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Staff of Towers


From the writings of Holnevn - blessed apostle of St Alessia
Transcribed by Relicmaster Glenadir

Cursed be the hands of Elf-Wizard Anumaril! Cursed be the pride of Anui-El's get! Lo, did their lithe and wicked fingers weave the world's undoing. While Umaril and his kin suffer a Whitestrake's death, this staff - this sin in eight pieces - remains.

Adamantine: primordial and solemn.

Red: brooding and blood-soaked.

Crystal: profane and inscrutable.

Orichalc: silent and forgotten.

Snow-Throat: cold and forbidding.

Green-Sap: vibrant and wise.

Brass: striding and powerful.

White-Gold: boundless and eternal.

All straight, yet twisted! Bound in metal, stone, and blasphemous oaths! May these eight effigies never find a hand to wield them. May this Staff of Towers remain silent, inert, and beyond the cruel mage's sight. Now and for all time.

The Crystal of the Tower

Larnatille of Lillandril

By Larnatille of Lillandril, Sapiarch of Arcanology

The Crystal Tower rises over northern Summerset, standing as a beacon and a symbol of everything the Altmer hold dear. Also known as the Crystal-Like-Law, the tower, contrary to the beliefs of those who live beyond our cherished borders, is not made of crystal. No, the tower is named for the crystal that resides at the utmost level, Transparent Law.

Transparent Law lends power and energy to the Crystal Tower, which allows the mystical structure to offer its protections to all of Summerset. The energy radiates from the tower, spreading across the land like an invisible awning to keep the island safe and secure.

Now, these protections are ancient and were set in place long ago when the crystal was imbedded within the tower by the Aldmer who erected it. In truth, for all our knowledge, the Sapiarchs do not fully understand the exact workings of the tower or the crystal. We know that the Aldmer constructed the Crystal Tower to preserve the graves of the early Aldmeri settlers and forever remember the spirit of the Elven people and mark that brief moment in history when we were fully unified.

As for the significance of Transparent Law, I should think that to be self evident. One only has to break down the meaning of the name and all becomes clear. To be transparent is to be easily recognized or detected, to be made manifest, to be open, obvious, and candid. Law, meanwhile, refers to the principles and regulations that govern some specific portion of reality. In this case, the crystal manifests the clear and unequivocal fundamental principles of our Aldmer heritage. Indeed, we suspect that the crystal may even be a fragment of divinity given physical substance.

Obviously, theories concerning the Transparent Law and its significance to the Crystal Tower abound within the College of Sapiarchs. I like to believe that the crystal absorbs the drive for perfection that marks the Altmer and reflects it back, driving away any imperfections that would weaken or endanger the island. Not everyone agrees with me, but I see a correlation between the pride and admiration our people feel for the Crystal Tower and the feeling of security and safety that it, in turn, projects across the land. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Or, it could just be ancient Aldmer magic. Who can really say?

Sages of the Crystal Tower


By Nularan, Mages Guild Scribe

Some call them wise and learned. Others consider them to be the finest magical minds in the Summerset Isles (though many of my brethren would contest that statement). They are the Sapiarchs, the sages of the Crystal Tower and the instructors of the heirs to the royal throne of Summerset. A few of the greatest mages of the age can be counted among their numbers, but in general they are scholars of magical and esoteric knowledge, each devoted to a specific and singular topic of study.

The Sapiarchs serve as the keepers of the Crystal Tower, also called the Lawful Crystal and the Crystal-Like-Law. The tower is so named not because it is constructed of crystal, but because it houses Transparent Law, a magical crystal that rests at the top of the tower.

A handful of sages live within the tower, tending to its needs and guarding its secrets, while others come and go as their studies dictate. Of course, getting into the tower isn't as simple as walking up and opening the door. The way is hidden and guarded by powerful wards, and the only method for gaining entrance requires the assistance of the Tower Sentinels. This pair of specially attuned Sapiarchs each bear an object needed to access the tower—one of two Resolute Diamonds. When properly attuned and used simultaneously by the Tower Sentinels, the azure diamonds open the path into the Crystal Tower. Only two such Sentinels are ever activated, for each must undergo a long and extensive ritual to link them to the diamonds they bear. Sentinels keep their charge for eleven years before a new pair take up guardianship of the diamonds.

