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Guide to the Psijic Order

Author: 
B, Lady Nerevar

Introduction

Early in Tamrielic history, a group of Aldmer rebelled against the changing beliefs of Summerset and left the isles. Calling Artaeum their new home, the Psijic were able to continue the Old Ways of Aldmeris. In addition, it is believed that the Psijics' views also included the suggestion that Anu's son, the Time Dragon, was formed in reaction to Padhome's influence. In effect, Anu had finally done something. Similar to the age old question of what happens when an Unstoppable Force meets an Immovable Object, this inconceivable effect gave rise to an equally inconceivable cause. PSJJJJ was named, and the Order took his name (Teachings of Vehk). Today, the Order accepts members from all races, and they are believed to be the oldest monastic group in Tamriel.

Society and Beliefs

PSJJJJ

Although the name PSJJJJ is designed to be unpronounceable, its influence within the Order is tremendous. It is believed that PSJJJJ might be the Aldmeris or Old Ehlnofex name for Padhome's aforementioned influence on Anu. The Psijic Order is organized to divine this mystery of change. Change is the most sacred of the Eleven Forces within the Order.

The Eleven Forces

A complete list of the Eleven Forces worshiped by the Psijics is not known outside of the Order. The only one that has received publicity outside of Artaeum is Change. In the words of Taheritae the Sage:

In Mundus, conflict and disparity are what bring change, and change is the most sacred of the Eleven Forces. Change is the force without focus or origin. It is the duty of the disciplined Psijic ["Enlightened One"] to dilute change where it brings greed, gluttony, sloth, ignorance, prejudice, cruelty . . . and to encourage change where it brings excellence, beauty, happiness, and enlightenment. As such, the faithful counsel has but one master: His mind. If the man the Psijic counsels acts wickedly and brings oegnithr ["bad change"] and will otherwise not be counselled, it is the Psijic's duty to counterbalance the oegnithr by any means necessary [emphasis mine].

One could certainly view the aforementioned passage as a mission statement for the Psijic Order, but their beliefs go much further than that.

Beliefs

The Psijic Order chooses its members "by a complex, ritualized method not understood by the common people" (Salarth). The Psijics are extremely reclusive. In the 3rd era, members of the Order can be recognized by the gray cloaks they choose to wear, and this distinctive garment has become synonymous with the Order (Jarth). In the 4th era, however, their robes appear a dull yellow rather than the classic gray.

In the simplest of terms, the religion of the Psijic Order can be described as ancestor worship. Just as PSJJJJ is considered divine, so are the ancestor spirits. Dating back to the time of the original "Acharyai" (likely the deified ancestor spirits of Aldmeris), it is believed that superior individuals have been granted significant power upon their deaths. Unseen by many, these ancestor spirits from the phantom world command great influence over our world. According to the Psijic Order, the Daedra and gods that the common people worship are nothing more than the spirits of our ancestors. The Psijic Order calls their beliefs and customs the Old Ways. (Celarus)

Remaining "faithful" to the Old Ways is of paramount importance to members of the Order. They believe that the spiritual world is always watching the mortal plane, and a loyal graycloak will perform the Rites of Moawita on the 2nd of Hearth Fire and the Vigyld on the 1st of Second Seed in order to empower the salutary spirits and debilitate the unclean spirits (Celarus).

The Psijics believe that it is their duty to "to study magic for the betterment of all" (Lilatha) and to serve as guides to the rulers of foreign lands. They believe that they are tasked of bringing power to "good" men and making sure men with power remain "good." The Order believes that it cannot allow power to fall into the wrong hands. Loremaster Celarus, head of the Psijic Order in the 3rd era, sums it up in this fashion:

We recognize the multiple threats that a strong tyrant represents -- breeds cruelty which feeds the Daedra Boethiah and hatred which feeds the Daedra Vaernima; if he should die having performed a particularly malevolent act, he may go to rule in Oblivion; and worst of all, he inspires other villains to thirst after power and other rulers to embrace villainy. Knowing this, we have developed patience in our dealings with such despots. They should be crippled, humiliated, impoverished, imprisoned. Other counsellors may advocate assassination or warfare -- which, aside from its spiritual insignificance, is expensive and likely to inflict at least as much pain on the innocents as the brutish dictator. No, we are intelligence gatherers, dignified diplomats -- not revolutionaries.

