Infinite Archive

Author: Master Malkhest
Released In:

Originally published 10/27/2023, see the original here. This Loremasters Archive was not accompanied by a book.

Master Malkhest shares his knowledge of Apocrypha’s Infinite Archive in an all-new Loremaster’s Archive.

My name is Malkhest, and I am Master of the Infinite Archive. I was honestly quite surprised to discover the offer to participate from Antiquarian Benele. I'm a humble researcher, you understand. My time at the Infinite Archive has been enlightening, but in the grand scheme of things there are far more prominent scholars across the face of Nirn, Apocrypha, and beyond who might have been worthy to answer questions in this forum.

That said, I'm happy for the chance to discuss my work. The Infinite Archive is a vast repository of knowledge embedded deep within Hermaeus Mora's realm of Apocrypha. I am, effectively, an attendant in a very fancy library.

It was, as you are no doubt aware, recently invaded by a powerful Daedric Lord named Tho'at Replicanum. A dark time for the Infinite Archive. If you have the strength and drive, I hope the answers I give today will compel some of you to visit our corner of Apocrypha. We could, to be blunt, use the help.

In any case, as Master of the Archive, I've contemplated the endless. Today, we contemplate your questions. Let's begin.

Greetings Master Malkhest,

I am curious on how it is possible that mortals, creatures, and even other Daedra that threatened Tamriel are remade in the Infinite Archive. Are they simply one-to-one copies that retain their memories or are they simply creatures that mimic other beings?

Both eagerly awaiting and dreading your response,

—Battlemage Palatine Absentis Vesanus

Battlemage, are you asking how it's possible for the Infinite Archive to restore books accidentally destroyed in some far-flung wing? Or, say, return an accident-prone researcher to life after plummeting headlong from a cliff because he had his nose stuck in a tome? That is as straightforward as the realm of Apocrypha gets.

Every object and person entering the Infinite Archive is catalogued by the Index. Threads of fate are spun between the Index and the contents of the catalogue. When a thread is broken, the catalogued copy from just before the break is restored—hale and whole—to the Index. They are not copies, nor are they recreations. They are the thing themselves from a different moment along their fate line.

A day-to-day occurrence in the archive, but tremendously powerful, I know. Fate lines are Hermaeus Mora’s specialty, I’m not sure this would work anywhere else.

Greetings Ceruval,

Are the ink creatures native to the Infinite Archive considered Daedra? Could they be summoned as such? Naturally such facsimiles could never properly be part of my collection, but I can see potential use in testing new enclosures to ensure the desired specimens do not escape, once acquired.

—Eristaanwe

Ah, the maligraphies. I named them myself, you know. It sounds very fancy until you put it in plain terms. These strange Daedric beings mimic living beings and are created by the workings of the Daedric Lord Tho’at Replicanum.

They are Daedra, after a fashion, because the maligraphies are Tho'at. And Tho'at is the maligraphies. She has devised a method to splinter her nymic, combining her potent Daedric magics with the ink of the archive's tomes. Through this mystical imbuement, she can manifest an endless number of beings.

It’s fascinating, really, because they are not directly created by Tho’at but by imbuement of her power through the medium of the page. That is to say, if she draws on a tale of a fearsome High Rock beast to create a maligraphy, the beast will be quite powerful. But if the book described a gentle doe, the resulting maligraphy would be similarly dispositioned.

Apologies, my nature as a researcher is showing itself. To answer your question, I’ve done some limited trials with other followers of Mora. The maligraphies do not seem to survive beyond the bounds of the Archive. Most likely are a function of the magic Tho’at used to create them. It’s nice to know that, however bad the maligraphies get, they’ll be locked in with me.

Yo Mister Malkhest,

To my understanding, Tho'at Replicanum is a Daedra, but what kind? She appears to look almost like glass come to life ….

—Sir Cyandor of Seyda Neen

Yo indeed, Sir Cyandor.

I understand the need for scholars and laypeople alike to classify and categorize beings from the Daedric realms. It’s most of what I do as a researcher and librarian, after all! Tho’at, however, is a reminder that the Aurbis is filled with wonders and horrors beyond our wildest dreams.

Tho’at occupies that rarefied space near the top of Daedric society, just one rung down from the Princes themselves. She is a Daedric Lord, and like many lords no doubt has a realm all her own somewhere in the infinite void that swirls beyond. While there are only a few handfuls of Princes, there are dozens of Daedric Lords known to mortal scholars, and a potentially infinite amount who have yet to interact with a person with enough forethought to write the experience down.

Tho’at is a reminder, to us all, that the Daedra are by their very nature inexplicable. They have goals, thoughts, and entire cultures we may never fully understand.

Greetings Master Malkhest,

For the last few years, I have been trying to study pocket realms. Could this "Infinite Archive" be classified as a pocket realm, or could its purpose—a vast library, without all the beasties I have heard about popping up—be recreated within one?

—Dilineth, student of the Leyawiin Mages Guild

A unique and ambitious course of study for a novice mage, but I approve. Sometimes we must look beyond what stands before us to find true purpose. My answer to both of your questions, young one, is yes.

The Infinite Archive is an adjunct realm that lies within the greater fabric of Apocrypha. While as scholars we wish things to be neat and tidy, the reality is more complicated. Many Daedra with sufficient power and will can create a realm. Refer if you will to the writings of Denogorath the Dread Archivist, who claims to have catalogued over 37,000 such instantiations (a number I believe in actuality to be much higher).

For many Daedric beings, creating a realm is an enormous undertaking, and while there are thousands and thousands of planes and pocket realms, most are quite small. This isn’t the case with the Daedric Realms of the mighty Princes. The enormous amount of power wielded by these beings in dim mists of the past formed vast and nearly limitless domains around an initial seed.

