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This article is about the Tribunal god Sotha Sil. For the city of the same name, see Clockwork City.
Sotha Sil, or Seht, wizard-mystic god of the Dunmer and "si" in the Almsivi, was the most enigmatic member of the divine Tribunal. He was known as the Mainspring Ever-Wound, the Father of Mysteries, Magus, Magician, Sorcerer, Tinkerer, Clockwork God, the Light of Knowledge, the Inspiration of Craft and Sorcery, and the architect of time and a binder of Oblivion.
Sotha Sil was born a Chimer in the town Ald Sotha, in what is now known as the island of Vvardenfell, in the Ascadian Isles region. Ald Sotha was the seat of House Sotha, a minor house of the settled Chimer in the early First Era. He was known to have had a mother, whose name was lost to history, and an older sister, Sotha Nall.
Excerpts from his memories provide clues to the nature of his upbringing, such as that his family was composed of well-off nobles and that he was raised by a number of maternal figures including his lenient mother, rebellious sister, and kind nanny. The town of Ald Sotha is recounted as a tranquil place, with a fish pond, flower garden with many birds, artisanal kitchens, and many sunny days with activities involving pottery wheels, catching torchbugs in jars, and eating scrib jelly on rainy days. In one of his preserved memories, Sotha Sil's mother or nanny comforted a young Sil after he had sustained a knee abrasion, using the childhood nursery tale of the Brave Little Scrib to inspire him with courage, as his sister sang him a lullaby. Another memory from his childhood involved him and his sister taking care of a dead bird by burying it in a handkerchief. A memory from his young adulthood involved his sister, Nall, trying to convince a reluctant Sil to enter a forbidden area.
In the fable "Sotha Sil and the Scribs" from the Homilies of Blessed Almalexia, a young Sotha Sil was playing in a Kwama egg mine as a child, and seeing a number of scribs in a deep shaft, he began to cast stones upon them for amusement, snickering as they skittered and scattered. One scrib lifted its head up and begged Sotha Sil to stop, telling him "Please, please, have mercy, little boy, for what is sport to you is suffering and death to us." when they were hit by the stones. This taught the young boy that what are idle amusements of one can be solemn tortures for another. Another homily titled "Sotha Sil and the Stars" tells of young Sotha laying down and gazing at the stars at night. In his passion for maths, Sil decided to count every star and give each of them a name for hours on end, eventually falling asleep. When he awoke, he saw that the stars had vanished, and began to weep, learning the lesson that time cages all tasks. These tales were evidently well-known in Morrowind as Nilvyn Omaren compared Dunmer slavery to the child-Seht who "makes sport of suffering".
With unknown motives, the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon arrived in Ald Sotha during Sotha Sil's youth and destroyed it, killing everyone in it including Sil's family. It occurred at some point after he and his sister traveled to the forbidden area near the town, and took place upon a rainy morning. His family woke up to find their homes and tapestries already burning, and screamed in agony in their final moments. Sotha Sil was the sole survivor of the attack, having been saved by Vivec. House Sotha was wiped out save for Sotha Sil, and he continued to use their name.
The first sermon of The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec contradicts this claim, placing Sotha Sil as older than Vivec. It tells of sometime before the Skyrim Captivity, the Demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen appearing to a Velothi tribeswoman, the wife of a Chimer netchiman, who had been impregnated with an egg by the dreugh before being brought to Azura's Coast by Sotha Sil. The egg contained the unborn Vivec, and seven Daedra known as the Barons Who Move Like This appeared before the woman to teach the egg new swordsmanship motions. When Fa-Nuit-Hen appeared, he told the netchiman's wife to seek the Hortator in the land of Indoril before combining with the Barons to form a terrible pillar of fighting styles and teaching Vivec. Fa-Nuit-Hen himself verifies the sermon's claims to a degree, stating that he did in fact meet Vivec in his youth, and made an impression on him.
