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> Zalphon's Drabbles, A Collection of Short Stories
Zalphon
post Oct 30 2018, 07:44 AM
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Joined: 17-March 10
From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Bonelord of Samarys
By Odral Uvirith, Underpriest Diviner

The life of an Underpriest is one of service to those who have left this life for the next in all its forms. We are those who prepare their remains for eternal rest within the Tombs and those who stand vigilant in those tombs against those who would dare defile them or seek to take from them the treasures left behind, but there is more to the Underpriest than being curators of the fallen. We are also caretakers of those who guard these tombs and we are the ones who enact justice against those who defile them and put to rest those whose slumber has been hindered. It is a calling that few understand and even fewer embark upon, but that calling is one of our most sacred traditions and important duties.

You may wonder why I elaborate so thoroughly on what it is to be an Underpriest before I begin my story about my encounter with the only bonelord I ever underestimated—my best friend; I do this to remind you that the topic we are about to embark on is not one to be taken lightly. The Bonelords are not like other undead you will see within the Ancestral Tombs and should not be considered as such. There is a saying that one rogue bonewalker is one Underpriest’s problem, but one rogue bonelord is every Underpriest’s problem. That is because there is a qualitative difference between these two types of undead. The Rogue Bonewalker is akin to the rabid beast; it is in pain and lashes out at whatever crosses its path without forethought, but the Rogue Bonelord is not a creature tormented by pain of that regard; it is a creature whose ambition has grown beyond that of the tomb he presides over. You can contain a rogue bonewalker by sealing the tomb until it can be put to rest, but a rogue bonelord knows no bounds. It is gifted with magical aptitude and it will project itself beyond the tomb in an astral form or it will simply turn the walls of the tomb to dust and leave that way. Do not underestimate the Bonelord or you will serve it in death as I nearly did.

I recall a time when I was a Curate that I was pulled from my tomb with news that my mother had fallen deathly ill with blight and that it had progressed too far to be cured; it was the last chance I would get to see my mother and I took it to say my goodbyes to her. I cherished these moments until I returned to my tomb, Samarys Ancestral Tomb, to find the signs of break-in by a few adepts seeking to prove themselves as ‘true underpriests’. To intrude upon a tomb, especially while the curating underpriest is absent is a grave violation of our order, and I intended to bring them before the Diviner myself for their disrespect, not only to me, but to the residents of this tomb and the Guardians who stood watch in my absence.

What I found was that I could not bring them before the Diviner because Dralen, the Bonelord who presided over Samarys alongside me, had already killed them and raised them as lesser bonewalkers. I could tell by the fact that their Adept pins were still on their bloodied robes. I was greatly troubled by this and Dralen did allow me to put them to rest, but he could sense I was troubled by this a great deal. Dralen and I had developed quite a friendship over the years that I had been a guest in his home and I considered him to be a trusted friend and even a mentor at times, despite this incident.

But the Temple was not pleased at the death of these Adepts and ordered Dralen be put to rest. I pleaded before them to show mercy—that Dralen was not responsible and he had only done as I had asked him to do, but they would hear none of it. When I refused to enact their execution, the Diviner sent a new curate to take over my watch at Samarys and decided that it would be better if I handled the cremations for the time being, because as he put it, “I had lost sight of what is important.”

Little happened at first, but the weeks did go by and I overheard talk that the new curate sent to replace me was dead. He had been stripped of his flesh except for a patch on his chest on which Dralen etched: “Odral.” I had thought Dralen dead, but by ALMSIVI, he did yet live. I rejoiced inside at this at first until I remembered that he had taken the life of yet another of my brothers. I went before the Diviner and requested the right to put Dralen to rest myself. He granted my request.

I do remember the trek back to my tomb. It was long. Rainy. Wet. Cold. And contemplative. I came to think more and more as I journeyed back to the place that had been my home for so long. There was no pleasure at the thought of seeing my old friend or the bonewalkers who I had come to see as a macabre sort of family, but only a sadness that hung over me until ultimately, I concluded that I would not kill Dralen. I would spare him and deliver message to the Diviner that I had killed him when really I had not.

This was my plan and my journey suddenly seemed much less dreary and miserable as I looked forward to seeing him oncemore; I looked forward to another game of chess, something which I sorely missed given no one posed much challenge to me except for him. He was my closest friend and I looked forward to his company greatly and it only grew greater as I neared the Tomb until finally I was there.

He extended salutations in the way only Bonelords do. They are a taciturn sort and use as few words as possible, but that is not to say that they are completely without feeling. They have the ‘cold’ feelings—dispassionate ones such as respect or an icy hatred. They never feel things which are in and of themselves passionate such as rage or love. But I believed that Dralen had taken a liking to me, again in the way only Bonelords do, and I was wrong.

The days returned to normal and we were unbothered. There came a morning when I bid him good morning as I went to rest and he gave the standard response of “Sleep.” Again, a taciturn sort of creatures, but I did not sleep well that day. I awoke to a Greater Bonewalker atop of me and attempting to pulverize my skull. Had I not been so versed in my studies of turning undead, I would have died on that bed.

I found Dralen and he did not speak; he only turned from me and I approached him with a fury in my heart that he would send one of the bonewalkers to harm me. This is where I was mistaken. I believed that this was a momentary lapse in judgment for Dralen or perhaps the bonewalker had simply gone rogue, but he waved one of his arms and I felt every muscle in my body constrict to the point that I fell over and tried to scream from the pain. “It is time to rest,” he said. But he did not mean it as in sleep, but as in put to rest.

He stood over me with the calculating gaze of his empty eye sockets and it was only because the Diviner had caught wind of my deception and come himself that I did not die there. The Diviner was a studied mage who many thought had been a Telvanni before he joined the Temple in no small part due to the efficacy of his spellcasting, but not even the Diviner could hold off Dralen’s magics. I watched as Dralen approached the Diviner who lay paralyzed on the ground and it was by the grace of ALMSIVI that my muscles relaxed enough for me to move. I leapt to my feet and tackled Dralen into the ground, but he did not give up. He put his hands upon my face and I felt the heat get sucked out of my body by his skeletal grip. It was then that I made peace with the fact that I was going to die, but I was spared by the Diviner who capitalized on Dralen being distracted with finishing me off. He put Dralen to rest in that moment using every bit of what he had left in order to stop him from finishing me off.

Before that day, I had always considered Dralen to be my closest friend and the Diviner to be my worst enemy.

That day provided clarity. It gave me a new respect for the Diviner and it gave me a greater understanding of the Bonelords. At the core of their being, they are not like us. They are not our friends. They are not our family. They are dangerous guardians who know only chilling apathy towards most everything that lives with an exception to rare sparks of absolute hatred for those they deem to be intruders. If you listen to nothing else I have said, I beg of you to listen to this: Do not trust the Bonelords.


