Lore: Lady Clarisse Laurent Answers Your Questions
"Lady Clarisse Laurent,
I understand you enjoy searching for artifacts with the Guild of Mages, namely around High Rock, and I was curious as to the legal process you must go through to adventure into these ruins. Are you required to go through any sort of authority? After gaining access to a ruin, would you encounter any further legality if you happen upon a powerful magical artifact, such as a Great Welkynd Stone in an Ayleid ruin? How do these legalities differ from the places around Tamriel in which you have explored so far?
P.S. I did not forget we were supposed to go for tea the other day. I had to assist Gabrielle Benele with an important project. I hope you understand.
Wizard Solinar of the Mages Guild"
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "Legal process? What a curious notion! But perhaps you are a Cyrodilic, or even from Summerset, where such encumbrances are common. I am a Breton noble, and therefore accustomed to deciding for myself such matters of propriety and legality. I would never do anything so gauche as to plunder the ancestral tomb of living aristocrats, but beyond that, well … the pursuit of knowledge takes one where it will!"
"Well, if it isn't my dear friend Clarisse. I erect the spine of enjoyment! It has been, what? Five years now? We never did meet up again after that drunken night in the Screeching Echkin Tavern in Farrun where we...(cough), well, never mind that now my dear. What I wanted to ask you about my Lady is the decline, ostracization, and now disappearance of the minotaurs. The 'Men of Tor/Taur', depending on the context, are commonly believed to be the descendants of Saint Alessia the Free and the demiprince Morihaus son of Kyne. The second emperor, Belharza the Man-Bull, was the first Minotaur and their son according to the ancient fables. The Imperials of the First Era seemed to view the minotaurs as brethren, and coexisted with them peacefully. But as I read documents reaching all the way into the modern day I see repeated mentions of the Minotaurs as 'savages' and 'rampaging monsters', especially in the Imperial tomes. Why did respect for the Minotaur's dissolve near the beginning of the Second Era? And why have they disappeared from Cyrodiil entirely?" – Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "For the answer to this you must look further back, into the early and middle First Era, when the Alessian Order was in power in the Empire of Cyrodiil. Though the documentary record of that time is fragmentary, one thing is clear: the Alessians' dislike of nonhuman races was not confined to their hatred for Elves. Minotaurs, always a target of suspicion and fear because of their size and strength, were redefined by the Alessians as 'monsters' and classed with creatures like ogres and trolls. They were driven into the hills and forests, and whatever culture they previously had was lost.
"However, they were never entirely wiped out, and Minotaurs are said to roam the backwoods and hills of the Colovian Highlands and the Gold Coast even today. I may just look into this myself, after I complete my planned expedition into the Wrothgarian Mountains! Travel to the Gold Coast has been difficult recently, thanks to the whims of the so-called Pirate Queen of Anvil, but it's my understanding that, within the next year, it may be possible for us to resume visits to the towns of Anvil and Kvatch. I shall have Stibbons see to the arrangements as soon as it's feasible."
"Greetings, I am Hundorian. It warms my scales to be writing this to you Lady Clarisse Laurent. I would like to know more about this vulpine like race called the Lilmothiit. Is it true that they may have been wiped out by the Knahaten Flu? My tribe is nomadic and I heard that the Lilmothiit may have also been nomadic and tribal like. Are all of these just myths and rumors or could there be some truth to this? I hope my letter reaches you safely and that you will be able to respond. I have also included a pouch of dirt with the letter. You may use it for anything you wish as long as you use it wisely. Dirt guide you Lady Clarisse Laurent." – Hundorian, Lord of Dirt
"Greetings, Lady Clarisse:
During my studies, I have come across a few references to the extinct Lilmothiit, a nomadic race of fox-like people from Black Marsh. They are said to be related to the Khajiit, though I am not sure this is true (although it does seem supported by their name: from what some of my Khajiiti allies have told me, Lilmothiit translates to "one who is from Lilmoth" in Ta'agra which suggests that they spoke this language as well, or a similar one - unless this is simply a name given to them, in the same way Altmer like myself are called "High Elves"). I have not been able to find much else on them, besides the fact that they founded the city of Blackrose. Do you know anything more about this mysterious race?
