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Infernal City Lore Notes

Author: 
Greg Keyes, Lady Nerevar
Librarian Comment: 

Links to specific sections: Black Marsh - Lilmoth - An-Xileel - Cyrodiil - Elsweyr - Morrowind - Oblivion - Skyrim - Summurset Isles - Umbriel - Misc

I have cut and edited the quotes to remove unnecessary information and to improve clarity. The colored, bracketed annotations are additional information and not found in the original text.

Black Marsh

Xuth, Waxhuthi and Kaoc' are Argonian curse words/exclamations. p.16, p.48

“When the gates opened, Argonians poured into Oblivion with such fury and might, Dagon's Lieutenants had to close them.” p.19

The Wind Oracle is a boat owned by Ixtah-Nasha, a cousin of Meer-Glim. p.20

Xhu appears to be some sort of affirmation. “I'm going, xhu?” p.33

Jel , the ancient Argonian tongue, is “the closest speech to thought.” Humans are not able to pronounce it well enough to converse effectively. p.33

The Argonians call themselves the Saxhleel. p.34

Lukiul means “assimilated” in Argonian, and is used to refer to Argonians who have lived under Imperial influence. p.34

Argonians have several names. Meer-Glim is the Imperial version; the Saxhleel version is Wuthilul. p.34

“The Hist were many, and they were one. Their roots buried deep beneath the black soul and soft white stone of Black Marsh, connecting them all, and thus connecting all Saxhleel, all Argonians. The Hist gave his people life, form, purpose. It was the Hist who had seen through the shadows to the Oblivion crisis, who called all the people back to the marsh, defeated the forces of Mehrunes Dagon, drove the Empire into the sea, and laid waste to their ancient enemies in Morrowind. p.34

Though the Hist share a mind, it is possible for one to 'go rogue' and "escape itself." In such instances, the Hist purge the rogue tree. This last happened to a tree in Lilmoth over 300 years ago. The current Lilmoth Hist grows from part of its root. p. 34, 54

The scales of really old Argonians turn translucent in patches. p.47

Tsonashap, meaning “swimming frog,” is a ship moored in Lilmoth. p.48

The bay south of Lilmoth is filled with sea drakes. p.49

Mangroves grow along the coast of Black Marsh. p.50

Sea drakes look like giant crocodiles with paddles instead of legs. p.51

There are small sandbars in the bay of Oliil which submerge during high tide. p.52

There is a reef off Argonia's coast. p.52

An Argonian legend says that mangroves were originally spiders which angered the Hist and were transformed.

Roughly 10 miles from Lilmoth is “an upthrust rock that towered more than a hundred feet above the jungle floor. It seemed unclimbable, but ... Glim led [Annaig] to a cave opening in the base of the soft limestone. It led steadily upward, and in some places stairs had been carved. Faded paintings that resembled coiled snakes, blooming flowers, and more often than not nothing recognizable at all decorated the climb, and an occasional side gallery help often bizarre stone carvings of half-tree, half-Argonian figures. ... moss and low ferns [grow] on the flat summit of the tabletop.” p. 54

Argonian's reflexively open their mouths if tickled under their jaw. p. 56

Argonians can always feel the presence of the Hist while in the marsh. It is said that if they wander too far away from it they loose its touch. p.58

The land south of Lilmoth is rice plantations and is clear of forests. p.61

Hereguard Plantation is one of the few farms still run by Bretons. It is south of Lilmoth. p.60

“It was generally believed that Argonians had been given their souls by the Hist, and when one died one's soul returned to them, to be incarnated once more. [To Glim,] that seemed reasonable enough, at least under ordinary circumstances. In the deepest parts of his dreams or profound thinking were images, scents, tastes that the part of him that was sentient could not remember experiencing.” p.90

“The concept Imperials called 'time' did not have a word in [Glim's] native language [Jel]. In fact, the hardest part of learning the language of the Imperials was that they made their verbs different to indicate when something had happened, as if the most important thing in the world was to establish a linear sequence of events, as if doing so somehow explained things better than holistic apprehension.” p.90

“To [Glim's] people – at least the most traditional ones – birth and death were the same moment. All of life – all of history – was one moment, and only by ignoring most of its content could one create the illusion of linear progression. The agreement to see things in this limited way was what other peoples called 'time'.” p.90

The spines of Argonians are used to attract mates. p.93

Daril, meaning approximately “seeing everything in ecstasy,” is a drug favored by Argonians and expressed by the Moon-adder. It “unfolds in stages, no stage like the last, and it confuses the senses,” apparently making a person synaesthetic. This drug is lethal to all but Argonians. p.131

 

Lilmoth

Known as “the Festering Jewel of Black Marsh.” p.11

Wriggling the fingers of “both hands as if trying to shake something sticky off them” is a Lilmoth way of show agitation. p.12

Pussbottom is one of the dodgiest parts of Lilmoth. p.13

Ethten is the Underwarden of Lilmoth. p.13

“They had made their way from the hills of the old Imperial quarter into the ancient, gangrenous heart of Lilmoth – Pussbottom. Imperials had dwelt here, too, in the early days when the Empire had first imposed its will and architecture on the lizard people of Black Marsh. Now only the desperate and sinister dwelt here, where patrols rarely came: poorest of the poor, political enemies of the Argonian An-Xileel party that now dominated the city, criminals and monsters.” p.14

The layer of some Skooma smugglers in Pussbottom is “a livable corner of a manse so ancient the first floor was entirely silted up. What remained was vastly cavernous and rickety and o that unusual in this part of town. What was odd was that it wasn't full of squatters – there was just the one. He had furnished the place with mostly junk, but there were a few nice chairs and a decent bed. ... backed up into the corner, and here the walls were stone. The only way to go was up an old staircase and then even farther, using the ancient frame of the house as a ladder. .... the wall- and floorboards here had been made of something else, and were almost like paper.” p.14

Annaig's house has a wine cellar and a spiral staircase leading to an upper balcony. p.17

“Old Imperial Lilmoth spread out below them, crumbling hulks of villas festooned with vines and grounds overgrown with sleeping palms and bamboo, all dark now as if cut form black velvet, except where illuminated by the pale phosphorescence of lucan mold or the wispy yellow airborne shines, harmless cousins of the deadly will-o'-wisps in the deep swamps.” p.17

