Lore:Crafting Motifs

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This is a compilation of books assembled for easier reading.
Crafting Motifs
by Various
A series about weapon and armor styles of Tamriel

Contents

The High Elves

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

This series will provide a survey-level overview of the symbolic and stylistic hallmarks that distinguish the major cultures of Tamriel in their arts and crafts. Our focus will be on the portable durable goods of the various races, that is, their clothing, ornamentation, arms, and armor, as these reliably reflect personal cultural expressions. When completed, this series will support the curricula of the introductory ethnographic courses at the Arcane University.

We begin with the High Elves, the reclusive Altmer of the Summerset Isles, because the argument can be made (and often is, by Elves) that civilization in Tamriel was brought here by the Aldmeri of Old Ehlnofey. Insofar as the Elves of Summerset consciously strive to maintain the heritage of their Merethic ancestors, their traditions are certainly closer to those of pre-First Era society than any other.

This is not to say that, in the thousands of years since the arrival of the first Aldmeri, the culture of the High Elves has not deviated and ramified in many ways, because it has. It is simply that, by viewing modern Altmeri culture with the eye of a historian, we can perceive the outlines of its origins.

In this initial effort I have benefited from the advice of the celebrated Morian Zenas, Professor of Transliminal Studies here at Arcane University. Professor Zenas is the only member of our faculty who has visited the Summerset Isles, specifically Artaeum, with a brief stop in transit at Dusk.

I was a bit intimidated when I first visited Professor Zenas in his house in the Cathedral District, but I found him a charming old gentleman, undeserving of his reputation for peevishness. Morian (for so he asked me to address him) bade me stay for dinner, which was served by his laconic Argonian apprentice, Seif-ij Hidja.

As Morian explained, the High Elves strive for a simple elegance in their designs, in which flowing lines reflect graceful forms from the natural world. More-or-less abstract birds, flowers, and sea shells are common motifs, rendered in rich but muted colors. Armor will be tooled or embossed to represent scales or feathers, and even heavy cuirasses and helmets may sport stylized wings or beaks.

Metallic items are often accented with a translucent greenish material called "glass." This is a sort of jade-like obsidian that Elven smiths have learned to work by secretive processes known only to the Altmer. Though rigid enough to take a superb edge when cool, glass can be made malleable enough to assume almost any form, and the High Elves use it extensively on ornamental arms and armor.

After dinner, over snifters of Cyrodilic Brandy, Morian asked me all sorts of questions about my motifs project, and about myself. It was really very flattering. I must find an excuse to talk with him again.

The Dark Elves

From the High Elves it is natural to next consider the Dark Elves, as they originated in the Summerset Isles before their migration to Morrowind. Their culture can thus be considered an offshoot of the Altmeri, though in many ways that of the Dunmer is a reaction to that of Summerset rather than an extension.

Also, Morian introduced me to a Dark Elven associate of his, Divayth Fyr, who is helping him on his "transliminal sojourn" project. I don't know what that's all about, but Divayth offered to help me with references on Dunmeri culture, and I accepted.

Elegance is as much a goal for the Dark Elves as it is for the High Elves, but beyond that their styles could not be more different. Morrowind is a far harsher environment than fair Summerset, and that rigor is reflected in Dunmeri designs. The Dark Elves also draw on nature for their inspiration, but in place of avian and floral motifs, Dunmeri artifice draws on the curved and spiky forms of the carapaces of the giant insects that inhabit Morrowind. Elegant these are, but also fearsome, a constant reminder that the Dunmer daily fight for their very existence.

Ebony is the favored metal for Dark Elven heavy armor, but even in their lighter armors and shields, steel and steel alloys are often lacquered in dark tones to appear ebony-like. Clothing, armor included, is often accented by flaring extensions at shoulder, crest, or hip, with overlapping geometric designs that may have been borrowed from Dwarven culture, though Divayth bristled at the idea of any Dwemeri influence on the Dunmer.

In truth, I find the dark sorcerer from Vvardenfell exerts a strangely compelling attraction. He doesn't seem old, but he referred to Morian, who is at least sixty, as a "young man." I wonder how old he really is. In fact, I wonder many things about him. He has those crimson eyes that seem to look right through you. It's a little bit thrilling.

He's offered to take me with him to visit a Bosmeri tavern down on the waterfront. I may do it.

The Wood Elves

Next we complete our study of the Elves with the Bosmer of Valenwood. Though less influential in the world at large than their cousins the High Elves and the Dark Elves, the Wood Elves outnumber all other Mer in Tamriel, being relatively fecund (for Elves) and more, shall we say, amorously-inclined.

It's a commonplace to point out that the Wood Elves favor natural motifs, but as I learned, there's more to it than that. Their reverence for Y'ffre and the story of the Earth Bones is reflected in the stylized fashion in which these natural motifs are represented. The Bosmer believe that all nature was in chaos before Y'ffre gave all plants, animals, and people their names, which defined the permanent form each species would take. Thus each species is depicted by a particular, idealized motif which represents the ur-form it was given by Y'ffre.

This is reflected in the designs that appear everywhere on Wood Elven arts, crafts, and clothing. These designs are drawn from a large repertoire, as there is a design for each species of plant and animal in the Bosmer's world, but the use and depiction of these designs is culturally prescribed, and there is very little room for variation. Unorthodox usage of these stylized pictograms is considered improper, just plain "wrong."

This may seem paradoxical in a race whose members otherwise seem so carefree and easygoing, but it is so, as I had an opportunity to see for myself. There are quite a few Wood Elves in the Imperial City, enough that there is a small Bosmeri neighborhood down on the waterfront, served by a tavern called the Tipsy Torchbug. Divayth Fyr, the fascinating Dark Elf wizard assisting Morian Zenas in his experiments, had offered to take me there, and I agreed.

When I arrived at Morian's house on the date of our jaunt to the docks the old professor himself answered the door, and I was surprised when he asked me to step into his study for a moment. Also surprising was the way Morian was turned out: in a new silk robe sporting star-sign symbols, hair trimmed and combed, and smelling faintly of lavender. Quite a transformation from the disreputable, singed and stained robes I'd seen him in previously.

It turned out he wanted to caution me about going down to the waterfront with Divayth Fyr. I'm afraid I laughed, at which he reddened, and I then told him I was a grown woman who could take care of herself. He was somewhat abashed and muttered some excuses, from which I gathered that he was more concerned about my spending time with Divayth than going to the docks. I didn't want his feelings hurt, so I complimented his new robe, at which he beamed, and then I went to the parlor to meet Divayth.

I shouldn't ramble on, but we had a wonderful evening. The Tipsy Torchbug was a lively place, and Divayth introduced me to Lady Biniele, the proprietor, who insisted that we share our table. The entertainment was Biniele's Bosmeri Burlesque, which was hilarious, and though I couldn't drink any of the Wood Elves' revolting beverages, I did consent to share a pipeful of bugsmoke with Divayth, which made me feel strangely exhilarated.

It also led to my seeing a prime example of Bosmeri disdain for "improper design" when a Leyawiin sailor, who'd seen me sharing Divayth's pipe, offered to sell me a carved-bone pipe of "genuine Valenwood make." Lady Biniele told me it was a counterfeit and not to waste my money. The sailor protested, but the diminutive Wood Elf woman told him any fool could see the tail was wrong on the Imga carved on the bowl, and he should shove off. Which he did.

Divayth and I shoved off shortly thereafter, and on our way back up to the city gates he pointed to the stars in the brilliant night sky and told me the ancient Chimeri names for the constellations. I must confess, I remember nothing but the warm tones of his resonant voice—and the warm touch of his hand on my arm.

The Nords

We come now to the Nords, the first human culture on Tamriel to successfully resist, and even displace, Elven hegemony on the continent.

Not unlike the Bosmer, the Nords rely heavily on stylized, often interlocking natural motifs in their architecture, crafts, and clothing. However, where the Wood Elves' designs are mainly floral, the Nords emphasize animals, in particular the eight "totem" animals of the old Atmoran religion: wolf, hawk, whale, snake, moth, fox, and so forth. They also allow for much more variation of design, to the point where some of the animal motifs are so abstract they are difficult to recognize. Indeed, areas of trim are often filled with interlocking geometric designs that evoke nothing natural at all.

Nord design varies in other ways from that of the Elves as well, in general relying on simple, heavy yet dynamic forms where Elven work would be slender, elegant, and understated. Nothing the Nords make is understated, ever.

