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Karnath
Novice

Reged: 05/16/03
Posts: 33
The Number of the Master
      #2223264 - 02/09/04 11:28 PM

Here's my humble attempt at writing a paper -and, as you may have guessed, it's all about the Number of the Master. I'm no great scholar, therefore this essay is meant to lay the foundations for further discussing, rather than as a learned lesson, on this most interesting subject. Oh, by the way, all those who think the Lessons of Vivec are pure nonsense should pass by, for most of these studies revolve around the Sermons and their interpretation

First, I'd like to thank : Nigedo, without whom I wouldn't have written this essay, and who corrected many of my misinterpretations (don't worry though, there are many more left) during our metaphysical chat session ; everybody here on the Lore forum who contributed to the great search for Tamriellic (or rather Mundusian ) Truth ; and, naturally, the people from Bethsoft, for creating such good games with such a thrilling background. Now that the Public Relations part is over let's get to the heart of the subject :

Since most of the people who have read past the first sentence are probably familiar with Vehk's teachings , I won't have to explain the relationship between the symbol of the Tower, the number 1 and the word I. Thus, that the so-called Number of the Master, the number eleven (11), represents duality, opposition between similar or equal principles/powers/entities and the struggle between two where there should only be one, should be no surprise to you.
Dichotomy can be found almost everywhere, which is why it is of such importance in symbolic representations -but the Number of the Master is more than that : it implies that there was, is, or should be unity in the duality, be it by means of fusion, compromise, or defeat of one by the other. Furthermore, each of the twin antagonists is a distinct tower - that is, an ideal, a way of understanding, and, ultimately, transcending, the world - thus the weight of their union or conflict in the metaphysical sphere.

And indeed, most major actors in the grand meta-historical interplay are marked by this Number, starting with Mastery him/herself, alias Vivec, whose Lessons are very instructive in this matter.
Hence the first place where one should look for manifestations of the Number of the Master : Sermon Eleven, naturally.

Hortator and Sharmat, one and one, eleven, an inelegant number.

In the same Sermon, another word is used to describe these Masters :

The ruling king that sees in another his equivalent rules nothing.
The Sharmat is his double, and therefore you wonder if you rule nothing


Both terms, master and ruling king , are used multiple times in the Sermons and refer to three or four different entities :

Sermon Four : At this the Old Bone folded unto itself twenty times until it became akin to milk, which Vivec drank, becoming a ruling king of the world.

Sermon Sixteen : There, Nerevar was greeted by the Parliament of Craters, who knew him by title and resented his presence, for he was to be a ruling king of earth and this was the lunar realm

Sermon Thirty-Three :
'Stupid stone,' Vivec said. 'To hide in the Scaled Blanket is to make a mark on nothing. His bargains are only for ruling kings!'

Hortator said, 'Me or you?' and the Void Ghost said both. This sermon does not tell what else was said between these masters.


Sermon Thirty-Four :
that of the two-headed ruling king.
'Who is that?' he wondered.
Vivec said, 'The red jewel of conquest.'


The Scaled Blanket is the Serpent, or Void Ghost, i.e. the corporeal half of Lorkhan, and the two-headed ruling king red jewel of conquest clearly is Tiber Septim himself, or rather themselves. The link between these beings (including Hortator and Vivec) and the Number of the Master is quite obvious, but each one is involved in a different kind of manifestation of this archetypal situation.

The Void Ghost, whose embodiment is also known as Wulfhart, is in fact a part of three distinct dual entities : the missing god Lorkhan, forced into dichotomy when his greatest desire was of oneness ; Talos, whose thu'um certainly didn't belong to Hjalti from Alcaire ; and the Enantiomorph. As I see it, only two of these three forms relate to the Number of the Master, and two of them (but not the same ones ... err, well, at least, one is not the same one) refer to Tiber Septim - just like Tiber Septim is in fact three distinct individuals (Hjalti, Wulfhart and Zurin Arctus), two of whom are Talos, while another pair constitutes the Enantiomorph : as Nigedo puts it, they are two different combinations of these three players (these partial associations are a recurrent characteristic shared by all the tripolar systems I can think of in the TES universe).

Here are a few interesting quotes refering to the Serpent or Tiber Septim :

. He saw the twin head of a ruling king who had no equivalent. And eight imperfections rubbed into precious stones, set into a crown that looked like shackles, which he understood to be the twin crowns of the two-headed king. And a river that fed into the mouth of the two-headed king, because he contained multitudes.

Paradoxically, here, the ruling king (that is, the triumphant tower in the struggle) is two-headed : there is no conflict between Hjalti and Wulfhart (united as Talos), or Hjalti and Zurin Arctus (after Wulfhart left, when Tiber Septim couldn't use his thu'um anymore), but the Void Ghost and the Battlemage are fundamentally opposed, and each one is trying to have the conqueror (whose destiny is to achieve great power) on their side - thus, the two-headed entity is composite, but not dichotomous, and is a ruling king through victory over the other archetype -although both Wulfhart and Actus eventually ended up being killed and the whole power went to Hjalti and his foolish dreams of conquest (my main source here is the Arcturian Heresy)
As for the following sentences, the reference to the Earth bones ( the eight everlasting imperfections from Sermon Ten) is obvious (to me, at least), but the rest is quite mysterious and deserves further study, which shall be left for another time. Anyone interested in Tiber Septim as Gulga mor jil hyaet ae hoom should also read Sermon 34.

By which he meant the Scaled Blanket, made of not-stars, whose number is thirteen. Lie Rock became full of foolishness, haggling with the Void Ghost who hides in the religions of all men. The Void Ghost said:
'Stay with me a full hundred years and I will give you a power that no divinity will dare disobey.'
By chance, Nerevar met the Void Ghost first, who told him that he was in the wrong place to which the Hortator said, 'Me or you?' and the Void Ghost said both.


Here, the Scaled Blanket (constellation of the Serpent) seems to be a kind of place or plane, the Hidden Heaven , the astral (or cosmological) manifestation of the body of Lorkhan, while the Void Ghost is its spiritual aspec - and Wulfhart its physical incarnation (or one of its incarnations, maybe was the mortal Wulfhart infused with the Ghost's essence in the process of being resurrected as the Ash King). The purpose of the Void Ghost is unclear, and the ground for his comment about the Hidden Heaven being the wrong place for both Nerevar and him, added to the meaning of his strange bargain with Lie Rock, are left for us to ponder.


Now, about Nerevar and the Sharmat, who are at the heart (pun intended) of the problem in TES3, but always displayed from a partial point of view, hence are they subject, IMHO, to the most numerous and worst misconceptions of all the mysteries of Mundus and beyond. I don't claim to hold any kind of absolute truth about them, and they aren't, as such, the topic of this study (which is about their interaction, and not their individual roles), so I won't dissert upon this subject for too long - though I'll probably come back to it later, in another post -but here's what I could gather about their relation to the Number of the Master :

Sermon Eleven, First of the three lessons of the ruling kings :
Hortator and Sharmat, one and one, eleven, an inelegant number. Which of the ones is the more important? Could you ever tell if they switched places? I can and that is why you will need me.

The evil main quest, which alas never came into being, clearly wasn't just a cool feature ... Anyway, it is very interesting to see how Vivec places himself as judge and teacher in this conflict - and it becomes even clearer in the following quotes :

You alone, though you come again and again, can unmake him. Whether I allow it is within my wisdom

If there is to be an end I must be removed. The ruling king must know this, and I will test him. I will murder him time and again until he knows this. I am the defender of the last and the last. To remove me is to refill the heart that lay dormant at the center that cannot hold.


