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Possible Inconsistency in Final Report to Trebonius

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Xalos Promythos's picture
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Luagar’s Possible Mistake in Final Report to Trebonius

Firstly, I would like to state that I, Xalos Promythos, in no way wish to belittle or underrate Luagar or his tremendous work. I would like to present a misconception that he might have made regarding the account entitled Battle of Red Mountain. At the end of this text you will find the fragment of Luagar’s work that is being analyzed.

This brief work has the objective to contest one aspect of Luagar’s work: Final Report to Trebonius. He states that Nerevar had reported that the Dwemer “had used” Kagrenac’s tools to turn their people into immortals, which is so far correct. However, Luagar appears to have read this bit of The Battle of Red Mountain inattentively and thus ignored one other possible conception. What he understood, instead, was that Nerevar meant that the Dwemer, in the past, before the battle, had used the tools to turn themselves into immortal beings.

This is one way of perceiving Nerevar’s words. Another plausible alternative is that Nerevar, after having seen Kagrenac touch the Heart with his tools and made the Dwemer disappear - In the Chamber, in the final moments of the battle -, told his counselors, Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil, what he had seen. Therefore, he told them that Kagrenac (substituted by the collective term “Dwemer”) had used the tools on the Heart and made the Dwemer (substituted by “their people”) disappear.

Putting it simply, here are the two possible understandings of Nerevar’s words. The first is the one conceived by Luagar, whereas the second is my understanding of it:

·         Nerevar told his counselors, “on the slopes of Red Mountain” (from Battle of Red Mountain), that, long before the battle, “the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals…”

·         Nerevar told his counselors, “on the slopes of Red Mountain”, that, moments ago, in the Heart’s chamber, he had seen Kagrenac use special tools to turn his people into immortals.

Luagar continues his work by developing the idea that the Dwemer had already bound their souls into the Brass God, a belief that originated from his possible misconception, highlighted above. In the second quote, which he retrieves from Nerevar at Red Mountain, he has not completely erred in his reading comprehension. I do also understand, from that fragment, that the Dwemer were already under the effects of the Heart’s power, as Azura herself suggests. There is no evidence, however, that reinforces the idea that that particular effect was immortality. Maybe immortality would be achieved in a future moment, in a different situation, and in that present moment all that they had was some other sort of power from the Heart.

I would like to emphasize the contentment that his work brings to all of us, scholars of the Dwemer. I consider it a precious guide, trailing along a righteous and reliable path to the full comprehension of Tamriel’s Lost Race.

 

There is a key word to draw from this, and that word is 'systematic'. Just as the et'ada did not jump directly to the subgradient of Mundus, neither did the Dwemer intend to make their jump back all at once. To put it simply, when Kagrenac struck the Heart during the Battle of Red Mountain this was not the first time he had done so, nor was it this specific striking that bound the souls of the Dwemer to the Brass God. The Dwemer were bound to the Brass God long before the war, as I note here:

"What Nerevar had said was that the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals and that the Heart of Lorkhan held wondrous powers."--The Battle of Red Mountain

Notice the key words here: the Dwemer 'had used', it was done already, a fact stated again in another account:

"And Nerevar summoned Azura again, and she showed them how to use the tools to separate the power of the Heart from the Dwemer people. And on the fields, the Tribunal and their armies watched as the Dwemer turned into dust all around them as their stolen immortality was taken away." --Nerevar at Red Mountain

As noted, the Dwemer were already bound, they had to be separated from the Heart. But what is the significance of this? It is twofold. On the first, it is in part an explanation what Denmevani described as 'systematic regression'; the Dwemer were working their way back up the ladder, and an immortality (comparable to what Dagoth Ur would devise later) was the first step.

Notice the key words here: the Dwemer 'had used', it was done already, a fact stated again in another account:

"And Nerevar summoned Azura again, and she showed them how to use the tools to separate the power of the Heart from the Dwemer people. And on the fields, the Tribunal and their armies watched as the Dwemer turned into dust all around them as their stolen immortality was taken away." --Nerevar at Red Mountain

 

 

Anchorite's picture
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This brings to mind the fact that "immortality" here might be better understood to be "willful transcendence." I think that the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur are poor examples of manipulation of the Heart: Their machinations are all very material in nature, shaped by their worldly goals and aspirations, and their understanding was minimal, at best.

