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About souls in TES, technically what are souls? Discussion

    • 220 posts
    November 26, 2019 8:48 PM EST

                                ABOUT SOULS IN THE ELDER SCROLLS UNIVERSE

     

     

    There is just a simple question, probably might have complex answers

    What is a soul in Elder Scrolls?

     

    I would appreciate to anyone give their own thoughts respect what a soul is in Elder Scrolls universe, taking in consideration any TES reference, could be about lore, lore events, in-game quotes, in-game authors, lore-friendly characters, lore-friendly folk, lore-friendly beliefs, or even fan-fiction stories.

     


    Here are some words to help you get some thoughts

     

    Some topics that could be related to the soul:

    - What about the soulless one in TESO?, what is a soulless one?
    - Can a soul be used for other's practices?, If so what does that implies for the person who his soul is being used?
    - How is related to Aetherius, Oblivion realms; Soulcairn?
    - Soulstones... technically how they work, what is the process for the person under ritual involving his soul and a black soulgem?
    - What about soulgems?
    - Only humanoid beings have souls?, what about animals and critters (even considering those from other planes: as Oblivion for
      example)

     

    This post was edited by Medieval at November 26, 2019 8:50 PM EST
    • 1580 posts
    November 27, 2019 3:59 AM EST

    Souls in The Elder Scrolls is a fascinating subject, and the nature and journey of the soul upon mortal death seems to be part of a very complicated system, although I don't think there is any one definitive proof of that system.

    To start with, a soul of a man, mer or similarly sentient creature appears to be made up of multiple parts: Anima, Ego, Incalescence, and Mortality ~ The Gorge. These parts of the whole make up what it means to be sentient, so it could be theorised that the souls of animals (white souls) lack one or more of these aspects.

    I think these multiple parts are important when we look into the journey of a soul upon death. From what we know from the games, a soul appears to go to various afterlives depending upon actions and beliefs in life. The Loveletter from the Fifth Era introduced this concept, I think:  "Death results in the reappropriation of spirit towards its aligned AE—either to the god-planet Aedra or the Principalities of Oblivion. Vehk’s name for this transaction, mentioned above, is “lunar currency”. ~Loveletter From the Fifth Era, The True Purpose of Tamriel

    This is backed up in sources such as Loremaster's Archive: The Interpreted Soul:

    "...that Hircine ‘claims’ the souls of lycanthropes is poetic but misleading. It is the mortals themselves who decide the destinations of their souls by the choices they make during life. However, that said, there have been reports that Worm Cult necromancers have devised a way of hijacking the souls of mortals sacrificed in a certain Daedric ritual. This would be horrid, if true, but so far we have not received definite confirmation of it.”

    The Lunar Currency mentioned in the Loveletter and Thirty-Six Lessons implies mortal souls have value to the gods and demons, a point that crops up in various places such as Gods and Worship and The Old Ways:

    "It has been theorized that gods do in fact gain strength from such things as worship through praise, sacrifice and deed. It may even be theorized that the number of worshippers a given Deity has may reflect on His overall position among the other Gods. This my own conjecture, garnered from the apparent ability of the larger temples to attain blessings and assistance from their God with greater ease than smaller religious institutions.
    There are reports of the existence of spirits in our world that have the same capacity to use the actions and deeds of mortals to strengthen themselves as do the Gods. The understanding of the exact nature of such creatures would allow us to understand with more clarity the connection between a Deity and the Deity's worshipers.
    The implication of the existence of such spirits leads to the speculation that these spirits may even be capable of raising themselves to the level of a God or Goddess. Motusuo of the Imperial Seminary has suggested that these spirits may be the remains of Gods and Goddesses who through time lost all or most of their following, reverting to their earliest most basic form. Practioners of the Old Ways say that there are no Gods, just greater and lesser spirits. Perhaps it is possible for all three theories to be true." ~ An Overview of Gods and Worship

    So it looks like there is a system in which spiritual forces gain power depending upon the number of worshippers they have. So if it's true that a being's soul goes to its aligned AE upon death, then the place it goes to gains a tiny bit more power. That's important when we look at the nature of magicka.
    Magicka, we're told, radiates down through sun and stars - the holes in Oblivion to Aetherius - in the form of light. Aetherius is the realm of souls. Therefore, there is a direct connection between souls, magicka and light.

