Minutes of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society

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This text originally appeared on the Official Bethesda Forums. Part 1 was posted on 12/25/05 and parts 2 and 3 were posted on 1/3/06.

Minutes of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society, Part 1

Frostfall, 3E 432

The Roll Call

Dhavin (chair)
Vandril Indoril (your humble scribe)
Arielle Woodhouse (presenter)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Varinturco (present)
Shahavra (present)
Ulrorn Blackbeard (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Jo’Hamiir (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)
Artonia Melus (present)

Review and Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were strongly approved for their superior flammability and absorption.

The Pledge and Call to Order

Those present lead each other in the LAHS pledge. Dhavin mutters something about bears that could be construed as a call to order.

A Spontaneous Presentation

The clean-shaven Ulrorn Blackbeard requests the floor. As silence (or ongoing chatter) is taken for agreement in Cyrodilic law, the floor is granted. Ulrorn apologizes for his behavior at the previous meeting, pleading an excess of drink and some childhood training in the Art of Conjuration.

Three Motions from the Chair

Dhavin moves that Ulrorn is kind of a jerk. The motion is seconded. A vote is taken without debate. The motion passes unanimously, 10-1.

Dhavin further moves that, due to the series of events that prematurely ended last month’s meeting, Ulrorn should buy the first round. This motion also passes unanimously, 10-1.

Finally, Dhavin moves that after the untimely fire at the Broken Arrow Tavern and Grill, we shall henceforth be known as the Lusty Argonian Historical Society after our quaint new location. The motion passes 6-5.

Presentation: Arielle Woodhouse on the Dragon Break

The lively and entertaining Arielle Woodhouse proposes several theories about how the existence of so-called “Dragon Breaks” could be determined once and for all (as if any serious scholar still believed in such a ridiculous notion). Her arguments depend on whether Akatosh controls time for “everything” or if the various et’Ada (and “perhaps certain related natural processes, like the oceans and falling dust and things like that”) could still act when Akatosh is broken or sleeping or having a smoke or whatever it is he does or does not do during these alleged “breaks.”

For instance, Arielle suggests that if tapestries and paintings from the later part of the First Era showed the constellations differently, this could be taken as evidence that time continued in some sense, at least for the et’Ada in the heavens.

Arielle presents flaky evidence for this notion consisting of sketches of various paintings and tapestries of constellations (or that coincidentally have some stars in the background). These sketches are densely covered with lines, dates, overlays of modern constellations, etc.

I gently remind Arielle that few paintings (not to mention tapestries!) survived from the First Era, certainly far fewer than the number of defaced sketches she brought, so the whole point is moot. Unfortunately, Arielle continues to believe the paintings are genuine, even though she admits that some of them are mere copies of earlier works.

Jo’Hamiir suggests that Arielle look at the works of some obscure and irrelevant Khajiit who hid some kind of secret message in tapestries. The significance of these hidden messages is lost to the LAHS as the betmer rambles (for longer than it takes me to go through two mugs!) about fanciful relationships between the constellations and the moons and towers of all kinds.

Your humble scribe moves that Jo’Hamiir has been taking the sugar again. Most unfairly, the motion is not seconded.

Arielle moves that Jo’Hamiir prepare a presentation on this topic. Dhavin seconds the motion, and, most unfortunately, it passes. (I, for one, have heard just about as much as I can take of what passes for “scholarship” among the beast races.)

Jo’Hamiir makes an appeal based on a busy work schedule, but, alas, his appeal falls on blunt ears.

Julius draws upon his archeological experience at Dwemer ruins. He points out that Dwemer Orreries often contain metal plates with constellations engraved upon them. These plates, he assures the LAHS, show the stars in roughly the same location they are in today. Since the Dwemer left 600 years before the first so-called “Dragon Break,” this strongly suggests that the stars do not move, and that Arielle is completely and utterly wrong. Again. Arielle does not have an adequate response to these objections, and, desperate to save her crazy theory, she suggests that the Dwemer were somehow engraving the stars of the future rather than those of the present day.

