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Lord of Souls Lore Notes

Lady Nerevar, Greg Keyes
Librarian Comment: 

I have cut and edited the quotes to remove unnecessary information and to improve clarity.

Because I read the book digitally, page numbers are as of yet unavailable. Quotes are roughly chronological within each section. 

Skip to a section in the text: Black Marsh - Cyrodiil - Miscellaneous - Oblivion - Solstheim - Umbriel

Black Marsh

Both Gideon and Stormhold were overrun by undead armies, though Umbriel was nowhere near.

The An-Xileel “stopped their advance [in Morrowind] decades ago, and haven’t showed the slightest interest in doing anything since then.” They have, however, prevented the Empire from reclaiming that territory.

According to the Imperial perspective, the An-xileel “were entirely nativistic in their views, interested only in purging the former colonial influences and returning Black Marsh to whatever state they imagined it had been in before it was ruled by foreign powers.”

From Delia Huerc, a Redguard traveling with Minister Hierem: “The [ Hist] tree [in Lilmoth] is enormous. The only one I have ever seen taller was in Valenwood, but the Hist was more massive, more spread out. And I could feel a palpable presence in it. I had never quite credited the Argonian claims that the trees are intelligent, but when I stood in its presence, I could no longer doubt it. Further, I thought I felt a certain malevolence in it, but that might well have been my imagination, for the whole situation was anything but friendly. The An-Xileel have been uniformly rude and arrogant, the city itself is a festering, putrid place. From the moment I entered Lilmoth, I have wanted nothing more than to leave it.The minister, on the other hand, seems quite excited, almost jubilant.The An-Xileel sang to the tree, an awful cacophonous chant that went on so long that I might have drifted off a bit. At some point, Hierem added his voice to theirs, but in a sort of counterpoint. He lit a brazier, and I’m sure he did some sort of sorcery. In his younger years he was in the leadership of the Mages’ Guild, before that organization utterly collapsed, and so I know him capable of these things, but I was still somehow surprised.It was my impression that he was calling something, for he repeated the word “Umbriel” many times. It seemed like a name, although the language he spoke was not one I knew, and so I may have been mistaken, for nothing came, although everyone seemed pleased anyway.”

A low growl in the throat is an Argonian sound of embarrassment.

“Everyone in Lilmoth is supposed to be dead, certain particular Argonians aside.”

The following is a description of what Glim experiences when he is dead. His soul is trapped in a soul gem and being reborn into a new body grown by the Umbriel-Hist (Um-Hist henceforth). It is likely to resemble what one would experience with traditional Black Marsh Hist. “[Glim] swam in black water, probing through the rotting leaves, lifting his eyes now and then above the surface to search the shallows and shore for movement. Larger things in the depths of the swamp couldn’t reach him here, amidst the twisting cypress roots; here the danger usually came from land.
Something in the mud moved, and he snapped at it with webbed paws and lifted a feathery-gilled wriggler into view. He ate it happily and searched for more, but in a short time his belly was full and he felt like basking. He swam lazily back to the gathering hole.
The old ones had already claimed the choicest perches, so he crawled onto a log already crowded with his siblings and wriggled down among them until he felt the rough bark against his belly. When his brothers and sisters gave up their sleepy, halfhearted complaints at his added company, he felt the sun on his skin and began to dream his life; swimming, basking, killing, avoiding death, the sun and moons, all mystery, all terrifying, all beautiful. Each day the same day, each year the same year.
Until the root came, and the taste of sap. Some changes were slow, others came quickly, and he—they—flowed together, found the stream of time. His old body wasn’t forgotten, but it changed, became more like things the root remembered from otherwhere; his hind legs lengthened and his spine stood up. Small thoughts in his head put out branches, and those branched also, until what had before been warmth, light, shadow, movement, fear, contentment, anger, and lust became categories instead of simple facts. The world was the same, but it seemed more, bigger, stranger than ever.
Death followed life and life death, but it all flowed through the root, each life different, each the same.
Until that, too, ended, and the root was ripped away, and he was alone. The gathering place was empty except for him—no elders, no siblings. He swam in black water, forgetting everything. Losing his form, melting away.
But in that dissolution, the illusion was also dissolved. He was many, and he was one. He sang, a plaintive tune, a remembrance, a prayer. All of his voices took it up, trembling it out through every branch and root, through heart and blood and bone.”

After his rebirth in the new, Um-Hist grown body, Glim’s “face wasn’t exactly the same. It looked younger, which made sense, but there was also a little something different about the shape of it; the same for his coloring, which had more rust in it now. If [Annaig] had seen this body a few months ago, she would have thought it one of Glim’s brothers, but she wouldn’t have mistaken it for him.”

Glim was 18 years old during the events of the novel.

Somewhere near Lilmoth is an “ancient, sunken structure” whose wall extends 20 feet above the water. Glim and Annaig used to play there when they were 5 years old.

Kraken barnacles are about the “size and shape of a large shark tooth, smooth and dark green, with a wet, tube-like appendage sticking out of the wide end.” They have hard shells and soft mass with a projecting stalk inside. It is native to the seas around Lilmoth.

When angry, Argonians may puff out their spines and give off a “fighting odor,” presumably to scare away the competition or prepare for a fight.

The Hist “are sentient trees, and we [Glim, speaking on behalf of the Argonians] are—connected to them. They are many and they are one, all attached at the root, and we, too, are joined to that root. Some say we were created by the Hist, to see for them the world where they cannot walk. They can call us or send us away. When we are named, we take of the sap of the Hist, and we are changed—sometimes a little, sometimes very much. ...
“A few twelves of years ago, our country was invaded from Oblivion. The Hist knew it was going to happen, and called our people back to Black Marsh. Many of us were altered, made ready for the war that we had to fight. Made stronger, faster—able to endure terrible things. ...”
“The Hist are supposed to be unified,” Glim said, “but at times certain trees have gone rogue, broken away from the others. It happened long, long ago in my city, and I think it happened again, not long before your world entered mine. A rogue tree helped Umbriel somehow, do you understand? It helped kill many, many of my people so they could serve Umbriel as dead things. And now I think it may have helped summon Umbriel here in the first place.

The sap of the Hist can “alter things.”



There are dolls made in the likeness of Attrebus.

During his childhood, Attrebus had a nurse called Helna who used to tell him stories.

“They were on a high, bare ridge, about thirty feet from the tree line in any direction. The air was clear and visibility good. Up ahead of her, four of Brennus’s fellow sorcerers were doing their mysterious business: chanting, aiming odd devices at the upside-down flying mountain, conjuring invisible winged things she noticed only because they passed through smoke and were briefly outlined. Two others were surrounding their position with little candles that burnt with purple-black flames. They set those up every time they stopped; the candles were somehow supposed to keep all of this conjuring from being noticed by anyone—or anything.”

Soldiers in charge of guarding a cadre of mages know how to form and fight in a phalanx.

Letine Arese has a “small frame, turned-up nose, and short blond hair made her seem almost like a little girl, but he knew her to be thirty-one years of age, and her blue eyes held a cold intensity that was quite un-childlike.”