Indeed, the multiple reincarnations of Nerevar are something unique in the whole history of Nirn : no other mortal (if he's truly a mortal) has ever been able to have several embodiments, only gods seem to have such privilege (remember those people from the Imperial Cult quests rumored to be incarnations of the Aedra ? Not to mention the Void Ghost, or Magnus' avatar), and I believe nothing that uncommon can exist without a reason - or only because of some three thousand years old broken oath (I know followers of the Old Ways will argue that any spirit can do this, provided it is strong enough, but Nerevar was no demi-god - or I'm badly misinformed - and I highly doubt there's a throng of reincarnating old sorcerers' souls out there whom nobody has ever heard of).
These multiple lives are central to his conflict with the Sharmat, because each of these incarnations is both a training and a trial as he nears the fulfillment of his quest for a way of reaching heaven by violence - his progress is easy to follow in the sermons, from Nerevar said, 'I am afraid to become slipshod in my thinking.' (Sermon 16) to Vivec smiled and told the Hortator that he had become a Minister of Truth. (Sermon 33) and finally Nerevar said, 'Now I am the mightiest of your children.' (Sermon 34, after the defeat of the monster Tiber Septim - and, although the Sermons are achronological, it would make sense that an almost accomplished Hortator existed at the beginning of the Third Era) - but his ultimate purpose may be greater than personal achievement, as the last sentence of the previous quote may imply. However, as I said before, this isn't the subject of these studies, so, back to the topic :

The ruling king is armored head to toe in brilliant flame. He is redeemed by each act he undertakes. His death is only a diagram back to the waking world. He sleeps the second way. The Sharmat is his double, and therefore you wonder if you rule nothing.

The waking world is the amnesia of dream


This reminds me to some extent of the words of Vivec When I die in the world of time, then I'm completely asleep. I'm very much aware that all I have to do is choose to wake . Sharmat is the static sleep, stagnancy of the symbolism of the center and the philosophy of doubt, while Nerevar is evolutive, chaos (GHARTOK PADHOME) channeled into a motive force by a Walking Way - as long as he chooses the right one.

There is a fourth kind of philosophy that uses nothing but disbelief

There is a world that is sleeping and you must guard against it.

Beware the wrong walking path. Beware the crime of benevolence

The ruling king is to stand against me and then before me. He is to learn from my punishment. I will mark him to know. He is to come as male or female. I am the form he must acquire.


Here, Vivec warns the Hortator against the fourth Way, the Stasis that would make him a Sharmat, and reveals the purpose of his own Way and the meaning of his punishment - thus, because of the means he used to achieve his goals, is Vehk to fail so that Nerevar might know how not to. This form the Hortator must acquire is that of an hermaphrodite, a composite but unique entity (which is why his race or sex doesn't matter, by the way) formed by what Vivec calls love :

This is the love of God and he would show you more: predatory but at the same time instrumental to the will of critical harvest, a scenario by which one becomes as he is, of male and female, the magic hermaphrodite

Make of your love a defense against the horizon

Late is the lover that comes to this by any other walking way than the fifth, which is the number of the limit of this world


The fourth and fifth walking ways are thus directly opposed, as seen in the following : (more on the subject of Vivec's love later)

The fourth spirit came with the fifth, for they were cousins.

'From my side of the family,' the first cousin said, 'I bring you a series of calamities that will bring about the end of the universe.'
'And from my side,' the second cousin said, 'I bring you all the primordial marriages that must happen within them, each one.


And back to the Scripture of Love :

the highest love, which is a return from the astral destiny and the marriages between. By that I mean the catastrophes, which will come from all five corners

That much for now. Now, a last question about Nerevar and Sharmat : what may be the stakes of this conflict ?

Then do not divide, for yet is the stride of SITHISIT quicker than the rush of enemies, and He will sunder the whole for the sake of a shingle

His greatest enemy is the Sharmat, who is the false dreamer. You or he is the shingle, Hortator


This opposition seems to relate on a profound level to Lorkhan and his goals ...

Above them all is the horizon where only one stands, though no one stands there yet

To that which is not hidden, but damned:
For one who is freed and one who awakens and both reflect the sky

UNDERSTAND THAT SITHISIT STILL TRAVELS
IN A PHOSPHORESCENT MIRROR OF THE SKY
DROWNED AND SMILING


The first one may not be directly related to Sharmat/Hortator, but it fits well into the whole Number of the Master thing, IMHO. And, although the other two belong rather to the Drowned Lamp research topic, I felt they could be of some interest here.

As for the link between Hortator, Sharmat, Vivec and so on, and Lorkhan, here's a little piece of thought before changing the subject : first, Boethiah and Mephala, both of whom are Anticipations, guided Padomaic Chimer to the land where the Dwemer, whose disbelief in the gods is almost the only thing still known about them, dwelt, near the Heart of Lorkhan. Then they disappeared at the Battle of the Red Moutain, and the Sharmat, who followed the fourth Way, took their place at the center, while the Tribunal replaced the Anticipations as gods of the Chimer (now Dunmer) people - and, if we are to believe their words, they also replaced them as guardians of the Heart ( Six are the guardians of Veloth, three before and they are born again ). And finally, both the Tribunal and the Sharmat are to be defeated by a being who can choose between the fourth Walking Way (that of Dagoth) and the fifth (that of Vivec and Mephala). I think the meaning of the whole thing is quite clear.
It seems to me that, although their natures, their ideologies and their purposes may entirely differ from one to another, those who are in the same place end up with the same, or similar, role, manipulated as they are by the patterns and symbols, which are the trademark of Lorkhan ( The grand design takes flight; it is transformed not only into a star but a hornet and The drum breaks and you find it to be a nest of hornets )


And finally, last but not least, the ruling king and master Vivec.
One may ask how exactly Vivec relates to the Number of the Master, since he never was involved in any kind of dichotomous conflict unlike Nerevar and Wulfhart - and here's the whole problem : he achieved enlightenment through artificial means, hence is it quite difficult to understand the implications of his Way (and if that wasn't enough, the Scripture of Love is perhaps the strangest of all the Sermons, almost rivaling the fabled Christmas gift).
The fifth walking path, the number of the limit of this world, is directly linked to the concept of CHIM : Vehk, as the magic hermaphrodite, both male and female, poet and warrior, creative and destructive, is fundamentally a paradox, the most important of all paradoxes of Nirn :
What is the Tower's secret?
How to permanently exist beyond duplexity, antithesis, or trouble

Back to the Scripture of Love :

This is the love of God and he would show you more: predatory but at the same time instrumental to the will of critical harvest

This critical harvest made me think of Moon Axle, one of the eight Monsters from the Sermons ( The first monster was actually two, having been born twice like his mother-father, Vivec ) :

He was known as Moon Axle, and he harvested the leftovers foibles of nature. This he did twice, as was said, and the second harvest always brought ruin or unwritten law

To which Moon Axle replied, 'Mine is a dual nature, and protean


And then again, Sermon 35 :

Pure existence is only granted to the holy, which comes in a myriad of forms, half of them frightening and the other half divided into equal parts purposeless and assured

Thus, this Walking Way involves a second birth, granting a dual and protean nature ( Representations of the chim, and by extension the Psijic Endeavor, are always protean values ) to the walker through the patterns of Lorkhan

Some say Vivec at this point was shaped like a star with its penumbra broken off; others, that it looked like a revival of vanished forms

Look on the estimable lines of my son, now crafted star-wise
(Moon Axle here again)

Vehk's illumination may have consisted (or, at least, could be seen this way - I doubt any manipulation of godly essence can be understood through mere words or concepts) in creating a kind of spiritual double/antithesis of himself (whose birth is metaphorically related in the first Sermons) and then merging with him/her/it in order to become a ruling king. The exact mechanism for his transcendance is really mysterious, and well beyond my understanding, so I cannot do much more than a few uneducated guesses, but I think that the whole Anticipation thing wasn't only a way of adapting the traditional Daedric cult to the new Tribunal religion - and the parallel between the Number of the Master 11 and the Anticipations numbered 33 is quite interesting IMHO, as the second birth of the guardians of Veloth (Sermon 6) evokes Vivec's own transcendance.
Mephala, the greater shade, is the archetype of the Number of the Master : sex and murder are the two closest and most powerful forms of interaction between two individuals, and consist in both destructive and creative forces (the first decisive act of the Creation is a murder in each and every cosmogonical myth I can think of), thus is the figure of the hermaphrodite at the same time universal and paradoxical, unity in dichotomy, which is the fundamental principle of this archetype.
Vivec seems to have almost achieved this state (albeit by a profane act) through fusion with his own, previously inexistent, spiritual antithesis, but a central part of this process (and hence also central in the Sermons) was the symbolic Pomegranate Banquet with Molag Bal. I have absolutely no idea of what really happened and what it was about, although it probably was a kind of revelation through mental or spiritual contact with Oblivion - but why Molag Bal ? Anyway, that's how Vivec learnt about CHIM, which is why :

Third, he recalled the Pomegranate Banquet, where he was forced to marry to Molag Bal with wet scriptures to cement his likeness as Mephala and write with black hands

The symbolism of the hands seems heavily related to this walking path :

'For I have crushed a world with my left hand,' he will say, 'but in my right hand is how it could have won against me. Love is under my will only.'

