Lord of Souls Lore Notes: Miscellaneous

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

A drug named somniculous can be used to put people to sleep. It has a “cloying” scent.

A Bosmer woodsmen style outfit is described as having “high boots and soft leather vest and breeches. “

The Dark Brotherhood prefer “black quilted jerkins.”

“[Colin] lay back while she [Litene] cleaned his wounds, first with warm water and then with a white ointment that left a pleasant warmth behind it and smelled a little like mustard. It did more than feel good; he could see the flesh draw together almost as if stitched.”

“When I [Letine] summon daedra, I have to touch them with my mind. I have to be strong enough to keep them from turning on me. Daedra are—violent, passionate. Sometimes I feel something of what they do.”

Most ghosts are not visible under regular conditions. There is however some sort of mental state in which one is more attuned to the spiritual and hence able to see ghosts and special sorts of Daedra – Colin calls this “opening his spectral eyes.” It is made easier in places with a lot of history and feeling behind them.

People without magical training are able to cast spells when in life or death situations. Colin describes it thus: “Feeling oddly detached, Colin closed his eyes against the [Daedra he is fighting] and reached into the middle of himself, where his little star was, the tiny piece of him that had come from beyond the world and even Oblivion, from Aetherius, the realm of pure light and magic.

“As pain and then cold gripped him, he made the star a sun.

“The force and light of it blew his eyelids and mouth open, and radiance shredded through the specter like a high wind through smoke.”

Mazgar’s mother was killed at the sack of Orsinium, when Mazgar was only seven. Her mother is reported to have killed thirty men before expiring. The Seventh and Fifteenth Imperial legions prevented the utter destruction of Orsinium at the hands of the Bretons and Redguards, leading the survivors to Skyrim. Mazgar remembers the trek as “terror, the chaos, the walk that went on for weeks through bitter cold—and never having enough to eat.”

Necromancer made zombies are generally “mindless,” while Umbriel’s wormies are intelligent.

“Annaïg picked at the flesh of the green nutlike thing and popped it into her mouth, chewing slowly. She felt a little heat like black pepper, followed by a rush in her nose like fiery mustard and green onions. The texture, though, was like a boiled cashew.” Annaig believes that this fruit may be from Morrowind.

Last time Annaig attempted to create a potion of invisibility, she tested it on Glim and “for a week all [his] organs were on display for everyone to see.”

Recently dead ghosts can be found and talked to. The Dark Brotherhood is rumored to have ways of making sure their kills don’t leave behind ghosts.

While still in Oblivion, Sul had known about the destruction of Vivec city and the Argonian invasion, though it was not until he returned to Tamriel that he learned how bad both were. He was however entirely unprepaired for Skyrim’s largess towards the Dunmer.

Attrebus has memorized parts of the address granting Solstheim to the Dunmer. It goes:

“Untithed to any thane or hold, and self-governed, with free worship, with no compensation to Skyrim or the Empire except as writ in the armistice of old wheresoever those might still apply, and henceforth let no man or mer say that the Sons and Daughters of Kyne are without mercy or honor.” Attrebus is deeply moved by it, though Sul sees it as a solely political statement: “It’s not the most fruitful land, and in my day [late 3rd/early 4th era] almost unpopulated, and then by scraggly tribesmen with no clear allegiance toward Skyrim or the Empire. Morrowind had always laid theoretical claim to the place. If Skyrim hadn’t given it freely, odds are the refugees would have settled here anyway, forcing the Nords to either fight or lose face. This way they came out looking like saviors.”

“Some believed that poison was the antithesis of food, but Annaïg knew better. Most food was poison to one extent or another, especially plants, many of which had to be pounded or soaked or boiled or all three to divest them of enough toxins to make them even edible. Too many beans eaten raw could be fatal—the same was true of almonds, cherry pits, apple seeds. Nutmeg, when taken in large amounts, could give strange visions, and in higher doses, death. Alcohol, while pleasant, was indisputably a poison. The body dealt with these things, but over time, eventually, the body failed. Everything one ate brought one closer to one’s last meal, and not just in a metaphorical sense.

“So while she hadn’t made much in the way of poison, it came as naturally to her as cooking or concocting tonics to allow flight or breathing water. And in learning how to use the stolen souls that pulsed through the cables of Umbriel, she now had the knowledge to create a venin of a more than merely physical nature. She could blacken the whole system if she did things right. And she could make gallons of it—tons, maybe—before anyone questioned what she was doing, now that the kitchen was hers.”

Hluurn and echar are dishes made of marshmerrow; vverm is a dish made of urgandil.