This was clear even from outside the Imperial City's Skyrim Embassy, where Morian, Divayth and I had gone to a reception for King Logrolf. The lintel above the embassy doors was crowned with a great iron hawk's-head, its mouth open as if screaming defiance, while the doors were flanked by bas-reliefs of hawks so stylized they looked as much like axes as they did birds. The door itself was dark oak, banded with iron and studded with iron rivets, as if they expected to have to repel an attack.

The inside of the embassy was less martial in appearance, at least once one got past the armed and armored guards inside the door. I wondered if they really needed to wear full helms sporting ram's-horns in order to check the invitations of party guests, but the look in the Nords' eyes didn't exactly invite questions.

The party, as I said, was a reception for King Logrolf, visiting the Imperial City to pay his respects to the Potentate. Morian was there representing the Arcane University; he'd asked me to accompany him and I'd accepted, eager to see our fierce northern cousins in their own environment. When Divayth learned where we were going he'd attached himself to our party, in spite of Morian's baleful glare, but once we were inside the embassy and he was surrounded by loud, boisterous Nords, the Dark Elf wizard seemed to be regretting his decision to join us.

Not so Morian! After he'd downed a flagon of mead, I was suddenly seeing a new Professor Zenas. Attired in his new robe, he positively bloomed, holding forth on the history of magic to an admiring crowd of diplomats, whom he enthralled with tales of the feats of wizardry of the Nord Arch-Mage Shalidor. He seemed twenty years younger, and I suddenly saw him as he must have been in his prime, when he first came to the Imperial City to help found the Arcane University.

Morian even introduced me to King Logrolf, though how he came to know the monarch of Skyrim I have no idea. When I looked around for Divayth, he was nowhere to be seen. Morian and I stayed late at the embassy, quaffing mead and laughing at the Nords' hearty jokes. When we finally left and he walked me home, I thought I could see a new gleam in Morian's eye.

He may have seen the same gleam in mine.

The Bretons

The Arch-Magister at the University, Lady Opel Dantaine, is a Breton, so I consulted with her on Breton motifs. She was friendly, and very helpful.

The Bretons were the last major group of humans on Tamriel to free themselves from their Elven overlords, and in many ways their long vassalage to the Direnni defines their culture. They are fiercely autonomous, each kingdom in High Rock jealous of its individual sovereignty, but Breton society retains a feudal structure that hearkens back to the rank-obsessed Direnni Hegemony. The Bretons are nearly as fractious as their cousins the Nords, but their long tutelage under the Elves makes them open to the magical arts, rather than suspicious of them.

How is this reflected in their arts and crafts? Let's look at Breton armor, for example. The gleaming heavy armor of a Breton knight is as tough and practical as that of a Nord housecarl, but its pleasing form exhibits a subtle sophistication that is reminiscent of Elven elegance. One sees the same influence in Breton weaponry, which is beautiful yet undeniably deadly.

It made me think of the differences between Divayth's Elven urbanity and Morian's breadth of knowledge and all-too-human inconsistencies, even peevishness. Apparently the transliminal experiments have not been going well. When I stopped by the townhouse last night, neither Morian nor Divayth were in—Seif-ij, Morian's apprentice, told me they'd quarreled over the appropriate price to pay a transporting entity to ensure safe return from a jaunt to Oblivion, the remarks became personal, and then my name was apparently brought up. There was shouting, and they both huffed their way out of the laboratory and marched off down Divines Street in opposite directions.

This is terrible. Fighting? Over me? I must confess I was so disturbed I blurted out the whole thing to Lady Opel, who was incredibly kind and solicitous. She asked me if I had feelings for either of the two wizards, and I admitted I did, but they were conflicting and confusing. Opel opened a bottle or two of Bangkorai spiced wine, and we got quite confidential with each other as the evening waned. I'm not sure how I got home, and today my head hurts, but it was worth it, as my heart is no longer so heavy.

The Redguards

When I arrived at Morian's townhouse this morning all was sunshine and rainbows—Divayth and the professor were chatting over mugs of chal like best friends, comparing Ralliballah's Eleven Ritual Forms to the Book of Most Arcane Covenants. I reminded Divayth that he'd promised to escort me to the Yokudan Chapel in the Market District, at which Morian's brow clouded over slightly, but then he smiled and said that was fine, as he wanted to test some new hyperagonal media in his laboratory.

(And maybe it was the light, but to me both men looked … younger, somehow. I must keep in mind that they're both highly capable wizards, which I suppose might include knowledge of illusion magic. Or perhaps I flatter myself.)

I met a number of knowledgeable Redguards at the chapel, all exhibiting that dignity and polite reserve I associate with the better-educated members of that people. The Most-Revered Zirumir, a Priest of Tu'whacca (I hope I spelled that right), was particularly helpful.

As Zirumir pointed out, both the Redguards' ancient home of Yokuda and their current province of Hammerfell are (or were, in the case of Yokuda) deserts. To stay cool, and for protection from the elements, Redguard clothing tends to be light, long and flowing, and these flowing curves are carried into their artisanal designs. Their robes and armor are often accented by flared curves at joints and on headgear. Even their swords tend to be curved.

In contrast their architecture appears rather heavy, though on close inspection this is mainly for the purpose of insulation from the desert's extremes of temperature. Zirumir showed me the chapel's clever system of louvered ventilation ducts in the clerestory, designed to catch the slightest breeze and funnel it down into the nave.

After Zirumir was called away to tend to one of his congregation, Divayth and I strolled into the apse to view the eight shrines to the Yokudan Divines. Divayth was explaining that whereas the Forebears of Hammerfell often worship the Cyrodilic Divines brought to them by the Reman Empire, these were the traditional gods worshiped by the more conservative Crown Redguards. Suddenly, behind the beehive shrine to Morwha, he turned to me with those blazing eyes, took my hands between his, and told me he thought me the most brilliant and desirable woman in the Imperial City. My breath caught in my throat, and my heart was hammering. But when he moved as if to embrace me I was suddenly frightened—I backed away, shaking my head, then fled out into the nave. I fear I quite startled a young family of Redguards placing candles on Morwha's altar.

Now what? I'm afraid I must have insulted Divayth terribly. How can I make it up to him? And dare I mention it to Morian? Julianos' little teapot, what a dilemma!

The Khajiit

When I went to the professor's townhouse this morning, my first priority was to apologize to Divayth, but Seif-ij told me he was out—he'd gone somewhere from the portal chamber, using an incantation and leaving nothing behind but a burnt smell. Onward, I told myself: work will take your mind off it. So I went looking for Morian.

I found the old dear at breakfast, just finishing his sweet roll and chal. When I entered the kitchen, he nearly knocked over his mug in his haste to stand up and bow! I told him I wanted to make some notes on the Khajiit and asked him if he knew any of the Cat-Folk, as I did not. He said he knew exactly the person I needed and would be delighted to help me, since "that irascible Telvanni" had taken the day off.

I had often passed the seasonal camp of the Baandari Pedlars outside the Market Gate but had never gone in—residual caution from my father's warnings keeping me out, I suppose, as well as the pungent scent. Besides, I've always been a dog person. But Morian plunged right in without hesitation and led me to a pavilion adorned with colorful prayer-flags. I followed Morian into the tent, where he introduced me to Madame Shizahi-jo, whom he said was a Khajiiti sorceress devoted to Azurah and Magrus. Though sitting in lotus position, she bowed politely—the Cat-Folk are lissome—gestured to a pair of seat cushions, and asked how "this one" could be of service.

We had a long and lovely chat. There are superficial similarities between the motifs and designs of the Khajiit and the Redguards, perhaps because they both inhabit hot, arid environments, but where the Redguards favor long, flowing curves, the Cat-Folk are devoted to circular and crescentiform moon-shapes. The shapes of Masser and Secunda in all their phases appear everywhere on Khajiiti clothing and ornaments. The falcate sliver of the crescent moon also brings to mind the Khajiiti claws that spring from pads in their hands and feet, a subtle but ever-present threat to softer folk.

Shizahi-jo made us some tea—sticky sweet, like all Khajiiti food and drink—then asked to see the leaves in the bottom of my cup. She stirred them with her pinky-claw, and said now she saw the object of my concern: I'd let my fear cloud my longing and darken my heart. I blurted something about how Divayth had tried to kiss me, and Morian dropped his cup, splattering poor Shizahi.