    This makes a lot more sense if we examine soul trapping. Let's say we enchant a sword with a fire spell. We're embuing that sword with magicka so that it magically deals fire damage when we strike an enemy. In order to empower that weapon, we need a soul gem. So we cast a Soul Trap spell by harnessing magicka which has filtered down through the holes in Oblivion and drawn upon by us. We then take the soul inside of that gem and put it into the sword. When that weapon's charge is depleted, we need to empower it again with another soul gem. This system tells us that souls = magicka and that magicka = light.

    Another aspect of the journey of the soul worth consideration is memory. There's a Dremora in Bangkorai, Herald Kixathi,  who tells us: "No point hiding it now … when a mortal dies, where do you think their memories go? Don't bother guessing. I'll tell you—they go into the water. They become water. All the memories of Tamriel's history are stored in its waters."

    It stands to reason, then, that one of those parts of the soul holds the memories of a mortal. This makes it very complicated indeed because we know from visiting Sovngarde that the spirits there retain their memory, so how memory is disseminated during the transition from death to the afterlife is a matter of debate.

    The question of the Vestige and how the Lunar Currency applies to Daedric Princes is best examined using the book Chaotic Creatia: The Azure Plasm:


    "It has long been understood that a Daedra, who lacks the Anuic animus known as the “soul,” is not killed when its body is destroyed. A Daedra slain upon Mundus is merely “banished” back to its plane of origin, where its morphotype, or “vestige,” gradually forms a new body, so that eventually the Daedra lives again. (This happens as well when a Daedra is slain in its native Oblivion.)
    Furthermore, we have long known from the Daedra themselves that their bodies are formed from the very stuff of chaos, the "creatia" of Oblivion, a shapeless but energetic material that accretes around a vestige until it conforms to the morphotype's inherent pattern.
    Back on Mundus I had naively envisioned this creatia as some sort of misty, amorphous material swirling in a void somewhere. After our arrival in Coldharbour, it was some time before I realized that its ubiquitous pools of blue slime, the substance we've come to call “Azure Plasm,“ was in fact the form that creatia takes upon this plane. By extension, I reasoned that chaotic creatia takes a different but planar-appropriate form in every realm of Oblivion — and this theory was later confirmed for me by the rogue Xivilai known as the Sojourner, who has had direct experience of numerous planes of existence.
    In fact, it was the Sojourner who first introduced me to one of those secret grottoes where one can observe the process of plasm-accretion in action. (To find such grottoes, where Daedra are “born,” it is necessary only to observe the slow flow of the Azure Plasm and follow it to its destination—for plasm-accretion causes a slow drain on adjacent pools.) It was fascinating to watch a vestige gradually absorbing Azure Plasm and converting it from the general to specific, so that over time it slowly took on the size and shape of a hulking, reptilian daedroth."

    I like to think that this chaotic creatia the Deadric Princes use is exactly the Lunar Currency in use. That is, when a mortal soul goes to one of the Principalities, that soul becomes part of creatia. That would neatly explain why the Princes are so invested in swaying mortals to their side so that they can add to their power-pool.

    As for The Vestige itself our character in ESO, the book wraps it up nicely:

    "...and then proposed the theoretical possibility of a Soul Shriven who, despite having lost his or her soul, possessed some other intrinsic Anuic aspect. This shall-we-say “paragon” Soul Shriven would form an unflawed body in Coldharbour that was a perfect duplicate of the body worn in Mundus. In fact, if this paragon bore a sufficiently high Anuic valence, upon contact with Padomaic creatia its body would form almost instantaneously.
    The Sojourner scoffed at my theory, but seemed taken with the idea nonetheless. He went on to speculate that if such a thing were possible, it would probably occur in a situation where the Mundus was in existential jeopardy. In that case the Heart of Nirn would spontaneously generate such "paragon" individuals as a way of defending itself from destruction, in a manner analogous to the way the mortal body fights off infection."