The rest of the sagely order is organized into the College of Sapiarchs, with each member dedicated to and responsible for a specific field of magical or esoteric scholarship. Larnatille of Lillandril, Sapiarch of Arcanology, leads the college, which consists of two-hundred-and-twenty-three distinct disciplines assigned to a Sapiarch and his or her assistant. Spread throughout Summerset, the Sapiarchs work individually or in small groups on independent studies or to research specific topics for the college as a whole. Some research can be conducted at the Crystal Tower or at the College of Sapiarchs in Lillandril, but otherwise the sages travel the lands as necessary or lock themselves in their own libraries to ponder the complexities of the world's greatest mysteries.

As the interpreters of the Scrolls of Praxis, the precedents by which the rulers of the Summerset Isles govern their domain, the Sapiarchs play a vital role in the maintenance of the Ceremoniarchy. Indeed, the Scrolls of Praxis are said to have foretold that Princess Ayrenn would reflect the restless and turbulent times she was born into and would eventually rule over. When the time is right, heirs to the throne come to the Sapiarchs to study Altmeri Regal Praxis and Ceremoniarchy for a requisite 3,555 days prior to receiving the crown. Afterward, the College of Sapiarchs serves as a powerful resource for the new ruler, offering advice and counsel when called upon.

For all their professed learning and scholarly pursuits, the Sapiarchs seem overly interested in signs and portents. They attribute deep and significant meaning to the movements of the constellations, the positions of the moons, the disposition of animals, and even the swirls of foam atop a bowl of century soup. This tug of war between intellectualism and superstition may seem like a contradiction to you and me, but the Sapiarchs see them as two sides of the same coin. And, as with a coin, you need both sides to pay the cost of admission, or so the Sapiarchs say.

Some of the leading Sapiarch fields of study include Oblivion Studies, Indoctrination, Altmeri Heritage, Enchantment, Mythohistory, Daedric Fallacies, Selenology, and Divine Orthodoxy. To indicate their office and field of study, each carries a title such as Sapiarch of Altmeri Arts or Assistant Sapiarch of Naval Excogitation. A Sapiarch holds the title for life or until he or she petitions to change their area of scholarship. The Tower Sentinels, however, carry out their responsibilities regarding the Resolute Diamonds for a period of eleven years before passing the tower keys to the next Sapiarchs in line and returning to concentrate on their particular fields of study.

Further Notes on the Sload

Telenger the Artificer

On the Sload and the Maormer: The Sload are hostile to all other mortal races, and though there is some evidence of diplomatic traffic between the Sload and the Maormer, there are also plenty of accounts of conflict between the Slugmen and the Sea Elves. This is no surprise, since both Sea Elves and Sload are at war with the rest of the world. The Maormer's grievance seems to be that they got stuck with Pyandonea, a sad and swampy archipelago of malodorous islets; why the Sload are so belligerent to all others is unknown.

On the Coral Tower: Since the Coral Tower fell during the invasion of Thras by the All-Flags Navy, at this point the best we can do is make educated guesses about it. In their own perverse way, the Sload are very capable sorcerers, and from all accounts the Coral Tower acted as both a focus and a projector of mystical power. I am not a scholar of Tower Lore—my interests tend more toward the practical—but this accords (somewhat) with what the mythohistorians claim is the purpose and practice of the so-called Towers of Nirn. Was the Coral Tower a "real" tower like Lawful Crystal, here on Summerset, or was it a failed imitation, like the Doomspire? I do not think we have the answers based on what little we know.

On Sload Soap: But enough speculation—on to a subject about which, for once, we can be certain: Sload Soap! There are many misconceptions about the origin of Sload Soap, and I am happy to have an opportunity to clear it up. First, let us consider the metamorphic biology of the Sload. They begin life on the Thrassian Atolls as, in the words of Admiral Bendu Olo, "disgusting little amorphous grubs." Ignored by their pendulous parents, these grubs somehow squirm their way to the sea, where they mutate into aquatic quasi-cephalopods known as "polwygles." Due to their corpulence, adult Sload spend a great deal of time in the shallow lagoons of their atolls, wallowing among the polwygles. Those larvae that prove too slow to avoid their parents' pseudopods are caught and harvested, culling out the weak and providing the raw material for Sload Soap.

Captured polwygles are tossed into an ever-bubbling cauldron where they gradually deliquesce into a slimy broth. This broth undergoes an alchemical commixture with materials known only to the Sload, after which it is poured into molds and allowed to cool. Once solid, the bars are scooped out and wrapped in the viscera of hagfish for preservation.

