In the waning years of the Third Era, after the coming of the Nerevarine and the deaths of two members of the Tribunal, Lord Vivec decided to go to Cyrodiil on a personal matter. Along the way, he had interesting discussions with scholars. They spoke about several topics, from The Dragon Break to the mystery of the Psijic Endeavor.
Vehk's Book of Hours, concerning the Dragon Break[edit | edit source]
"...Of special note is the Blue Star, which the Alesstics call ‘Mnemoli', that runs through this part of the Aurbis every untime. The psijiics hold it in much reverence, and many of their folk make pilgrimages to Veloth when it appears because a mountain there catches fire at its passing. This mountain is reputed to be one of the last refuges of the Dwemer before they departed from this world...
"...and so to most , the middle dawn is little more thanundisputable and grandiose display of mystic power, which is to say nonsense, and few regard it as the numinous gateway that it really signifies. Like many things they cannot explain, the middle dawn is merely another excuse to declare good omens and portents, but unto you it should be known as the Hurling Disk, numbered seventeen...
"...according to the texts, Mnemoli is a wayward child of ANU, one of a pantheon of forgotten deities known as the ‘Star Orphans'... a tribe of gods and goddesses that apparently felt abandoned when the Sun Withdrew from the World-Making. Like many of her siblings, Mnemoli is both confused and delighted with the Aurbis, and explores its five quarters as best she can without the help and regulation of worship, which are not needed (by which I mean, always there) during breakings of the sideways wheel...
"...the Hurling Disk, it is conjectured, contains a strange mingling of magic from both the Solar and Lunar spheres. That singular rarity, coupled with the rarity of its presence within the world, has kept it from gaining a strong foothold in the schools of known sorcery. The Selectives claim a similar source of power in their depictions of the Right Reaching, but that has not deterred those magicians which still try to fathom the meaning of the middle dawn and what benefits they may derive from that understanding. Perhaps it is the association of Mnemoli with the vanishing of sequential sensation (and, by extension, the teeth-filled stare of the Alinor Dragon that comes thereafter) that drives seekers of arcane knowledge to pledge their scholarship to the Aetherius rather than dealing with the esoteric teachings of my murder-brother SEHT or her many aspects, who loves the secret tower so much that she trucks with folk that first gave it legs, head, and sexual recepticle...
"...one last note regarding the phenomenon of the middle dawn: it should be mentioned that at least one myth (‘The Blue Bone-Ring of Jyg') suggests a relationship between Mnemolic sorcery and the Void Ghost Eaters, the magic practiced in the countless Trickster cults scattered throughout the Tamri-El."
Vehk's Book of the Last Hour[edit | edit source]
"And in those waning days, I decided to go to Cyrodiil with my Water Face, so that I might tell all I met along the way the truth and the truth only. I was then the Thief of the world, and my charges were three (and that being a very significant number to me), one of which was the Tower.
"And it was of the Tower that my emperor wanted to hear. He was dying and I loved him yet. He, too, was a Master and so I knew that he realized just how big a realm that the Tower encompassed. I am sure that when I meet the Warrior and Arctus again, they will have brought similar burdens. My guesses are the Lord and Ritual, but I do not know and would be delighted to be wrong.
"Naturally, many of my acolytes and lovers and assassins want to come with me, and I will not tell them no; the way to the Ruby Throne is long, and I have not taken so long a physical sojourn as this since lending my hands to the Ghostgate. I will enjoy their company and answer their questions, too, and no doubt I will put many to bed with song with the borrowed voice of my sister. Further still, my coming is known and the manner of my coming, and I understand that there are lorekeepers that want my counsel, my explanations, the light of my heaven-seen face. I sent warnings that no riddles will come of it. The lawyers are pouting now.
"Understand that I am a Master and make my own way. For me, Mystery is dead. That is so hard to write. You cannot feel the pause. My brother is dead.
"So for all these reasons and more, and mostly because there are more mysteries in the Capital that I do not know and shall take the place of those I own, this pilgrimage shall be filled with nothing but untangled truth about the Tower. I can hear him now: what of Auriel's breaking? What of my twinned antecedent? What is the meaning of the endeavor that Artaeum refuses to admit? What, indeed, said the Thief to the Master that mostly knew.
"For my part, I know my own first question: What do you want to hear first?"
--Book of the Last Hour, Vehk and Vehk
...the Tower[edit | edit source]
Vehk is it? Well well. Perhaps you better start with a smaller bite than the "true nature of the Psijiics" if we hope to have a complete answer before the Dragon Breaks once and for all. Unless my readings on Dwemer numerology are mistaken, the Psijiic Endeavor touches the heart of most of the mysteries of this world. Ha ha, thankfully I am under no self-imposed obligation to speak clearly!
So, Thief, let us begin with something smaller, but still large enough for those of us still within Time. Tell us of the Psijiics and their relation to the Marukhati Selectives (and, by extension, to the Tower).