I thought he was going to explode in rage, but instead this sad look came over him, and then he began pouring out his heart about his feelings for me. It was so sweet of him. I was really quite moved. The Khajiiti mage made a discreet exit, and we stayed on her cushions, talking, for what seemed like hours.

The Orcs

I saw Divayth last night, briefly, at the Torchbug. I told him I truly cared for him, but that Morian had won my heart. He clouded over like a storm in the Jeralls, but then took a deep breath and managed a dignified exit. Oh, I do hope he'll be all right.

Though I confess, I'm more worried about Morian. His experiments with Divayth are reaching their climax, when Morian will open a gate and personally make a visit to Oblivion. He says he's going to try for Azura's realm of Moonshadow, as he says that ought to be relatively safe. Safe! I'm as anxious as a scrib on a griddle. I dearly want to see Morian before he goes, but he says he must concentrate on mastering the ritual and can't be interrupted.

He did send a note by Seif-ij saying I should take his place representing the University at the Potentate's state dinner for the new envoy from Orsinium. He must really be busy to skip that event, as I know he was keen to go. Well, all the better for my Racial Motifs project, I suppose—work, work, work will take my mind off my worries!

The new province of Orsinium doesn't have an embassy yet, so for the dinner the Potentate's snake-staff set up a row of pavilions on the grounds of the White-Gold Tower. To honor Envoy Thuggikh they were all decorated with authentic Orcish paraphernalia imported from Wrothgar, so I got out my journal and took notes during the interminable speeches.

Strange to think that a folk as brutish as the Orcs seem to be could design and create objects of such sophistication! Of course they're known across Tamriel as fine armorers, but I'd always assumed that was due to their great strength rather than skill. A glance at their arms and armor was enough to show me how wrong my assumption had been. Though never ornate or over-embellished, their metalwork, though even simpler and more utilitarian than the Nords', displays a deep understanding of the laws of proportion, symmetry, and harmonic congruity. An Orcish sword may be a weapon of violence, but to contemplate the dynamic sweep of its blade, visually balanced by its heavy but shapely hilt, obviously molded to flow into the hand of its wielder—why, it's almost restful and reassuring.

Afterwards at the reception I was happy to see somebody I recognized in Lady Opel the Arch-Magister. She greeted me warmly and, over some West Weald wine and Eidar cheese, asked me how things were going with me and my pair of wizards. I told her I thought I'd made a terrible muddle of things, but she assured me everything would work out in the end. She said she's known Morian for ever so long, and he's really quite sensible beneath his fussy old-man ways. She was glad he'd found someone as clever as I to keep him from completely vanishing into his laboratory.

But as far as I'm concerned, that's exactly what he's done. I think I'll go talk to Seif-ij again—maybe he can help me get through to Morian before he leaves.

The Argonians

This morning my maid Dariella came to me all a-twitter with the news that there was a lizard-woman at the door, asking for me and insisting it was urgent. There aren't many Argonians in the City, and it occurred to me this might be a relative of Seif-ij, sent with some dreadful news about Morian, so I donned my University robe and hurried down.

There was indeed a young lizard-woman waiting in the street, clad in a fetching spidersilk jumper adorned with intricate spiral designs. She said her name was Lifts-Her-Tail (which I thought must be a joke, but who can tell, given these reptilians' impassive features), and she'd been sent to bring me to her master, Desh-Wulm the Perspicuous. She said she didn't know what it was about, but it was a matter of some urgency, and she was to lead me to her master immediately. I nodded, nervously, and followed.

The Argonian lass led me out the Temple gate and down to the Docks, far out on the end of which we found a curious old house I'd never before noticed, with a dark sign by the door that read "The Xanmeer"—a word unfamiliar to me. We went inside to find a large house entirely occupied by Argonians, a dozen or so who seemingly lived there using all the rooms in common. Everywhere I looked I saw Argonian hangings, sculptures, and fetishes, all made from natural materials such as shells, bone, and feathers, glowing with bright spiral and geometric designs. If these objects were representative of what the Argonians used in their home regions, then snakeskin, tortoise shell, jagged teeth, turquoise and jade, all of which we would consider exotic materials, must be commonplace in Black Marsh.

Lifts-Her-Tail led me up a ramp that had apparently replaced the house's staircase. On the upper level she introduced me to a humid room that, to me at least, smelled of decay and mold. Coughing, I entered, discovering a room almost entirely full of potted jungle plants—some of them seemingly long-dead and rotting. I stepped on something that squished beneath my sandal and stepped involuntarily back, but the lizard-lass gently took my hand, drew me past a wall of ferns and into the center of the room.

There, incongruously, I discovered a large porcelain Nibenese bathtub, like the one in my own vanity chamber, though this one was filled almost to the rim with a noisome, greenish mud. And lying in this mud, nose barely above the surface, was the oldest Argonian I'd ever seen.

In fact, the withered and wizened lizard-man looked so much like a mummy I was startled when it opened its mouth and spoke. In a voice like creaking leather, the reptilian slowly said, "I am Desh-Wulm. You are Al-Phid, Brightest Star of the City. You are welcome in my uxith—my nest."

He seemed to be looking someplace over my shoulder, and I saw that the old lizard's eyes were clouded over with an opalescent film—he was blind. This infirmity was somehow reassuring, enabling me to regain my self-possession and fall gratefully into the routines of etiquette. I bowed—though he couldn't see it—and said, "I am honored to be received into your home, venerable Desh-Wulm. How can one such as I be of service to an Elder of Wisdom?"

"You can beware!" he croaked, scaled hands emerging from the mud and levering him up on the rim of the bathtub. "Your dryskin mages—the weft unravels about them," he said, more calmly, making an unfamiliar spiral gesture above the tub. "It is wrong. The Aurbic skeins should not be disjoined with intent of malice."

I had been around wizards long enough to guess at what he meant. "Morian?" I gasped. "And Divayth? They're in danger? What can I do?"

Desh-Wulm clacked his jaws twice, and then said, "You are capable. You must stop them. You will prevail. If not," three sharp spines rose up from his brow, "there will be ill dreams and serration for all who swim the river. Kaoc!" The old Argonian suddenly began thrashing about in the tub, spilling muck over the sides. "Theilul!"

Lifts-Her-Tail deftly picked up a jug that seemed to be made from a single insect's carapace, uncorked it, and poured some brown liquor down the old lizard-man's throat. "Go!" she hissed, pointing toward the door. "Do as he says! Now!"

I turned, ran out of the room, down the ramp, out the door, and back to the Imperial City.

Imperial Cyrods

The Imperial City. I used to love it here. When I was young my native town of Skingrad seemed hopelessly provincial to me, and I looked forward all year long to going along with mother on her annual trip to the Heartland. For me, the capital was the epitome of learning, of culture, of everything I held dear.

I walk the avenues now, from district to district. And I look. Skingrad seemed provincial, yes, but it was Colovian: direct, forthright, with clean lines and a certain spare, ascetic look to it. And its people are much the same way.

The Imperial City, except for the walls and the Tower, which are Ayleid, is … Nibenese. Refined. Decorative. Subtle. Nuanced.

Decadent. Corrupt.

Like its people. And the people it attracts.

I was too late.

Morian is gone. With the help of Divayth, cursed Divayth, he fulfilled his dream and traveled to Oblivion. According to Seif-ij, he went to Moonshadow as planned, but he didn't stay there. He went on, to Ashpit, to Coldharbour, to Quagmire. To Apocrypha.

And there, in Apocrypha, he stayed.

Seif-ij told me, emotion quivering even in his flat reptilian voice, of how once he entered Oblivion Morian seemed to become more reckless, more enraptured, with each portal to a new plane. How he ignored his assistant's pleas to return. How Apocrypha … entranced him.

Seif-ij Hidja was beside himself, holding his head with its drooping spines, clearly at his wit's-end. It was up to me. I ran to Divayth's room, though Seif-ij said he was gone, hoping he'd left some way to get in touch with him, hoping he would respond to my appeals for help.

I found only a book, open on his desk, a book titled "Fragmentae Abyssum Hermaeus Morus." It was open to what seemed to be a summoning ritual for the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora, specifying that "whatever price is named shall be met."

A ritual to Hermaeus Mora. The Lord of Apocrypha.

I ran to Morian's laboratory. It was looted, ransacked. The only thing of interest was a crumpled note. It read, "When thou enterest into Oblivion, Oblivion entereth into thee."

Morian is gone. Gone to Apocrypha. Where he stays.