Speaking of the "useful" (i.e., non-cosmic-transcence oriented) powers of Anumidium and the Heart, how do we know that the tonal architects weren't already using Anumidium to transcend Nirn? Since the Dwemer were already connected to the Heart, I imagine that Anumidium could be used like an interdimensional sling-shot, catapulting individuals, or groups, into the Outer Realms. Could this have been the reason that Yagrum Bagarn was in the Outer Realms? Was he, as a tonal architect working under Kagrenac himself, participating in experiments using the Heart?

More and more Kagrenac's Anumidium begins to resemble Noah's Ark to me...

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@Xalos,

You're misunderstood about the systematic regression. It's much simpler. The gods made Mundus and they became weak because of it. To last they had to life on through their children. These children eventually became Mer (see Monomyth). This is the process in which the divine (gods) transformed into the profane (mortals) referenced by Baladas. The Dwemer knew how to reverse this process (see interview on Dwemer), quite literally by taking all the Dwemer mortals and turning them into a god.

That is the essential idea behind the Dwemers disappearance and just about the only one that makes sense given the context. It also resonates well with the elven desire to return to and maintain the original stasis qou.

Meta wise the accounts of the Battle of Redmountain and Nerevars subsequent murder were written without a single story in mind (I think we have that in an interview somewhere). They're not even different perspectives on a single undisclosed narrative.  This makes them useless for any of these arguments. On top of that its been more or less confirmed by MK.

I'm sorry I'm so of putting but after seeing this discussion for nearly a decade, I'm a bit tired of it. :)

edit: But otherwise, you are raising good objections.

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Proweler wrote:
Meta wise the accounts of the Battle of Redmountain and Nerevars subsequent murder were written without a single story in mind (I think we have that in an interview somewhere). They're not even different perspectives on a single undisclosed narrative.  This makes them useless for any of these arguments.

This really gets me down. It feels like the lore I once understood to be a concrete platform on which to build lofty extrapolations is being broken apart. What are we supposed to do if we can't use sources? What are we supposed to use?

Proweler wrote:
On top of that its been more or less confirmed by MK.

As absurd as it sounds, Kirkbride seems to be the only Dev left that people around here are inclined to listen to. And he isn't a Dev.

Xalos Promythos's picture
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Anchorite, I like what you said about Yagrum Bagarn. The idea that he was in the Outer Realms due to experiments is consistent and trustworthy - it actually makes sense. This reminds me of the idea of a systematic use of the Anumidium in order to transcend, as reported by Luagar. Your speculation made my opinion towards this idea of systematic activation a lot stronger...

Xalos Promythos's picture
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I like what you said about Yagrum Bagarn. The idea that he was in the Outer Realms due to experiments is consistent and trustworthy - it actually makes sense. This reminds me of the idea of a systematic use of the Anumidium in order to transcend, as reported by Luagar. Your speculation made my opinion towards this idea of systematic activation a lot stronger...

Xalos Promythos's picture
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Proweler wrote:

@Xalos,

You're misunderstood about the systematic regression. It's much simpler. The gods made Mundus and they became weak because of it. To last they had to life on through their children. These children eventually became Mer (see Monomyth). This is the process in which the divine (gods) transformed into the profane (mortals) referenced by Baladas. The Dwemer knew how to reverse this process (see interview on Dwemer), quite literally by taking all the Dwemer mortals and turning them into a god.

That is the essential idea behind the Dwemers disappearance and just about the only one that makes sense given the context. It also resonates well with the elven desire to return to and maintain the original stasis qou.

Meta wise the accounts of the Battle of Redmountain and Nerevars subsequent murder were written without a single story in mind (I think we have that in an interview somewhere). They're not even different perspectives on a single undisclosed narrative.  This makes them useless for any of these arguments. On top of that its been more or less confirmed by MK.

I'm sorry I'm so of putting but after seeing this discussion for nearly a decade, I'm a bit tired of it. :)

edit: But otherwise, you are raising good objections.

 

I understand! I have just begun my studies on them, so I might frequently find new things to say about them. I guess this objection of mine was a little precipitated, now that I realize that there are many other texts to read and study from. Thank you for sharing your superior knowledge on this subject- i shall take them seriously and research more.

Xalos Promythos's picture
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Bibliophael, I agree with you. I thought we could rely solemnly on these accounts in order to make assumptions and get closer to stronger answers, but after hearing Proweler on their reliability, I find myself directed to another path of research: interviews. By the way, are these interviews made with people who actually work on the Elder Scrolls (who is MK? Pardon my ignorance)?

