The sewer system of the Imperial City spans under the entire city, connecting its districts. With the recent push into the city, many adventurers ventured into the sewers, searching for fame, fortune or thrills. Many went missing-lost or killed in the dark labyrinth. We have contacted Imperial Architect Mycaelis Julus to shine a light on the construction, layout, and secrets of the Imperial City Sewers.
For the next Loremaster's Archive Daedric Demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen and his aide, Tutor Riparius, will answer questions about Oblivion pocket realms in general, and the Maelstrom Arena in specific. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may obtain an answer!
Honored members of the Elder Council,
It is with great pride that I report we have finally found the city's legendary Centrata! As you know, the city's underground is a complex nest of sewer drains and crumbling Ayleid ruins. We've always assumed that there was a grand design in their construction, but lacked the requisite resources to prove it. Now, with help from Chancellor Tharn and the wise Mannimarco, we've been able to delve deeper than we ever thought possible.
Our survey indicates that all channels and passages eventually lead to the Centrata, a massive underground chamber that houses the White-Gold Tower's foundation. I can tell you, it is quite a sight to behold. The Tower rests on a stone monopile, supported by six massive vaults. The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated. It confirms countless architectural theories about the six districts' connections to the Tower and the age of the city's infrastructure. It might also grant us valuable insights into the nature of the White-Gold Tower and its power over Nirn.
I would like to conduct a more thorough investigation, but our esteemed benefactor Mannimarco has declared the area off-limits. I do not mean to sound ungrateful. Without his help we never would have found the Centrata. But we still have a great deal to learn about how the chamber was constructed. I hope that the Elder Council might intercede on our behalf.
Best regards, Mycaelis Julus, Imperial Architect, Council for Civic Planning
MYCAELIS JULUS ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS:Edit
I've a very important question I've needed answered for several decades. I feel some explanation is required as to the nature of my question.
Upon my arrival within Imperial City some several decades ago I found myself on the wrong end of a drunken night of "fun" perpetrated by what I can only assume were Colovians. It wasn't a span of five minutes before I was asked why I was so far from home. Black Marsh, I thought, but alas I believe they meant the sewers. At least I think they did because I very quickly found myself within them. With such large, similar rooms and total darkness I spent a week navigating the labyrinthian design of the sewer systems. I had only rats to eat for days. Not that I mind, they make for good meals. Nevertheless, I digress.
If you are in fact the designer of the systems in which I found myself lost I simply ask the following: why would you design such a monstrosity of engineering that has such large, apparently useless rooms, with so very little actual plumbing? Honestly, the Black Marsh seems to have a more efficient method of disposing of waste than those sewers do.
If you are not the designer, then I ask for your knowledge on who built such catacombs with high ceilings and so few exits.
I await your anwser.
Shocks-When-Touched Formerly of the Arcane University's Faculty"
Mycaelis Julus says, “The short answer is that the original architects of the Imperial City sewers were the Ayleids, who left behind no records as to how it was designed and why it was laid out as it was. It is clear, however, that the system of sewers beneath the city was built for more than just drainage. It seems to have been designed to facilitate the subterranean movement of large items, as if there was something, or someone, that they Ayleids did not wish exposed to sunlight or the elements. But the full extent of the system is unknown, because over time some regions have partially collapsed, so that while the sewage still moves through, people cannot, while other areas have entirely collapsed, and have had to be bypassed or rerouted by new excavations. But as a civil architect, what I find remarkable is that, despite the ravages of time, the sewers still do their job, efficiently draining the waste and runoff of the great city overhead."
I hope this letter finds you in some haven far from the bitter fighting that dominates the capital. In my line of work I've learned to seek out and memorize the hidden tunnels every Tamrielic city seems to hide beneath her skirts. From there I can better spy upon the wretched practitioners of the Black Art - who are often masters of cloak and dagger themselves. From there I can better strike.
My question regards the sewer network beneath the Imperial City. I know the majority of the system was constructed long ago, but what can you tell me about the original purpose behind the narrow corridors that branch from each major chamber? When I'm pursuing a mark in that winding morass, and we enter a blind tunnel only to have me crash into a spur of daedric stone or slip up on a fungal cluster - that's when I wonder at the reasoning behind all of these serpentine hallways.
