Lore: Aetherial Fragments
This article is about the material. For the book, see Aetherial Fragments (book).
Aetherial Fragments are pieces of Aetherius which become dislodged and fall to Nirn from the heavens. These are commonly observed by the people of Tamriel as 'shooting stars'. These otherworldly materials are known for their magical power, and have often been utilized to great effect by those who manage to recover these fragments. Most notably, the Ayleids made significant use of Aetherial fragments due to their reverence for starlight.
Aetherium is an incredibly rare, luminescent blue crystal found deep underground. The crystal has a strong magical aura, but it is alchemically inert and harmonically volatile, and no known conventional process can enchant, smelt, mold, bind, or break it. It was discovered by the Dwemer of Skyrim in their deepest mines some time in the First Era. Based on its name, the crystal may have some connection to Aetherius and the Aetherial Fragments which sometimes fall to Nirn, such as the meteoric glass harnessed by the Ayleids.
The Aetherium is embedded in Gold and Dwarven Metal to create Aetherial artifacts. Other materials such as Malachite, Ebony and Sapphire are also used. Crowns, shields and staffs can all be crafted with Aetherium. The artifacts have unique and powerful enchantments, such as the ability to turn enemies ethereal, summon Dwemer Animunculi, or harness the power of the Standing Stones. An aetheric lodestone is a perfectly round orb that is highly magnetic and threaded with veins of glowing blue Aetherium.
Culanda Stones are luminescent golden crystals used by the Altmer and usually only found on the Summerset Isles. The stones are pieces of cut and enchanted Meteoric Glass, a rare form of Aetherial Fragment. Alongside Malondo Stones, they are an attempt at creating magical crystals similar to the Welkynd Stones and Varla Stones produced by the Ayleids. Culanda Stones provide a bright golden light and are therefore mostly used as a light source. They can also trigger magical effects or store magicka, but are always destroyed upon depletion, similar to Ayleid stones. Some scholars insist that the Culanda Stone improves upon Ayleid methods and can be cultivated like the Welkynd Stones once were, although others believe the Altmer simply discovered a more reliable method of recharging the original Ayleid stones. They are commonly seen on Auridon, in the ruins built by the Ancients. Culanda Lacquer is used to create armor and clothing for the College of Sapiarchs.
Jewel of Fire
Legend has it that the Jewel of Fire is a star fallen from the sky, for it glows with an inner flame. The Jewel was used by Jagar Tharn to store the power of the Staff of Chaos, so that if anyone tried to recreate the staff it would be useless. The Jewel played a large role in the Imperial Simulacrum.
In 3E 389, Jagar Tharn stole the Staff of Chaos from Barenziah's court, and used it to imprison Emperor Uriel Septim VII in the realm of Oblivion, also killing his apprentice Ria Silmane so the Elder Council would not learn of his betrayal. Tharn wanted to make sure no one could release the emperor, so he attempted to destroy the staff. However, since the Staff of Chaos is indestructible, it was instead split into eight pieces, which Tharn then hid in forgotten, dangerous places throughout Tamriel. Tharn then made sure that no one could ever recreate the staff by draining its magical power into the Jewel of Fire, which he kept hidden in the Imperial Palace.
Malondo Stones are golden crystals used by the Altmer and usually only found on the Summerset Isles. The stones are pieces of cut and enchanted Meteoric Glass, a rare form of Aetherial Fragment. Alongside Culanda Stones, they are an attempt at creating magical crystals similar to the Welkynd Stones and Varla Stones produced by the Ayleids. Unlike the Ayleid stones, which crumble to dust when harnessed by modern mages, Malondo Stones can be recharged and can be tapped by spellcasters as a source of magicka replenishment or to restore charge to enchanted items. Some scholars insist that the Malondo Stone improves upon Ayleid methods and can be cultivated like the Welkynd Stones once were, although others believe the Altmer simply discovered a more reliable method of recharging the original Ayleid stones. Vitrified Malondo is used to create armor and clothing for the Psijic Order.
Meteoric Glass (also called Aetherial Crystals) is a variety of Aetherial Fragment. Compared to the more common meteoric iron, it rarely falls to Nirn. The glass is crystalline and comes in various colors. It is prized for being magical in nature and highly enchantable.
The Ayleids, known for harnessing Aetherial Fragments, used the glass to create artifacts like Welkynd Stones and Varla Stones. The crystals were also used as a source of light in Ayleid settlements, likely due to their abhorrence of fire, which they saw as an impure and primal form of light. Skyshards were believed to be shards of Aetherial magicka that carry the essence of Nirn. They are sometimes linked to Lorkhan or Anu. Vakka Stones are a type of meteoric glass found in Murkmire, while Culanda and Malondo Stones are a variety of meteoric glass used by the Altmer.
When properly cultivated, meteoric glass crystals are able to grow and multiply. The Ayleids were only beginning to cultivate the material when they were wiped out by the Alessian Slave Rebellion. Naturally occurring meteoric glass is a common sight in Ayleid ruins, and can often be seen growing on the crumbling limestone walls of these underground structures. Enchanted pieces of meteoric glass, such as Welkynd Stones, can grow in the same way.