    This theory works really well because of how Skyshards fit into it. Skyshards, we're told by the Prophet, are linked to the Missing God. The Missing God is the Heart of Nirn:

    "Like the rest of the Gods, Lorkhan was a plane(t) that participated in the Great Construction... except where the Eight lent portions of their heavenly bodies to create the mortal plane(t), Lorkhan's was cracked asunder and his divine spark fell to Nirn as a shooting star "to impregnate it with the measure of its existence and a reasonable amount of selfishness." ~ The Lunar Lorkhan

    Our Vestige in ESO, then, is directly linked to Lorkhan - an avatar of Nirn who shows up to do what is needed to protect itself.
    In terms of the Lunar Currency, Lorkhan seems to be the ultimate banker. The Dreamsleave plays a role in the journey of the soul and is the reason how and why there are souls on Nirn to begin with. It's unclear how it works, but whatever is left of the soul after everything that happens to it during its journey ends up recycled back on Nirn.

    • 220 posts
    November 27, 2019 10:00 PM EST

    Hi, thanks Paws for taking the time to reply such extense, detailed and with sources thoughts about the topic, I've read it all with reflection


    Many questions comes to my mind (considering TES of course.):


    - What is the consciousness?...

    - So If the: Anima, Ego, Incalescence, and Mortality are the aspects of the vital escence of a being, does that implies these are the parts a soul is composed?, I'm
      not sure about that, because these "are the aspects of the vital escence of a being", isn't Mortality related to the physical matter like to the body?

    - What is Ego?..

    - In my opinion Anima and Incalescence could be related to the soul and the other two elements (Ego and Mortality) are part of the being in the physical world

    - Is a soul conscient?

    - The consciousness of an humanoid is related to the soul? (linked in some way maybe?) or have nothing to do with it?

    - A moral question, using the souls for rituals and enchantments it is cruel? [killing another person it is cruel of course], so the question is not considering the death
      itself but after it, If a person uses a soul for his own purpose, does afflict a kind of torture to the being [after death]?, or the soul is just a resource?



    * As kind of conlusion of your comment Paws. In my opinion I consider for a being his soul is part of a state, as you quote about the Loveletter and Thirty-Six Lessons, a soul tends to align either to the god-planet Aedra or the Principalities of Oblivion, but also a soul is a kind of resource, thought I'm not clear If the soul is the being it self


    • 1580 posts
    November 28, 2019 1:13 AM EST

    Those are great questions, Medi. Although I'm not sure I have the answers.

    - What is the consciousness?...

    The consciousness of an humanoid is related to the soul? (linked in some way maybe?) or have nothing to do with it?

    Consciousness is a lucidity and an awareness of oneself and surroundings. As it relates to TES, I'm not certain whether or not it's directly linked to the soul. I think it is, but only to a certain degree. In ESO Elsweyr, we meet up again with the famous necromancer, Vastarie. She talks to us about Liches and how the removal of their soul from their body often leads to a lack of humanity and the onset of madness. Yet even without their soul attached to them, a lich is a conscious being, albeit one that seems to be somewhat lessened. Then, of course, we have vampires who appear to have their substituted with something Daedric.


    - So If the: Anima, Ego, Incalescence, and Mortality are the aspects of the vital escence of a being, does that implies these are the parts a soul is composed?, I'm
      not sure about that, because these "are the aspects of the vital escence of a being", isn't Mortality related to the physical matter like to the body?

    - What is Ego?..

    This is very much debatable. I used that source because it's the only one I can think of that tackles the issue. Traditionally, it's long been theorised that there are at least Two Parts of a Soul, but with the revelation that memory is preserved through water, I personally feel that the Two Parts model doesn't hold up to scrutiny. In this four-part model, Anima and Ego are likely the two traditional parts of Animus and AE (energy and identity). Incalescence, and Mortality are very strange indeed and hard to pin down. Warmth and one's finite nature? Mortality almost implies here that it's a thing that can be added to or removed, a modular part of an entity. I honestly have no idea.

    - In my opinion Anima and Incalescence could be related to the soul and the other two elements (Ego and Mortality) are part of the being in the physical world

    That is more than fair! As I said, historically we have seen that there are two parts of a soul and that model works well enough. At this stage, how you interpret it all is totally up to you, and the key point to take away is that the soul appears to be made up of two parts.

    - Is a soul conscient?

    I think yes, in some cases. That adventurer we meet in TES Skyrim's Aetheium quests, Katria, is very much aware despite not being attached to her body. Plus there are the Sovngarde heroes who seem as conscious as you and I. That said, I can think of other examples in which we meet spirits who have no consciousness at all.

