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shivering isles

Namlir's Shivering Bestiary

Namlir Esprink

For my good friend and colleague Venristwie, who protected the creatures of all the Realms.

Although my early education involved extensive research into all forms of fauna, nothing prepared me for the surprises I've uncovered while exploring the Shivering Isles on the Great Expedition. Even though I've lived here all of my life, I am just now discovering how wonderful and unique the creatures of the Isles can be.

The Expedition was an extensive six-year exploration of every nook and cranny of the Isles in an attempt to categorize the indigenous fauna and record this information back for posterity and science. Below, I've done my best to describe each creature in detail. Please note that this information was obtained at the cost of many lives, and this work should be regarded as the most complete and definitive reference of its kind.


The Baliwog is an extraordinarily ugly aquatic-dwelling creature that frequents the lakes, rivers and bogs of the Shivering Isles. Although the Baliwog, or "Wog" as some of the locals call it, walks on all fours, it should by no means be considered stupid or docile. A fully-grown adult Baliwog can deliver a nasty blow from its claws or a potentially deadly bite from its razor-sharp teeth. The lethality of this beast comes not from the actual damage it can deliver, but from the horrible diseases it seems to generate. Also of note is the Baliwog's uncanny ability to regenerate when immersed in water. From our observations, it's best just to avoid these brutes, although it's said some of them carry flawless pearls in their bodies, though it is not known why they would swallow them, or what use they may serve to the creatures.


The Elytra are large insect-like creatures indigenous to much of the Isles. Although there is a marked color difference between the Northern (Mania) Variety and the Southern (Dementia) Variety, they are remarkably similar in behavioral patterns and physical makeup. The Elytra pose a serious threat to the casual traveler, as they have two interesting mechanisms that benefit them in combat. The first is their uncanny ability to block weapon attacks. Through my observations, I have deduced that they utilize their antennae as an early warning system to detect incoming attacks, say from a sword blade or an arrow. The antenna sends a signal to their brains, and they instinctively lift their arms to block. Their second ability is natural venom in their sting. This venom is very deceiving, as it is very low yield, but its real deadly nature comes from its duration. Gone unchecked, the venom can slay the average man over a period of hours. Especially deadly is the Elytra Matron's venom, which can last much longer than the poisons found on the lesser varieties of the creature.

Flesh Atronach

One of the most unusual creatures in the Isles, the Flesh Atronach appears as a sewn-together conglomeration of skin and muscle adorned with mystical symbols and wearing an iron collar. Although it's uncertain whether Sheogorath or some other Daedric Prince created this creature, it's obvious that the intent was to use them as guardians. Usually found inhabiting underground ruins, the Flesh Atronach will defend areas it's set to guard until it's destroyed. A unique visual feature of this creature is the energy spots located on its body. These colored areas seem to glow with an inner light and denote the power of the Atronach. In increasing order of magnitude, these seem to be Yellow, Purple, and Red. The function for these spots is still a mystery, but from my observations, I suspect them to be a magic dampening gland of some kind. As expected, the Flesh Atronachs are all completely impervious to disease and poison and highly resistant to fire and frost. Shock magic seems to affect them adversely, which appears to be their largest weakness. The Purple and Red varieties also seem to possess innate magic abilities, including healing and fireballs.


Perhaps the strangest creature of all is the Gnarl, or "Walking Tree" as it's sometimes called. Like the Elytra, this animated plant can be found roaming almost anywhere on the Isles. One of Sheogorath's truly unique creations, the Gnarl has the most unusual trait of being able to use magic cast upon it, and harness that power to bolster its own defense. Once struck with fire, frost or lightning, the Gnarl grows physically larger and becomes resistant to just that element for short time. Interestingly, this is where the Gnarl's vulnerability comes into play. At the same time the Gnarl is resisting that element it was struck with, it becomes vulnerable to all of the other elements. Our guide on the expedition demonstrated this by striking the Gnarl with a flame arrow then a frost arrow and then back to a flame arrow and so on.


The Grummite represents the only native weapon-wielding creature in the Shivering Isles. These primitive aquatic-born humanoids are organized in a tribal-like system, though it is uncertain who or what they worship. It would be presumed the Grummite worship Sheogorath, their creator, but their religious totems don't seem to bear the Madgod's likeness. What is known is that they maintain a simple hierarchy, including Shaman and Boss Grummites who seem to command the rest. The Grummite have mastered the art of spellcasting as well, evidenced by the Magus Grummite, which can be quite deadly. Curiously, the Grummite possess a defense mechanism similar to the Baliwog: when immersed in water, the Grummite will begin to regenerate damaged flesh. Unlike the Baliwog, this regeneration extends to rain as well, making them quite formidable on a stormy day. This aquatic healing ability leads me to believe the Baliwog and Grummite are somehow related, but even in my extensive research, I was unable to come up with a solid connection.


If any creature represents the darker side of Sheogorath, it's the Hunger. These are pure-born Daedric creatures placed here on the Isles as servitors and guards. The Hunger is not to be trifled with; it boasts superior speed and lightning reflexes along with its primary ability of draining its victim's fatigue. My best advice when encountering this horrible creature is to give it a wide berth or slay it quickly. Be wary, as it is said that conjuration magic exists that is able to summon the Hunger and unleash it upon the caster's foes.