Varinturco suggests that the painters were merely ignorant of astronomy or perhaps idealized the constellations for artistic effect. Arielle claims this is unlikely because of various “consistencies among the inconsistencies” (!) in the tapestries and she returns to pointing at the sketches and talking about Akatosh-knows-what because I stopped listening at this point in favor of few rounds of cards with Gondyr. Your humble scribe remains undefeated, and Gondyr falls further in debt.

Arielle’s passionate, truthful, and exciting presentation with immediate implications for our daily lives is too intense for many present, especially once the food arrives. The end of her presentation is met with loud snores of approval and favorable chewing sounds.

Gondyr moves that Arielle should have a few more drinks.

Dhavin moves that Gondyr has ulterior motives. Ulrorn seconds the motion with a humorous gesture.

Before Dhavin’s motion can be voted on, Arielle moves her (still full) mug at Ulrorn’s head. Her motion easily passes without a vote, revealing the quality workmanship of the tavern walls. After having passed, the motion is redundantly seconded by an empty mug and two chicken bones.

A serving girl takes the floor and moves that the LAHS “quiet down.” She withdraws the motion after receiving a sum of twenty Septims.

Second Presenter Absent

Thoroth surprised no one in failing to show up again. Therefore, whatever drunken ramblings he will try to pass off as a presentation will have to wait for another night.

The Debate

The evening’s debate was on whether a Daedra’s protonymic changes or remains constant.

Gondyr argues that the protonymic is an “essential” part of a Daedra and that changing the protonymic would change the Daedra. Since the Daedric “Princes” have been unchanged (with the possible exception of Malacath, of course) for many years, this suggests (to Gondyr’s fevered imagination) that the protonymic is “as unchanging and eternal as the Admantium Tower.”

Ulrorn shows unexpected insight when he says, “Its name may change, but if you banish a Scamp, it’s still a Scamp.” After some slurred explanations, he is apparently asserting that the changes necessary to alter a Daedra’s protonymic are smaller than the changes necessary to alter a Daedra’s nature. Or, in other words, Azura would still be the morning and evening star, even if her protonymic changed. Boethiah would still govern insights, even with another protonymic. Etc. Gondyr tries to argue against Ulrorn (which is surely not a difficult task), but he is distracted by a passing serving girl and loses the floor.

Shahavra tells a fanciful tale about an unfortunate Dagi who lazily summoned the same daedroth twice and painfully learned that the protonymic only works once. This would favor the idea that the protonymic does change, if the Khajiit were not all liars.

Dhavin points out that various Daedra have had their protonymics discovered in the past. He argues that since no Daedra “Princes” are currently enslaved, this suggests that the protonymic is, as he puts it, a “one trick pony.”

Ulrorn moves that Dhavin spends too much time with horses. Ulrorn withdraws this motion under threat of Dhavin’s long memory and fertile imagination.

Julius idly asks if Aedra have protonymics. Varinturco boldly asserts that of course Aedra have protonymics (and, in fact, the fool argues that all living things do!), but that the protonymics of Aedra, men, and mer cannot be “spelled, pronounced, or ennumerated” in the Mundus. Not only would it be ineffective, it would be literally unknowable. Varinturco claims to be quoting a book by some crazy Altmer who lives in a giant clock, as if that gives his argument any additional weight. Varinturco rambles on about a “neonymic” (?) that is some kind of second protonymic, but he is, fortunately, interrupted.

Gondyr moves that Varinturco has had too much to drink. The motion is seconded by your humble scribe, but, alas, no vote is taken.

Arielle wonders if the act of banishment (due to the alleged dissolution of spirit) changes the nature of a Daedra enough to change their protonymic.

Quiet, beautiful Orphala (if only she were not an Orethi!) tells a poignant, if all too brief, story about a Daedra she met in Tear who feared banishment because he feared losing his love for another Daedra. Apparently, he believed that if he were banished, he would no longer be in love, for in the process of re-forming himself, he might forget his love or lose it. Orphala was not sure of the precise meaning of his words, but this suggests that the process is traumatic enough to change a Daedra’s protonymic, if not their basic nature.