The bay on which Lilmoth sits is called Oliis Bay by the Imperials. p.33

Lilmoth has a statue of Xhon-Mehl the Fisher with “bulbous stone eyes.” “All that was visible [of the statue] was his lower snout up to his head. The rest of him was sunken, like most of Lilmoth, into the soft, shifting soil the city had been built on. If one could swim though mud and earth, there were many Lilmoths to discover beneath one's webbed feet.” p.34

Somewhere in Lilmoth is “the great stepped pyramid of Ixtaxh-thtithil-meht ["exact-egg-cracker"]. Only the topmost chamber jutted above the silt, but the An-Xileel had excavated it, room by room, pumping it out and laying magicks to keep the water from returning.” p.35

“The city tree was said to be three hundred years old, and its roots and tendrils pushed and would through most of lower Lilmoth, and here was a root the size of [Glim's] thigh, twisting its way out of a stone wall.” p.35

When Glim touches the root he has this vision: “Everything else around him ad become waterish, blurred, but as he laid his webbed hand on the rough surface, the colors sharpened and focused. He stood here, no longer seeing the crumbling, rotted Imperial warehouses, but instead a city of monstrous stone ziggurats and statues pushing up to the sky, a place of glory and madness. He felt it tremor around him, smelled anise and burning cinnamon, and heard chanting in antique tongues. His heart thumped oddly as he watched the two moons heave themselves through the low mist of smoke and fog that rolled through the streets, and the waters surged beneath them, around them, beyond the sky.” p.35

“Gulls swarmed the streets like rats near the waterfront, most of them too greedy or stupid to even move out of [Glim's] way as he picked his way through fish offal, shattered crabs, jellyfish, and seaweed. Barnacles went halfway up the buildings here. This part of town had sunk so low that when a double tide came, it flooded deep. The docks themselves floated, attached to a massive long stone quay whose foundations were as ancient as time and whose upper layer of limestone had been added last year. He made his way up the central ramp to the top of it. Here was a city in itself; since the An-Xileel forbade all but licensed foreigners in the city, the markets had all crowded themselves here. Here, a fishmonger held a flounder up by the tail, selling from a single crate of silver-skinned harvest. There, a long line of sheds with the Colovian Traders banner hawked trinkets of silver and brass, cooking pots, cutlery, wine, cloth. ... a group of [Glim's] matriline cousins had set up a business selling Theilul, a liquor made of distilled sugarcane. They'd originally sold the cane, but since their fields were twenty miles from town, they'd found it easier to transport a few cases of bottles than many wagonloads of cane – and far more profitable.” p. 36

Waterfront shaped like a “great stone cross” p.36

Hecua is an old Redguard alchemist in Lilmoth. p.39

Apparently, no one has heard of levitation is at least a lifetime. However, Lazarum of the Synod apparently figured out a spell to do it. p.39

There is no Synod conclave within 400 miles of Lilmoth. The Synod does not have representatives in Lilmoth either. p.39

Hecua's shop “had once been the local Mage's Guild hall, and there were still three or four doddering practitioners who were in and out of the rooms upstairs.” p.40

Annaig keeps her alchemical gear in a small attic room. p.41

The Thtachalxan, or “drykillers,” are the only non-Argonian guards in Lilmoth. p.44

A “pocked, eroded limestone arch ... had once been marked the boundary to the Imperial quarter.” p.46

Argonians don't sweat. p.196

The distance between the south coast of Black Marsh and Lilmoth is roughly 15 miles. p.212

 

An-Xileel

Qajalil is Archwarden of the An-Xileel. p.30

The An-Xileel talk only to Lilmoth's city tree. p.31

Only the An-Xileel and wild Argonians have complete access to the Lilmoth city-tree. p.45

 

Cyrodiil

Lank Fellow Inn is an inn in Chorrol. It has at least two stories, an upper for sleep and a lower dining area. p.6

People from Weye come to the Imperial City to sell wares at market, and depart after the day is done. p.23

The Undertow is a tavern in Anvil which serves dark beer. p.23

Telhall is a sort of dormitory for the Penitus Oculatus [my best translation is “having thorough eyes inside,” though I am not a scholar of Latin]. p.25

Ingrebis Songblade exploited the factions in Cheydinhal. Time frame and specifics unknown. p.70

There are many bandits around Cheydinhal. p.105

“Titus Mede had been – and was – many things. A soldier in an outlaw army, a warlord in Colovia, a king in Cyrodiil, and Emperor.” p.108

Attrebus and Titus Mede “looked much alike, having the same lean face and strong chin, the same green eyes. [Attrebus] had gotten his own slightly crooked nose and blond hair from his mother; his father's hair was auburn, although now it was more than half silver.” The Emperor's forehead is wrinkled and his hair curly. p.108

Titus Mede “took [the Imperial City] with under a thousand men.” He also “routed Eddar Olin's northward thrust barely twice that.” p.109

“Ione wasn't picturesque; a few of the houses were rickety wooden structures faded gray, but most were stone or brick and simply built. Even the small chapel of Diabella was rather plain.” p.119

“The square was mostly stone, oddly cracked and melted as if from terrible heat of some stranger force. Two bent columns projected up in the middle, each about ten feet high, and together they resembled the truncated horns of an enormous steer.” These were the ruins of an Oblivion gate. p.120

“When this [gate] opened, it opened right in the middle of a company of soldiers recalled from the south to fortify the Imperial City. More than half of them were killed, including the commander. They would have all died, but a captain named Tertius Ione managed to pull the survivors together and withdraw. But rather than retreat all the way to the Imperial City, he instead recruited farmers and hunters from the countryside and Pell's Gate. The he made them into something more than what they were. They returned and slaughtered the Daedra here, and when they were done with that, he led them trough the gate itself. ...
He'd heard that the gate at Kvatch had been closed somehow by entering it. So Ione went in with about half his troops and left the rest here, to guard against anything else coming out. ...It closed, but captain Ione was never seen again. One of his men – a Bosmer named Fenton – appeared weeks later, half dead and half mad. From what little he said that made sense, they reckoned Ione and the rest sacrificed themselves to give Fenton a chance to sabotage the portal. The Bosmer died the next day, raving. ...
Ione was gone for a long time before the gate exploded, and in the meantime his company built some fortifications and simple buildings. Once the gate was gone, it was a convenient and relatively safe place, so a lot of people stayed, and over time the town grew.” p.120

