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Tribes of the Saxhleel

Tags: #Matthaeus Belladonc  #Culture  #Argonian Tribes  #Tribal Society  #Murkmire  #Argonians 
  • Member
    January 28

    “Tribes of the Saxhleel” A speech by Matthaeus Belladonc to the other resident scholars of the House of Orsinium Glories.

    There are few races as mysterious as the Saxhleel, or argonians as they are known in the common tongue. While I believe this is entirely due to misconceptions and fabrications produced by gnarly old imperial scholars too afraid to set foot in the marshes in fear of some hidden remnant of the Knahaten flu or something just as ridiculous, we are now in the year 200 of the fourth era and I believe it is time we dispose of some of these misconceptions. Sadly, I myself, have never had the chance to explore the depths of the Black Marsh, which I deeply regret. However, extensive discussions with Argonians, the study of travel journals left behind by previous visitors to the mires and records of the Ebonheart pact have shown trustworthy enough for me to approach the subject of the known Argonian tribes that dwell in the marshes of the far southeast.

    First of all I would like to approach the findings of one Emmanubeth Hurrent, a traveler from Wayrest. I know that the mention of Bretons will conjure up some nasty feelings in a few of my fellow scholars here but I ask you to refrain from comment until you hear the important contribution this traveling Breton has brought to the recorded culture of the Murkmire; a region of thick marsh growth near the city of Gideon.

    Emmanubeth (what a name, Bretons am I right?) describes a total of five tribes living in the murkmire; The Kota-Vimleel, the Wasseek-Haleel, the Veeskhleel, the Gee-Rusleel and the Tum-Taleel. Furthermore he admits in his journals that this is a very conservative number and that a longer study would most certainly reveal hundreds more. The same applies to the facts I present to you today; while I will name a number of tribes there are undoubtedly more hidden in the depths of the Argonian nation.

    The first tribe Emmanubeth describes are the Kota-Vimleel, known to the empire’s denizens as the “Black Tongues”. These argonians are most likely among the most accomplished alchemist, herbalists and experts of argonian biology I’ve ever come across in my research and if we ever have the occasion to take one of their masters on at the House of Orsimer Glories I would highly applaud it. Their extensive knowledge of alchemy has lead them to have some peculiar and easily identifiable cultural practices. For example their reputation as master poisoners is so well spread among the local tribes that they have started to use their alchemical equipment to delimit their territory and mark certain plants as their property; trespassing (I’ve heard they are actually quite welcoming if one asks for passage through their territory) or harvesting from these plants usually ends up with the transgressor ending up dead not much later from seemingly natural, yet extremely painful causes.

    They are also known as fervent worshippers of Sithis; the chief deity of the dark brotherhood and also known as the void. Which ties into a different cultural practice shared by all argonians; the offering of hatchlings as servants to Sithis in the form of the infamous Shadowscales of legend. The Kota-Vimleel see this as one of the most important duties of their tribe and as such they have used their extensive knowledge to develop a solution capable of synchronizing the egg laying cycle of their females in such a way that all their eggs will hatch in the month of second seed; under the sign of the shadow. This alchemical wonder is known as Gloom Nectar and is said to be equally deadly as wonderful when ingested by non-argonians, I wonder what would happen if one were to use enchantments or potions of poisonbane and drink the nectar… An interesting research venture indeed, excuse me for a moment, but I have to write this down.

    Let’s move on to the next tribe described by Emmanubeth; the Wasseek-Haleel. I’ve come across these argonians myself during a short stay in Gideon and they introduced themselves to me as the Bright Throats. While one may initially think this name is some reference to their physiology, one could not be more wrong, as it is most likely a reference to their singing voices. The Wasseek-Haleel are known amongst the argonians for their amazing dances and music among which are extensive and truly beautiful vocal passages. I’m afraid however that the true significance of their art is lost in translation when heard by non argonians. While I do not have anything to substantiate my claim, the argonians I’ve discussed with mention that a large part of inter-argonian communication relies on smells. As such I believe it’s not so much of a stretch to claim that this most likely has an important influence on their music as well. The same can undoubtedly be said for their dances which can only be fully executed by Argonians and to a limited extent by Khajiit due to the need for a tail, but which are exquisitely hypnotic and emotional.

    The Wasseek-Haleel are also amazing craftsmen and are known for their amazing wood carving skills. As such most of their music is played on instruments made by the musicians themselves. But these skills extend far beyond that; from furniture to utensils to weapons such as the famed Tsojei blades. According to Emmanubeth however, their most valuable works are their "xeech'kis," or "seed dolls” and I will have to admit that the man is most likely right. Seed dolls are small figurines depicting local animals, eggs or even argonians made from a variety of materials and found in a variety of sizes. Emmanubeth’s description of this is fairly accurate as he mentions them ranging from the size of an orc’s fist to that of a single grain of rice. They are often seen as protective talismans or as precious works of native art. I myself have a small collection of them; which I brought back from Gideon, in my chambers here in Orsinium. If you ever want to study Argonian art I would gladly show them to you.