In light of this story, Gondyr and Dhavin enthusiastically agree with Arielle’s theory. Even I, your humble scribe, cannot recall a counterexample for this idea, though I doubt anything regarding the Daedra it is so simple.

Dhavin moves that the LAHS vote on the idea that banishment itself changes the protonymic. The motion passes unanimously, in spite of Varinturco’s repeated attempts to take the floor and discuss his “neonymic” notion.

Your humble scribe moves that this unprecedented agreement is a cause for celebration. This motion also passes unanimously.

Drinking ensues.

Just to spoil the rare consensus, Artonia recalls a story about the mysterious disappearance of the Battlespire several years ago. She heard a rumor from one of her aunts who was a Battlemage at the time (see what passes for scholarship these days?) that Mehrunes Dagon invaded the Battlespire(!), and he could resist his protonymic because he changed it or added some kind of surname (Varinturco begins shouting about that neonymic nonsense here again, but he is rightfully ignored). To prevent Mehrunes Dagon from reaching the rest of Tamriel, the Battlemages broke the moorings, thus the “disappearance” (if the “Battlespire” was ever more than legend, anyway). This is no less plausible than any other story I’ve heard over the years, but how anyone could know the truth of it when there were no survivors (or public evidence of any kind) is beyond my understanding. In conclusion, Artonia asks whether forward-thinking Daedra could change their protonymic or add some kind of surname to protect themselves from mortals who have learned their true, invocational name.

Varinturco finally gets his chance to take the floor, adding his febrile imaginings to Artonia’s rumor. He claims to have met a survivor of the Battlespire (a man named, apparently, Chimer–and if that does not discredit this fanciful tale, I don’t know what will). This “Chimer” (who is not a mer!) claims that Mehrunes Dagon did, indeed, attack the Battlespire (after cursing him to live forever or some such nonsense), and that he did, indeed, add a surname (or “neonymic” as Varinturco insists we call it) to his protonymic for additional protection. Varinturco goes on and on about the alleged trials of this “Chimer” and some nameless hero (we’ve all heard that one before!), but there’s no point recording it for posterity when the fool is obviously making it all up.

Varinturco ends his rambling by moving that the LAHS summon Mehrunes Dagon, politely ask him his protonymic (and neonymic), banish him, summon him again, and “see if it works.” This practical and entirely harmless motion fails due to laughter preventing a quorum.

Motion to Adjourn

Dhavin moves to adjourn on the grounds that Varinturco’s motion would not have been humorous if the hour was not far too late. The motion is seconded and passes.

Gondyr makes one final, desperate move towards Arielle, but the motion trips and falls 0-1 due to Ulrorn’s foot.

Minutes of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society, Part 2

Sun’s Dusk, 3E 432

The Roll Call

Dhavin (chair)
Vandril Indoril (your humble scribe)
Thoroth (presenter)
Shahavra (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Artonia Melus (present)
Varinturco (present)
Arielle Woodhouse (present)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the last meeting were approved after some trivial objections about “personal comments” and “failing to record my presentation accurately.” Your humble scribe has been told to “shape up.” Since no one else wants the job, it is an empty threat.

The Pledge and Call to Order

Thoroth, whose drinking apparently started well before the meeting, leads the LAHS in the pledge. In deference to future generations, I shall not record his creative and non-traditional version.

Continuing the general tone of scribe-bashing, Dhavin calls the meeting to order with the old joke about the Sload, the Tribunalist, and the innkeep’s daughter.

One Motion from the Chair

Dhavin moves that the pledge, having reached its penultimate expression in Thoroth’s drunken stutter this evening, no longer be required to open each meeting. The motion is seconded and passes 7-3.

Presentation: Thoroth on Trees (and alot of Jagga)

As best as your humble scribe can tell, Thoroth’s presentation is about trees. It is more of a religious service than a scholarly presentation. Thoroth arrived quite drunk, and continued to drink that horrible rot throughout his presentation. Although the presentation is amusing in its own way, it contains nothing of scholarly value, unless you’re interested in the wide variety of trees that grow in Valenwood. And how they smell. And what kinds of bugs and birds live in each one. And how lovely they are, oh my, yes. And a thrilling heartbeat-by-heartbeat description of how they grow.