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Oct 31 2018, 03:18 AM
Post #2


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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Telvanni Guide to Conjuration
By Sakiran Maesa, Spellwright of House Telvanni

Allow me to clarify something regarding my house. There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding what exactly it is we value. Many speculate that we are a collective of xenophobic isolationists who wish only to be left alone and that is not entirely incorrect (especially in the case of certain members of the council such as Master Neloth) but understand that we seek only to ward ourselves from the stupidity that blights the rest of Morrowind. We are simply economic with our allotment of time in this life and that means not squandering it on those not worthy of our attention (which includes the vast majority of people, both native to Morrowind and foreign to it), but there are those who prove themselves worthy of pulling us away from our research. They are given our attention in full and often, our respect, even if we deem them to be a hated rival.

The Telvanni way is not one of arrogant aloofness; it is one of economic expenditure of mental energy. Those who misinterpret it are often those who are not economically worthwhile in regards to our mental energy, hence why they deem us stuck-up and arrogant. It is important to understand that when we do expend mental energy upon something, it is given our full attention lest we find ourselves wasting our time or endangering ourselves (or worse, our work).
Today I was pulled forth from my research by the screams of one of my apprentices. He was one of my more promising students and I figured he would eventually join the House in full and not as a mere hireling of our organization, but he is now dead and will never be Telvanni. I wish only that I could hide my disappointment at what was the source of the screams.

I sent the guards to check on him and they alerted me that my apprentice had bound a scamp and lost control of it. I will confess that I was greatly annoyed by this, but I did banish the daedroth before returning to my study and continuing in my research. The fact that he had summoned a scamp was not what frustrated me; it was that he had lost control. I believed that I had instilled into him a healthy sense of respect for the forces of Oblivion, but there he lay with his ribs pulled open to form grotesque wings and his throat ripped out. It annoyed me that he had been so stupid, but it annoyed me more that I didn’t anticipate it from him.

I pen these words as a way of explaining to each of you what the School of Conjuration consists of and the proper way of utilizing its effects, because it becomes increasingly evident that there is a gross misunderstanding even amongst the ranks of hopefuls who aspire to my station. With that said, I will begin by explaining the fundamentals of the School and the differences between Conjuring, Binding, and Summoning.

Conjuration as a school requires an understanding of metaphysics, specifically the Aurbic Wheel. Without first having an understanding of the theoretical aspects of conjuration, anything beyond mere summoning is impossible. For that reason I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Aurbic Wheel before continuing onward with this text.

The act of Conjuring requires first constructing a gateway between Nirn and Oblivion. I feel this should go without saying, but please, do not create some physical archway or anything of the sort. The gateway being discussed is purely a way of describing the metaphysical processes of Conjuring and should not be taken as a literal description, but as conceptualizing the processes behind this act. Following the construction of the gateway (which in and of itself is a feat), the Conjuror needs to be able to differentiate the different types of Daedra through a surface-level sensing of their souls alone. This can make it difficult for the unlearned Conjuror to extract something that they have the ability to bind, but one should not mistake even the Scamp for being helpless. Anything pulled forth from the Planes of Oblivion should be shown the same respect you would give to any Telvanni, because not affording it this respect can be equally fatal as my apprentice learned.

Once pulled forth from Oblivion, the Daedroth (which is the singular term for a Daedra, which creates linguistic confusion when compared to the Daedroths: the Crocodile-headed Man Daedra) will likely be disoriented from the planar shift. It is imperative that the binding process starts during this period or you will find yourself confronted by a creature which has every ability to end your life with minimal effort.

The binding process should always begin with the use of spells that paralyze Daedra. The only exception to this is in the most extreme circumstances such as when there is simply no time to paralyze the Daedroth (and it is animalistic in nature and thus will focus on whatever is closest). This leaves the creature unable to defend itself during the event that follows which is the use of spells that strip the Daedroth of its Free Will. It maintains control of its mental faculties, but is ultimately bound to follow your commands.

It should be noted that there are risks even when using Bound Daedra. When one of my rivals made an attempt on my life, I scouted her tower and noticed the platoon of Bound Dremora which guarded it. Having learned of this, I systematically dispelled the Binding on each one of them who held off the others so that I could dispel their bindings until the entire platoon was unbound. That rival has since fallen and her tower is considered to be a Dremora colony off the coast of Vvardenfell. I do believe they still maintain control of the tower and they even sent me a gift—a jar of jelly made from her pet scrib. I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast the week after I received that.

Now we come upon the bastardized form of conjuration known as summoning. Let it be noted that anyone who aspires to be Telvanni and practices this magic will never go far, because it is not true conjuration. Summoning is the act of creating a temporary clone of an existing template out of raw magicka. It was originally concocted by a group of Imperial Mages’ Guild members who could not master the arts of Conjuring and Binding, so they invented a new form of conjuration called Summoning. To compare it to true Conjuration is to say that the musical works of a bone-nosed Orsimer drummer are comparable to those coming from the opera houses of the Summerset Isles.

If anything, summoning is a practice for the lazy and the stupid and that is why it has grown in such popularity by the ‘adventurers’ of the world who think that just because they can ‘summon a Dremora’, they are the same as someone who can conjure and bind a Dremora. These two are not alike in any way; the abomination that you ‘summoned’ is not a Dremora, it is a magicka-clone of a Dremora. But advocates of summoning will surely tell you otherwise, because “it’s all the same.” These advocates are practitioners of bad faith, because they know in their heart that it is not true conjuration and the only reason they are in favor of it is because of their own ineptitude and laziness in developing their metaphysical understanding and mastery over the construction of gateways and extraction of Daedra. I encourage you to think very carefully before you join the ranks of the Summoners’ Movement and ask yourself if you are truly a student of the arcane arts or just a slinger of discount incantations with no grasp of why they work, just that they work.

In returning to what I set off to do and in order to not continue my tangent regarding the intellectual laziness purported as real research by the Summoners’ Movement, I encourage you to develop a firm grasp of the Telvanni customs of respect. Study these customs and understand why we extend respect to those whom it is extended to and apply these same principles to those you conjure. When you have come to a solid understanding of this and you have developed a certain degree of proficiency when it comes to creating gateways, then and only then will you be ready to actually extract a daedroth from Oblivion and I encourage you to do it under the watchful eye of one who can banish it should you pull out something greater than you can handle (such as one late conjurer in this house whose first conjuration was a Daedroth (the crocodile-headed men)).


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Oct 31 2018, 08:49 AM
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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Telvanni Guide to Illusion
By Sakiran Maesa, Spellwright of House Telvanni

My patience has once again been tested by one of my fetchlings; I suppose they do have names, but they are of little use for more than fetching the most basic of things given the events that transpired today. I gave one of the retainers enough gold to collect for me my personal items (such as Sload Soap and Telvanni Bug Musk) and told him that if he was timely in the matter that I would allow him to keep the change from the transactions. I should have known that sending someone of his stature to do a job like this would result in failure, but yet I did it anyways; I can not blame him for disappointing me any more than I can blame a fish for not climbing a tree. One should know better than to send a retainer to do a job that even a simpleton can do.

My residence is within one of the smaller towers of Sadrith Mora. The marketplace is grand and alive with many exotic delights and foreign goods befitting of the eccentric nature of many of the members of my House, and equally so, the merchants are quite savvy as to the tricks of the amateur illusionist seeking to charm them. The retainer is now being sold off to a club in Suran and I only hope that the merchant (who is a personal friend of mine) can accept my apologies for this fool’s rude behavior, but it has become clear to me that there is a gross misunderstanding of the field of Illusion amongst those aspiring to become Telvanni. I plan to dispel these illusions and I encourage you to read carefully.