Alarra - Advisor of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits"
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "Ah, the late, lamented, and now lost Lilmothiit! By all accounts, the entire race did succumb to the terrible Knahaten Flu, and we shall never now speak to a living member of the Fox-Folk. However, we can rejoice in the fact that they have undoubtedly left newly-empty and untouched settlements behind them, and thus we can bring the Lilmothiit back to life through the discipline of archeology! Of course, they lived on the remote and opposite side of Tamriel from High Rock, so they are almost unknown to us Breton scholars—but I plan to personally remedy this lack! After visiting the Gold Coast, I hope to continue by sea to Leyawiin, and then journey overland to Murkmire in Black Marsh. Then we shall see what we can find!"
"Dear Lady Laurent,
I am most delighted to have the opportunity to talk to someone so versed in the arts of history and archeology. I have followed your career and must say your enthusiastic and pedantic approach to matters and peoples most ancient shames your more "professional" and "learned" colleagues. I have contacted you in the hopes you will shed light on our enigmatic ancestors: the Nedes. Many scholars in Wayrest can discuss in length Dwemer technology and Ayleid magics, but few take an interest in the history and culture of our ancestors. My Nordic colleagues insist Nedics were nothing but Nordic tribes, enslaved by elves, while the imperials claim Nedes were of Atmoran origin, but a different peoples. And yet some claim the Nedes were indigenous to Tamriel in the first place, completely separate from the Atmorans. What, in your scholarly opinion, is the origin and birthplace of the Nedics? Do you believe they were Atmoran, or something else entirely? In that line of thought, is there a significant difference between the Nedes that inhabited the different provinces, like the proto-Bretons and proto-Cyrodiils? And lastly, do you know what kind of unique magics and practices the Nedes possessed, and how they relate to their culture? I truly hope you will be able to shed light into our most mysterious and underappreciated of ancestors, dear Lady.
Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte, of the Wayrest Mage's Guild"
"To the Lady Laurent,
As a scholar of many disciplines, I would like to enquire about one of the more obscure points of archaeology. This subject, which is lacking in my own research as well as that of many others, concerns the early mannish cultures of Tamriel, the Nedes and their contemporaries. What, if anything, do you know about races such as the Keptu, the "Men-of-Ket", Orma, Yerpest, Horwalli, Al-Hared, Al-Gemha, et cetera? I fear that with the dearth of written records from these tribal people, the only sources available to a scholar of the written word such as myself are those rare scraps from the Ayleids and their like, who were most often writing from the perspective of subjugators, with no care for the actual culture of the subjugated. Many thanks in advance for any illumination you can provide.
– Scholar-in-Exile, Querulus Praeco"
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "Though I have dug only a few Nedic sites, I am rather ridiculously well-read on the subject. Which means I've read the mere half-dozen books that address the matter in depth, all of which contradict each other. However, that only obliges me, as a proud amateur scholar of aristocratic descent, to form my own opinions on the subject. These opinions are as follows: the catch-all term 'Nede' is applied so broadly to Merethic-Era humans as to be almost worthless. It is indisputable, to my mind, that all the human tribes of Northern Tamriel (pre-Ra Gada, of course) had their origins in mythic Atmora, but that they emigrated here from different parts of it, and at different times, over a period of many lifetimes. Each tribe came with its own culture, and their cultures were further mixed and admixed after arrival in Tamriel. Once dear Emeric settles that silly conflict in Cyrodiil, I hope to be able to personally investigate some Keptu and Perena sites I have marked on my map, and follow up with a monograph that will shed some much-needed light on the matter."
"Warm greetings to Lady Clarisse Laurent,
I hope you have been well since we last met, and thank you again for accepting my inquiries on this subject. I will ask for your patience, as my queries are somewhat varied in scope:
First, the Nedes. Nede culture is fascinating but tragically obscure. They seem to have had a fascination with the stars that rivaled (if not surpassed) that of the Ayleids, before they eventually turned to worship of Nereids and other entities. It is of the latter that I wish to ask: I have been exploring ruins in Craglorn rumored to be of Nedic origin and the carvings therein have a common pattern of four symbols: a tusked visage, a stag's skull, a serpent with wings and a pair of serpents. Given the proximity of several Orcish settlements I would hazard that the tusked face represents Mauloch, and the stag skull may be a reference to Hircine as there have been reports of werewolves in the vicinity. Only the serpents bear any similarity to the known constellations, but the wings are somewhat puzzling as is the depiction of two serpents. Can you shed any light on this?