“Colin Vineben, from Anvil. Your father is dead, and your mother does laundry. You were recommended for and received training for the Penitus Oculatus, and recently were named an inspector in that organization. It was you who discovered the massacre of Prince Attrebus’s personal guard and the apparent murder of the prince, and you who suggested to the Emperor that the prince wasn’t actually dead. Which, as it turns out, you were right about.”

Titus Mede’s personal sigil is a black wolf’s head. A brand of it is worn by those in his innermost circle.

Letine was placed by the Emperor in the office of Minister Hierem, with orders to spy, ten years ago.

“When the Emperor first placed me [Letine Aresse] in the ministry, he didn’t have any particular worries about Hierem, only the sort of general paranoia a successful monarch must have. For most of the past ten years, the minister has been above suspicion, but a year or so ago he began testing me, first subtly, then overtly. It became clear he wanted his own private intelligence and eliminations organization, one not connected to the Penitus Oculatus or known to the Emperor. The attack on Attrebus was—surprising. I didn’t see that coming. It’s only because some of the assassins got greedy that the prince survived. The Emperor isn’t ready to move against Hierem yet because he doesn’t believe we know everything, and because the minister is politically important—very important. The Emperor has survived because he waits until he knows where all the forces are and their strengths before he strikes. Right now, Hierem thinks his actions are invisible. We want to keep it that way a bit longer.

“It had rained, and Talos Plaza was awash in reflected torch and lamplight. The air still smelled clean as Colin stepped through the puddles. A troupe of Khajiit acrobats was performing nearby, gracefully tumbling, forming unlikely structures with their feline bodies, juggling sparkling torches. A crowd clapped and tossed coins at their feet. He passed through a group of kids enthusiastically swinging at one another with wooden swords...”

“Hierem made a secret trip to Black Marsh last year, ostensibly to negotiate with the An-Xileel leaders. He would have had anything suggesting his presence there removed. … He hired a merchant ship and traveled in disguise.” The name of the ship was removed from records, and the Redguard woman who accompanied him, Delia Huerc, was later found dead from what was described in the official report as an illness.

In Delia’s apartment, under a loose baseboard, is a journal. “It was written mostly in Tamrielic, with some asides in Yoku, which [Colin] had passing knowledge of.” Her entries about Black Marsh are towards the end.

Huerc was under the impression that the Emperor was aware of her and the Minister’s trip to Black Marsh, and that the “secrecy and misdirection were to avoid any of the Emperor’s enemies learning what he was about.” Though she did not witness the meeting with the An-Xileel, she “worked out that some agreement had been reached. She’d been led to believe that Hierem was there to propose an alliance against the Thalmor. But he was vague about what the negotiations actually entailed.” In order to seal the agreement, Hierem had to perform some sort of ritual at the city tree (see the Black Marsh section for a description).

Delia’s journal states that they started their journey back to Cyrodiil the day after the ritual with the Hist. Sometime along the journey, she started to suspect that the Emperor did not know of the deal, and resolved to ask him about it. She was feeling sick when she arrived back in the Imperial City.

Hierem is wealthy, and uses his money to finance his secret operations.

Delia Huerc’s apartment in the Imperial City is now occupied by a Khajiiti rug merchant named Lwef-Dim. Colin describes it as an “old place, full of shadows, once-weres, and might-have-beens.”

Night sounds outside of Aresse’s apartment in the Imperial City, as described by Colin: “first the swifts, then the fluttering of bats, the lonely imprecation of a barn owl. Tree frogs chirped and insects whirred. A dog barked somewhere in the Market District and was answered nearby, which set off a chorus of canine comment from all quarters of the city. A couple argued not far away about what the proper price of the cockles for dinner might have been, and the strains from a lute drifted along in the breeze.”

Mountain Watch is a small, shabby village in the highlands north of Cheydinhal. Its 10 houses are arranged around a dirt plaza and well. When Mazgar enters it, there are 7 people in outside, including Sariah, “an older Redguard woman with frizzled white hair,” who is the charter-holder. All in all, there are forty people living in Mountain Watch, ranging in age between two months to sixty-something. The village also has six horses and two two-horse wagons.

Due to the wagons and steep roads, it takes just over a day to reach Cheydinhal from Mountain Watch.

“[Mazgar] left her armor in the tent and went outside to stretch, wandering down to the river that flowed through [Cheydinhal]. The sun wasn’t showing over the walls yet, but things were waking up. Wagons of bags and crates made their way across the bridges, pulled by thick, sturdy horses. Across the river, a Dunmer woman was casting a net, which came up wriggling. Mazgar could smell sausage frying somewhere.
But most of the people she saw were up on the walls.”

“The timbers of most of the structures in town [Cheydinhal] were exposed. In the lower floors they were covered with stone, but the upper ones had plaster between the beams and struts, which were often arranged in whimsical patterns. The roofs were concave peaks, and the shingles looked like scales.” This sort of building is technique is called half-timbering, and is Morrowind architecture.

The cathedral of Arkay is the tallest building in Cheydinhal and can be seen for miles around.

“Inside, the chapel of Arkay was all hush and colored light.” It has at least two spires, and from the tallest “the people on the walls looked small. She gazed first out over the forest, hills, and distant Valus Mountains.”

The Umbriel zombies position themselves a few hundred yards from the Cheydinhal gates, just out of range for ballista and catapults.

Hierem has “been around forever. He had a position in the old Empire—he was an ambassador to Morrowind. He was a minister to Thules the Gibbering, the witch-warrior who ruled what little remained of the Empire before Titus Mede took it from him.”

Thules the Gibbering was not a well-liked ruler, but due to his Nibenese blood, “many on the council favored him over a Colovian usurper.”

“Hierem is from an old Nibenese family, with a lot of connections. He smoothed over the conquest, helped convince the council to accept Mede as a liberator rather than a conqueror. He’s also extremely influential with the Synod. He’s the second most powerful man in the Empire, despite his servile public appearance, and if Mede were to move against him without an unimpeachable reason, it could lead to civil war.” Aresse believes that Mede would win such a war, but at great cost.

“The second time Colin met the Emperor it was in a narrow, unfurnished room. He’d been brought there bound and blindfolded, and he didn’t see a door. The stone was the same color as the interior of the White-Gold Tower, but beyond that he had no clues at all as to where he was.
This wasn’t court, and the Emperor wasn’t dressed for it. He wore a plain Colovian soldier’s tunic of dark gray wool and leather breeks. His crown was a plain gold circlet. A broadsword in a battered scabbard hung at his side. Two soldiers stood yards away, but Colin suspected that if he tried anything, he would be dead at Mede’s hand before either of them could move.”

Lord Umbriel sent a politely worded letter to Titus Mede, informing him that the citizens are free to leave the Imperial City without being harmed. This offer was to remain until Umbriel arrived.

Umbriel’s armies have besieged every path to the Imperial City from the east, and soon after the meeting between Colin and Titus would hold the western roads as well.

Professor Aronil, a librarian in the Penitus Oculatus library, is a “bent and withered fellow in a burnt umber robe furnished with what was possibly a hundred pockets. His nose took up most of his face, but his keen blue eyes were what drew your attention.”

