bull-god’s own so-called memoir, “The Adabal-a”. Certainly it could belong to either, given that both of those texts celebrate the great affection between these immortals. History and indecision, however, have maneuvered the “Lament for Pelinal” into the relative obscurity of secondary sources associated with the Alessian Rebellion.]

And the Mor bull flew from the Taking,
Where the alien kings had left Pelinal
Eight-wise – leaking, talking fool talk
To gnash treetops, sending southern leaves
Like his mother’s rain – Sky Goddess Son
And suddenly it was a canvas of fall
For his horns were spirals of gore
Painting them doom-eyed

Thunder-color hit the river’s edge,
Surprising it, distempered
This was jacklight lost to him
This was his landing-madness
Given hoof-point
And all the trajectory of took-away
Bent inward, storied to an end

“Pelinal-ada, again partitioned, what echo is
Unsatisfied still?
Whose dream is mumbling drunk?
I would break the compass of the map
And become it in better brass
And skin myself in country
So I could contain each piece of you
They hid, to conjure one precious
Return of your dumb laughter

“If I could be assured the rude stars
Of our continuing houses
Would not already be in fits of remake
Covetous, and yet stepping like soft love
That belongs outside the hands
Made fast at shrine, with candle-strides
So as not to wake the unsleeping
Smack of insect scruple

“Pelinal-ada, you lay in longest quiet,
Making it less easy to stay here between
The wave-fields of time,
Where forms adorn ideas rather
Than the insane else of heaven
Whose drapery now always, always
Patterns those aims to the regular mold

“Who set us to self-hubris, to burnt ribbons
Of kindred fugue?
Which tremble would do it worse?
If my own abeyance might stamp summer
Back into your pallid vanish,
Would I lift this hoof again, assigned?”


Imperial Census of Daedra Lords

Michael Kirkbride

Hey kids,

Still working on the sword-meeting, so in lieu of its presence and in honor of Propitiation Day, I give you "The Imperial Census of Daedra Lords" by the Imperial Geographic Survey. This version of the Census was written before Uriel VII's demise, and is contemporary with the current Pocketguide.



The Imperial Census of Daedra Lords
Azura, Lord of Dusk and Dawn, maintains the domain of Moonshadow, a twilight country of shades and half-thoughts. Visitors to this isle have historically come mainly from the Dunmer of eastern Morrowind and the catfolk of Elsweyr, whose people both hold a great affection for the mother of immanence, though by separate roads. At the time of this writing, regular gateways to Moonshadow have been inaccessible for the last several years. Whether this has to do with the unlawful incidents at Hogithum Hall in the Capital City or mere whim of Azura herself, no one can say. Of course, Azura’s most famous acts of recent times is the Incarnation of the Nerevarine, a subject that while far beyond the scope of this pamphlet has been felt to the present day.

Boethiah, the so-called Prince of Plots, has renamed his country of labyrinthine policy and betrayals yet again. Formerly “Snake Mount”, Prince Boethiah’s maze gardens and twisted towers is called “Attribution’s Share”, a realm best avoided by those that live outside the arcano-politic. Boethiah, like his cohort Azura, is much revered by the followers of the former Tribunal Temple, but sub-cults of his are entrenched in nearly every terrestrial seat of governance. His traditional festival date is the 2nd of Sun’s Dusk, when many contracts are writ between kings and commoners alike.

Clavicus Vile, child-god of the Morningstar, bestows a strange tranquility to his lands that seem concordant to his spheres of mockery and oath breaking, though what shape such concepts might take is admittedly unfathomable. Perhaps by rendering his domains as idyllic countryside the Prince exemplifies his greatest aspect, and that which ingratiates him to his many followers, the power of serenity through wish fulfillment. Only the strongest of the Emperor’s servants are advised to make covenant with Prince Clavicus, and even then are warned against sipping from the Bitter Cup.