One of the primary goals of the Order is to distribute power as they see fit. If certain powerful people are deemed unworthy by the Order, then the Psijics will try and make a change. This change will not involve murder or any other form of assassination. In general, one could expect that type of thuggish brutality from the Morag Tong or the Dark Brotherhood but not the Psijic Order (Source of Chaos).

In distributing (and redistributing) this power, it is unclear whether the Psijics wish to become "gods" themselves or simply endow others with such gifts. Certainly, they do counsel great men and women on matters of importance and perhaps even lead them to becoming powerful in the afterworld, but unfortunately, a complete description of the endeavors and motives of the Psijic Order remains a mystery to this day.

However, it is interesting to note that the endeavors of the Psijic Order do not seem to be related to the so-called Psijic Endeavor that is prominent in the providence of Morrowind. When Vivec was asked about the relationship between the Psijic Order and the Psijic Endeavor, he replied:

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

Master Divayth Fyr further corroborates this idea by saying, "...the Dwemer appear to have been most successful in the Endeavor than any mortal. Their Endeavor is not the shared Endeavor of the Old Way."

Cloven Duality

Cloven Duality

Masser and Secunda therefore are the personifications of the dichotomy-- the "Cloven Duality," according to Artaeum-- that Lorkhan legends often rail against: ideas of the anima/animus, good/evil, being/nothingness, the poetry of the body, throat, and moan/silence-as-the-abortive, and so on -- set in the night sky as Lorkhan's constant reminder to his mortal issue of their duty

- From The Lunar Lorkhan


Centaur

Centaurs

Centaurs are ancient and mysterious creatures, alternately worshiped and despised. Legends of their exploits range from the epic to the pornographic, perhaps for no better reason than that they have varied personalities. The Council of Artaeum have called the Centaurs 'true followers of the Old Ways' of Tamriel, referring to the complex system of ancestor worship that Artaeum itself espouses. All that one can certainly say about Centaurs is that in battle there are few who are equal.

- From the Daggerfall Manual

The Myth of Aurbis

"Subtitled 'The Psijic Compensation,' 'Mythic Aurbis' was an attempt by Artaeum apologists to explain the basics of Aldmeri religion to Uriel V in the early, glorious part of his reign. It quietly avoided any blame or bias against the Lorkhan-concept, which was still held in esteem by the Cyrodiils as "Shezarr", the missing sibling of the Divines. Despite this, the Psijics still give a nice summary of the Elder view, and it will serve our purposes here. This version comes from the archives of the Imperial Seminary from the handwritten notes of an unknown scribe" (Monomyth).

Mythic Aurbis exists, and has existed from time without measure, as a fanciful Unnatural Realm.

'Aurbis' is used to connote the imperceptible Penumbra, the Gray Center between the IS/IS NOT of Anu and Padomay. It contains the multitude realms of Aetherius and Oblivion, as well as other, less structured forms.

The magical beings of Mythic Aurbis live for a long time and have complex narrative lives, creating the patterns of myth.

These are spirits made from bits of the immortal polarity. The first of these was Akatosh the Time Dragon, whose formation made it easier for other spirits to structure themselves. Gods and demons form and reform and procreate.

Finally, the magical beings of Mythic Aurbis told the ultimate story -- that of their own death. For some this was an artistic transfiguration into the concrete, non-magical substance of the world. For others, this was a war in which all were slain, their bodies becoming the substance of the world. For yet others, this was a romantic marriage and parenthood, with the parent spirits naturally having to die and give way to the succeeding mortal races.

The agent of this communal decision was Lorkhan, whom most early myths vilify as a trickster or deceiver. More sympathetic versions of this story point out Lorkhan as being the reason the mortal plane exists at all.

The magical beings created the races of the mortal Aurbis in their own image, either consciously as artists and craftsmen, or as the fecund rotting matter out of which the mortals sprung forth, or in a variety of other analogical senses.

The magical beings, then, having died, became the et'Ada. The et'Ada are the things perceived and revered by the mortals as gods, spirits, or geniuses of Aurbis. Through their deaths, these magical beings separated themselves in nature from the other magical beings of the Unnatural realms.