Stormhold Crystals and the seven Star Teeth are similar in nature to meteoric glass, but it is unknown if they are made of the material. The origins of the Jewel of Fire also suggest a link to the glass.
Meteoric Iron is a variety of Aetherial Fragment. It is the most common fragment to fall to Nirn. All known samples of the metal are a rusty brown in color. It is prized by armorers and enchanters for its properties in the forging of enchanted weapons and armors. The Ayleids, known for harnessing Aetherial Fragments, incorporated the metal into their architecture. As such, it is a common sight in Ayleid ruins.
Meteoric Iron is the primary component of Ayleid Wells, enchanted artifacts found dotted throughout Cyrodiil. The wells are often located in the wilderness, far away from known Ayleid settlements, although they can sometimes be found outside Ayleid ruins. It is presumed that they harvest magical power from starlight. It is also suggested, without evidence or support, that they are located at the meeting points of ancient lines of magical power; however, modern arcane arts have discovered no perceptible evidence of such lines of power. Ayleid Wells are regarded by scholars as the apex achievement of Ayleid magical art, and are believed to use Aetherial crystal to aggregate magicka from starlight even in subterranean locations. Similar relics known as Aetherial Wells are also found on Auridon, where they were constructed by the Ancients.
Charged wells radiate magical power back into the sky. Some scholars theorize that they are of religious or ritualistic significance, perhaps a means of offering magic back to the heavens. Those with magical talents can draw magicka from the wells to restore and buff their own reserves of power. No ritual or arcane knowledge is necessary, suggesting that the wells were designed to serve unskilled magic users. Drained wells replenish their magicka at midnight. Drawing power from these wells has also been known to bless the user with improved health.
Skyshards and Sky Prisms are a rare type of meteoric glass. Sometimes called "Shards of Aetherius", skyshards are shards of Aetherial magicka that carry the essence of Nirn. They are sometimes linked to Lorkhan or Anu.
Like other aetherial fragments, Sky Prisms fall to Nirn from Aetherius through the stars, although only during specific lunar alignments. As they fall, the Prisms can be seen splitting into three shards. If three skyshards are subsequently brought together, they reform into a silvery prism and confer the magical energy to any nearby being. As well as allowing mortals to become more powerful through the creation of prisms, absorbing the power of even a single skyshard allows a Soul Shriven to be re-attuned to Anuic magic and thus return to Nirn from Oblivion.
Although usually found outdoors, skyshards are often discovered and brought underground by hoarders. The Ayleids were known to harness skyshards in some way. They can also be summoned through ritual, even in Oblivion. Realms such as Coldharbour and the Clockwork City have a significant number of inexplicable fallen skyshards.
|This article or section contains information from a crossover with Portal. As such, its canonicity within the Elder Scrolls is inherently ambiguous.|
Space Cores, also known as Space Spheres or Spheriphem, are moonstone constructs native to the space above Nirn. Similar to Aetherial Fragments, Space Cores occasionally fall to Tamriel, although the experience is apparently unsettling for them. They will therefore attempt to cajole passing adventurers into helping them return to the void. They are seemingly sentient and possess a single eye. Space Cores can be used in Conjuration rituals.
Star Teeth is a term usually used to refer to a group of seven magical prismatic crystals taken from the skies by airships during the Merethic Era. The term is also used to refer to the material they are made from, which even in small shards is considered valuable. It has been used in things such as armor. The denizens of western Craglorn use star teeth decoratively to create extremely valuable studded clothing such as belts. Similar crystals include Varla Stones, Welkynd Stones, Culanda Stones, Malondo Stones, Vakka Stones, and Stormhold Crystals.
Stormhold Crystal is a magical type of crystal found in the tunnels beneath the Black Marsh city of Stormhold. There are two types of Stormhold Crystals: Filled Crystals and Hollow Crystals. Filled Crystals have many different enchantments, such as healing, magical buffs or teleportation; some crystals can also be used for offensive purposes, killing opponents instantly. Hollow Crystals are used to store evil and corruption. The Storm Crystal is a large crystal which glows with distilled power and has the ability to hold vast amounts of corruption.
The origin of the crystals is a mystery. They were created by the priests of a nearly forgotten religion. Given Stormhold's origins as an Ayleid city, the priests were likely Ayleids, a race known for harnessing Meteoric Glass to create magical crystals. Similar crystals include Welkynd Stones, Varla Stones and Star Teeth.
Some time after the extinction of the Ayleids, the Empire set up a prison in the old ruins beneath Stormhold. Warden Varus learned of the Storm Crystal and used the prisoners as slave labor, forcing them to dig in the tunnels. Varus made a large profit extracting the Stormhold Crystal, and planned to locate the Storm Crystal and use it to store all the evil in the Empire, titling himself the Slayer of Evil. The prisoners who dug in the tunnels, nicknamed "tunnel rats", kept some of the crystals for themselves, for use in smuggling or exploring the dangerous undead-infested tunnels. Varus overlooked this theft as long as tunnel rats were not greedy.