There are spells that allow one to see if an object is touched and by whom. These spells are used on the books in the library of the Penitus Oculatus.

Hierem is one of the few people not belonging to the P.O. who is allowed to use their library. Aronil describes him as the “second most powerful man in the Empire.”

Hierem was the only person in 20 years to touch a book on Alessian Oder Daedra summoning. According to Aronil, he “has a curiosity for knowledge of that era.”

The main tunnels of the Imperial City sewers were secured during the approach of Umbriel to prevent entrance into the city. At least one passage was left open because it seemed to be a dead end (but in truth contained a secret door). Secret doors and passages in the sewers appear to be alarmingly common.

Underneath of the ministry, off one of the main tunnels, is a 100 foot passage with low ceilings (people have to walk crouched over) leading up to a recess in the wall with a hidden mechanism that opens up a large chamber. The chamber is “decorated in ghoulish splendor; furniture adorned in grinning, gold-leafed skulls and articulated vertebrae, velvet upholstery figured with obscene rituals of sex and death.” This room was “a sort of warren” for Julius Primus, a theatrical wannabe King of Worms type from 20 years ago. He was “moderately clever at hiding and being a nuisance” before the Penitus Oculatus took care of him. The room is not on any maps but the Penitus Oculatus’, and isn’t connected to any other structures.

“Mazgar watched Umbriel pass, running the battle back through her head: the mad charge with the Cheydinhal guard, breaking the wormies’ line. That hadn’t been so bad. But then they had to set up their own lines on either side of the gate as Cheydinhal evacuated, and that hadn’t been so much fun. It took hours, and the wormies didn’t rest, didn’t retreat or regroup. They just kept coming, wave after wave of them. In the end their line had been rolled up, and Falcus gave the command to fall back and regroup on the Blue Road—just before he took a spear in the throat. She and Brennus had been driven miles from the road, and now here they were.”

Mazgar is rescued from wormies by about twenty Knights of the Thorn, led by Ilver Indarys. All are wearing heavy armor, and most are riding barded horses.

Most, if not all, of Cheydinhal’s population was evacuated and traveled along the Blue Road, just ahead of the wormies, towards the Imperial City.

When Attrebus is teleported back to Tamriel from Clavicus Vile’s realm, he lands near “a large stone statue of Clavicus Vile with a dog at his side, albeit a much larger animal than the one they’d just encountered. A clearing surrounded the statue, but gave way to forest pretty quickly in every direction. He had heard rumors that there was a shrine to Vile somewhere west of the Imperial City, not far from the Ring Road. If this was it—and that made a certain amount of sense—then they didn’t have too far to go. ... Dark things were supposed to happen at places like this, and even though the daedra himself had sent them here, that didn’t mean they were safe from his followers.”

From the shrine, “Attrebus reached the road more quickly than he thought he would, an hour or so before sundown. Lake Rumare was the most beautiful thing he had seen in a long time, its familiar waters turning coral as the evening deepened. The familiar cries of curlews and coots were music to him. And then there was the Imperial City itself, standing proud and strong on its island, the White-Gold Tower at its center like a pillar holding up the heavens—as some claimed it actually did.”

“It still wasn’t dark when he saw a small fishing settlement, built on an old stonework that probably dated back to Ayleid times. [Attrebus] was vacillating about checking to see if they had any sort of healer when he thought he heard something odd behind him.”

“When Secundus rose, he could see the waterfront not far ahead. It was on an island, separated from the city, with the harbor facing inward. The old stone buildings formed a semicircle enclosing the harbor, and he was coming up from behind. In the pale light he could see the hundreds of shacks, shanties, and lean-tos that crowded between the wall and the water, and in fact many were built raised up from the water. He smelled the stink of it already, the various stenches of human waste, rotting fish and offal, cheap beer. He thought about going around, but it was a long way and he was tired of rowing, so he passed as noiselessly as possible through the stilts and ladders of the outer houses.
He’d been to the shantytown before, when he was fifteen, curious to see the poorest and most dangerous part of the city and attracted by its reputed vices. He didn’t remember it being this silent—even at night there was usually drunken singing, screams, fighting. Now it was as still as the village he’d taken the boat from. Had the people here also fled Umbriel’s hosts?
He slowed his approach, squinting to make out if anyone was on the shore.
The boat rocked, gently, then more forcefully. He looked back to see what he’d bumped and saw a hand gripping the hull. For an instant he just stared at it, but then it was joined by another, and another, as decaying limbs rose from the water and gripped the gunnels. With a shout he drew his sword and began chopping at them. They came off easily, but he felt the boat rise and realized there were more of them—many more—beneath, lifting the vessel. He leaned over and tried to cut at them, but he couldn’t get a good angle, and the boat continued to ascend as its bearers took it ashore. Desperate, he tried to get Sul on his back, planning to fight through them. If he could get around to the harbor, it might still be manned by Imperial guards.”

[Attrebus] “woke up to the smell of cinnamon tea and a face with eyebrows like fuzzy caterpillars perched over calm blue eyes. It was a very familiar face.
“Hierem!” he exclaimed. He looked around. They were in a sort of parlor, decorated in odd alchemical devices and Ayleid curiosities. Attrebus was in an armchair.”

When it becomes clear that the group of soldiers escorting the Cheydinhal refugees isn’t going to make it to the Imperial City before Umbriel overtakes them, Arges, the commander, split them into two groups: one north and one south of the Blue Road. This srategy seems to work - Umbriel goes strait past, only sending out minor parties to “harass” the two groups.

The Wormies did not occupy Cheydinhal after the siege.

Although most refugees wanted to circle back and return to Cheydinhal, they were unwilling to risk the trek without a protecting army.

Colovia has a distinct accent.

After the death of Falcus, Mazgar is in charge of leading the army guarding the refugees. She is then relieved by Commander Prossos, from Colovia, and promoted to captain to act as his second in command.

Commander Prossos takes the army north. Mazgar is given a party and tasked with ensuring that the south hill is free of wormies. During this, General Takar is to engage the wormies a few miles in the west, avoiding entangling the civilians.

General Takar, one of Mede’s most trusted generals, is from Hammerfell. “He’d fought against the Empire, before Titus Mede won him over—supposedly through personal combat,” though Mazgar doubts that this is the truth.

“Takar had about five thousand men with him, mostly mounted infantry and mages. [Mazgar] could see them formed up in a huge field, along with some eight large wagons that might be siege engines of some sort.
… Less than an hour later the legion met its counterpart as the shadow of Umbriel moved toward them. For whatever reason, the wormies had constricted their range, marching more tightly beneath the flying mountain than they had in the countryside.
Mazgar heard the distant shock as the front lines met a few seconds after it actually happened, and for a while that was the last time she watched the ground battle—because the air war had begun. Half of the legion suddenly left the ground, along with the wagons, and flew toward the city. …
When they got near Umbriel, she saw something coming to meet them. She had seen them before; they looked like birds, at least from a distance. They would drop down and then appear to dissolve, turning into trails of smoke. Brennus told her that they were the spirits that took over the bodies of the newly dead, and lost corporeal form when they passed through the rim of the bubble of Oblivion the city traveled in.
But the Imperials were now apparently inside that bubble, and the bird-things were smashing into them in swarms. Lightning and flame seemed to fill the sky, and the soldiers with her cheered. But their cheers dropped away when it became clear that most—if not all—of the bodies dropping wore Imperial colors.
It was over in less than an hour; one of the wagons made it as far as the rim, but none of the others even got close, at least not that she saw.”