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Xalos Promythos wrote:

(who is MK? Pardon my ignorance)?

Michael Kirkbride worked on Morrowind and is often credited by certain subsets of the Elder Scrolls community for all that is good in the world. He left Bethesda some time ago but nevertheless remains by far the loudest voice in the fan base. He recently proposed that we drop the concept of canon altogether in favor of individually picking and choosing our favorite bits from both dogma and fan art.

The texts he has composed since leaving Bethesda are not universally accepted by the fan base and indeed are a point of some dire controversy in certain circles. There are those who are outraged that an ex-dev with time to spare is treated as some kind of infallible prophet by their fellow fans, and there are those who are disgusted with the limited perspective of those who refuse to recognize his more interesting 'canon' (though that's a dirty word these days). It's all very frustrating and I advise you not to get too close. It's what drove me away from all this.

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Bibliophael wrote:

Proweler wrote:
Meta wise the accounts of the Battle of Redmountain and Nerevars subsequent murder were written without a single story in mind (I think we have that in an interview somewhere). They're not even different perspectives on a single undisclosed narrative.  This makes them useless for any of these arguments.

This really gets me down. It feels like the lore I once understood to be a concrete platform on which to build lofty extrapolations is being broken apart. What are we supposed to do if we can't use sources? What are we supposed to use?

Proweler wrote:
On top of that its been more or less confirmed by MK.

As absurd as it sounds, Kirkbride seems to be the only Dev left that people around here are inclined to listen to. And he isn't a Dev.

I've come to think of the lore as a rather old house. People have added patios, veranda's and renovated a wing or two, sometimes in a different style. I've been living in it sometime. The cracks in the walls and other structural problems, the occasional blind door, I've gotten used to that, I've plastered over some myself. But I can't fool myself and say it is a palace build with a single vision. That would be dishonest.

The concept that lore is written by different people with a different visions is a very useful concept though. It takes away the authority of being branded 'Elderscrolls'. The lore is written by people like us who look at this pile documents they've been handed and will hardly be able to comprehend it all. I can isolate the parts I don't like and ignore them without having to disregard the whole work.

It's also the reason MK gets as much attention as he does. His ideas are interesting and rather consistent.

You can still extrapolate as much as you want. If you want to know what you think that happend that is the way to go. It's just that if you try to use the various stories of Nerevar at Redmountain piece together what really happened, or rather what Tedders (IIRC?) thought happened you won't get anywhere because its not there.

edit: Not happy about using the word authority.

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I've been summoned, guess I have to come out of my hiding place in the woodworks now...

Xalos Promythos wrote:
This is one way of perceiving Nerevar’s words. Another plausible alternative is that Nerevar, after having seen Kagrenac touch the Heart with his tools and made the Dwemer disappear - In the Chamber, in the final moments of the battle -, told his counselors, Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil, what he had seen. Therefore, he told them that Kagrenac (substituted by the collective term “Dwemer”) had used the tools on the Heart and made the Dwemer (substituted by “their people”) disappear.

Putting it simply, here are the two possible understandings of Nerevar’s words. The first is the one conceived by Luagar, whereas the second is my understanding of it:

·         Nerevar told his counselors, “on the slopes of Red Mountain” (from Battle of Red Mountain), that, long before the battle, “the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals…”

·         Nerevar told his counselors, “on the slopes of Red Mountain”, that, moments ago, in the Heart’s chamber, he had seen Kagrenac use special tools to turn his people into immortals.

Luagar continues his work by developing the idea that the Dwemer had already bound their souls into the Brass God, a belief that originated from his possible misconception, highlighted above. In the second quote, which he retrieves from Nerevar at Red Mountain, he has not completely erred in his reading comprehension. I do also understand, from that fragment, that the Dwemer were already under the effects of the Heart’s power, as Azura herself suggests. There is no evidence, however, that reinforces the idea that that particular effect was immortality. Maybe immortality would be achieved in a future moment, in a different situation, and in that present moment all that they had was some other sort of power from the Heart.

It is a good criticism, and looking at the text I will agree that that is likely the way the line from Battle of Red Mountain is meant to be read, I was probably just reading it too much in light of Nerevar at Red Mountain.

That said, the line could easily be - and probably should be - replaced with the "House Dagoth had discovered the source of the profane and secret power of the Dwemer: the legendary Heart of Lorkhan, which Dumac's people had used to make themselves immortal and beyond the measure of the gods..." line from Nerevar at Red Mountain for the same effect, so I wouldn't consider the underlying idea jeapordized; rather a case of me being sloppy in my source-texting. This is the quote that "reinforces the idea that that particular effect was immortality," as it is more distinctly referring to a period before their disappearance (and even so, making themselves immortal first is a detail, removing it whole-sale wouldn't affect the theory much).