Hermaeus Mora, “the Gardener of Men”, claims that he is one of the oldest Princes, born of thrown-away ideas used during the creation of mortality in the Mundus. Imperial Mananauts have verified that his influence on fate and time is real and unfeigned, implications of which tie this Prince directly with Akatosh, chief of the Nine Divines. Since Akatosh is the prime temporal spirit whose appearance led to the formation of the world, perhaps Hermaeus Mora speaks the truth. Nevertheless, it is the will of His Majesty Uriel VII that only on the official holiday of 5th First Seed should any propitiation to this Daedric Prince be delivered. “All else is mutation.”

Hircine’s Hunting Grounds have been closed by consensus of the Elder Council until further notice. It is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

Malacath holds the hardest to access of Oblivion’s extant lands, the Ashpit. As Prince Patron of the disenfranchised and cast out, it is only reasonable that the pathways to his domain take on a characteristic level of concealment. Orsinium, kingdom of the Orcs, gives Malacath its highest esteem, which is surprising when one considers the normal Orcish revilement of Daedric spirits. One might conjecture then that the rumors of Malacath not being a true Daedroth but an imprisoned aetherial spirit are true. It would certainly fit the Prince of Exile that he be one himself.

Mehrunes Dagon, Lord of Razors, has proven himself time and again the enemy of the Empire. Of terrible aspect and crowned in beaten copper, the four-armed Prince of Destruction has troubled the borders of the Mundus with warfare, foul rumor, and force of arms. Banished to dissolution during the Weir Gate massacre and again at Kvatch by battlemages of the 33rd, Mehrunes Dagon is returned to Oblivion once more, and the stars have foretold that his tenacity has known no forfeiture. All heroes of Cyrodiil are called upon to stand vigil against his hidden agencies.

Mephala’s domains in Oblivion are numerous and obscured, collected together by vast strands of magical ghostweb. All of them are devoted to her spheres of sex and secret murder. Echoing this same structure are the various esoteric cults devoted to her across Tamriel, many of which are forbidden by Imperial law. Her aspect is shrouded and manifold, even when she appears in the crowds that gather within her temples during Frost Fall.

Meridia’s holdings in Oblivion are collectively known as “The Colored Rooms”. Another Prince whose origins may not entirely be outside of the aetherial, Meridia has at several times been linked to Magnus the Sun. The most famous account of this association is the Tract of Merid-nunda, which overtly casts Meridia in the role of a wayward solar daughter, cast from the heavens for consorting with illicit spectra.

Molag Bal, King of Strife, is second only to his brother Prince Mehrunes Dagon in the enmity of our Emperor. His lands are the charnel houses the slave pens of Coldharbour, which hold no contrition for those travelers that visit them in error or purpose. That Molag Bal is allowed his holiday at all hearkens back to a treaty of ancient times, when he reputedly lent his infernal power to the creation of the first soulgems.

Namira’s Scuttling Void has been closed by consensus of the Elder Council until further notice. It is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

Nocturnal is accorded the title Ur-dra by nearly all the Royalty of Oblivion. As the mother of night, she claims to be an aspect of the original Void itself, and it is generally deemed best to fortify this declaration in one’s evening prayers.

Peryite’s pits have always been inaccessible to mortals. Our only real knowledge of them comes from reports of the other diabolical Princes. It is said that Peryite guards the lowest orders of Oblivion and that his summoners are to regard his likeness to Akatosh as some primordial and curious jest.

Sanguine, Prince of Hedonism, lords over no less than ten times ten thousand pleasure pockets of the Void. As revelry and drunken stupor fall under this Prince’s influence, he has been a favorite of many Emperors since the first foundation. Records even indicate that he resided in White-Gold Tower during the reign of Reman Cyrodiil and helped in the somewhat dubious draftsmanship of the Crendali Festivals, whose vulgarities did little to help Imperial expansion into Alinor and the other Summersets.

Sheogorath’s Asylums have been closed by consensus of the Elder Council until further notice. It is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

Vaernima, Prince of Omen and Dream, shares a special mageographic connection with the Mundus, since mortal sleepers often slip into her realm without any help at all. Traditional sacrifice to Vaernima is held on the 10th of Suns Height, but as with most luck spirits, prayers to this Daedric Prince occur quite frequently, and not always before bedtime.