“Viewed from atop the walls, the vast waters of Lake Rumare were perfectly turquoise, the Heartlands beyond verdant with field and forest.”

Emperor Mede could not be convinced to evacuate the Imperial City, and instead chose to send general Takar with a legion to strike at Umbriel. “The Synod managed to spell almost three thousand of them airborne, but some sort of flying daedra killed them all in short order. Other magicks were tried—I’m told over a hundred—with no result. As if they knew in advance what we were going to do and were prepared for it.”

“The woman [Letine arese] was a pretty blonde, the man [Colin] rather nondescript, with brown hair and green eyes.”

Titus Mede went along with Hierem’s plan to “groom [Attrebus] as a sort of boy hero” because he had no idea what to do with him and was “relieved to have some sort of direction. It was a way to keep an eye on [Attrebus] and keep you entertained at the same time.” The plan was easy to maintain while Attrebus was young, but once he got older it was too far to drop. Mede planed to draw Attrebus out gradually and prepare him for throne and marriage.

The Imperial City is huge.

“The White-Gold Tower is an echo of the ur-tower, the first object of our reality the gods created. It’s one of the axes of creation.” Umbriel wishes to use it to “emancipate” himself from Clavicus Vile, but Hierem, and later Aresse, wish to use it to gain power.

“[Mazgar] had started the day with five hundred soldiers. Their job was to cross Lake Rumare from the north, there to join with a massive push toward the northwest side of the city. That’s where the enemy was massed most deeply, and lately had begun actively trying to break through the gate that led to the Imperial prison. It was also where Umbriel would arrive, if it continued on the course it was presently following.
Now she stood with something between two and three hundred comrades. They looked to be lined up against three times that.
Still, they gained ground steadily. The land was pretty flat here, and the archers who had plagued them earlier either seemed to have been dealt with or more likely couldn’t make decent shots with ranks so close. As they pushed forward, their line formed a wedge, to prevent the wormies from outflanking them with their numbers and rolling them up. After that, they settled into a bloody pace. Someone off to her left starting bellowing “General Slaughter’s Comely Daughter” a little off-key, and a few heartbeats later the whole cohort was shouting the response, and it started to feel like a party.”

The Imperial Legion made two more unsuccessful tries to invade Umbriel by air. These are supposed to be kept secret, though word has gotten out.

Anvil during “autumn evenings, when the sun painted the sky red and gold and the waves seemed to murmur in a melancholy but somehow contented way.”

When Colin was five, he made a little boat of reeds whose cracks were sealed with pine resin.

In Anvil, there is a stream that winds its way through hte willows towards the sea.

Colin’s grandmother was a devout follower of Dibella.

“Letine must have known or guessed where the stairs were—they hadn’t been on [Colin’s] map. He doubted it was a coincidence that the steps began at a hidden door in Hierem’s chambers; the minister must have been thinking about this moment for a long time. Colin guessed the secret stairway was hidden just below the much broader, higher staircase that led up from the Emperor’s quarters to the summit of the White-Gold Tower.”

After ascending the stairs, Colin “expected to be on the summit of the tower, but instead saw a large, low-ceilinged room. Signs and sigils were painted all over the floor, familiar to him from the diagram he’d seen in Hierem’s chambers. Fires of strange colors flickered on some, while arcane objects of various size were on others. Letine stood in the center of the room, what was probably the very axis of the tower. Beyond her, a long, broad window showed him a little sky but mostly a vast rocky surface that resembled a mountain [Umbriel] —except it was moving, steadily growing in size.”

At the battle for the walls of the Imperial City, “the wormies were throwing themselves on the wall, building ladders with their bodies. Above, the sky was bright with eruptions and incandescences, making a strange semblance of daylight that revealed the rotting faces leering at her, making colored jewels of their filmed eyes.
Another wave of wormies hit, and [the defending soldiers] were pushed back almost to the wall itself, and more of them were ignoring [Mazgar] completely now as they tried to join their comrades in their insane climb.”

Some time after Umbriel disappears, “Attrebus tapped his fingers on the sill of a high, narrow window in time to the jubilant music drifting up from below. The streets were filled with color and life, the air with delicious scents of roasted meat, fried fish, and pastry. In the wake of the vacance of Umbriel, his father had thrown open the storehouses, flooding the city with food and wine. Across town the arena hosted spectacle after spectacle, and tonight everything would culminate in the Emperor’s appearance and the presentation of the heroes.”

“The elder Mede hadn’t yet changed into his formal costume, but wore a simple robe over shirt and breeches”

“Annaïg twitched the reins of her dappled gray mare and enjoyed the play of light and shadow in the forest around her. Attrebus rode a few feet away.”


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 memorised parts of the address granting Solstheim to the Dunmer. It goes as such: “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 ditilling 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 divolved with spirits of coatin. Both of these may be native to Umbriel.


The air in Malacath’s realm “was full of ash, a gray cloud that extended in every direction. … It was hard to breathe; the gray powder cloyed in his nostrils and mouth. … Light seemed to filter through the walls themselves—[Attrebus] cast no shadow. The air had a stale, burnt taste, but he was no longer choking, and his chest rose and fell.”

A story about Malacath, as told to Attrebus by his childhood nurse. “In the bygone-by, there was a hero named Trinimac, the greatest knight of the Ehlnofey, champion of the Dragon of Time. One fine day he betook himself to seek out Boethiah, the daedra prince, and chastise him for his misdeeds.
“But Boethiah knew Trinimac was coming, and he put on the appearance of an old woman and stood beside the trail.
“ ‘Good day, old woman,’ Trinimac said when he came along. ‘I’m in search of Prince Boethiah, to chastise him. Can you tell me where I might find the scoundrel?’
“ ‘I know not,’ the old woman told him, ‘but down the road is my younger brother, and he might know. I’ll gladly tell you where he is, if you will but scratch my back.’
“Trinimac agreed, but when he saw her back, it was covered in loathsome boils. Nevertheless, having said he would, he scratched the noisome sores.
“ ‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘You’ll find my brother on the road to your left at the next crossroads.’
“Trinimac went on his way. Boethiah scurried ahead by a shortcut and put on the appearance of an old man.
“ ‘Good day, old man,’ Trinimac said, on meeting him. ‘I saw your elder sister, and she said you might know the path to Prince Boethiah’s house.’
“ ‘I do not,’ the old man told him. ‘But my little sister knows. I’ll tell you where to find her if you will only wash my feet.’
“Trinimac agreed, but found the old man’s feet even more disgusting and smelly than the old woman’s back. Still, he had made a bargain. The old man told him where to find the younger sister, and again Trinimac went on—and again Boethiah went ahead, and put on the guise of a beautiful young woman.
“Now, Trinimac was dreading the meeting with the younger sister, fearing he would have to wash or scratch something even worse than he already had, but when he saw the beautiful girl, he felt better.
“ ‘I met your elder brother,’ he said, ‘and he told me you would know the way to the house of Prince Boethiah.’
“ ‘Indeed, I do,’ she declared. ‘And I will gladly tell you if you will but give me a kiss.’
“ ‘That I can do,’ Trinimac said, but as he leaned forward to kiss her, her mouth opened wide—so wide that his whole head went in, and Boethiah swallowed him in a single gulp.
“Then Boethiah took on Trinimac’s form, and made him burp and fart and say foolish things, until finally he squeezed out a great pile of dung, and that was what was left of Trinimac. The dung got up and slunk away in shame, a proud knight no longer. He became Prince Malacath, and all of those who loved him changed as well and became the orcs.”