    - A moral question, using the souls for rituals and enchantments it is cruel? [killing another person it is cruel of course], so the question is not considering the death
      itself but after it, If a person uses a soul for his own purpose, does afflict a kind of torture to the being [after death]?, or the soul is just a resource?

    A really good source to tackle that question is Soul Trapping I: An Introduction. I think the answer is we simply don't know. Personally, I think it is a matter of choice. Do we need all the individual parts that make up a soul to enchant a sword with fire? It doesn't appear to be the case, for a grand white soul will do the job as well as a grand black soul - in practice, there doesn't appear to be a distinction. That said, we do meet people in the Soul Cairn who seem to have had their entire soul trapped.

    So I think it's all about choice, and that the csater or enchanter can determine what they do with that soul. In the case of the Soul Cairn, we can infer that each of those souls has been offered up to the Ideal Masters by necromancers in exchange for power - something that would imply the necromancers were deliberately choosing to do so. But an enchanter could, in theory, just use the part of a soul he or she needs and let the rest go.

    Of course, while trapped in the soul gem a soul is imprisoned against their will and pretty much totally at the mercy of whoever owns that gem. That is cruel, without question. An ethical soul-trapper would make the process as swift as possible, but it still remains morally grey.

    • 220 posts
    December 1, 2019 2:44 AM EST

    Thanks again for your comments Paws, I really appreciate it. And more questions comes and kind of conclusions too. So as in the Two Parts of a Whole Make a Soul - by Kyrielle Atrinati, that seems have sense but also the theory of the soul composed of more than two part as you quoted about The Gorge. It seems that what is called a soul is a mix of components of a being.

    For people (or beings) who uses souls for some activity, by capturing souls, rituals, enchanting, etc., it looks as the soul is a source of energy to use it at their own will.

    - Considering the theory of the soul is composed of two elements: Life force and Consciousness, does that implies a soul is partially drained for example by the vampires?, so they would use other's Life force to fill their lack of it? (or ill soul they got)


    - Liches are a big mystery..., I think one important difference between a vampire and a lich is that vampires needs to gather "energy" or Life force (I guess) for survival, If they don't do it they would get really bad consequences for themselves, instead Liches seems to seek power and gather "energy" or Life force from others for their own selfish purposes, even as physical power for example in shape of an army of undead or just collecting souls of others and/or making rituals using soulgems to extend their lives.

    a being who decided to become a Lich must pass through a very harsh process, must bare decay, pain and be in a state of continous meditation (a source: The Path of Trascendence), many people who try to reach it, do not pass those first steps getting mad or dying in the process. It seems the path for reach it consist in a harsh and long ritual (depending on the necromancer or necromage or mage), first must be created a phylactery and then start the ritual of passing the own soul to the phylactery, that process could take very long time (weeks and or months) and the aspirant Lich is vulnerable, the person can die simply If the phylactery is taken away from the aspirant Lich, because could intervene with the connection of ritual process what it seems is performed in a strange state between being under constant meditation and vigil.

    For me Liches are a big mystery, let's say a person already reached Lichdom, it is said on the book The Path of Trascendence, If the Lich's phylactery is broken nothing would happen to the Lich, maybe could affect his powers in some way but the Lich could find another phylactery (If really needs another one), for example in Cyrodiil (Oblivion game) can be seen Liches of different "states", some even are ghostly like Liches like Nether Liches (https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Lich)

    - Liches are about expand their Counsiousness?, to become a Lich the aspirant must have a strong mind, at an extreme point of "forgetting" about his body and physical feelings, and bare all the suffering that implies reaching Lichdom (what starts with a kind of starvation and by consequence decay of the body)

    then disjoint his soul from his own body, considering that the soul is made of two parts, Life force and Consiousness?, thinking in that concept, when a Lich uses the phylactery is he transfering his Life force into it?, or maybe is more complex and must be thinked with the The Gorge theory of four elements of the soul? 


    About Liches and their power

    Clearly a Lich seeks power and control,
    but what is power?, I think it could be defined as the amount of opportunities a person (or being) have to do his will over the plane of existence he lives, while more power more opportunities to do his will on the world (or plane of existence), that definition considering power as a concept.