"By extension, to the Tower..."?
It extends the other way, I'm afraid. But yes, let's go that way, spinning. I have spoken of this in an earlier life .
What is the Tower?
The Tower is an ideal, which, in our world of myth and magic, means that it is so real that it becomes dangerous. It is the existence of the True Self within the Universal Self, and is embodied by the fourth constellation, and is guarded by the Thief, the third. The Thief is another metaphorical absolute; in this case, he represents the “taking of the Tower” or, and sometimes more importantly, the “taking” of the Tower’s secret.
What is the Tower’s secret?
How to permanently exist beyond duplexity, antithesis, or trouble. This is not an easy concept, I know. Imagine being able to feel with all of your senses the relentless alien terror that is God and your place in it, which is everywhere and therefore nowhere, and realizing that it means the total dissolution of your individuality into boundless being. Imagine that and then still being able to say “I”. The “I” is the Tower.
What created the Tower?
The Wheel created it. The Wheel is the structure of this universe, and it is easiest to see it that way: rim, spokes, hub, and all the spaces within and without. I shall take each in turn.
What created the Wheel?
Anu and Padhome, stasis and change, both vast realms sitting in the void, they created it. Not vast, infinite, as the void was infinite. Imagine an infinity enclosed by another; you come away with a bubble. Now watch as the two bubbles touch. Their intersection is a perfect circle of pattern and possibility that we shall call the Aurbis. The Aurbis is the foundation of the Wheel.
What are the spaces within and without of the Wheel?
Outside the wheel is the void, bereft of anything. It cannot be named. If it has more aspects than stasis and change, they are outside of true language. Inside of the Wheel is the Aurbis, as I have explained.
What is the rim of the Wheel?
As the process of subcreation continued, both Anu and Padhome awakened. For to see your antithesis is to finally awaken. Each gave birth to their souls, Auriel and Sithis, and these souls regarded the Aurbis each in their own part, and from this came the etada, the original patterns. These etada eventually congealed.
Anu’s firstborn, for he mostly desired order, was time, anon Akatosh. Padhome’s firstborn went wandering from the start, changing as he went, and wanted no name but was branded with Lorkhan. As time allowed more and more patterns to individualize, Lorkhan watched the Aurbis shape itself and grew equally delighted and tired with each new shaping. As the gods and demons of the Aurbis erupted, the get of Padhome tried to leave it all behind for he wanted all of it and none of it all at once. It was then that he came to the border of the Aurbis.
He saw the Tower, for a circle turned sideways is an “I”. This was the first word of Lorkhan and he would never, ever forget it.
What are the spokes of the Wheel?
For ages the etada grew and shaped and destroyed each other and destroyed each other’s creations. Some were like Lorkhan and discovered the void outside of the Aurbis, though if some saw the Tower I do not know, but I know that, if they did, none held it in such high esteem. In any case, some of those that did see the void created its like inside the Aurbis, but each of these smaller voids sought each other out. Void shall follow void; the etada called it Oblivion. What was left of the Aurbis was solid change, otherwise known as magic. The etada called this Aetherius.
Now Lorkhan had by at this point seen everything there was to see, and could accept none of it. Here were the etada with their magic and their voids and everything in between and he yearned for the return to flux but at the same time he could not bear to lose his identity. He did not know what he wanted, but he knew how to build it. Through trickery (“We have made the Aurbis unstable with the voids”) and wisdom (“We are of two minds and so should make a perfect gem of compromise”) and force (“Do what I say, rude spirit”), he bound some of the strongest etada to create the World.
The spokes of the Wheel are the eight gifts of the Aedra, sons and daughters of Aetherius. The voids between each spoke number sixteen, and their masters are the sons and daughters of Oblivion. The center of the Wheel was another circle, the hub, which held everything together. The etada called this Mundus.
What is the hub of the Wheel?
We are the hub, the Mundus that goes by many names. We are the heart of all creation. What does this mean? Why should we care? Lorkhan created it so that we could find what he did. In fact, and here is the secret: the hub is the reflection of its creators, the circle within the circle, only the border to ours is so much easier to see. Stand in its flux and remain whole of mind. Look at it sideways and see the “I”.
This is the Tower.
Now then, yes, that's a good place to start, I think. Where shall we go from here, endeavor or break or the endeavor to break?
Concerning the Psijic Order and the Psijic Endeavor[edit | edit source]
Nothing but a namesake, I am sorry to say. Now we can end that mystery. The Endeavor is a method of achieving the Tower and then what to do after. The Order is not, and does not really care for the idea of the Endeavor at all, thinking it wrong-headed nearly from the start.
So what is the Psijic Order?
A monastic order of the Altmer, impressive with age, and obsessed with a kind of mythic genealogy, made famous by their monomythism. Theirs was mostly the study of reverse-ancestry as a means to combat spiritual and material degradation. Or at least it was, I should say, as I do not know what they do now and do not much care. They were wrong-headed nearly from the start.
