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The Soul Cairn (Quotes and Notes)

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Tailin Sero's picture
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[The Soul Cairn appears twice in TES games. First as the 3rd level of the Battlespire and again in Skyrim’s Dawnguard DLC. Below are quotes from both books and dialogue regarding the Soul Cairn, souls, and soul gems. The reason I made this is so that there is one easy place to find info on the Soul Cairn to be used as reference or research. I made a similar document for the Snow Elves (Falmer) and I will most likely make others. Enjoy and let me know if I missed anything important.]

 

“You stand within the precincts of the Soul Cairn, an otherworldly refuge dedicated to peace, love, eternal rest and harmony. You stand before one of its Makers, whose name is so exalted you may not even speak it. You walk among its servants, who have pledged themselves in service to us, and who in reward have been gifted with life eternal and the peace that passes all mortal understanding.”

~Ideal Master

 

What are souls?

 

“The nature of the soul is not knowable. Every wizard that has attempted it vanishes without a trace. What can be known is that souls are a source of mystic energy that can be harvested.

Every creature, living or dead, is powered by a soul. Without it, they are just lumps of flesh or piles of bones. This animating force can be contained within a soul gem, if the soul gem has the capacity. From the gem, the power can be used to power magical items.”

~Souls, Black and White

 

What are Soul Gems?

 

“Only the rare black soul gem can hold the soul of a higher creature, such as a man or an elf. While the souls of lesser creatures can be captured by gems of many colors, they are all categorized as white soul gems.”

~Souls, Black and White

 

“Before beginning an enchantment, make sure you have a filled soul gem. The enchantment will use this soul as a source of power.”

~Sergius Turrianus, Enchanter’s Primer

 

What is the Soul Cairn?

 

“The Soul Cairn is a tiny sliver of Oblivion, the realm of the daedra. It's ruled by unseen beings known as the Ideal Masters.”

~Serana

 

“When something is trapped in a soul gem, and then the energy is used for powering an enchantment, the remnants are sent here. Well, I think it's specifically the black ones. I don't know if the Soul Cairn takes just any leftovers.”

~Serana

 

Who are the Ideal Masters?

 

“They're mystic entities that lord over the Soul Cairn, controlling every aspect from its fabric to its appearance.”

~Valerica

 

“Well, some necromancers believe they are the crystalline structures dotting the Soul Cairn. [...] I think they transcend what we perceive as a physical form. Perhaps they were once corporeal beings, but they've obviously reached a point where they no longer require a tangible presence.”

~Valerica

 

“You give the Ideal Masters souls, they give you powers to summon the undead. It's all very business-like.”

~Serana

 

What happens if you travel to the Soul Cairn?

 

“The Soul Cairn is... well, hungry, for lack of a better word. It's trying to take your life essence as payment.”

~Serana

 

“As you've been traveling in the Soul Cairn, your body has become attuned to it. Let's just say a tiny part of you rubbed off on it, and in its place, a bit of the Soul Cairn filled the void.”

~Valerica

 

“The Soul Cairn has become a part of what I am. I can never fully call Tamriel my home again, or I would surely perish.”

~Durnehviir

 

Why are they collecting these souls?

 

“Some say they feed on them like I feed on blood. Others think they use them as payment to an even higher power... almost like a currency. A very strange currency. Whatever they're doing with them, they've been harvesting for millennia. No telling how many souls are trapped here.”

~Serana

Voshu Ornim's picture
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Good job! I think that some quotes from the ESO Loremaster's Archive interview with Fa-Nuit-Hen need to be added, though:

 

"the Ideal Masters who rule the Soul Cairn pocket realm were once mortals like yourself. If you get a chance to visit that, frankly, rather unattractive little reality, perhaps the Ideal Masters will tell you how they worked it. I wouldn't count on it, though: they're notoriously short on empathy, and at the first excuse will confine you inside a tight little crystal 'for all eternity,' whatever that means."

and

Long ago, as you reckon such things, the Ideal Masters were an early order of sorcerers who practiced necromancy, trafficking in souls, great, small, and fragmentary. They became very powerful, and eventually found their physical forms to be unacceptably weak and limiting. By means which I shall not articulate, they transcended those forms and became beings of soul-energy. They entered Oblivion as immortals, selected an area of chaotic creatia, and crafted it into a pocket realm ideal for their purposes as soul merchants. They dubbed this pocket the Soul Cairn and, pleased with themselves, adopted the name Ideal Masters as a title."

Tailin Sero's picture
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Joined: 01/25/2014

Cool! I'll add them in once I find the time to update the OP.

Lattauri-El's picture
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Joined: 01/18/2012

This is great! It will help me write some parts of the study on the Paragon Theory.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Lattauri-El wrote:

This is great! It will help me write some parts of the study on the Paragon Theory.

I'm glad you found it useful. I'm thinking of doing more like this one and the Falmer one for other topics.

Lattauri-El's picture
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Tailin Sero wrote:

Lattauri-El wrote:

This is great! It will help me write some parts of the study on the Paragon Theory.

I'm glad you found it useful. I'm thinking of doing more like this one and the Falmer one for other topics.

That will be great! I would like to read them all :)

Hermaeus Mikey's picture
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Thanks for posting this! I was just wondering what happened to white souls as I couldn't see Azura aiding the necromantic Ideal Masters (from her quest in Oblivion she seems to hate the undead... Though that might be specific to Vampires as they're Molag Bal's creatures). But "I think it's specifically black souls" seems to cover that. Azura's Star deals only in white souls... Unless corrupted.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Hermaeus Mikey wrote:
Thanks for posting this! I was just wondering what happened to white souls as I couldn't see Azura aiding the necromantic Ideal Masters (from her quest in Oblivion she seems to hate the undead... Though that might be specific to Vampires as they're Molag Bal's creatures). But "I think it's specifically black souls" seems to cover that. Azura's Star deals only in white souls... Unless corrupted.

I'm glad I could help clear things up for you, but keep in mind that quote is just one person's understanding of the Soul Cairn (that's not to say it isn't true, though).

Hermaeus Mikey's picture
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Very true Tailin. Though the sheer number of human souls vs animal/monster souls seems to support it... So in ny headcanon I no longer have to feel guilty about soul trapping animals!

Tailin Sero's picture
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...but Arvak is there...

Hermaeus Mikey's picture
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Yeah but he could have been Black Soul Gem captured. Happens all the time when you have a soul trap enchanted weapon and a BSG in your inventory. Dunno why some guy killed a horse though.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Tailin Sero wrote:

Cool! I'll add them in once I find the time to update the OP.

...and he never did. Lol!