“Across the morning gold of [lake Rumare] stood the Imperial City, a god's wagon-wheel laid down on an island in the center of the lake. The outer curve of the while wall was half in shadow, and he could make out three of what would – in any other city – be deemed truly spectacular guard towers. But those were dwarfed by the magnificent spoke of the wheel -- the White-Gold Tower, thrusting up toward the unknowable heavens.” p.122

Attrebus, and likely many other nobles, know that the towers serve to keep “Mundus... from dissolving back into Oblivion” and/or to keep Oblivion at bay. “Everyone agrees [the White-Gold Tower] has power, but no one knows exactly what kind.” p.123 [see the Nu-Mantia Intercept for more information on this]

There are springs “neat the overgrown ruins of Sardarvar Leed, where the ancient Ayleid elves had once herded [Attrebus'] ancestors, bred them for work and pleasure.” p.124

“They were on a hunting trail of some sort, surrounded by massive oak and ash trees. The land rolled a bit, so it was a good guess they weren't in the Niben Valley anymore... [Attrebus'] best guess is that they were somewhere in the West Weald...” p.126

Ione, Pell's Gate, Sweetwater, and Easterbridge are towns located near each other in (or near) the West Weald. p.137

The “Natives” are a rebel faction from County Skingrad who are known to behead their victims. p.138

Mortal is a town surrounded by willows on a river in Colovia. p.140

Attrebus fought a battle at Dogtrot fort: the official story is that they were outnumbered 10-to-1 by insurgents, the real story is that they faced half their number in prisoners. p.147

There are Thalmor nests and sympathizers throughout Cyrodiil, and the Penitus Oculatus keeps undercover agents in at least one of them. p.152

Penitus Oculatus is an Imperially run intelligence and assassination agency which appears to have replaced the Blades. Relmar Vel is its Administrator and Marall its Intendant. p.153

It is believed that the Natives (and possibly other insurgent groups) are funded by the Thalmor. p.154

Leyawiin is “restless” under the rule of Titus Mede. p.155

Titus Mede has a brother. He is kept under tight surveillance for fear that he might try and usurp the throne. p.155

Anvil grows quiet at dusk as people retire to their homes or to the pubs. p.157

In the market district at dusk, “the streets were crowded with trinket vendors and soothsayers, self-styled prophets of any daedra or Divine imaginable. Women, mostly comely ones, stood outside of alehouses, flirting to attract business, and there were others of both genders and all races flirting to sell somewhat different wares. Beggars choked the edges of walkways, and little stalls were turning out the enticing smell of roasted oysters, fried cheese, bread, skewered meats, and burnt sugarcane.
People wandered in crowds...
The Crown's Hammer was off the main thoroughfare, around a corner and almost hidden in an alley. It was a half-timbered building, very old.” It catered mostly to Colovians, and serves a “strong, sweet” ale with “just a taste of juniper,” which is a Colovian style popular in western Cyrodiil but hard to find in the east. p.157

Colovians eastern Cyrodiil are primarily military. p.158

Members of the Penitus Oculatus are known colloquially as “spectres” and are generally disliked. p. 158

Cheydiinhal is famous for its 30 layer cakes. p.174

Saunas “have come and gone as a fashion in Cyrodiil.” p.196

It would take more than twenty days to get from Bravil to Vivec through the Valus mountains. p.212

Water's Edge is “a bustling market town that – like Ione – had done most of its growing In the last few decades. During the years when the old Empire was collapsing, it had served as a free port when Bravil and Leyawiin were independent and often at odds with each other, and Water's Edge had been protected by both and by what remained of the Imperial Navy.” p. 223

The College of Whispers has a cynosure in Water's Edge p.223

The Imperial Garrison at Water's Edge consists of “a couple wooden barracks flanking an older building of dark stone. p.225

There is a tavern called “Little Orsinium” in Water's Edge. p.226

The Gaping Frog is a tavern “just off the town square” in Water's Edge. p.228

Letine Arese is an “assistant to the minister” and is a “petite, blond woman of thirty years.” p.266

The Foaming Flask is a tavern in the Imperial City. p.267

 

Elsweyr

Few Khajiit sail, when they do it is mostly for trade and/or Skooma transport. p.4

As one crosses the border into Elsweyr, “the land had risen, and the tick forest and lush meadows of the West Weald had devolved into scrubby oaks and tall grass. Now, on the southern side of the hill, trees were more like big bushes, except when they came to a stream or pol, and tall grass prevailed in the clearings.” p.143

The hills between Elsweyr and Cyrodiil are filled with trolls. p.143

Riverhold is “swarming with Imperial agents.” p.143

Sheeraln is a small market town a few miles west of Riverhold. p.144

“The plains of Anequina stretched out to the horizon....it was green. The tall grass of the upland prairies had been replaced by a short stubble, but that still seemed a far cry form the naked sand he'd been expecting. Streams were visible by the swaying pals, light skinned cottonwood, and delicate tamarisk that lined them. A herd of red cattle grazed in the near distance.
Riverhold was visible a bit east, spring up at the convergence of three duty-looking roads. The walls were saffron, irregular, and not particularly high. Behind them, domes and towers of faded azure and cream, vermilion and chocolate, gold and jet, crowded together... It was a city that seemed at once tired and exuberant.” p.144

“Earlier that day the short-grass prairie had abruptly dropped off into one of the strangest landscapes Attrebus had ever seen. It looked as if a massive flood had stripped everything away but the dirt, and then cut that up into a labyrinth of arroyos and gullies. ...vibrant rust, umber, olive and yellow strata of the soil were exposed...” p 174

As mounts, the Khajiit use their brethren, “monstrous cats that stood as high as a large horse at the shoulder. Their forelimbs were as thick as columns and half again as long as their rears, giving them an apelike appearance. Their coats were tawny, ribboned with stripes the color of dried blood, and their feral yellow eyes seemed to promise evisceration.” p.175