Friendship with Nerevar and Advisor of the First Council
Sotha Sil participated in the War of the First Council, which started when Voryn Dagoth of House Dagoth learned of a Dwemer scheme: deep in the bowels of Red Mountain on the island of Vvardenfell, the Dwemer had found the Heart of Lorkhan, and High Craftlord Kagrenac planned to harness it and use it to power a giant mechanical god. Lord Dagoth reported this to the Chimer leadership, and eventually, the Hortator Nerevar confirmed it with his patron Azura. Nerevar confronted his friend Dumac, and they quarreled bitterly. As a result, Nerevar led the Chimer to war in order to stop this "profane" usurpation. During the war's famed Battle of Red Mountain, Vivec asked Sotha Sil to come up with some plan to help stop the Dwemer's Automatons from slaughtering the Chimer. Out of necessity, Sotha Sil created an army of Clockwork Dreugh that were inspired by Dwemeri war machines, to be used against the Dwemer. They were said to have risen up from the seas and took their counterparts to the water beneath to be swallowed by the sea.
After Nerevar's death, the councilors of Nerevar and the Tribunal of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil came to power among the Dunmer. They then went against Nerevar's dying wish by using the profane Tools of Kagrenac on the Heart of Lorkhan in order to steal its divine essence for themselves, becoming gods to the Dunmer people. The event led to the Daedric Prince Azura cursing the Chimer, turning them all into the Dunmer. It was Sotha Sil who told Azura who was rebuking him that her time as a god was over, and that the Tribunal as the new gods would be wise and caring of the needs of their people. Sotha Sil was one of the few who can resist Azura's curse but chose to remain with his Dunmeri appearance. He would aid in the transition of his people into the Dunmer, getting them to accept that it was not a curse but a blessing, and that they were new Mer, civilized and able to speak directly to their patrons, the Tribunal.
The Clockwork City is believed to have been constructed some time after the rise of the Tribunal at the Battle of Red Mountain, when Sotha Sil harnessed divine power from the Heart of Lorkhan with the use of Kagrenac's Tools in the First Era. Sotha Sil created the Clockwork City for various reasons, all of which were to serve a noble goal. He saw the Aedra's creation of Nirn as flawed and in order to perfect it,[UOL 1] he built the Clockwork City to ensure the redemption of Tamriel, unify competing forces, and destroy the Daedra. During the genesis of the city, Sotha Sil's vision of a self-contained world made of brass and machinery was very ambitious and he developed highly advanced methods to see it through. He created the Celestiodrome, which surrounds the entire realm in the form of a glass globe which is perceived by the realm's inhabitants as its sky. The Celestiodrome is capable of mimicking both a day and night cycle, and the rotating girders installed on it allows for proper topography to be formed within the Realm. In an effort to make the Clockwork City habitable, Sotha Sil sought to achieve the proper humidity needed for a breathable atmosphere for his realm. He created the Halls of Regulation, which maintained the city's water cycle, breathable air, humidity, temperature, wind currents, as well as creating drinkable water.
He drew inspiration from the Dwemer, and their influence in his work is rumored to be traceable as far back as before the disappearance of the Dwemer. Among these influences was his research on Dwemer tonal architecture. He refined it further and created items based on their research, such as tonal forks that could function as a divining rod. He also worked with Dwemer constructs, tinkering in ways beyond the capabilities of even the most talented individuals. Sotha Sil created the humanoid automatons known as Factotums to maintain the Clockwork City. Early variants were built with a design that resembled Dwarven automatons and were constructed from both Dwemer and clockwork parts. Ultimately his style became his own and the city's structures, vegetation, and wildlife are all mechanical constructs of his own design.
Towards the end of the First Era, around 1E 2920, Sotha Sil spent some time on the Isle of Artaeum, where he taught some of the new mages of the Psijic Order. Whilst there, Sotha Sil also further studied the Dwemer's creations, as well as further refined his clockwork creations. He left some of his creations behind when he departed back into the Clockwork City.
After a Daedric disaster in the village of Gilverdale, Sotha Sil journeyed into Oblivion via the Dreaming Cavern and made a pact with eight of the more prominent Daedric Princes: Azura, Boethiah, Hermaeus Mora, Hircine, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath. known as the Coldharbour Compact. The exact terms of the pact are unknown to most inhabitants of Tamriel. At the time of the pact, the Princes agreed not to answer any summoning by amateurs until the war between Morrowind and Cyrodiil ended; only the Psijics, along with sorcerers and witches, could counsel with the Daedra.