The Daedra were created at this time also, being spirits and Gods more attuned to Oblivion, or that realm closer to the Void of Padomay. This act is the dawn of the Mythic (Merethic) Era. It has been perceived by the earliest mortals many different ways, either as a joyous 'second creation', or (especially by the Elves) as a painful fracturing from the divine. The originator of the event is always Lorkhan.

Counselors of Kings

Since the earliest written record of the Psijics (1E 20), the Order has been known as the counselors of kings:

A student of the Old Ways may indeed ally himself to a lord -- but it is a risky relationship. It cannot be stressed enough that the choice be wisely made. Should the lord refuse wise counsel and order the Psijic to perform an act contrary to the teachings of the Old Ways, there are few available options. The Psijic may obey, albeit unwillingly, and fall prey to the dark forces against which he has devoted his life. The Psijic may abandon his lord, which will bring shame on him and the Isle of Artaeum, and so may never be allowed home again. Or the Psijic may simply kill himself (Celarus).

Nevertheless, the Council of the Psijic Order has had a profound influence on Tamriel politics. Several kings of Summerset have sought their counsel, as well as Emperor Uriel V and Emperor Antiochus of Cyrodiil; however, "The last four emperors, Uriel VI, Morihatha, Pelagius IV, and Uriel VII, have been suspicious of the Psijics enough to refuse ambassadors from the Isle of Artaeum within the Imperial City" (il-Anselma).

Mysticism: the Old Way

Undoubtedly, many of us have heard of the School of Mysticism. "Mysticism involves the manipulation of magical forces and boundaries to bypass the structures and limitations of the physical world" (Morrowind Game Manual). Its power comes from conundrums and paradoxes within Magicka, and it was originally believed that Mysticism's power came from the Aetherius Itself or else from the Daedric Beings of Oblivion. "Some even ventured that Mysticism arose from the unused elements of successfully, or even unsuccessfully, cast spells" (Lor). However, discussion from within the Psijic Order after Artaeum's reappearance has led some scholars to believe that Mysticism is much less spiritual in nature than was originally supposed, and that either the intellect or the emotional state of the believer is sufficient enough to influence its energy configuration and flow (Lor).

Mysticism in Oblivion

Dispel Dispell Removes Magicka-based spell effects from the target. Does not affect abilities, disease, cures, or constant magic item effects.
Soul TrapSoul Trap Traps the soul of the target creature in the smallest, appropriate, empty soul gem in the caster's inventory, if the creature is killed during the effect's duration.
TelekinesisTelekinesis Allows the caster to pick up items from a distance.
Detect LifeDetect Life Allows you to detect living things.
Spell AbsorptionSpell Absorption Lets the target absorb an attacking spell's power as an increase in Magicka.
ReflectReflect Reflects any spell back at an attacking caster.

Mysticism in Morrowind

DispelDispel Removes Magicka-based spell effects from the target. Does not affect abilities, disease, cures, or constant magic item effects.
Soul TrapSoul Trap Traps the soul of the target creature in the smallest empty soul gem in the caster's inventory, if the creature is killed during the effect's duration.
TelekinesisTelekinesis Allows the target to pick up items, open containers, or open interior doors from a distance.
MarkMark Establishes a target location for the Recall spell.
RecallRecall Instantly transports the caster to the last Recall marker set by the Mark spell.
Divine & Almsivi InterventionDivine and Almsivi Intervention Instantly transports the caster to the alter of the nearest shrine. For Divine Intervention, this is the Imperial cult. For Almsivi Intervention it is the Tribunal Temple.
DetectDetect Allows you to detect creatures, enchanted items, or keys.
Spell AbsorptionSpell Absorption Lets the target absorb an attacking spell's power as an increase in Magicka
ReflectReflect Reflects any spell back at an attacking caster.
AbsorbAbsorb Temporarily transfer a portion of the target's attribute, Health, Magicka, Fatigue, or skill to the caster.

The Psijic Order has a different term for Mysticism: The Old Way. The problem is that the term "Old Way" also refers to the beliefs and religion of the Order, which may or may not be part of Mysticism (Lor). In any case, it is believed that the Old Way or Elder Way was taught to the Psijics by the original inhabitants of Tamriel. It is "a philosophy of mediation and study said to bind the forces of nature to the individual will. It differs from Magicka in origin, but the effects are the same" (il-Anselma).

