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Michael Kirkbride's undated posts

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride
Librarian Comment: 

These posts have all been preserved without dates due to being republished on TIL or other websites. If you are able to find them in their original context (or otherwise provide a date for their writing), please let Lady N know. 

What are Nix-Hounds?

They are arthropods. In fact, they were created by Vivec to hunt Dreughs during a time-lost campaign against the Altmer of the sea.

Background on Guars and Tiber Septim's love of tigers

Lizards. Another little known fact is that the Imperials often refer to Guars as 'Tigers'. Here's why: during a tour of Morrowind in the earliest days of the Armistace, Tiber Septim became enamored of the beasts. On the mainland, and specifically the Deshaan Plains, Guars are striped. This, coupled with the fact that His Holiness was never able to pronounce 'Guar' correctly (his troubles with the provincial Chimeric tongue is legendary), led to Septim finally callings them 'Tigers', from a fabled recollection of a storybook beast he loved as a youth. The new name stuck. Even now, Dres slavers often refer to their cattle-Guar as Tigers.

On the different stages of Kwama

The Warrior is the combined version of Forager and Worker. The former jumps through the hole in the latter's mouth and its head pops out the other end; then the whole symbiote stands up. Voila: Warrior form.

Vehkship: in character fragment:

Belief-engines, properly called the “Auxiliary Semi-Shockpoint Nilgularity”, provide energy for short dream-sleeve jumps in case a Vehkship’s main ego is damaged, allowing the C0DA Paravant to potentially get to the safety of a voidyard orbital.

By creating the equivalent of an Nu-class Mnemolic, shrinking it instantaneously via a creatia tesseract array, and then projecting the resulting moth-talk well to a nil-point just outside the ego’s hull, an ASSN can slingshot the Paravant into era-streams without the needed energies of nearby aetheric bodies or shockpoint application.

The ASSN is strictly Last Ditch technology, however. It’s often deemed as too dangerous for its own good, because it works on the rarified principles of Phynaster’s Inversion, a set of mathematics that doesn’t exist in our own dimension. Vehkships have vanished in nil-space trying to make an ASSN jump—indeed, the celestial irregularity known as the M4bV Legerity, in which the C0DA Oblivion Vanquisher appears and implodes in perpetuity, is the belief system’s most famous cautionary tale.

What appears to be an Altmeri commentary on Talos:

To kill Man is to reach Heaven, from where we came before the Doom Drum's iniquity. When we accomplish this, we can escape the mockery and long shame of the Material Prison.

To achieve this goal, we must:

1) Erase the Upstart Talos from the mythic. His presence fortifies the Wheel of the Convention, and binds our souls to this plane.

2) Remove Man not just from the world, but from the Pattern of Possibility, so that the very idea of them can be forgotten and thereby never again repeated.

3) With Talos and the Sons of Talos removed, the Dragon will become ours to unbind. The world of mortals will be over. The Dragon will uncoil his hold on the stagnancy of linear time and move as Free Serpent again, moving through the Aether without measure or burden, spilling time along the innumerable roads we once travelled. And with that we will regain the mantle of the imperishable spirit.

On the Redguards:

No, I was actually referring to The Black Panthers and their radicalism.

As some people know I'm not really a fan of the United Colors of Beneton approach to Tamrielicreation, which smacks of white guilt and offensery rather than some holistic form of beautiful inclusion. Thus, it's my fault that the Asian analogues got eaten. Oops. Looks like others are bringing 'em back, though. But I promise my choice had nothing to do with Yellow Peril, it had to do with co-opting "coolness of color" without thinking about it intelligently and compassionately.

(Hunkers down for the flame.)

That said, when I started writing Redguard I really thought about how unique the black people of Tamriel were: they came in and kicked ass and slaughtered the indigenes while doing so. They invaded. It was the first time I had encountered the idea of "black imperialism"...and it struck me big time, as something 1) new, 2) potentially dangerous if taken as commentary, and 3) potentially rad if taken as commentary.

Who knows. AVault did say it had a story worthy of being on stage, and Michael Mack (Cyrus) once thanked me for giving him words that "Black folks don't get to say" (referring to Cyrus' speech and the reversal of Son to the Father)... which broke my heart and made me puff my chest all at the same time.

Which is a long way of saying: panther-love.

Numidium's siege of Alinor:

It's not the Brass God that wrecks everything so much as it is all the plane(t)s and timelines that orbit it, singing world-refusals.

The Surrender of Alinor happened in one hour, but Numidium's siege lasted from the Mythic Era until long into the Fifth. Some Mirror Logicians of the Altmer fight it still in chrysalis shells that phase in and out of Tamrielic Prime, and their brethren know nothing of their purpose unless they stare too long and break their own possipoints.

Monotheism in Tamriel:

The Skaal are animistic, not monotheistic. Huge difference there.