Malacath first appears to Attrebus disguised as an elf with “rosy gold” hair, “alabaster white” skin, and “emerald” eyes (Attrebus thinks that she is a High Elf). Later, he appears as a 100ft tall humanoid with gray eyes and skin, a broad, piglike face, and tusks. His teeth are sharp.

“Around them rose a garden of slender trees, and wound about the trunks were vines festooned with lilylike flowers. A multitude of spheres moved, deep in the colorless sky, as distant and pale as moons. [Attrebus] heard birds chirping, but it was a doleful sound, as if something with a vague memory of having been a bird was trying to reproduce sounds it no longer felt.” Malacath appears to feel some sort of sadness towards this locale, reproducing it in his realm. He describes it as a “shadow of a garden, this echo of something that once was.”

The “received wisdom” is that, due to the Oblivion crisis, “Tamriel can never be invaded from Oblivion again.” Although Umbriel is not truly on Tamriel, it still needed to be summoned/conjured/facilitated into coming into Nirn.

Aresse summons a Daedra (Clanfear?): “there was a clap like thunder, and the man went staggering back, and in the next instant something appeared, something horrible. Colin had a glimpse of slits of green balefire, scales, and claws like sickles. The man almost managed to scream before his lungs and viscera were spattered across the room.”

Even for a Daedra prince, it is not always possible to teleport people to the exact location needed.

“Vile can’t come into Tamriel, at least not in an aspect potent enough to do anything about Umbriel. And if he could, he would probably make a far bigger mess than Vuhon will. If Clavicus Vile could take his power back from Umbriel, he already would have. What he needs in order to do that is what we’re looking for [the sword Umbra].” Although it is not clear that the sword is actually importnat, Sul believes it is because “Vuhon went way out of his way to try to retrieve the sword. Azura gave me visions of it, and even Malacath seemed to think we’re on to something.”

The following is a Daedra commonly summoned by Nibenese battlemages during Alessian Order times. “After the War of Righteousness, the relationship they cultivated with this species deteriorated,” and the knowledge of summoning them was confined to a single secret text. The Daedra “was something left to deal with the likes of him [Colin]. It contorted in his overvision, a chimera that refused to settle on a shape, then bloomed fully into Mundus, the world, and brought harm to him.” The Daedra has “a sort of center” that is solid. When it manages to hit Colin, it doesn’t strike him with corporeal matter but instead travels through his arm, “leaving detailed and unbelievable agony behind.” It can be harmed by weapons (though not common ones - Colin’s sword has “consecrations bound into its crystalline metal). It can also strike out with “yellowish mist” that causes razor-like pain and paralyzes the victim. When hit, emits a high pitched sound almost out of human hearing range. Colin notes that “worse things” are summoned in the modern day.

“[Lord Sathil] made certain pacts with Vile, and in exchange the prince asked him to find a certain sword in Morrowind. What Vile didn’t tell my father was what would happen when someone picked the sword up.” When picked up, the sword drives its weilder mad almost instantly.

“Attrebus found himself on his back, staring up at what appeared at first to be a few cottony clouds in a perfectly blue sky. But as he garnered his strength to rise, he noted odd unsettling patches, greenish-gray streaks that didn’t appear to be clouds but were more like stains on the sky itself. …
They had landed in a field of white clover—a woodland meadow that might have come right out of the paintings of Lythandas of Dar-Ei. But like the sky, a close look revealed withered, twisted foliage and odd melted-looking places that his eyes couldn’t focus on. Beneath the perfume of wildflowers, the breeze carried a scent of profound decay, like a wound gone to gangrene.
Attrebus caught a motion from the corner of his eye and faced it. A small white dog was watching them from the edge of the clearing, where a little path wound off into the woods. It twitched its head toward the trail and wagged its tail excitedly.”

It is possible to summon mortals from Tamriel to the realm of a Daedric prince. Vile does this while both Attrebus and Sul are in contact with Umbra, and are wearing the salve they used to travel to Oblivion last time, so an artifact and/or conduit may be required for the procedure. It feels like “something like a fist seemed to grab him, yanking him so hard the blood rushed from his head and black spots danced before his eyes.”

“The dog led them from the clearing along the little trail, where the vegetation seemed to grow progressively sicklier. They crossed a brook on a fallen log, and he saw fish floating on the surface, their gills working desperately. Something fluttered by in the trees, which he at first perceived to be a bird, then a butterfly the size of a hawk, and finally a caterpillar with wings.
They wound along a spiral trail up a hill, where they found a table large enough to seat thirty or so, with whimsically slim legs that terminated in hooves. Now and then one of the hooves would lift and stamp, rattling the empty plates and cups on the table. Beyond the hill, the colors of the world seemed to melt and flow before the sky gave way completely to shimmering chaos. From this height, Attrebus could see that the trees and grass only extended a mile or so in any direction before similarly dissolving at the edges.
Seated at the head of the table, on a large wooden throne, was what appeared to be a boy of perhaps thirteen or fourteen years, although his lack of shirt displayed a paunch that would have been more at home on a middle-aged beer glutton. He had what appeared to be a goat horn growing from above his right eyebrow, but over the left there was a festering sore. He had his bare feet up on the table crossed at the ankles, and a mean little smile showed on his face. His eyes were most peculiar; Attrebus somehow could not focus on them, but his impression was contradictory: They seemed empty, but empty in a way that nevertheless held limitless meaning.
When the boy saw Sul and Attrebus, he laughed. It was an eerie laugh, almost like the imitation of one, although there seemed to be a tinge of genuine madness there as well.
The dog hopped up on the table. “I give you Prince Clavicus Vile,” it announced, and then fell over and began licking itself.”

““Don’t think I’m weak,” Vile said. “Everyone who comes here now thinks I’m weak, just because a wee bit of my stuff has been stolen. The trick is, if you’ve got less to work with, you just don’t spread it so thin. My realm may be a little smaller than in happier times, but in it I’m just as strong as I ever was.””

According to Vile, “there is no Umbra. This—thing—that suffers from the delusion that it is its own—person—is actually nothing of the kind, do you understand? No more than a stone rolling down a hill is capable of real self-locomotion. Or an abacus of doing math by itself. What was in this sword was me, plain and simple. If someone cut your leg off and the leg starting calling itself ‘Umbra,’ it would still be your leg, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t humor it, would you? Help it out with its delusions of grandeur?”

