Lord of Souls Lore Notes: Solstheim

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


Attrebus and Sul are set down somewhere in the interior of Solstheim, "on a low ridge. Jagged peaks stood off in one direction. …The land rolled up and down, but took them generally lower, until they came to a little valley with a small but enthusiastic river laughing over polished stones. They began following that downstream. It was about midday, and the sun was warmer, the ice turning to mush under their feet.

"As the sky paled to slate and the outlines of the moon Secundus began to brighten, the snow began to crackle under their feet, and the inadequacy of their clothing became clear. They searched the valley wall for a rock shelter, but failing to find one, they stopped, gathered wood, and built a fire to huddle around."

Sul believes that most Dunmer settled along the coast of Solstheim.

"After another two days of mostly silent trudging, Attrebus smelled salt air, and the land dropped jaggedly until they emerged onto a strand of black sand where gray waves lapped halfheartedly at the shore. Up the beach, perhaps a mile away, he could make out what appeared to be crenellated towers rising from a promontory.

For a time they saw only sea birds and occasionally odd three-tusked creatures sunning on some of the rocks. They had slick but hairy hides, paddlelike forelimbs with three toes, and no hind limbs at all, but instead a tail shaped like that of a shrimp. On land they were clumsy, but once in the water they seemed at ease, even elegant.

"They reached the castle a few hours before sunset, or at least the rock it stood on and the small village between it and the sea. There wasn't a dock as such, but a number of boats pulled up on the beach—some with substantial keels—suggested deep water offshore. A group of mostly women was crowded down near the boats, picking through fish lying in a couple of large troughs. Most had the flaxen hair and pink cheeks of Nords, although he saw a young Dunmer woman among them.

"The village was no more than about twenty buildings, one of which had a placard with the promising words char bucket printed on it. He and Sul made their way there.

"It was a tight little place with walls of undressed stone, a shake roof, and no windows, but inside it was warm and smelled pretty good. The oldest elven man Attrebus had ever seen watched them enter with obvious curiosity."

There s a village/town named Oleen Mar south of Sathil.

The inkeep of Sathil settled there a few years ago after he shipwrecked nearby.

The town of Sathil is raided once in a while, but Lord Sathil "is still capable of handling that."

Lord Sathil used to be interested in seeing mages (presumably to try and cure his son), but is unlikely to see anyone now.

"The path was wide enough for wagons and not too steep for them, but by the time they reached the top of it, Sathil village was tiny below them. The walls of the castle were living rock for the first fifteen feet or so, polished smooth as glass, and then for another ten feet they were carefully fitted stone. It would be a hard place to take; except for the road, there wasn't any place for siege engines, and the two towers that overlooked the gate seemed pretty capable of defending the approach. … The gate, a thick wooden affair heavily banded with steel, was closed, but a fellow on the wall hailed them as they approached."

Soltheim isn't part of the Empire.

Attrebus and Sul are greeted in the castle by Islir, the gateguard, and Nirai Sathil, "a thin, ascetic-looking Dunmer woman with a long queue, clad in a flowing black robe embroidered with the stylized form of a draugr." She is daughter of Lord Hleryn Sathil.

Nirai "led them across a bare stone yard surrounded by what appeared to be barracks and into a central keep that rose quite high before sprouting six slender towers. The place was smaller than it looked from the shore, but still quite large—and to Attrebus's eye, undermanned. He didn't see nearly enough guards or servants."

The grand hall is located at the center of the castle and has an "enormous table." Its walls are adorned with "busts of animals—bears, wolves, wild bulls, lions—and also with various sorts of arms and armor, some of which seemed quite exotic." The weapons include swords, spears, maces, and falchions.

Attrebus and Sul are escorted to the kitchen by Yingry. The kitchen is "a smoky, low-ceilinged room with an enormous hearth and two massive oaken tables. To Attrebus's vast surprise, about thirty people were seated there. None of them were elves; most seemed to be Nord, although there were two Khajiit. They were dressed in plain working clothes."

Attrebus and Sul pretend to be scholars writing a new Pocket Guide. Attrebus calls himself Uriel, and Sul goes by Ozul.

The kitchen is serving black bread in trenches, boiled venison (or what tastes like Venison to Attrebus) with wine and honey sauce, fish with butter and vinigar, and roast duck.

At night, one of the servant girls wears "a heavily quilted robe and thick, knitted footwear."

About twenty years ago, when Irinja was "a little girl" lord Sathil was "always around, always in good cheer. We all went on excursions to the sea, and in the summer played bowling on the lawns. [Irinja's] brother used to hunt with him. It was nice, back then." Now, he has become reclusive, though he still treats his people well.

"Attrebus told Sul as he tested his weight on the frozen stream. It was solid as stone. Fruth—one of the hunters assigned to help him with his "research"—gave him a funny look. For a moment he thought the fellow had overheard him, even though he was sure all of Sathil's people were out of earshot. But then he realized the Nord just thought he was an idiot for being so tentative about the stream in such bitter cold."

"Attrebus had heard of avalanches, huge slides of snow coming down mountains, destroying everything in their paths. He assumed that's what this was [ a white cloud rolling down it toward them at impossible speed], and braced for it, yet what hit him wasn't a wall of snow, but an unbelievably cold mist. Snow came with it, but whirling in the air, biting at his face. He couldn't see anything. …he felt the temperature dropping impossibly fast."

Attrebus is given leather and fur clothing to wear while in Solstheim.

Fruth produces something "warm and faintly luminous …like flame caught in a ball of glass" to warm them while in the snow-cloud. He assumes that this avalanche was caused by a frost giant, though they rarely cross to this side of the mountain this early in the season.

"He faced six well-armed and armored footmen, all of Nordic cast, all wearing the Sathil draugr on their surcoats. A seventh man [Lord Sathil] sat a thick, shaggy horse. He was wrapped in a dark green cloak and cowled in black, but even shadowed it was easy to make out the crimson eyes of one of [Sul's] countrymen."

The castle has a portable tub "made of some sort of thick, oily hide on a wooden frame."

Lord Sathil sent his son, Elhul, to retrieve Umbra from the ruins of Vivec. "but when Elhul picked it up, he went mad and started killing his guards. They had to bind him in chains. They took the sword away from him, and he seemed to get better, but then he found it. He killed his mother, Lady Sathil. He killed his two brothers and half of the guards before they dragged him down again. And then they couldn't make him let go of it. Lord Sathil prepared him chambers, deep in the stone. That's where he is now, with the sword he can't let go of. He's been there for eight years." According to Irinja, Elhul was a nice boy. "He used to play with me [Irinja], pretend to be my knight, my defender. But when he had the sword, he almost killed me. His eyes—he wasn't there. Nothing was there."

The chamber where Elhul is kept is down a long subterranean tunnel that starts out with the castle's stonework and then goes into the bedrock of the cliff, eventually opening up to a natural cavern. Inside the cave is a gate, which is supposed to be locked but is open when Attrebus and Sul arrive.

Elhul "had skin but no flesh, and the skin fit him so tightly his bones were all plainly revealed. As he continued his terrible shrieking, Attrebus could see the apple of his throat bobbing, reminding him of a lizard or a frog. There was something strangely childlike in his gestures, the way his almost white eyes darted hesitantly between Sul and Attrebus. … Attrebus almost didn't notice the sword, it was so much a part of Elhul, just an extension of his arm with its tip resting on the floor …but although Elhul looked as if he only weighed sixty pounds, he felt as if he were made of cast iron."

The bars of the gate to Elhul's enclosure are magicked to "turn spells back on their casters tenfold."

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