It is believed that the Sload use this soap as a primary component in their necromantic rituals. I'm no expert on necromancy, but apparently having an emulsified reagent concocted from one's own descendants acts as a profound intensifier in the magic of undeath. Sload Soap is rarely seen away from Thras, and when it is it commands high prices from alchemists, who relish its unique properties for creating potions of agility and, rarest of all, the mutation of personality. Alianora the Red, our Sapiarch of Alchemy, says that Sload Soap has never been thoroughly analyzed outside of Thras, and may contain many more undiscovered alchemical properties. Plus, it's an exceptional cleanser, deep-cleaning yet mild, that leaves your skin feeling youthful and refreshed.

ESO - Balac Thurm Main Quest


Rescuing the Moth Priests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the Balac is and how to fix it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Charging the Balac at each of the Towers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canulus Refuge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Puzzles and books in Canulus Refuge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Marukhati Selectives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The final battle at Adamantine Tower

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The way is open. The Zero Stone awaits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Subtropical Cyrodiil: A Speculation

Lady Cinnabar of Taneth

According to "The Heartland of Cyrodiil," by that old fraud Phrastus of Elinhir, the Nibenese valley and the Colovian hills have always enjoyed the temperate climate they have today, and early references to Cyrodiil as a subtropical jungle were merely errors on the part of one of the Heimskrs.

Really? What, then, of the "waving fronds" of Vahtacen mentioned in the Hosiric Lays? What of Khosey's "dense-jungl'd shore of Rumare" in the Tamrilean Tractates? Are these, as well, the mistakes of errant copyists?

No, I think it more likely that three millennia ago Cyrodiil's climate was warmer and wetter than it is today. The environment of the Heartland has changed. Which begs the question: how?

I've given a great deal of thought to this question, and would like to propose a hypothesis. However, I am not a scholar of deep mythohistory like Vanus Galerion or Beredalmo the Signifier, so let's just call the following … a speculation.

Tamriel is the center of Nirn; Cyrodiil is the center of Tamriel; and at the center of Cyrodiil stands that greatest of mortal-made structures, the White-Gold Tower of the Imperial City—which was patterned in open emulation of the Adamantine (or Direnni) Tower, the oldest structure in Tamriel, said to have been erected by the Aedra themselves.

This was no mere homage, whim, or coincidence: White-Gold was built in the semblance of Adamantine in order to echo the first Tower's undeniable mystical properties. And not just to echo them, but, due to its central location, to amplify them.

What are these mystical properties? This leads us to the domain of Tower Lore, a realm fraught with scholarly conflict, but I will try to give a simple, and uncontroversial, summary.

When the Aedra were persuaded—or hoodwinked—by Lorkhan into creation of the Mundus, the physical flesh of Nirn was hung on a skeleton of joints, each of which radiated a palpable reality—the bones of the world, as it were.

At one of these mystical joint-points the Aedra erected a great structure, the Adamantine Tower, where they held a conclave to decide the fate of Lorkhan and the Mundus. In later times mortal mages discovered the Tower, and deduced its reality-affirming properties. The Merethic Elves then imitated it, erecting the White-Gold and Crystal Towers at other joint-points.

In doing this, what did the Ur-Elves hope to achieve? I would posit that, through their collective "possession" of such Towers in their realms, over time the Elves actually amended their local reality to conform to their desires.

Thus the Summerset archipelago, in the sphere of the Crystal Tower, is a warm and paradisiacal domain perfectly adapted to the Altmer. And Cyrodiil, in the sphere of the even-more-powerful White-Gold Tower, became a warm and subtropical jungle—which suited the ease-loving Ayleids.

But then the slaves of the Heartland High Elves rose up against their masters, conquered the valley of the Nibenay, and the Ayleids ruled no more. Thereafter, White-Gold Tower was the center of a human empire, peopled by Nedes and Cyro-Nords who originated in cooler, northern climes. And so the Tower of Cyrodiil responded to the desires of its new masters.

And that, I believe, is the answer to how the Heartland changed from subtropical to temperate: because once Men ruled in Cyrodiil, the local reality changed to meet their needs and wishes. Changed slowly, perhaps, almost imperceptibly, but inexorably—until Cyrodiil became the realm of temperate forests and fields we now know.