And so I walk, from district to district. Wondering. What price had the Lord of Apocrypha named to Divayth Fyr? What price for the entrancement, the captivity of Morian Zenas?

I walk the streets, the avenues and alleys. Wondering.

Wondering when I, too, will be ready to pay the price.

Ancient Elves

The master—I mean the Professor, Morian Zenas—is gone. So is Lady Alfidia, though I always addressed her as Doctor Lupus. So, for that matter, is the Telvanni, but he, at least, will not be missed—nasty mer, always making caustic comments about "the scaleskin help" whenever the Professor wasn't around.

No, I am glad the Telvanni is gone. But the others … well.

I will stay on here as long as I may, keeping the Professor's town house in order, organizing his notes and his reagents, dusting his beloved books. I still hope for his return. For now, the University has him listed as "On Sabbatical," and sends his stipend to me so I can maintain his residence and arcane workshop.

It was while in the study, straightening the Professor's desk, that I came across a stack of notes in Lady Alfidia's elegant handwriting, unfinished studies of clothing, arms, and armor in several cultural styles. The river flows slowly these days, so I have decided to organize these style notes in a fashion that (I hope) approximates how the lady doctor would have done so herself.

Though notes about the styles of the leading Elven societies of current-day Tamriel have already been compiled, there is more to say, as the mer, who revere their ancestors and ancestry, have a special regard for the history of Aldmeri culture. The Merethic Era, when Elves first conquered and colonized Tamriel, they regard as a golden age to be emulated. As a result the clothing and armor of that period never really goes out of style, and many Elves still affect the styles and manners of the ancient Aldmeri. It is not at all unusual, even on continental Tamriel, to encounter a High Elf or Dark Elf dressed like an ancient Ayleid or Chimer. The Elves call this practice "draping Ehlnofic," but the rest of us just call it "Ancient Elven" and leave it at that.

(I will add here to the absent lady's notes that I myself, though having lived in the Imperial capital for many long years, have never seen a Wood Elf sporting this Ancient Elven style. But the Bosmer, like we Argonians, seem to prefer to live in the Aurbic Now, showing relatively little regard for the ways of former ages.)

Ancient Elven is different from Elven styles favored by modern artisans of Summerset and Morrowind in that it is somewhat more organic, and yet at the same time more abstract. Flowing floral motifs are common, usually tapering to a sharp point or end, as in the sharp-peaked arches so familiar to the inhabitants of Cyrodiil from our ubiquitous Ayleid ruins. Circles, semi-circles, and arcs abound, often containing the organic tapering tendrils, much as the Aedra (whom the Elves claim as ancestors) were constrained by the creation of the Mundus.

(What? What's that? …It is as if I heard my lady whisper in my ear, "How pretentious, Seif-ij!")

Barbaric

Despite the civilizing influence of our noble Second Empire, Tamriel still has its backwaters and hinterlands inhabited by barbarous tribes. Probably the most familiar to us Cyrodilics are the savage clans of the Reachmen, who dwell in the wild mountains between Skyrim and High Rock, and whose raiders have been seen on the outskirts of Bruma within living memory. But there are also the Ashlanders of Morrowind, the fierce Kothringi of Black Marsh, the Ket Keptu of central Hammerfell, and many others.

It is a strange but undeniable fact that these tribes, farflung across the continent though they are, have strikingly similar tastes in apparel. Why this should be is fodder for another ethnographic study more speculative than this one, which is merely descriptive. (Therefore, on to the description.)

This clannish or tribal style, though commonly known as "Barbaric," is really no less sophisticated than that of other cultures. The so-called barbaric tribes simply disdain all ideas of tasteful restraint, preferring the lurid and bizarre. Bright colors are favored, and materials may be lacquered to almost any hue. Typical accouterments include skulls, antlers, feathers, strings of teeth, accents of beaten copper, and weapons ostentatious in size and number.

(I feel the need to interject here that much of this description could also apply to the styles of my native Black Marsh, a region that could scarcely be described as "barbaric"! Pfui. I shall return to this cultural style another day.)

Primal

You might look at the gear sported by a fully-equipped Goblin warchief and think, "What a mismatched conglomeration of primitive paraphernalia." But you would be wrong. Each item that warchief is wearing was carefully selected for its proven utility, and represents a decision backed by millennia of tradition. This is a style of arms and armor we ethnographers call the "Primal," and it is as distinctive and recognizable as any other culture set.

Goblins and other folk who have adopted the Primal style are typically superb scavengers and looters. They seem to have a special sense for where to find the sort of cast-off yet serviceable, even exceptional equipment that will fit the Primal esthetic. And they are as proud of their turn-out as any Imperial centurion.

Recent scholarship by Doctor Intricatus of Gwylim University confirms this, and adds some new information that shows that "primal" is, indeed, the optimal label for this style. His study of the fifty-seven Primal ensembles worn by the massacred Knife-Biter Goblin tribe showed that many of the items found on the corpses were hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Some of the greaves and cuirasses appeared to date from the early First Era, and represented ancient forging techniques that have since been lost to history. Did the Goblins loot these from ancient Cyrodilic ruins, as they've been known to do? Or did they actually pass them down, generation by generation, since time immemorial?

Yes, Professor Zenas, that IS how you spell "immemorial." Wait … what? Professor? Is that your voice?

Daedric

It is entirely appropriate that this last entry in Doctor Lupus' "Racial Motifs" series should be about Daedric arms and armor, as it is my belief that the absent Lady Alfidia has somehow journeyed to the Daedric planes of Oblivion in pursuit of my lost Professor Morian Zenas. And as I can now hear the Professor's voice whispering in my ear almost constantly, it is time to conclude these notes and move on to telling the story of his travels through the doors of Oblivion.

The Daedra, as the Professor has so often remarked, are creatures of chaos, entities of great energy and force but entirely lacking in originality. They can imitate, they can exaggerate, and they can corrupt, but they cannot create anything new. That is a capability inherent only in the Aedra, and in we mortals of Nirn, to whom they gave it as a gift. (In Black Marsh we see such things differently, of course, but these are the beliefs of the Professor and Lady Alfidia.)

Thus the armor and weapons of such Daedra as the Dremora, Xivilai, and Golden Saints—what Doctor Lupus calls the "humanoid" Daedra—consist of familiar Tamriel-style cuisses, breastplates, and pauldrons, swords, spears, and bows. They may to our eyes be ornamented with outlandish spikes and melodramatic flourishes, but look inside a suit of Daedric armor and you'll find the familiar padding and straps that enable it to be worn by anyone of conventional shape. Pick up a Daedric sword, and despite its bizarre shape you will find the grip comfortable, the heft well-balanced. Indeed, it is said that the famous Artifacts of the Daedric Princes, such as the Mace of Molag Bal, were mostly made by mortal artisans who were enticed or forced to create them.

Yes, Professor, I believe that is enough—for now, at least. I have done my duty to the good doctor. I am sitting in your study, and I am listening. Tell me again of Moonshadow.

Dwemer

Kireth says I should write down what I've learned about Dwemer artisans and the styles and motifs of their lost civilization. She also says that organizing this study into an alphabetical listing of classes of relics is weird and detail-obsessive, but that's just evidence of her muddled and haphazard way of thinking.

AXES

Dwemeri axe designs reflect the wheels, gears, and cogs that are central to so many devices of the Deep Elves. The haft is surmounted by a round disk resembling the hub of a wheel, from which spokes radiate to the blade or blades, which are like portions of a wheel's outer ring. The blades maintain an edge remarkably well, considering their great age.

BELTS

Dwarven belts are typically made of overlapping metal links of a repeated geometric shape, such as squares or circles. Their length is easily adjusted by the addition or subtraction of a few links. The tensile strength of such a belt is without peer, many times that of an equivalent length of steel chain.

BOOTS

Dwarven boots are sturdy, but not as heavy as they look. Though they have accents of Dwarven metal, they are mainly constructed of a flexible material that resembles leather, but either it is some sort of manufactured imitation, or the Dwemer had beasts with incredibly smooth and homogenous hide. Knee-high Dwarven boots often incorporate built-in greaves over the shins.

BOWS

Dwarven recurved bows are powerful and can drive an arrow through an oaken board. Though they appear to made of metal, they are not; the strong yet flexible material they are made from is otherwise unknown, and cannot be duplicated by modern bowyers.