The evoker shall raise his left hand empty and open, to indicate he needs no weapons of his own

And the Duke of Scamps saw the palms of the Hortator, upon which the egg had written these words of power:
GHARTOK PADHOME GHARTOK PADHOME.


The hand as a weapon (especially the left one) is also seen in the last quote, because of the formula AE ALTADOON GHARTOK PADHOME , ALTADOON meaning weapon or blade ( AE ALTADOON, the third law of weaponry and RKHT AI AE ALTADOON AI, the short blade of proper commerce. )
The last paragraph of the first lesson of the ruling kings is very significant :

According to the Codes of Mephala, there is no difference between the theorist and the terrorist. Even the most cherished desire disappears in their hands. This is why Mephala has black hands. Bring both of yours to every argument. The one-handed king finds no remedy. When you approach God, however, cut both of them off. God has no need of theory and he is armored head to toe in terror

The hands seem to represent the twin aspects of the Number of the Master - in order to approach God , the duality cannot stay, but the victory of one over the other isn't the solution either, so the only way to Walk is to create the paradox, to find unity in the absence of duality, a simultaneous state of non-existence/coexistence of the antagonists.
The part about cutting one's hands can be found elsewhere in the writings of Vehk the Thief :

'The sage who suppresses his best aphorism: cut off his hands, for he is a thief.'

Then Vivec threw his ink on this passage to cover it up


From the Scripture of the Sword :

'I give you an ancient road tempered by the second walking way. Your hands must be huge to wield any sword the size of an ancient road, and yet he who is of right stature may irritate the sun with only a stick.

Sermons 6 and 18 :

For by the sword I mean the dual nature.

Vivec knew that his doubt made him the sword of the Triune and so he did not feel shame or fear



I have no final answer to give, this is only an invitation to further elaboration, which concludes this little paper.
I hope it was a bit interesting and useful, even though I didn't do much except making some guesses, revealing barely hidden patterns, and asking more questions than I gave answers


Any answer or thought someone would like to share on this subject ?

--------------------
Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School of Vivec

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phil_t
Curate

Reged: 09/27/02
Posts: 419
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2223404 - 02/10/04 01:06 AM

Well as an alledged scholar of repute and a member of the Whirling School, i guess i should be able to provide more than a mere 'Woah!'

But i cant

Woah!!

Fantastic stuff, very well thought out and easy to follow!! Especially the relationship between Tiber, Zurin & Wulfharth, i like your explanation - it has a certain truth in its complexity

Very well done!

Phil

--------------------
*Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec*
*Forum Scholars Guild | Tamriel Rebuilt*

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Nigedo
Disciple

Reged: 05/30/03
Posts: 1994
Loc: Deep beneath Vvardenfell
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2223607 - 02/10/04 02:35 AM

Karnath, I believe this to be an excellent paper that shows clearly the very broad grasp you have of Vehk's teachings and your obvious ability to draw upon their themes and apply them to wider lore.

I would like to take some time before responding to the specific areas you have covered. In the meantime, I am very happy that you wish to be known as a Fellow of the Whirling School.




It is with great pleasure that I announce

the fellowship of Karnath in

The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec

in recognition of this well considered contribution made towards

a better understanding of the rational meaning of Vivec's teachings.



AE ANET CHIM


--------------------
Dean of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec

The Whirling School | Academy for Dwemer Studies | TES Lore FAQ

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phil_t
Curate

Reged: 09/27/02
Posts: 419
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Nigedo]
      #2223637 - 02/10/04 02:51 AM

Congrats and well earned Karnath

Phil

--------------------
*Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec*
*Forum Scholars Guild | Tamriel Rebuilt*

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Karnath
Novice

Reged: 05/16/03
Posts: 33
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: phil_t]
      #2223887 - 02/10/04 04:48 AM

Thank you very much
I'm really honoured to see my work get such approval from two great scholars and experts in Vehk's teachings.


Quote:

Especially the relationship between Tiber, Zurin & Wulfharth, i like your explanation - it has a certain truth in its complexity




No wonder this part is better than the rest : it was Nigedo who guided my reflexion here

--------------------
Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School of Vivec

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phil_t
Curate

Reged: 09/27/02
Posts: 419
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2223930 - 02/10/04 05:02 AM

Quote:

great scholars and experts in Vehk's teachings




Dont know about that, i tend to babble a lot Believe me, Nigedo helped me out for my paper just as much as he did for yours (im starting to suspect that he's probably Michael Kirkbride in disguise ... )

Phil

--------------------
*Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec*
*Forum Scholars Guild | Tamriel Rebuilt*

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mafafu
Disciple

Reged: 06/18/03
Posts: 1901
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2223963 - 02/10/04 05:13 AM

Nice work! It makes much sense and even some not sense, just like any good study of Vivec should do. So, it too has a dual nature.


[and by 'not sense' I mean that common sensation of dizziness felt in such matters]

--------------------
Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. - Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

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Vireyar
Adept

Reged: 07/08/03
Posts: 208
Loc: Trying really very hard to drain a bit of moisture from Aleft
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2225223 - 02/10/04 10:50 AM

Wow. Very interesting stuff, and very well-written and thought-out.

Anyway, it is very interesting to see how Vivec places himself as judge and teacher in this conflict - and it becomes even clearer in the following quotes

I've been studying this off and on for a while now, and I very much like your thinking in this. I would offer to share my thoughts, but I think you've progressed far beyond whatever I had conceived.

I hope it was a bit interesting and useful, even though I didn't do much except making some guesses, revealing barely hidden patterns, and asking more questions than I gave answers

You are too humble. Nearly any study of the Sermons that doesn't raise more questions than there were to begin with is probably missing something important. Congratulations on your Fellowship, it is well-earned! Have a book

--------------------
Greater Dwemer Ruins - more rusted cogs, homocidal Animunculi and neon lights than you can shake a stick at.
GDR Aleft - You can't expect it to not be flooded, really.

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mafafu
Disciple

Reged: 06/18/03
Posts: 1901
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vireyar]
      #2225962 - 02/10/04 02:55 PM

Well, put Vireyar. And, unfortunately, it is unlikely that all those questions can be completely answered; at least given the information we currently have.

Well, that doesn't mean that we should stop asking questions though

--------------------
Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. - Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

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Vehk
Initiate

Reged: 06/08/03
Posts: 97
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: mafafu]
      #2228269 - 02/11/04 10:06 AM

There was a muffled boneclick. The Thief traced an old Velothi sigil on the pain-mass. He gave it eyes and sent it a quarter century sideways where the biters live.

The Master's whose pain it was was already long gone, and knew none of it. An aspect was lifted, though, and a mass of tendriled rain wouldn't wake him the next morning. Praise be. Good work. Great praise thundering still like water interrupt.


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Allerleirauh
Diviner

Reged: 10/09/02
Posts: 2470
Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vehk]
      #2229325 - 02/11/04 04:23 PM

(This is the first time I've been fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of Vehk in these forums... usually I notice these threads months after the fact.)

Although I confess to being slightly intimidated, allow me to venture a few comments.

On a good day, I catch about half of the sense of the Sermons, generally the other half from the half you catch, which makes your interpretations very useful to me. Thank you.

Quote:

One may ask how exactly Vivec relates to the Number of the Master, since he never was involved in any kind of dichotomous conflict unlike Nerevar and Wulfhart




Everyone born here is involved in a dichotomous conflict, between the limited mortal self, and the unlimited eternal self. Accidentally happening to resemble an Aedra or Daedra may make it easier to achieve enlightenment, but I'm almost certain it's not necessary, and in some cases, apparently, it can even be detrimental.