I can only think that some early, prescient necromancer built this accursed network to insidiously foil attempts at bringing his future counterparts to justice.
Thank you in advance for any offered insight, and may the All-Revealer keep you in his grace.
Mycaelis Julus says, “The labyrinthine layout of the sewer system is difficult to explain at first glance, but we must recall that it was designed to drain the capital city of the Heartland Elves, which looked very different from the Imperial City of today—bath buildings, fountain locations, entire districts have changed since Alessia's slave army ejected the Ayleids and took the city for humanity. In many places, the plumbing beneath the streets has been entirely reworked and bears no resemblance to the original construction. Some parts of the system now see very little use, while a heavy rain may cause other channels to overflow or back up. It requires constant maintenance, I assure you—a civic architect's work is never done! And now there are all these blue Daedralithic protrusions spiking in and out of the walls, in many cases blocking proper flow and drainage. Once the city is liberated, if those blue rocks don't go back where they came from, I simply have no idea how we're going to manage—certainly not on the budget we had before the crisis, which was already woefully insufficient, in my professional opinion."
“Greetings Architect Julus,
I have made many trips into the Imperial Sewers since the Alliance Captains flung open the doors, and have managed to nearly document every nook and cranny. I have a few questions that I'd like to get your ultimate opinion on . . .
Firstly, I assume you are aware of the presence of both the Barathrum Centrata area at the root of the White-Gold Tower and the Dragonfire Cathedral deep under the Imperial City. Was there a reason you decided to merge the former into your design, and hide the latter? You may want to look into the latter when the war above has finished by the way . . .
Secondly, why make the sewers traversable at all? With all manner of magic spells available, is a manual group actually required to go down there and do whatever it is they need to? This would also reduce the ridiculous amount of creatures you have down there . . . as if hoarvor weren't bad enough, there's crocodiles and skeevers! Not to mention the ungodly amount of Daedric forces . . . so I ask you, why can you not just have simple pipelines instead of 10 feet diameter tunnels? And if you know the architect of the Wayrest version, give him a piece of my mind too.
Finally, have you not even thought about the consequences of where all this waste is going to? I ran into two officers in the Shadowfen region of Black Marsh, where I was pleased to see one of them actually cared about the indigenous Argonians to actually clean up the pollution. Please alert me if you decide to do something about it.
Other than these three points, it's an excellent system. Congratulations on a remarkable feat of engineering.
Yours sincerely, Alena-Draco, Chief Paladin and Matriarch of House Draco"
Mycaelis Julus says, “Julianos' little teapot! Don't mistake me for the original designer of the sewer system—I merely do my humble best to understand it and keep it in working order despite very limited resources. You ask why the sewers are traversable at all: I assure you, about four-fifths of them are not, as they consist of narrow drainpipes that bring sewage and runoff into the larger conduits. The traversable tunnels provide access to key areas and make maintenance of the system possible. They also seem to have served the Ayleids as a system of subsurface transport, the purpose of which has been lost. As for the Wayrest sewers, it's my understanding that they were built in emulation of the Imperial City system, which accounts for any apparent similarities.
“As for what happens to the Imperial City's waste once it washes away down the Niben, well, let bygones be gone, as we say in Cyrodiil. It's not our way to worry about the detritus of the past."
The Rat whispers, “Heh. True. Forgotten detritus."
“Master Architect Julus, I trust this letter reaches you well.
I was hoping you could offer some insight into the sewer systems beneath the Imperial Palace. Obviously this section of the city substructure can be difficult to accurately map due to the underlying Ayleid architecture, but recent intelligence suggests that all three Alliance forward bases are positioned close to passages leading directly to manholes in Green Emperor Way.
Most sewer maps assert that the Barathrum Centrata drainage pit is located directly below White-Gold Tower, but scouts report nothing but 'unending legions of Daedra' in this highly-contested chamber, and zero surface access. Are the Alliance generals mistakenly pushing deeper underground in their haste to take the Ruby Throne? What is the intended function of these mysterious side passages, and where exactly do they lead in relation to the Palace District?"