Illusion is perhaps the most difficult school for the Telvanni, because it is not about understanding the metaphysics of reality or having the will to shape it. The school of Illusion is about something infinitely more complicated. It is about understanding your fellow man (or mer). You see, Illusion magic operates by creating false stimuli at the smallest level within the brains of the subject, but unlike other (purer) forms of magic, it also requires a level of guile that is typically lost by my House.

We are not like the other houses in that we hide behind honeyed words and sweet lies; the Telvanni way is to openly announce your will and then to enact it, because to do otherwise is a sign of weakness. That is why there is no reason to suspect a Telvanni of lying, because we do not need to lie. If we tell you that we are going to kill you, it is because we will. If we tell you that we are going to take your house, your home, and everything you love, it is because we will. There is no need to lie to you, because you’re not worth lying to. It’s much easier to just tell you the truth, because we have nothing to fear from you. That is why Illusion is so frequently forsaken amongst my house; it is the art of liars and deceivers and we are speakers of truths, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

Equally so, it requires a level of empathy that is often lost in the transition from aspirant to Telvanni. I myself once had a great love for my fellow man and sought to proliferate knowledge to such an extent that I worked to improve the degree of literacy amongst the civilized Tamrielic races, but ultimately, I have come to realize that I could devote my entire life to teaching ants how to read and the results would ultimately be the same. We are not an empathetic people, because it is hard to empathize with something so infinitely beneath you. I do not mean that to offend you, but it is simply a statement of fact.

Again, the school of Illusion is difficult for us, because we feel no need to hide from you. But I do believe in offering the tools to reach greater power for those who seek it, so I will explain just what Illusion magic is, even if it is not a pure form of magic like you’ll see with other schools.

Illusion is divided into two primary sub-schools: Mental and Shadow

It should be noted that this divide is not in the way the magic works, but in the produced effects. All Illusion magic requires the creation of false stimuli, but the types of false stimuli differ. Mental magic tends to deal more heavily with emotional stimuli, whereas Shadow magic tends to deal with aural, ocular, olfactory, gustatory, and kinesthetic stimuli.

The Retainer sought to charm my friend with a spell I taught him some time ago. The way a spell such as charm works is that it creates an instant feeling of trust between the caster and the subject and it is actually incredibly effective in most cases, but those who are trained to resist it can sense that they’ve been charmed. Every merchant in Sadrith Mora and really any merchant with any serious ambition in Telvanni territory is trained to resist it and it is seldom, if ever, met with those same feelings of trust when they can tell they’ve been charmed. That is why this retainer failed in his (foolish) plan to charm my friend, because unlike the retainer, my friend is not an idiot and doesn’t do things (like become a merchant in the Council Seat of the Telvanni) without thinking them through (learning to tell when he’s been charmed).

One can be trained to detect all kinds of false emotional stimuli created by Illusion magic, but a true master of resisting Mind effects can detect the transcendental failings of it. There are subtle signs of being charmed, demoralized, or otherwise affected by an Illusion effect that only someone incredibly well-trained can detect in themselves (even if they’ve not been trained for that specific effect). It’s not the intensity of it, so much as the purity. I have felt intense trust before, but it’s never been without some sliver of doubt as well. There is no natural feeling of absolute fear or absolute rage or anything of the sort; it can feel absolute, but it can not be absolute in nature. If you are completely and utterly filled with one, singular emotion—you are under the effect of a spell. And that can be very hard to tell, especially when you are emotionally charged and therefore unable to think clearly, but the ability to differentiate between natural emotion and magical emotion can be the one that saves your life; I encourage any serious aspirant to seek training at the hands of a Mouth (Master Aryon’s is actually quite skilled in this) in exchange for services. It will save your life and I say that from experience.

Now we come upon what Illusion is actually known and named for. The Shadow Sub-School. There is a great deal of confusion about this school who think that the only effects produced by it are that of Chameleon and Invisibility, but that is actually quite untrue. There are a plethora of effects produced in this school that make it quite useful, even if its parent school is a lesser school.

To understand it though, you must first understand your five senses and how each of them factor in to paint a picture of your surroundings. You may think that sight alone is all that you need to have an understanding, but that is incorrect. Sight provides a canvas for the painting, but the paint on that canvas is brushed on by the sounds you hear, the way it feels, even the smells and taste. One can not tell me that looking at a portrait of the Foyada Mamaea is the same as actually walking it. There is an entire world of experience that is being missed by only looking at the portrait and that is what needs to be understand by any illusionist specializing in the Shadow sub-school.

So often I will find retainers practicing their “invisibility” within my tower and trying to sneak around, but their footsteps betray them. They do not muffle them in the slightest either magically or otherwise; they move with the grace of wild guar and many of them are so slathered in Bug Musk that they smell like them too. Understand this: your illusions are only as good as your worst sense. If you can not mask all five senses from being noticed, then you may as well not mask any, because you will be found and you will be killed. The only illusionist who survives is the one you never knew was there and that illusionist is not the one who drags his guarhide-soled shoes across my floors or the one who bathes in Bug Musk.

And you may wonder how your shadows seem to follow you in certain cases (such as Invisibility) when these effects are not actually affecting you, but those around you. That is because it creates a magical aura of false stimuli that clings to you and radiates from you. Contrary to the Bent Light theory of the Mages’ Guild, Shadow-type illusion spells do not bend light around you; they are purely the result of false stimuli or masked stimuli. You may doubt the truth behind my words, but I beseech you to perform an experiment if you do doubt me. Take two equally gifted pupils with but one difference: social grace. Find a brilliant pupil who is blessed with intellect and personality in accord and one who is blessed only with intellect and you will find the former to be the better of the Illusionists, because his understanding of people is greater.

Note From The Author:

I hope that the two of you who were mentioned in this text find a copy, lest I need to resolve this issue more directly.
-Lady Sakiran


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Nov 1 2018, 07:06 AM
Post #4


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Joined: 17-March 10
From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Telvanni Guide to Destruction
By Sakiran Maesa, Spellwright of House Telvanni

There is no field simultaneously better understood on a surface level and more deeply misunderstood on a deeper level than the school of Destruction, as discovered by a retainer today during an attempt on my life. He was sent to act on behalf of one of my rivals within the House and sought to create shards of ice to impale me, but instead delivered jets of flame at me. Admittedly, I am applying salve to my burns, but he has been swept up by one of the slaves and promptly deposited outside; his misunderstanding of the fundamentals of Destruction magic were his undoing and thus why he is the proverbial ‘dust in the wind’ as the Westerners say. As a result of being saved by his (quite literally) fatal flaw, I am writing this with hopes that the next would-be assassin does not make such a novice mistake and instead actually proves himself worthy of one day becoming Telvanni.

Let us begin with an understanding of what the Destruction school is and what it is not. It is a school that derives its name from the admittedly destructive effects it causes and it is the philosophical anticipation of Restoration. These two schools have a great deal of similarity at their most fundamental level in that the ability to use their effects is derived predominantly from the Will. It is for that reason that when I have had retainers interested in learning to more effectively use spells of either school, I have taught them to cultivate what I call the “Invisible Anger”.

