The Sload, also referred to as Slugmen, are an amphibious, slug-like, bestial race native to the isles of Thras within the Abecean Sea. Well known for their mastery of Necromancy, they are arguably the most hated race amongst the people of Tamriel.
The Sload are believed to have lived on Thras since the earliest years of Nirn, but other sources imply that they also used to live in Tamriel, more specifically the Summerset Isles. It is known that the most ancient ruins of Summerset were large coral structures seemingly created by the Sload. While some believe this means the Sload may have considered the Isles part of their kingdom, it is also speculated that the Isles may have been considered part of Thras as a whole. Ysgramor, a legendary Atmoran king from the Merethic Era, was known to have a wine sack made from a Sload, implying he had some form of contact with them. Since before recorded time, the Sload were said to have frequently raided the Altmeri inhabitants of the Isles, often conjuring up horrific sea beasts to do the work they were physically incapable of. The master archer of Molag Amur, Ondre Veloth, is recorded as having fought the Sload at Lake Nabia in Vvardenfell for nine days before his defeat. Since the earliest Ra Gada settlers landed in Hammerfell around 1E 808, the Sload had taken advantage of their custom of burying criminals on islands off of the coast, with the bodies being used for necromantic practice and small invasions into the mainland. While the Redguards eventually removed these raiders, sightings of Sload living along the coast of Hammerfell have continued into the Third Era.
The Siege of Skywatch
One of those most notable and brutal invasions, orchestrated by the Sload, occurred at the city of Skywatch on the northern coast of Auridon, in the year 1E 1301. During the invasion, the Sload first conquered the small Isle of Errinorne, the eastern most island of the Summerset Isles, using diseases to their advantage. The Altmer inhabitants of Skywatch coordinated a staunch defense of the city, primarily resisting from a sprawling citadel known as Hightide Keep. From the citadel, the Altmer utilized powerful magical constructs to destroy dozens of Sload ships. The defense held up until a Sload Warcaster consumed volatile alchemy reagents and leaped to the base of the cliff resulting in a massive explosion, toppling the citadel into the sea and allowing for the Sloads conquest of the city. Unfortunately for the Sload, they were unable to hold the city for very long and were quickly removed. Despite this, the Sload held out on Errinorne for close to a thousand years before eventually being wiped out by a remnant of the All Flags Navy. Errinorne became devastated, and was left abandoned and in ruins rather than rebuilt due to being deemed indefensible.
The Thrassian Plague
The Sload-engineered Thrassian Plague is by far the most devastating attack organized by the race, and certainly one of the most horrible events in Tamrielic history. Appearing within the western mainland as early as 1E 2200, the plague was responsible for the deaths of more than half of Tamriel's population at the time, as well as large amounts of livestock.[UL 1] In the year 1E 2260, the Emperor had the King of Anvil, Baron-Admiral Bendu Olo, assemble the largest coalition of Tamrielic navies in history, the All Flags Navy, and set siege to the Isles of Thras. On the way to Thras, many of the ships were lost in a storm seemingly conjured up by the Sload, but it was unable to stop the fleet. The All Flags Navy arrived at the shores of Thras and slaughtered the hopeless defenders of the beaches along with any other Sload they came across. While some sources claim Thras was sunk with powerful magicks used by the fleet, primary sources appear to imply that the Isles were purposely sunk by the Sload, with the purposeful demolition of their coral tower, in an effort to halt the invasion and destroy a large portion of the opposing fleet. It is said that the God/Arch-Warlock Syrabane aided Bendu Olo in his conquest of Thras, and was responsible for destroying the plague that ravaged Tamriel with his ring. Thras was reported to have risen from the sea again some time prior to Tiber Septim's conquests.
The War of the Uvichil
The War of the Uvichil was another attempted invasion of the Summerset Isles by the Sload. The war lasted from 1E 2911 to 1E 2917 and is remembered for the Sloads use of necromantic rituals and infernal machines.
The Sload begin their lives as tiny, amorphous, non-sentient grubs that eventually evolve into squishy, aquatic, octopus-looking creatures known as polwygles during adolescence. The larvae and polwygle stage that Sload take at birth is sometimes collected by matured Sload and used in the creation of a rare, potent, alchemical mixture known as 'Sload Soap'. It is believed by many, including the renowned mage, Divayth Fyr, that the dreadful gastropods that were responsible for spreading the Thrassian plague, were actually mutated forms of the Sload larvae.[UL 1] The most commonly seen stage of Sload is that of the adult, which appear as large, bipedal, slug-like creatures, known for their highly obscene odor.[UL 1] Younger adults lack the ability of self-reliance and are normally not seen on land, while older adults, due to their extreme weight, are completely immobile unless buoyed in water. Sload are said to be very slow moving, and have extremely limited grasping ability, hindering tool use. Sload, at birth, are hermaphroditic until they grow old enough to walk on land, in which their reproductive organs are absorbed into their bodies. Fully matured Sload are incapable of reproduction and do not care for any of the offspring that they have spawned beforehand. For these reasons, it is generally assumed that Sload are incapable of mating with other races.