    A powerful person is someone who already have done his will over his surroundings and/or keep doing it. There are many kinds of power, for example: economic power, political power, influence power (leadership), magical power (power to do his will on his surroundings in the way he wants using magicka), and so many others.

    Also I think gathering large ammounts of "energy" or "souls" or "magic" not always means being powerful. For example a person with a lot of energy ("magic", "souls", etc.) won't be powerful If don't use that energy to achieves his goals, do his will or influence on his surroundings.

    Like a person with a lot of money won't be powerful If not influences his surroundings (in some way, even indirectly), instead would be a greedy person.


    - - - - - - -

    More things about Liches

    - A Lich bodies decay and became undead, that because the process of reaching Lichdom, when the Lich pass his soul to a phylactery, he transfers his Life force?, that's why his body get the consequences?...


    - - - - - - -

    About Necromancers

    - Another question is where comes the "energy", "magical power" for raise corpses Necromancers uses and for create undead minions. (I'm not talking about summoning but about raising and raising rituals)


    - - - - - - -


    By the way Paws I would appreciate you could expand yourself (as already you've done), I mean If you comment back :), also is ok If you take some time to reply, I enjoy this kind of discussions were can be talked and discussed topics in a deep way, also I appreciate a lot sources (lorefriendly or also elaborated fanfic) 

     


    This post was edited by Medieval at December 1, 2019 6:46 PM EST
    • 1580 posts
    December 1, 2019 5:18 PM EST

    Medieval said:
    By the way Paws I would appreciate you could expand yourself (as already you've done), I mean If you comment back :), also is ok If you take some time to reply, I enjoy this kind of discussions were can be talked and discussed topics in a deep way, also I appreciate a lot sources (lorefriendly or also elaborated fanfic) 

    I certainly will, Medi! I'm enjoying this conversation, too, and have a lot of thoughts. I just need to replay Elsweyr's Ashen Scar quests and screenshot those revelations. It's an extended questline with a wealth of new lich lore, and from memory, some of it contradicts (or puts a new spin on) the Path of Transcendence source you've found. That's if you're comfortable with a spoiler or two of that questline. Let me know if you'd rather I didn't because for my next reply will be spoiler-heavy and assume you're ok with that :)

    • 220 posts
    December 1, 2019 6:45 PM EST

    That's great to hear Paws, yes I have no problem about spoils, by the way in ESO I have all the DLCs and updated content (like dungeons, faction quests etc.), the only I don't have yet is Dragonhold, the second part of Elsweyr content, can you tell me what Elsweyr content is related to the Elsweyr's Ashen Scar quests?

    • 1580 posts
    December 2, 2019 3:47 AM EST

    Excellent! In that case, better to play it yourself too! You can find Ashen Scar in Northern Elsweyr on the map below. In this image, it's just north of my reticle -the coffin icon. 

    The Ashen Scar questline is standalone. It's a fairly long and complicated story arc but doesn't influence any other content in the zone in any direct way. It appears to exist just to explore ethical necromancy and old Khajiiti theology. We do meet up with Vastarie, so I would advise players to play through Grahtwood's Eyes of Azura quest and read The Legend of Vastarie before doing Ashen Scar in order to build familiarity with her. It's by no means essential, but I like it when returning characters recognise me so meeting them in the base game first always adds an extra degree of depth.

    • 220 posts
    December 2, 2019 8:24 PM EST

    So nice, thanky very much!, I will explore the quests, having another point of view about necromancy is appreciated, also learning more about Khajiit lore in the process

    • 1580 posts
    December 3, 2019 9:54 AM EST

    I finally played through and screenshotted the Ashen Scar revelations, so now am better able to discuss while it's fresh again in my mind. I'm going to have to split this into two replies, the first dealing with vampirism and general souls stuff, while the second will be image-heavy and focusing on liches.

    Medieval said:

    Thanks again for your comments Paws, I really appreciate it. And more questions comes and kind of conclusions too. So as in the Two Parts of a Whole Make a Soul - by Kyrielle Atrinati, that seems have sense but also the theory of the soul composed of more than two part as you quoted about The Gorge. It seems that what is called a soul is a mix of components of a being.

    For people (or beings) who uses souls for some activity, by capturing souls, rituals, enchanting, etc., it looks as the soul is a source of energy to use it at their own will.