“Two of the riders seemed hardly less bestial, although they wore shirts that covered their torsos and cravats around their necks. Where their fur was visible, it was pale yellowish-green spotted with black. Their faces were altogether more catlike than any Khajiit he'd ever met, and they slouched forward on their mounts.” p. 175

“The third rider was more like what Attrebus was used to, with features that were more manlike, although still unmistakably feline.” p.175

“...the final rider had such fine, delicate features, she might easily have been of merish blood, had her face not been splotched with irregular black rings.” p.175

Eastern Elsweyr, except for Rimmen, is not friendly to men and mer. p.176

Olives, palms, and tamarisk grow along streams in northern Elsweyr. p.176

“She [“a very old female”] knelt in front of Sul, placed a small cloth on the ground, then a cake on the cloth. With a precise movement of her hand, she pinched some sort of powder from a small bowl in the tray and sprinkled it onto the cake. Hen she took the bottle and let exactly four drops of golden liquid drip on it.” The Khajiit eat these cakes, but it is enough for foreigners to simply touch them to their lips. This is some sort of welcoming ceremony. p.177

Khajiit are resistant to moon-sugar because they eat it in some form every day. Skooma however is still addictive. p.178

Je'm'ath is appears to be a custom of doing a favor in exchange for safe passage. In the novel, this meant obtaining moon-sugar. Alternatively, it could be the T'aagra for “moon-sugar.” It could, of course, be both. p.179

Moon-sugar is rare in the northern parts of Elsweyr, but plentiful in Rimmen (and presumably other cities). p.179

Rimmen's new Potentate dislikes free Khajiit clans and has forbidden them inside the city's walls. p.179

The Mane has been assassinated. The south is in the midst of a war, and the north, apparently ruled by Rimmen, is in chaos. p.180

The northeast, towards Rimmen, is “a ragged steppe of thorn-scrub. It lifted and rolled in long undulations. Two days on and finally, over a distant hill they could see a golden gleam.” p.181

“Rimmen had elegant bones of ivory-colored stone with few towers but many domes. Soldiers – human soldiers, met them at the gate, searched them, questioned them, and eventually passed them through. For another hundred yards they snaked through the twists and turns of an entry overlooked by platforms for archers, mages, and siege weapons. That brought them to the market, a bustling, colorful plaza empty in the middle but girdled by tents and stalls and bounded by canals. A broad avenue flanked by more expansive waterways continued on to what was clearly the palace, an ancient-looking structure raised up on a high, tiered stone substructure. The tiers held some buildings, and apparently earth, because he could see trees growing there. Surmounting what was a cylindrical building with a large golden dome. Ware cascaded down the sides of the palace, feeding into the pool that encircled it.
Off to the eastern side of the palace, he could see the odd curly-edged roof of what had to be the Akaviri temple Annaig had mentioned. The only place he'd ever seen with similar architecture was Cloud Ruler Temple...” p.184

“He was surprised that fewer than half of the people he saw were Khajiit, and many of those lolled about with wild of vacant eyes, skooma pipes clutched in their hands. It was a strange sight to see in an open, public square...
They left the plaza, crossing a canal on a footbridge and thence down a narrow street where gently chiming bells were depended between the flat roods of the buildings and verdian moths flittered in the shadows. The addicts there even thicker here, a few watching them and holding out their hands for money; but mods were shivering, lost in their visions.
They arrived at their destination, a smaller square with a fortified building surrounded by guards in purple surcoats and red sashes. A sign proclaimed the place to be KINGDOM OF RIMMEN STATE STORE.
Once again they were searched, questioned, and then passed into a low-ceilinged room where twenty of so people stood on line at a counter. Only one person, an Altmer, seemed to be dealing with the customers, but others worked behind him, wrapping paper packages into even larger paper packages.” p.185

The price of moon-sugar is fixed by the office of the potentate. p.186

“If you sell or attempt to sell moon-sugar in the Kingdom of Rimmen... you will be subject to a fine of triple the worth of the sugar. If you sell or attempt to sell more than two pounds, you will be subject to execution.” p.186

Sei'dar is either reaching out “from your interests to embrace ours” (empathy?) or “an important thing.” It could also be both, meaning that empathy is an important part of Khajiiti society. p.221

“East of Rimmen the land rose from the dust in a series of rolling ridges covered in brush and scrub oak, and eventually – as they ascended higher – timber.

“The hills were swarming with Khajiit renegades organized around rough hill fort, but they kept their distance.” p.211

“On Khenarthi's path” is a Khajiiti way of saying “dead.” p.243

“The Sench [sic.] are sprinters, not distance runners.” p.243

 

Morrowind

A tsunami hit Morrowind in the late early 4th era. It was, presumably, the result of the fall of the Ministry of Truth. p.3

The Ministry of Truth retained its original velocity after being stopped by the power of Vivec's will. p.213

After Vivec “left, or was destroyed” [check out the Trial of Vivec for one explanation] Morrowind's best minds crated the ingenium, a machine that uses souls to keep the Ministry stationary. p.213

After Sul rescued Ilxheven, his lover, from the Ingenium, it exploded, sending Vuhon and Sul into Oblivion. The explosion caused the Ministry of Truth to fall onto Vivec, which in turn caused the eruption of Red Mountain. p.213

The fall of the Ministry brought about the Red Year. p.214

“The ingenium used souls to keep a sort of vent into Oblivion open, specifically into the realm of the daedra prince, Clavicus Vile...
Vile has a thing for souls... and if he noticed the rift at all, he probably enjoyed what was coming through more than he missed the energies going out. It is even possible that Vuhon made a formal bargain with the prince.” p.214

The eruption of Red Mountain destroyed “most” of Morrowind's cities. p.234

What remains of Vivec is “an island of ash and shattered stone, still surrounded by water, but this water appeared to be boiling. The steaming air stank of hard minerals, and the sky was bleak and gray.” p.256

“The island stood in the center of a bay that as close to perfectly circular, with a rim standing somewhat higher that the island except in one place where it opened into a sea or larger lake....
To the left, beyond the rim, the land rose up in rugged mountains.” p.257

The Argonians associate some sort of ritual with the crater of Vivec, now called the Scathing Bay. p.259

“It wasn't enough that the ministry fell; the impact caused the volcano that was the heart and namesake of Vvardenfell to explode. Ash, lava, and tidal waves had done their work, and when that was calmed, the Argonians had come, eager to repay what survived of his people for millennia of abuse and enslavement.” p.261

There are (were?) Argonian villages in southern Morrowind.

