Six Views of the Egg of Time, V. VII

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A Skeptical Review
by Edwinna Elbert, Master Wizard, Ald’ruhn Mages Guild

Since I was personally involved with the recent events in Vvardenfell and the recovery of The Egg of Time, Philo Unmaterum asked me to review the high quality essays in this collection and include my own insights.

The University of Gwylim’s copy of The Egg of Time appears entirely correct to me. I made a direct copy of the original, as shown to me by the discoverer, a person of some fame and importance in Morrowind. When I compared my copy to the University of Gwylim edition, everything matched perfectly. The original does not have any additional text or different text as has often been claimed. However, the original does have many blank pages and some have claimed that there is some kind of hidden message on these further pages. All I can say in that regard is that the pages appeared blank to me and resisted every effort to reveal any additional text. The provenance of the book was without question. It definitely came from a Dwemer ruin. However, it may not have been written by the Dwemer, as they rarely left any paper books.

Zanir-jo’s idea that The Egg of Time is a key to a Dwemer orrery may have merit. I have only seen one orrery, and it was fallen entirely into ruin. If a working orrery can be found, it may be worth aligning the orrery to the signs in the book and carefully observing the results. While I am not known for being cautious, a reminder of what happened to Kagrenac and the Dwemer seems to be in order. It would be extremely foolhardy to enter the full text without significant and cautious experiments and measurements.

I don’t feel qualified to comment on the essay by Geor Elbert (no relation). It is very entertaining and contains many unusual ideas. I’m sure we all appreciate Geor’s insights into the primitive mind. However, I believe the physical ruins, artifacts, automatons, ghosts, and historical accounts of the Dwemer indicate otherwise. Also, I had to help deliver a cow to a giant when I was an apprentice, and I’ve had to shave far too many giant toes into potions, so I am certain they are no mere myth!

Titianus Pundus appears to have an impressive command of etymology and philology, but since this is not my own specialty, I will only comment on the theory that the letters represent a musical notation. Given the oddities of the Dwemer, I would not assume that other cultures translating a concept or technique of the Dwemer into the word “tone” refers to a musical note, but neither would I assume a less literal interpretation. I look forward to future research along these lines. A simultaneous investigation of this theory and that of Zanir-jo may prove fruitful.

Emelin’s assertions are the most interesting ones I’ve read all year. Alas, the essay is light on details, so I can only take the author at her word.

Nods-One-Time may be correct, but this theory offers little hope of ever figuring out the mystery.

Personally, I have no idea what The Egg of Time is. I wish I had a better theory to add to this collection, but from what we know of the Dwemer, the book could be anything. It could be Kagrenac’s favorite ash yam recipe. It could be the plans for a Dwemer device with each letter representing a component. Some Dwemer plans have similar grids of letters on them in a much smaller scale, and their meaning is still unknown.

The person who brought me The Egg of Time said that an indisputable source (and readers will have to trust me that this would be a truly indisputable source, for to even say who it is would put my work and reputation in danger) claimed that the book was a warning about linking to a divine source of energy and how this might harm the mortal Dwemer. The divine and mortal are not meant to mix by force. Unfortunately, I was not able to interview this source myself.

One of the best theories I have heard, which is sadly absent from this book, is that the Dwemer compressed complex metaphysical arguments into shorthand or abbreviations. This occurs sometimes in my own hobby of archeology. For instance, the title Anom SGRw at 1E7C Sb is opaque to non-specialists. But if you know the code, you can instantly tell it is about the anomalous pottery (Stroked Glossy Redware) recently found at the famous site near Singbury from the seventh century of the First Era. The first word of The Egg of Time could be shorthand for a theory about the workings of the Anumidium, the weight of Lorkhan’s Heart, or even the color of Akatosh’s scales. If the Dwemer wrote with such abbreviations, we cannot continue without first discovering the code. We would need a great many more such books to be discovered to even have a chance of cracking such a shorthand. If the text is a very dense shorthand, it could be discussing Kagrenac’s theories as some other experts on the Dwemer believe.

Another idea that has occurred to me is that the letters represent a logic puzzle. This idea is not impossible, even if it is singularly unhelpful. The Dwemer seemed obsessed with logic, or more precisely with un-logic. We recently found a strange device in a Dwemer ruin that we called the “pegboard device.” It was a small, flat square of Dwemer metal with various pegs that could be pushed in or pulled out on the “front” of the device. There was a slot at the top and several slots at the bottom. When a ball found near the device was placed in the top, it came out one of the bottom slots (although the balls that came out were sometimes a different color or material, and one time five balls came out, so it is not certain that the ball that went in is ever the same one that came out). Apparently the placement of the pegs somehow controlled the motion of the ball and which slot it exited. There was clearly a logic to it that appeared simple at first, but as with everything Dwemer, the logic vanished with experience. If a peg was not fully in or out the device behaved in strange, seemingly impossible ways, and in our last test the device melted into a puddle of curdled milk and flower petals (possibly some kind of orchid). The letters could be shorthand for such a device or a kind of “thought device” where one moves from letter to letter “logically” to reach the conclusion of the work, possibly taking multiple paths to get the full meaning. Much like the pegboard device, The Egg of Time may forever remain a mystery.

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