It is interesting to note that their original views were very unorthodox for Altmer, and thus their exile from Alinor. These views included the suggestion that Anu’s son, the Time Dragon, was formed in reaction to Padhome’s influence. In effect, Anu had finally done something. This inconceivable effect gave rise to an equally inconceivable cause, and so PSJJJJ was named and the Order eventually took his name.
Veloth was not a member of these exiles, no. Some of the Order’s precepts and ideas do (or did) flourish in the beginnings of the Alessian Order, the Temple of the One in Cyrodiil, most Maruhkati sects (including the Selectives, though they would deny it), Ancestral-Mothism, and, most famous of all, the Mages Guild.
Now we can move on safely to the Endeavor. Any questions up to this point?
More about Aedra - Daedra[edit | edit source]
"Sons and daughters of" should be read as associates of/associated with, especially insofar as this association was a conscious choice.
Today the common parlance is that only the eight that followed Lorkhan and created the Mundus are truly "Aedra," but this is folly. Some were not even the strongest of the Aetherius-aligned etada at the time, but were made as such by their creation of the dawn.
Remember, even the word "Daedra" started as a youthful rebellion.
I promised no riddles, but we speak here of the family-trees of the earliest divine planets, thrones, and seekers. Aurbis was created from the two, its energies coalesced into first forms, and these in turn made of the Aurbis what they could; keep sons and daughters in that context and it becomes easier to see them.
On Aldmeri Ancestor Worship[edit | edit source]
Ancestor worship is the common center of all Aldmeri religions. The application of that worship is an entirely different thing, and the designs of the Order have nothing to do with the Endeavor, though they may have inspired some to take that road.
The arbitrary and the motivated in regarding one's divine ancestors: ignoring a manifest concern for belief in them as us, instead we concern ourselves with intensity and its relationship with action, valorizing ‘little narratives’ and proliferation of narratives in our native cultures to the point that there is no perch from extraneous content. Pure subjectivity is no longer possible; instead it becomes akin to sensory deprivation, yet without the fear, for we sense things that remind us of the dawn: the sacrifice into the stabilizing bones, new-built towers with broken intentions, and first metals gone blue from exposure to the long sun. The quest toward the ur-you for certainty and foundations is not innocent. However, it is an honest vindication for truth and superhuman ideals, which means it should be regarded as such by our own sense of fault: we made this, we dreamed this, we made it viable by voting with our seductions, we will live again to show our genuine applause.
More on the Psijic Endeavor[edit | edit source]
What is the Psijic Endeavor?
The basis for the teachings of the Prophet Veloth, founder of Morrowind and father of Dunmeri culture. Veloth describes the Psijic Endeavor as a process of glorious apotheosis, where time itself is bent inward and outward into 'a shape that is always new'. Those who can attain this state, called chim, experience an ineffable sense of the godhead, and escape the strictures of the world-egg.
It should be noted that, while Veloth is given credit for establishing the anti-laws that govern the Endeavor, this process has its antecedents in the teachings of the Black Hands Mephala, Boethiah, Azura, Trinimac, and, of course, Lorkhan, through that lord's association with PSJJJJ.
What is "chim"?
From the Ehlnofex: an ancient sigil connoting 'royalty', 'starlight', and 'high splendor'. As with most characters of that dangerous language, the sigil CHIM constantly distorts itself. Those scholars that can perceive its shape regard it as a Crowned Tower that threatens to break apart at the slightest break in concentration.
Representations of the chim, and by extension the Psijic Endeavor, are always protean values, such as the anumidi models renowned by the Dwemer, the Scarab of contemporary astrolothurges, and the Striking ("exact egg-cracking") of old Argonia. All of these representations possess an innate and constant aspect of transformation.
What is the purpose of the Psijic Endeavor?
To transcend mortal boundaries set in place by immortal rulers. At its simplest, the state of chim provides an escape from all known laws of the divine worlds and the corruptions of the black sea of Oblivion. It is a return to the first brush of Anu-Padomay, where stasis and change created possibility. Moreso, it the essence needed to hold that 'dawning' together without disaster. One that knows CHIM observes the Tower without fear. Moreso: he resides within.
I am confused. What is the relationship of the Psijic Endeavor and the Tower?
Ah. Because from within one, you may regard the other.
That helps little. What examples of the Psijic Endeavor exist today?
The world you stand on is said to be the first attempt at chim. It is also admittedly the most famous. That it was choreographed by Lorkhan and ultimately failed is well-documented, but whether or not this failure was intentional is still disputed.
Wait. Why would anyone want to purposely fail the process of CHIM?
And this is the most-reached destination of all that embark upon this road. Why would Lorkhan and his (unwitting?) agents sabotage their experiments with the Tower? Why would he crumble that which he esteems?
Perhaps he failed so you might know how not to.