CHEST PIECES

All Dwarven chest armor consists of metal plates of various sizes affixed to a leather cuirass—thin, flexible leather with a few small plates in the case of light armor, the leather becoming thicker and the plates larger and more numerous as the armor gets heavier. The plates are typically geometric in shape and ornamentation.

DAGGERS

A Dwarven dagger typically has a broad and heavy triangular blade, as suitable for chopping as for stabbing. In fact, they resemble tools as much as they do weapons.

GLOVES

Dwarven gloves were always made of fine and flexible leather or pseudo-leather, reflecting their wearers' need for fine manipulation of their devices. Only the heaviest gauntlets sported metal ribs, typically tessellated splints protecting the back of the hands.

HELMETS

Dwarven helmets of all kinds famously cover the entire face with a face-shaped visor, curiously bisected down the center by a sort of metal keel. This keel reappears atop the helmet as a crest, which may be modest or bizarrely exaggerated. A line of Dwemer troops, all wearing helmets with identical, impassive visages, must have struck terror into the Deep Elves' enemies.

LEG GREAVES

The leg protection of the Dwemer typically consisted of geometric plates or cylinders of metal, mounted on the same thick yet flexible material used for their boots. The armor was particularly thick over the knee.

MACES

Dwarven maces have heavy and blunt geometrical heads, without flanges, spikes, or pointed finials. The two-handed maces are outweighed only by Orcish skull-crushers, and can bend and batter plate armor as if it was foil.

SHIELDS

Dwarven shields come in many shapes, but all echo the geometric forms seen on Dwemer armor, albeit writ large. They are formed from relatively thin plates of Dwarven metal, and are much lighter and wieldier than they appear.

SHOULDERS

Dwarven shoulder pauldrons were usually made of thick and inflexible metal, mounted on cops of heavy "leather." The pauldrons of heavier armor sometimes sported metal keels echoing the crests seen atop their helmets.

STAVES

Even the most elaborate Dwarven staff has a utilitarian look about it, as if it was going to be used with a paddle to draw a loaf of bread from an oven. The haft is made of some close-grained substance that looks like wood but is not, circled with rings of Dwarven metal. The finials are circular or fan-shaped, and usually modest in size.

SWORDS

Dwarven swords look like mere extensions of their daggers, featuring the same broad, triangular blades with both point and edge. Their cross-guards are slender to almost nonexistent, which argues that Dwemer swordplay did not rely much on thrusting.

Glass

During the recent strife in Firsthold, certain reference works were lost from the great library, so His Excellency Kinlord Rilis has asked the leading experts of Auridon to replace them with new accounts. For the definitive description of the Glass crafting style, naturally our wise sovereign turned to me.

AXES

The avian motif typically of the Glass style is particularly prominent in the axe designs, where the glass-edged blades are crafted to resemble the wings of a bird of prey. The blades' feathered appearance is strictly cosmetic; the scoring that produces the feathered look is too shallow to weaken the blade, but is deep enough to create blood gutters.

BELTS

The belt on a suit of glass armor is usually a single cincture of some exotic leather, adorned with glass bosses in rhomboid or pentagonal shapes. Geometrical tassets depend from either hip, and there may be a chevron-shaped fauld in front to protect the groin.

BOOTS

Elegant footwear indeed! These vary from sturdy leather moccasins with glass toe-guards with light armor, up to steel-and-glass sabatons with heavy armor. Flexibility is paramount, as Elven soldiers favor agility over thickness of plate.

BOWS

Glass-style bows are compound and recurved, with a wooden grip and limbs of horn. The front of the curve and back of the recurve are faced with glass for maximum power. Non-glass parts of the bow are often painted with a metallic lacquer, so that a flash of reflected sunlight ripples along the line as a troop of archers raises their bows for a volley.

CHEST PIECES

The downward-pointing chevrons on Glass cuirasses evoke the deep-muscled chests of great flying creatures, and indeed the chest plates are often adorned with images of eagles, dragons, or cliff racers. They are constructed of leather, steel, and glass, with as much additional glass trim as the buyer can afford.
DAGGERS

A Summerset glass dagger is the finest fighting knife there is. The glass on a Glass-style dagger is usually confined to the point and edge, with accents on the pommel; the tang, guard, and core of the blade are of steel. They are capable weapons, equally useful for slashing, stabbing, or parrying.

GLOVES

Glass-style gauntlets typically feature thin, flexible leather gloves, with glass strips protecting the back of the hand and the forearms. The elbows are covered by triangular glass-faced cowters that echo the shape of the pauldrons above.

HELMETS

Glass-style headpieces extend the winged motif of the cuirasses and pauldrons upward; they often have armored crests, cheek-wings, and winged cranium caps. Glass, polished to a glossy sheen, trims every edge. A fine glass helmet is a sight to behold.

LEG GREAVES

Whether light, medium, or heavy, all greaves in this magnificent style are constructed of sturdy but flexible leather faced with glass. The main difference is the amount and thickness of the glass banding, and the size of the shield-shaped glass poleyns that protect the knees.

MACES

Glass-style maces and hammers feature elegant but heavy steel heads with glass-tipped studs and spikes. The hafts are made of a dense but flexible wood such as ash, faced with steel languets and ending in a steel roundel heavy enough to partially offset the weight of the head. That enables these long-hafted weapons to be whirled almost like quarterstaves.

SHIELDS

For a shield that is nearly all metal, glass shields are remarkably light, precisely because they're mostly glass plates held in a slender matrix of steel. Two broad glass wings, usually avian-themed, flare out from central steel ribs to broad "feathered" edges.

SHOULDERS

The Glass-style pauldrons are integrated with the shapes of the chest pieces, extending the winged motif onto the shoulders and down into the upper-arm rerebraces. The marine version of this style resembles breaking waves rather than wings.

STAVES

A staff in the Glass style is many a wizard's proudest possession. The long wooden shaft, sheathed in steel languets to protect it while parrying, is simple enough; it's the elaborate winged finial that is the glory of a glass staff. The steel head, often set with large turquoises, unfolds on either side into a pair of exquisite glass wings, evoking birds, bats, or Dragons. The entire finial seems to glow with inner fire.

SWORDS

A Glass sword is a cunning combination of steel core and tang with a glass point and edges. The blade may be quite broad near the tip, and even "feathered" with shallow blood gutters. Despite their size, the blades are light, favored by sword-fighters for their ease of use and battlefield durability—for a glass sword will hold its edge long after a steel or alloy sword has gone dull.

Xivkyn

The Master's new Xivkyn Honor Guard must be outfitted in a manner that will bring glory to mighty Molag Bal and fear to his enemies. The following stylistic requirements must be adhered to without deviation! See to it, or face the consequences in the scathe-rings.

AXES

A Xivkyn's one-handed axe shall have a blade like a headsman's axe and a narrow back spike with a slight downward curve. The two-handed axe shall have two headsman's blades. Both shall have metal spike-wings clustered just below the head or heads.

BELTS

A Xivkyn's belt shall have a geometric abdominal buckle large enough to cause discomfort when the Daedra bends forward. The medium and heavy girdles shall have sharp, interlocking diamond-shaped plates, so as to cause pain when the belts are used to bind captives.

BOOTS

A Xivkyn's boots shall have heavy metal toes to optimize the brutal kicking of downed opponents. These plates shall be articulated to allow the feet to flex without compromising protection or weaponization.

BOWS

A Xivkyn bow shall be faced with flaring metal spike-wings to enable the archer to parry blows. A Xivkyn archer's quiver shall be protected by thin armor plates held on with an excessive quantity of rivets, because who doesn't like lots of rivets?

CHEST PIECES

A Xivkyn's chest armor shall bear a pattern of overlapping metal scales, said pattern to evoke the general awe-inspiring shape of our Dread Lord's mighty skull without actually depicting it. The cuirass will give an impression of great weight, to convey the power and physical strength of the wearer.

DAGGERS

The Xivkyn's dagger shall have a broad blade, so as to inflict wide wounds that shed blood copiously. Their hilts shall be flaring spike-wings, and their pommels shall be sharp so that at need the Xivkyn can stab back-handedly.

GLOVES

The Xivkyn's gauntlets shall have articulated metal sheaths to protect the fingers, augmented by steel talons that extend the reach of the warrior's claws. One size shall fit all.

HELMETS

A Xivkyn's helm shall protect the warrior's cheeks as well as her crown. It shall be studded and horned, and yet its visage shall evoke a terrible death-mask in the eyes of Molag Bal's enemies.