“A sharp report rang from the walls in the room, and suddenly something appeared, something shaped a bit like a man but covered in black scales, with three scythelike fingers on each hand. It hopped, birdlike, toward Hierem, and Colin noticed it had sickles on its feet, too—one on each foot.” This is likely a Clanfear.




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. Attrebus’s

“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 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.”



Brennus, a Nibenese sorcer under Mede’s employ, describes Umbriel as “like [an Oblivion] gate, but wrapped around itself”

The zombie-moth-soldiers (“wormies”) know how to march and organize themselves. Their eyes are particularly disconcerting, and are described as having a “glitter of malicious intelligence, a dark joy in the harm they promised.” They are able to journey away from Umbriel.

“Blood wasn’t an unusual smell in these waters [the Sump]; bodies were dumped here every day, many still feebly struggling against death. But this blood was not only fresh, it had a certain rotten scent he’d come to know all too well.”

“He took her [Joacin] into the skraw caves along the shoreline anyway, and laid her out on the little bier his coworkers had made from woven cane and grass for the dead to rest on. In the sunlight she’d looked old, worn, with black bags beneath her eyes and hair like lank kelp, but here in the phosphorescence from the cave walls she appeared younger, more like the ten or fifteen years she probably actually was. On Umbriel, people were born as adults, and those born to be skraws, to tend and harvest the sump, had nothing that resembled a childhood.”

Oluth, one of the scaws, is “young, probably no more than three years old; his skin had only the barest hint of the jaundice that plagued the older skraws.”

Durain is smelly.

Kohnu, one of the chefs in Toel’s kitchen, “was funny, always telling little self-effacing jokes and clowning about with the produce.”

“Annaïg stared out at the shimmering green sump and delicate, insectile buildings that climbed and depended from the stone walls of the conical valley at Umbriel’s heart. Above, shining through the glittering strands of what resembled a giant spiderweb or some vast sea invertebrate, shone the sun of Tamriel. The sun she had been born under. It made her feel tight, claustrophobic, to know the light of that sun could illume the flying city, touch her, warm her—but that she could not go up through that sky, be in the wider world that orb washed with its radiance.”

A banquet is being held for Umbriel, with the kitchens of Toel, Phmer, Luuniel, and Ashdre competing for the favor of catering. The winner will be whoever manages to cook the best meal for Umbriel’s steward. Toel considers Phmer his chief competitions because she has found a 9th flavor sensation, which is as of yet unknown to other chefs.

Annaig knows of “four or five essential flavors,” which are tasted on different parts of the tongue. Mortals cannot taste the three spiritual flavors (quick, dead, ephemerate), though the lords of Umbriel can absorb them through any part of the body.

“The flying island of Umbriel was a rough cone, with the apex pointed down. The sump was a basin in that cone, and most of the population of the city lived in warrens in the stone. The lords lived on the upper edge in their delicate habitations of metal and crystal. But another world sprouted from the verge of the rim, enormous trees whose roots sank deep into the rock where vesicles from the sump fed and watered them, and whose boughs and branches flowed far out from the island like a sort of lacy collar, bending in a rightwise whorl. It was a world of strange birds and weird gardens growing from intentionally rotted places in the wood, of fruits and nuts and warbling monkeylike things.”

“If [Glim] looked to the horizons, he saw plains and forest, softened and made beautiful by distance. If he looked down, however, that was another story. Any open ground revealed the thousands of corpses walking, animated by Umbriel’s larvae.
The ground was very open now. Umbriel had changed direction, taking them east over vast mountains, and below them was heath and snow, and few trees to hide the undying. They seemed numberless, and—perhaps worst of all—organized, marching in a rough semblance of ranks.”

“With her charcoal complexion and red eyes, Fhena might have been a Dunmer woman of about twenty years. But she was no more Dunmer than Wert was human, and since Umbrielians were born adult, he’d reckoned from their earlier conversations she was probably no more than five or six years old. She wore her usual blouse and knee-shorts; today the former was green and the latter yellow.”

The Um-Hist of Umbriel can produce all materials as long as they are “told” how. Specifically mentioned are nuts, fruits, grains, salt, sugar, acid, wine, vinigar, sulfur, iron, and glass.

The trees of Umbriel’s gyre are very similar to the Hist. According to Fhena, “They dream, they experience, they communicate needs.” Fhena cannot imagine them planing something like a largescale assault as the Hist can.

The sap of the Um-Hist can alter things, as long as they are told to do so.

Fhena’s memory of the time before they came to Tamriel: “We were in the void. Nothing around. And then the trees began to sing a strange song, one I had never heard before. They sang and sang. It was beautiful. No one could remember such a thing happening before. And then we were here. They still sing it, but quietly now.

When Fhena presses Glim’s hand to a tree, he can hear the same song she does. It sounds like “ faint, rising and falling tone, along with a thousand harmonics, as if each seed and leaf had its own note to add. And he knew that melody, had known it since before his birth. The Hist sang it. … But the Fringe version was a little different—simpler. Still, it drew him, pulling him out of language and thought, and for a long, long time he knelt there with Fhena’s hand on his, feeling newborn, empty, at one.”

The spirits that animate the zombies are capable of inhabiting bodies that died of natural causes.

“Wert says that sometimes the sump will go for years without producing a particular thing, then start again, while something else vanishes for a time.”

Glim believes that the trees of Umbriel (Um-Hist) are “cousins” of the Hist. They are capable of comunication, though “in different tones” than the Hist. Glim does not believe them to be as inteligent as their Black Marsh brethren.

According to Glim, “some of my people believe that the Hist came to Tamriel from Oblivion. Umbriel is from Oblivion, too, so it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to me that they [the Hist and the Um-Hist] could be cousins.” Glim thinks that “ the city tree [of Lilmoth] somehow called Umbriel, or the Fringe Gyre trees may have called to the Hist—but I think there was some sort of collusion.”

Glim does not think the Um-Hist manevolent. He believes that they are “vaguer than the Hist. Not as intelligent maybe, or maybe just in a different way. Simpler. But like the Hist, they can form their sap into different things, the way you do with your equipment. And they can shape life, change its form.”

One of the tasks of the kitchen staff is to “take raw ingredients from the sump and transform them into nutrients for the trees, but part of that process involves getting the roots themselves to release substances.”

Glim thinks that “iit’s the trees who remember all the forms of life on Umbriel. ...they produce the proforms—the little worms Umbrielians start as. Then the ingenium gives them a soul, and they grow according to some sort of plan the trees remember.”

Although it is fairly simple to sneak into the pantry area of a kitchen, the kitchens proper are rigged with alarms and protections. “Some are in the walls, living things that see and smell the uninvited. Others, as I understand it, are sorcerous in nature.”

At least 20 people have tried to break into Phmer’s kitchen to steal her secret flavor. All were caught or killed. Almost as many people have tried to break into Toel’s kitchen since Annaig started working there.

Annaig owns one gown that is gold and black, and one that is plain black.

“Intovar was a spindly fellow with dirty yellow hair and an air of the rodent about him. Yeum was a thick woman with an appealing, heart-shaped face and dusky skin. Neither had ever spoken to her except to give her orders.” Both are the underchefs of Toel.