While early observations claimed that the Sload were incapable of reading or writing, the feared Sload necromancer, N'Gasta, was later known to have written his own book, N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!, in the unique Sload-language during the Second Era. The Sload are said to be blessed with perfect memory and are capable of remembering everything they have seen or heard.
Sload are stated to have careful and deliberate personalities. They posses incredibly strong minds and are very quick thinkers, though this natural gift is generally hampered by the Sload's incredibly cautious nature. Sload attempt to meticulously consider every possible consequence of an action before it is undertaken, resulting in a very slow decision making process. They are capable of answering questions quickly, but, oftentimes, choose not to. The average Sload is said to be very self-centered and calculating, often scheming for their own benefit and interests, breaking laws when they believe there will be meager consequences. Sload have a rather clear lack of morality, having no issues with committing acts of blasphemy, theft, torture, kidnapping, murder, genocide, or other similar atrocities. Sload are unable to sincerely display notable human emotions beyond that of greed. They, however, have an impressive natural talent to act out human emotions, allowing for notable competence in diplomacy, but often do so in seemingly exaggerated parodies, such as laughing at bad jokes, or weeping at slight misfortunes. The Sload do not have any affinity with the concept of honor, friendship, or any form of loyalty, only showing a strange respect to those who are able to defeat or trick them. N'Gasta, the only known Sload to speak Tamrielic, referred to himself in third person when speaking, in a similar manner that Khajiit often do.
The culture of the Sload is largely based around magic, most notably Necromancy. Every land traversing Sload knows how to use the Recall spell as teleportation is the most efficient form of travel in Thras, due to the innate physical ineptitudes of the Sload. The natural personality of the Sload is based around greed and self-absorption, causing them to gain a well-known reputation as excellent merchants and smugglers. The Sload frown upon recklessness, and view mindfulness as a trait of the greatest value. All known heroes in Sload myth spend their time contemplating for years on end until they finally act, in which they always succeed; villains, on the other hand, are always quick thinking, brash, and doomed to fail. The Sload are so adamant in this demeanor that in their language, the best known translation for the word adventure means tragic disaster. Very little is known about any form of cultural leadership amongst the Sload, but one rare text briefly speaks of a bloated, eldritch, corpulent mass with a pulsating head and three eyes upon its belly, referred to as the "Elder Distended One." Why the Sload are so belligerent to other races is not fully understood by the scholars of Tamriel. The only known race the Sload have ever had any diplomatic contact with was the Maormer, due to their mutual hostilities against all other races. Despite this, there are more recorded accounts of conflict between the two races than alliances.[UL 1]
The Sload are notorious for their adeptness in the necromantic arts, often being claimed to be Tamriel's most famous necromancers. Sload have reportedly utilized Airships to carry massive amounts of corpses from Senchal to Thras, and that an eerily large number of slaves are purchased by Sload merchants in Tear, whom are implicitly killed and revived as thralls.[UL 1] While Sload have never been observed to practice necromancy on their own kind within Tamriel, it would not be beyond belief that they do so in Thras. It is true that Sload use massive amounts of their own larvae in necromantic rituals, and have on Thras, been known to revive various dead sea-creatures, such as crabs and turtles, as pets of some sort.[UL 1] Possibly the most notable Sload, relative to Tamrielic records, N'Gasta, found himself in the service of the King of Worms who gifted him an island near Stros M'kai, where he could practice his necromantic rituals and Daedra dealings. It is rumored that this type of settling was almost common-place for Sload, setting up laboratories on old Redguard burial grounds built off the coast of the mainland. While invading other lands, Sload almost always use necromancy to their advantage, infamous for conjuring massive sea monsters along coastal regions.
While the Sload are normally said to not worship any gods, some speculate based on their strange ceremonies, that they do practice some form of religion, be it ancestor worship, preservation of ancient magicks, or some other completely foreign pantheon.[UL 1] The Sload are known to practice ritualistic sacrifice to the Daedric Princes, but they seem to be approached from a purely business standpoint, rather than a form of worship.[UL 1] More unorthodox Sload customs speak of them spending years grooming certain individuals to reenact incredibly long scenes from Sload myth which conclude with each of the actors being killed by the voluntary ingestion of "desiccation crystals."[UL 1] The Sload, as a people, have a strange, unheard of, respect for the King of Worms, no doubt due to his association with necromancy, who made some form of alliance with their race.[UL 1] Many of their kind considered him to be a hero to their race. It is even said that upon his ascension to godhood, that some Sload willingly communed with him.[UL 2]
A drink known as Thrassian Chai was sometimes sold by drink vendors during the Second Era, though whether or not this beverage was an actual conception of the Sload can not be said with certainty. They were also known to have selectively bred the Tangerine Dragon Frog so that they could notice it more easily in their isles, and while some scholars say the Sload keep them as pets, the Sload word for them translates to "snack," implying they eat them as a delicacy.