Over time, prisoners and their overseers began to go mad, fleeing into the tunnels and attacking workers clearing the ruins. Digging in the tunnels caused corruption to infect the workers, which led to madness and lizard-like deformities over time. Varus attempted to cure this by removing evil from one man to place into another using the Hollow Crystals. Varus afflicted far too many, and the prison camp's healer, Helga, was unable to cure all of them. This resulted in the earth itself oozing corruption. Many of the overseers began to show horrific deformities, and prisoners weren't expected to survive long.
Varus, driven insane in his search for the Storm Crystal, continued to open new tunnels and eventually tracked down the Crystal. A prisoner nicknamed the "master tunnel rat", with the help of Helga and several other prisoners, gathered enough equipment from the ruins to defeat the overseers and confront Varus. The two fought for the Storm Crystal, and the prisoner was victorious. Although the Crystal was unable to hold the evil of the Empire, the prisoner was able to use it to clear the prison camp of corruption, letting the inmates go free.
Vakka Stones (literally "Sun Stones" in the Jel language) are bright yellow crystals used by the ancient Argonians and only known to be found in Murkmire. The stones are pieces of cut and enchanted Meteoric Glass, a rare form of Aetherial Fragment, glowing with arcane power. They are believed to be magical crystals similar to the Welkynd Stones and Varla Stones produced by the Ayleids in Cyrodiil, and rival that of the Kajin-Jat Crystal. Prior to Duskfall, some tribes of ancient Argonians were directed by their Hist tree to worship the sun or even to collect its power. Known as the Sun-Blessed, they were eventually betrayed by their Sithis-worshippping brethren, and the practice faded into obscurity.
A Varla Stone (Aldmeris for "star stone") is an enchanted shard of cut Meteoric Glass, a rare type of Aetherial Fragment. The stones were created by the Ayleids. The luminescent white crystals are remarkably powerful, enabling untrained users to restore magical energy to any number of enchanted items. Because of their great value and utility, many of these artifacts were looted from Ayleid ruins after the disappearance of their creators. As such, intact Varla Stones are also extremely rare, but since they are small and easily concealed, diligent explorers may still occasionally come across them.
When used, a Varla Stone will crumble to dust; there is no known way of recharging or preserving the stone, although scholars believe that their magical power may have originally been maintained by the Great Welkynd Stone of an Ayleid city. Varla Stones are usually found atop pedestals in Ayleid ruins, sometimes protected behind a remotely-opened cage. Flawed Varla Stones can also be used to recharge an enchantment, although to a much lesser extent, roughly equivalent to that of a common soul gem.
Welkynd Stones (Aldmeris for "sky stone/heaven stone"; literally, "sky child") are luminescent aquamarine crystals created by the Ayleids. The stones are pieces of cut and enchanted Meteoric Glass, a rare form of Aetherial Fragment. The stones contain the concentrated power of Mundus and were used as a means of storing magicka. Magically talented individuals can draw the power from the stone to restore their own magicka. The means of restoring power to a drained stone was lost with the death of the Ayleids; without this knowledge, the stones simply crumble to dust after being used. Welkynd Stones are prized by mages, and many remain to be looted from Ayleid ruins, where they are often placed atop pedestals for illumination.
Great Welkynd Stones are exceptionally large pieces of enchanted meteoric glass. A Great Stone was once located at the heart of each Ayleid city and acted as the source of the settlement's magical enchantments. Scholars speculate that the Great Stones were linked to the lesser stones, restoring and maintaining their power. Great Welkynd Stones were highly sought by mages following the downfall of the Ayleids; in time, all of the stones were plundered from their cities. The last Great Welkynd Stone was taken from the Ayleid city of Miscarcand in 3E 433, to be used by Martin Septim in a ritual to create a portal to Gaiar Alata. The stone acted as the polar opposite of a Great Sigil Stone and was destroyed in the ritual.
Like other types of meteoric glass, Welkynd Stones have the ability to grow and multiply if correctly cultivated. The Ayleids mastered the art of creating the crystalline structures and were beginning to cultivate them outside of their underground communities when they disappeared from history. Uncut Welkynd Stone crystals can occasionally be seen growing on the stone walls of subterranean Ayleid ruins. Lithnilian, an Altmer scholar, was the first to discover the crystals growing in a natural cave. Bramblepoint Cave was located in the Nibenay Basin. The discovery proved that, with the proper materials, magic, and research, the Welkynd Stone could adapt to any environment.
Dark Welkynd Stones were used by the Ayleids for security. The black crystals glow with red light, and cast powerful elemental destruction magic at trespassers who get too close. Many of these ancient traps continue to function, presenting a dangerous obstacle to adventurers exploring the ruins. Some Dark Welkynd Stones will power down if the intruder stops moving, although this method is unreliable.