So, is that the truth of the matter? Have I deduced the answer to the mystery? I cannot be sure: I'm only a humble scholar, residing in the Tower of the Fifth Doctrine, which is neither White-Gold nor Adamantine. The only thing I'm quite sure of is that any theory propounded by Phrastus of Elinhir is almost certain to be wrong.

Aurbic Enigma 4: The Elden Tree

Beredalmo the Signifier

Here is a truth read from the bark.

The spike of Ada-Mantia, and its Zero Stone, dictated the structure of reality in its Aurbic vicinity, defining for the Earth Bones their story or nature within the unfolding of the Dragon’s (timebound) Tale. The Aldmeri or Merethic Elves were singular of purpose only so long as it took them to realize that other Towers, with their own Stones, could tell different stories, each following rules inscribed by Variorum Architects. And so the Mer self-refracted, each to their own creation, the Chimer following Red-Heart, the Bosmer burgeoning Green-Sap, the Altmer erecting Crystal-Like-Law, et alia.

But of all the Prismatic Mer, none were more presumptuous than the Ayleids of the Heartland. They built their tower in open emulation of Ada-Mantia, using as Founding-Stone the great red diamond they had uncovered: Chim-el-Adabal, said to be crystallized blood from the Heart of Lorkhan itself. (For the Heart on its arrow passed over the Heartlands, birthing one of that postnymic’s quaternary meanings.)

Thus did White-Gold become Tower One. As all know.

As foretold by the moth-eyed, Ayleid hubris was to bear bitter fruit. With their vision on high to behold the overworlds, they failed to note the seething Nedelings at their feet, until the thralls rose up and took their Tower away from them. Chim-el-Adabal they took as well, but not before the arch-mage Anumaril fangled an eightfold Staff of Towers, each segment a semblance of a tower in its Dance. And then seven of these segments were borne by White-Gold Knights to distant Fold-Places, where they were hidden.

(This was all unknown to Pelin-al-Essia, be certain, or there might have been a different Eight Divines!)

Thus White-Gold. On to Green-Sap.

The Boiche Elves were of the Earth Bones who most hearkened to Jephre and his greensongs. They did not build a Tower, they grew it, a great graht-oak whose roots sprang from a Perchance Acorn. And this was their Stone. And because the Acorn might perchance have been elsewhere, thus was Green-Sap manifold and several. And each could walk.

Therefore each Green-Sap was also every Green-Sap. Within each were told all the stories of the Green, with every ending true, so doors therein were not always Doors Certain. But to this the Boiche-become-Bosmer became inured, and indeed grew to relish these Doors Equivocal, for such was their nature in the schism of the prism. In this way the Bosmer learned which songs made the trees dance, and which dances they might do.

Now return we must to the eighth segment—or rather Segment One, for Anumaril had fangled it in similitude to Tower One, which itself reflected Tower Zero. When the Ayleids fled the Heartlands they went to all eight corners of the compass, and this was a chosen thing, though many corners spelled doom. But more Ayleids fled to Valenwood than to all other directions combined, and this, too, was chosen. Among these clans went Anumaril wearing Segment One as a femur—for how but by walking can a spoke advance its hub?

Green-Sap’s Elves welcomed the Ayleids so long as the Heartlanders agreed not to dissonate the greensong. All agreed to this save Anumaril, who coughed into his hand unnoticed. He asked the Great Camoran to show him Green-Sap, and was brought to one that by happenstance stood then in Elden Root. Once within the great graht he passed through a Door Equivocal and found his desire, the Perchance Acorn. It was one of many, but for Anumaril one was enough.

Next the fanglement: Anumaril brought forth Segment One among the roots and showed it to the golden nut, and this told an ending, so that the stone became a Definite Acorn. That Elden Tree would not walk again, but Anumaril yet had further intentions for it. Using his dentition as tonal instruments, he dismantled his bones and built of them a Mundus-machine that mirrored Nirn and its planets. And when he had used all his substance in fangling this orrery, he placed the segment-sceptre within, hiding it between the Moons.

Then he waited—but what he waited for did not eventuate, and perchance he’s waiting yet. For

Anumaril had hoped to convert Green-Sap into White-Gold, and thereby make the Heartlanders' realm anew. However, Anumaril did not know, and was not able to know, why his plan went awry. You see, Ayleid magic is about Will, and Shall, and Must—but under Green-Sap, all is Perchance.

