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The Elder Scrolls Riddles

Author: 
Xan

Which game's riddles are you interested in?    <Arena>     <Daggerfall>     <Battlespire>     <Redguard>     <Morrowind>


Arena

These riddles are presented to you by each main quest dungeon. Typically, one has to guess the riddle prior to getting to the final chamber, the one where the piece of the Staff is kept. In some cases, however, a skilled mage can bypass the riddle be means of the Passwall spell. Maybe that's the reason why Passwall was promptly yanked from The Elder Scrolls grimoire right after Arena, never to reappear again.

I am twice as old as three times the age of
the Sphinx of Gazia, Agamamnus,
divided by one-ninth the age of
the Sphinx of Canus, Igon,
who left this world twenty-six years ago.
What then is my age?

Answer:

I touch your face,
I'm in your words,
I'm lack of space,
And beloved by birds...

Answer:

If Cell 3 holds worthless brass, Cell 2 holds the gold key.
If Cell 1 holds the gold key, Cell 3 holds worthless brass.
If Cell 2 holds worthless brass, Cell 1 holds the gold key.
Knowing this brave fool, and knowing that all that is
said cannot be true, which cell contains the gold key?

Answer:

From the beginning of eternity,
To the end of time and space,
To the beginning of every end,
And the end of every place...

Answer:

In a marble hall, white as milk,
Lined with skin as soft as silk,
Within a fountain crystal clear,
A golden apple, doth appear,
No doors there are to this stronghold,
Yet thieves break in to steal the gold...

Answer:

My second is performed by my first,
And, it is thought,
A thief by the mark of the whole
Might be caught

Answer:

What is neither fish nor flesh,
feathers nor bone,
But still has fingers,
and thumbs of its own?

Answer:

Crushed beneath trampling feet,
kept in darkness and cold. I am useless
if I have suffered not; but having suffered,
my temper is sweet and strong to all
those who partake. What am I, at start?

Answer:

Two bodies have I,
Though both joined in one.
The more still I stand,
The quicker I run...

Answer:

What force and strength
cannot get through,
I, with a gentle touch, can do;
And many in these twisted halls would stand,
Were I not, as a friend, at hand...

Answer:

I tie and hold, capture and bind,
yet both knights and knaves doth crave me.
I faithfully enslave all within my grasp,
whether or not they seek me.
Yet those who have never felt my unmerciful hand,
are pitied by their fellow Man...

Answer:

What flares up
And does a lot of good,
And when it dies,
Is just a piece of wood?

Answer:

More beautiful than the face of your God,
Yet more wicked than a Demon's forked tongue?
Dead men eat it all the time,
Live men who eat it die slow...

Answer:

I come out of the earth,
I am sold in the market.
He who buys me cuts off my tail,
Takes off my suit of silk,
And weeps beside me when I am dead...

Answer:

What is the thing
which comes in sheets,
yet cannot be folded or
gathered again?

Answer:

There is a thing, which nothing is,
Yet it has a name.
It's sometimes tall
And sometimes short
It tumbles when we fall
It joins our sport,
And plays at every game...

Answer:

I daily am in Elsweyr and Skyrim,
At times do all the world explore,
Since time began I've held my reign,
And shall till time is never more.
I never in my life have strolled
In garden, field, or park,
Yet all of these are sad and cold
If I'm not there and it is dark...

Answer:

Elvish mithril and Argonian silver, crumble I can.
But first, I improve all created by man.
I devour all things,
Bird and beast, serfs and kings.
Though my pace is even, men curse my speed,
Wishing I were lazier in their hour of need.
I can creep and crawl, or rush, even fly.
I am all thou hast.
Tell me, who am I?

Answer:

I am the architect of this hall,
whose name is forgot in the dust of time.
Yet, where there is no dust,
where the river would speak,
there is my name.
Find this place and then return,
to tell me my name.
Only then shall you pass this door.
What is my name?

Answer:

I run smoother than any rhyme,
I love to fall but cannot climb.
I tremble at each breath of air,
And yet can heaviest burdens bear...

Answer:


Daggerfall

Thank Powers, Daggerfall's gameplay was not heavy on riddles. There were only two, and both were in Mantellan Crux (that's the final dungeon, in case you didn't know).

One speaks for me
Two serve me
Six protect me
How many defy me?