The Psijics' true magical capabilities are shrouded in mystery. Certainly there have been stories of their mystic abilities, but even those may not do the Order justice. There are rumors that the Order may possess some sort of silent and magical communication or Calling (Sul). Whether this power truly exists, remains to be seen.

Since the beginning of the Order, the Psijics believed that magic "was something to be learned by individuals" (Salarth). It was believed that the interested scholar should devote his or her life to learning the skills involved. The Order was extremely protective of their knowledge and did not want to share with the rest of Tamriel. "It was, and is, a very structured way of life." "Quite elitist, actually" (Jarth). All of that changed with a mer named Vanus Galerion: he left the Order and started the Mages Guild.

 

Artaeum and Other Holdings

The Isle of Artaeum

The Isle of Artaeum (ar-TAY-um) is the ancestral home of the Psijic Order. It is located in the Summerset archipelago and is the third largest island in that region. According to scholars, "the Isle of Artaeum is difficult to chart geographically. It is said that it shifts continuously either at random or by decree of the Council" (il-Anselma). In fact, "When the Psijic Order does not wish someone to land on the island, the island and all on it become insubstantial" (Salarth).

Visitors to the isle are extremely rare, but Artaeum is believed to be elegant and beautiful. It is reported to contain idyllic orchards and clear pastures, still and silent lagoons, misty woodlands, and unique Psijic architecture that seems to be wondrous as well as natural to its surroundings. The Ceporah Tower, which is a relic from a civilization that predates the High Elves by several hundred years, is still used in certain rites by the Psijics. In the 3rd era, anyone interested in meeting with the Psijics could find contacts in Potansa and Runcibae as well as many of the kingdoms of Summerset Isle (il-Anselma).

Dranil Kir

Little is known about this small island, now ruined and abandoned. At some point in the past it was home to the Psijic Obscuros, a powerful skrying device that "magnifies a mage's perception and projects their visions for all to see" (Lilatha). A hero helps to reassemble it in the 580s of the 2nd era, and uses it to predict a Daedric threat on the Clockwork City of Sotha Sil.

 

History

Foundation of the Order

The Psijic Order began in the middle of the Merethic Era, when Altmeri society moved from worshiping all ancestors to the ancestors of their "betters," deifying ancestor spirits like Trinimac, Syrabane, and Phynaster into godhood (PGttE). According to the Pocket Guide to the Empire, these elders used "their mystical powers... to settle in Artaeum, away from what they considered the corruption of their society. They continued to return to the land to act as advisors, but never again would they call Summerset home."

Disappearance of Artaeum

Sometime around 2E 230, the Isle of Artaeum literally vanished from the sea. There have been various theories published about this event but none have been proven true. One popular story even states that Iachesis, Rite Master of the Psijics at that time, knew that the Psijics were going to leave:

"No, the island will be leaving the sea," said Iachesis, his voice taking on a dreamy quality. "In a few years, the mists will move over Artaeum and we will be gone. We are counselors by nature, and there are too many counselors in Tamriel as it is. No, we will go, and return when the land needs us again, perhaps in another age" (Townway).

After five hundred years had passed, the Isle of Artaeum returned just as mysteriously as it had left but with one important difference: Iachesis and the original Council of the Psijics did not return. The graycloaks who did return could not or would not offer an explanation for their disappearance. And unfortunately, they were unable to offer any explanation to the whereabouts of Iachesis and the Council. What is known is that the disappearance of Artaeum coincides with the founding of the Mages Guild (il-Anselma).

Vanus Galerion and Mannimarco

Vanus Galerion, who went on to found the Mages Guild, and Mannimarco, who went on to become one of Tamriel's most powerful necromancers and most reviled antagonists, both began their lives in the Psijic Order.

"Vanus Galerion was taken in by the Order when he was young. While on the Isle of Artaeum, he trained his mind, as well as his body (Kolsgreg). He became a Psijic and was a student of Iachesis, but something about the Order bothered Vanus: he objected to the Psijics' elitism. "He wanted the study of magic to be free. Well, not free exactly, but at least available to all who could afford it. In doing that, he changed the course of life in Tamriel" (Jarth).