I shall imediately begin work on a presentation regarding the eleven varieties of ash in Vvardenfell.

The Debate

As fate decreed that the entire evening be wasted on frivolity, this evening’s debate is on… how the city of Daggerfall got its name.

Gondyr recalls a story from his childhood (such scholarship!) that the first settlers to arrive in Daggerfall knew that the nation to the south was called “Hammerfell” after that old tale about Volendrung being flung by some Dwemer chieftain or one of the Daedra or the first Anumidium, etc. These alleged settlers then thought (for whatever reason) that Daggerfall was even further from the alleged thrower and asked themselves, “What could be thrown further than a hammer?” A dagger, of course! So Volenfell becomes Hammerfell becomes Daggerfall. Clever. Since the half-breed witch-men couldn’t find the right side of their horse, much less their southern neighbors, your scribe finds this story unlikely.

Shahavra the Ignorant Beast wonders if the name Hammerfell was in common use when Daggerfall was founded.

Your humble scribe points out that so-called “Volenfell” is a bad translation of an Aldmeris name, and pre-dates the Orcs, much less the Yokudans, the Breton half-breeds, and fanciful stories about hammers flying across the sky like dying gods.

Varinturco moves that my grasp of Aldmeris is faulty and insists that I reveal my etymology (for the record, Vool Ineffel Direnn). I move that Varinturco is a no-talent hanger-on who would love to get a bit of real knowledge without paying the price. Varinturco suggests that my knowledge comes from “a source in Oblivion” and that is what it is worth. I strongly suggest that Varinturco forgets his manners, and should recall to whom he speaks, and the hands that lie behind. Dhavin moves that we both keep silent, and, most unfairly, this motion passes 8-2. I shall be silent, but I shall no forget.

When the conversation returns to the dull debate, Dhavin wastes our time with a story from HIS childhood (!) about an early Nord chieftain who settled in High Rock and marked the borders of his lands by how far he could throw a dagger.

Arielle the Modern Mechanist asks how far a dagger can be thrown, and whether this could actually encompass a kingdom or even a small city.

Dhavin admits that a dagger can’t actually be thrown very far, but suggests that the city’s name “could have come from a dagger-throwing event of some kind.” Or perhaps the chieftain was a master of the thu’um (some kind of singing, I gather), and could throw daggers with his voice(!). While this notion is rightfully mocked, Dhavin claims that Ulrorn the Absent knows someone who has studied this thu’um, and that he will invite her to speak at the next meeting. Lovely.

Artonia wonders if the name could be from a natural feature, such as a series of deadly (dagger) rapids or a waterfall that resembled a dagger in some way. There is only one problem with this theory… None of the LAHS have actually been to Daggerfall, and no one remembers hearing or reading anything about any falls or rapids nearby.

Motion to Adjourn

Several rounds of debate ensue, but no actual facts are presented, and Dhavin finally moves to adjourn. An entire evening wasted.

Minutes of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society, Part 3

Evening Star, 3E 432

The Roll Call

Dhavin (chair)
Arielle Woodhouse (scribe)
Svontilda Loud-Laugh (presenter)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Varinturco (present)
Ulrorn Blackbeard (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Jo’Hamiir (present)
Shahavra (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)
Artonia Melus (present)
Thoroth (present)
Quiritonwe (present)
Speaks-with-feathers (present)

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were not approved for their harsh and uncollegial criticisms of fellow LAHS members.

During an unusually fierce debate over the minutes, a poor choice of words from Vandril led Gondyr to believe that Vandril has been using marked cards in some sort of game between the two of them. Vandril more or less admitted to this and suggested that Gondyr lacked the wit to notice and therefore deserved to lose. This led to a quite undignified exchange of blows, after which Vandril left (swearing revenge and assassins and conjurations and all kinds of terrible things), and I tended to Gondyr’s minor wounds.

Since the LAHS required a new scribe, nominations were taken, followed by a vote. Gondyr nominated me, and as there were no other nominations or objections, I, Arielle Woodhouse, am the new scribe of the LAHS. I shall endeavor to be more faithful to the proceedings than my predecessor. I daresay the minutes may be less beer stained and in a more legible hand as well.

