Pocket Guide to the Empire, Second Edition — The Heart of Heaven and the Imperial Earth: Cyrodill

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Of all the 2nd Edition Pocket Guide sections, this one was one of the most contentious, as it had to follow up both the PGE1, whose fanciful portrayal of the province was a foundation of the principles of Monkey Truth, as well as TESIV, whose more commonplace European approach was generally derided in the lore community. How to treat the jungle was the most obvious question — explicitly call out its disappearance, or gloss over it? Say that the retcon has been re-retconned, or keep the landscape temperate but focus instead on the cultures? Say that the de-jungling was done by Tiber and he had really, really good reasons? Many snippets and sidebars were written about the various locations and cults in Cyrodiil, as well as the politics of Morihatha's rule, but what ultimately became the final piece started off with a pitch from Baruch: “Cyrodiil is dying.”

Adanorcil filled in the gaps for the idea, and eventually wrote the final text:

Cyrodiil is dying and it's already gone from a jungle to a temperate area. The next step is obvious. How about we write a Cyrodiil section from the future, in which the whole place is now a frozen wasteland? (Not unlike that other human homeland that got too cold.) Only it's not from the future, but from the Middle Dawn, which obviously affected no province more than Cyrodiil. The chapter therefore suddenly gains a warning undercurrent, written by Alessians-in-the-snow.

The chapter was posted by Temple Zero to the Return False thread on January 5th, 2012. It was written by Adanorcil, and here's what he had to say about this text upon its release:

The [Imperial Geographic Society] was ostracized because it wrote a Pocket Guide to the Empire as it was, while all the Cyrodillic establishment had asked for was a Pocket Guide to the Empire as they told people it was. The remnants and sympathizers of the IGS at the time went underground and continued their activities under a different Society name.

The original article on Cyrodiil was a (deliberate) vapid and syrupy eulogy on the Imperial Province, its history and rulers. Then, somewhere in the decades the manuscript spent in some secret archive, a fragment of a different world looking for a place in ours managed to slip in.

Maybe I'm overdoing the exegesis a bit here, but then maybe the piece deserves it, being the exception between more down-to-earth entries. I believe it has nothing to do with Landfall, at least as far as I understand that concept myself. It is set in a different time (literally different), when Cyrod was a world all by itself. Eventually that world failed to live up to its original intent and it collapsed. The archive moth message quoted in the text seems to have the tone of a concerned mother.

Infrasleeve B9-02: Channel granted.

Continuing transmission. The next fragment of the reputedly heretical Pocket Guide To The Empire is released with the express disclaimer that the Society cannot vouch for its origin or content. Where our confraters expected to find what they knew to be a heavily censored panegyric on the achievements of greater Cyrod, they instead discovered the following text, which appears entirely extraneous to the manuscript that was liberated from the Imperial archives. Indeed, by unknown means it seems to have supplanted the original article after the date of print, leaving only an orphaned introductory paragraph and a few blurred words behind. Though its exact origins may well remain a mystery, the Society has decided to disseminate its contents, if only to provide a more worthwhile read than the vapid bombast it accidentally (?) replaced.

Attached: PGE-tyg72k, key=tamrlc_common, content=manuscript

END: 0

The Heart of Heaven and the Imperial Earth

A description of Cyrodiil, the radiant heart of the Septim Empire and by far the most exhaustively researched of all the dominions of Tamriel, is no mean task. In the truly vast array of sources, anyone but the most astute analyst is easily overwhelmed by the accounts of political firebrands, unschooled bunglers and the occasional conspiracy-theorist. In their attempt to distill a reliable final product from a plethora of information, the authors of this book heeded the kind recommendations of the Imperial Council and our Majesty Empress Morihatha by adopting the acclaimed Seluriel Index (ed. 3E 326) as the standard for inclusion in the text below.

If the history of the Imperial Province continues to enjoy a position of unparalleled prominence in academic writing, it is perhaps because it has come toso clear and so resolute a starting point the committee’s understanding scholars agree that your majesty has requested the attached look for document be upon her person at the moment of origin. The committee looks favorably on this idea. Our chief axiotects have established that your esteemed station may still find some cautious rapport with its baser circumfiguration in thefirst kingdom of Cyrod. With all our scarce resources spent on the preservation of the entire cyphermoth library, it is our hope that your majesty’s physical presence may provide the aforementioned text with some alternative method of reinsertion.

Since the committee suspects this to be our last exchange, we would like to take the opportunity to inform your majesty that an agreement has been reached concerning the arbitrary refactoring of unknown into the idiosyncratic model of original intent. The number 1008 was unanimously elected as the most suitable proposal, in the belief that its connotations may appease the reconstructed slave god. On a related topic, the committee has privately funded a number of tunneling expeditions beyond our walls of White-Gold cosmos. The result of these sabotage campaigns, we hope, will ensure the swift demise of our order once the course of the Empire continues.

For Your Majesty’s Eyes Only: Archivoptera Metaterrenea #4859-QI3-001, identification: “Tffirfetrk-Ih-Rfir-Tt-T”. No further copies present. Carrier prism is attuned to clearance level A1 or higher.

It pains me that I must tell you this so soon. You are only just beginning; young and full of promise among the grand machinations of heaven. Perhaps I should have told you from the very start. The day may be legend to you, but I still recall that grand new moment, newer than ever before, when you stretched me across the stars and claimed the cosmos as your own. You were beautiful as rebels alone can be, and I have loved you ever since. I could not bear to see the wildfire of your hope extinguished then.

