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Monthly Lore discussion: The Essence of Water

Tags: #Magic  #Water  #Metaphysics  #Monthly Lore Discussion  #Open Debates for the win! 
  • Member
    July 5

     

    Welcome to the first of hopefully many monthly lore discussions I’ll be posting as host of the Lore group.

    This July, the subject of our discussion is going to be Water and its role in the world of the Elder Scrolls. I assume that many of our more lore versed members have come across this image:

    Essentially what we have here is a Dremora explaining to a TESO character how after the death of mortals their memories are stored in water.

    What she doesn’t mention (because sharing potentially world-shattering information is a casual thing to do for Daedra) however, are the implications this might have in just about any aspect of how Tamriel functions.

    Just like in our world; water is everything to the people of Nirn. It is a source of life and sacred to many. Today I would like to discuss whatever implications you guys think this piece of information might have and what it might reveal on some other pieces of lore.

    After you’re done don’t hesitate to drop a vote on the subject of next month’s discussion: http://tamrielvault.com/grouppolls/12269/16/the-monthly-lore-discussion-of-august

  • Member
    July 5

    A fascinating subject, I think credit where due should go to Chris for asking the question and to GailOlm for running with it and inspiring my small piece on the subject :)

  • Member
    July 5
    If you guys are looking for a good starting subject I would recommend reading Paw's "A bridge over troubled waters" if you haven't already.
  • Member
    July 5

    On the subject of water, one of the things Gail mentioned was the role water plays in the Forgotten Vale quests and Auriel's Sanctuary and Wayshrines. I figured it interesting to riff on and discusss whether by doing that ritual if we were actually brining memory to life. By pouring the water we are somehow pouring the spirits back into each area.

    Which then got me thinking on water and time. Memories being the result of experiences in the past, water sorta acting like a medium - a bridge - to the past.

    What I am curious about are the Ehlnofey, and I look to Patriarch, Tenebrous, and other ESO buffs here. We meet guardian spirits in the DC questline. What can we glean about the nature of water from that spirit, if anything? What role does she play exactly?

  • Member
    July 5

    Is the title meant to be overlapping the picture? I am only asking because that bugs me more than it should.

  • Member
    July 6

    Seems like the Aldmers are big fans of these rituals. I dug this up a few minutes ago and I thought it might be related.

    Aldarch,

    Water is yours to command with this eldritch chalice. It is especially useful when used to honor Anu, who shaped the cosmos in the Dawn Era, and Y'ffre, the Earth Bones.

    Scarcely should we credit those who claim we were better off in the time of trading body for root, or root for limb. I, for one, am grateful to wake each day as the same, in both thought and form, as the day preceding.

    I digress, as you doubtless recall our history, and this letter—as brief as it may be—is written only to describe the ways of the chalice within the shrine.

    Dip the chalice within the shrine's waters. Pour the water on the unclean to wash away the filth. Visions shall you see, as though impurities are washed from your eyes.

    Water from the chalice calms chaos. Drink from it when you feel the stirring deep within you that comes only from consuming improperly prepared food.

    Be sure to visit both sides of the shrine.

    Please accept the chalice with my appreciation. In the name of Mara, may the blood of life continue to pump within your breast.  

    Brief Letter to an Aldrach

    These 'visions' could be visions of the past. I mean the Aldmer/Altmer are deep in their ancestor worship. Also something came in mind when I was reading The Waters of Oblivion. If Tamriel's waters contain memories, could Oblivion's waters (Deadland's lava, Apocrypha's murky goop etc.) also contain memories... or even something more sinister? 

    I know Phil and Karves had talked about this in Phil's discussion. But you know, I'm just giving my thoughts out.

  • Member
    July 6

    The Nameless King said:

    Is the title meant to be overlapping the picture? I am only asking because that bugs me more than it should.

    It was meant to, but every time I looked at it since posting it in here I've wanted to stab it, so I've changed it up. More pleasing to the eyes this way I think.

    Before I throw my hat into the Chalice game (which is sounding pretty damn interesting, to be honest), I'll start off with what everyone is probably expecting from me:

    Argonians and Plants!