Quote:

Vivec seems to have almost achieved this state (albeit by a profane act) through fusion with his own, previously inexistent, spiritual antithesis, but a central part of this process (and hence also central in the Sermons) was the symbolic Pomegranate Banquet with Molag Bal.




Interesting. I'm not sure the spiritual antithesis you speak of was 'previously inexistent', as opposed to simply previously unrevealed, but this sounds very plausible.

Re: the pomegranate banquet. Someone educated in the lore of the daedra, say, a Dunmer, might know if Molag Bal had a particular connection to Mephala of which I am not aware. But my take is simpler. It's difficult to become a magic hermaphrodite without some insight into the feminine principle. The myth of Nir/Nirn tells us that means... a woman raped by her father/brother and torn into bits, after which the world was fashioned from her. To marry the King of Rape and bear his children must surely give one a particular kind of insight, usually denied to those born male. I can't help but notice that although Sotha Sil and Almalexia likewise made themselves divine, nowhere is either of them called a hermaphrodite. So, it seems to me, this particular hermetical symbolism must refer to something more than the act by which a mortal becomes a god, or the transcendence of the dichotomy between the temporal and eternal self.

There's at least one obvious higher level... Vivec says that he will be more available to his people than the other two members of the Tribunal. He remained in the world and of it to a degree which his siblings did not.

And another, fairly obvious higher level, that of participating in the dance of mortal life, sex and murder, not as a series of traumatic events, but as an everlasting wedding banquet.

There's more to sex and murder than simply an interaction between persons. They are symbolic of the whole sphere of mortal existence, in which life comes out of death and returns to death. The act of murder is implicit in the act of sex; that is, one implies the other. This is shown forth on a basic level in the growth of vegetation from dead matter -life from death- but worshippers of Mephala take it a step farther - sex from murder, a celebration and affirmation of the viciousness of life, which is also its power.

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Karnath
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vehk]
      #2229898 - 02/11/04 11:26 PM

Master Vehk, I am greatly honoured that you have come here once again to dispense to us your words of wisdom, and that you deem my work worthy of your notice.


Vireyar :
Quote:

I would offer to share my thoughts, but I think you've progressed far beyond whatever I had conceived.




Please do, the teachings of Master Vehk are of such complexity that any individual can find in their words a different and valuable meaning, each of these being of import in the progress toward a new and more complete interpretation of their hidden significances, as Allerleirauh rightfully demonstrated here.


Allerleirauh :
Quote:

Interesting. I'm not sure the spiritual antithesis you speak of was 'previously inexistent', as opposed to simply previously unrevealed, but this sounds very plausible.




Well, in fact I rather meant 'previously inexistent as a separate entity', since I believe the sundering of Vehk's unity was, at first, more or less virtual in the process of illumination - but 'unrevealed' is indeed closer to what I was trying to put in words, and much better a term than mine

Quote:

It's difficult to become a magic hermaphrodite without some insight into the feminine principle.

So, it seems to me, this particular hermetical symbolism must refer to something more than the act by which a mortal becomes a god




You make two very good points here.
The symbolism of the Pomegranate Banquet is that of one particular Walking Path, that of the magic hermaphrodite, and as such, doesn't refer to the sole act of transcendence, but is instrumental in this one way of achieving this act - just like the philosophy of Dagoth Ur was essential for him to become the Sharmat.

As for Molag Bal, I think your interpretation really makes sense - Daedra are archetypes, and, as such, are both individuals and symbols, the latter having a much broader impact than the former. Sheogorath as the 'Sithis-shaped hole in the world' is much more than a 'demon prince' who gives quests and artefacts, same for Mephala as the Hermaphrodite, and so on.
I must admit I hadn't given much thought to the symbolism of the Pomegranate Banquet before, because, well, there was much to cover on the subject of the Number of the Master and I went a bit fast over the last part, so that I hadn't a clear idea of the whole thing, and your insight has been really helpful here. The parallel with Nir is of great interest, too.

Quote:

He remained in the world and of it to a degree which his siblings did not




Oh, thanks, this is one of the things I forgot to mention. While Ayem and Seht remained Chimer, Vivec became half Dunmer, because of his archetype, the magic Hermaphrodite (the archetype "chosen" - it was part of their nature, so there was no real choice, rather an identification - by each Tribune determined their fate quite accurately : silence, hysteria or uncertainty, as seen in the Scripture of the Word, Sermon 27), which implied that he had to experience all the dualities of the world - or, at least, most of them, as Mephala kept a few of his/her secrets, perhaps because of the profane nature of Vehk's illumination.
Hence the importance of the Water Face ("That way he could separate the bronze of the Old Temple from the blue of the New") and the following comments in the Sermons :

" This is what was said to the Hortator when Vivec was not whole. "

" This is what was said to Ayem when Vivec was whole. The wise shall not mistake this. "


When Vivec separates the bronze from the blue, he can teach as a god and write with a greater truth than that of the mere mortals.
But when Vivec is whole, the doubts of his mortal half are magnified by his divine nature, thus is he 'a letter written in uncertainty' (what the Horator must become too), and this live godhood, this kind of pure, concentrated mortality (more mortal than mortals, in a sense) is what makes him the Sword of the Triune, the Psychopomp. Here, our reflexions meet again, with sex and murder, the "strong beats" of life, united in the Hermaphrodite - and amplified, since he/she can experience these acts from both sides at the same time - as a kind of affirmation of a greater experience of mortality.

Back to Molag Bal, he, as the King of Rape, is necessarily linked to the sex/murder symbolism of Mephala, but without the duality of the Hermaphrodite, the consummate quality of his symbolism. A thought has just occurred to me : I remember Nael had a theory about Molag Bal being the Anticipation of Dagoth Ur. Considering that Nerevar must confront the Sharmat in order to become a ruling king, while Vivec had to go through the Pomegranate Banquet in order to become the magic Hermaphrodite, and the parallel between the incomplete Sharmat / complete Hortator and incomplete Molag Bal / complete Mephala pairs (not to mention the fact that the Sharmat is mentionned in the Scripture of the Mace, and the "Ash Vampires", and the Corprus when Molag Bal is the Daedric Prince of the curses of the flesh ...), there could be much more truth in this hypothesis than I first thought (I'm sorry not to have given more attention to your theory before, Nael, now you've got me thinking - oh, and sorry never to have written a comment on your paper, too, but as you can see, I have seriously revised my opinions since last time heh)

Well, thank you Allerleirauh, this has been a most helpful contribution (and now I'm going to think about this Molag Bal thing for hours ... )

--------------------
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drakkarDVG
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2231165 - 02/12/04 08:44 AM

Its strange for me, one more involved in the conventional historical and archealogical aspects of TES, to get into this, but...

You mentioned something about the Hortator being able to appear outside of his lifetime, and so probably being more a figure like Tiber Septim, I suppose? Could the Hortator have been the successor of another Anticipation?

Do you think that the separate...ness of Almalexia and Sotha Sil means that they did not understand things as Vivec does? That they were mere amateurs, or do you take this to mean something else. I mean: not how, but why is he different from them?

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Allerleirauh
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: drakkarDVG]
      #2234193 - 02/13/04 08:50 AM

I think I disagree with Karnath about reincarnation. It seems to me there may be many such souls that return to the world periodically. Until the events of Morrowind, no one knew the Hortator was one of them... who says there are no others?

I would also strongly hesitate to characterize the other two members of the Tribunal as in any way inferior. That's very easy for us to do, from the perspective of mortals who see and speak with Vivec and not with them. My guess is that Vehk was more present to mortals because he chose to be, and that he chose to be because he enjoys the company. Compare the Buoyant Armigers to the Ordinators and you get an idea of a profound difference in personality behind the creation of the two orders.

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Qwerty
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2236776 - 02/14/04 02:19 AM

Good analysis. Better than mine, that's for sure. A few questions arise though:

The Lorkhan/Serpent connection. Where did you get this from? I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm just wondering if I overlooked a source.