    I think that's a pretty succinct summary! As we've seen, the soul is most certainly an energy source. It is, or at least one part of it, magicka itself. Aetherius is the realm of souls, and from Aetherius radiates magicka in the form of light. We could probably call magicka "soul energy" or creatia just for clarity. When we trap a soul, we're trapping magicka and then transferring that into an item we want to enchant. That sort of loops us back to our discussion regarding the fate of souls trapped in a gem, and regarding that I enjoyed reading through The Legend of Vastarie again as that book really does seem to provide the answers. In the following paragraph, Mannimarco is delighted by the discovery of black soul gems, whereas to the ethical necromancer Vastarie, they are imperfect because they trap a soul indefinitely. The book tells us that the only way of releasing the soul is through enchantment:

    With a brash courage known only to the young, Mannimarco and his followers held open a portal to the Prince's realm. Ever thirsting for adventure, it was Vastarie who entered its depths and returned with a cache of black crystals the likes of which they had never seen.

    To Mannimarco, they were perfect. Small, capable of containing even the most willful of souls, and apparently indestructible. To Vastarie, they were deeply flawed, for enchantment was the only safe way to free a soul from their depths. ~ The Legend of Vastarie

    So I am definitely of the mind that enchanting using a black soul gem does not mean the entire being is trapped within an item. Rather, the act of enchanting releases the consciousness or Ego of the soul and simply uses the energy or magicka of the soul. The caveat being that a necromancer can choose to send the soul in its entirety to the Soul Cairn in exchange for power, as described by Serana:

    "The Soul Cairn is home to very powerful beings. Necromancers send them souls, and receive powers of their own in return. My mother spent a lot of time trying to contact them directly, to travel to the Soul Cairn itself." ~ Serana

    Medieval said:

    - Considering the theory of the soul is composed of two elements: Life force and Consciousness, does that implies a soul is partially drained for example by the vampires?, so they would use other's Life force to fill their lack of it? (or ill soul they got)

    I'd say that's about right, yeah! The way I see it, blood and soul are often used interchangeably in The Elder Scrolls setting and that could be important when discussing vampires. For example, in describing the Dragonborn Emperors, we often see sources saying they are "dragon-blooded" and that is something which extends to our Dragonborn Hero in TES V with their "Dovah Sos" or "dragonblood."

    You have made your way here, to me. No easy task for a joor... mortal. Even for one of Dovah Sos. Dragonblood. ~ Paarthurnax

    So, I think that when a vampire feeds on blood, they are indeed taking that person's soul. However, as we understand it and have discussed, that part of the soul is likely the Animus - the energy or magicka - so vampires may only be feeding off of that aspect of the soul which is magicka, something that replenishes itself over time. If we think about it, it could boil down to the difference between a white soul and a black soul: If a black soul has something that separates it from a white soul but a white soul could be fed upon by a vampire or used to enchant a sword just as easily as a black soul, then we can conclude the thing which is being taken is only the energy - the magicka - of that soul.

    In turn, that might tell us something about vampires themselves: As beings for whom sunlight is uncomfortable, and knowing the sun is the biggest source of magicka we have, we might be able to conclude that the Daedric energy that has replaced the soul of the mortal-turned-vampire has a craving for that which it is naturally missing.

    In any case, I do think there is a formula present in the relationship between magicka and soul, and it makes sense to me that magicka also be an internal source when we consider how the thu’um works for Nordic Tongues: They are able to manifest magical results (without using magicka like a mage would) by using their own vital essence. This implies they are drawing upon their own soul energy without diminishing their own consciousness. Therefore, the part of the soul they are using is the part which is pure magicka.

    • 1580 posts
    December 3, 2019 12:14 PM EST

    Medieval said:

    - Liches are a big mystery..., I think one important difference between a vampire and a lich is that vampires needs to gather "energy" or Life force (I guess) for survival, If they don't do it they would get really bad consequences for themselves, instead Liches seems to seek power and gather "energy" or Life force from others for their own selfish purposes, even as physical power for example in shape of an army of undead or just collecting souls of others and/or making rituals using soulgems to extend their lives.

    a being who decided to become a Lich must pass through a very harsh process, must bare decay, pain and be in a state of continous meditation (a source: The Path of Trascendence), many people who try to reach it, do not pass those first steps getting mad or dying in the process. It seems the path for reach it consist in a harsh and long ritual (depending on the necromancer or necromage or mage), first must be created a phylactery and then start the ritual of passing the own soul to the phylactery, that process could take very long time (weeks and or months) and the aspirant Lich is vulnerable, the person can die simply If the phylactery is taken away from the aspirant Lich, because could intervene with the connection of ritual process what it seems is performed in a strange state between being under constant meditation and vigil.

