Welcome to my new lore series for Elder Scrolls. I’m going to be taking my abilities at lazily but efficiently explaining mechanics and ideas while throwing in a bunch of really dumb humor, and combining it with my nerdiness about Elder Scrolls and its lore. Also, yes, the actual name of the series is a geeky/nerdy Elder Scrolls lore pun. I’m da baws.
This lore series will hopefully teach you the very insanely rich lore of the Elder Scrolls world in an entertaining manner, and allow you to out-nerd your friends whenever you sit down to play a single player TES game and/or ESO with them.
THE ELDER SCROLLS
So the title doesn’t confuse you, seem redundant, and imply that I’m covering all lore in one article, I’m just going to make this clear that this first chapter is actually about the titular Elder Scrolls themselves.
The Elder Scrolls are the Hotpockets of destiny. I could pretty much leave the explanation at that, really. They’re cylindrical, well, scrolls, and they both DGAF about space-time whatsoever, and tell about the future in a non-linear and non-fixed way. They also originate outside of space and time.
Essentially, when one or multiple Scrolls say something is going to happen at some point, it is actually very likely that they will not remain saying that something is going to happen, because events may have changed that happening… wait I don’t even know WTF I’m saying. Retry.
Er, the Elder Scrolls are like if your co-workers were in charge of destiny and stuff. One day they’d be all “you’re going to get hair in dat coffee maker” (why did I think up this analogy), the next they’ll be like “wut no dat coffee maker is sealed tighter than a nasa shuttle, but u will die tomoz from a robopuppeh from space”.
i.e. as the future is not fixed, the Scrolls can and will rewrite themselves regularly. However, once a predicted future is carried out, the Scrolls will be honest and admit that those events happened, and what has happened doesn’t normally change in the Scrolls. It is possible to alter the past with the use of an Elder Scroll, however, such as in the quest The Ultimate Heist in TES IV: Oblivion.
Another interesting thing, is that while what the Scrolls says fluctuates, so too does the existence and number of the Scrolls themselves. You can’t actually count the amount of Scrolls (I know someone out there will go in Skyrim, open their inventory and go “I got one two three Dog you need to get off that hazelnut espresso broseph”), as Elder Scrolls DGAF about math either, and the number of them in existence at any one time fluctuates. The Imperial Library did once try to count them, as can be read about in An Accounting of the Elder Scrolls [read on UESP.net] [read on Imperial Library] after an Elder Scroll may or may not have been stolen during the course of TES IV: Oblivion.
STUDY OF THE ELDER SCROLLS
Studying an Elder Scrolls makes you go permanently blind. Among all of the other things the Scrolls DGAF about, eyesight is also included. However, the Scrolls will let you keep your eyesight as long as you dunno WTF you are actually reading. So it is more appropriate to say that the Scrolls make you gradually and permanently lose eyesight the more you gradually learn and comprehend what they say. Kinda like if you snook on your girlfriend’s phone and read her texts, and she found out, but not quite as rapid.
The Cult of the Ancestor Moth is the most famous group to have studied the Elder Scrolls. The Moth Priests read the Scrolls until one day, they become completely and irreversibly blind. They have hidden sanctuaries scattered all around Tamriel, but they also study the Scrolls within the White-Gold Tower itself. The younger Moth Priests (who have better eyesight) take care of the older Priests.
The Dwemer — or dwarves — being the clever sons of biscuits they were (their cleverness didn’t keep them from going *poof*, sadly) had designed a way to read the Scrolls without going blind, by using machines to inscribe the patterns of the Scrolls onto lexicons.
The Elder Scrolls were held within the White-Gold Tower since at least the end of the sixth century of the Second Era (the time period ESO takes place in), although possibly before that. I could find no records of when the Scrolls were first discovered and/or put in the White-Gold Tower, although it is possible that they were contained there since around the First Era, 243, when the Men races took over the White-Gold Tower, and as the Cult of the Ancestor Moth originated from the Nords, it is possible that they placed the Elder Scrolls there.
During the last twenty or so years of the sixth century of the Second Era, the Elder Scrolls are scattered among the alliances, as they war for dominance over Cyrodiil and the Imperial City.
The Scrolls vanish out of the Imperial Library and become scattered all around Tamriel in the one-hundred-and-seventy-fifth year of the Fourth Era, the same year the White-Gold Concordat is written, or around twenty-six years before the events of Skyrim.
CLOSING AND FURTHER READING
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you again next week! This will indeed be a weekly series, and next week we’re going to cover the Imperial City and the White-Gold Tower, being as it has a large significance in ESO (and large significance for me as it was the first city I saw when I first became an Elder Scrolls fanboi, during Oblivion’s release, although I had seen and probably played Arena and Daggerfall a long time before that). Other things I hope to cover soon is the Dwemer (big fan o’ dem, being that I loved Morrowind) and the Dunmer and their culture (again, Morrowind fan)
- A list of books regarding the Elder Scrolls on the Imperial Library
- UESP.net article on the Cult of the Ancestor Moth
- UESP.net article on Elder Scrolls
- UESP.net article on the White-Gold Tower