LEG GREAVES

A Xivkyn's greaves shall appear to be a continuation of the articulated plates on the warrior's boots, with spiked poleyns to protect the knees.

MACES

A Xivkyn's mace shall have a heavy octagonal head, with sharp, spiked flanges protruding from its faces. It shall look as if it had but to drop on an enemy's skull to crush it in.

SHIELDS

A Xivkyn's shield shall be roughly kite-shaped, but with a flaring spike-wing design on its face. It shall have cut-outs for thrusting on the upper corners on both sides, for convenience of both the left- and right-handed. Once again, do not stint on the rivets.

SHOULDER ARMOR

A Xivkyn's pauldrons or spaulders shall flare both upward and downward, to protect both the shoulders and the sides of the neck. They shall be accented with a dull red the color of mortals' dried blood.

STAVES

Spellcasting Xivkyn shall be provided with staves with finials like flared spike-wings; they shall look as if the mage could use them to disembowel an opponent if necessary. Within the three spike-wings, each finial shall have a central pointed metallic stone that will emit the staff's spell-energy. At a pinch, a Xivkyn staff can be placed in a floor-stand and used as a convenient torchiere.

SWORDS

Like the dagger, a Xivkyn's sword shall have a broad blade, so as to inflict terrible wounds on those insolent enough to defy the will of Molag Bal. This double-edged blade shall be kept razor sharp at all times. Flaring spike-wings shall cluster around the hilt.

Akaviri

King Jorunn wants a description of the Akaviri styles of arms and armor written by someone who knows them. I don't think anyone killed more Akaviri than I did during the recent invasion from Kamal, so I guess that makes me an expert in their wares of war. Besides, who else was I going to get to write this? Rigurt?

AXES

Kamal, the region of Akavir where the recent invaders hail from, is said to be icy and snow-covered, so it's no surprise that Kamali axes resemble those made by us Nords of Skyrim. The one-handed weapons, in particular, are clearly descended from the kind of ice-axes we use when crossing glaciers or scaling icy peaks.

BELTS

An Akaviri belt usually sports a prominent boss on its buckle, with an abstract sigil that's probably clan-related. These symbols are always symmetrical, and usually made of interwoven flowing designs. For several years I wore one taken from an officer I slew, and it was strong and well-made.

BOOTS

Boots of the northern Akaviri tend to be simple and utilitarian, for trudging through the deep snows of Kamal. Those of the southern Tsaesci are more elaborate and decorative, with shoes and greaves that look like Imperial sandals, though armored with thick leather or small metal plates.

BOWS

The Akaviri use composite bows with recurved ends made of horn. Though painted with metallic lacquer, don't be fooled: their bows are not made of metal, nor do the Akaviri have the giant's-strength it would take to bend them if they were.

CHEST PIECES

Akaviri chest armor is worked or forged from familiar materials—padding, leather, steel—and usually decorated with a triangular or pyramidal shape, point toward the gorget.

DAGGERS

Akaviri daggers are pretty, but don't be fooled: they're made for killing, and if you get downed on the battlefield, expect to feel one of these in your armpit or groin. As with the swords, the curved ones are Tsaesci, and the straight ones are from Kamal.

GLOVES

Akaviri weapons usually have narrow guards, which leaves hand protection up to their gauntlets. These usually have thick armor on the back of the hand, while leaving the fingers free and open for a solid grip on weapon and shield.

HELMETS

The Tsaesci helmets I've seen in museums, or imitated by Fighters Guild warriors, sport layered neck and side armor, and often have elaborate double crests like horns or antlers. Kamali helmets, in contrast, tend to be simpler, though they also cover the back and sides. Lots of Akaviri helmets of both kinds include visors or some other form of partial face coverage. The troops found some of these unsettling, even creepy.

LEG GREAVES

Akaviri greaves always look like extensions of their sandal-like boots. I could never tell where one ends and the other starts.

MACES

Kamali maces usually have rectangular heads, while those of the Tsaesci are round. Both kinds are studded all round with wicked spikes. They're going to hurt you, even if you're wearing heavy armor.

SHIELDS

Shields from Kamal tend to be metal-edged wood from the northern forests, while shields from southern Tsaesci are more likely to be curved sheets of steel. These often sport symbols echoing the crests on the warriors' helms.

SHOULDERS

Unlike the triangular designs on their chest armor, Akaviri pauldrons and shoulder cops are always articulated rectangular or square plates. Why? Who knows?

STAVES

An Akaviri mage prizes his spell staff, and they are often splendid and lavishly decorated, trimmed in gold leaf and sporting great red gems. The hafts of these staves are made of a dense, flexible wood unknown in Tamriel, able to deflect even a great axe.

SWORDS

The Akaviri seem to love their swords almost as much as the Redguards; their long blades are among the finest I've ever seen. When you heft one of the curved Tsaesci swords, you can just feel how it could shear right through a soldier's limbs. And the straight blades of Kamal are no less dangerous.

Mercenary

Mercenary companies got a bad reputation during Potentate Versidue-Shaie's War of Subjugation, when paid troops of Imperial vassals went rogue, pillaging their way across the provinces until the Legions brought them down. But with the rise of the Three Alliances and the return of general warfare across Tamriel, our services are once again in high demand. The mercenaries are back!

AXES

Mercenary axes are heavy, and made with only one purpose in mind: smashing or slashing through armor. The haft below the head is sheathed in a cylindrical steel languet, to protect it from being severed and to enable parrying. The lower portion of the haft is often bone, ending in a pointed steel ferrule.

BELTS

A mercenary's waist cincture is wide, often sporting two or three parallel straps of thick leather, each with its own buckles. The boss at the front may display the sigil of the mercenary's company.

BOOTS

A mercenary's boots are simple and utilitarian, both durable and comfortable, as a mercenary must be able to march for leagues and then charge right into battle.

BOWS

Mercenary bows are powerful engines, able to drive steel-tipped arrows through all but the heaviest armor. Their limbs are of recurved horn, with small metal shield-plates bolted onto the backs, so the bow can serve as an expedient buckler in the left hand, while the archer draws her short sword with the right.

CHEST PIECES

A mercenary's chest armor is constructed of thick leather, often faced with steel scales or plates. This cuirass is crisscrossed by leather bandoliers for carrying gear or secondary weapons.

DAGGERS

The mercenary's broad-bladed dagger is nearly as long as a short sword, made for punching or hacking through the weak spots in a downed opponent's armor. They are not balanced for throwing, but are heavy enough to deliver a solid blow if hurled.

GLOVES

Most mercenary weapons lack crossguards, as mercenaries prefer an active, thrusting parry. Hand and forearm protection are provided by thick gauntlets, overlapped by articulated plates extending down from the vambraces on the forearms.

HELMETS

Mercenary helmets are typically crafted to resemble stylized death's-heads, with fangs and a central "horn"—though some insist that the forehead spike represents the single-digit salute mercenaries give their opponents just before coming to grips.

LEG GREAVES

Overlapping plates protect the front of a mercenary's legs, with flexible leather at the back. The poleyn that protects the knee often features a vertical spike that echoes the "horn" on the helmet.

MACES

Mercenary maces have heavy cylindrical heads studded with angular spikes for punching through armor. Like the axes, the maces' upper hafts are sheathed in steel languets, while the lower hafts end in spiked metal ferrules.

SHIELDS

Mercenary's shields are shaped like Nords' kite shields, and are almost as large. They are faced with steel and bronze, which few mercenaries bother to lacquer or paint—these aren't ornamental objects, they're working armor pieces, designed to take blows. Why waste paint on them?

SHOULDER ARMOR

A mercenary's pauldrons and rerebraces are thicker on the soldier's main arm, where the most protection is needed. Bandoliers and baldrics are usually belted beneath the pauldrons.

STAVES

For a spellcasting mercenary, the staff serves as both weapon and shield, and both ends of the haft are often sheathed in cylindrical steel to enable parrying. More than just an ornament, the staff's finial ends in one or more sharp spikes, enabling the staff to be used as a half-pike in a pinch.

SWORDS

A mercenary's sword is broad and heavy, like a falchion, designed as much for battering as for slashing. Only the forward edge is sharpened; the back edge is designed to take blows, or to deliver a thrusting parry.

Yokudan

Stored here in the Seeker's Archive are much of the lost history and wisdom of Yokuda, in books and scrolls brought here by the first of the Ra Gada. It will take many lifetimes to catalogue it all, so we shall start simply, with references to the characteristics that make the Yokudan motifs unique and distinctive, such as the so-called "broad arrowhead" design.