The spirit of Ilzheven is tied to the crater of Vvardenfell or what remains of the ingenium. p.262

 

Oblivion

When Sul and Vuhon landed in Oblivion after the explosion of the ingenium "there was someone – or something – waiting for us. But it wasn't Vile. It was shaped like a man, but dark, with eyes like holes into nothing. He had a sword, and as we lay there, it laughter and tossed it through the rift we'd come through. I [Sul] tried to follow, but it was too late...
He called himself Umbra, and like Vile, he had a thing for souls. He'd been attracted to the rift by the ingenium and had even tried to enlarge it, with no success. So he'd cast a fortune and learned that a day was coming when it would briefly widen, and so there he was. ...
Umbra took us captive – he was powerful, almost as powerful as a daedra prince. In fact, it was the power of a daedra prince – he'd somehow managed to cut a piece from Clavicus Vile himself. ...
Not a physical piece... Daedra aren't physical beings like you and me. But the effect was similar – Vile was, in a sense, injured. Badly so. And Umbra became stronger, though still not so strong as Vile. Not strong enough to escape his realm once Vile had circumscribed it against him. ...
Changed the nature of the 'walls' of his realm, made them absolutely impermeable to Umbra and the power he had stolen. ...
Umbra claimed to have once been captive in the weapon. He feared that if Vile got his hands on it, he would return him to it.” p.215

“Clavicus Vile was nursing his wounds and hunting for Umbra. Umbra used his stolen power to conceal himself in one of the cities at the fringe of Vile's realm. But he still couldn't escape. Vuhon promised him that if Umbra spared his life, he would build a new ingenium, capable of escaping even Vile's circumscription. Umbra agrees, and I [ Sul] suppose that's what they did.” p.216

The sensation of traveling to a daedric real is “like falling – not down, but in all directions at once. The moons were gone, and in their place a ceiling of smoke and ash. Stifling heat surrounded them and the air stank with sulfur and hot iron. They stood on black lava, and lakes of fire stretched off before them.” This is Mehrunes' Dagon's realm. p. 239

“They were in utter darkness – but not in silence, for all around them were chittering sounds and the staccato scurrying of hundreds of feet.” p.239

“They were in an infinite palace of colored glass.” p.239

'They were on an icy plane with a burning sky.” p.239

“They were standing by a dark red river, and the smell of blood was nearly suffocating.” p.239

Hircine's realm is “they deepest forest Attrebus had ever seen.” p.239

The Khajiit call Hircine the “Hungry Cat.” He is also called the “Hunter” and the “Father of Manbeasts.” p.240

Hircine's driver “might have been a massive albino Nord with long, sinewy arms. He was bare to the waist and covered in blue tattoos. His mount was the largest bear Attrebus had ever seen, and four only slightly smaller bears ran along with him.” Turns out he is a wear-bear, too. p.241, 242

The driver has a spear “with a leaf-shaped blade bigger than some short swords...” p.242

“They burst into open sunlight and bounded over a stream as they left the forest behind and plunged downslope to a grassy savanna. A red sun was just touching the horizon, painting the bloody river that meandered across the flatland.... off to what he presumed was the south, he saw a heard of some large beasts...” p.243

There are also herds of “antelopes with twisting horns.” p.243

“They were parallel to the river now, which had dug itself a respectable ditch here, at least a hundred feet deep.” p. 243

“A tributary comes in up ahead... it makes a gentler slope going in, and we can get down into the canyon there. The door we're looking for is up the canyon another mile or so.” p.244

Hircine hunts with a pack of werewolves and doesn't show up until after dark. p.244

Attrebus and his companions nearly get trampled by a heard of “some sort of wild cattle, albeit cattle that probably stood six feet high at the shoulders and had horn-spans almost that wide.” p.244

One of the realms has a “bed of yellow wildflowers that smelled like skunk. He [Attrebus] and Sul were on a hillside covered in colorful blossoms and odd, twisting trees with caps like mushrooms.” p.256

“They were on a jagged island in a furious sea beneath a sky half-filled with a jade moon.” Based on Sul's trajectory, this is likely Azura's realm. p.256

After Sul's escape, Vile tightened the walls of his circumscription so that Vuhon could not escape even if he “had the means. The only way to escape was to circumvent his restriction, to remain in his realm... I [Vuhon] built my ingenium, I powered by Umbra and the energies he had stolen from vile. I turned our city, wrapped those circumscribed walls around it.. twisted it until it broke loose, like a bubble. ...
... We've drifted though many realms and places beyond even Oblivion. We cannot leave the city – Vile's circumscription still surrounds it. ...” p.279

A summoned daedra is described as “a phantasmal mass of chitinoid limbs and wings that felt like scorpion and hornet and spider all together.” p.285

 

Skyrim

A story tells of a Skyrim boy, the child of rape and attempted murder, who was born with a knife instead of a right hand. He carved his way out of his mother and went on to kill those who had “wronged her and many who had not.” The story is popular with assassins and the boy is something of a patron. p.22

Dalk is an old word for “knife” in the northern tongue (Nordic?). p.22

Attrebus' hunting lodge is “built on the plan of an ancient Nord longhouse, each beam and cornice festooned with carvings of dragons, bulls, boars, leering wild men, and dancing, long-tressed women.” p.121

Spying on the Nords is considered worse than doing sewer duty by the Intelligence Agency. p.156

Saunas are popular in Skyrim. p.196

 

Summurset Isle

A tsunami hit the Isles in the early 4th era. It was likely a result of the fall of the Ministry of Truth, which gives us an idea of how absolutely massive the impact was. p.3

The goal of the Thalmor is “the pacification and purification of all of Tamriel – to bring about a new Merithic era.” p.154

The Thalmor harass refugees from the Summerset Isles and Valenwood, and are somehow involved in Elsweyr as well. p.154

 