The Invisible Anger is a switch that we must turn on when we are attempting to use the evocations found in the Destruction school or any kind of restorative magic. This is because you must have an almost fanatical sense of willpower to force these things to happen. What makes the school of Destruction different from other schools, even from those such as Alteration (which also rely upon a strong will), is that the effects derived from your spells are only as powerful as you can force them to be and anger is a great way of squeezing out the little bit of extra force within yourself. Although, I also frequently use threats to force my underlings to draw on the bottom of their internal reserves so that they may truly see where their ability is at, not just where it is ‘comfortably’ at.

The cultivation of the Invisible Anger is not something I can in good conscience encourage of all mages, because it is as destructive to the wielder as it is to those who cross him. It eats at you like a worm inside of your heart and when the heart is hollowed, even if you try to distance yourself from it—there is only an emptiness the likes of which can only be compared to the nihilistic cult-worship of Sithis by the Dark Brotherhood. It is an act of self-murder so that you may kill those who come for you, so I encourage it only be done by those with a need to do so (such as the Telvanni).

The techniques which I am going to share with you for the cultivation of the Invisible Anger are actually those of the Imperial Battlemage Corps. These are studied and practiced with an almost religious reverence, because they understand that this is a critical part of being an effective practitioner of Destruction magic.

It begins with looking at someone and understanding that they may be a threat to you and if they are, you must dispatch of them as quickly (and efficiently) as possible. You think about it more. How dare they threaten your life. How dare they try to harm you. How dare they. If they think they’ll hurt you, you’ll kill them. You’ll kill them. You’ll kill them like the animals they are. That’s all they are. Animals. And you’ll butcher them just like you would a kwama worker.

You need to dehumanize the enemy. They aren’t people; they’re beasts, they’re monsters, they’re anything that you can kill without thinking twice about it, because that is what makes an effective practitioner of Destruction magic. However, this is only the first step to being truly effective when using this school of magic. You must not only be indifferent—you must come to see it as a duty that must be done. This person needs to die. They need to stop being alive and it is your duty—your obligation—to be the one to perform that task.

This philosophy is taught to every Battlemage recruit and it is one which I have adopted as well, because it serves to make the act of using Destruction magic easier. It is not a difficult school of magic to use and it is actually quite simple in relation to some of the other schools, but there is a difference between using it to practice and using it for its intended purpose. Many practitioners of Destruction lose their taste for the school entirely once it is used for the purpose of destroying one’s enemies and those who stay are seldom unchanged by the act. It is a necessary evil in a world rife with evil and I encourage those of you who continue to read on to give it that due respect.

Destruction is divided into the sub-schools of Elemental and Enervation.

Elemental composed of spells pertaining to Fire, Frost, Lightning, and Poison. The reasoning for Poison being grouped with Elemental spells will be explained shortly.

Enervation pertains to the spells that drain the subject itself or otherwise impact their life-force.

Spells within the elemental sub-school begin with the focusing of magicka (the metaphysical vapor that we draw upon for magic). You will need to pull the magicka together and from that point, you will need to decide what you wish to do with it. Spells pertaining to frost for instance require pulling the heat out of the magicka until it actually condenses and freezes, whereas spells pertaining to fire require actually superheating it until it ignites. Spells pertaining to lightning involve jolting it. This may seem impossible to the layman, but remember that in the usage of magic, you must see both the metaphysical plane and the physical one. You are doing these things to it in the metaphysical plane so that you can pull it from this plane into the physical one for the desired effect.

One may ask what is poison and how does it pertain to this? Magicka, as discussed, is a metaphysical vapor. When it is used to create a poison effect, the metaphysical vapor is compressed into a toxic substance (e.g. Arsenic or Mercury) and then directed at the target. One may struggle to understand how this makes it an elemental effect, but given that these are both naturally-occurring elements within the earth, it stands to reason that the effects of Poison are actually “Earth” and thus completing the quaternity.

Next we come upon the sub-school of Enervation. It was discussed that elemental sub-school relies on the focusing of magicka, but enervation does not rely upon that. It is a much more aggressive sort of school and actually draws upon your internal stores of magicka to directly pull from attack the target without an intermediary such as Fire or Poison. This can be anything such as draining their health directly to reducing their resistance to certain effects or even draining from them their aptitude with certain skills.

Everything I said regarding the cultivation of the Invisible Anger is critical for any student of Destruction magic, but to practice enervation without it is to set off to run a marathon with no legs. You are hopelessly unable and it is impossible by definition. It is for this reason that the Enervation sub-school has been attacked quite frequently by members of the Imperial Mages’ Guild as being ‘sinister’ and ‘evil’. Both of these claims are grossly misunderstanding just what it is, but they are not entirely wrong in that it takes a certain type of person to study enervation magic and put it into use against another living being.

That leads us to the only effect within the enervation sub-school that isn’t entirely controversial and that is the disintegration of material objects (e.g. weapons or armor). It still requires that Invisible Anger, but it is instead directed at an inanimate object instead of a living being and is thus deemed somewhat more acceptable by those fettered by the confines of morality. I encourage you to make your own decisions regarding the use of enervation effects. Regardless of what decisions are made about their usage, I equally encourage you to study the school of Destruction not with an academic interest, but with an understanding that it is a weapon and is meant to be used as such. Study for any reason besides the intent to utilize it is a waste of both your time and whoever has given you their time to assist in your edification. Give it it’s due respect and understand that or do not bother with it.


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Nov 2 2018, 03:07 AM
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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Telvanni Guide to Restoration
By Sakiran Maesa, Spellwright of House Telvanni

What is Restoration? I am sure you have a hundred and one images of a priest standing over someone wounded and casting blessings upon them to cure them of the plagues that ail them or of the wounds that they have endured. What you likely do not imagine is what this school is actually about, but I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, for even experienced practitioners of this school are ignorant to what it actually is. This is because the typical practitioner of Restoration is not a scholar in the slightest and accordingly knows only that if he says the right words and has force behind them, then the desired effect will be produced.

This is what is typically seen when watching a healer act and it is typical of the spells taught to most mages, because they have no need of understanding just what it is. But for whatever reason, you have a desire to truly understand it and I wish to provide you the knowledge you so desperately seek.

Let us begin by introducing the concept of the Aurbic Archives. The Aurbic Archives are a metaphysical database in which everything that is, everything that has been, and everything that will be, is kept. In essence, the world is constructed from the information within the Aurbic Archives by that which dreams of Aurbis. There is an infinite number of possibilities maintained within the Archives, such as a possibility in which I am a slaughterfish who is the Arch Mage of the Vvardenfell District of the Imperial Mages’ Guild (not that such a thing is particularly impressive given the recent appointment to the position). This is only an example and should introduce you to the infinite vastness of the Aurbic Archives (which encompasses other infinitely vast things such as Apocrypha).