House Sathil was allied with Great House Indoril, but the latest lord, Hleryn Sathil, declared himself independent in 1E416, believing that “if the Great Houses couldn’t stop the wrack of Morrowind, what good are they?”

The last recorded sighting of Umbra looks like “a black longsword with red runes on the blade. … “Legend says it has worn other shapes—but it is always a bladed weapon.”

Sul and Lord Sathil don’t like to be reminded of Morrowind. Lady Sathil, on the other hand, prefers Morrowind quisine, especially hluurn and other Marshmerrow dishes.

The College of Whispers has the most up-to-date information on Umbriel. They report that the wormies are more akin to flesh atronachs than bonewalkers or zombies, “although they don’t respond to the same arcane stimuli.”

A frost giant is capable of producing an avalanche-like effect.

“The air took on a sharp, chlorine smell, and every nerve in Sul’s body seemed to hum. … the air snapped like tiny twigs burning in a fire.” Sathil uses this spell to judge Sul’s magical ability and/or whether he has associated with Daedric princes.

An Ayleid soul-maze is capable of capturing Daedra inside itself. It looks like a small metal box, one inch per side, with a lid that can be flipped open.

“Hierem’s private suite had a bedroom with a dining area, a bath, and a conventional library; Colin noted them and passed on. He also discovered a room that had been converted into a small dungeon with four cells, all currently empty and clean.

“More interesting was a spacious room with various workbenches and a large sigil painted on the floor. Avoiding the latter, he looked over the benches, where he found a number of strange objects. Some—like his soul-maze—looked to be of the ancient race of mer known as Ayleids; others appeared more recent and probably of Nibenese origin. He didn’t know what any of them were so he didn’t touch them. There were shelves of powders, liquids, salts, and such, along with a scattering of alchemical equipment.

“What most interested him was a large desk, built with several deep drawers. A few papers lay on it, covered with scrawled notes and a few puzzling drawings, but the language wasn’t one he knew. The drawers were locked in both mundane and magical fashion, and it took him a laborious ten minutes or so to deal with that and begin going through them, looking for something—anything—to connect Hierem to the Black Marsh trip or Umbriel. But after a frustrating half hour, he didn’t find anything.

“He was feeling for hidden panels when he noticed a long tube propped against the side of the desk. One end was open and a large sheet of paper was rolled inside. He spread it on the desk and regarded it.

“It seemed to be plans for a device of some sort, but the conventions of the drawing and an unreadable notation left him with no understanding of what it was. He did recognize bits of it from the notes and sketches on the table, however, which suggested that it was something of present concern to Hierem. So he studied it more carefully, and this time saw one word in the notations he understood.”

Letine Aresse has intercepted several encrypted Synod communications, and is capable of deciphering parts of them. The code uses the same letters as Tamrielic, but scrambled. There are also non-letter symbols, which “look like funny letters themselves,” that “contain the key to reading the previous passage.” There are also larger symbols that work as ideographs, most commonly representing “spells, artifacts, certain sorts of energies.” If you know how to recognize the symbols, reading the code is supposed to be effortless.

According to Letine, the coded diagram Colin copies from Hierem’s original is a map or plan. One of the symbols represents a soul gem, or the idea of something that can trap a soul (this is likely the Ingenium). Another symbol represents “something that flows in only one direction, like a river.” One of the symbols has the word “Umbriel” next to it, and nother resembles a symbol that was used by Necromancers to designate ghosts, though “the meaning was more complicated. … it could also mean ‘shadow,’ or even ‘echo.’ ” Letine believes that the diagram represents a device, a spell, or a series of spells involving two objects.

“Brennus used his sorcery to further hide them, deaden the sound of their voices, their scent, the life force in them. It had exhausted him, and they still hadn’t been certain it would be enough, but the wormies had been passing for more than an hour without noticing them.”

“A sheet of white fire erupted from the earth a few feet on the other side of the door. [Mazgar] saw at least three of the [wormies] more or less disintegrated immediately. Half of one fell into the house, but it didn’t move again.”

Sul casts a spell that makes one’s insides dissolve into acid. It is described as such: “Elhul stopped in mid-stride, his mouth open as if to scream again, though no sound issued. Instead a smoking green fluid vomited out. He clapped his free hand to his head as the same viscous stuff jetted from his eyes and ears. Holes began to burst in his abdomen, and he crumpled, breaking into pieces. Where the vitriol touched stone, it too began to dissolve.”