    For me Liches are a big mystery, let's say a person already reached Lichdom, it is said on the book The Path of Trascendence, If the Lich's phylactery is broken nothing would happen to the Lich, maybe could affect his powers in some way but the Lich could find another phylactery (If really needs another one), for example in Cyrodiil (Oblivion game) can be seen Liches of different "states", some even are ghostly like Liches like Nether Liches (https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Lich)

    - Liches are about expand their Counsiousness?, to become a Lich the aspirant must have a strong mind, at an extreme point of "forgetting" about his body and physical feelings, and bare all the suffering that implies reaching Lichdom (what starts with a kind of starvation and by consequence decay of the body)

    then disjoint his soul from his own body, considering that the soul is made of two parts, Life force and Consiousness?, thinking in that concept, when a Lich uses the phylactery is he transfering his Life force into it?, or maybe is more complex and must be thinked with the The Gorge theory of four elements of the soul? 


    About Liches and their power

    Clearly a Lich seeks power and control,
    but what is power?, I think it could be defined as the amount of opportunities a person (or being) have to do his will over the plane of existence he lives, while more power more opportunities to do his will on the world (or plane of existence), that definition considering power as a concept.

    A powerful person is someone who already have done his will over his surroundings and/or keep doing it. There are many kinds of power, for example: economic power, political power, influence power (leadership), magical power (power to do his will on his surroundings in the way he wants using magicka), and so many others.

    Also I think gathering large ammounts of "energy" or "souls" or "magic" not always means being powerful. For example a person with a lot of energy ("magic", "souls", etc.) won't be powerful If don't use that energy to achieves his goals, do his will or influence on his surroundings.

    Like a person with a lot of money won't be powerful If not influences his surroundings (in some way, even indirectly), instead would be a greedy person.


    - - - - - - -

    More things about Liches

    - A Lich bodies decay and became undead, that because the process of reaching Lichdom, when the Lich pass his soul to a phylactery, he transfers his Life force?, that's why his body get the consequences?...

    I think you've already found the best source we have on Liches so far (unless TES Blades or Legends reveals anything profound as I'm not so up to date on those games). The Path of Trascendence can then act as a benchmark to which we can compare som eof the newer stuff Vastarie tells us.

    Starting from the beginning, the Ashen Scar questline involves meeting up with Vastarie who is there to investigate spooky goings-on. The dead are waking up and she wants to know why, so we agree to help her investigate the ancient Temple of the Hidden Moon. The Acolytes of the Hidden Moon were devout followers of Azurah who believed that no cat is truly lost. Using necromancy, they would call the spirits of dro-M'athra and use those dark spirits to reanimate skeletons etc, giving the souls of these lost cats a chance to find redemption by fighting for Azurah once again. In the flush of victory, Namiira's grip on these bent cats is weakened and they would remember their former selves. The Adepts of the Hidden Moon would then send them on their way to Azurah.

    As we go about finding out what is causing the dead to rise, we discover why the Temple fell into ruin. We come across a glowing orb hidden in an old crypt, and Vastarie yells at us to quickly smash it. We do so and then get to ask Vastarie "wtf?"

    This marks the first contradiction of that which we're told in The Path of Transcendence. That book tells us liches don't need to fear their phylacteries being damaged:

    Even the most pedestrian peasant fairy tale has long held that a lich must somehow remain bound to his soul, and that connection most commonly manifests itself as a transference of the spirit into an actual physical object. An urn, a sarcophagus, a crystal phial.... One Khajiit fairy tale even tells of a lich who preserved his spirit in the severed head of a Wood Elf infant! And these same peasants long comforted themselves with the belief that if they ever had the grave misfortune of facing a lich, they would need only find the vessel containing his spirit form and then destroy it, thus destroying the lich himself. Fools and their folklore! True liches possess no such weakness! ~ The Path of Transcendence.

    However, Vastarie must have a good reason for wanting us to destroy these phylacteries.