It should be noted that the Aurbic Archives are infinite in their capacity and do encompass all that is, has been, and ever will be, but they are not without the possibility of being modified. There is speculation by a few metaphysicians that Aurbis is not the dream of one creature beyond comprehension, but the coalescence of multiple dreams of multiple creatures beyond comprehension, each of whom leaving their own fingerprints upon Aurbis. I do not claim to know the number, but I have heard this theory (Double-Pyramid Godhead Theory) being purported as having anywhere from only two to quite possibly billions of creatures contributing to the dreams of the Godhead which in part results in Aurbis. This is not necessarily important to understanding the school of Restoration, but it does help give an understanding of the Aurbic Archives to a degree.

The mistake that many (even expert) practitioners of Restoration make is that they believe it mends the ailment or otherwise cures the illness (hence the name: Restoration), but this is actually untrue. Restoration does not actually target the ‘body’ of the target at all, nor does it target the ‘spirit’ of the target. It is targeted at the identity of the target. You may be confused by how the body or spirit differ from the identity, but allow me to explain. The body and spirit are both properties of the target, but they are not the target itself. It has a unique identity within the Aurbic Archives complete with an infinite number of possibilities for it (from its greatest possible self to slaughterfish arch mage). What happens when a spell is cast on the target to the effect of say closing a laceration down the target’s forearm is that this version of the forearm (the lacerated version) is replaced by the version most previously held before it (e.g. if the arm was muscular, so is the new version and likewise if it was weak or otherwise different from a completely average base at all).

You may wonder how this impacts your ability to use restoration magic and the impact is in that with this newfound knowledge, you do not need to rely on the spells of others who lack this understanding. You can use your magicka to peer into the Aurbic Archives, identify your target’s unique identify signifier, and then create whatever effects you deem necessary (that you yourself have the magical ability to do). It should be noted that regenerative effects (healing taking place over a longer time) do tend to produce less of a system shock to the target and tend to be easier despite the fact that it is a transition through multiple versions of the afflicted area.

What I have described may sound almost dehumanizing of the target, but understand that in the event that you must rely upon restorative magics, then you need to remove yourself from the people related. You are a practitioner of magic and the more you can distance yourself from any emotional aspect besides a sense of almost hubristic pride, the better your magics will perform. The healer who fails is the healer who allows himself to be tangled up in a midst of emotion, doubt, and fear of failure; if you are wise, you will heed these words and understand that this school does not forgive those who doubt.

Understand that this school and Alteration are in many ways alike, except that the identities they deal with are different. Restoration practitioners deal with biological entities and Alteration practitioners deal with inanimate identities typically. Once one has an aptitude for both Restoration and Alteration, then they are ready to begin study of the purest of all magical schools: Mysticism.

I encourage you to study deeply on the Aurbic Archives despite the difficulty of finding texts pertaining to it, as well as to come to understand that the skilled healer is not the one who sees people when he is practicing Restoration, but simply identities. Separate yourself from your feelings or they will be your undoing.


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Nov 5 2018, 04:37 AM
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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Telvanni Guide to Alteration
By Sakiran Maesa, Spellwright of House Telvanni

I feel as though I left my readership with possible confusion regarding my last text when I made the assertion that the Restoration, Alteration, and Mysticism are related schools of magic and I would like to elaborate on that more fully before continuing and explaining what Alteration is. The Arcane Arts are divided into two primary categories by academics: Direct and Indirect Arts.

This distinction is not based on the effects of the spell, but how the effects are produced. As I explained in the texts about Destruction, Illusion, and Conjuration, they all involve utilizing magicka to create an intended effect, but do not interface at all with the Aurbic Archives. This means that these are the Indirect Arts. Meanwhile, Restoration, Alteration, and Mysticism do require direct interface with the Aurbic Archives and consequently are the Direct Arts.

This should not be misconstrued as devaluing the Indirect Arts, but they are as a whole a much simpler and more direct field than what you will see with the Direct Arts. One can easily witness ‘feel’ the stability of their gateway in their conjurations or ‘see’ the chemical structure of their magicka in the use of a destruction spell, but that is not the case when using Direct Arts. They require one of two things. You must either be willing to lower yourself to the use of pre-studied incantations and spells rather than your own research and talents or you must be willing to study the Aurbic Archives. Do not misinterpret my statement of studying the Aurbic Archives as being so mundane as reading a book and suddenly having an understanding, because all that can be derived from a text is a theoretical understanding. The only way to truly understand them is to experience them on a phenomenological level.

Entertain the following thought experiment. Assume that you have a child that was born in darkness. Its entire life has been spent in darkness, but you have regaled it with your accounts of what it is like to experience the sun’s warmth, as well have given him academic studies in regards to the sun. Can this child possibly know what it is like to feel the sun on its skin?

If you have even a modicum of understanding regarding epistemology, you will know that the only understanding it will have regarding the sun’s warmth is secondhand and that a great deal of the sensory experience will be lost in translation. This is what it is to study the Aurbic Archives from a text for anything beyond the foundational structure and role they play. I could describe to you in great detail what it is like to make love to a dreugh and to live within one of their aquatic cities, but to hear about it and to experience are two radically different understandings of the experience. It is for that reason that I encourage those of you with even a mild interest in the Direct Arts to take a sabbatical from your studies in order to experience the world in a more whole manner before attempting to tackle the Arcane Arts that deal with the world on its most fundamental level.

The reasoning for this is that before you can alter the metaphysical relationships of objects, you need to have an intimate understanding of their physical relationships. Mundus is a very delicate ecosystem and wanton use of the Direct Arts, especially Alteration, can result in a great many meteorological catastrophes as well as other disturbances which will likely create havoc across Nirn, and more important, disrupt my research. Do not begin your studies of this school except for the incantations provided for you by learned scholars until you have taken that sabbatical or you will be a danger both to yourself and others.

Now that I have resolved that misunderstanding and elaborated further, I feel it is time to discuss what Alteration itself is now. As I discussed, Restoration does not actually cure the ailment; it replaces it. Alteration has some similarities in how it is accessed (they are both accessed by interfacing with the Aurbic Archives), but differs in that it does not actually replace the object in question. Alteration unsurprisingly gets its name that it alters things, but there is a gross misunderstanding of just to what degree it can alter things. The typical adventure studies it to learn how to unlock doors or perhaps create magical shields to protect themselves, but they do not understand just how this works.

The usage of Alteration to unlock (or lock) objects requires interfacing with the Aurbic Archives and finding the unique ID affixed the object in question. Then one modifies one of the variables (these are typically things such as size, shape, color, touch, material, etc.) tied to the object. The variable in question is the existence of a lock.

Spells that unlock the object pull the lock back into the door and transmogrify it into wood. Spells that lock the object do the opposite. This is a result of interfacing with the Aurbic Archives and modifying the Lock Value of the object in question. Once the Lock Value is changed in the Aurbic Archives, reality alters itself to match.

How let us examine things such as Shield spells which I have always found interesting. These spells do not create any real magical armor, but create an invisible threshold that slows the impact of anything coming past it. There has been a good deal of discussion in regards to what causes this effect and the general conclusion agreed upon by both the House and the Imperial Mages’ Guild is that these spells have a chronomantic effect, although their effects are created by modifying the Armor Value of the subject in question. This is an interesting thing and I find these spells to be exceptionally useful (having been saved by them more than once).

Now let us look at effects of Alteration that we do not frequently see anymore in no small part due to the banning by the Imperial Mages’ Guild (which I typically disagree with, but this is one instance in which I do). If one is willing to go spelunking into caves already picked clean by the adventurers of the early days of Uriel Septim VII’s reign and prior, you can see where entire walls were simply removed from existence. These spells were known as Passwall in their day and were created by accessing the Aurbic Archives and removing the wall tile in question, which reality altered itself to match. The reason for this banning was due to the increase in geologic unrest throughout large parts of unsettled territory, because the typical practitioner of these spells was the thoughtless adventurer who did not do his research before simply reconstructing reality. Several villages have been swallowed sinkholes created by these spells which prompted their ban by the Imperial Mages’ Guild. It is one of the few times in which I find myself in agreement with the Westerners.

Now, I could elaborate further on all the different effects of Alteration, but what is important is that you have been given the rudimentary understanding necessary to understand how Alteration works on the back-end. For those of you interested in developing a further understanding of the field, I am looking for a new apprentice after the untimely demise of the last one (who believed himself to have a better understanding of the School than he did). If you feel you are worthy, then bring me a bouquet of Coda Flowers and a sack of Racer Plumes and I will consider your request for my mentorship.


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Nov 6 2018, 01:26 AM
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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Telvanni Guide to Mysticism
By Sakiran Maesa, Spellwright of House Telvanni

There is no school more misunderstood than that of Mysticism and that is in no small part due to the fact that it is the most difficult of the schools to master or even develop a rudimentary understanding of, except in the case of utilizing its most basic spells (such as the Intervention line, Mark and Recall, and Soultrap). This is because of a gross misunderstanding of what Mysticism is. Many speculate it to be one of the six primary schools of magic, but that does not do it justice, because Mysticism is not an equal to the other schools; it is the progenitor of the other schools. Allow me to explain.

Mysticism is to magic what math is to the physical world. I say this in that they are both ways of modeling what they are applicable to. In the case of Mathematics, it models the relationships between two or more things on a quantitative level, while Mysticism models the relationship between the differing arcane elements (albeit not to the precision of mathematics). Both of these fields, Mysticism and Mathematics, are incredibly pure in their existence, but even they are not the purest, as both can be traced back to their origins in Philosophy. The difference is that when they grew out of Philosophy, they branched in different directions. Mysticism branched out towards the metaphysical and Mathematics towards the physical, but both equally share Philosophy’s Curse.

Philosophy’s Curse is that whenever something grows out of it, it is frequently considered an entirely different subject. We see this even with the relationship between Philosophy & Mathematics and Philosophy & Mysticism. This same phenomena has happened to Mysticism numerous times and is why we have “six” schools of magic as opposed to one. While initially even the most arrogant of evokers (practitioners of what is now known as Destruction magic) grudgingly gave the esoteric mystics their due, time progressed and the role Mysticism played in the development of each of the other schools was gradually diminished until even today, there is talk of removing its study from the official curricula of the Imperial Mages’ Guild (something which I have spilled an ocean’s worth of ink in letters to the Trebonius about, as well as Skink-in-Tree’s-Shade).

The beginning of this phenomena dates back to the chartering of the Imperial Mages’ Guild who sought to distance themselves from the Psiijic Order and thus began promoting the idea of magic having different schools. This idea is not one I am opposed to, as it has actually resulted in remarkable research into how to produce different effects and promoted public scholasticism as opposed to the near-monastic scholasticism practiced before, but it also prompted a bit of rivalry between practitioners of the different schools. Eventually, they all wished to argue that there school was the ‘most difficult’ or otherwise superior in some equally unimportant fashion, regardless of any truth behind such claims.

Unlike the Conjurors, the Illusionists, the Evokers, and even the Transmuters (practitioners of Alteration magic) and Healers (practitioners of Restoration magic), the Mystics were uninterested in such meaningless squabble. While their academic brethren engaged in what can only be described as a contest of distance urination, the Mystics remained as they always had been. Students unmoved by the politics of the realm, for they were focused on things far more important than the acclaim of their peers. They were interested in truth.

The Mystics ended up divining truths about Aurbis and actually constructed our understanding of the Aurbic Archives. This is because unlike the Transmuter or the Healer, they do not seek to understand for reasons of practicality. Their concerns are much more academic than that. They seek to understand, because they must. The Mystic does not seek to know unknowable truths, because it will give him power; he seeks to know them, because they are unknowable and he wishes to know that which is unknowable. Unsurprisingly, many Mystics end up as the specters of Apocrypha, their souls bound to Hermaeus Mora for eternity.

Now that I have given a brief introduction to Mysticism and its state of affairs, I wish to explain now just what it is and how it is utilized. I have made mention to the Aurbic Archives and how the Direct Arts interface with them, but I feel that alone does not fully encompass how Mysticism functions (unlike how it fully encompasses how Restoration and Alteration function). The Aurbic Archives have always existed, but they were not always accessible. It was the Mystics of Old who actually allowed us to interface with them and they were able to do this, because Mystics do not practice a school of magic; they practice the study of magic. They are engineers of magical energy which is why they can trap the magical energies of a soul within a gem or reflect spells back at the one who harms them or even transmute the harmful energies of a spell into ones that restore their own internal reserves of magicka.

To put it simply, the student of Mysticism is not like any other practitioner of magic. He does not do what he does in search of power or fame, but because there are mysteries within the world and he seeks to bring a torch to them and solve them. He takes with him a quest for knowledge that becomes an integral part of his being and he does so knowing that he will likely never discover something new, and that his greatest accomplishment will simply be expanding on the ideas of a scholar who died centuries or even millennia before his birth, but that does not make his devotion any lesser. It is a vocation for few and it is one I am proud to hold, but it is not one for the mage who’s aims are the treasures of this world, but who dreams of what could be.

I encourage those of you interested in the study of this ‘school’ to seize every opportunity to learn more, for there is no greater reward than knowledge—especially of the purest order.


This post has been edited by Zalphon: Nov 8 2018, 02:30 AM


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Nov 7 2018, 10:26 AM
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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



The Memoirs of a Crimelord
By Baron Tristane Kingston, Former Kingpin of the Iliac Bay


The days creep slowly beneath this ground and behind these bars. I am stranger to all except the rats who are kind enough to keep me company except when they should become my supper. They are kind like that. They have not abandoned me as the others have. They are the only ones who have stood beside me after what came to pass that fateful day when it was decided I was no longer fit to lead our organization. But my successor will soon discover what I did—this guild doesn’t steal from the targets, it steals from those who are a part of it. But now let me tell you the story of how I learned this tragic lesson.


People believe a lot of things about Iliac Bay. They talk about how the sunsets are some of the best in the world and how it’s some of the most beautiful country across Tamriel, but these people have never lived in the region. Perhaps they have visited or been here on business, but they have never been exposed to it in the way that most of us are. I was born in Daggerfall City and I grew up knowing that there were few things I could count on:


I. I would never have new clothes.

II. There was never enough food.

III. We never had money and my mother never had time.


These were just simple truths which I had come to accept. It was by no means my mother’s fault, Arkay rest her soul, but she was not a wealthy woman and I was the child she hadn’t planned on. She did her best, but her best meant neither of us ever had a full belly and that clothes were few and far between. I don’t blame my mother for any of this; she did the best she could with a ne’er-do-well son like me and I hope she made peace in the next life with the truth about the man I have become.


Because my mother never had the time and we lived in the poorer parts of the city, I was exposed to a lot of things a child shouldn’t be. Everyone in the Guild knew my mother and they knew me because of it. My mother, you see, was a good woman and had a bigger heart than an Orc and for a woman who stood just over five foot, that’s a mighty impressive feat. She knew the boys at the Guild real well, because they’d spend a lot of time talking and drinking at the tavern where she would sling drinks. They knew her. They loved her. And because I was her kid, they loved me. That actually caused a lot of problems when my best friend, Andane, became the new sugar runner for the Guild.


Thing with Andane is he wasn’t the brightest kid, but he could run like a gazelle. Every watchman in Daggerfall knew he was a runner and every one of them would try to get him, but they just couldn’t keep up. I ended up going to Vincent, the guildrat in charge of distribution here in the city, and asked him why Andane was a runner and I wasn’t. Well, turns out, the Guild didn’t want me because of my mother. She always talked a lot about her sweet little boy who she knew was going to do something like become a printer or maybe a smith. That’s the thing about my mother, she always saw the best in people and she couldn’t for a second consider the thought of me becoming a guildrat.


Well Andane turned out to be sniffing a bit of the sugar which is why he was so fast. I had no idea until one day he was just gone and then I asked someone and they told me he’d been black-bagged. Like I said, he was a fast kid, but not the brightest. Everyone across the Bay knew you didn’t cross the Guild without repercussions and here Andane had been this whole time. But, I talked to Vincent after Andane was gone and he told me he needed a new runner and that I could do it, but my mother could never find out—she’d never forgive him if she found out he got me into this life.


Before you know it, I was making runs as often as they came in and they didn’t just see me as Elara’s kid anymore. I wasn’t quite in the guild, but I was an associate. You see, the Guild near the Bay didn’t function like a lot of these offshoots you see now-a-days. The bosses at the Bay ran things tight—real tight—those who did jobs for the Guild were just associates. The thing with associates is they had no real connection to the Guild and the local bosses would just throw them to the wolves if it came down to it, because they weren’t one of us. Vincent would’ve never done that with me, but I was a special case.


Before long, I wasn’t just running sugar anymore. I didn’t even have my hands in our drug trade anymore, because I had caught the attention of one of the bosses out in Wayrest. I’ll never forget my mother’s face when I gave her the papers from the Wayrest Printing Academy. She was so proud of me, but I lost a lot of sleep over that. Sure, forging the papers was easy, but she cried when she hugged me and told me she was so proud of her baby boy for making something of himself unlike her. Sometimes I still sit down here with just the rats and whisper out into the darkness: “I’m sorry, Mom.” She probably can’t hear me, but it helps to think that maybe if I say it enough, it’ll count for something.


Daggerfall was simple, but everything changed in Wayrest. I wasn’t just running sugar anymore; I was doing jobs that really shook me up. There’s nothing quite like the first time you black-bag someone whose been skimming profits. He was our accountant and he’d been falsely reporting our interest statements from the bank to us so that he could collect a bit extra. Boss didn’t like that and I got told if I wanted to be a full member of the Guild, this was my chance. Make us whole, he said. Let him know what happens to those who cross us.


I remember it well. I remember looking into his window as he was asleep under a blanket in an old rocking chair by the fire. His white cat, Snowball, who he’d talk about at length (it was really the only thing he talked about) asleep on his lap. I don’t know how long I sat on a rooftop near his home looking in at him, but I do remember that the twenty or so feet to get from that rooftop to his door was the hardest twenty feet I’ve ever walked. I say that as a man who has walked with broken ribs and a punctured spleen—that twenty feet was harder than anything I’ve ever done in my life.


I slipped into that house like a shadow and did it. Right then. Right there. I did not emerge from that house with a triumphant strut. I emerged with tears in my eyes as I walked away from the body of a man I barely knew whose life I had taken. There are few points in my career where I really questioned if this was right for me and that was one of them. I even wrote my mother telling her that I wasn’t sure if I was meant to be a printer. She wrote me back telling me that I just had to keep at it and that she was so proud of me for making something of myself. That letter didn’t help.


With time, I became more and more accustomed to the darker sides of my profession and I came to enjoy the privileges that went with it as well. It wasn’t long before I was going with the boss to meetings with King Eadwyre and Queen Barenziah and believe me, that gets you noticed. Women flocked to me. I had money. I had power. And believe me, I had fun. I developed a bit of a sugar habit, but I didn’t care, because hell, I could afford it. Who the hell can afford a sugar habit? Not many, but I was one of them—I was a made man in the Guild and that meant I passed up on things most people only dreamed of. Sure, I had to handle unsavory business, but it was still a pretty great life.


My mother sent word to me that she was getting married and asked me to attend. I talked to the boss and he agreed to let me go, but he also wanted me to handle some of that same business while I was out there. Turns out Vincent had been running his own little side operation without notifying the boss out here in Wayrest. I was supposed to attend my mother’s wedding, black-bag him, and then come back for more business as usual. Simple enough on paper.


I come back to Daggerfall City and I’m some kind of legend it feels like. Everyone I grew up with wants to talk to me, because they know who I am and who I work for—let me tell you—I’ve never wanted to be invisible as bad as I did when I went back, but fortunately, they were smart enough to keep their mouths shut around my mother.


It never hit me how long it’d been since I was here until I saw my mother. The years hadn’t been as good to her as they had been to me. Her auburn hair had turned an ashy grey and here skin had started to wrinkle, but she was still that amazing woman who always made sure I had something to eat—even if it wasn’t much. I told her that she looked like the most beautiful woman in all of Daggerfall and that I was so glad to see her again. She just smiled and told me that if I kept telling lies, my tongue would fall out. I can confirm that is not true, as it has not fallen out yet.


I started to ask her about who she was marrying and when she told me who, I am fairly certain I almost fainted. Vincent. The man my mother was going to marry was the son of an orc who was stealing from the Guild. I couldn’t believe it, but I did my best to smile at her and tell her how happy I was. I was not happy. I was anything but happy.


I remember watching that wedding. I remember how beautiful she looked in that white dress as she walked towards the man I was going to kill later that night. I remember her tears as they exchanged vows and I remember the talk he and I had right after they finished dancing. I told him that I wanted to talk business with him later tonight after my mother was asleep. He went and we talked and I black-bagged him right then and there.


I went to visit my mother one more time before I left and it was actually the last time we ever spoke. She was worried about Vincent and justifiably so, but I told her that she didn’t need to worry about him. The Guild looked after its own and that he’d be fine. She told me she was so grateful for me and that she loved me. I really didn’t deserve to have such a loving mother but I was blessed.


I went back to Wayrest and business continued as usual. A heist here. Kidnapping there. Black-baggings as needed. Time passed and word came through the grapevine that the Guildmaster himself was looking at me. Didn’t take long before I was given a barony in Wayrest from Queen Barenziah at the behest of the Guildmaster. It was made clear to me that this was “but a taste of the rewards to come”.