Another aquatic native of the Shivering Isles is the Scalon. Looking strikingly similar to an upright Baliwog, the Scalon features large fin-laden appendages and dorsal spines. These creatures are usually quite fearsome, lumbering slowly after its prey. Don't mistake its speed for its weakness, as the Scalon has an incredible leaping attack that allows it to strike at its victims from a surprising distance. Another connection that it shares with the Baliwog is the fact that its bite or claws can transfer disease to its victim. It's recommended that these creatures be dealt with at extreme range with spells or missiles, as the can be quite ferocious in close proximity.


The Shambles appears to be some sort of an undead construct made of bone and lashed together with wire or bits of cloth. Oddly, the bones used in their makeup appear to have no correlation to one other. They might have skulls for kneecaps or leg bones for arms, to cite a few examples. The Shambles may be undead, but they pursue any victim as if they were a predator chasing down its prey. Like its undead bony brethren, the Shambles is fully resistant to disease, poison and paralysis; however, they possess a unique resistance to all frost magic. Furthermore, upon death, the Shambles will explode in a spectacular shower of frost. This ability seems to have been added by its creator as an interesting last-ditch defense mechanism. This fact was initially unknown to me, and one of our best guides was lost when his hammer struck the fatal blow. If you intend to combat these undead creatures, be certain to carry frost protection or destroy them at range.

Skinned Hound

These nasty undead beasts are generally encountered inside and around the ruins that dot the Isles. The Skinned Hound is extremely fast and agile, and has an insatiable hunger for flesh. Like the Flesh Atronach, it appears to be all skin and muscle that is roughly sewn together, but I am uncertain whether they are summoned or merely constructed. The Skinned Hound is not an adversary to be taken lightly; they feature an incredible invisible charging attack not unlike a ghost, limited frost resistance, and a complete immunity to disease and poison. This beast's weakness is fire. They don't seem intelligent enough to be frightened by it, but it's certainly very efficient at dispatching them quickly.

Although this work only touches upon the combat related aspects of the creatures, I feel this is of primary importance to any traveler within the confines of the Shivering Isles. In future works, I will touch upon the other aspects of these creatures such as reproduction or creation, magical origins, and even some delicious recipes I've discovered in my travels. My best advice when walking the roads and paths of the Isles is to remain ever vigilant and always be prepared. Knowing your foe can mean the difference between a gruesome death and survival. 

The Shivering Apothecary

Cinda Amatius

Many, many things.

Wet things and dry things. Things from plants, things from animals, things from stone and sky and tree and man and mer.

So many beautiful things for potions. All of them there for the taking, waiting to be plucked and put to use. "Grind me! Take my essence and turn me into something new, something wonderful!" they cry out to me.

I have given my life to finding so many of the wondrous things of Tamriel, and now the things that lie beyond. The realm of the Madgod, dangerous and beckoning, has so many new things to offer that I have trembled with excitement over it. I stop to take note of what I have found, so that I may not forget it in the coming days when I spend my time searching, mixing, and discovering.

The Apprentice will find that Marrow from the Shambles and fins from Scalons merge to make a deadly poison that strikes at one's very heart, damaging the health of those who ingest it. Many a blade did I sink into wet flesh and dry bone to learn this, but what I have found pleases me.

Flame stalks and the very essence of Flesh Atronachs can be mixed by even a Novice to counter that damage, as one can drink a potion made from these two to feel healthy again. The Expert may find that rather than risk himself against those walking monstrosities, the Screaming Maw can be used instead.

For Magicka (and without Magicka where would I stand now?) the ichor of an Elytra can be mixed with Withering Moon by a Novice or Thorn Hook by a Journeyman. No explorer in the Shivering Isles should venture forth without looking for these.

The tongue of a Hunger -- by itself a marvel of anatomy -- can be eaten to cure poisons or matched with Withering Moon to cure disease. (I cannot help but wonder what disease would be so dire as to risk one's life against a Hunger....)

I have been most pleased to find that to the Expert Alchemist, Rot Scale, and Worm's Head Caps can be mixed to paralyze one's enemies. This has proven most useful in extracting ingredients from the Isles' less cordial residents.

Sentinels of the Isles

Andoche Marier

A treatise on Golden Saint / Dark Seducer culture and history within the Shivering Isles

Author's Note

This volume attempts to catalogue and analyze known, suspected, and rumored facts about the two races that serve to maintain order within the Shivering Isles. It is by no means intended to serve as the authoritative work on the matter; rather, it is a personal effort on the part of the author to better understand these unique creatures.

In the Service of the Lord

It is beyond the scope of this work to determine the origins of the Golden Saints and Dark Seducers. They are Daedra, and as such their base existence is a mystery to those mortal-born. The commonly held belief that all Daedra are incapable of Creation suggests that even Lord Sheogorath himself is not responsible for the genesis of these races. Yet, it is worth noting that the Prince of Madness has motives and powers that none may guess; to attempt to do so would only confuse the subject further.