In 1E 2920, the Skeffington Coven of High Rock took in an exiled Dunmeri woman named Turala, who had been the lover of the Duke of Mournhold, Brindisi Dorom. However, after a trip to Wayrest, the Skeffington Coven was killed in a massacre caused by an Orcish raiding party. Turala was falsely led to believe that the massacre was the work of assassins sent by Brindisi Dorom himself. Enraged, Turala called forth the Prince of Destruction to burn down Mournhold and slay her former lover, and despite the Compact, he complied.
Afterwards, two of the Tribunal Gods approached Mehrunes Dagon. Having taken part in the Coldharbour Compact, the Daedric Prince immediately recognized Sotha Sil. Angered that she was too late to prevent the death and destruction wrought upon her city by the Flame Tyrant, Almalexia drew her sword Hopesfire, and she and Sotha Sil engaged in battle with him. The battlefield was lit by a barrage of flame which fell indiscriminately, and Almalexia plunged her sword into Dagon, and carved him from within. Meanwhile, Sotha Sil, enacting vengeance for Ald Sotha, used "god-bronze whips" to lash the Prince into submission. Wounded, Sil whispered Dagon's Nymic, and the Prince "exploded throughout all time".
Around 2E 582, Nocturnal tried to take control of the Clockwork City. She summoned Sotha Sil's Shadow, who replaced him as ruler of the Clockwork City. Meanwhile, one of the Clockwork Apostles, Chancellor Gascone Dusant, sought to deliver the Skeleton Key, which had been accidentally found by a Factotum beneath the Brass Fortress, to Clavicus Vile, only for the Key to be stolen by the Blackfeather Court. The Vestige, assisted by Divayth Fyr and the Clockwork Apostles, unveiled the plot, but were unable to reclaim the Skeleton Key before it was taken by Sotha Sil's Shadow. Using the key, Nocturnal and the Shadow attempted to seize control of the Clockwork City, but were stopped by the Vestige, Divayth Fyr, and Proctor Luciana Pullo, who rescued Sotha Sil by defeating his Shadow. Sotha Sil then gave the Skeleton Key to Divayth Fyr for safekeeping.
Sotha Sil became involved directly in the affairs of the Nirn, when Nocturnal subsequently tried to take control of the Crystal Tower. Using a technique she stole from Sotha Sil involving utilizing life energy as a power source, she planned to use the life energy of Nirn, and then the energy of the other Daedric Princes afterwards, to amplify the Crystal tower to make her power limitless. Nocturnal's plan was foiled by the Psijic Order and the Vestige, with the assistance by the two betrayed Princes (Mephala and Clavicus Vile) and the champion of Meridia known as the Golden Knight. The divine power of Meridia's Dawnbreaker was then used to restore the tower's stone, Transparent Law. Sotha Sil then made negotiations with both Mephala and Clavicus Vile and the two have agreed to a compact to put an end to their direct meddling.
In 2E 882, when the Tribunal visited Red Mountain for their annual pilgrimage to replenish their divine power, the reawakened Dagoth Ur and his minions ambushed them and drove them away after nearly killing them. The event resulted in the Tribunal being cut off from access to the Heart of Lorkhan, and caused Sotha Sil to respond by beginning development of a replacement heart. His solution was the Mechanical Heart, a mechanical replication of the Heart of Lorkhan, to act as a new source of divinity and as new power source for his Clockwork City. The development would not go smoothly, as The Heart became unstable in its early development, and to prevent the Heart from destroying the City, he created his own variant of Kagrenac's Tools to control, shape, or even dismantle the Heart if necessary.  Sotha Sil went to great lengths to keep the Heart from those who would misuse it. He stored it within the Chamber of Lorkhan, located deep in the Clockwork City's Cogitum Centralis. Sotha Sil also hid his tools as a precaution across Nirn to prevent people from stealing the Heart's power.
The Tribunal were able to kill Dagoth Ur and his kin after this initial setback, but they were always revived by the Heart. To contain them, the Tribunal erected the Ghostfence around Red Mountain.