The statement that the sermons are achronological. I spent quite some time on this issue. Assuming for a second that they are, some inconsistencies with ingame reality can be nicely explained away; but I do think they're chronological nonetheless.

First, the argument of convenience (a corollary of Occam's Razor). If it's way too convenient, it's probably wrong.

Second, the big picture. The general flow of the narrative goes like this: Vivec is born, Vivec acsends to power, some exploits and adventures, Red Mountain, the end. This got to be chronological.

The argument from choice of words. This one is thin (but defensible). Vivec first goes after the 1st monster, then after the 2nd... and so on. Where does enumeration of monsters come from? No one knows for sure. But chronological is as good a guess as any other.

Connections to the history of the rest of the world are too few, unfortunately. I would not dare making an argument out of these. War with the Nords (sermon 9), visiting Yokuda - apparently it was around by that time (sermon 17), and the finale. That's about it, I guess...

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Allerleirauh
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Qwerty]
      #2237264 - 02/14/04 05:44 AM

Re: the monsters. This episode directly follows the episode of the shaving of Vehk's hair, to "make way for the fire." Therefore the conquest of the eight monsters symbolizes, among other things, the overcoming of the eight imperfections of the Mundus. Some of the historical events, such as the conquest of Ruddy Man, are known to have been much different from the events as told in the sermons. (If you visit the shrine, the priests don't, in any way, suggest that Ruddy Man was one of Vehk's children.)

Although the events are drawn from historical events, and woven into a (debatably) coherent narrative, I believe it would be a mistake to confuse them with the history of anything other than Vehk and his perceptions.

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mafafu
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Qwerty]
      #2237277 - 02/14/04 05:47 AM

Quote:

The Lorkhan/Serpent connection. Where did you get this from?





Quote:

Sep (The Snake)

Yokudan version of Lorkhan. Sep is born when Tall Papa creates someone to help him regulate the spirit trade. Sep, though, is driven crazy by the hunger of Satakal, and he convinces some of the gods to help him make an easier alternative to the Walkabout. This, of course, is the world as we know it, and the spirits who followed Sep become trapped here, to live out their lives as mortals. Sep is punished by Tall Papa for his transgressions, but his hunger lives on as a void in the stars, a 'non-space' that tries to upset mortal entry into the Far Shores.




--------------------
Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. - Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

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Qwerty
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: mafafu]
      #2237428 - 02/14/04 06:41 AM

Thank you. Didn't think of it that way.

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Allerleirauh
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: mafafu]
      #2237717 - 02/14/04 08:25 AM

You can also figure this out by tracking the use of the number 13.

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Dinwath
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Allerleirauh]
      #2237764 - 02/14/04 08:40 AM

Is this thread a mockery of our gods' 1982 release? 'Cause if it is, then shame on you...


But I learnt a lot from studying this thread, though. This post is completely useless, but it tells you that... why am I typing this? I'm so dead now. As soon as a mod sees this... uh-oh...

--------------------
My Screenshots
I'm searching for something
Which can't be found,
But I'm hoping...

I still dream of dad,
Though he died...


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Karnath
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Allerleirauh]
      #2240151 - 02/15/04 01:50 AM

Quote:

Do you think that the separate...ness of Almalexia and Sotha Sil means that they did not understand things as Vivec does? That they were mere amateurs, or do you take this to mean something else. I mean: not how, but why is he different from them?




Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil each are different from one another, and none is inferior or superior to the other two. Each of them chose a separate way and archetype, and were altered physically, mentally and spiritually bit it : Sotha Sil embraced the way of Mystery, and died in silence in his clockwork city ; Almalexia became the Guardian Mother, and ended up agonizing in possessive delirium and fears for her people ; Vivec chose the way of the Hermaphrodite, duality and doubt, half god and half mortal, and, as such, is the most temporal, closest to the mortal world (his personal path is that of the limit of this world, but does not go beyond), but also the most uncertain. Each way is equally good or bad, as Allerleirauh said, it is just a problem of personality.

Quote:

The statement that the sermons are achronological




Well, they are both chronological and not, for they superpose multiple timelines (and some time-cycles, and even totally atemporal processes) in only one narration : fighting Ascended Sleepers or mentionning the Sharmat before the Battle of the Red Mountain is purely anachronistic, and the eight monsters are no more than "imaginary analogy of an unknown incident" - but there does seem to be a progression. In fact, the "chronological" guideline of the Sermons isn't historical time, but the advance of Vivec on his path of transcendence (for gods do not reckon mortal time, their only beacon in history is themselves), a more or less atemporal process following a spiral in history rather than a linear evolution : elements of it come from his past, or his future, and a sort of meta-historical time is created that replaces facts by analogies and implications of meaning. Vivec was born long before he first met Nerevar, Ayem and Seht, but, through the events of the War of the First Council, they served as catalysts for his illumination, his "real" birth to godhood. So Vivec isn't only a lying politician, but his mystical biography isn't to be taken for historical facts (anyway, I don't see why it would have to be historical, it was intended as the narration of a personal illumination, not a listing of the petty disputes that constitute the whole of the glorious history of mortals everywhere - but this isn't the topic of this discussion, I guess )


As for Molag Bal and Dagoth Ur, I'm still wondering : Molag Bal probably isn't the Anticipation of the Sharmat as such (as far as I know, he never was at the Center that cannot hold), but there does seem to be a strong link between these two.


About reincarnation, I'll answer later because I don't have much time (much later, in fact, since I'm going on vacation tomorrow), but, to sum up : I don't view the path of the Hortator as a series of reincarnations in the buddhist or hinduist sense of the term.
Rather, I think that it is the archetype, the symbolic part (just like Sheogorath is Madness, for instance : Madness extends far beyond the limited sphere of influence of the Daedra Prince, and lends him power out of his own Realm ; likewise, Mephala was involved in one walking path, while most other Daedra weren't, not as an individual, but as the archetype of the Hermaphrodite ; and magic is without limitation because Magnus could flee Mundus, and so on - these archetypes aren't only spiritual, they have physical and cosmological impact, and they alter to an extent the nature of whoever manages to become one/ merge with one) that re-enters the world as an Incarnate (don't forget there were others, though incomplete, so the path of the Hortator was known before the events of the game Morrowind) rather than the identity of Nerevar. Some people have the potential to "host" this archetype and become one with the path of the Hortator, causing it to evolve with and through them, and may exploit this potential and become an Incarnate or never discover it and die as a netchiman in Gnisis - their original identity has no importance, for the form they must assume is that of a symbol, a sort of meta-entity and walking way that exists outside of the mortal aspect of its representations. It may be a soul or not - there is no clear definition for the word "soul" in the TES world - but indeed it is not a spirit, an identity ; rather a "way of life", just like Baan Dar, although a metaphysical one (and maybe a little bit more than that)

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Nigedo
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2240484 - 02/15/04 04:03 AM

Karnath, I do not wish you to feel that I am indifferent to your work, here. I am, in fact, following these discussions very closely. The reason I have not become involved is that I find I have very little to add at this time, since I agree with most everything you have said and you have presented it all very clearly.

I am very interested in your expansion of this topic area to touch upon the walking ways and I begin to see that you have a great deal yet to say on that subject. If you haven't yet noticed it, I must direct you to read Master Vehk's recent addition to that mystery in Pozzo's paper.

--------------------
Dean of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec

The Whirling School | Academy for Dwemer Studies | TES Lore FAQ

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Karnath
Novice

Reged: 05/16/03
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Nigedo]
      #2240787 - 02/15/04 05:42 AM

Thank you very much, Nigedo
Be assured that I didn't have such feeling, I know you'll comment on anything you think should be corrected

Indeed, these discussions have drifted a bit from the original topic, for the better in my humble opinion, thanks to the participation of everyone who posted here (especially Dinwath, in fact ). But, although I think the Walking Ways are one of the most interesting topics of the Whirling School studies, my ideas in this domain are still quite superficial, since I haven't explored it as much as I wanted - I haven't had much time for it these days, and it isn't the easiest topic out there, not to mention things just keep getting worse : I've noticed that last comment from Master Vehk, and I must say it arrived just on time, the whole problem was *beginning* to have a logical feeling to it in my mind and now it's happy chaos again (I love Padomaic teachers - I'm beginning to wonder whether Master Vehk's Anticipation wasn't really Nocturnal, too)

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Vireyar
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2242658 - 02/15/04 05:19 PM

Please do, the teachings of Master Vehk are of such complexity that any individual can find in their words a different and valuable meaning, each of these being of import in the progress toward a new and more complete interpretation of their hidden significances, as Allerleirauh rightfully demonstrated here.