How Beautiful You Are That You Do Not Join Us

Michael Kirkbride

'How Beautiful You Are That You Do Not Join Us' -- V'vehk to the King of Rape, Sermon Twelve
Vivec's Gift to the Company During the Days They Deem Evening Star

Settle for the equations that last and not those that pass unto the West, for there you shall find the wicked and thought-slendered, passing as they are for the all-dreamt jewel, not elder, without CHIM, none possessed of any of the secret syllables, without love of ancient libraries and in an unsafe house every last one, fashioned like Lawless Grammar (34, 2), though that is only more deaf witness to the roads out of Veloth back to lands that were promised beneath their breath, a symbol affixed on things unborn, seen from the mercy seat without love to run or rename, as the Moth Kings will when they strut-humble COPRONYMUS for s-h-i-t-t-ed Malacath and, though more besides, this is regarded by myself, Vehk First Taught by Fa-Nuit-Hen, as the Worst Contract, and to be guarded against, for unsigned should stay the dead and the wise know this and abide, and remember the words of Dumal-ac-Ath (who is not hidden so much):
"We shall not relinquish that which has been our way for years beyond reckoning, just as the Chimer will not relinquish their ties to the Lords and Ladies of Oblivion. And to come at my door in this way, arrayed in arms and armor and with your hosts around you, tell me you have already forgotten our friendship. Stand down, my sweet Nerevar, or I swear by the fifteen-and-one golden tones I shall kill you and all your people," and these are warnings older than the Inner Sea, heeded by the wise, who have seen the coeval crawl forth from the untrustworthy oceans time and time, as from the sediment-memory, warnings older than even the West itself, which was not West yet but the left lung of Aurbis and Old Ehlnofey, alike as during the first of the Altmeri formwars, when as glorious dreughs we fell on the meatmerchants of Thras like loss to split their immutables and render their rude- walking slow, into faces tracing back into misdesigned corals and sandplay AE ALTADOON GULGA, which is to say, my friends, drawn each from a page of the Book of Hours: settle for the equations that last and not those that pass unto the West, for I took the Hortator thither and he returned unwhole and with a bagful of visible spokes for as-yet visible wheels and became confused, and I would not have you be the same, limb-riddled as Ruptga's son, out-of-seasoned as the Sharmat, or as longing-for as the MerTella, and so I give you this, found in the West but given East, from the beloved Houses of Crod-ah-Ahnd-El1 and V'se-Vehk-Volod2 and Krol-Kuhl3 and Carof-noo-Nahn4 and Curar-El and Vahndo-Howd5 (who all ever have the blessing of the ALMSIVI), this: AE-SATAK-ADAETADA-KATAS-EA, an Utmost Spoke (for the Word is the Wheel), found in the adamant halls of the Ur-Dir and, though some call it an Elder Scroll, I tell you now the truth of it: it is a linguist- launch cell from the last Shipstar, ex-Engine'd, made by the hands of beautiful people, whose work is adored by me and all my names and moods, and whose newest creation, unveiled in springtimes, will be more handsome and brilliant and cunning than all the craft of the vanished Dwemer combined.

1. That would be a reference to one Andel Crodo of The Essential Site fame.
2. Qwerty's first name, slightly distorted.
3. Ken Rolston of Bethesda, the lead designer of Morrowind, and Kurt Kuhlmann, one of designers of the TES games, especially the TES lore.
4. Matt Carofano and Gary Noonan, AKA WormGod - both artists at Bethesda.
5. Todd Vaughn and Todd Howard of Bethesda.

From The Many-Headed Talos

Michael Kirkbride

"And after the throne of Alinor did finally break at the feet of Men, and news of it came to the Dragon Emperor in Cyrodiil, he gathered his captains and spoke to them, saying:

"'You have suffered for me to win this throne, and I see how you hate jungle. Let me show you the power of Talos Stormcrown, born of the North, where my breath is long winter. I breathe now, in royalty, and reshape this land which is mine. I do this for you, Red Legions, for I love you.'"


Fragments from "The Adabal-a"

Michael Kirkbride

The Pelinal:

“And in the blood-floored throne room of White-Gold, the severed head of Pelinal spoke to the winged-bull, Morihaus, demigod lover of Al-Esh, saying, ‘Our enemies have undone me, and spread my body into hiding. In mockery of divine purpose, the ayleids cut me into eighths, for they are obsessed with this number.’