During this same time, Mannimarco, later to be known as the King of Worms, was a member of the Psijic Order of Artaeum. This Altmer studied the Old Ways along with Galerion. (Horicles).

Both pupils excelled in their studies, but Mannimarco became obsessed with the art of Necromancy. The Psijic Order "forbade its use, not only because it was dangerous, but their beliefs in the holy and inholy ancestor spirits made it heretical" (Traven), and Galerion confronted Mannimarco, saying, “Your wicked Mysticism is no way to wield your power, bringing horror to the spirit world; your studies must cease” (Horicles).

Completely ignoring the advice, Mannimarco continued the Black Arts; eventually he was banished from the Order and Artaeum.

Eventually, Galerion also left the Order for different reasons. He went around collecting magic-users from the Summurset Isle. He began operating out of Firsthold, and proposed making magical items, potions, and even spells available to any member of the general public who could afford to pay (Salarth).

Galerion was brought before Iachesis and the King of Firsthold, Rilis XII, and made to state the intentions of the fraternity he was forming. The fact that Galerion's speech to Rilis and Iachesis was not recorded for posterity is doubtless a tragedy, though it does afford opportunity for historians to amuse one another with speculation about the lies and persuasions Galerion might have used to found the ubiquitous organization. The charter, at any rate, was approved (Salarth).

The Mages Guild was formed in 2E 230, with Vanus Galerion as the first Archmagister. He began inventing tools for alchemy and enchantment so that anyone could create anything they wanted. It didn't matter what skill level a person had, as long as they had the money:

The first tools were more automated than the ones we have today. Any layman could use them without the least understanding of enchantment and alchemy. On the Isle of Artaeum, the students had to learn the skills laboriously and over many years, but Galerion decided that was another example of the Psijics' elitism. The tools he invented were like robotic master enchanters and alchemists, capable of creating anything the customer required, provided he could pay (Jarth).

This created somewhat of a problem and eventually Galerion tore apart his old tools, and created what is used today in Tamriel. Although slightly more elitist (it requires that people know what they're doing), they are none the less more practical (Jarth).

The Mages Guild flourished not only throughout Summerset Isle but also across Tamriel itself. Ironically, Galerion is later quoted as saying that he regretted his decision, "The Guild has become nothing more than an intricate morass of political infighting" (Salarth).

Galerion would continue to be concerned with the power of his contemporary, and the two would clash several times during the following centuries.

By the middle of the 2nd era, Mannimarco had worked his way up into the court of the emperor Varen Aquilarios. In 2E 578, Mannimarco convinced the Emperor and four of his companions to go on a quest to locate the Amulet of Kings in order to grant mythic legitimacy to Varen's rule. When the Five Companions found the amulet in Sancre Tor, Mannimarco instead used its power to connect Nirn to the plane of Molag Bal, causing a catastrophic event known as the Soulburst and ushering in the Planemeld between the two realms (Titanborn). Although the Amulet was hidden away from Mannimarco, he was still able to become the power behind the Imperial throne, and made the Mages Guild of Galerion an illegal organization within what remained of the Empire (Tharn). The King of Worms was not satisfied with this power however, and planned to use the Amulet to capture the essence of Molag Bal to empower himself. He was defeated by an unknown hero and the Five Companions, being trapped in Cold Harbor for an unknown number of years. Vanus Galerion, in turn, mobilized the Mages Guild to help combat the Planemeld and eventually led an assault into Cold Harbor itself, helping to beak the bonds that tied Nirn and the Daedric realm together.

It is unclear how or when Mannimarco escaped from the clutches of Molag Bal. The next historical record of him comes from an epic poem describing his battle with Galerion. According to Horicles, Vanus Galerion, the mages of the Mages Guild, and the Knights of the Lamp confronted Mannimarco and his cults on the battlefield (Horicles). Galerion demanded that the King of Worms surrender his evil artifacts, and, when the litch refused, a devastating battle ensued:

Imagine waves of fire and frost, and the mountain shivers,
Picture lightning arching forth, crackling in a dragon's sigh.
Like leaves, the battlemages fly to rain down from the sky,
At the Necromancers' call, corpses burst from earth to fight,
To be shattered into nothingness with a flood of holy light.
A maelstrom of energy unleashed, blood cascades in rivers.