Umbriel

“[Annaig's] first impression was of a vast jellyfish, its massive dark body trailing hundreds of impossibly slender, glowing tentacles. But then she saw the solidity of it the mountain ripped from its base and turned over. [It] had crevasses and crags, crude, sharp, unweathered angles, as if it had just been torn from the ground the day before. The top seemed almost as flat as the summit [Annaig and Glim] stood upon, but there were shapes there, towers and arches – and most strangely, a long, drooping fringe depending from the upper ledge like an immense lace collar, but twisted abut by the wind and then frozen in its disheveled state.” p.54-55

The island trails “glowing strands,” which “might have been spider silk spun from lightning, some flashing briefly brighter than others. She realized they weren't trailing, but dropping down from the center of the base, vanishing into the treetops, flashing white and then withdrawn into the the island's belly. As some came up, others descended, creating [Annaig's] original impression of a constant train of them.” p.55

“Amid the bright strands, something darker moved. Swarms of something – they might have been hornet or bees, but given the distance, that would make them huge – emerged from the stone walls and hurtled towards the jungle below. But at some invisible line a few hundred feet below the island, they suddenly dissolved into streams of black smoke, then vanished into the treetops. Unlike the threads, they did not reappear.” p. 55

The island is made of “thick-grained basalt.” p.58

Umbriel has strange creatures with “long, insectile legs” which “resembled a moth, albeit a moth nearly [Annaig's] size. Its wings were voluptuous, velvety dark green and black. Its head was merely a black polished globe with long, wickedly sharp needle projecting out like a nose. Its size legs, ticking nervously beneath it, ended in similar points.” p.60

“The holes that the fliers had come through were high, and the climb looked difficult, but the split in the island continued back, gradually sloping down. Daylight was soon behind them, and while the ghost of it followed for a while, eventually they were in near complete darkness.
...The walls remained about twice her shoulder-width apart, so it was easy enough to keep a hand on each rough surface. The floor was a little uneven...” p. 63

“They had gone a few hundred yards when she saw light again.... the path led them off another cliff.
This one opened in the belly of the mountain, a vast, dome-shaped cavity open at the bottom so they could once more see the destruction of Lilmoth.” p.63

“[Annaig] saw masses of the threads shooting down so many it looked almost like rain. She followed their course and saw them, thousands of them, in every nook and cranny of the stone. She couldn't make out much; they, too, seemed vaguely insectile, but she saw the thin, stone-colored tubes the threads issued from, because the rest of whatever-they-were were concealed in circular masses of what appeared to be the same material. They looked a lot like spider egg sacs, but larger, much larger.” p.63-54

“The steps wound up a few feet and vanished back into another tunnel. This one was illuminated with palpable phosphorescence. It twisted to curve steeply skyward, and Annaig realized they were making their way up above the dome space. Almost immediately it began branching, but she kept to her left, and after several breathless moments they came to a silvery-white cable, emerging room the stone below them and vanishing into the ceiling. ... The cable was composed of hundreds of threads would together. ... She saw that the hole was larger than the cable tat came up through it, and, lying flat she was able to make out the jungle floor again. Below her, the ropelike stricture unwound itself, sending threads off in every direction. She could see some of them vanishing into the web sacs.” p.66

Umbriel has 4 Middens, Bolster Midden has the “richest scent.” p.71

As one approaches the middens, “the floor and walls of the tunnels became first slick and then coated in a dank, putrid sheen.” p.71

The “soul-spinner” tendons pick up souls after the body has been killed, and then the larva (the giant moths) take over the bodies to go kill more people. p.72

Most of the souls Umbriel harvests go to the ingenium, the rest go to the kitchens to be converted into food for the nobles. p.73

Going too far from Umbriel makes its inhabitants loose their bodies. The souls seem to persist however, since the moths are able to take bodies. p.73

The Bolster Midden is said to resemble a giant stomach; it has a vaulted stone sealing with 5 garbage chute openings. p.75

Worms work in the Bolster Midden to purify the trash before it is sent down to the Marrow Sump. p.76

There are 5 kitchens in Umbriel, each named after their head cook: Aughey, Quinje, Lodenpie, and Fexxel. p.76

A narrow ledge circumvents the Midden, though in some places it is non existent. The middle of the Midden is “offal and pools of putrescence.” It is dimly lit, but no source is visible. p.76

Quije's kitchen consists of“enormous rectangular pits of almost white-hot stone lines up down the center of a vast chamber carved and polished from the living rock. Above the pits innumerable metal grates, boxes, cages, and baskets depended from chains, and vast sooty hoods sucked most of the heat and fumes up higher still into Umbriel. Left and right, red maws gaped from the walls – ovens, obviously, but really more like furnaces. Between them, strange and familiar crowded and hurried about long counters and cabinets, wielding knives, cleavers, pots, pans, saws, awls, and hundreds of unidentifiable implements.
Though the smells here were generally cleaner than those of the midden, they were just as varied, and decidedly more alien.” p.82

Some of the staff of Quinje's kitchen remind Anaig of people she knows. "There were in particular many who looked like mer; there were others for while – like the place itself -- she had no name. She saw thick figures with brick-red skin, fierce faces, and small horns on their heads, working next to ghostly pale blue-haired beings, spherical mouselike creatures with stripes, and a variable horde of monkey-like creatures with goblinesque faces. These last scrambles along the shelves and cabinets, tossing bottles and tins from shelves in the stone that rose sixty feet along the walls, although in most of the room the ceiling crushed down almost to the level of the tallest head. p.82-83

“Searing chunks of meat, huge snakelike creatures battering against the bard of their cages as the heat killed them, cauldrons that smelled of leek and licorice, boiling blood, molasses.
After a hundred pace the cooking pits were replaced by tables crowded with more delicate equipment of glass and bright metal. Some were clearly made for distillation, this made obvious by the coils that rose above' others resembled retorts, parsers, and fermentation vats. Along the walls were what amounted to vaster version of these things, distilling, parsing, and fermenting tons of material.” p.83

“A cable, the thickest she had seen yet, pulsing with the pearly light of soul stuff... it passed through various glass collars filled with liquid and colored gases, and insectile filaments and extremely fine tubing coiled and wound into what might be condensation chambers.” p.83