It is enough, then, to see that they exist and know that it is so. Beyond this knowledge, however, it is curious that the Saints and Seducers serve Lord Sheogorath unerringly. This allegiance is ultimate and eternal, from all indications, but its source is unknown. Could it be that they themselves were tricked into service by the Madgod? Or do they simply ally themselves with the greatest power in the realm? Previous literary works suggest that Daedra choose to serve their masters so they might find protection and safe harbor. Clearly the Saints and Seducers have this in the Shivering Isles; indeed, they have fortresses which few not of their race are allowed to enter. They have power in the realm, acting as guardians of those who serve Lord Sheogorath. Constantly they vie for the favor of Our Lord, fighting any who oppose him and, at times, even each other. It is reasonable to assume, then, that they have made a willing choice to take up their role in the Isles.

Character and Society

The immediate image called to mind when hearing the name "Golden Saint" suggests an angelic figure, elegant and benevolent. It is ironic then, that while the Golden Saints embody this image in form, their behavior is in stark contrast to it. The Saints are a proud, arrogant race, quick to anger and cruel in their punishment. There is no question that they view all in the Isles as inferior, and make no effort to hide this in their interactions.

Dark Seducers also exhibit little beyond their appearance to match their names. While they too assert their superiority over all others in the realm, they appear to have a more patient, introspective nature about them. They often appear humble in their dealings with mortals, and are known to be patient with the "lesser races."

In fact, the terms "Golden Saint" and "Dark Seducer" are external constructs. While the two groups recognize and respond to these names, they have their own names for their races: The Aureal and the Mazken, respectively. It is possible the Daedra simply have no concern for the names and titles given to them by lesser beings, or perhaps they find amusement in the names. Further research into this subject is necessary but daunting, as the Saints and Seducers do not freely offer personal information about themselves.

Other information can be gathered from observation. It is easy to see that the two groups are strongly militaristic in their societal structure; one's strength and discipline determines one's place in society. Military commanders, for example, are revered by their subordinates. With further observation, a second distinction becomes apparent: both societies are Matriarchal in nature. Females lead the guards within New Sheoth, and have the highest positions of power. Males, while not openly denigrated, are clearly subservient to their female superiors. It is unclear where this practice began, but has been wholly integrated into the daily lives of both races.

Conflict and Conquest

Any resident of the Shivering Isles can confirm that it is unwise to provoke the Golden Saints and Dark Seducers. They thrive on conflict and warfare, and are quick to punish any and all who disobey. Acting in their capacity as guardians of the realm does not satisfy them, however, and so they often engage in combat with one another, despite being garrisoned in areas where they are unlikely to interact. It is possible that this is more than an outlet for aggressive behavior; repeated engagements between the two races may be an effort to gain favor with Lord Sheogorath. If one can triumph over the other, it would prove superiority and a right to gain sole control over the realm. The battle for Cylarne is of particular interest, as both sides have been locked in combat with no hope of resolution for time beyond memory. Does this combat serve to sharpen the skills of the two sides, or weaken them when they could be directed elsewhere? If the conflict cannot be resolved, why then does Lord Sheogorath not step in and settle it himself?

Religion and Ceremony

Little is known about the private customs of the Golden Saints and Dark Seducers. They are reclusive when it comes to matters specific to their race, particularly regarding the mysterious process by which they return to the realm in the unlikely event of their death.

It is common knowledge that Golden Saints and Dark Seducers, as Daedra, cannot be killed. The Animus of the Daedra is cast back into the darkness of Oblivion, and can return to the realm to take form once more. But reports of the time it takes for a Daedra to return to the realm from the Waters of Oblivion are anecdotal and inconclusive; the process by which this return occurs remains shrouded in mystery. Based on behavior patterns and strength of numbers, it can be deduced that the stronghold for each race plays some major part in this process. Common phrases in language (such as "May the chimes call you home") suggest that rather than merely a metaphor, sound may play some role in the sequence of events. It is believed that the chimes referenced by Saints and Seducers do indeed exist and are considered almost holy relics. Attempts to gain information about these chimes, or the process by which they are used, has been met with exceptional hostility and so have been abandoned.

Any and all information regarding the Golden Saints and Dark Seducers, particularly relating to private customs and origins, should be brought to the attention of the author immediately. The greater the scope of our knowledge, the better our ability to understand these compelling creatures.

A Traveler's Guide to New Sheoth and the Shivering Isles

Brenith Aralyn

New Sheoth is generally recognized as the jewel of the Shivering Isles, the culinary and cultural epicenter of the entire realm. Founded at the whim of Our Lord Sheogorath, the city is a model of the Madgod's own perfect vision.

First-time visitors to New Sheoth are often impressed by the warmth, generosity, and general good humor of its residents. Visitors are welcomed with open arms, and generally made to feel as if they are a part of the large New Sheoth family. The sheer scope of the sights and sounds in the city can be daunting to the new visitor, and this Guide aims to make the transition as easy as possible for newcomers.

Visitors will find the city is divided into three main sections: Bliss, Crucible, and the Palace. Bliss and Crucible house the majority of residential and commercial buildings in the city, while the Palace area houses the magnificent Palace of Sheogorath, as well as the residences of the reigning Dukes of Mania and Dementia.

Though located in the same city, visitors will find that the Bliss and Crucible areas of New Sheoth offer distinct experiences. The shining parapets and golden roads of Bliss stand in stark contrast to the rustic buildings and unpaved streets of Crucible. Travelers interested in a bustling nightlife and fine cuisine might prefer time spent in Bliss, renowned for its extravagant galas and spirited affairs. Visitors who seek a quieter experience would do well to spend their time exploring Crucible, where Dark Seducer patrols encourage a more serene way of life.