Answer:

Speak not of love or hate, but tell me this;
what gift can you give to me, that I can never buy for myself?

Answer:


Battlespire

Some live in me, some live on,
and some shave me to stride upon.
I rarely leave my native land.
Until my death I always stand.
High and low I may be found
Both above and under ground.

Answer:

Through straightway is rightway
for most paths I've found
Most goodway is sometimes
the other wayround.

Answer:

I rise above the roofs below
Finger up-raised to heaven.
I speak in clear tones
that aim for others
To gather where I call.

Answer:

Armor bright
Gleaming white
A single rank
Their faces blank
Now hid by night
Now bold by light
Bright red the land
Where soldiers stand

Answer:

Loadbearer, Warrior
Spirited, Brave
Fleet-foot, Ironshod
Faithful One, Slave

Answer:

So dark, dirty, cold this place,
To stay you would refrain
Yet those who occupy this place
Never do complain

Answer:

The gift your mother gives you,
Though prized by all, the long and short of it,
Too much of it kills you every time.

Answer:

What was the sight my eyes were giving
When I saw the dead carrying the living?

Answer:

We say some things improve with death.
What stinks when living, but dead smells good?

Answer:

Who makes it neither needs nor wants it.
Who buys it neither uses nor wears it.
Who uses it neither sees nor feels it.

Answer:

Never watched by daylight
Never watched by night
But evenstar watches oft and well
'Tween the black and bright

Answer:


Redguard

Redguard, due to its' genre, was positively supposed to have riddles. And there is one. It's a pretty old one, and I've heard many variations thereof. One would involve a City of Liars and a City of Truthfuls, for example...

Here is the text of the riddle that Clavicus Vile asks to Cyrus.

The context

Clavicus Vile is sitting in a chair with a dog at his right side in front of a little house in a green meadow. Cyrus has offered Clavicus Vile to play a game because Vile said he was bored. But Cyrus had to wager his soul against Iszara's soul in the contest. Now Vile has to choose a riddle and Cyrus has to answer right to free Iszara's soul.

Vile:
And now that I have your complete attention. You're ready for your test. But, before we start...
Cyrus, did you have a classical education?

Cyrus says nothing

Vile:
Good, good, just checking. Just that a thinking man, a well-educated man might have an unfair advantage in this test. But no! You're a hero...a man of action, right?

Cyrus:
You're talking to yourself Vile. I'm ready. Let's go.

Vile, the riddle:
So you probably won't recognize this old chestnut, taken straight from Paulus's "The Stars on Their Shoulders". Ready? Listen carefully! I won't repeat it!

Two doors. One leads to the loss of your soul, the other leads to the return of Iszara's.

  • Two guardians. One always lies, one always tells the truth.
  • You can ask one of them just one question. Just one!

The game begins... Choose wisely... Hee hee!

Cyrus, possible questions:

  1. Which door is corect?
  2. Which door is not corect?
  3. Which guard is lying?
  4. Are you the guard who lies?
  5. Is he the guard who lies?
  6. Is Clavicus Vile lying?
  7. Which door would Vile say is correct?
  8. Which door would the dog say is correct?
  9. Which door would the other say is correct?
  10. Do both doors lead to death?
  11. What is behind this door?
  12. What is behind the other door?

The only question that enables to guess the good door in all cases is:

9 - Which door would the other say is correct?

There are four cases but in all, the guard will indicate the wrong door, and Cyrus will have to choose the other one.

  • if Cyrus asks the liar, this one knows that the other guard would say the good door, but as himself is a liar, he'll indicate the opposite door, the wrong door.
  • if Cyrus asks the trusty one, that one knows that the other guard is a liar and would say the wrong door, so he'll report truely the lie of the other guard. In both cases the reported door is the wrong one, so Cyrus just has to choose the opposite door than the one reported.
  • if Cyrus is answered THE RIGHT DOOR, he has to choose the LEFT DOOR
  • if Cyrus is answered THE LEFT DOOR, he has to choose the RIGHT DOOR

For all the other questions, both of the doors are wrong. Obviously the game considers the other questions as non fitting ones and removes the 50% chance that one should usually have in choosing at random. So, that if the gamer asks another question than the #9, he has 100% chances to pass through the wrong door.

The original explanation was contributed by danibene.


Morrowind

All the riddles of Morrowind are supposed to be found on three books: