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summerset lore

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  4. "Rhymes collected and transcribed by Cuilidan, the Illumination Academy's Professor of Verse.\n\nThe Heritance Rhyme:\nWhispers and squabbles,\nLook how the crown wobbles,\nThe blind queen tumbles and spins,\nWith cat's claws she scratches,\nBrave traitors she catches,\nThen hangs them all with a grin!\n\nBoats and Bones:\nTen and fifty lean years, a pocket full of stones,\nCaves and vineyards tainted, packed full of bones,\nCaptains raise your banners and launch a thousand boats,\nSink the slugfolk's islands, stab any Sload that floats!\n\nSong of Claws and Roots:\nGather sap and sharp teeth,\nWhiskers, claws, and moon wreaths,\nTopal brutes and Elden Roots, with knives and sabers unsheathed,\nCut their leashes quickly, watch them foam and roar,\nFeed them drakes and lions, that's all that they're good for!"
  5. "By Lailfin, Steward of Histories at the Illumination Academy\n\nThe true work of any historian lies in separating fact from fiction—studying the diverse and contradictory texts of all races and piecing together a plausible shared narrative. This requires diligence, discipline, and most importantly, humility. The true historian must be willing to admit error and revise their accounts when new evidence comes to light.\n\nOne of the most pernicious traps for new historians is reliance on supporting accounts—that is, the belief that if multiple writers detail the same event in the same way, those accounts are more likely to be true. In point of fact, we should assume the opposite. Societal pressures and widespread cultural delusions often result in identical historical accounts. For example, Nedic texts often reference an event called the ""Autumn of Snakes."" According to the histories, hundreds of snakes (many the size of mammoths) emerged from the ground and devoured whole towns before finally being subdued by the Nede spear-maiden, Ranev the Coal-Eyed Wanderer. Nedic scholars describe the Autumn in meticulous and near-identical detail, and yet, we now know that the event is completely apocryphal.\n\nIt's not that the writers are deliberately lying (though that is sometimes the case). In all likelihood, ancient historians were trying their best to describe events faithfully. Unfortunately, they did not have the linguistic tools or scholarly sophistication to give a truthful account. For that reason, we must take a long hard look at any tales that are widely accepted, but also seem hyperbolic. We must also look for ""recurring calamities""—that is, events that purportedly happened the same way, but in vastly different locales and time periods.\n\nThe most obvious example of the ""recurring calamity"" is the tale of the disappearing island. Tamrielic history is littered with sinking, hidden, or disappearing islands. Yokuda, Pyandonea, Artaeum, Dranil Kir, Eyevea, Thras, and (perhaps most importantly) Aldmeris. The cause of the disappearance is almost always magical in nature—often the result of some act of hubris or a desire for secrecy. Of course, this all begs the question: are any of these tales true? I have my doubts.\n\nLet us examine the mythical ""sinking"" islands: Yokuda, Thras, and Aldmeris. Each island was the ancestral home of its resident race, and in all three cases, foes or fate destroyed the island as punishment for some act of hubris. In the case of the Redguards, foolish sword-singers sundered the Yokudan Isles with a forbidden sword stroke. The warriors of the All-Flags Navy drove the Sload and their island of Thras into the sea as punishment for the Thrassian Plague. And our forebears, the Aldmer, fled the Isle of Aldmeris to avoid some mysterious calamity—likely the result of our fall from Aedric grace.\n\nNow, a novice historian would likely take these tales at face value. ""If multiple histories say the island sank, it must have sunk!"" But I entreat you to look deeper. Could it be that the ""sinking island"" is not a literal event, but rather, a metaphorical one? \n\nThras, Yokuda, and Aldmeris are much more than simple landmasses; they are societal symbols—avatars for a cultural identity lost in time. So stories about the sundering or sinking of these islands may be a trick of the light—a poet's attempt at explaining the pain of forgotten origins. Did an entire continent drown as a result of a sword stroke? Did our ancestors travel to Summerset from a mystical half-Aedric isle? I think not. These lost islands rest at the fault-line between fact and parable. There is truth in those tales, certainly, but the true historian knows that not all truth is literal."
  9. "By Vanus Galerion\n\nI seldom speak of my time on the Psijic Isle of Artaeum. My age and temperament make such recollections irksome and discouraging—bad for the digestion, as the clinicians say. Nonetheless, I owe it to my students to give them some sense of where our Guild came from.\n\nThose who know me well know that I was not born on Artaeum. No, I grew up in squalor—laboring under a bilious kinlord on the Isle of Summerset. It did not last. Circumstances forced me to leave that life behind, and the Psijics discovered my talents shortly thereafter. They told me that my old life was over. No more hiding tomes under floorboards for fear of being discovered. No more hay-raking and knee-bruising scullery work. I would live a sage's life—free to study as I please, so long as those studies advanced the cause of equity, peace, and wisdom. I felt such a great swell of joy in that moment. Of course, no joy lasts forever.\n\nI told my guide, the mystic Heliand, I was eager to set sail as I had never been on a seafaring vessel before. She laughed and threw down a glowing rune, catapulting us through the Aurbis at speeds I'd never imagined possible. Just seconds later, we found ourselves standing on a windswept hill overlooking the idyllic fields and pastures of Artaeum.\n\nEach day brought new discoveries. Misty hollows, filled with gregarious nixads. Hidden lagoons with singing waters, clear as fresh-blown glass. Flowers that whispered secrets when the wind blew, and stones with names too long for mortal tongues to speak. I read vigorously, wandered constantly, and quickly earned my gray cloak.\n\nIt was around this time that I first met Mannimarco—who would one day be called the Worm King. In those days he was a brilliant novice with a promising future, much like me. Our vast talents and contradictory natures made us natural rivals. But then, the Old Ways of the Psijics banned such competition. My mentor, the powerful Ritemaster Iachesis, told me, ""Rivalry sows the seeds of war."" Alas, he learned that blind amity can have the same result.\n\nAs I progressed in my studies I began to notice cracks in the Psijic code, chief among them being the order's all-consuming passivity. Like a bemused turtle, it lumbered along quietly—only occasionally poking its head above the grass to check for danger. Iachesis began to look inward, and our detachment from the affairs of Tamriel seemed to grow with each passing year. I still don't know why the Ritemaster began this march toward isolation, but our emissaries and advisors started returning one by one. The mist around the island grew thicker, and the petitions of kings came less frequently. We suffered from an overabundance of caution when it came to matters beyond the shores of Artaeum. This caution came at a high price.\n\nOne brisk Frostfall evening, I found myself wandering amidst the ancient stones of the Ceporah Tower. In that place, time itself feels sealed in amber. Stiff wind whistles through the timeworn masonry, and the dull hum of the Dreaming Cave can be felt through the soles of your boots. It is a place of power, where law and reason give way to the sublime mysteries of creation. It was there, hidden within its torch-lit halls, that I found Mannimarco channeling the powers of darkness. He had taken up the profane practice of necromancy in secret and urged me to join him. I refused and prepared to sunder his rituals with spells of banishing. Just as I began to weave my spell, the tower lurched around us—the drone of the Dreaming Cave grew urgent and bitter. Feeling the Island's anger all around us, we resolved to settle our dispute with the Ritemaster the next morning.\n\nStanding before Iachesis, Mannimarco made an impassioned plea to permit the study of necromancy. When Iachesis refused, Mannimarco grew belligerent and vile. He spat curses and ancient blasphemies like a Daedric beast. I stood by, all the while convinced that the Ritemaster would lock Mannimarco away. But Iachesis did not lock him away. He scolded him, stripped him of his gray robes, and banished him from the island.\n\n""You would unleash this broken Mer upon the people of Tamriel?"" I shouted.\n\nIachesis said nothing. He merely lifted his hand and showered Mannimarco in radiant purple light. Then, just like that, my rival was gone. I stood there, aghast. The Mer I most admired had thrown open the gates of a wolf's cage and set the beast loose on a world of gentle sheep. Now, in the wake of the Planemeld, we see the grim result of Iachesis's mercy.\n\nI left Artaeum shortly thereafter. I remember looking over my shoulder and seeing its great cliffs and rolling pastures recede into the fog. I learned later that the island vanished just hours after I departed. It's difficult to see that as coincidence. Perhaps Iachesis recognized his folly and went into seclusion. Perhaps the Psijics knew what Mannimarco would unleash and chose safety over struggle. Whatever the case, the isle of the Psijics passed into memory and the once-proud order sank into obscurity.\n\nWhen they return, if they return, I hope they remember their oath to guide Tamriel toward peace and prosperity. In the meantime, we mages of the Guild must take up their mantle. Protect the helpless, seek out new spells and new discoveries, and above all, be brave. In the face of arcane peril, the Mages Guild must lead the way."
  14. "By Hadendril of Skywatch\n\nThe ages old conflict between Altmer and Maormer has raged so continuously, and so long, that it is easy to come under the impression that it is a complicated struggle. Built, layer upon layer, century upon century, of two-sided wrongs and reprisals. This is a fallacy of the most harmful order. It grants a hint of legitimacy to deprivations that deserve none. The Maormer have never held claim over the Isles of Summerset, and gods willing, they never shall.\n\nI fear the fallibility we have developed in our fall from Aldmeri grace has led to the common misconception that we are close siblings to those who dwell in Pyandonea, but the truth of the matter is that we are far distant cousins with only a shred of common ancestry. This welcome revelation comes from previously untranslated Aldmeri tapestries within the Crystal Tower. The unmitigated truth revealed at last, after painstaking study, speaks not of a common plight of reluctant migration and tragic diaspora, but a tale of treachery and exile.\n\nThe blood the Maormer spill has always been in the name of greed and hungry ambition. Their corrupt ""king,"" Orgnum, thought to usurp our ancient homeland of Aldmeris from its rightful rulers, just as he seeks to steal Summerset from us. The Maormer are a despicable people who do not deserve the guilt of conscience some have afforded them for too long. Any debate on the matter is closed, the Maormer apologists are silenced, and the prosecution of war against the Pyandoneans should be carried out without remorse."
  18. "By Runilstir the Surveyor\n\nSeven-fold venerations to you, my dearest kin. Set aside your noble pursuits a moment and let your mind wander with me.\n\nWe'll begin this wondrous journey from the seat of civilization that is Alinor. Nestled among the mountains of the western shore, the city climbs nearly as high as the peaks themselves, its white spires reaching far into the sky. From these heights our sovereigns have surveyed their dominion for thousands of years. Avail yourself of the opportunity to see the splendor of the Royal Palace and offer your respects to the crown. The sense of pride you will feel at basking in the unrivaled greatness of our kingdom is well worth the journey. \n\nIf you have a taste for the exotic, there is no better place on Summerset than Alinor to sample cosmopolitan fare. Sundries from all over Tamriel are ferried into port daily. Those the Divine Prosecution finds fit for sale will give you a whole new perspective on life, and a greater appreciation for Altmer craft.\n\nTo see why our goods are such a cut above we only need to take a quick ferry ride across the bay to Lillandril. This venerable town has been the center of higher learning for centuries. Many a king and queen have come seeking the wisdom of the College of Sapiarchs, where the two-hundred and twenty-three greatest minds of our people advance our knowledge of all things.\n\nFor the arts, we follow the highway east to Rellenthil to see where the finest entertainment in all the world is conceived: The House of Reveries. The Maestros of this famed troupe organize performances day and night in a beautiful outdoor theater from the earliest days of settlement. As heirs to our long legacy of cultural arts, membership is exclusive. Only true talents may join. Whatever your tastes, the House of Reveries is certain to put on a show that will leave you in awe. \n\nSpeaking of tastes, allow me to lead you to the birthplace of wine in our Isles, only a short trip down the road. The vineyards of Russafeld span nearly the entire stretch of land between Rellenthil and Shimmerene. Resist the temptation to pluck a ripe grape from the vine. Surely there are no better found in nature, but once you have tasted the fruits of the winery you'll regret having deprived them a single purple pearl. \n\n""But I've had a Russafeld red,"" you say! Dearest kin, you haven't truly tasted until you've savored a three-thousand-year-old vintage straight from the cask it aged in. The privilege may cost you the deed to your home, but it is well worth the experience.\n\nCast your eyes to the north and you'll see Cloudrest perched atop the great mountain Eton Nir. The view from its bridges and terraces will take your breath away, though perhaps not quite so literally as the ascent to reach them. Unless, of course, you count yourself among the Welkynars. The Gryphon Knights keep vigil over our lands from the summit, prepared to take to the skies and soar to the defense of anywhere in Summerset at a moment's notice.\n\nBefore departing Cloudrest, take a moment to view the Crystal Tower in all its glory from the best vantage in the Isles. This pillar of enlightenment is the keystone of creation, as old as our oldest ancestors, and an endless font of knowledge. The Sapiarchs protect and study its secrets night and day, hoping to bring us ever closer to the perfection of the Ascendants.\n\nIf you need a rest from your travels, Shimmerene is a pleasant sea-side town, filled with pleasant people. It's an ideal place for a quiet night's respite before embarking on a voyage to Auridon, or the long road west. Pay a visit to the Monastery of Serene Harmony while you are there and ask to participate in the rituals of equilibrium. You will never have a better night's sleep.\n\nTake pleasure in greeting the sun as it rises upon the eastern shore to join us on the final leg of our journey. Just south, the pristine wilderness of Sil-Var-Woad is carefully tended to by the rangers of the Royal Menagerie. There you will find a collection of unique creatures from around the world. The grounds are open to the public and free to citizens, making it the perfect destination for a family outing.\n\nFinally, we return westward to Sunhold, the sister city to Alinor. In fact, if not for the mountains between them, the two would inevitably merge into a metropolis not seen since Lost Aldmeris. Possessing one of the largest harbors in Summerset, Sunhold is a frequent target for Sea Elf attack, but the port is nothing if not defensible. From its thick sea walls, to its narrow winding alleys, every stone has been laid out with rebuffing the Maormers' assaults in mind. While it is certainly a formidable fortress, let's not forget it is also a thriving city, and the heart of shipping among the Isles. I highly recommend spending a few hours getting lost in the labyrinthine streets and sampling the best seafood offered anywhere in the world.\n\nDearest kin, we've come to this journey's end, but I hope this will only be the beginning of your wanderings through our homeland. Though we may pine for Old Ehlnofey, the golden warmth of the Divines will always dry our tears in the sun-kissed land of Summerset."
  21. "By A True Son of Aldmeris\n\nFor millennia we Altmer have safeguarded a divine legacy. We are all that remains of Old Ehlnofey. We were entrusted by the et'Ada to preserve what they sacrificed so much to create. Those who have remained true to our traditions have kept their heritage pure and our civilization unspoiled. Those who have strayed from the path the Aldmer laid out for us, on the other hand, have been debased. They have become degenerates, unrecognizable from the Divines that created them.\n\nThose who would call themselves Mer beyond these sacred Isles are nothing but the twisted remains of the Aldmer. When you look into the ruddy eyes of a Dark Elf, do you see anything of yourself there? Of course not. All you see are the ashes of something greater, utterly destroyed by the False Prophet Veloth and shaped into repugnant shadows by the Daedra he served. When you see the hideous, malformed Orcs, do you see a creation of the Aedra? No! What you see is only the feculence of Boethiah. Leavings so loathsome that they had to sculpt their own dung-god from filth to give their existence any meaning.\n\nBut it is not just these pitiable wretches we must learn from, for it is not only those who are foolish enough to be seduced by the Daedra who threaten to warp our way of life. Look upon the Wood Elf and see how even the misguided worship of the Divines can pervert our lineage. There is a difference between appreciating the forest and becoming a beast. Now these wayward cousins are barely more than savage barbarians who devour their own kin. I am grateful none of the First Folk remain to see how corrupted their perfection has become.\n\nThe lesson is clear. To stray, even slightly, from the ways of our ancestors will have dire consequences. Knowing that, can you acquiesce to throwing open the gates and welcoming corruption into these holy lands with a smile? The Unforeseen Queen is the harbinger of our destruction. We must resist her heresy!"