No matter your tastes, New Sheoth promises an experience like no other. This Guide will give advice on how to best navigate the oft-confusing, though ultimately rewarding channels of this magnificent city.

Arriving in New Sheoth

Travelers to New Sheoth will arrive at its gates from either the highlands of Mania or the swampy lowlands of Dementia. Many make the mistake of hurrying directly to the gates of the city without exploring the beautiful and majestic countryside outside the city walls. This is certainly a mistake, as the forests and glades of the Shivering Isles are unlike those found anywhere else in all the realms. Some discussion of these areas is warranted, as exploring them is vital to experiencing all that the region has to offer.

Mania, Vibrant Land of Towering Flora

Walking amongst the giant mushroom trees of Mania is an experience any new visitor to the Shivering Isles is not soon to forget. Hours spent wandering in the forests of spore trees, breathing deeply of the spore-laden air-these are the times destined to remain a part of you forever. Feelings of peace and contentment wash over the body and calm the soul. It can seem as if you haven't a care in the world.

Take the time to examine the beautiful plant life found in the region. Treat yourself to Alocacia Fruit, which is known to have restorative properties, or pluck an Aster Bloom Core, which some locals believe has the ability to ward off the attacks of evil spirits.

If you plan on spending some time in the Mania countryside, consider visiting the small community of Hale. The residents are mostly local artists, and are very welcoming to weary travelers. Be sure to explore the lovely areas surrounding Hale, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

A cautious traveler is a safe traveler, though, even in the idyllic lands of Mania. While the paths that wind through the scenic countryside are generally safe, the surrounding regions pose some danger for the careless traveler. Mania is home to a number of indigenous animal species, some of which could be threatening to a less-seasoned adventurer. We recommend sticking to the clearly marked paths when traveling anywhere within the Shivering Isles.

The Slow Grace of Dementia

It is often said, "Time spent in Dementia is time not spent elsewhere." Truer words were never spoken.

Many have spent days roaming the small islets of Dementia, enjoying the scenic views over the majestic lowlands. Travel over the quaint bridges that span the small islands of southern Dementia, and enjoy a beautiful sunset among the moss-covered trees.

If you're looking for a place to relax while exploring the lands of Dementia, we suggest a visit to Deepwallow. The small community is a working farm, where the residents use a unique method of raising crops of some of the extraordinary local plant life. The residents of Deepwallow are private people, so care should be taken in approaching them. Once you've learned their customs, we've found them to be a most interesting group with whom to spend some time.

Tip: For an exciting day trip, visit the Hill of Suicides, a site unlike any other in all the Shivering Isles. Located in central Dementia, travelers should not pass up the opportunity to take in the sights at this unique and fascinating location. There is no fee to visit the Hill, though some travelers have found it almost impossible to leave.

Getting to the Shivering Isles

Arrival to the Shivering Isles is solely at the discretion of Our Lord Sheogorath, Prince of Madness.

Getting Around

The best way to explore the Shivering Isles is by foot. Take the time to meander along the paths that stretch across the beautiful landscape. A weary traveler can often find a place to rest at one of the many campsites found dotted across the world.



The Choosy Beggar, Bliss. Raven-Biter and his wife, Sheer-Meedish run a fine restaurant and Inn in the Bliss district of New Sheoth. The rooms are nicely appointed, and the food is above-average for the area. We highly recommend trying the wine-it's some of the best in the city. Many travelers find lunch to be an especially good time to visit the Choosy Beggar. Though the prices are no lower, the earlier hour often finds Sheer-Meedish in a more accommodating mood.


Sickly Bernice's Taphouse, Crucible. Don't let the name fool you: Sickly Bernice's Taphouse is exactly what you'd expect from an inn located in downtown Crucible. The lodgings, while not as opulent as those found at the nearby Choosy Beggar, are satisfactory. Sickly Bernice is an affable hostess, when she is well enough to work. The food is palatable, as are the beverages. After a visit, make sure to see Earil at Earil's Mysteries. He sells a wide assortment of magicks, including some wonderful, low-cost Cure Disease spells.


Common Treasures, Bliss.
If you're looking for... well... anything, Common Treasures in Bliss is a good place to start. Trader Tilse Arelith has a wide assortment of wares available to the discerning customer. She's also more than willing to negotiate a good price for those unwanted items you may find in your travels.

Cutter's Weapons, Bliss.
There's not a finer weapon shop to be found in all of New Sheoth. Cutter runs a fine establishment, and usually keeps a good variety of weapons in stock and ready for use. She'll do repairs for you on the spot, and she seems to take extra-special care with your bladed weapons. This shop is not to be missed.

Books of Bliss, Bliss.
If you're looking for reading material on your journey, this is the place to get it. Sontaire is a very, very friendly bookseller with a keen eye for more than just books. You won't be disappointed if you spend some of your hard-earned gold in this establishment.

The Missing Pauldron, Crucible.
If it's armor you're in the mood to buy, look no further than The Missing Pauldron in Crucible. Recently re-opened under new manager Dumag gro-Bonk, the shop seems to be doing quite well. Dumag will be happy to sell you some new armor, repair you old favorites, or just sit a while and tell you the rather long and interesting story of his life.