As has been observed by many a mystic scholar, the realms are the Princes. And the Princes are the realms. At Mora’s slightest whim, the seas of Apocrypha swirl and the mists of Chroma Incognito part. So it is with the Endless Library, which is a subrealm created within the vast walls of Apocrypha centuries ago.

A word of advice, young Dilineth. If you truly want to recreate the Archive without the influence of Tho’at Replicanum, seek me out. I can help you identify which books to avoid.

Most Honorable Master Malkhest,

On behalf of Great House Telvanni, I, Inari, ask of you: how is it that Hermaeus Mora can have such authority over the threads of fate and things that have yet to come through the Infinite Archive, and have such an influence on the Mundus, when he is impeded from affecting Nirn by law of the Coldharbour Compact?

—Inari Telvanni

While the Great Eye is indeed quite powerful, I feel you might be ascribing him potency that he does not have or seek. “Hermaeus Mora sees and knows,” so goes the saying. A good description of the role of the Inevitable Knower. He observes, he catalogues, and he learns.

What Mora does not do is twist or change the threads of fate themselves. Even Mora, for all his power, cannot directly intervene in fate’s course. That is, as far as I am aware, an impossibility. The Great Eye must act in the same manner as the other Princes. And as you point out, as a restriction of the Compact on Nirn, he must primarily act through the proxy of a mortal agent. It is somewhat reassuring, I think, to know that though he can see what course the river might take before we do, even Hermaeus Mora himself must ride the rapids of fate the same as you or I.

As the Infinite Archive contains documents on significant events that were or could be, I presume its records may also contain information on legendary figures and artifacts. Assuming my theory is correct, and you can and do not mind sharing such details originating from the Infinite Archive, can you tell me where the artifact Chrysamere may currently be, and anything (even if just theories or stories) that may shed light on its ambiguous origins?

—Dame Gratias of the Knights of Saint Eleidon

Certainly. Chrysamere. A two-handed blade, or claymore. Forged late in the Merethic era by a Breton swordsmith of some renown by the name of Asterie Bedel. She was an accomplished blacksmith, and she delighted in using the techniques of both men and mer in crafting her wares. Of this I am certain, for within the very heart of the blade itself lies her maker’s mark: a mage’s knot that harkens back to the earliest days of Bretonic culture.

Much of the journey from well-crafted but mortal blade to the “the Sword of Heroes” lies beyond the bounds of the Infinite Archive. Certainly, it was influenced by the magic of Breton society’s Elven forebearers, gaining enchantments as it was passed from hand to hand. It fought in the wars to secure Clan Direnni’s role as lords of High Rock and was present at the first sacking of Orsinium. Its defensive enchantments were sharpened and retooled to protect its bearer in a protracted siege of the Fellthunder Clan of giants in Rivenspire. And it played a small but important role in the Battle of Glenumbra Moors.

Where the blade lies today, I’m sorry to say, is not something even close examination of archival records could produce. My best approximation, if you’re keen to go looking, is based on a series of letters penned between a Dark Elf researcher in Ebonheart and a Khajiit fence in the city of Alabaster. Perhaps one or both of those locales might contain a clue as to its current whereabouts.

Best move quickly, though. The blade does not sit idle in any one mortal’s hand for long.

If you were to warn seasoned adventurers, delvers, and heroes of anything in this place, the kind of people who are already well-prepared for most things Oblivion might throw at them, what are the most unexpected dangers they will face in the Infinite Archive? As I have told the young recruits many times: "It is not the haj mota you can see that will be the one to kill you."

—Raltin

I would caution against hubris, for a start. Beyond that, the most unexpected things, the most dangerous things in the archive, are the things you might least expect. If it seems out of place, in this realm of Apocryphal knowledge and vaunted tomes, it most likely wants to kill you.

Ah, and mind yourself if you find that the archive has formed an arena about you. A strike itself might not kill you, but as I can attest from personal experience, it’s a very long drop into the sublevels of the lower library.

Greetings, freehand Malkhest,

The Infinite Archive stores the past, present, and potential future, not just the written word. Can oral stories, like sagas of the great Vateshrans Eoinola and Allaghach, or Bosmeri Spinner magical tales, find a place within it? If so, how are they stored? What about stories that have occurred but remain untold?

—Tyrrosh of Clan Firewolf, Reachfolk Historian and Scholar

Yes and no. I deeply respect the oral traditions of the cultures you reference, and more beyond. However, the Infinite Archive is first, foremost, and only a recollection of the writings from across the Aurbis.

Some scant few stories told in this fashion have made it into the archive as observational writings from researchers, or notes intended to prompt a performer looking to make the most of a performance opportunity. But as you’ll no doubt agree, a great deal is lost in the translation from spoken and ephemeral art to text upon the page.

To, presumably, Master Malkhest,

If this "Infinite Archive" of yours, as you say, has records of everything "that were, are, or could yet be," then logically, my question to you should already be present there, correct? Assuming that is the case, then you should be able to tell me: What is the answer to my question?

—Benny Two-Thumbs, Illusionist, Skeptic

Which question? You have asked, and could ask, so many. Some of them are more intelligible than others. I’m not going to write them all down, but you should look up the book Infinite Questions and Potent Possibilities when you can. You’ll see them all listed there.

This is all beside the point, because if I was to be purely pedantic, I would say the clear response is that this screed I write even now, quill across parchment, serves as the answer to your question. Honestly, it’s like you've never studied Theoretical Elucidation before.

Well. Now I’ve gone and worked myself into a lather. So I believe it’s time for me to call this correspondence at an end. Thank you for submitting your questions, all and sundry. I hope you found my answers interesting. I’ll see you in the Infinite Archive.

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