Sotha Sil once spent time counseling, guiding, and protecting mortals, loving them perhaps more than either Vivec or Almalexia. He is said to have felt the stress of each of his people, but assigned them no more load than he knew they could bear. Sotha Sil’s traumatizing childhood may be one of the first factors that contributed with his deteriorating mental health. Him being the only survivor of his House being destroyed by Mehrunes Dagon may be why one of his goals was to destroy the daedra. His ascension into godhood was accompanied by a silence described as coming from a place of grief and deep regret, evidently from his betrayal of his oath to Indoril Nerevar. His lifework, the Clockwork City, was created to serve as a world-shaping device, but he felt sorrow from it being built on betrayal and untold horrors.
In time, Sotha Sil became detached from the real world. He gradually lost touch with the affairs of the Dunmer, the rest of the Tribunal, and eventually all of Tamriel. His obsession with perfecting his Clockwork City, and the fact that its functions is very dependent on his presence, was one of the contributing factors that would ultimately cause him to become distant, reclusive, and would lead his participation with mortal affairs to dwindle. His last known participation of mortal affairs was in 3E 417, when after centuries of becoming weaker and more desperate, Sotha Sil and Almalexia lost two of Kagrenac's Tools, Keening and Sunder, to Dagoth Ur's forces. Vivec rescued them, but they could not recover the stolen Tools and had to flee Red Mountain.
Before his total seclusion, despite predicting they would not meet again centuries prior, Sotha Sil would have one of his final conversations with his peer Divayth Fyr, in which they discussed the disappearance of the Dwemer, his divine nature, and the location of his city among other things.[UOL 2] Sotha Sil continued developing the Mechanical Heart, but its progress would be threatened as the day arrived, just as he predicted, where his friend Almalexia would come to kill him. In 3E 427, the goddess Almalexia, having been driven mad by her loss of immortality, manipulated the Nerevarine to retrieve Barilzar's Mazed Band, which she used to travel to the Clockwork City to murder Sotha Sil in cold blood. When Almalexia came face to face with Sotha Sil, he said not one word, making her think that even in death, Sotha Sil mocked her with silence. In reality, he was likely in another state of mind and was unable to respond, a result of being plugged into the control center within the Dome of Sotha Sil. In his final moments, he attempted to use his control center to seal the Chamber of Lorkhan to prevent the Heart from falling into the wrong hands and to ensure the City would live on after his death. He was successful in sealing the Chamber and his machines began finishing the construction of the Mechanical Heart within it.
After murdering Sotha Sil, Almalexia transported his fabricants into Mournhold to wreak havoc. She then tricked the Nerevarine into going to the Clockwork City to kill the late Sotha Sil, who she blamed for the attacks. Once there, she attempted to murder the Nerevarine as well, but her divine powers had waned, and as a result, she wasn't powerful enough and was struck down.
Sotha Sil was survived by his cosmic daughter Memory, who he himself gave birth to.[UOL 3] His body was presumably retrieved by Vivec, who interred him and Almalexia in the proper Velothi fashion, and mourned them as they were his family.[UOL 4] Azura claimed that her anticipation shed his mortality long ago, and that his death was likely no small relief to him. The majority of the populace seemingly did not know of Almalexia’s betrayal to her fellow tribune and would attribute the death of Sotha Sil to the Nerevarine. In his parting conversation with his friend, an unknown Scribe, Sotha Sil claimed that after he was gone it is possible another form will appear that looks much like him to play a role in a new tale.
Sotha Sil's Clockwork City would continue to be powered by the Mechanical Heart after his death. The Mechanical Heart finished being fully constructed by his machines 207 years after his death in 4E 201. However, stories tell of a Forgotten Hero who followed a former Clockwork Apostle, Mecinar, into the city to prevent the latter from claiming the Heart's power. The stories has an unclear ending, where one rumor claims that the Heart was destroyed to strip Mecinar of its divine power so that the two can fight on equal ground, and as a result the city ceased functions and its inhabitants were forced to abandon the city. In another rumor, the hero is said to have used the Heart to harness its power and fought Mecinar on equal ground, and the Heart would live on, along with the city.