So yea, good call, I should swap out the quotes.

__________________

On the other issue of lore, I'd have to say that I resonate with the old house described by Proweler, but not completely. I can fool myself, and half the fun of the lore for me is finding ways to do so; even better if I can fool you along with me.

Thus, I'd say one legitimate way you can approach the lore is with the attitude that it is all referring to a consistent whole, with the job of the 'lore-master' to devise ways for this to all fit together. I say 'devise', because it doesn't fit; there is no concrete foundation, if you want to make it fit you have to build your own way, and in doing so the one with the most well-argued (or more recently, the prettiest) way of making it fit wins.

Since it's not really a consistent whole this does make the lore-master a bit of an architect, but a self-conscious one (you're fooling yourself, but that's part of the game - I'm sure there's a CHIM analogy there somewhere). You're standing back and seeing all the holes in the walls, and the missing walls, and the upper floors which are floating in midair, and imagining what it would take to make them connect; in doing so you do enter into the creative process, but you were always there anyway, now you're just there self-consciously.

That's closer to how I approach it.

You can always talk about different people with different visions and approach it all in a meta sort of way, and that's not wrong - every now and then it might even be right - but I get bored with it much more quickly.

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Luagar, you have Scribes priveledges. You can edit the page.

 

 

Xalos Promythos's picture
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Thanks, Luagar. I take your words seriously. Thanks to you and to Proweler for straightening it out for me and some of my friends. I like the old house perspective and will henceforth keep it in mind.

Od
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Luagar, I think the purpose of the Tonal Architects was firstly immortality for their people, and this emphasis is crucial for understanding what finally happened to them at Red Mtn. MK's summary of Kagrenac's philosophy as a gestalt omphaloskepsis is often interpreted, as if MK was speaking with an in-universe bias, to the end, the nuance that the Dwemer weren't actually an infallible super-race is lost. Often an argument the Dwemer committed mass-absorbiscide at Red Mtn begins with the presupposition they wanted to achieve nihilism, when nihilism was only the consequence of their failed calculations.

That Kagrenac's mythopoets were searching for Chim is evident in Nchunak's Fire and Faith: ... the most learned people in the world, studying Kagrenac's words and giving consideration to their place in the life to come, and where neither planar division nor the numeration of amnesia nor any other thing of utility was more valued than the understanding of the self and its relationship to the Heart.

And from Bagarn we know the search was for this eternal life: "Lord Kagrenac, the foremost arcane philosopher and magecrafter of my era, devised tools to shape mythopoeic forces, intending to transcend the limits of Dwemer mortality. However, in reviewing his formulae, some logicians argued that side effects were unpredictable, and errors might be catastrophic. I think Kagrenac might have succeeded in granting our race eternal life, with unforeseen consequences -- such as wholesale displacement to an Outer Realm. Or he may have erred, and utterly destroyed our race."

Xal insists the Tonal Architects wrought more than a "mere refutation of the gods," the natural consequence of Numidium's activation; Kagrenac's catastrophe was supposed to be for the making of their gestalt apotheosis. However, because they never discovered, or refused to accept, Chim ("We Dwemer are only aspirants to this that the Velothi have," as the allegory of their encounter with the Heart goes) the technopriests turned to cowering behind the gods for protection, singing their world-refusals.

Therefor the Ruling King's lesson in the Dwemeri fall, from hubris to fear, was the doom of undertaking the Psijic Endeavor without grasping Chim. Had Kagrenac's disciples understood this principle of "the self and its relationship to the Heart," or had they understood what they were searching for, their apotheosis would have been certain, Vehk's Teaching assures.

Immortality seems to me to have been their goal, while Anumidium they made a god to keep that promise, and the "unforseen consequences" Yagrum asserts being that someone could destroy Kagrenac's people, with the very enchantments he laid on the Heart for their immortality. So, I don't know if I've argued the centrality of immortality to the Tonal Architects with the best of my ability, or that I've successfully conveyed the irony in the failure of the Dwemer, in Sermon 3's allegory, but I think we can see Kagrenac's pursuit of immortality consumed the best theoreticians of Dwemereth, though they ultimately failed the Psijic Endeavor because they failed to understand Chim.