The Pledge and Call to Order

As we have guests this evening (welcome Svontilda and Speaks-with-feathers!), the LAHS shall begin with our noble pledge:

We, the members of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society, an official chapter of the Tamriel Historical Society, do hereby pledge to study the past, to respect our ancestors, to seek the truth, to speak clearly, to listen patiently, to debate politely, and to drink and be merry.

After recent events, I think we can all use a gentle reminder about why we are here.

Presentation: Svontilda Loud-Laugh on the Thu’um

Ulrorn introduced a friend of his by the name of Svontilda who has made a study of the thu’um. Svontilda is a boisterous Nord and quite a character. She had no trouble holding the full attention of the LAHS, especially after promising not just a discussion of the thu’um, but an actual demonstration!

The general sense of Svontilda’s speech is that a “thu’um” is a concentrated shout that can break things, move objects, and (at least in legend) sharpen blades, slay foes at a distance, and various seemingly magical deeds. The practice of the thu’um is called “The Way of the Voice,” and those who use it are called “Tongues.” Svontilda believes the Way of the Voice originally came from Atmora, and that at least some of the legends about it are accurate, though much of the knowledge of the thu’um is now lost. True to her word, Svontilda breaks mugs from across the room, flips the pages of a book without touching it, makes Gondry’s drawn sword ring as if struck, and knocks over a chair. Svontilda insists that she has only a basic understanding of the thu’um, and that a true master, even though much knowledge has been lost, can do much more.

After the impressive demonstration, most of the questions naturally involve how to perform a thu’um, but Svontilda says that (ironically) the Way of the Voice cannot be described in words. Learning to make a thu’um requires extensive training and practice, and there is no simple “trick” to it.

Jo’Hamiir seems particularly intrigued by the demonstration and asks if anyone can learn the thu’um or if it is something only Nords (and Atmorans, if any survive) can do. Svontilda does not know, as she’s never seen anyone other than a Nord trained in the thu’um. She speculates that anyone could learn to do it, and while it would be unusual for a Tongue to take an apprentice who is not a Nord, she does not know of any traditions that would prevent it.

Dhavin speculates that the thu’um may not be entirely natural. He lists several well-known accounts linking magic with music or song, and he suggests that when one learns the thu’um, one is actually learning a specialized kind of magic. Svontilda seems upset at this notion, and insists that the thu’um is entirely non-magical. However, when pressed, she cannot think of any reason why magic could not explain it. Dhavin asks if anyone born under the Atronach has learned the thu’um (which might suggest a non-magical nature), but Svontilda does not know the answer (she was born under the Thief, and her father, who taught her the thu’um was born under the Tower).

Varinturco has some rather harsh criticisms of Svontilda’s demonstration and even accuses her of trickery (of so-called “stage” magic, the kind of tricks sometimes used in lower class theaters that cannot afford Mages Guild fees). He claims that the demonstrated effects of the thu’um could have been done with magic or trickery, especially if she had an accomplice in the LAHS (for instance, someone else pushed the chair over or cast a telekenesis spell while everyone was looking at her). Svontilda offers to demonstrate again under whatever restrictions Varinturco deems necessary, but the Altmer claims that nothing will be necessary, as he already knows it is trickery.

Dhavin and I apologize to Svontilda for the Altmer’s unfortunate attitude, and she is gracious enough to accept. Unfortunately, as no one has any further questions, Svontilda’s presentation ends with these (surely baseless!) accusations.

The Debate

The LAHS did not have a scheduled debate this evening, so the debate was mostly over what to debate. There was no final decision, though I did have several very interesting private conversations with LAHS members about the history of Tamriel. Perhaps some of them can be persuaded to turn their specialties into presentations for the edification of their fellow scholars. As these conversations were not officially part of the meeting, they were not recorded.

Motion to Adjorn

There was no official close to the meeting this evening, though the meeting was probably over long before Gondyr and I carried Dhavin and Ulrorn home in a borrowed wheelbarrow. A motion to restrict the quantity of drink may be needed.

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