Still, it is time that you knew. The truth is simple: I am dying. The world of Nucyrod cannot support you much longer. I will fold under my own weight before another of your generations has completed its life in blissful ignorance. For all your good intentions, children, you have built me on false foundations. I am doomed, but I intend to offer you a final means of escape. I will tell you what happened, so you remember. I will tell you what is happening, so you understand. Also, I will tell you what must be done, so you may yet have a second chance.

I know you have heard the rumors, and they are all true. You remember these stories in the unlit corners of your minds and in the fables you tell at dusk. They are fictional, for that is how they had be fitted into the new way of things, but once – a concept I understand you struggle with – they were not. The Tempest Holds of your legendary cousins, the Embermen of the Once-East, the Bogdoms of Rgon, and many, many more; all are part of another earth, around and before myself. Among the myriad denizens of this world were the first of your dynasty, the brave men and women of All-Marugh. They found themselves caught in a violent febriverse, the issue of an inept world-god, uninspired and repetitive. Their long-studied answer came in the form of rites of theotomy equal amounts brilliant and disastrous, which I will not relay here if only to not set you on the wrong path twice. Suffice it to say that with their repudiarch gone, the All-Marugh rearranged their kingdom as befitting the new-found grandeur of man. The map was stretched in impossible directions, city became land, land became world and so was born Nucyrod.

For a long time, I hoped to be a stepping stone for you. Nucyrod was never a goal in its own right. It was simply respite from the churning world you left behind, a place of peace to prepare your final endeavor. Did you forget your purpose so lightly? Do you not understand what is happening? You cannot expect to linger here forever. Your time here is running out, for you have killed time. Did you not see the signs when the leaves turned the color of some hitherto unknown season? Did you not question how rivers dug ravines over a single night? How villages shifted about your atlases? Why did you wait for the blizzards to force you into action?

Forgive me if I sound accusatory, but now, in this final hour, my heart goes out to those droves of fevered refugees, pouring through the airlocks at the borders of the Rumare sea. Nuniben buckles under the weight of their shanty cities as they are pressed ever closer against the chronoclime cupolae under which they seek shelter. The moth swarms, too, have long foreseen disaster. The wise and the honest among you understand the significance of their mass migration to the capital, circling the cupolae as if trying to enter some bright eye in the dimness of the outer world. Do not fool yourself into thinking you cannot see their flocks shift about, changing direction, color or number on a whim, or spelling out the names of bygone gods in the corners of your vision. The most despondent of you turn to the ramshackle shrines of half-remembered saints: the prophecy-pool of Saint Ellatosh, the barge of Uriatosh The Ferryman or the dead tree of Tosh-Rain-On-The-Lily, to name just a few.

I wonder, have you lost all contact with the world outside your increasingly stale refuge? You have sent the last envoys from Nuniben, packed with breathing apparatus and a star chart, out into this alien world, into the snow. “Snow”, you call it, as if this degenerate substance could be likened to any you might encounter from Jerallinopel to the vapor mines at Su-Banadher. Colorless and without texture, intangible like an early childhood memory and impossible to fix your gaze upon; its only characteristic is that it does not belong. This material is time rotting: plaque, sediment, the last throes of a history out of breath. Your emissaries – those who still remember their task – will return within a quartermoon, but they will provide little information. Without exception, they have inhaled the detritus of future and past. The few who currently exist in your perception will talk, precise and analytical as they were trained to be, in languages long dead or still unborn. You will decide to risk no more lives in further expeditions. The only question that remains now is when you finally lock the gates.

Yet there are still legions of unfortunate souls out in the disintegrating wasteland. I watch them across all the lands of Nucyrod, struggling to hold on to a world that each day turns a different shade of unrecognizable. They are isolated and frightened, sometimes the sole remnants of a city that disappeared when they were looking the other way. Travel is impossible as destinations have become meaningless. Where the jungle trails are crossed by a vagrant bridging event, they follow impossible loops and the traveler with a brisk pace soon comes within sight of himself. Waterways are similarly unreliable. Look upon any river and you will see the same flotsam enter, exit and re-enter your view. Life here is equal amounts fevered and resigned. Citizens, if they emerge at all during the day, lock themselves in their houses at night, sealing crannies, doors and windows lest a single fleck manage to enter in their unwaking moments. All have known the terror of endless nights; how children try to sleep as their parents keep watch by a single candle flame, trying not to hear that spectral chorus outside: the static crackle, the titans, the waves, the trains…

Time is running out. You will and can not wait until all are gathered safe within. One day soon when the stars are hidden, your heavy-hearted Empress will tear a key from her wrist chain and have copies couriered to all the carnelian gates of Nunibennion. You will suffer the blindness of the conscience-stricken, averting your eyes from the abandoned masses on yonder side of the fogged glass. For some time, you will considered yourself safe within your refuge, but you forget there is no potential left for a brighter day. There then is what remains of the proud heritage of All-Marugh-Esh, a legion of men under a bell jar, waiting out a storm that will never pass. There then is what remains of Promise: a languid ember in the dark and then silence.

[HALT! Violation of transmission law, subarticle 15. Desist immediately. Engaging counter-notions.]

……………the Minute Menders …………multiply and rec………….onvert the unwarra…………nted reality of Nucyrod i…………………………. Akartefti rearra….nge………cities……. Akame……….nhatis g…..rs up the imp……….le letters of the alphabet, Ak….abas…….met deconstructs fables into truth…….. s………e………c……..ond…………. cha…….w…….sl……..y………….

[HALT! Failure to desist. Analyzing notional signature. Channel disrupted. Do not attempt to travel until visited by Thalmor agent for questioning.]

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