As for the lists of cultural pantheons, they are not exhaustive - Dagon, it seems, plays a larger role in Nordic myths than the author (me) of Varieties of Faith was aware of.

The Alessian Order was the most successful attempt at monotheism in Tamrielic history-- and even they knew better than refute other religions in their entirety, only co-opt and lessen them.

The Dwemer are special in their views. If one could misinterpret the name of their religion (they were said to be 'pious'), one might name it negalithic refusatronic world-navel-gazinism.

Historically, the magical nature Nirn frowns on monotheism. With a hammer this big. That kind of Maruhkati-talk gets you erased.

Mythic relationships:

As far as the Anuad:

Nirn (Female/Land/Freedom catalyst for birth-death of enantiomorph)/ Anu-Padomay (enantiomorph with requisite betrayal)/ ?* (Witnessing Shield-thane who goes blind or is maimed and thus solidifies the wave-form; blind/maimed = = final decision)

*Seek and you shall find. I hid it.

Bonus:

King Hrol (seeker/Healer of Kingdom), "from the lands beyond lost Twil". Twil as Twilight. Grey Maybe. Aurbis. His knights numbered "eighteen less one," the number of the Hurling Disk.

SPACE GODS BEGAT REMAN! NEWS AT ZERO-SUM, PACIFIC STANDARD GRADIENT!

On the plausibility of Mankar Camoran's claims:

Also in all fairness, there's enough evidence to support the Mankar's claims that I was happy that it went in. The idea really flips the idea of Tamriel on its head.

Imagine the Oblivion realm of Attribution's Share, for example, with eight powerful daedra (one of which is Boethiah) wielding divine power over their realm, and all their subjects bound to the whims of that power; now imagine it under an ur-theology and creation myth(s) as complicated as anything on Tamriel, where the myriad mortals of Nirn were, to the denizens of the Eight Divines of Attribution's Share, in fact, "daedra".

This realm would be surrounded by the Void, just like Tamriel, in turn surrounded by Aetherius, and who's to say that the big hole known as the Sun doesn't hit their shores, as well?

Lorkhan the Padomaic could be exactly what the Mankar says he is: the dead Lord of a lost daedric realm whose "gods" are powerful Liars.

On the different time-dragons:

Don't forget that gods can be shaped by the mythopoeic forces of the mantlers-- so Tosh Raka could be an Akaviri avatar of Akatosh with a grudge against his mirror-brother in Cyrodiil.

Just like Akatosh-as-we-usually-know-him could time-scheme against his mirror-brother of the Nords, Alduin, to keep the present kalpa-- perhaps his favorite-- from being eaten.

Notice all the coulds.

On Nerevar's face being the Indoril helm:

The Indoril masks were official, and they each depicted his true visage. There was also a special Daedric helmet version in the Morrowind Art Book, but its look depicted his more terrible aspect as Hortator and Padomaic champion.

I may say lots of things, but Lord Indoril Nerevar the Hortator was my beloved from the get go during my tenure as MW's Art Director.

Edit: to Lorus, that's his bonewalker version, lost to the annals of most Tribune histories. Nerevar, while betrayed or not, was still dear to ALMSIVI after death.

On the "most powerful" being:

Talos.

The HoonDing.

Trinimac.

Vivec.

Leki.

Reman.

Auri-El.

Wulfharth.

Morihaus.

Pelinal.

That's my list, and pretty much in that order. Though Vivec did kill Tiber Septim once...but I mentioned Talos, not the Emperor.

Another Altmeri in-character snippet:

"Or the number could be more Lorkhanic nonsense; that is, convenient for Man.

"The Ysmir line is dead and so is His stranglehold on the mythic.

"A single Wheel? More like a Telescope that stretches all the way back to the Eye of the Anui-El, with Padomaics innumerable along its infinite walls.

"We're coming for you in every one of your quarters, Sons of Talos. None shall survive."

"The Prophet of Landfall," a birthday gift for Kurt Kuhlmann:

He has come down from the mountains, the chitin of his belly segments freshly painted in Faith. The suns shine overhead, each uttering his name in their way. The barrens before him distort in the blur of their heat as he climbs the last hill, but his vision is clear. It always has been. His fifth and second arms encircle his staff as his mandibles click out a small prayer. Beyond the barrens lay the Crescent of the Eighty and One Thrones, and all the villages that hang from it like a jeweled belt. They do not know it yet, those millions that work, rule, and commit their countless sins out there in the cradle of all written history, but he will save them. In ones and twos, then in droves, and then their own priests and their own kings will throw down their false idols and take up the New Faith. He would permit himself some pride if that emotion occurred to him; instead, he tests his locust wings on the wind, permitting himself to glide into the first steps of Salvation.