Second, while traveling in Valenwood I have had extreme difficulty tracking down any sort of artifact or settlement associated with the Imga in spite of the fact that, to my knowledge, they still exist. (Finding individuals of that race has likewise proven problematic, but that is beyond the scope of this query.) I have visited portions of Black Marsh and seen the remains of Kothringi villages, and my understanding of the Lilmothiit is that they did not have much in the way of settlements, being nomadic, so the absence of artifacts from their culture doesn't trouble me. But the Imga should still be around, making or using tools. Why have they left no signs?
Finally, a compatriot of mine has recently taken up the task of tracking down a stolen Akaviri burial mask (I suspect Tsaesci Akaviri rather than Kamal, given its alleged age), incidentally alerting me that there is or at least was a practice of burial masks in Akavir. Do you know if this practice is related to the Dragon Priest masks of Skyrim? It seems too similar to be a coincidence, especially with the dragon connection.
I once again must thank you for your time and I apologize for being long-winded.
Rohais of Auridon"
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "By Julianos, Rohais! You are nearly as inquisitive as I. And you ask questions on deep matters—some beyond even my depth! But I shall do what I can to assuage your curiosity.
"First of all, I envy you your trip to Craglorn, a region I've not yet had the opportunity to visit! Regarding the recurring symbols you found there, I daresay your guesses about the first two are good ones. The appearance of the standard serpent may be attributed with confidence to the ancient Craglorn Nedes' fascination—even obsession—with the constellations. As to the winged serpent, might not this symbol be Redguard in origin? I understand that flying snakes are known to occur in southern Hammerfell, and perhaps they were once more widespread. I hope to see some of these so-called 'winged vipers' when I pass through the port of Abah's Landing, on my way to the Gold Coast—they're said to be quite common there.
"Regarding the Imga, I think Summerset author Cirantille has written on the subject, opining that the Imga have gone 'to visit Falinesti' until this current Planemeld and Alliance War nonsense is good and over. Not that you can trust anything Cirantille has to say, of course.
"As for Akaviri burial masks, the subject sounds simply fascinating, but I admit to knowing next to nothing about our distant neighbors of far-eastern Akavir. Perhaps Lady Cinnabar would have an opinion, or Divayth Fyr? Stibbons, take a letter."
Having studied a number of old Yokudan ruins, I am fascinated by the mystery surrounding these people. Whilst sifting through debitage for clues to the nature of Walkabout, I've found several tablets mentioning serpents and snakeskin. Since the Serpent constellation factors prominently in Yokudan history, I was wondering if you had come across any interesting finds regarding Walkabout, or if you have found a connection between the Serpent and the Walk. It is my understanding that Walkabout involves a form of transliminal passage, and my theory is that the un-stars of the Serpent are involved in some way, since the un-stars themselves seem to travel at 'strange' angles akin to those who first Walked. Your expertise would be invaluable in my research, perhaps we could collaborate for a co-authored manuscript?
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "Do you know, while the Redguards seem to be such a reserved and dignified folk, if you express a polite interest in their rustic civilization, they will often become quite chatty about it. I certainly found this to be the case with a young poet named Azadiyeh whom I met in Satakalaam. She told me that the modern tradition of Walkabout, a sort of rite of passage for Redguard youth, is based on the ancient Yokudan legend of the Hero's Labors, in which a great warrior of the Dawn Era traveled through the zodiac, facing a challenge at each constellation. I regret to say her name escapes me at this juncture, but this hero's story could certainly be seen as supporting your (otherwise rather fanciful) hypothesis."
"To the illustrious Lady Laurent of Daggerfall, from a fellow seeker of lost treasures and forgotten lore,
I trust this letter finds you well, though there's no telling, given that couriers in Covenant lands seem to have a terrible habit of forgetting to deliver their messages.