Phmer is an “ impressively tall, narrow woman with close-cropped hair and large emerald eyes. She was accompanied by two men, one brick red with horns and the other a merish-looking person who looked perpetually surprised. … Her voice was silk, coiled thick and made into a noose.” Her two assistants are Jolha and Egren.

Phmer brings a box with a creature that looks like a spider but “its legs weren’t rigid; nor were they as supple as those of a squid, but something in between. And—[Annaig] realized as it unfolded them—it had wings, rather like those of a mosquito, and in fact now it somewhat resembled one, albeit one that could fit into the palm of her hand. ...The wings blurred into motion, and the little creature lifted into the air; three stalks or antennae began probing about as it approached her. ...The tentacles tickled across her face and down her dress, lingering on her left hand, but then the creature darted over to Slyr and began to make an annoying high-pitched sound.” This creature is apparently used to smell out the scents specific to Phmer’s kitchen.

“The tubes that bring processed waste from the midden to the sump are living things. There is a series of sphincters that pass the waste along or hold it back, as needed. I need something that will paralyze the sphincters and an antidote for that. I need concoctions to taint foods, to make them unpleasant or inedible without rendering them poisonous. I [Glim] need weapons of sabotage for the skraws to wage their rebellion with. I won’t need large amounts of them—just enough. You [Annaig] know how to make these things.”

“His claws gripped about the tendril-thin branch tips, and the wind, the spin of Umbriel, and the long rippling undulation of the trees did the rest. It was merely exciting, at first, but after a few moments he began to feel the trees, their own joy in their existence, in the process of merely being, and he felt himself gently tugged into a state of pure thought, where no words existed to constrain his feelings, where no logic tried to make sense and order of the world, and there was only color, smell, touch, feeling, motion. When Fhena finally cajoled him back to thicker branches, he went only reluctantly, and he felt more refreshed—and more himself—than he had in a long time.”

Toel wears a shirt and breeches made of sharkskin or similar material to go to the Sump.

“Mere-Glim drifted nearly still amid twenty-foot-long strands of slackweed, watching the party approaching the maw where the midden was supposed to empty into the sump. They weren’t skraws, and swam even more clumsily. They were armed with long, wicked-looking spears, and there were six of them.”

The armed party from Toel’s kitchen “stopped to examine the tertiary sphincter, already closed, and then swam to the side, toward the maintenance tunnels. These were narrow, flattened tubes that worked around the big valve into the last of the seven chambers that waste from the middens passed through. It was dark with sludge, but not nearly as thick as it should have been. They produced some sort of underwater lanterns, and the beams stabbed through the murk, revealing a wide-eyed Wert holding a nutrient injector.”

Irrel, and likely the other lords of Umbriel, “was somewhat translucent. When he turned his head, flashes of skull showed through his fine, long features. His large eyes glowed with a soft purple light that shone through his lids when he closed them. He stood a head taller than anyone else in the room.” He wears a robe which “seemed to be made of black smoke within which winked thousands of tiny sparks. The form-fitting garment beneath might have been made of liquid iron.”

Lord Rhel prefers simpler, more “essential” dishes, while Irrel prefers “up to a hundred distinct dishes at a meal.”

Annaig only prepairs three dishes for Rhel’s dinner:” first came the quintessences of sulfur and sugar, congealed into a glutinous web that held suspended drops of human blood and denatured snapadder venom, which glittered pleasingly—like tiny rubies and emeralds. The web stretched over the cavity of a halved and hollowed durian fruit, whose sweet, garlicky scent she had enhanced with metagastronomics and infused with the lust of a monkeylike creature from the Fringe Gyre, killed just as it was about to mate.
Next came the thin, translucent slices of raw bear loin, collected like the durian from the world below. She had turned the fat of the bear into a room-temperature vapor that clung to the tiny bits of meat, which were pillowed on a nest of glassy yellow noodles that, when bitten, would erase the taste of everything else within a few seconds, but leave deep longing to remember what had been lost.
An hour passed after the second course went up, and Annaïg began to feel nervous. The third course—a complex preparation based on the smoke of clove, cardamom, cumin, mustard, pepper, hornet, black widow, and rage—would begin to mellow and lose its edge if it wasn’t served soon.
The servers finally came a half hour later, a few minutes too late for the smoke to be at its best, but there wasn’t anything she could do about it.”

“The first dish made Lord Ix vomit, which [Rhel] much enjoyed, and it made Ghol laugh, which is extremely pleasant. Each dish was for me perfect, but affected my companions in ways that I very much appreciated”

The harpoon weapons used by Toel’s hunting party look like crossbows.”

The sign of the Vapors inhaled by the scaws are four wriggling lines in a spray pattern.

To escape the men hunting him, Glim “ took a twisting course, past where a cluster of middens emptied into the sump... then swam toward the capillaries that drew water up to the Fringe Gyre. It took him a few minutes, but he found the one with the lines crudely etched into the stone above—the sign of the vapors. They had smashed the filter, so the capillary was pulling up debris that in time would choke the feed.
It was nearly too tight for him; he had to writhe up the thing for the first hundred feet or so, but finally it met a larger tube and he let himself drift for a moment before continuing on.
He’d never been in these passages before for the simple reason that none of the filters were ever broken. Older skraws who had made repairs said they formed a webwork that brought water to the roots of the Fringe Gyre. … he passed dozens of branching tubes, many far too small to admit him...”

“Umbriel used to be a city in Oblivion, in the realm of Clavicus Vile. Vuhon—the lord of Umbriel—was trying to escape that realm with his companion, Umbra, but Vile essentially hardened the walls of his domain so no one could leave it. Vuhon found a way to sort of turn space around the city, though, and then break that free, like twisting a sausage casing and then tearing it.”

Annaig is escorted to Lord Umbriel’s quarters by a man and a woman wearing “simple robes of gray and white.” They grip her beneath the arms adn levitate up, “ through the glittering, shifting web of glasslike strands … to a fragile-looking spire, the tallest in the city. Umbriel was a massive inkiness below, and above, the stars were glorious. Masser was a gargantuan opal dome on the horizon. … It was more a gazebo than a room, with a floor of polished mica and a dome of nearly black jade supported by silvery filaments pulsing with souls. A single figure [Vuhon/Umbriel] welcomed her, a Dunmer with a long white braid, dressed in a robe similar to the ones her escorts had worn.”

Vuhon/Umbriel speaks to Annaig in “perfect Tamrielic” rather than the “strange Merish dialect of Umbriel.”

After Glim passes out from exhaustion, he starts hearing “the voices, the gentle murmur of the trees, drawing him into the dream of thought, where past and future were irrelevant illusions and his mind was unhampered by reference to anything at all. And so he remained for a time, until finally the ache of hunger and the pain of his wounds brought him nearer to the world. The voices were still there, leading him through the twisting roots, finally into the light, amidst the great boughs of the Fringe Gyre.”

The “wooden cave” in which Fhena hides Glim “curved a bit, and he saw the hole above where the light was coming through, and a sort of slope going up.” The opening is “overed with a filmlike substance, possibly a large leaf of some kind.”

“Most of the undead army marched together, but they were constantly sending out hunting parties in search of more bodies to steal.”