If you like, though I agree with Qwerty - yours is better than mine. Rough notes I had been taking, I've tried to clean them up a little so as to make them readable (it's a little long):

- Sermon Six:

"Through me you are desired, unlike the prophets that have borne your name before."

Likely refers to the False Incarnates - unlike them, the true Nerevarine is wanted. For what? To destroy Dagoth Ur, of course, and also possibly to make Vivec mortal again.

"There will be a splendor in your name when it is said to be true."

When the Nerevarine is declared to be the true Nerevarine and not a False Incarnate, his/her name will be spoken with glory, because (s)he will be (is) the Saviour of Morrowind.

"Six are the guardians of Veloth, three before and they are born again, and they will test you until you have the proper tendencies of the hero."

(Let me say here that I completely bungled this and tried to figure out the other three guardians - I had likewise figured Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil to be half - and failed miserably.)

"There is a world that is sleeping and you must guard against it."

The Nerevarine must guard against those that sleep - the Sleepers, the Dreamers, the servants of the Sixth House and the lords of the Sixth House: the Ash Vampires and Dagoth Ur. Pretty obvious.

- Sermon Eleven:

This next bit is several paragraphs, all broken up because it's easier to deal with that way. It's also the first lesson of ruling kings.

"Ordeals you should face unimpeded by the world of restriction."

The Nerevarine does become demi-godly in his/her abilities. Any skill can be mastered, given time. This conclusion seems too superficial, though.

"There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone."

"There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone." I take this to mean that any enemy can be destroyed, except for the "enemy" that is the Heart. Or maybe that the Nerevarine will have a share of the broken bones, too.

"You will see it twice in your lifetimes. Take what you can the first time and let us do the rest."

The Nerevarine will see the Heart twice: once as Nerevar, again as Nerevar reborn. Remember what you can when you first see it, and leave the rest to the Tribunal. Then Nerevar will have his chance again.

"There is no true symbolism of the center. The Sharmat will believe there is. He will feel that he can cause years of exuberance from sitting in the sacred, when really no one can leave that state and cause anything more but strife."

Pretty obvious - the Sharmat Dagoth Ur thinks that by staying close to the Heart, he can bring Morrowind and eventually Tamriel into a glorious new age. Corprus, blight and death - who could possibly want for anything more?

"There is no true symbolism of the center" also leads me to wonder whether or not Vivec is also referring to Mundus, which is apparently at the centre of creation.

"There is once more the case of the symbolic and barren. The true prince that is cursed and demonized will be adored at last with full hearts."

The Nerevarine, persecuted unmercifully by the Temple, will finally be recognised as the saviour (s)he is.

"According to the Codes of Mephala there can be no official art, only fixation points of complexity that will erase from the awe of the people given enough time."

Does this refer to the people forgetting the Tribunal eventually? I think it does, and Tribunal lends some weight to this - the people will eventually accept that Almalexia and Sotha Sil are dead, and that Vivec is dead/will die.

"This is a secret that hides another. An impersonal survival is not the way of the ruling king. Embrace the art of the people and marry it and by that I mean secretly have it murdered."

Bloody secrets in secrets (never trust a poet). "Embrace the art of the people and marry it, and by that I mean secretly have it murdered." - go along with the Tribunal (the art), maybe even join the Temple, and in the end, destroy it. It's what the Nerevarine must do.

"The ruling king that sees in another his equivalent rules nothing."

You have no equal, maybe?

"The ruling king is armored head to toe in brilliant flame. He is redeemed by each act he undertakes. His death is only a diagram back to the waking world. He sleeps the second way. The Sharmat is his double, and therefore you wonder if you rule nothing."

Death being a diagram back to the waking world - False Incarnates? The Sharmat being the Nerevarine's double, maybe referring back to "The ruling king that sees in another his equivalent rules nothing"? Is it true, does the Nerevarine truly rule anything? The title Hortator is a title given by the Houses to a champion in times of war. Being Hortator (which is necessary to truly fulfill the Prophecies) does not imply rulership of anything. Likewise, being proclaimed Nerevarine by the Ashlander tribes doesn't make you their ashkhan.

- Sermon Thirteen:

Now we have the second lesson of ruling kings.

"If there is to be an end I must be removed. The ruling king must know this, and I will test him. I will murder him time and again until he knows this. I am the defender of the last and the last. To remove me is to refill the heart that lay dormant at the center that cannot hold."

If Dagoth Ur is to be destroyed, Vivec must also likewise be destroyed (primarily by losing his godhood - I suppose killing him could follow). Vivec will test the Nerevarines through the Temple and Ordinators, killing them (you can see their ghosts in the Cavern of the Incarnate) until the true Nerevarine comes forth. Vivec is the last line of defence - he maintains the Ghostfence, and he protects the last real hope of the Dunmer, the Nerevarine. To destroy him is to release his divinity back into the Heart in Red Mountain.

Referring to the Heart and the centre that cannot hold separately is a little confusing; I'd thought they were the same. But probably he means Mundus as the centre.


"The ruling king is to stand against me and then before me. He is to learn from my punishment. I will mark him to know. He is to come as male or female. I am the form he must acquire."

The Nerevarine must challenge Vivec's divinity (and hence the Temple) and then meet him. He has to learn from persecution and the mistakes of the Failed Incarnates. The Nerevarine's gender doesn't matter. The Nerevarine must become godlike - or is it androgynous? Maybe both, like Vivec?

- Sermon Fifteen:

The third lesson of ruling kings.

"The ruling king will remove me, his maker. This is the way of all children. His greatest enemy is the Sharmat, who is the false dreamer. You or he is the shingle, Hortator. Beware the wrong walking path. Beware the crime of benevolence."

The Nerevarine will effectively destroy Vivec. Dagoth Ur is his enemy. Do not be kind and try to save Vivec, otherwise Dagoth Ur's evils will continue. Regarding the shingle: I recall a passage somewhere saying something to the effect of "he will destroy the whole to smite a shingle".

"You alone, though you come again and again, can unmake him. Whether I allow it is within my wisdom. Go unarmed into his den with these words of power: AE GHARTOK PADHOME [CHIM] AE ALTADOON. Or do not. The temporal myth is man. Reach heaven by violence. This magic I give to you: the world you will rule is only an intermittent hope and you must be the letter written in uncertainty."

The Nerevarine, in all his Incarnations, is the only one capable of destroying Dagoth Ur. Whether Vivec allows it (presumably a test - the persecution by the Temple) is up to him. Go without a weapon (and likely with magic), or go with a weapon to reach heaven by violence. "The world you will rule is only an intermittent hope": the united Morrowind will not last long (of course, neither will the united Tamriel).

And then there's the matter of the words of power, particularly CHIM.

- Sermon Sixteen:

"A surviving Crater said, 'Appropriation is nothing new. Everything happens of itself. This motif is by no means unassociated with hero myths. You have not acted with the creative impulse; you fall below the weight of destiny. We are graves but not coffins. Know the difference. You have only dug more and supplied no ghosts to reside within. Central to your claim is the predominance of frail events. To be judged by the earth is to sit on a throne of wonder why. Damage us more and you will find naught but the absence of our dead.'"

I really want to find meaning in this.

- Sermon Seventeen:

"'Here,' Vivec said, 'is the last of the last. Within it the Sharmat waits.'

But they both knew that the time was not ready to contest the Sharmat and so they engaged in combat with each other. Vivec marked the Hortator in this way for all of the Velothi to see."