Earil's Mysteries, Crucible.
Many adventurers don't like to travel without a full spell book, and Earil's is the place to go in New Sheoth to stock up on the latest in spellmaking. It sometimes seems time stands still as you browse through the excellent selection of spells. Highly recommended.

Things Found, Crucible.
It's an odd assortment of items, to be sure, but it's never a dull day when you visit Things Found in Crucible. Owner Abhuki has scoured the realm in search of the most intriguing and varied assortment of magical items to be found almost anywhere. Take some time and browse around-you never know what you might find!

From Frog to Man

Meekus Ralbrek

The life cycle of the Grummite is rather unique. They appear to be a deviant version of frogs and may even be distantly related to Argonians, although I have no direct evidence of that. Like the humble frog, the Grummite is born from eggs found in or near water. The eggs hatch into tiny pollywogs, no bigger than my hand.

The pollywog grows quickly, and inside of a few weeks grows limbs and changes into an amphibious Baliwog. The Baliwog will live for up to two years, growing to be larger than a man in both length and weight.

Eventually, the adult Baliwog will feel the urge to seek out deep water and bury itself in the mud. It hibernates there for many months, gestating into a Grummite. I have been unable to determine the exact time of gestation. The Grummite emerges from the mud fully grown.

New Grummites never leave the water and are consumed with the urge to mate. Females leave the water to hang their eggs. They are hung over the water to keep them out of reach of aquatic predators, while still allowing the pollywogs to fall into the water when they hatch.

Once a female has laid her eggs, she turns her back on them. She will live her life more on land than in the water, although never far from it. The male's mating urges subside after six months to a year. He too takes to the land and like the female does nothing to protect his eggs.

Adult Grummites have a sort of primitive culture. Kraften Highbrow maintains that they are cunning craftsman that make jewelry and weapons, even mining ore. This is plainly ridiculous. Although I have not determined the source of their tools and adornments, I am certain that they trade with other civilized races for such things.

As for tales of magic casting Grummites, that is even more ludicrous. While their primitive brains are surprisingly large, they clearly do not have the intelligence to learn the arcane crafts. I do not know how Kraften managed to train his pet Grummite to cast spells, but I assure all my readers that it is a trick of some sort. 

Vitharn: the Fall


Chapter I

In which the Keep Vitharn is established and passes from the first generation of rule to the second.

Count Vitharn, who built and appointed his keep from the mud of Dementia, gathered to himself any who would pledge themselves as liege. Nearby tribes of Fanatics were united as vassals to protect his lands and line, and thus the Count lived out his days in the Isles. He and his Countess Mawean bore Csaran and Nweala, the first son and daughter of Vitharn.

Csaran's mother and father believed that with the proper political influence, Csaran could certainly usurp Sheogorath and carry the Shivering Isles into a prosperous age. For his part, Count Vitharn refused even to acknowledge Sheogorath, thinking himself and his heirs irrefutable rulers of the Isles.

This, of course, amused the Madgod to no end, and so he allowed the marriage of Csaran to Sheen-in-Glade, daughter of an Argonian midwife who believed that the mortal sphere would afford her daughter nothing but hatred and oppression.

Sheen-in-Glade was as excellent a Countess to Csaran as any in the Isles could ask for, wanting nothing but to bring pride and honor to her adopted house and Court. For years her mind was untouched, even living as she did in the heart of Dementia. Alas, none may reside too long in the Isles without the blessing of Lord Sheogorath, and so Sheen-in-Glade was finally pushed to the brink by the infidelity of her Husband, the Count.

Csaran was obsessively nepotistic, and distrustful of anyone with whom he shared no blood relation including his bride. Though Sheen-in-Glade bore a son by the Count (who disappeared from the Isles in his twentieth year), it is known that the two shared their bed with decreasing frequency as Csaran's paranoia grew, and he found himself in the arms of his birth-sister Nweala, who bore of their incestuous affair the heir apparent, Cesrien. There are those of us who remember personally the reign of Cesrien, and his contribution to the fall of Vitharn.

Chapter II

In which the birth of Count Cesrien heralds a glorious, bloody, and brief age for Vitharn.

Violent-natured and quick of temper, Cesrien sought enemies where there were none. His early days on the seat of Vitharn saw the extermination of every tribe of man, mer, or beast within sight of the keep, until none were left.

During his brief reign, much of the southeastern coastline of Dementia was unsafe to travel, littered with the corpses of trespassers in the lands of Vitharn, staked to trees as territorial markers. Beside his sadistic temper, Count Cesrien of Vitharn was known also for his slow wit and ailing health.

Indeed, Cesrien was born with legs that seemed mismatched in length, and breathed with a laborious rasp. As a youth, tutors were hard-pressed to school the dull boy. Midwives and nurses surrounded him, attending his every ailment with balms and vapors from every corner of the Isles, but when he came of age he sent them away, often becoming violent in their dismissal.

Perhaps showing the influence of his father, Cesrien became increasingly introverted, allowing only a select few courtiers in his presence. He was seen in pubic only when organizing his vassal Fanatics for yet another raid on the countryside.