The Ayleid fangler’s plan could not succeed—and yet neither could it fail. For this is a story that has not yet found its ending.

Book of the Dragonborn

Prior Emelene Madrine

The Book of the Dragonborn

Prior Emelene Madrine
Order of Talos
Weynon Priory

Year 360 of the Third Era,
Twenty-First of the Reign of
His Majesty Pelagius IV

Many people have heard the term "Dragonborn" - we are of course ruled by the "Dragonborn Emperors" - but the true meaning of the term is not commonly understood. For those of us in the Order of Talos, this is a subject near and dear to our hearts, and in this book I will attempt to illuminate the history and significance of those known as Dragonborn down through the ages.

Most scholars agree that the term was first used in connection with the Covenant of Akatosh, when the blessed St. Alessia was given the Amulet of Kings and the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One were first lit. "Akatosh, looking with pity upon the plight of men, drew precious blood from his own heart, and blessed St. Alessia with this blood of Dragons, and made a Covenant that so long as Alessia's generations were true to the dragon blood, Akatosh would endeavor to seal tight the Gates of Oblivion, and to deny the armies of daedra and undead to their enemies, the Daedra-loving Ayleids." Those blessed by Akatosh with "the dragon blood" became known more simply as Dragonborn.

The connection with the rulers of the Empire was thus there from the beginning - only those of the dragon blood were able to wear the Amulet of Kings and light the Dragonfires. All the legitimate rulers of the Empire have been Dragonborn - the Emperors and Empresses of the first Cyrodilic Empire founded by Alessia; Reman Cyrodiil and his heirs; and of course Tiber Septim and his heirs, down to our current Emperor, His Majesty Pelagius Septim IV.

Because of this connection with the Emperors, however, the other significance of the Dragonborn has been obscured and largely forgotten by all but scholars and those of us dedicated to the service of the blessed Talos, Who Was Tiber Septim. Very few realize that being Dragonborn is not a simple matter of heredity - being the blessing of Akatosh Himself, it is beyond our understanding exactly how and why it is bestowed. Those who become Emperor and light the Dragonfires are surely Dragonborn - the proof is in the wearing of the Amulet and the lighting of the Fires. But were they Dragonborn and thus able to do these things - or was the doing the sign of the blessing of Akatosh descending upon them? All that we can say is that it is both, and neither - a divine mystery.

The line of Septims have all been Dragonborn, of course, which is one reason the simplistic notion of it being hereditary has become so commonplace. But we know for certain that the early Cyrodilic rulers were not all related. There is also no evidence that Reman Cyrodiil was descended from Alessia, although there are many legends that would make it so, most of them dating from the time of Reman and likely attempts to legitimize his rule. We know that the Blades, usually thought of as the Emperor's bodyguards, originated in Akaviri crusaders who invaded Tamriel for obscure reasons in the late First Era. They appear to have been searching for a Dragonborn - the events at Pale Pass bear this out - and the Akaviri were the first to proclaim Reman Cyrodiil as Dragonborn. In fact it was the Akaviri who did the most to promote his standing as Emperor (although Reman himself never took that title in his lifetime). And of course there is no known hereditary connection between Tiber Septim and any of the previous Dragonborn rulers of Tamriel.

Whether there can be more than one Dragonborn at any time is another mystery. The Emperors have done their best to dismiss this notion, but of course the Imperial succession itself means that at the very least there are two or more potential Dragonborn at any time: the current ruler and his or her heirs. The history of the Blades also hints at this - although little is known of their activities during the Interregnum between Reman's Empire and the rise of Tiber Septim, many believe that the Blades continued to search out and guard those they believed were (or might be) Dragonborn during this time.

Lastly, we come to the question of the true meaning of being Dragonborn. The connection with dragons is so obvious that it has almost been forgotten - in these days when dragons are a distant memory, we forget that in the early days being Dragonborn meant having "the dragon blood". Some scholars believe that was meant quite literally, although the exact significance is not known. The Nords tell tales of Dragonborn heroes who were great dragonslayers, able to steal the power of the dragons they killed. Indeed, it is well known that the Akaviri sought out and killed many dragons during their invasion, and there is some evidence that this continued after they became Reman Cyrodiil's Dragonguard (again, the connection to dragons) - the direct predecessor to the Blades of today.