“And Morihaus, confused, snorted through his ring, saying, ‘Your crusades went beyond her counsel, Whitestrake, but I am a bull, and therefore reckless in my wit. I think I would go and gore our prisoners if you had left any alive. You are blood-made-glorious, uncle, and will come again, as fox animal or light. Cyrod is still ours.’”

The Bull-Lover of Alessia:

“In your histories you have many names for her: Al-Esh, given to her in awe, that when translated sounds like a redundancy, “the high high”, from which come the more familiar corruptions: Aleshut, Esha, Alessia. You knew her as Paravant, given to her when crowned, “first of its kind”, by which the gods meant a mortal worthy of the majesty that is killing-questing-healing, which is also Paraval, Pevesh, Perrethu, and, in my case, for it is what I called her when we were lovers: Paravania.

“Though she is gone to me, she remains bathed in stars, first Empress, Lady of Heaven, Queen-ut-Cyrod.


The Fall of Ald'Ruhn

Michael Kirkbride

From the annals of the Crisis:



"The armies of Oblivion destroy Ald’ruhn, ancestral home of House Redoran, even though ancient rituals were used to awaken the dread emperor crab and the whole city literally rose up to fight the invaders. With their warrior House decimated, the dunmer of Vvardenfell fall back as daedra move towards a siege of Ghost Gate. Prayers to Vivec and the Nerevarine go unanswered."

 Merry Christmas, V, and holiday cheer to everyone!





et'Ada, Eight Aedra, Eat the Dreamer

Michael Kirkbride

[Transcribed from a spore-dream of an unidentified, evaporating Moth Priest that reached zero sum.]

The Aedroth Aka, who goes by so many names as to perhaps already suggest what I'm about to commit to memospore, is completely insane. His mind broke when his "perch from Eternity allowed the day" and we of all the Aurbis live on through its fragments, ensnared in the temporal writings and erasures of the acausal whim that he begat by saying "I AM". In the aetheric thunder of self-applause that followed (nay, rippled until convention, that is, amnesia), is it any wonder that the Time God would hate the same-twin on the other end of the aurbrilical cord, the Space God? That any Creation would become so utterly dangerous because of that singular fear of a singular word's addition: "I AM NOT"?

That all the Interplay is one flea of assertion on a wolf of naught, and that every experience (that is, everything) born from that primal wail would cascade unto the echo-need of hologram, each slice the same except for scale, and all the magic that would need to spring forth just to hold it together at living, divine cross-purpose, support struts made from the need to exist (axial, along its two-headed fighting rays, each refusing their origin point, that is, Tower), terrestons versus chronocules, and in the end (an end that ever refuses to hold) it all becomes a lobotomized (for what is not lobal if not the dracochoreography made flesh?), reptilian (coiled), and massive map-god (holding a compass, holding a timepiece), drooling (the water from which we dragged ourselves out of to say, mirror-like, autochthonic, automatic, "WE ARE, TOO") on his countless knees, dementia given dimension, dimension dementia...

[At this point all transcription becomes impossible, except by way of sheet music, an orchestration of which was attempted during the reign of [NUMINIT], who, along with everyone else in the symphony's radial madness, was vaporized by adjacentia. The requisite adachimelic holding-tendrils activated, preventing Imperial collapse. Imposthumously, the Amulet of Kings granted to the "Coccoon Council" that the spore-dream "et'Ada, Eight Aedra, Eat the Dreamer" be immediately stored in the one thousand and eight Cyrodilic weapons of rapture.]


Where were you when the Dragon Broke?

Michael Kirkbride

1E1200-2208 The Dragon Break

Scholar-priests of the Alessian Order tamper with the Dragon God of Time.

A fanatical sect of the Alessian Order, the Maruhkati Selective, becomes frustrated by ancient Aldmeri traditions still present within the theological system of the Eight Divines. Specifically, they hated any admission that Akatosh, the Supreme Spirit, was indisputably also Auriel, the Elven High God.

