Infernal City Lore Notes: Black Marsh

Librarian Note:

This page contains lore-relevant quotes and summaries from Infernal City, by Greg Keys. Some quotes have been truncated to improve clarity.

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

Argonians 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 synesthetic. This drug is lethal to all but Argonians. p.131

Argonians don’t sweat. p.196

Lilmoth and the An-Xileel

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

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

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

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. 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

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

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

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

Scroll to Top