I leave you with what is known as "The Prophecy of the Dragonborn". It often said to originate in an Elder Scroll, although it is sometimes also attributed to the ancient Akaviri. Many have attempted to decipher it, and many have also believed that its omens had been fulfilled and that the advent of the "Last Dragonborn" was at hand. I make no claims as an interpreter of prophecy, but it does suggest that the true significance of Akatosh's gift to mortalkind has yet to be fully understood.

When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world

When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped

When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles

When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls

When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding

The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.

Nu-Mantia Intercept, Letter #8


What is White-Gold Tower?

Like all of the polydox constructs of the earliest Aldmer-- whatever their abnegaurbic creed-- White-Gold Tower is a conduit of creatia, aad sembia sembio, built to bring about a reversal of the congealing spiritual bleed caused by the Convention. In other words, it was a focus point for (re-)reaching the divine.

White-Gold Tower was made by the Ayleids, the Heartland High Elves that would have none to do with their isle-kind. Where the Altmer sought to focus on dracochrysalis, or keeping elder magic bound before it could change into something lesser (and act which ironically required aetherial surplus), the Ayleids harvested castaway creatia from Oblivion by entering a pact with the masters of the Void, the Princes of Misrule.


Gypsy Moth dustmemore insert - it should be noted here that it is always foolish to think of whole races sharing like minds. "Ayleid" is as much a metaphysical designation as it is a cultural one. Just like the earliest Chimer who orphaned themselves from the Velothi Exodites, but remain Chimer today, large numbers of Ayleids showed more interest in the immediate earthly needs of agriculture rather than the magical needs of concept-farming. This distinction becomes important later, when "Ayleid" begins to designate other, and ofttimes foreign, agencies.


Every dawnmaker Tower takes a myth-form. Red Tower is a volcano and its surrounds. Snow Throat a mountain whose apex is only half here. Walk-Brass is appropriately ambulatory, and (most of the time) anthropomorphic. The Aldmeri polydoxes were cosminachs, and the White-Gold project was and is no different.

Though the Ayleids gave theirs a central Spire as the imago of Ada-mantia, the whole of the polydox resembled the Wheel, with eight lesser towers forming a ring around their primus. To dismiss this mythitecture as being a mockery of the Aurbis is to ignore an important point: this same "jest" gave White-Gold Tower a power over creatia unalike any on this plane(t). It was a triumph of sympathetic megafetish, and the Start of the [Threat! To! Empire!] that brings me to this Council.

If the Ayleids made their own Wheel within the Wheel, were-web aad semblio, what would happen if they plucked its strings?


Nu-Mantia Intercept, Letter #5


Council members, haste trumps ceremony. I trust that the learned may differentiate between the Tower of metaphysics and the Towers of History.

Let us begin the lessonates.

What are the Towers?

They are magical and physical echoes of the Ur-Tower, Ada-mantia. Ada-mantia was the first spike of unassailable reality in the Dawn, otherwise called the Zero Stone. The powers at Ada-mantia were able to determine through this Stone the spread of creation and their parts in it.

The powers also created Red Tower and the First Stone. This allowed the Mundus to exist without the full presence of the divine. In this way, the powers of Ada-mantia granted the Mundus a special kind of divinity, which is called NIRN, the consequence of variable fate.

After these two acts, which is commonly called the Convention, the gods left the earth.

As they were the most powerful of lesser spirits in the ages after the Convention and eager to emulate what they saw, the Aldmer began construction of their own towers. That they built more than one shows you that they were not of one mind.

The Aldmer began to split along cultural lines, on how best to spread creation and their parts in it. Each Tower that was built exemplified a separate accordance.

This sundering of purpose is the myth of the "destruction of Aldmeris." Outside of the Dawn, and even then only in the dreamtime of its landscape, there was never a terrestrial homeland of the Elves. "Old Ehlnofey" is a magical ideal of mixed memories of the Dawn.

Do not believe the written histories.

All mortal life started on the starry heart of Dawn's beauty, Tamriel.

If we are in haste, why are we being lectured about the metaphysical meaning of Tower in ancient Aldmeris theology? I will have my adjutant inform me if anything of substance is revealed here. I suggest the rest of the Council do likewise. We have matters of real import to discuss with the Emperor today.


I will second the Chancellor, though he needs none.

If the gentleman surrounded by moths would please move on to the present threat assessment phase of his quadragraph....

Hasphat Antabolis