    The third tribe mentioned by Emmanubeth are the Veeskhleel; or as their ominous imperial name calls them: the ghost people. Most of their presence in shrouded in myths, legends, misconceptions and hate. What is certain however is that they are a tribe of Naga; a subspecies of Argonian, with a most fascinating characteristic: their flesh is nearly totally translucent. How this characteristic came to be is a mystery to me but one I certainly hope to unravel if I ever visit their neck of the swamps. They are despised by most other argonian tribes for their alleged cultural practices. As they are told to steal the corpses of deceased argonians from other tribes to use their bodies as fertilizer for their Hist trees.

    This is most problematic in argonian society for a simple reason; argonians believe that their souls are not sent to aetherius like the souls of men or mer but are sent back to the Hist to be reincarnated into the future generations of argonians. As such the theft of bodies is seen as a theft of these souls, which would stop them from reincarnating into their own tribe. If it isn’t clear to most of my audience yet, it is comparable to how we treat the use of black soul gems. I believe that in a way the Veeskhleel are offering the bodies as fertilizer as a way of giving souls to their Hist trees. What further implications this may have is unknown to me.

    Of course this practice has given them a horrible reputation as necromancers, dark sorcerers and blood mages. I honestly believe this reputation is mostly born out of hate and misconceptions. Even if the latter of these things might be closer to reality than one might think. Although that is a subject for another day.

    The next tribe Emmanubeth describes are the Gee-Rusleel, also known as the Miredancers. Of all the tribes Emmanubeth describes during his travels he seems the most infatuated with the Miredancers; a people of; according to the Breton’s description, welcoming hosts, fine navigators, great craftsmen and wise elders.

    I have exchanged words with one of the Gee-Rusleel as well when I was in Gideon and can corroborate some elements of Emmanubeth’s description. First of all it appeared to me that the Miredancers are often the most willing to delve into deep discussions on Argonian philosophy, which may very well be related to their pious culture. For Argonians, religion and philosophy are near interchangeable. While many argonian tribes have ways of communicating with the Hist, the Miredancers’ method is most well known. This is the tribe that names the “Sap speakers”, a form of a religious head of the argonian culture; a prophet for the Hist if you will who relays their will to the argonian people. If you want a more detailed description of the Sap speaker’s role and how they work I would like to refer you to Emmanubeth’s journal itself as I won’t have the time to delve into the subject today.

    Another trait of the Gee-Rusleel that Emmanubeth is right about is the playfulness of the members of this tribe. They are obsessed with games of all kind and seem to live for the thrill of gambling despite the fact that they seem not to care much for their earnings or losses. Emmanubeth makes the interesting suggestion that the latter might be related to the fact that argonians don’t think of time as linear but simply as a change; they live in the present and a such the idea of winning or losing is simply a logical conclusion or an afterthought of the bets: never an objective. A very interesting mindset in my opinion.

    The last tribe described by Emmanubeth in his journals are the Tum-Taleel. Known as the root house people in our language. While I think Emmanubeth’s portrayal of this tribe is extremely tainted. It does give an interesting perspective on this otherwise not very well documented tribe. The root house people are probably the most primitive of the known argonian tribes. They are not known for their crafts, their pious practices or their macabre reputation (although there is some of that), but rather for their strength and clear lack of all the previously mentioned characteristics. The Tum-Taleel do not craft, or bind themselves to a particular hist tree; they are a nomadic people that travels from village to village, killing off or pushing out the previous inhabitants and then settling there for an undetermined duration. In a way their craft is war, hunting, and strength. Excuse me for mentioning this but I wouldn’t be surprised if a Tum-Taleel would do extremely well in Tribal Orc society, as long as they accept to pull their weight at the forge instead of simply robbing the items from the smith which is , as you all know, something you might want to avoid when dealing with orcs. No matter how strong and resilient you are.

    Before I dismiss you and let you return to your studies I would like to dismiss a notion about argonian tribes (By Kynareth am I glad I won't have to say that breton's goddamn name again). As such I would like to dismiss the notion that the Archein are a “tribe” of argonians. I believe they were instead a group of opportunistic and diplomatically apt argonians, or even a title given to those who managed to work and even ally with those usually seen as enemies of the swamp in the same way the previously Great House Hlaalu worked with the Empire amidst a nation of xenophobes. Although I do not have substantial evidence to support this claim, one thing that hints at the validity of my concern is their name which is clearly not Jel; the native tongue of the argonians (or very Imperial sounding for that matter), not only do the tonalities not correspond but the attentive listener might have noticed all Saxhleel tribes mentioned so far, as well as a few others mentioned in Tribes of the Murkmire, have a name containing the syllable “Hleel”, which is also present in the name the argonian people give themselves: Saxhleel or as we translate it; people of the root. As such I believe it means People or Tribe. The lack of Hleel syllable in the name of the Archein makes me believe this might have been a title created by the Dunmer as a name for their argonian allies to differentiate them from their argonian slaves. The Empire probably then picked up on the word and used it to describe most argonian diplomats and argonian officials in the Empire’s adminstration.