I ended up running the operations within my barony and before long, my branch was moving more Sugar (and Skooma) than anywhere else in the Bay. A few years later, I was running our drug trade all throughout the Bay and that’s when I met the Guildmaster in person. He wasn’t what I expected, but let me say that I will not go into detail about him, but he was far from anything I anticipated. He told me that I was going to replace him in the organization and that he had political business in Morrowind to address and I did so eagerly.


I thought I had made it. I was the Guildmaster of the Iliac Bay Thieves’ Guild and the richest man west of the White-Gold Tower (and second only to Canctunian Ponius, the Factor-in-Chief of the East Empire Company, east of it). I had made something of myself and become someone I was finally proud of. I sent word to my mother that I wanted her to come visit me in Wayrest (although she had no idea of the fact that she would be visiting my barony), but no response came. When some time passed, I sent one of my agents to check on her and he reported that she had passed a couple years ago—during the time when I was single-mindedly devoted to succeeding the Guildmaster.


I wasn’t sure how to feel after I received that news. I’d say I broke. I cracked. I was a man with grey in my hair from a life dedicated to this organization and yes, I was rich. I was the second-richest man in Tamriel (discounting the Emperor of course) and yet I did not care for all the riches I had amassed. I did not care for any of it, because it was then that it finally hit me. I had sold out my entire life to the Guild and now I was rich beyond measure, but I was alone.


Operations gradually declined and it was one fateful night when my estate was stormed by Legionaries. Barenziah had not left yet, but the others within my organization convinced her not to favor me any longer, and thus, my invulnerability vanished. I did not put up much a fight that night. They pinned me to the ground and put me in shackles and rejoiced that they had caught the infamous Kingpin of Iliac Bay, but I just shook my head in disappointment at these men. There will always be a man like me at the head of the Guild, because the Guild is a machine much like a clock and it will tick and it will tock and it will keep on going until time has stopped, because dear reader, it is not you who is preyed upon by the Guild, but we who are preyed upon by it. And so long as we continue to feed it by swearing ourselves into its service, the cogs and clockwork will continue to tick and tock and the cycle will begin anew.


Dear reader, learn from my mistakes and do not do as I did. Do not run for the Guild, do not steal for the Guild, do nothing for the Guild, because it all starts with just one job.


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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Zalphon
post Nov 8 2018, 06:24 AM
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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



Betrayer
By Falx Volrina, Former Assassin of the Dark Brotherhood

There are many things you learn about a man when you are the one to midwife him from this life to the next. You learn what he cares about and what he’s willing to part with in exchange for his life. You see if he will accept his fate with dignity or if he will blubber in vain. You even come to learn their darkest secrets, but it matters not, because they will die and that much has been preordained. I say this not because I cared about the individuals who I had been sent after, but because that is the way it has always been and the way it must always be. So sayeth tradition and tradition shall be adhered to.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what it is to serve the Dark Brotherhood. I say this in no small part due to the blasphemes of the Morag Tong who still have not accepted us as their equals, but merely as a renegade splinter faction who have yet to wither and die as they so desperately wished. It is a pity that they hold us in such low regard when such rivalry is one-sided, even when their transgressions against us surmount and our patience for it grows thinner which each passing bit of blood spilt, but they are not blameworthy for this. They are taught that their way is the only way and that the only blood spilt should be the blood of those whom the State has sanctioned execution of. They voice prayers to Daedra knowing not that every flick of a knife across a throat is a prayer to Sithis. They are a pitiable sort. Entangled in the webs of their own self-aggrandizing lies and no longer able to see beyond them; I do not hate the Morag Tong so much as wish only to cut the webs that blind them from the truth that they are no different than we.

But I speak too much on the Morag Tong and should return to what matters today, not what has mattered for the duration of an era. I tell you of what it is like to kill a man because for the entirety of my adult life, it has been my profession. I have been the Midwife of Death and he who gives the Last Rites of Sithis unto those about to become not in his Perfect Emptiness. These are the duties of everyone who takes up life in the Dark Brotherhood; our lives become nihilistic mirrors of our peers. They go on to create life and we go on to destroy it. They pass on their wisdom and we cull those who learn from it. We are the agents of the Antithesis of Life and it is a duty we do not because we choose to, but because we must. So long as there is life, there too must be death. So long as the antelope lives, there too must be a lion. These are truths of the world that most would much prefer to shy away from, but we are those who not only embrace them, but embody them. But even we are not beyond the bitter, unfeeling reality of these truths as I will share with you.

I am a betrayer of our most sacred of oaths. As I have said, every flick of a knife across a throat is a prayer unto the Dreadfather, but what I have not said is that not every prayer is viewed the same. The killing of a Dark Brother by one who has not sworn themselves into the Brotherhood is perhaps the most treasured of all prayers, because it is the culling of the weak by those whose blades are unbound by our laws. But for that same Dark Brother to be killed by another of our Order, that is the most sacrilegious of all acts, because it is defilement of the natural order which we are sworn to uphold. We do not feed upon one another, because then there will be none to feed upon those who must be fed upon. But I have done such. I have sent unto the Dreadfather a perversion of our prayers by taking the life of one of our own, but I do not apologize for my transgressions, for my acts were just and they were necessary for the good of us all.

The Brotherhood serves a purpose within society that no other organization does; we are the heralds of his Perfect Emptiness. There is a saying amongst the Yokudans that he who is best with a blade is he who is most free, because there is none who can exert their will upon him. That is true and it inspires their people to study the Blade to such an extent that they are now renowned across the Empire as some of the best swordsmen in Tamriel, because all men yearn to be free, but their yearnings are such that they and they alone are most free. We are the reminders that no man is truly free, because no man is beyond the reach of the Brotherhood. But the Dark Brother whose life became a perverse prayer unto the Dreadfather thought he and he alone was beyond reproach, because he had sworn the oaths and surrendered himself unto his Perfect Emptiness. But he was mistaken, as all who think they are beyond the grasp of the Brotherhood are.

He believed that he could deliver prayers unto the Dreadfather at his whim, but it is not at the whim of the Brotherhood that these prayers are given unto his Perfect Emptiness. We are but his hands in the world, but this Dark Brother thought himself to be his voice. He thought himself more worthy than the Night Mother, for he acted of his own accord without regard to She Who Hears the Dreadfather. He thought himself greater than She and for his acts, I made him into a prayer unto Sithis. Perverse though that prayer may be, I hold no sorrow for my actions, for I did what my duty and what my honor dictated and now I await my own midwife who will bring me to become Not before his Perfect Emptiness, but I do not meet this with fear. I meet this with the dignity that the Dark Brother who thought himself greater than the Night Mother did not meet it with. I accept that I shall become Not before his Perfect Emptiness because such was preordained, as all life is preordained to become Not before his Perfect Emptiness.

I leave you with a farewell, dear reader. There is a knocking upon the door and it is the knocking of the one who shall administer my Last Rites unto me and I shan’t keep he who knocks waiting any longer.


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"You have the same twenty-four hours as me; don't be mad just because you don't use yours like I do." -Tupac Shakur
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- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 13th November 2018 - 04:24 AM