Atypically adhering to the desperate counsel of his advisors, Cesrien paused in his plundering to take a wife and ensure the continuation of Vitharn's noble line. The increasingly ill Count chose a vibrant peasant women as his betrothed, from a Heretic Commune in the wilds of Mania. Indeed, Countess Jideen could not have been any more his opposite. Vassal Fanatics, long loyal to their ancestral agreement with Count Vitraen, were inflamed by this heresy, and tensions grew as the health of Cesrien finally failed, and his young son, Cirion, ascended the throne of Vitharn.

Chapter III

In which conflict besets Vitharn and the Irenic Count Cirion is overwhelmed.

Young Count Cirion had scarcely been seen in public before his hasty coronation in the bailey of Vitharn Keep. Some say he still bore bruises from beatings at the feeble hand of his father during his final hours during the ceremony. Had Cirion been old enough to govern, his gentle, reserved demeanor may have been enough to ease the seething tension among the Vassal tribe, but his mother, Countess Jideen was forced to assume many of the duties her husband had so long ignored.

By all accounts, Jideen was a fit Countess; loved by her people -- but the leaders of the Vassal Fanatics could not contain indefinitely their personal sentiments of outrage at her Manic heritage. Despite her exceedingly tactful attempts at diplomacy, the animosity against her was deep-seated, and grew over the years. It is perhaps admirable that the Vassals remained true to the oaths so long.

When Cirion finally came of age to rule, the sheepish boy-Count tried in earnest to ascend gracefully, but his fear of the world was so great that even the shadow of a passing bird would startle him visibly. He was all but unable to address the people publicly, and when he attempted to placate the Vassals -- still outraged by his Mother's heritage -- he could scarcely contain his fright, and some say that he even soiled himself before fleeing the throne chamber.

Certain as the march of fate, the tolerance of the Vassal Fanatics snapped, and warriors encircled Vitharn. The Count's personal guards were ill-suited to repel the attack and the siege lasted a single day. Since the day of that battle, no living soul has wandered away from Vitharn. Local myth tells of a tireless struggle between the spirits of the Fanatic vassals and Vitharn's meager defenders, damned by the treachery of Fanatics and the cowardice of Cirion to replay their final moments in perpetuity. 

Bark and Sap


Bark and Sap:
The Root System and the Ecology and Culture of the Gnarl

[The editors wish to express that the views contained herein belong solely to the author and have been printed posthumously and anonymously.]

Before this present volume, little existed detailing the Root System tunnels and Gnarl but rumors, superstitions, and outright falsities. After consideration of such rumors, and after much research and expedition into the Root Systems to see the Gnarl in their natural habitat firsthand, this author will elucidate the ecology and culture of the Gnarl, the nature of the Root System, and their symbiotic relationship.

The Root System:
Commonly believed to be a series of natural caverns and rock formations with roots and foliage growing within, the Root System tunnels are, in fact, part of a giant living organism. Not only are these tunnels a living organic root-like entity, but each of the so-called "root dungeons" represents a smaller piece of a larger whole. The roots of all the trees (indeed of most the plant life on the Isles) all connect directly to the large Root System.

The various twisting and turning tunnels have been created slowly over past millennia. Indeed, the growth and motion of the roots is imperceptible, though definitely recordable. The very fastest-growing tunnels increase at a rate of a few feet every month, and the slowest a few inches every few decades.

Amber is a colorful resin formed from hardened sap. Much like skin bleeds and scabs over to protect a wound, the Root System tunnels "bleed" a sap that congeals and hardens into Amber deposits. Even still, the walls of the roots are very resilient; swinging a sword at the wall is not enough to puncture it. The large fissures that cause the appearance of Amber are the result of the massive pressures and frictional forces encountered by the giant roots as they push through tons of rock and dirt.

The Gnarl:
The current and best theory describes the Gnarl as the caretakers and stewards of the Root System. The creatures tend to the general maintenance and cleaning of the tunnels, clearing away excess Amber. This behavior has been observed directly, but observation time was limited due to the aggressive nature of the Gnarl. However, the abundance of Amber found on the corpses of the creatures further supports this view.

There has been some conjecture, though at present very little evidence to support the claim, that as Gnarl grow, they eventually become too large to maneuver the tunnels, and eventually fuse with the walls, becoming themselves part of the Root System. As to the recent claims of giant Gnarl, it should be noted that no creditable sources exist to corroborate. However, even were these reports to be true, the rarity of such sightings would suggest that only a very few Gnarl ever grow large enough to ascend to this root-state.

Little is known about the natural life span of the Gnarl or their social behavior, since observational expeditions into the Root System are difficult at best. We do know with certainty that they are very territorial. The Gnarl are so protective of their tunnels that they will respond aggressively to anyone who comes within sight, which makes studying their social systems nigh impossible. This behavior has, however, provided us with an abundance of corpses to study at our leisure.

When we analyze the corpses of dead Gnarl, we can see clearly that these creatures are made entirely of plant material. They are covered in bark and leaves, and over time they decompose similarly to other plant detritus. All attempts to "plant" Gnarl or parts thereof into the ground have been proven simple folly. To date, we don't actually know how the Gnarl reproduce.

Upon examination, we have found nothing that looks like a brain as found in other sentient creatures. This does lend credence to the symbiotic caretaker theory, suggesting a kind of hive mentality -- though there have been no substantiated sightings of any such "queen-Gnarl" who might be controlling the drones. The other available explanation is that it is magic that animates these creatures, though this author finds resolving difficult questions in this manner to be counter-productive to the development of a rational theory.