Newly invented rituals were utilized to disprove this theory, to no avail. Finally, the secret masters of the Maruhkati Selective channeled the Aurbis itself to mythically remove those aspects of the Dragon God they disapproved of. A staff or tower appeared before them. The secret masters danced on it until it writhed and trembled and spoke its protonymic.

The tower split into eight pieces and Time broke. The non-linearity of the Dawn Era had returned.

Tamriel slept through the disaster, which 'lasted one thousand and eight years', until the pieces of the tower came to rest on the mortal plane.

Every culture on Tamriel remembers the Dragon Break in some fashion; to most it is a spiritual anguish that they cannot account for. Several texts survive this timeless period, all (unsurprisingly) conflicting with each other regarding events, people, and regions: wars are mentioned in some that never happen in another, the sun changes color depending on the witness, and the gods either walk among the mortals or they don't. Even the 'one thousand and eight years,' a number (some say arbitrarily) chosen by the Elder Council, is an unreliable measure.

Whether or not the secret masters of the Maruhkati Selective were successful is unknown, and any records of their survival were destroyed by the War of Righteousness that ended the Alessian Order a hundred years later.

* * * * *

Corax, Cyrodiil, Elder Council:

“No one understands what happened when the Selectives danced on that tower. It would be easy to dismiss the whole matter as nonsense were it not for the Amulet of Kings. Even the Elder Scrolls do not mention it -- let me correct myself, the Elder Scrolls cannot mention it. When the Moth priests attune the Scrolls to the timeless time their glyphs always disappear. The Amulet of Kings, however, with its oversoul of emperors, can speak of it at length. According to Hestra, Cyrodiil became an Empire across the stars. According to Shor-El, Cyrodiil became an egg. Most say something in a language they can only speak sideways. The Council has collected texts and accounts from all of its provinces, and they only offer stories that never coincide, save on one point: all the folk of Tamriel during the Middle Dawn, in whatever 'when' they were caught in, tracked the fall of the eight stars. And that is how they counted their days.”

Mehra Nabisi, Dunmer, Triune Mistress of the New Temple:

“Accounts of the Middle Dawn are the province of the Empire of Men, and proof of the deceit that call themselves the Aedra. Eight stars fell on Tamriel, one for each iniquity that Lorkhan made clear to the world. Veloth read these signs, and he told Boethiah, who confirmed them, and he told Mephala, who made wards against them, and he told Azura, who sent ALMSIVI to steer the True Folk clear of harm. Even the Four Corners of the House of Troubles rose to protect the periphery of your madness. We watched our borders and saw them shift like snakes, and saw you run around in it like the spirits of old, devoid of math, without your if-thens, succumbing to the Ever Now like slaves of the slim folly, stasis. Do not ask us where we were when the Dragon Broke, for, of all the world, only we truly know, and we might just show you how to break it again.”

R'leyt-harhr, Khajiit, Tender to the Mane:

“Do you mean, where were the Khajiit when the Dragon Broke? R'leyt tells you where: recording it. 'One thousand eight years,' you've heard it. You think the Cyro-Nordics came up with that all on their own. You humans are better thieves than even Rajhin! While you were fighting wars with phantoms and giving birth to your own fathers, it was the Mane that watched the ja-Kha'jay, because the moons were the only constant, and you didn't have the sugar to see it. We'll give you credit: you broke Alkosh something fierce, and that's not easy. Just don't think you solved what you accomplished by it, or can ever solve it. You did it again with Big Walker, not once, but twice! Once at Rimmen, which we'll never learn to live with. The second time it was in Daggerfall, or was it Sentinel, or was it Wayrest, or was it in all three places at once? Get me, Cyrodiil? When will you wake up and realize what really happened to the Dwarves?”

Mannimarco, God of Worms, the Necromancers:

“The Three Thieves of Morrowind could tell you where they were. So could the High King of Alinor, who was the one who broke it in the first place. There are others on this earth that could, too: Ysmir, Pelinal, Arnand the Fox or should I say Arctus? The Last Dwarf would talk, if they would let him. As for myself, I was here and there and here again, like the rest of the mortals during the Dragon Break. How do you think I learned my mystery? The Maruhkati Selectives showed us all the glories of the Dawn so that we might learn, simply: as above, so below.”