AXES

Though the Yokudans were dedicated to the sword above all, they recognized the utility of other weapons as well; their axes, for example, were both beautiful and formidable. They often had long, curved cutting edges, giving them some of the virtues of swords.

BELTS

Yokudan belts tended not to be elaborate, because what mattered was what hung from them: the all-important sword or other weapon, as well as tassets for hip protection. The buckle was usually a strong and simple geometric design.

BOOTS

Yokudan boots were made for combat, of heavy leather with strategically-placed metal plates for protection. But they were also flexible and rugged for marching across the harsh Yokudan terrain.

BOWS

The Yokudans had little esteem for archery, deeming it less honorable than melee combat, and their gallants and grandees left it to the common foot soldier. A Yokudan archer or light skirmisher was usually armed with a simple self bow adorned with modest metal facings.

CHEST PIECES

For Yokudans, the art of weapon combat was profoundly athletic, so while their cuirasses offered solid central protection for the chest and back, the arm, shoulder, and waist areas were covered with flexible leather for maximum agility.

DAGGERS

A Yokudan dagger just looks like a smaller version of a Yokudan sword, and indeed they tended to be large, approaching short swords in size. A large dagger in the off hand was a common choice for Yokudan dual wielders.

GLOVES

Yokudan warriors emphasized sword fighting above all other weapon styles, and in swordplay the hands are always under threat, so Yokudan gauntlets were heavy and multi-layered, with flaring upper sleeves to protect the forearms.

HELMETS

Yokudan helm designs are clearly descended from the turbaned hats of ancient pastoral nomads. They typically had aventails to protect the back of the neck, full visors covering the face, and even horns on the forehead or crest.

LEG GREAVES

Yokudan chausses were strong to protect against low cuts in swordplay, often with metal plates covering both the shin in front and the calves in back, to prevent hamstringing attacks. Pointed knee poleyns were common as well.

MACES

The Yokudans were so attached to the idea of edged blades that they even mounted them on the heads of their maces, where you might find spikes or flanges in another crafting style. Some of these edged blades even came to points in the "broad arrowhead" design.

SHIELDS

Yokudan shields might be round, oval, or kite-shaped, but all were fitted with blade-turning metal plates around their edges, and round central bosses featuring geometric designs. They appeared to be entirely metal, but were actually made of metallic plates riveted to wooden frames.

SHOULDERS

Though the shoulders themselves were sheathed in flexible leather to enable acrobatic swordplay, above that the joints were protected by sharp and often elaborate pauldrons, cops that flared at the top to guard the side of the neck.

STAVES

The rare Yokudan war-wizards employed staves designed to resemble melee weapons to borrow some of the prestige of hand-to-hand combat. Their metallic finials might be round, flared, or pointed in the "broad arrowhead" design.

SWORDS

Though the curved Yokudan swords weren't elaborately embellished, they nonetheless represented the apogee of Yokudan weapon-making, having been forged and re-forged in a long process designed to make them unbreakable and invincible. Yokudan warriors regarded their swords as extensions of their essential selves.

Ancient Orc

Here in Orsinium's museum of Orcish history, we are proud to display arms and armor created in the style of our ancient ancestors! Feel free to handle the items labeled "reproduction," but please admire the original relics in the display cases with your eyes only.

AXES

An Ancient Orc axe is a thing of simple beauty, its broad curved blade worked with traditional geometric patterns, utilitarian but deadly. The two-handed axe has two blades mounted on its longer haft. Can you not imagine this lovely weapon taking the head right off a skulking Diagna assassin?

BELTS

The Ancient Orc's waist cincture is constructed of square or rectangular links, with a large belly buckle inscribed with an abstract clan sigil. Like all Orcish gear from the period, it is even stronger than it looks.

BOOTS

As you would expect from seeing other items made in the Ancient Orc style, even the boots are tough, practical, and unexpectedly beautiful. After our lovely tusks, what defines an Orsimer more than our shapely calves? And what could protect and yet display them better than Ancient Orc boots?

BOWS

Simple and elegant, the appearance of the Ancient Orc longbow conveys one quality above all others: strength! This is the bow of a people whose muscles were thickened and hardened working in the forge, who can draw a bow powerful enough to drive a steel-tipped arrow through even the best non-Orcish armor!

CHEST PIECES

Whether it's leather, brigantine, or plate steel, the Ancient Orc cuirass is formed of interlocking and overlapping elements that provide multiple layers of protection without compromising flexibility. And, of course, their intricate geometry is a joy to the eye!

DAGGERS

When it came to weapons, the Ancient Orcs knew that size matters! Their daggers were almost the size of short swords, with a single edge and a slight curve just below the point. Lethal and lovely!

GLOVES

As you might expect, the war-gloves of the Ancient Orcs are clearly descendants of the blacksmith's protective gauntlets, providing coverage nearly to the elbow, and crafted of thick material that nonetheless does not compromise the warrior's all-important flexibility. In other words: nice gloves!

HELMETS

With Ancient Orc helmets, we see the broad variety that is a hallmark of Orsimer inventiveness: we go from simple hoods that are little more than arming caps, all the way to heavy horned helms faced with a fierce full-visage tusked mask!

LEG GREAVES

An Ancient Orc's greaves are a natural extension of the Old Orsimer's lovely boots—in fact, it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins! They exemplify the perfect marriage of form with function! You can't get more Orcish than that.

MACES

The Ancient Orcs knew how to make armor—and they also knew how to make weapons to get through it! Their maces featured a spike on one side for perforating leather and chain mail, and a heavy flanged head on the other for bashing plate armor. And all of it as beautiful as it is deadly!

SHIELDS

An Ancient Orc's shield is kite-shaped, of dense hardwood bolstered by overlapping and interlocking strips of metal—but not too much, because a shield that's too heavy to move rapidly is no use in a melee!

SHOULDER ARMOR

Ancient Orc pauldrons extend the design of the helmet cheek-pieces into layers that protect the shoulders, while simultaneously echoing the shape and ornamentation of the warrior's shield. These are pauldrons I could look at all day long.

STAVES

A wonder of the magical sculptor's craft, the Ancient Orc mage's staff is tipped with a metallic finial that resembles a fierce Orsimer sorcerer, tusked and horned, mouth half open as if in the midst of uttering a Destruction spell. So intimidating!

SWORDS

An Ancient Orc's sword looks like a slim single-edged axe-blade attached at two points to a long tang, with a slight curve just below the point. The entire weapon is ornamented with interwoven geometric patterns to create an object of breathtaking beauty.

Trinimac

The Elves have forgotten the warrior ideals of Trinimac, but we Orsimer keep them alive! As the Children of Trinimac, we embody his stoic courage and bold audacity. The arms we bear and the armor we wear shine with gold, in remembrance of Trinimac's golden skin. And they are accented with polished ebony, in token of Lorkhan's blood when Trinimac tore out his heart.

AXES

The axes of the Trinimac Cult are notched to evoke the hero Avalian's axe, that was damaged when it cracked the heart of the fire mountain. The blades are embossed with Vaia's Golden Ash, symbol of strength and unity of the Orcs.

BELTS

For the worshiper of Trinimac, the belt symbolizes the faith in the Golden Champion that binds the Orsimer together. Its buckle evokes the Champion's golden helmet, surrounding a quartz crystal that represents the clarity of Trinimac's vision.

BOOTS

The Children of Trinimac are warriors, so our shoes are sabatons, armored boots with metal-shod toes, gleaming with the light of the Golden Champion.

BOWS

Our bows are crafted to emulate that of Elsarel, the Orsimer hero who slew the colossal Daedroth Zetthax with a single arrow through the eye. It is said Elsarel did honor to the Golden Champion by practicing with the bow for 20 hours out of every 24.

CHEST PIECES

The cuirasses of the Cult of Trinimac are the highest expression of the cult's devotion to the perfection of artistic labor: intricate, ornate, rife with symbolism, and yet supremely crafted to perform their function of protecting the warrior in battle. In garb the warrior of Trinimac is ever resplendent!

DAGGERS

Our daggers are forged of the finest steel, bifurcated into twin thrusting blades to represent the dual nature of Trinimac, the Golden Champion who is both slayer and protector.

GLOVES

The followers of Trinimac wear gloves of softest leather to enable fine manipulation, but cover their backs with articulated gauntlets of gilded splints.