  • Member
    January 28

    The Wasseek-Haleel are known amongst the argonians for their amazing dances and music among which are extensive and truly beautiful vocal passages. I’m afraid however that the true significance of their art is lost in translation when heard by non argonians. While I do not have anything to substantiate my claim, the argonians I’ve discussed with mention that a large part of inter-argonian communication relies on smells. As such I believe it’s not so much of a stretch to claim that this most likely has an important influence on their music as well. The same can undoubtedly be said for their dances which can only be fully executed by Argonians and to a limited extent by Khajiit due to the need for a tail, but which are exquisitely hypnotic and emotional.

    Wow! This part in particular is fascinating to me. Argonian music and dance is not something that ever crossed my mind or if it did it was fleeting and humerous. Yet these Wasseek-Haleel are fascinating to me and the thought of Argonian bards performing their traditional songs has now become something I need to see. Gonna have to load up ESO and look at the dance emotes for Argonians now. Very interesting article, a great resource for all manner of projects and very inspirational!

  • January 28

    Phil said:

    The Wasseek-Haleel are known amongst the argonians for their amazing dances and music among which are extensive and truly beautiful vocal passages. I’m afraid however that the true significance of their art is lost in translation when heard by non argonians. While I do not have anything to substantiate my claim, the argonians I’ve discussed with mention that a large part of inter-argonian communication relies on smells. As such I believe it’s not so much of a stretch to claim that this most likely has an important influence on their music as well. The same can undoubtedly be said for their dances which can only be fully executed by Argonians and to a limited extent by Khajiit due to the need for a tail, but which are exquisitely hypnotic and emotional.

    Wow! This part in particular is fascinating to me. Argonian music and dance is not something that ever crossed my mind or if it did it was fleeting and humerous. Yet these Wasseek-Haleel are fascinating to me and the thought of Argonian bards performing their traditional songs has now become something I need to see. Gonna have to load up ESO and look at the dance emotes for Argonians now. Very interesting article, a great resource for all manner of projects and very inspirational!

    So they´re basicaly create music with their farts? xD

    But seriously, it´s really interesting piece. Just try to imagine that. Normally, music stimulates emotions through what you hear, but Argonians are able to add another sense into the mix. So you don´t have only music and words there, but also smells, that, to Argonians at least, directly translate emotions. That´s some really cool shit.

  • Member
    January 28

    Karver the Lorc said:

    So they´re basicaly create music with their farts? xD

    Well, I was personally thinking pheromones instead of farts... So yeah they make music with their armpits, their crotch and farts :p

    Karver the Lorc said:

    But seriously, it´s really interesting piece. Just try to imagine that. Normally, music stimulates emotions through what you hear, but Argonians are able to add another sense into the mix. So you don´t have only music and words there, but also smells, that, to Argonians at least, directly translate emotions. That´s some really cool shit.

    It's only a theory but yes, I imagine that's how it works. I actually wouldn't be surprised if Khajit had some similar imprints on their arts. After all art has to do with the senses. When considering a species with different senses than our own it is important not to forget that art and cultures will be different as well.

     

  • Member
    January 28

    Phil said:

    The Wasseek-Haleel are known amongst the argonians for their amazing dances and music among which are extensive and truly beautiful vocal passages. I’m afraid however that the true significance of their art is lost in translation when heard by non argonians. While I do not have anything to substantiate my claim, the argonians I’ve discussed with mention that a large part of inter-argonian communication relies on smells. As such I believe it’s not so much of a stretch to claim that this most likely has an important influence on their music as well. The same can undoubtedly be said for their dances which can only be fully executed by Argonians and to a limited extent by Khajiit due to the need for a tail, but which are exquisitely hypnotic and emotional.

    Wow! This part in particular is fascinating to me. Argonian music and dance is not something that ever crossed my mind or if it did it was fleeting and humerous. Yet these Wasseek-Haleel are fascinating to me and the thought of Argonian bards performing their traditional songs has now become something I need to see. Gonna have to load up ESO and look at the dance emotes for Argonians now. Very interesting article, a great resource for all manner of projects and very inspirational!

    I'll be honest I didn't have a look at those yet. The text simply stated they were great musicians and dancers and I found a nice relationship between that and their name from there on it went all downhill into the rabbithole.

    That being said I would love to hear more local songs in the oncoming TES games. There's nothing I love more in games than to sit down in an inn or a bar after an adventure and listen to some "live" music. I may have spent way too much time in the inns of Skyrim and the Third Rail in FO4... especially the later, that ambiance is just top notch.