Some inhabitants of Umbriel eat regular food, others like “distilled essences, pure elements, and tenebrous vapors.” The highest lords eat only food made from soul-stuff. p.84

The kitchens create “poisons, balms, salves” as well as food. p.84

After the larva (giant moths) have taken a body they can be brought back to Umbriel via incantations. This is used to bring raw materials up to the city. p.85

If a servant of Umbriel moves too far from the city they loose contact. p.85

Scamps are described as “yellowish, sharp-toothed biped with long pointy ears.” They are at least partially resistant to fire. p.86

Hobs have green eyes and are monkeylike, but hairless. “It did have long arms and legs, though, and its fingers were extraordinarily long, thin, and delicate.” They are at somewhat intelligent and capable of following orders. p.86

Fennel Fern “soothes the stomach” and is “used in poultices for thick-eye.” p.88

The workers of Prixon Palace don't like their meat burned, but those of Oroy Mansion do. p.88

The kitchens use hot rock for cooking, but the source of the heat is unknown. p.89

The workers of Quinje's kitchen sleep in “a dark dormitory with about twenty sleeping mats. A table supported a cauldron, bowls, and spoons.” p.89

Umbriel incorporates outsiders, including Daedra. Those which are of no purpose to the city are discarded. p.92

Oorol used to be undercheff of Ghol Manor, before he was killed by Qinje for boring the lord. p.100

Slumpslurry is a curse/exclamation in Umbriel. p.100

Qinje's kitchen cooks for three lords, their households, and servants: Prixon, Oroy, and Ghol.

A year on Umbriel is just over half a year on Tamriel. p.101

Umbriel seems to be a land in itself, complete with farmers and fishermen. p.103

The workers of the Sump are called Skaws. p.112

Glim and Wert entered the Sump's antichamber through a stone corridor. “Water poured from an opening in the wall, ran in a stream across the floor, and vanished into a pool in the middle of the chamber. Several globes of light were fixed to the ceiling, nearly obscured by the ferns growing around them. The rest of the cave was felted in moss.” p.112

Most sump workers use something called the “vapors.” They grant temporary water-breathing but make their users sick with prolonged exposure. p.113

Glim entered the sump through the pool in the antechamber, “letting the mild current take him along. The pol bent into a tube, and he could see light ahead. A moment later he emerged in shallow water, just about as deep as he was tall.” p.113

“The sump spread out before him, a nearly perfectly circular lake in the bottom of a cone-shaped cavity. Umbriel City climbed up and away from him in all directions. Some of it hung above him.” It looked “vain, shiny, lopsided, and bragging.” p.113-114

“The shallows teemed with strange life: slender, swaying amber rods covered in cilia, swimmers that seemed like some strange cross of fish and butterfly, living nets composed of globes propelling themselves with water-jets and dragging fine webs between them, centipede-things as long as [Glim's] arm and little shrimp-like things no bigger than his thumb-claw.” p.114

“[Glim] stopped when he saw the body. At first he saw only a thick school of silver fish, but they parted at his approach. It had been a woman with dark skin and hair; now her bones weer showing in places and worms clustered on exposed organs.” These bodies are common in the sump, they are dropped or sent down from above. p.114

The skaws collect all kinds of ingredients for the kitchens, including “orchid shrimp, Rejjem sap, [and] Inf fonds.” Other ingredients, such as the sear-teeth, are brought from deeper. p.114

Glim and Wert “swam on, with the water getting gradually deeper at first.... the sump became a steeply curbed cone that drove deep into the stone of Umbriel. And at the very bottom, in the narrowest place, an actinic light flashed, like a ball of lightning.” This area is the “conduit to the ingenium.” p.114-115

About two-thirds of the way down the sump “translucent sacks” are affixed to the wall. “There were hundreds of them, maybe thousands, in all shapes and sizes. As [Glim] drew nearer, he could make out vague forms within the sacks.” p.115

“Glim moved closer, and... found himself looking into a face. The eyes were closed, the features not fully formed, but it wasn't a child's face ; it was that of an adult - -just softer, flabbier than most. It was also hairless.” p.115

All of Umbriel's inhabitants come from “a sort of worm, very soft. It pulsed in and out, and with every contraction, a little jet of water squirted from one end of it. Other than that, it was featureless.” They are called “protoform. When someone dies, the ingenium calls one of these down to the conduit and gives it a soul. It comes back up... and attaches to the wall, and someone grows.” p.115-116

When a sack is ready to be born it gets a sheen. The workers of the sump then swim it up to the “birthing pool,” which is a shallow cave. p.116

The Sheartooth is a large fish, at least 15 feet long, which lives in the sump. “Its tail was long, whiplike, and it had tow great swimming fins set under it, like a whale.” It has more teeth than a shark. p.117

Most animals come to Umbiel “not dead, but sort of paralyzed, frozen even though they weren't cold. Their hearts didn't beat and they didn't age. They had to be released from that state by a rod that Qinje carried.” p.131

“A bull-sized lion with a thousand eyes set on squirming stalks” is a beast found in Umbriel and used as an attack animal. p.171

Toel's kitchen, one of the upper ones serving the higher lords, wears gold and black. p.172

The sump is “a forest of sessile crabs. Their squat, thorny bodies attached to the floor of the sump were barely noticeable, but their tiny, venomous claws were set on the ends of twenty-foot-long yellow and verdian tentacles that groped lazily after him.” p.189

The top rim of Umbriel is a larger forest. Glim climbs up and finds “at his back a massive trunk as big around as a gate tower spurted form the stone, its roots dug into the cliff over hundreds of feet like the tentacles of some huge octopus. It split into four enormous limbs, one of which passed just over his head and out, like a ceiling above him, twisting gradually left as it did so, and dropping down to eventually obscure some o f the landscape below. This was the lowest limb visible; but above him they were so tick he couldn't see the sky.” p.190

The trees have a similar effect on Argonians as the Hist, but they aren't Hist, as “the leaves were too oblate, the bark less fretted, the smell a bit off. But it could be a cousin to them [the Hist]...” p.191