The ‘ballroom’ of Rhel palace has a rose-colore crystal floor that “gently rose and fell like the frozen swells of an ocean. It met the walls in gradual curves and then lifted into a vast, lucid canopy veined with softly shifting hints of color. Men and women danced on the uncertain floor, stepping, sometimes gliding, often leaving the surface altogether for a time, as weight was less present here than it was elsewhere in Umbriel. Filmy gowns of viridian, azure, hazel, and lemon spun out impossibly wide as they turned, and each garment chimed musical notes that subtly harmonized or clashed with those around them.” The dancers are various high-ranking members of Umriel, including eight high-standing Chefs, Annaig among them. There are also other sorts of artists. One, Luel, helped to create the ballroom. Ten days ago it was a dark jungle, an homage to the first land we saw on coming here—your homeland, as I understand it. It was wonderful, of course, but a few days and everything becomes boring. There is no worse taste than stasis, and I [Rhel] won’t be accused of it.”

According to Rhel, high lords “do not move through cycles as you [mortals] do. We have always been and we remain. We were here at the beginning, and if there is an end we will be there, too.”

When Fhena comes to see Annaig she wears “peach-colored knee britches and a brown top.” Annaig describes her as “young and pretty.”

The drug that Annaig released into the water to kill Glim makes his body grow “crystal, a matrix containing his soul, his thoughts, memories—him. It’s similar to what we call a soul gem—and also …[to the] Iingenium.” She uses that soul to “quicken” a protoform and make a new body for Glim.

The incubation period of Glim’s new body was only a few days, and all his memories were preserved. However, the Um-Hist were somehow able to tap into them and control what he experienced while dead, and, once reborn, Glim was able to communicate with the Um-Hist more than anyone in Umbriel.

“Then [Attrebus] understood where he was—on top of the glass forest.
It was the best name he had for it; it was where Sul and he had arrived on their last visit here. Far below, a great web of flexible, glasslike cables anchored to various buildings along the rim formed a large web suspended over the valley and sump below. From the web, hundreds of smaller tubes grew skyward, branching, and those branches dividing until they at last became a virtual cloud of translucent twigs no bigger around than a little finger—and it was this upper layer they had fallen on.
Sul struck at Vuhon again, but glass coils sprouted up below the lord of Umbriel and raised him above the reach of the weapon. The crystalline forest suddenly pulsed with blue-white light, and Vuhon’s eyes shone with the same radiance. Attrebus felt tendrils grip at his feet, pulling him down, and Sul as well.
Sul’s only answer was an incoherent screech and a slash at the tubules supporting Vuhon. They shattered, much to Attrebus’s surprise.
It appeared to surprise Vuhon, too, as those supporting him collapsed in shards. Attrebus felt a strange hum—it seemed, almost, to be in his teeth—and then most of the cables suddenly darkened. Only those that plucked Vuhon away from Sul’s next attack—and those that held Sul—still shone with unabated light.
Vuhon shouted something, and a darkness smote Sul, sending him tumbling back and Umbra flying from his hands. More of the tubules went dark or shone with a sickly violet color.”

Once he is reborn, Glim hears the Um-Hist constantly and louder than before. They are “as strong in his mind as the Hist had ever been, except they weren’t telling him what to do; they were singing, a deep and melancholy song.” According to Fhena, they changed their tune when Glim died.

The poison Annaig concocts hurts the trees, making them “become unfocused, distilled to need and demand, and it was all he could do to keep his mind singular enough to be Glim, and not just a part of the hurt and panic.”

Glim wonder’s about how to best give them the antidote: “he could simply empty the contents where the roots would find it, or use one of the nutrient injectors the fringe workers used.”

“The sump felt sick and oily, and [Glim] nearly retched when he pulled in his first breath. He surprised a school of bladefish, but they hardly reacted, and instead continued along, unsteadily, as if they had lost half of their senses.
He found shattered crystal tubes in the shallows and followed them to their greatest concentration, and then began searching the caves.” In the third cave he finds three guards, one of who is an imperial and another who is a Dunmer. Glim is forced to kill them. .

“Glim took several deep breaths, looking at the skraws. His skraws, and in an instant he felt not just the trees anymore, but all of it, everyone, and he knew what to do.” He drinks the antidote himself, and then administers it directly to the trees through physical contact.

Lord Umbriel says that “the trees are fighting hard. They’ve shunted the poison through the ingenium, poisoning the rest of the city while they try to synthesize an antidote. It will cycle back around to them in time, but by then most of the damage will be done. I don’t know if you meant it to work that way, but it was brilliant; it’s attacking the head first—which means me. I had to absorb Rhel and three other lords just to keep going on in this body, to find the venom’s mother [Annaig].”

After drinking the antidote, Glim puts his face against the bark of an Um-Hist tree. He “could feel the poison dissipating; the trees could hear him again. He felt his self soften and flow around the edges as everything that was Umbriel opened itself to him. He heard the call of return, and with an easy bending of his mind gave it greater voice.” Before he manages to comand the trees to return, Umbriel interrupts him. “a spear of pain seemed to drive through him, an absolute command that he acquiesce and fling himself, to break on the lower boughs before falling and vanishing from this world and every other. He rose and took the first step before pushing back against the command, and for an instant he thought he could beat it, push through. But it was ancient, and the trees bent to it from long habit.”

To get from the Sump up to the top of Umbriel, Attrebus, Glim, and SUl “sprinted up the bough to where its roots grappled with the stone of the rim, and after a short climb, stood on the edge, in a gap between two strange, delicate buildings of glass and wire. A long cable went from the base of one all the way across the valley; several small buildings hung suspended from it, like lanterns at a festival. From the first of those a second cable ran down to the water’s edge. … The cable was five feet in diameter, but the footing was still pretty tricky. They were a few yards short of the hanging building when Sul shouted and pointed. Vuhon and several other figures were flying toward them.”

Glim swims “toward the little star [the ingenium] he’d always been told to avoid. Now he felt it, the pulsing heart and mind of Umbriel, the core that was the true lord of souls. All other light diminished until at last they reached it.”

Attrebus “drew Umbra from the sheath on the Dunmer’s back and stabbed it into the light. Even as he did so, he felt a rush of absolute rage. He became the blade, the edge, as Umbra drank him utterly in. He was steel and something more than steel, infinitely worse than steel. The thing waving it around and screaming was no longer Attrebus, and soon he wouldn’t be either.
The light seemed to explode about them...The light cleared, and he was lying on the floor, shuddering. They had fallen into a vast nest of polished stone and shining crystal. The air was filled with delicate tones and fleeting incomprehensible whispers, as if motes of dust were excited to speech when light struck them. In the center of the great cavity a translucent pylon rose and met the gently rippling water above and kissed it with light pulsing up from a platform ten feet below, where a thousand glowing strands tied themselves into a coruscating sphere.”

“When Attrebus plunged Umbra into the ingenium, Sul heard the Universe scream. The tortured cry rang from every surface, from the air itself, from Vuhon’s gaping mouth. A tongue of white blaze licked out from the ingenium and struck his old enemy, and his body twisted, deformed, grew blacker, hunched, feral.”

The “wormies” deactivated when Umbriel left Tamriel.