The Velothi would know when (the) Nerevar(ine) would contest the Sharmat. Vivec proclaims the Nerevarine the last hope against the threat of Dagoth Ur and the Blight.

- Sermon Nineteen:

"Vivec then saw the moths that would come from the starry heart, bringing with them dust more horrible than the ash of Red Mountain."

Vivec sees something (flying things, maybe Cliffracers - I wouldn't put it past them) bringing the Blight from the Heart of Lorkhan.

And that's as far as I got.

--------------------
Greater Dwemer Ruins - more rusted cogs, homocidal Animunculi and neon lights than you can shake a stick at.
GDR Aleft - You can't expect it to not be flooded, really.

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Striker
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vireyar]
      #2243080 - 02/15/04 09:02 PM

Quote:


"Six are the guardians of Veloth, three before and they are born again, and they will test you until you have the proper tendencies of the hero."

(Let me say here that I completely bungled this and tried to figure out the other three guardians - I had likewise figured Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil to be half - and failed miserably.)





To me, this means the three 'good' Daedra and the Tribunal that replaced them.

Quote:


"Ordeals you should face unimpeded by the world of restriction."

The Nerevarine does become demi-godly in his/her abilities. Any skill can be mastered, given time. This conclusion seems too superficial, though.





Nerevar reborn will not die of old age due to being cured of Corprus. This would remove much of the 'world of restriction' placed on most.

Quote:

"There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone."

"There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone." I take this to mean that any enemy can be destroyed, except for the "enemy" that is the Heart. Or maybe that the Nerevarine will have a share of the broken bones, too.




I believe this means that the Heart cannot be destroyed - even when you remove the enchantment, it will still exist.

Quote:


"The ruling king will remove me, his maker. This is the way of all children. His greatest enemy is the Sharmat, who is the false dreamer. You or he is the shingle, Hortator. Beware the wrong walking path. Beware the crime of benevolence."

The Nerevarine will effectively destroy Vivec. Dagoth Ur is his enemy. Do not be kind and try to save Vivec, otherwise Dagoth Ur's evils will continue. Regarding the shingle: I recall a passage somewhere saying something to the effect of "he will destroy the whole to smite a shingle".




The "Beware the wrong walking path. Beware the crime of benevolence." parts sounds like Vivec warning the Hortator to not join with Dagoth Ur . Also to not feel sorry for what he has become and let him live.

Great analysis!

-Striker

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Destination Morrowind
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Nigedo
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Striker]
      #2243224 - 02/15/04 10:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

"There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone." I take this to mean that any enemy can be destroyed, except for the "enemy" that is the Heart. Or maybe that the Nerevarine will have a share of the broken bones, too.




I believe this means that the Heart cannot be destroyed - even when you remove the enchantment, it will still exist.



Although this does not strictly relate to the topic, I just thought add something further here.

There are nine bones that support the structure of the Mundus - the Earthbones. Eight are the gift limbs of the Aedra, each of which contributes a perpetual law of "Static-Change" to mortal experience. Of these, the easiest to recognise is the Dragon bone which gives us the law of 'sequential sensation' or linear Time; being Akatosh's constrained expression in the mortal sphere.

The ninth bone is the Heart of Lorkhan, which is the seal, capstone and axle of the Mundus. It is the Timeless, pivotal point upon which the other eight spoke-bones are forced to revolve in regulated Change.

By Vehk saying that "There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone", I believe he makes two important points. One, that the Heart is an immutable point of Stasis in the Mundus (and indestructible as Striker said). And two, that all the other laws of nature are breakable (refer to the Dragon Break).

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Allerleirauh
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vireyar]
      #2243234 - 02/15/04 10:40 PM

When someone says "moth," I automatically assume it refers to the Empire and the Moth Priests...

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Yeah
Curate

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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vireyar]
      #2245280 - 02/16/04 11:09 AM

"Vivec then saw the moths that would come from the starry heart, bringing with them dust more horrible than the ash of Red Mountain.

He saw the twin head of a ruling king who had no equivalent. And eight imperfections rubbed into precious stones, set into a crown that looked like shackles, which he understood to be the twin crowns of the two-headed king. And a river that fed into the mouth of the two-headed king, because he contained multitudes.

Vivec then built the Provisional House at the Center of the Secret Door. From here he could watch the age to come."

Allerleirauh was right, the moths are the Imperials (or at least their priests). The 'Starry Heart' is probably the same 'Starry Heart of Nirn,' the nickname given to the Imperial province.

The twin-headed ruling king is undoubtedly Tiber Septim, who has two personas much like Vivec. Because Morrowind had been conquered, Vivec built his house to watch the age. He could no longer walk amon his people, and that is probably the dust that the Imperials brought.



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Vireyar
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Striker]
      #2249889 - 02/17/04 02:45 PM

To me, this means the three 'good' Daedra and the Tribunal that replaced them.

I think that's the case, too, but I only picked up on it after having read Karnath's excellent paper. Seems almost too obvious to have missed, looking back.

Nerevar reborn will not die of old age due to being cured of Corprus. This would remove much of the 'world of restriction' placed on most.

This makes considerably more sense than the rather superficial explanation I came up with. Again, seems very obvious now (love that hindsight).

The "Beware the wrong walking path. Beware the crime of benevolence." parts sounds like Vivec warning the Hortator to not join with Dagoth Ur . Also to not feel sorry for what he has become and let him live.

I like this interpretation; a shame it wasn't actually implemented in-game (the joining, that is). Dagoth Ur is a figure that inspires pity, though (among all the other feelings he inspires), and I can see how some might have been swayed by that.

Great analysis!

Thank you.

Nigedo: By Vehk saying that "There is no bone that cannot be broken, except for the heart bone", I believe he makes two important points. One, that the Heart is an immutable point of Stasis in the Mundus (and indestructible as Striker said). And two, that all the other laws of nature are breakable (refer to the Dragon Break).

I've nothing to add here, just wanted to say "ah, very interesting." Do you know (or is it known? probably not ...) if each Bone is connected with its own set of natural laws, or if they all work together to create the whole (which seems more likely to me)?

Yeah: Allerleirauh was right, the moths are the Imperials (or at least their priests). The 'Starry Heart' is probably the same 'Starry Heart of Nirn,' the nickname given to the Imperial province.

The twin-headed ruling king is undoubtedly Tiber Septim, who has two personas much like Vivec. Because Morrowind had been conquered, Vivec built his house to watch the age. He could no longer walk amon his people, and that is probably the dust that the Imperials brought.


That does make quite a bit of sense (and is also rather sad). But I thought it was Tamriel that meant Starry Heart? (I don't know why I'd remember that now instead of when I was off-on studying/writing this)

--------------------
Greater Dwemer Ruins - more rusted cogs, homocidal Animunculi and neon lights than you can shake a stick at.
GDR Aleft - You can't expect it to not be flooded, really.

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Allerleirauh
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Vireyar]
      #2250971 - 02/17/04 10:31 PM

Vireyar, don't be so hasty to throw your work out. The Sermons admit of more than one correct interpretation. The purpose of mythic humor is to alert the listener not to mistake image for reality. In a history, a rock has to be a rock. In a myth a rock can be a rock, and a mother, and an enemy, all at the same time. That's why Vivec's sermons are, among other things, funny; to let you know that he's telling a story that can't be told in any simpler way.

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Qwerty
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Karnath]
      #2251223 - 02/18/04 12:22 AM

It's easy to hide behind the mystical approach. Surely, it's hard to put a timestamp on the "Sermon of Love", for example, but I do think you're making a mistake by willfully ignoring author's intention and context. Yes there are accounts of spiritual experiences in the Sermons. There are also references to things, facts and people that allow for a reality check here and there. Treating the Sermons as a self-contained text is, well, wrong.

On the most basic level, the Sermons do consistently provide a timeframe for the narrative. "These were the days of Resdaynia...", does that ring a bell? Resdayn is a political body that was founded, controlled a territory, existed for a while, and then dissolved. There's nothing out-of-time-ly mystical about a chunk of land with a regime sitting on in.