“[Glim] climbed up the leaning back of the tree and out onto one of the branches, following along its very gentle upward and outward slope. A troop of monkeylike creatures went by on another branch, each of them bearing a net-sack held on by a trumpline across their foreheads. The sakes were full of fruit, the kind the skraws called bloodball. A little later he saw some bloodball himself, growing on vines that would in and out of the branches. More curiously, as the branches got higher and he could see the sun, he found fruit and peculiar masses of grass heavy with seed growing directly out of the trunk tree itself, as if planted there.” p.191

The sauna and pool chamber in Toel's kitchen has “low ceilings of cloth woven in complicated, curvilinear patters of gold, hyacinth, lime, and sanguine. It draped down the walls, giving the appearance that they were in a large, very oddly shaped tent. Globes like those in the sweat-room, but lighter, depended here and there, filling the chamber with a pleasant golden light.” p. 198

There is a race of “froglike creature about two feet high, mottled orange, yellow and green.” p.199

“She stood on an outjut in a cliff face that was steep but not vertical, and that looked out on a vast, conical basin. Below her spread an emerald green lake and, above, the city drew from the stone itself, twisting spires and latticed buildings that might have been built with colored wire, whole castles hanging like birdcages from immensely thick cables. Higher still, the rocky rim of the island supported gossamer towers in every hue imaginable, and what appeared to be an enormous spiderweb of spun glass that broke the sunlight into hundreds of tiny rainbows.” p.202

“Umbriel must use living energy to remain aloft and functioning. But some of it is cycled, transformed, reborn – its not all lost.” p.204

Black Marsh succeeded from the Empire before the Empire collapsed. p.206

“Toel's kitchen was very different from Qinje's inferno. There was only one pit of hot stone and one oven, and neither was of particular size. In their place were long tables of polished red granite. Some supported brass steaming chambers, centrifuges, and a hundred kinds of alchemical apparatuses. Others were entirely for the preparation of raw ingredients. While the production of distillations, infusions, and precipitations of soul-stuff had been a minor part of Qinje's kitchen, here more than half of the cooking space was dedicated to the coquinaria spiritualia. The rest of the cavernous kitchen was devoted to one thing – feeding trees.” p.218

The trees above Umbriel “needed a sort of food, and Toels's kitchen made that food. Huge siphons drew water and detritus from the bottom of the sump and brought it into holding vats, where it was redirected into parsers that separated out the matter most useful to the trees. What wasn't used was returned to the sump. What remained was fortified by the addition of certain formulae before being pumped to the roots through a vast ring beneath Umbriel's rim.” p.219

“Lord Irrel's tastes tended toward the inane. No meal of less than thirty courses ever pleased him, and fifty or more was the safest.” He only eats one meal a day. p.248, 256

The receiving dock of Toel's kitchen “wasn't particularly imposing, merely a room with various tunnels leading away.” there are also two shafts leading up and down, used to lower crates. They are big enough to seat two people. p.249

The effects of Ampher Venin are delayed,“but once symptoms develop, it works very quickly.” p.252

“The kitchen wasn't still at night; the hobs there there, cleaning, jabbering in a language [Annaig] didn't know.” p.269

“Some forty feet below [Attrebus] was a web that might have been two hundred feet in diameter. It looked very much like a spider's web, anchored to three metallic spires, an upthrust stone, and a sticker tower of what appeared to be porcelain. Below the web was a long drop into a cone-shaped basin half full of emerald water and covered with strange buildings everywhere else. The web was made of glasslike tubes about the thickness of his arm. Every few feet along any given tube another sprouted and rose vinelike towards the sky. These in turn branched into smaller tendrils so that the whole resembled a gigantic bed of strange, transparent sea creatures – and indeed, most of them undulated as if in a current.
Attrebus was about ten feet from the to of the bushy structure, where the strands were no thickener than a writing quill, ad those were what held him up. They clustered thickly on the soles of his boots, pressed his back and torso and every past of him except his face with firm, gentle pressure.
He tried to take a step, and they moved with him, reconfiguring so he didn't fall. They cut the sunlight into colors like so many prisms, but it was nevertheless not difficult to see in any direction.” p.275

Umbriel's zombie army can go anywhere Vuhon chooses. p.281

Living in Umbriel long enough attaches one to the city, making it impossible to leave. p.285

 

Misc.

Tales of Southern Waters, and Most Current and High Adventures of Prince Attrebus, are two books found in Chorrol (and likely the rest of Cyrodiil). p.7

“No food, no wine, no lover's kiss is as beautiful as long, deep, breath.” is a quotation from Astorie, book 3. p.24

The Mages Guild is no longer an official institution. It has been replaced by the College of Whispers and the Synod, both Imperially sanctioned. p.40

Oblivion Crisis led to big influx of Daedra related alchemical ingredients. p.41

Something called a “Virtue Test” can determine the properties of Alchemical ingredients down to the school of magic they belong too. This test is however new, and may miss certain effects. p.42

The Coo is a “life-sized likeness of a sparrow constructed of a fine metal the color of brass but as light as paper. Each individual feather had been fashioned exquisitely and separately, and its eyes were garnets set in ovals of some darker metal.” It comes with a locket and awakens when touched. p.42

Iorth, someone/something to be cursing by. “By Iorth!” p.60

Vehrumasas translates roughly to “kitchen” in a Ehnofex related dialect (possibly native/exclusive to Umbriel). p.73

There is a potion that allows communication between people of different languages. Both need to take it to understand each other. p.91

Tralan the Two-Blade of Cespar was one of Titus Mede's most valued men. 98

Arenthia, and Valenwood in general, is not under Imperial control. Attrebus believes the city can be taken with a thousand men and the support of the locals. p.104

Vaernima is referred to as the “Dark Lady”

Some believe that stars are “fragments of Magnus, who made the world.”

There is a spell that allows one to talk to the ghosts of recently departed people before they pass into the Dreamsleeve. p.140

Slarjei are some sort of mount well suited for the desert. p.149

The Dwemer used to make “toys” similar to the Coo. p.166

Ichor of Winged Twilight is a black liquid that smells “cold, like eucalyptus or mint”. It is used in levitation potions. p.41, p.220

Most Dunmer remaining after the destruction of Morrowind are now on Soulstheim [sic.]. p.235

There is at least one volcanic crater in Hammerfell. p.257