Description of an Altmer ship:

Made of crystal and solidified sunlight, with wings though they do not fly, and prows that elongate into swirling Sun-Birds, and gem-encrusted mini-trebuchets fit for sailing which fire pure aetheric fire, and banners, banners, banners, listing their ancestors all the way back to the Dawn.

This is Old Mary at Water.

On the Mnemoli:

Mnemolic magic is related to the "Star Orphans", gods and heroes and demons that live between creations, which can include those reality-bending burps known as Dragon Breaks. Think of them as the all-stars between kalpas, if that helps. (That probably doesn't help at all, really.)

What's up with the Blue Star itself? That's a good little hidden bit that I don't want to ruin. Someone go find it.

On Vivec and Morrowind:

I can safely say that Vivec is the most realized character in videogame fiction. Period.

If a hermaphroditic, bug-armored, bipolar god-king existing in multiple universes who has his very own bible with *actual* magic strewn throughout it is your idea of a cliche, then I really would like to live in your world. It sounds fun and new.

But, wait, then I'd have to inexplicably make snarky and insulting comments in a forum where creators often tread. And that would quickly make me boorish and prone to cliched Angry Youngster Angst. That's the interwebs for you and good luck with it.

I can also say that Morrowind is the finest novel written in videogame fiction. A 40 hour narrative whose main character is only ever referenced is almost Nabokovian in aspiration, and prophecies whose truth is determined only by the player is akin to Borges if he only had been born with a USB port in the back of his beloved neck.

There is a fine line between celebrated tradition tuned to masterstrokes by its crafters and cliche'd demons underneath volcanos. Morrowind is the former, Selbeth, and nowhere near the latter. Except, again, when wrapped 'round electric peanuts tossed from the back row with bright'n'shiny underscores for effect.

On Ruma Camoran:

Ruma gave birth to herself, and her father was the father. She also gave birth to her brother, but he is not her son.

From Totemic Traditions in Atmoran Culture

....the accounts of the origins of Men differ from culture to culture. Note how the somewhat dubious scholarship of the 3rd Edition Pocket Guide to the Empire asserted that Nedics were the progenitors to the Nords, having come to Tamriel from the cold and bitter wastes of the Atmoran continent sometime during the Merethic (Mythic) Era, flying in the face of previous studies. The most famous of these, of course, is Gwylim Press’ own “Frontier, Conquest, and Accomodation,” which portrays the Nedics as a Mannish race indigenous to Tamriel, extant and flourishing long before the arrival of Ysgramor’s ancestors. In any case, the truth of prehistoric Man is most likely lost in the god-time impossibilities of the Dawn, where no absolute answers will ever come on any subject at all.

Part of the fabled Numinatus!

[First shape] was untranslatable, which was good to us, but difficult (which was also good to us). Best descriptions came from the edges, kaleidocules dancing myriadetada to the song of Nil. They spoke of [first shape] in side-language, mad by having to speak at all, for word is meat...[text lost]... and [they] told us that if we did not hurry and make up neganyms for our whole language then they would remove the Remover, for that is what we wanted to call [first shape]. So we did that. We went to the [Giants] and brought them painted cows, for they love them and it is tradition, and what better way to destroy that concept than by issuing its [death] with one? From the [Giants] we learned wind, and in wind we learned vacuum, and in vacuum we found the Not Talk of Ooghama, shield-wife of the Debris, [who had] written everything on her that will ever be and we took all the spaces between the words and talked that way in secret. It was difficult to do that.

ONTOLOGICA CHIMERA (a homage to Jorge Luis Borges' Argumentum Ornithologicum. In essence, it is simply Borges' text rewritten with Morrowind terms.)

“I stood on the Deshaan, leaning on my balance pole, my stilts covered in the muck that runs in love to Necrom, and stared at the sky. There I saw a number of cliff-racers soar by in haphazard fashion, and yet I failed to be able to count them. Perhaps I was mudcrab-tired. Then, for some reason, I was reminded of the apocryphal teachings I learned at Temple about the Tower. Well, that’s not true, I knew the reason this memory returned to me there in my leaning, but I was afraid to realize it into words until now.

“If the ultimate tower were to really exist, then that means that the exact number of cliff-racers that flew by has been recorded by the stars that support it. If it did not exist, then their number will forever be forgotten, as I forgot it; rather, as I ignored the bother to count. Now let us say that I saw a number of cliff-racers that was more than three but less than ten. Since I do not recall how many there were, I did not see four or five or six or seven or eight or nine cliff-racers. Instead, I saw not-four, not-five, not-six, not-seven, not-eight, and not-nine cliff-racers. Since not-five can never be a true integer, what I saw was impossible. And since I know what I saw was possible—what is more common in Veloth than a flock of cliff-racers?—I knew my answer: not-five exists, therefore so does CHIM.”