The complex Root is a living organism that grows little by little each month, tunneling beneath the land. Virtually all the plant life on the Isles is connected to this Root System. Severe trauma to the system walls results in the formation of Amber deposits as part of its natural defense mechanism. The Root System has a symbiotic relationship with the Gnarl, who act as its protectors and caretakers, and who may be phyletically and physiologically connected to the Root System itself. In short, we have a living system, with its own dedicated staff of protector-caretakers, growing and developing largely unnoticed beneath our very feet.

[Here the editors wish to acknowledge that the author was found dead near the entrance to one of the "root dungeons." We again wish to remind the reader that the opinions expressed by this author are his own. While we do not dismiss the rational method employed by the author in his studies, we certainly do not deny that magic is explanation enough for Our Lord Sheogorath's many wondrous Blessings. We did, however, carefully consider omitting this clearly treasonous second half. We have decided to include it for journalistic integrity and at the request of his generous widow.]

And now, I will venture towards that theoretical discussion which draws near heresy (which I daresay will one day be the end of me), but which I must put forward, for good or ill.

The common belief is that our Lord Sheogorath has blessed our land with two temperaments, Mania and Dementia. However, after much study and reasoning, I believe that it is the very realm itself that imposes upon us these two spheres of polar extremes!

I have devised a clever experiment, whereby I seek to prove this theory. If you take a flower from a common plant, cut it and place its stem in water with dye in it, you will notice that the petals will slowly take on the color of the dye. Clearly, the veins of the plant transport the color to the leaves.

Now, when we look at the Dementia side of the land, colors are muted and dark, and in the Mania side bright and colorful. I believe the Root System, and the Gnarl that serve it, are draining the color from the land of Dementia and giving it to the land of Mania!

For what purpose, it isn't clear, but my experiment shows how color is transported through plant veins, and what bigger system of plant veins is there than the giant Root System tunnel network? Is it not then obvious that this System is the conduit of the forces of Mania and Dementia?

And do we not eat the plants and the fruit of the trees that connect to the Root System and the beasts that feed on them, and drink the waters that fall from their leaves? Do we not breathe the air that carries their spores and seeds? Do we not throw our own waste onto the ground to be absorbed into the soil? Thus, are we not intimately connected to the giant Root System under our feet? Surely, we are one with it!

Clearly, the Root System is feeding those of us in the Mania brilliant color, giving us our mood swings, filling our hearts with passions and sensations, and giving us powerful urges by stealing these things from our fellows in Dementia, leaving them dark, desperate, angry, violent, and disturbed!

Sheogorath is not the source of our "gifts." It is the land itself that has unbalanced us so!

The Gnarl are the servants and lifeblood of this parasitic process.

If we were to kill all the Gnarl, the balance would be restored!

Mania would be less bright, true, but so would Dementia be less dark.

We and our world would become whole again!

Let go of your belief in the collective fantasy of Sheogorath!

Let go of your belief in your own special "gifts!"

We must destroy the Gnarl and the Root System!

We must destroy those who shackle us to belief in some haughty and aloof ruler, who toys with our emotions and well-being!

To arms, brothers and sisters!

To arms!


An Elytra's Life


It is a strange life that I have chosen, here amongst the beasts of these Shivering Isles. These Elytra -- a most gentle creature if ever there were a gentle creature - they have welcomed me among their brood as one of their own. I have made my life and home in their tunnels as if they were my own humble cabin, and indeed, I have been invited into their warm family unit.

Many who encounter the Elytra are initially set to unrest by their appearance. Their size alone is sufficient to unsettle most of the humanoid races. The enlarged thorax can grow to be as large as a human male and nearly a full span in girth. When I first encountered my insectoid friends, I believed the enlarged thorax to be a method to manufacture the ichor that is vital to the lives of the Elytra. In truth, the thorax is the precious womb where their noble lives begin.

However, one cannot discount the significance of the ichor that gathers at the spike near the base of the thorax. This precious substance emits a smell that most will describe as acidic and sour (although I find it to be a delight). The ichor serves the most brilliant purpose of the Elytra. It is used to paralyze living tissue of other creatures, rendering them unable to resist the advances of the Elytra. Here is where the true brilliance takes place.

When choosing a suitable host, the Elytra will impose itself on the creature. Any creature that draws breath seems to be biologically suitable for this purpose. I myself have witnessed Elytra Matrons choose creatures that range from simple wolves to a brilliant Khajiit alchemist. Each time, the host is chosen carefully. Oh, I know that the superstitious farmers of the Isles will say that the Elytra will attack any creature, but after what I've seen, I know that they approach each host with the utmost care.

The host is injected and their body becomes enriched with the flowing sweetness of the ichor. They relax and quickly expire as the magical nature of the Elytra's sting takes ahold of the host in its gentle grasp. After the host moves on, the Elytra nests its eggs in the still warm shell of the host. There, the eggs warm and grow over a period of mere days, feeding on the giving flesh of the host. Soon after, the hatchlings emerge and stumble forward into the world.

Amber Materials List

Dumag gro-Bonk

Amber armor

I, Dumag gro-Bonk, Master Smith of New Sheoth, am honor and duty bound by oath to my beloved mentor, to forge weapons and armor for any hero who brings me Amber. I will create magical versions of these weapons and armor if the hero can, along with the Amber, return to me the appropriate matrix, which my mentor has scattered throughout the land, to soak in the magical essence of the Shivering Isles.