    In Phil's article he mentions how the classical soul cycle of an individual on Mundus is that after their life ends they're either brought to Aetherius or one of the planes of Oblivion (depending on religion, race or circumstances of death), if they end up in Aetherius they'll probably have to pass some form of test to enter heaven and if they don't their memories are washed away and they are sent back to Mundus for a new life without the memories of their previous one.

    There is, however, a race in TES that doesn't believe in Aetherius as an afterlife; Argonians believe their souls are returned to the Hist after death. The Hist will then pass on this soul to a newborn Argonian and the cycle continues.

    In "the Infernal City", we learn this:

    “It was generally believed that Argonians had been given their souls by the Hist, and when one died one's soul returned to them, to be incarnated once more. [To Glim,] that seemed reasonable enough, at least under ordinary circumstances. In the deepest parts of his dreams or profound thinking were images, scents, tastes that the part of him that was sentient could not remember experiencing.”

    Argonians do not fully remember their past lives but seem to be able to at least retain some of the memories and experiences of what most think of as the previous soul cycle. If we consider the fact that the memories of the dead are stored within the waters of Nirn it comes as no surprise that the Hist are capable of giving them to hatchlings at their naming day; after all, as sentient trees, they tap directly into these waters. Hell, it might even be why some think of the trees as omniscient; if you have access to the past memories of entire peoples you would get pretty damn close.

    This quote of "On Argonians" seems to solidify this idea:

    These Hist trees contain, the Argonians believe, the collective memories and knowledge of all Argonians.

    What interests me here is that it is unknown when this strong link to the Hist and this transfer of memories (and perhaps even soul) occurs. The general theory is that the Argonians gain gender, soul, and name on their naming day as they lick the sap of the Hist. According to this theory Argonians are born as mere animals that only attain sentience after they ingest the sap.

    While I have no way of disproving the second part of this theory, I would like to propose a new idea. If water contains memories, what tells us the transfer of memories isn't done when the Argonians are still in their egg? As some who have played ESO have learned; Argonians are amphibian, by which I don't mean their capacity of being able to live both on land and in the water, but the fact they appear to need water for their reproductive cycle. You may have guessed what I'm going at; I believe the memories of dead Argonians are given to them in the Hatching pools. These pools, most often found in the direct vicinity of a Hist are where Argonian eggs are laid. What if they absorb their memories through Osmose as they are gestating?

     

     

  • Member
    July 6

    KaiserSoSay said:

    These 'visions' could be visions of the past. I mean the Aldmer/Altmer are deep in their ancestor worship. Also something came in mind when I was reading The Waters of Oblivion. If Tamriel's waters contain memories, could Oblivion's waters (Deadland's lava, Apocrypha's murky goop etc.) also contain memories... or even something more sinister? 

    I know Phil and Karves had talked about this in Phil's discussion. But you know, I'm just giving my thoughts out.

    Do we know of any other visions that may be related to water?

    As I mentioned, Argonians may experience them throughout their lifetime, and as you've shown it appears the Aldmer have been using a similar process for their ancestral worshipping. I wonder if some of the other races also have this strange connection to water.

    Could the (sacred) water we see in the temples of Dibella and Kynareth in Skyrim could have something to do with this as well? The religion of the nine/eight divines, in general, could have quite a strong link here; after all the shrines we see in Oblivion look a whole lot like baptismal fonts, or is that just me?

  • July 6
    @Kaiser I think it was that Azure Plasm book which implicates that waters of Oblivion are where Daedra are reborn. It's where their vestiges go when they "die" and it is where they also come out again. So...azure plasm in Coldharbour, lava in Deadlands, the sea in Shivering Isles. So it is very similar to "water storing memories." I touched upon it in Phil's article and that is that thing about memories. Since Daedra are reborn in water, which also stores memories too, do they remember everything and are thus truly immortal?
  • July 6

    In Sotha Sil's Truth in Sequence, he constantly mentions fire as knowledge (which makes perfect sense in Dunmer culture) so if you take water (memory) add fire (knowledge) you get steam (power).