– Legoless, Doyen of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits
Mycaelis Julus says, “We don't actually have a definitive answer to this question, but I do have a theory: I believe that the maze of side-tunnels serves the purpose of diverting the flow of drainage into locations where it percolates slowly to lower conduits, allowing waste to settle out so that the water that eventually makes its way into Lake Rumare is relatively clean.
“And if I may stretch the metaphor, the Imperial City sewers serve as a catch-basin not only for human waste, but for the dregs of humanity, those individuals so low and degraded that they seep down into the levels below the city, removing those unfit for society into an existence appropriate to their status. These scum … hello, what? Who are you? No, don't, that looks sharp…."
The Rat says, “Heh. 'Human waste.' It's fine, the blood will wash down the drains. It always washes down the drains. Let bygones be gone."
Greetings! I am a scholar of the ancient Ayleid language. We at Gwylim are always looking for new inscriptions and artifacts to aid our understanding. Lately we have been greatly distressed by the damage the war has done to the many historical buildings of Ayleid origin that lie within the city. What's worse - we are consistently denied in our requests to study these damaged buildings before they are demolished and rebuilt by your guild. Rumor has it that far more Ayleid ruins extend beneath the city. Soon it may be that these legendary crypts are all that is left of the Imperial City's Ayleid heritage. I beg you to answer - What are the extents of the ruins beneath the city? What sort of inscriptions have you uncovered in your excavations? And for the love of Akatosh, would you please consider preserving them for proper study instead of consigning them to Oblivion for the sake of sewage!
Ayleid Linguist, University of Gwylim"
The Rat says, “Plenty of ruins, Sir Linguist, no worries there. Deep they go, and deeper still. Come, and I will be your guide. I will show you inscriptions. If there aren't enough, I can carve more. There's time, down here, time enough for everything. But bring supplies. Lots of supplies. We have plenty of time and inscriptions, but not enough supplies. Turkey legs are good—bring those.
“Leovic was curious, like you. He also wondered about the 'legendary crypts' under the city. Now he doesn't have to wonder."
I write in hope that a man of your profession may help to elucidate the truth behind some of the stories the soldiers tell while on their leaves-of-adoration here in Cloudrest. They tell the most illimitable fables, tales of the cultural practices of your people I can only assume to be the fabrications of minds traumatized by the horrors of war. For example, although it is widely known that your ravaged city suffers the effects of ghastly sanitation, I have heard it claimed that even before these troubled times the effluence of the city was allowed to drain directly into the source waters of your lake Rumare, without sedimentation, filtration, or even basic creatia-colloid clarification! Surely this must be due to the ravages of war and the hordes of Oblivion - I cannot imagine that any sentient beings would so thoughtlessly pollute their very source of hydration! Even the noisome Maormer are known to understand the rudiments of water purification!
Please, I require your reassurance in this matter. Can it really be that your people have always drawn their drink from wells of water swimming with their own excrement? Is it remotely true that the scarlet tint to the already turpid waves of your Rumare, stained by the sanguinary dribblings of your populace's infected posteriors, is in fact the native condition of this body? Are those creatures I hear spoken of as 'Rust drakes' truly transmogrified crocodilians that churn the noisome waters of their spoilage with spindly extra limbs, or is there a nobler origin behind these monstrosities? When it rains, do the sewers truly flood the streets with their overflow of repressed scatological memory, and do your people truly consider this as nothing more than healthy fertilization for their gardens?
I anxiously await your clarification in this matter, and wish you well in your doubtlessly tireless efforts to rectify the state of your city's sewerage.
Ardari Ilmion, Nonagenarian of the School of Thoughts and Calculations in Cloudrest"
The Rat says, “You talk too much. Clever words, cutting words meant to hurt, to carve new inscriptions, to injure and shame. But The Rat is not cut by words. There is no survival in words. You will learn. Come to the sewers, Nonagenarian, and bring your words. Those who live down here have survived fire and claw and fang. Try to hurt them with your many, many words, to keep them away from your soft throat. We will teach you new words, Elf. You will say them loudly, but only once."