Sload architecture is immediately recognizable due to the use of coral as their main building material. Within the large brackish lagoon of the atoll that makes up Thras, there lies a massive network of coral constructions and ancient shipwrecks which the Sload reportedly use for quick transit between the isles, along this network lies a multitude of submerged towers. The floors of every land-based building on Thras is said to be covered with several inches of slime covered water.[UL 1]
Certain texts speak of two enormous coral towers constructed by the Sload within Thras.
The Coral Tower
The Coral Tower was an incredibly large, blood-red coral structure built upon an isle of Thras. The tower was reported to have 'reached into the sky' and had been tipped with a large, flickering blue light. During the invasion of Thras by the All Flags Navy, the light was said to pulse and bleed energy, making the island crack and sink along with collapsing the tower. The Tower's collapse generated a great whirlpool that engulfed a large portion of the attacking fleet. It has been speculated that this structure may have actually been one of The Towers.[UL 1]
The Pillar of Thras
The Pillar of Thras was a thousand-foot-tall spiral of coral used primarily by the Sload for ritualistic sacrifice. Its location, looking over a massive unending whirlpool known as the 'Maelstrom of Bal', has led many to believe that it is, itself, a reconstruction of the Coral Tower. Sload are often brought to the peak of the tower and tossed into the whirlpool, where they either die from the water and rocks below, or vanish into Oblivion.[UL 1]
- Sea sloads
- The term "Sload" is a combination of the words "slug" and "toad." Other names for the Sload include "worms" (used as an insult by Cyrus the Restless), "Grubs," or "slug people."
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, there is a ship called the Dainty Sload north of Solitude. The figurehead on the front is in the shape of a Sload.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the people within the town of Hackdirt worship a group of enigmatic beings known as the Deep Ones. Large portions of the so-called Bible of the Deep Ones, when translated from the Daedric Alphabet, appear completely identical to the text N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!, implying the Deep Ones are in some way connected to the Sload.
- According to Michael Kirkbride, one of the developers of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, the Sloads' design is based off Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars, whom Kirkbride wished to draw. The setting of Thras is based off a worldview of sentient coral reefs, thought of by Ken Rolston. John Pearson, the voice of N'Gasta, loved Zombies, which inspired the Sloads' mastery of necromancy.[UL 3]
- In initial designs for The Elder Scrolls Online, the starting zone of the Summerset Isles would have been on the Isle of Summerset, where the Sload were working with the Maormer to make a false planet called "Orgnavar."[UL 4] This was later cut from the game prior to launch, though Lawrence Schick has stated that he still wanted to have the Sload appear in-game.[UL 5] They were added to the game four years after launch, with their inclusion in The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset.
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (mentioned only)
- ↑ Further Notes on the Sload
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Wild Regions
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Other Lands
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Eras
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Summerset Isles
- ↑ Kari's Hit List
- ↑ "Ysgramor's Sload-Skin Wine Sack" item in The Elder Scrolls Online: Thieves Guild
- ↑ Honored Ancestors
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Loading Screens (Online)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Auridon Explored III
- ↑ Auridon Explored VII
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- ↑ The Royal House of King Eamond
- ↑ Journal of Tsona-Ei, Part One
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Journal of Tsona-Ei, Part Two
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Journal of Tsona-Ei, Part Three
- ↑ Varieties of Faith: The High Elves
- ↑ The Apprentices' God
- ↑ The Alchemist's Formulary
- ↑ Appearance of N'Gasta in The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Notes on Racial Phylogeny
- ↑ N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Dialogue with N'Gasta
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 Corpse Preparation v I
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 The Doors of Oblivion
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
- ↑ Description of Tangerine Dragon Frogs in Online
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Loremaster’s Archive: A Loathsome Civilization
- ↑ Skeleton Man's Interview with Denizens of Tamriel: Xal, a Human Maruhkati, Port Telvanis
- ↑ Michael Kirkbride ― Development of the Sload
- ↑ ESO, Cut Content: Alinor and Ayarynne — Imperial Library
- ↑ Zenimax Online Writer's AMA — Lawrence Schick
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