    We ask her what a lich is and gain a few insights into why a mage would want to become one... and the dangers of it:

    Fascinating stuff! By removing the soul from the body, a person can remove the limits placed upon them and have a limitless magical horizon. As far as sources go, Vastarie should be considered as reliable as it gets, in my opinion, by virtue of being a lich herself:

    So far, so very interesting. But we still don't know why the evil lich wasn't concerned about the destruction of his phylacteries. We ask Vastarie all about that and gain insights into the dark spirits of Khajiiti life:

    Moving on, Vastarie speculates there may be spirits hanging around the temple who might help us. We meet the caln mother, long since dead, who does indeed want to aid our quest in destroying this Arum-Khal. It seems they did find a way of destroying him - The Moonlight Blade:

    Bear with me, this Moonlight Blade is a key point as it applies to this lich and possibly lich-lore in general.

    As you can see, the biggest challenge in this quest is parsing through all the deep and new lore swamping us in every piece of dialogue. Not only are we learning about liches, we're also learning about dro-M'athra, ancient Khajiiti theology, and personal stories of the Hidden Moon Adepts. It's truly marvelous, and whoever wrote this questline needs to write more! It does all come together, though. Clan Mother Mazza-Mirri goes on to tell us all about their necromancy and the path to redemption they provide to bent cats:

    Ethical necromancy! Awesomeness.

    So far so cool, yet still the phylactery question hangs in the air. Why was the lich so unconcerned about something Vastarie was so keen for us to destroy? Thankfully she's there to keep our feet back down to earth. After meeting with Shando-ri above, we learn he's both the Moonlight Blade's guardian and the Moonlight Blade itself - that is, he transferred his entire soul into it and is now one with the sword. A penny drops for Vastarie:

    At long last, we know the answer. The lich's phylacteries serve as gateways to another realm, a realm he's created himself. By becoming a lich and therefore removing the checks and limits imposed upon him, he's powerful enough to create his own realm. At this stage, I was still curious about the phylacteries. After all, The Path of Transcendence book tells us a lich need not fear the destruction of its phylacteries, yet lich-Vastarie says we should make them a priority. All the while, the evil lich Arum-Khal has demonstrated a total lack of concern. So what's up with that? Luckily, we find out as we make our way into the temple proper:

    Amazing. We've seen in the Summerset questline and Psjic Order content that a being's soul seems to act like mass does in physics - The more powerful you are, the bigger your soul becomes and the more magicka you have. Arum-Khal's soul is so huge that he can split it into multiple phylacteries and have yet more slices of his soul guarding his phylacteries without damaging his own AE. That is why The Path of Transcendence tells us a lich need not fear for his phylacteries - the magical horizon available to a lich is so vast that there need not be a limit on the number of safeguards they can put in place. Wonderful stuff!

    So. We enter into the temple and, with Shando-ri and the Moonlight Blade, we destroy the remaining phylacteries and their soul-guardians. Even that isn't enough, for Arum-Khal's soul retreats to his own plane to reconstitute. This is our chance to end this lich once and for all before he can put his safeguards back in place. The Path of Transcendence was right, a lich need not fear. Yet so was Vastarie, for only by destroying the phylacteries can we force Arum-Khal into the only place we can truly kill him - his own realm:

    Simply amazing.

     

    Medieval said:

    About Necromancers

    - Another question is where comes the "energy", "magical power" for raise corpses Necromancers uses and for create undead minions. (I'm not talking about summoning but about raising and raising rituals)

    I think the best thing I can do here is to point you towards Karver's Necromancy: The Great Debate discussion. In short, there appear to be various ways of reanimating the dead. A corpse is an empty husk, and so what we put into that vessel in order to power it remains an open option. We can use other spirits such as the Hidden Moon Acolytes who used dro-M'athra, or we can use Daedric spirits. Conceivably, we could use a soul gem and power a body in the same way the Dwemer power their animunculi. Karver examines the sources as he looks into those questions.

    • 220 posts
    December 6, 2019 10:34 AM EST

    :O!, thanks a lot Paws, I'm just quick passing for Tamrielvault, that's a lot of information to process though I appreciate it alot. I'm going to take my time to read it to then reply appropiately, so we can keep delving into the topic (also of course anyone is welcome).