The origin story of Umbra: “The daedra prince Clavicus Vile wished a weapon made. It was to be an instrument of mischief in Nirn, a source of amusement for him, a weapon that would send him souls. At first, however, he couldn’t find a smith who could do the work. He spent months—some sources say years—in frustration, until the witch Naenra Waerr came forth. She made the weapon, but it was unstable, and she told the prince that he would have to imbue it with some of his own power to make it whole and communicate with it on the mortal plane. Vile gave her the power she asked for. But it appears she tricked him, and some even speculate the witch was actually none other than Sheogorath, the Madgod, in disguise. … It’s unclear whether what happened was part of a plan or merely the result of tampering with daedric forces. The sword is a soul stealer, and over time it comes to possess its owner. But whether by design, or by contact with human souls, or simply because it is in the nature of daedric energies, in time the part of Vile that was in the sword became a thing of its own, a sentient being.”

Nirai thinks that “that the creature Umbra was no longer in the sword. [The sword] still steals souls, but it is unstable, driving its wielder insane almost instantly. I believe this is because it is still in communication with Vile in some way.” Nirai has come to believe that “when Umbra left, Vile himself—or some significant fraction of what comprises him—is now, in turn, trapped in the sword. Whatever the truth is, no mortal mind can long survive the rage and madness in that weapon.”

The teleportation magic used by Hierem to get up to Umbriel looks like a spinning full-length mirror appearing out of nowhere.

There is a spell that produces intense, almost unbearable pleasure. It starts off feeling as if someone had touched you lightly on the forehead. Hierem uses it as a reward/torture system, and it can drive men mad.

Hierem owns a “cylinder about an inch in diameter and six inches long” that expands into a cylinder about three feet long when shaken. It is “dull reddish black” and covered in “glowing, scarlet daedric script.” It seems to be tied to the powers of the White-Gold somehow, and Colin assumes that it is a weapon.

It is possible to produce fog through magic. It is used to conceal movement.

It is possible to cast a silence spell that shuts out all sound in an area.

The Imperial Legion crosses lake Rumare in longboats which hold seven people (Mazgar, Brenn, and five Legion soldiers).

As Colin lies dying, he remembers going to the chapel with his grandmother. She tells him the following: “the gods are good, they came from an infinite place, but for us they limited themselves and became this world. They are everything we see and touch, everything we feel. And of them all, Dibella is most kind.” The way she smiles makes Colin question whether it is really his grandmother’s memory that is speaking (as opposed to, presumably, Dibella).

“Thalmor agents continue to harass the refugee communities in Sentinel and Balfiera—there has been a series of murders in the latter we can pretty confidently assign to them. The pattern is typical—the victims were all of mixed blood or had associations considered by the Aldmeri Dominion to be unclean. It’s much worse in Valenwood—our supplies are no longer reliably getting to the rebels there. Sixty were caught and executed last week, along with four of our own men. There’s a leak we [the Penitus Oculatus] don’t know about, someplace. They know too much about our movements. … [there are] no Thalmor connections to the east at all.”

A description of what is presumably the homeland of the Umbriel-Hist. “Far away, another man [Glim] and woman [Fhena] listened to a deeper, stranger music and watched the luminescent films they had named wisperills do their slow, colorful aerial dances, as if welcoming them. The trees hummed and murmured, not as before, but with the strength of the millions that spread out and away in the strange land, whose great boughs supported the island when it could no longer fly and helped settle it deep in boggy ground.”

According to Annaig, strong emotions leave traces of themselves in the brain after body death. If the chemical traces are combined with “soul energy,” it becomes a distillation of said emotion.

The steps to distilling terror:

“Annaig…scraped some of the emulsion into a glass cylinder, divided three-quarters of the way down by a thin membrane.” This membrane belongs to the chimera-eel, “it’s what allows them to change color to suit their emotions. I’ve altered this one to let only terror through…She placed the tube in a small centrifuge and cranked the handle, spinning the vial. After a few moments she detached it and held it up, showing a pale yellow ichor in the bottom.

“Terror—or any emotion—isn’t merely chemical. But the substance acts as a vessel, a shaper of soul stuff, just as—at a higher level—does the brain and body.” She opened a small valve on the bottom of the tube and let the liquid empty into a small glass cone. She then sealed a second, identical cone base-to-base with the first to form a spiculum. She shook the container so that the liquid coated the interior surface evenly, then slid the whole thing into a coil of translucent fibers that in turn was connected to a pulsing cable of the same material that came up through the floor and workbench.

“Now we pass soul energy through it,” Annaïg said. “The chemical terror will attract what it needs to become the real thing.”

“For a moment nothing happened; then the spiculum took on a faint lavender glow, and quite abruptly became opaque. Annaïg waited another moment then removed the spiculum and shook it again. The coating inside the crystal sloughed free and settled into one end, a viscous powder. “

Hlzu gum, used to seal things, can be dissolved with spirits of coatin. Both of these may be native to Umbriel.

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