- A Brief History of Ald Sotha by Varlinsi Arandu, Apostle of Sotha Sil — A short account of Sotha Sil's early life
- The Truth in Sequence by Deldrise Morvayn, Fourth Torbillon to the Mainspring Ever-Wound — Sermons on the metaphysics of Sotha Sil
- The Truth in Sequence: Volume 1 — Deldrise Morvayn
- Lector Trivura's dialogue in ESO: Clockwork City
- Servant of Sotha Sil's dialogue in ESO
- Tholer Saryoni's dialogue
- A Brief History of Ald Sotha — Varlinsi Arandu, Apostle of Sotha Sil
- The Factotum's Secret Voice — Lector Tidras Dran, Clockwork Apostle
- Factotum ambient dialogue from ESO
- Dialogue of various Memories in the Mnemonic Planisphere
- Homilies of Blessed Almalexia — Almalexia
- Blessed Almalexia's Fables for Evening
- Omaren Trial Transcript — Nilvyn Omaren
- The Truth in Sequence: Volume 8 — Deldrise Morvayn
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 1 — Vivec
- Fa-Nuit-Hen's dialogue in ESO
- The Battle of Red Mountain — Vivec
- Nerevar at Red Mountain — the Tribunal Temple
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 36 — Vivec
- Nerevar at Red Mountain — the Tribunal Temple
- Sotha Sil's dialogue in ESO: Clockwork City
- Provost Varuni Arvel's dialogue
- The Clockwork City Adventure Guide on the official ESO website
- Divaricated Tone Fork item in ESO
- Divayth Fyr's dialogue in ESO: Morrowind
- Appearance of Refabricated Arquebus, Refabricated Spider, Refabricated Centurion, and Ordinated Protector in ESO
- The Mystery of Factotums — Associate Zanon, Clockwork Apostle
- The Precursor's dialogue in ESO
- What is the Clockwork City? on the official ESO website
- The Truth in Sequence: Volume 6 — Deldrise Morvayn
- 2920, Evening Star — Carlovac Townway
- Psijic Brassilisk pet description in ESO
- Sotha Sil's study in Ceporah Tower
- Oriandra's dialogue in ESO: Summerset
- 2920, Rain's Hand — Carlovac Townway
- 2920, Hearth Fire — Carlovac Townway
- 2920, Frostfall — Carlovac Townway
- 2920, Sun's Dusk — Carlovac Townway
- Events of ESO: Clockwork City
- Events of ESO: Summerset
- Dagoth Ur's Plans — Tribunal Temple
- Events that occur in the mission The Red Mountain in Return to Clockwork City
- Sotha Sil's dialogue in the mission The Tools in Return to Clockwork City
- Galyn's dialogue in the mission The Throne Aligned in Return to Clockwork City
- Vivec's dialogue in Morrowind
- Almalexia's dialogue in Tribunal
- Divayth Fyr's dialogue in ESO: Clockwork City
- Mehra Helas' dialogue in Tribunal
- Luciana Pullo' dialogue in the ESO: Clockwork City
- Aios' dialogue in ESO: Clockwork City
- Sotha Sil's dialogue in the mission The Last Stand in Return to Clockwork City
- Almalexia's dialogue in Tribunal
- Sotha Sil's emote dialogue in the mission The Last Stand in Return to Clockwork City
- Events of Tribunal
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 37 — Vivec
- Azura's dialogue in Morrowind
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Temple: Morrowind — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Sotha Sil and the Scribe — Andrunal, Seer of Verse
- Kellen's dialogue in the mission The City Falls in Return to Clockwork City
- Kellen's dialogue in the mission Journey's End in Return to Clockwork City
- Events of Return to Clockwork City
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.
- Lawrence Schick on Sotha Sil's Reason for creating the Clockwork City-Bethesda Twitch Stream 13:30
- Sotha Sil's Last Words
- Tribunal Concept art - Michael Kirkbride
- What would happen to Almalexia and Sotha Sil's bodies after their deaths? (04/04/14) — Michael Kirkbride's Posts