In either case; I am writing to you to inquire if, in your rather extensive travels, you have come across any mention of the ancient Falmer, or Snow Elves, of Skyrim. As any student of ancient history, or any self-respecting Nord could tell you, the Snow Elves were here long before our ancestors ever made the journey from Atmora of old. Having seen the majestic ruins and arcane remnants of the proud Ayleid peoples scattered across Tamriel, one would assume that their Northern cousins in Skyrim would have been similarly advanced, in both culture and spell-craft. As a mage and scholar of Skyrim, I have been scouring tomes and personal accounts for any clue as to what became of the Falmer, and if any ruins or artifacts of their people remain. The potential breakthroughs in spell-craft alone are astounding! (Never mind the wealth and fame due to any who might uncover the secrets of the forgotten Snow Elves). If you have any leads that might aid in my search, please, send word immediately! (Though again, I strongly recommend against using any of the local messenger services.)
I'll be sure to credit you in my next book, should my search come to fruition,
Respectfully, and expectantly,
Asgautr Grey-Wind, Mage of Winterhold"
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "Physical remains of the long-lost Snow Elves are indeed few and far between—mute testament to how thoroughly the race, and all it created, was eradicated by your ancestors, Mage of Winterhold. At least we Breton nobles had the decency to allow our Direnni oppressors to withdraw to their little island in the Iliac. But you're quite right, any genuine discovery of Falmeri relics or ruins could make a scholar's career. On my visit to the Wrothgarian Mountains I intend to be alert for any evidence our new allies the Orcs may have of former Snow Elf sites, but frankly I am not optimistic."
"Lady Laurent, I trust that you and Stibbons made it back safely from the Hollow City. It must be an exciting time to be an archaeologist, given the myriad of discoveries being made by these supposedly immortal adventurers who might otherwise have never returned to tell their tales. I was hoping you could provide some insight into the origin of two of these surprising discoveries.
Classic Imperial history is infamous for glossing over the various Ayleid cities that blossomed outside the Heartlands following the fall of White-Gold, but even the staunchest of Ayleid Revivalists admit that the Wild Elves never extended their borders beyond the Jeralls. And yet despite the millennia of Falmeri and Nordic rule over Skyrim, the ruins of an Ayleid outpost has seemingly been excavated beneath the ruined fort Greenwall, in the centre of the Rift. How do we reconcile this discovery with the region's history?
My second question is in regards to a rather infamous den of outlaws beneath the streets of Belkarth. I'm sure a lady of your standing would have little to do with a place such as that, but the stonework within is of exceptional Nedic craftsmanship. The recently discovered Nedic city of Reinhold's Retreat, a crumbling ruin even before the first Yokudan set foot on Tamriel, is also located beneath Belkarth. Are these perhaps part of an interconnected and intact complex?" – Legoless, Doyen of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits
Lady Clarisse Laurent says, "As I mentioned in reply to a previous question, I haven't personally had the privilege of inspecting Craglorn's Nedic relics, but if such ruins are in close proximity beneath Belkarth, my instinct would be that it's no coincidence. In my case, I would immediately task Stibbons with finding some connection between the two. Discovering a site both complete and intact, however, is probably too much to hope for.
"Ayleid ruins? In Skyrim? Impossible. According to my copy of Hrerm House-builder's 'Subterranean Eastmarch,' the works beneath Fort Greenwall are entirely Nord in nature. Elven ruins in that area would have to be Falmeri, in any event. Unless … unless that skeever Hrerm has discovered a lost Snow Elf site he hasn't shared with the rest of us. That would be just like him! Stibbons: take a letter."
"Stibbons, my friend, I see you enduring the hardships of travel and baggage weight everywhere Lady Laurent goes. How exactly did you end up in her establishment? And, just between you and me, would you rather be working for someone else?
Alena-Draco, Chief Paladin and Matriarch of House Draco"
Stibbons says, "I consider it a rare privilege for one of my station to be able to serve a noble like Lady Laurent in whatever fashion I can, no matter how mundane. I have no scholarly training, but in my capacity as manservant to Her Ladyship I am able nonetheless to advance Breton scholarship—and that, after all, is the important thing. So long as it benefits scholarship, inconveniences such as ancient malefic curses, petrifaction, and Daedric torture are mere … actually, sir, where would this new employment take place? Hypothetically speaking, of course."