  22. "What nightmares! \n\nI cannot close my eyes but see terror in the darkness of dreams. Lurid grotesqueries stalk beyond the ring of my mind's candlelight, striking when I cannot keep among the waking any longer.\n\nI have tried all methods for calming my thoughts. Meditation. Hypnosis. Honeyberry Tea. But the moment I slip into sleep I am once more assailed by the terrors that await me there.\n\nIn a moment of desperation, I turn to my quill. In writing what I see in dream, I hope that I may expel the darkness I see at night.\n\nIn dream I sit on the gentle shore of Artaeum, where waves from the endless aether lap at sand. The sun sits low and red in the sky, almost mocking me with tranquility.\n\nThen, from the sea erupts a creature—gigantic, corrupted with the parasites and spawn of the ocean's recesses—that makes its way to shore, leaving a foam of crimson in its wake. All the water around it turns black, all the fish die, all the wind and roar is quieted. Its five heads rake and bite one another, crying with their dissonant voices. And despite the perverse knotting and writhing of its heads the creature still plods forward, sowing destruction as it does. One of the heads is little more than rotting flesh and bone, and even as it roars I see the bottom-feeders of the ocean depths feasting on its putrid flesh. With its every roar the dead tremble and dance, puppets on strings before its unholy power.\n\nA second head bore pustules and pox-scars, bulbous blisters of fluid that glowed in crimson and cyan—these would burst, oozing their contents into one another, and these horrible concoctions would hiss and sputter, burn and smoke. The others would lap this fouled fluid with glee and dismay.\n\nA third head was black as a night without stars, as onyx in a windowless room. And darker still were its eyes, pulling the shadows made long by the sun into a shroud of pure darkness.\n\nThe fourth head was obscured to me. I could not discern its features.\n\nBut the last, the fifth head—so terrible it was to behold, for it was several times the size of the others. By its screeching only would the others tremble and quell their fighting. This massive head was little more than a ring of teeth, seated upon which was a terrible brain—a loathsome mottled thing, its wrinkles and folds undulating in a sinister and nauseating series of pulses. Strands of ichor and bile seeped from its fleshy recesses as barnacles and polyps, affixed to its surface, seemed to gasp for want of air. \n\nThen the creature's heads turned their attentions to me. I was frozen, am frozen, will always be frozen by the eyes raking over me, and worse still is the song they sang in unison, a ruinous cacophony:\n\nKetor-A, En-Garsa! Bekor-gen, Zema-ja!\nUlvorkus waits,\nUlvorkus wakes,\nKetor-A, En-Garsa! Bekor-gen, Zema-ja!\n\nAnd at the apex of this terrible verse, as the sun gave way to terrible night, I would see the outline on a distant horizon—a mountain forming from the sea. And falling into the water from this peak were more creatures—too many to count, too horrible to name.\n\nThey are coming.\n\nThey are coming for us.\n\nAnd when the sun goes down completely, I wake up screaming."
  29. "Russafeld means ""scarlet shrine"" in some dialects of Aldmeris, which may explain where the Red Temple gets its curious name. But the most commonly held opinion states that it's a shortening or corruption of ""Dread Temple."""
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