The amount of Amber required to make items is listed below:

1 piece ---- Arrows (per 25)
2 pieces ---- Bow
4 pieces ---- Hammer
2 pieces ---- Mace
3 pieces ---- Sword

2 pieces ---- Boots
5 pieces ---- Cuirass
2 pieces ---- Gauntlets
3 pieces ---- Greaves
2 pieces ---- Helmet
2 pieces ---- Shield

Grommok's Journal


3 Rain's Hand 3E431

We were finally able to convince that idiot rogue Lewin that it was time to give up that strongbox of money he stole from Lelles' Quality Merchandise in Anvil and ditch it outside the castle. All the heat he brought on the group was starting to chafe. Syndelius pretty much sat him down and made him do it, because I was ready to put my foot in his face. I know he's a rogue, but we're adventurers; we get our loot from raiding old crypts, and ruins, and places that ain't got guards. He can be a real horse's ass sometimes, I'll tell ya.

12 Rain's Hand 3E431

What a bad Fredas we've had. We hit what was left of old Fort Wariel, and after slaughtering a bunch of no good Marauders and grabbing their loot, made our way north. We came to the ruins of Trumbe. Syndelius said they were Ale Lid or Eyelid or some kind of old civilization, but all I cared about was how loaded with gold they were. He said usually they were, so in we went. What a mistake! The place was crawling with skeletons and ghosts. Those things give me the creeps. How can I fight something that ain't even alive? Lewin took a few good hits and had to pop all his potions, Syndelius broke his arm when a trap almost crushed him to death and I got a nice nasty scar across my forehead. Close call. Best of all, when we got to the treasure horde, Lewin was out of lockpicks! Why do we even keep him with us? We had to drag the damn container out of Trumbe and all the way back to Camp Atrene. Now I'm sitting here staring at a stupid metal box wishing I could use Lewin's head to bash it open. What a dolt.

13 Rain's Hand 3E431

After a night of deciding whether or not to snap off Lewin's legs and use them as firewood, I sent Syndelius and Lewin to Anvil to buy more lockpicks while I guarded the box. They came back in a few hours and Lewin picked the lock in the first try. Good thing too, I was still pretty mad at the guy. I don't like sitting around all day. Anyway, Syndelius got all excited when he saw something wrapped up in some sort of fancy cloth. Inside the cloth was a bunch of stuff, but the best was the sword. What a beauty! Blade looks like a mouth with teeth, handle like golden snakeskin and the gem in the middle of it... a perfect fiery orange and red, like the sky at dawn. Syndelius was going crazy and I asked him what was all the noise for. He told me it was Akaveery or something like that and made by the Snake People or the Sayessie or whatever. Syndelius says Sayessie starts with a T just now when he saw me writing this, but that doesn't make any sense. T-s-a-e-s-c-i. Fine, there, I wrote it. By the Nine, Syndelius is nosy sometimes. Well, anyway, the best was yet to come. Right as the sun was setting the sword vanished for a moment and was suddenly replaced by another weapon that looked almost the same, but the gem on it was deep blue and purple. Syndelius said he was certain that at dawn, it would change back to the orange and red gem! Well, this was good enough for me. That alone made the sword the best thing I had ever seen. Lewin muttered something about Akaveery magic, but I told him to shut up. I decided to call the sword Dawnfang when it was orange and red and Duskfang when it was blue and purple.

14-16 Rain's Hand 3E341

Things are getting better and better with my new sword in these last few days. I found out Dawnfang is a fire blade and Duskfang is a frost blade... handy for extra killing power! But the best was what I found out when a Minotaur decided to jump us and I landed the killing blow. I heard a voice in my head. Or maybe a thought? I dunno. It was weird. But it felt like the sword knew it had just killed the Minotaur, like it was counting or something. At first I thought maybe I was just tired, but after tearing through a camp of Bandits, it kept counting. After the twelfth kill, it told me its thirst was satisfied. At least, I think it told me. Then it stopped. Syndelius said it's possible the sword was a blood drinker... my kind of sword... but he didn't know what would happen. It didn't take that long to find out. When dusk came around, and the blade changed... I almost fell off the campfire log. The new blade was still Duskfang... but it somehow seemed stronger. I could just tell. I couldn't wait to try it out! I ran right out and looked for something to kill. Didn't take long to come across a few of those stupid imps. Sure enough, not only did it do more frost damage than normal, but also I could feel the energy from the creature transfer to me every time I hit it! What a weapon this was! Yeah! Duskfang Superior! That's what I'll call it. Sometimes I amaze even myself. Syndelius said he was sure Duskfang would blood drink too and I could power up Dawnfang with it. I spent all night looking for twelve things to kill, and when the sun came up, he was right! Dawnfang Superior is to be this one's name. It's like having four blades in one!

17-19 Rain's Hand 3E341

It's been the most fun I have ever had in my life cutting a bloody swath across the ruins of Cyrodiil with my new double sword. Syndelius and Lewin are even more confident now that we have such a powerful weapon among us. We've gathered tons of loot in the last three days, but nothing compares to this. We're going to head north and explore the area around Niben Bay today. I hope that something else like this turns up on our adventures. Then I'm going to retire!