Like a thunderburst in blue skies or a lion's sudden roar,
Like sharp razors tearing over delicate embroidered lace,
So at a touch did Galerion shake the mountain to its base.
The deathly horde fell fatally, but heeding their dying cries
From the depths, the thing they called Worm King did rise.
Nirn itself did scream in the Mages' and Necromancers' war

- From Mannimarco, King of Worms

 

The death toll was high. Vanus Galerion was slain, and the King of Worms was believed to be dead. The survivors from the Mages Guild collected the Necromancer's artifacts, taking possession and ensuring their safekeeping (Horicles). Although both the necromancers and the Mages Guild had lost their leaders, both organizations would continue to thrive.

Mannimarco had not been permanently slain, however. The King of Worms turned up again in the Iliac bay in 3E 417, seeking to control the Mantella and Numidium alongside the other powers of the region. Having obtained it, he used its power to attain godhood and installed himself as the Revenant, also known as the Necromancer's moon. Although the Dragonbreak in the region reset its political climate, the Necromancer's Moon remained in the sky as a beacon to necromancers everywhere (The Story of Daggerfall) (Necromancer's Moon).

In the final days of the 3rd era, the King of Worms is believed to have resurfaced in Cyrodiil. The Order of the Black Worm and the Order of the Black Rose were both cults devoted to necromancy and lead by a mortal version of Mannimarco, distinct from the Necromancer's Moon. This Mannimarco devastated the Mages Guild, going so far as to reanimate Vanus Galerion as his personal servant, before being killed by an unknown hero with the assistance of the Arch-Mage.

Mannimarco as he appeared in the Elder Scrolls Online cinematic trailer.

Mannimarco in the Elder Scrolls Online

Mannimarco in TESII:Daggerfall

Mannimarco in the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Vanus Galerion as shown in Elder Scrolls Online.

A statue of Galerion from TESIV:Oblivion

Sotha Sil, the Dreaming Cavern, and a Pact with the Daedra

Another famous Psijic was Sotha Sil. Although Sotha Sil was away from Artaeum most of the time, while on the isle, he trained young Psijic initiates:

'There are layers to understanding all things,' said Sotha Sil. 'The common man looks at an object and fits it into a place in his way of thinking. Those skilled in the Old Ways, in the way of the Psijic, in Mysticism, can see an object and identify it by its proper role. But one more layer is needed to be peeled back to achieve understanding. You must identify the object by its role and its truth and interpret that meaning' (Townway).

One of Sotha Sil's biggest accomplishments was a pact with several Daedric princes to guard against an invasion of Nirn. On Artaeum, there is a mystical place called the Dreaming Cavern. The Cavern is used to visit Oblivion and communicate with the Daedra. During the year 1E 2920, it is believed that Sotha Sil journeyed into Oblivion, spoke with the Princes, and struck a deal:

Sotha Sil proceeded as quickly as he could through the blackened halls of the palace, half-submerged in brackish water. All around him, nasty gelatinous creatures scurried into the reeds, bursts of white fire lit up the upper arches of the hall before disappearing, and smells assaulted him, rancid death one moment, sweet flowered perfume the next. Several times he had visited the Daedra princes in their Oblivion, but every time, something different awaited him.

He knew his purpose, and refused to be distracted.

Eight of the more prominent Daedra princes were awaiting him in the half-melted, domed room. Azura, Prince of Dusk and Dawn; Boethiah, Prince of Plots; Herma-Mora, Daedra of Knowledge; Hircine, the Hunter; Malacath, God of Curses; Mehrunes Dagon, Prince of Disaster; Molag Bal, Prince of Rage; Sheogorath, the Mad One.

Above them, the sky cast tormented shadows upon the meeting (Townway).

He emerged from the Cavern days later. He had successfully made a pact with the Daedra. "The Daedra princes I spoke with have agreed to our terms," he said flatly. "Disasters such as befell Gilverdale should be averted. Only through certain intermediaries such as witches or sorcerers will they answer the call of man and mer" (Townway).