Sermons 9, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 33 and 34 all start with the same word - "THEN". What can "THEN" mean other than "The events of this sermon happen after the events of the previous one", I cannot easily conceive. Occam's razor again.

Let's make one thing very clear. Vivec is a politician. Have you not read "Last Year of the Era"? Vivec is not the one to let his spiritual advancement get in the way of running the country (that'd be Sotha Sil, actually ).

Another example. A lot of time spent driving home the point that the Hortator is the only force capable of taking on Sharmat (Sermon 15). You don't appreciate the irony of this idea until you learn that in 3E 417, the Tribunes made a move against Dagoth Ur themselves and got their Triune butts kicked, barely making it in one piece. Juxtapose that. If the Hortator/Sharmat bit was so obvious to Vivec from his spiritual experiences, why didn't he advice against such a campaign beforehand? Ergo - we're facing a classic case of political spin here. ALMSIVI didn't fail because they sucked, but because of how the world worked on a deep level, yeah, right. Feel free to provide me an alternative explanation.

Oh, and don't tell me the line "Kagrenac the Blighter" is anything else other than an attempt to pin blame for a very real phenomenon on a long dead Dwarf.

What I'm saying here... There *is* a political agenda behind the Sermons. Don't overlook it.

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zingbat
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Qwerty]
      #2253429 - 02/18/04 10:58 AM

All right !!!!! That must have it the spot. Many people fall for the trap of simpatizing with Vivecs prose and forget the read between the small lines. Vivec was playing the game he and all noble rulers know very well how to play. Only in the end, perhaps, he has changed a bit.


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Nigedo
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Qwerty]
      #2253531 - 02/18/04 11:21 AM

Qwerty, you've made some very good points and if Karnath was available I'm sure he would respond further. But personally, I feel that he has already addressed these points in his previous post.

I also do not believe that any Fellow of the Whirling School would argue that there is not a political motivation to Temple publications generally and the Thirty-Six Lessons certainly contributes to the veil of 'mystery' (read 'disinformation') that the Heirogrypha intentionally placed around the Tribunal, but IMO truly only for the layman.

This is an issue that, many people may consider, warrants further discussion, but here my main concern is that it should not become an issue that swamps this excellent study with off-topic commentary. So perhaps it would be a better idea to start a new topic for that debate.

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zingbat
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Nigedo]
      #2262030 - 02/20/04 11:58 AM

Quote:

but IMO truly only for the layman.





Well thats a good topic for a new thread. Who else would Vivec be interested into giving all that "knowledge" unless to the layman and the followers of his own religion.

Puting the question in another terms. What would the noble and political character Vivec gain to himself and to his domain into giving his "knowledge" away like that instead of keeping it to himself and who was the character in the trama to receive that "knowledge" from his sermons.

This is something that gives me the creeps and that puts Vivec sermons one step too close into being out of character. Unless there is a very good explanation for this strange and completely alien thing that are the Vivec sermons. Not because the Vivec sermons are not very well written but because of the way they are presented. Nigedo an rpg takes life from well witten texts but an rpg is not just an exercise of literature.



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Nigedo
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: zingbat]
      #2262075 - 02/20/04 12:07 PM

Quote:

Well thats a good topic for a new thread.



Um, I think that I said that too.

Please don't post any further points on these unrelated issues of the motivation, veracity or historical validity of the Lessons. Karnath has presented an excellent topic for discussion in its own right and it is simply unfair to obfuscate it in this way.

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Allerleirauh
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Nigedo]
      #2263300 - 02/20/04 09:15 PM

Well, a certain amount of off-topic discussion keeps it at the top of the page

(Okay, okay, but no one has started a new thread yet, and I couldn't let this go without comment. Karnath can whallop me when he gets back.)

Zingbat, careful there, Vivec even without the Sermons is a more complex character than that. However he came to his position, he has used it for the benefit of his people, for four thousand years, with very little reward for himself. He is, by his own in-game admission, a liar when it serves his political agenda. But his agenda serves a benevolent purpose. He is even willing to step down without a fight when it will serve his people. Why should it surprise you that his Sermons are in some degree a benevolent gift to those who would follow in his footsteps? Even black-hearted villains do kind deeds occasionally.



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Girai_Harkaanius
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Nigedo]
      #2264670 - 02/21/04 06:24 AM

Quote:

Please don't post any further points on these unrelated issues of the motivation, veracity or historical validity of the Lessons.




Karnath has posted very good ideas on many questions, though also very biased toward Tribunal/Daedra infested Dunmer point of view.

None the less, you once told me you are a scholar, not a priest. When it comes down to it, there is little difference between the two when they both share the same view. They both can be very compelling, they both are very careful and wise in what they do, and they both can also mutate peoples perspectives completely where they want them to go without thought.

Politics, religion, and philosophy come together all to often, and I can blame you for wanting to protect the sermons. What I can request is that you do not hide behind a slight subject change to ward off such a discussion. Vivec contributed much knowledge none of the other divine beings (or false divine beings) were willing to grant to mortals. He brought new union to the Dunmer with the help of the other Tribunes and helped them survive Imperial invasion and occupation. He also in practically everything he does contributes quite a nice share of corruption. He hardly benefitted from ruling the Dunmer? How about the fact an entire race was worshipping him nonstop. He could have simply been a king after his actions at Red Mountain, atoning in a way for what he did, and the Dunmer race would have been much better off. Oh no though, in the sermons repeatedly we see him declaring himself as "God". Just that sheds some question on the sermons, considering he was declaring this before Red Mountain. Why would he lie about the timeline involved?

I do believe he has some benevolence in him, but for what he desired he could be nothing short of perfect. To deliver such important information to the mortal races, he had to be without bias, or nothing he said could be trusted. He was hardly without bias.

I've written more than I intended, but nonetheless, I see more and more Vivec's wisdom, desire for knowledge, even benevolence in his servants, the Fellows of the Whirling School. I also see his corruption.

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Just a Cyrodiil citizen who believes Anu is the answer.

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phil_t
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Girai_Harkaanius]
      #2265094 - 02/21/04 08:12 AM

Oooooh, do i get to be corrupt then?? What do i get??

Anything???

Nope

Seriously Girai, Nigedo just wants this topic to avoid wondering too far from the tree - the question of political motivation is irrelevant to the discussion of the Master!

Post another thread about politics in the Sermons and im sure we'll all be glad to join in a discussion there

In the mean time, lay off the flames

Phil, Incorruptable Fellow of the Whirling School

Btw, servants is a bad choice of word - students certainly, never servants

--------------------
*Fellow of The Theoretical Whirling School Of Vivec*
*Forum Scholars Guild | Tamriel Rebuilt*

Edited by phil_t (02/21/04 08:14 AM)

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Girai_Harkaanius
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: phil_t]
      #2265175 - 02/21/04 08:36 AM

Quote:

Btw, servants is a bad choice of word - students certainly, never servants




Thank you for the modification, I got my wording wrong. Students sounds accurate enough.

Quote:

In the mean time, lay off the flames




Nigedo has given me my fair share in the past, though a bit more eloquently worded than mine. Fact is our opinions just don't merge well (on practically everything). I will try to keep it less personal in the future.

--------------------
Just a Cyrodiil citizen who believes Anu is the answer.

The second to see the Brass God was the Enantiomorph. You may know them individually as Zurin Arctus and Talos. - Xal, a Human Maruhkati

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zingbat
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Re: The Number of the Master [Re: Girai_Harkaanius]
      #2267560 - 02/22/04 12:32 AM

I admit that the sermons are very well written and that studying them does not have to have anything to do with politics. Its a shame MK didnt wrote them in poetry. A poet i know wrote the entire story (very bisaded) of the naval discoveries of India and Japan in 1500 DC in poetry. He used blocks of texts with 5 or 6 lines, each line having exactly N sylables (the entire book with about 400 pages) and every line ending according to a certain form that poets used at the time. But i guess old MK didnt have the guts to do the entire sermons in poetry. However looking into the structure of them he may have tried.

So lets people have their fun. I will open a new thread about sermon politics and you can post your points of view there.

Edit: Opps the thread is already open.

Edited by zingbat (02/22/04 12:41 AM)

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