The exact terms of the pact are unknown to most inhabitants of Tamriel. We do know that at the time of the pact the princes had agreed not to be summoned by any amateurs until the war ended. Only the Psijics could counsel with the daedra, along with a few nomadic sorcerers and witches (Townway). In the middle of the 2nd era, Sotha Sil had this to say about the pact to an unknown adventurer who had managed to save the Clockwork City from the invasion of Nocturnal:

Long ago, I brokered a truce with the Princes of Oblivion. This pact bound eight Princes to an oath - that they would never again set foot on Tamriel. (Light of Knowledge)

There is much speculation within the scholarly community, not only about what was "promised" to the Daedra princes, but also whether or not the pact is still in effect today. Now that Sotha Sil has apparently died, some feel that the pact is null and void. Some feel the pact is alive and well. And still others feel that the pact expired long ago since the war is over, and Sotha Sil's death means nothing. Perhaps one day we will learn the exact terms of Sotha Sil's deal with the Daedra Princes.

The War of the Isle

In the Third Era, Emperor Antiochus asked the Psijic Order for help in defending the west coast of Tamriel. The Order caught wind of a meeting between King Orgnum and Queen Potema of Solitude, so a group of graycloaks paid a visit to the Queen. While there, the Psijics confronted Potema and confirmed the invasion planned by the Pyandonean Armada. In a shrewd maneuver, Queen Potema convinced the Order to defend Tamriel's coast (Jarth).

The War of the Isle, in 3E 110, twelve years after Antiochus assumed the throne, nearly took the province of Summurset Isle away from Tamriel. The united alliance of the kings of Summurset and Antiochus only managed to defeat King Orgnum of the island-kingdom of Pyandonea due to a freak storm. Legend credits the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum with the sorcery behind the tempest (k'Thojj III).

...Potema heard that the fleet of the Pyandoneans had been utterly destroyed by a storm that had appeared suddenly off the Isle of Artaeum. The home port of the Psijic Order. King Orgnum and all of his ships had been utterly annihilated (Jarth).

Late 3rd Era

According to Imperial authorities, the traditionally reclusive Psijic Order opened its halls to more initiates during the latter years of the 3rd era than ever before. To quote the Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition:

Some of Summerset's youth are rebelling against the present, ironically, by embracing the past. The Imperial Geographical Society is not allowed to visit Artaeum to survey and document it, but there is little doubt that the Psijic Order is increasingly popular among the young, and is willing to exploit this. Over the past thousand years, only seventeen new initiates were brought into the order. In the past two years, however, another thirty have joined. Thirty new members of an Order may not be enough to be a surprising trend in most circles, but to the tradition-bound graycloaks of Artaeum, it raises many questions. What the Psijics' aim in this recent recruitment, however, is anyone's guess at this time PGttE: The Blessed Isle: Alinor and The Summersets.

The 4th Era

At the start of the new Era, the Psijic Order had representatives through Tamriel advising both politicians and other powerful individuals, like the Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold. The foundation of the Aldmeri Dominion in 4E29 was not well received by the Psijic Order. The Order and the Dominion "clashed," with the Thalmor viewing the Order as "a rogue organization, [who believe] themselves to be above the law" (Ancano). The Psijic Order, in turn, withdrew further from directly interfering with the world.

Around 4E100, all members of the Psijic Order were recalled back to Artaeum, and the isle vanished once again, remaining hidden from the world for at least the next 100 years. The Psijics however had not stopped watching over the world. In 4E200, a Psijic named Quaranir used projections and time-stopping magic to intervene in the affairs of the College of Winterhold in Skyrim. Quaranir recognized that the Eye of Magnus was an incredibly powerful magical artifact and enlisted the help of the an unknown mage in order to keep it out of the hands of the Thalmor, and, eventually, spirit it away to Artaeum for safekeeping (College of Winterhold).

 


Works Cited

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Jarth, Waughin. The Wolf Queen, Book Four

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Necromancer's Moon

Pocket Guide to the Empire, v3 - The Blessed Isle: Alinor and The Summersets

Salarth, The Archmage. Origin of Mages Guild

Skyrim: College of Winterhold questline

Source of Chaos

Sul, Marobar. Chimarvamidium: Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part VI

Tharn, Abnur. Chronicles of the Five Companions 4

Titanborn, Lyris. Chronicles of the Five Companions 1

Townway, Carlovac. 2920, The Last Year of the First Era

Traven, Hannibal. The Black Arts On Trial

Vivec. Vehk's Teachings: Psijic Order and Psijic Endeavour