HELMETS

The warriors of Trinimac wear gilded helms in emulation of the Champion's helmet, often with golden full-face visors to evoke Trinimac's stern features.

LEG GREAVES

Full greaves, gilded and with knee poleyns, protect the legs of the warriors who fight for Trinimac, seamlessly overlapping the sabatons on the feet.

MACES

Those who follow the way of Trinimac call their rounded maces the "fists of Usunok," after the Orsimer hero who could down a full-sized mammoth with a single punch. The cylindrical head encloses a lead ball that rolls outward as the weapon is swung, adding force to the blow.

SHIELDS

The shield of a Trinimac warrior is embossed with Vaia's Golden Ash, the tree from which she carved out the shield that repelled the blow of Rhogar the Destroyer, and which symbolizes the strength, heritage, and unity of the Orsimer people.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The pauldrons of a warrior of Trinimac soar like the wings of Zylvara, the great eagle that bore the Golden Champion to his reckoning with the man-demon Quarvish.

STAVES

Ebony is said to be the solidified blood of Lorkhan, spilled across Tamriel when Trinimac ripped out his heart with more than hands. Therefore, in the Cult of Trinimac, we adorn our spellcasters' staves with knobs and insets of polished ebony.

SWORDS

The sword of a warrior of Trinimac gleams like lightning forged into steel. The one-handed swords are bifurcated like the daggers, but the greatswords are long, single blades, straight and without a taper until just short of the point.

Malacath

Listen up, smiths! We don't pound hot metal around here just because it's fun. We forge for the glory of Malacath! Shoddy work will not be tolerated. You don't want to craft anything you'll have to apologize to the Orc-Father for when you get to the Ashpit. You want to make items in the Malacath Cult style? Well, there's only one right way to do it, and that's to use the Tilted Square, the symbol of instability. So pay attention!

AXES

A Malacath axe blade is large, of course, because with blades, bigger is better. And it's covered with chevrons and tilted squares, because that's the Malacath Way. Axes are all about chopping things down and making them fall over, so naturally we cover them with symbols of instability. Any questions? Didn't think so.

BELTS

We like to keep our belts simple and not too broad, because most of us have enough trouble bending over as it is. Ha! But we make them of the finest possible materials, such as top-grade mammoth leather, and we craft them to the highest standards. Because Malacath demands it!

BOOTS

Whether you encounter snow or ice, rock or ash, Malacath expects you to keep going. Our boots are crafted from the finest hide and soled with small cleats for traction. And because we must trust our boots to keep us stable on any surface, we decorate them, not with the tilted square, but with the chevron: upright for stability, or inverted for grip.

BOWS

Melee, hand to hand and chest to chest, honors Malacath. Sticking an arrow in someone from a distance does not. For Malacath, a bow is a hunter's tool, not a warrior's weapon. So bows in the Malacath Cult style are lighter and simpler than the other weapons in our armory.

CHEST PIECES

In battle, the Orc-Father calls for a layered defense, with Orcs supporting their fellow warriors left and right and before and behind. Everyone has an equal chance to bring honor to Malacath. Likewise, the warriors of Malacath wear cuirasses layered of fur and stiffened armor, usually with a great cowl-gorget extending across the chest and upper back.

DAGGERS

The daggers of Malacath are versatile weapons, strongly made, slightly curved—and with an edge on both sides of the blade, because sometimes we must reverse to stab those who attack us from behind. Treachery is everywhere.

GLOVES

The gauntlets of the Cult of Malacath reach all the way to the elbow and are adorned with chevrons, the symbol of deflection, for we are taught to parry, at need, with the forearm. We also know that when attacked from behind by so-called friends, the best defense is a half-turn and a savage backhanded blow.

HELMETS

Our helms and hoods are layered, like our cuirasses, and likewise ornamented with Malacath's tilted square. They are sturdy but not too heavy: since betrayal is inevitable, Orcs must be constantly looking askance.

LEG GREAVES

Malacath teaches us that, just as our enemies speak fair before they act foul, it is the way of our enemies to feint high and then attack low. Therefore we take special care with our greaves.

MACES

Malacath! Forge-Founder! Smith-Father! We honor you in battle by wielding the hammer, pounding your foes the same way we hammer out hot steel! Heavy are our hammers, ever ready to smite with the power of the Tilted Square!

SHIELDS

The kite-shaped shields of the Cult of Malacath sport the sacred chevron and the Tilted Square. What is not obvious to the eye is that they are many-layered, of folded steel over laminates of hardwood. Our shields are light, but nigh-impenetrable.

SHOULDER ARMOR

In battle Malacath decrees a layered defense, and so it is with our armor, our pauldrons, faulds, cowters, and poleyns adding layers to our base armor, all adorned with the holy geometries. The pauldron that covers the off-shoulder often sports a knob or boss, to protect the arm of defense.

STAVES

As spellcasters of the Cult of Malacath devote their energies to the downfall of our duplicitous enemies, so their spell-staves are tipped with the sacred Tilted Square, that their Destruction spells may bring collapse and confusion to their targets. Hail Malacath, He Who Speaks Sideways!

SWORDS

Malacath teaches us that, when the Orcs are surrounded by enemies, that is when it is best to turn to slashing our way out. The swords of our cult are the tools to that end, long, curved, and wickedly edged on both sides. Those who think they have trapped us will be surprised—when the prey becomes the hunter!

Outlaw

We Outlaws may not be very organized, but we have our ways of recognizing each other, no matter where we come from—our symbols, like the three-bladed dagger, or code phrases such as—actually, I don't think I'll write those down in a book. However, since we're all involved in the same illicit business, you'll see there's a common style to our arms and armor.

AXES

Where possible, we Outlaws like our weapons to have a secondary function as tools—because frankly, if we have to use them as weapons, the job's already gone wrong. All of our axes have hooked lower blades, which enables them to serve at need as climbing axes or grappling hooks. Up and over!

BELTS

When you're on a job, trying to stay stealthy, there's nothing worse than having your gear suddenly swing loose and clang into something. For this reason, an Outlaw usually wears a sturdy double belt, just to be extra-sure everything's trussed up good and proper.

BOOTS

Even when going armored, an Outlaw likes to tread lightly, so our boots and shoes are flexible and soft-soled. Oh, and well-oiled into the bargain: no creaky shoes for us!

BOWS

As much as we Outlaws prefer simple, utilitarian weapons, we are quite fond of our bows, and lavish them with extra care and ornamentation. After all, any weapon that enables us to take down an enemy without getting into a stand-up fight is a good thing, right?

CHEST PIECES

When stealth is paramount, and clanking is out of the question, you craft your armor from many layers of tough but flexible material. Metal splints or plates are embedded in leather housings, and all the joints are muffled so your armor stays quiet even when you're moving fast.

DAGGERS

Blades: keep them simple, keep them straight, put an edge on both sides, and that's all you need. When it comes to putting a hand's-length of steel into someone's back, trust me, a straight dagger is just the ticket. I call mine "Kidney Tickler."

GLOVES

When your fingers are your fortune, you house them in fine kid leather so your skills at fine manipulation aren't compromised—and then you protect their backs with stiffened material that can turn the blade of a trap or a guard.

HELMETS

Feature-concealing hoods are the Outlaws' signature headgear, often stiffened with leather or hide. The eyes are left uncovered, so we can keep a sharp lookout when on the job. Can't be too careful.

LEG GREAVES

Once again, the key words for Outlaws' armor are speed and flexibility, which is why our greaves are mostly just straps and flaps. However, we often wear substantial poleyns over our knees, as much to ease crawling through tight spaces as to protect those joints in a fight.

MACES

The typical bludgeoning weapon of the Outlaw is a hammer, because it's probably going to see more use as a tool than as a melee weapon. Whether you're breaking and entering, or spiking a door shut behind you to foil pursuit, a hammer is an Outlaw's best friend.

SHIELDS

For an Outlaw, having to don your shield means your job has taken a nasty turn for the worse—but that's when you're glad you crafted a sturdy one, with a riveted steel edge to turn a guard or constable's weapon. We usually display the Outlaws' three-bladed dagger on the boss, because if you have to show your shield, the cat, as they say, is already out of the bag.

SHOULDER ARMOR

An Outlaw's pauldrons are layered and durable but don't project far from the shoulders—you don't want to get caught in a tight place because you're wearing fancy winged shoulder cops, after all.

STAVES

When the social fabric is frayed by war and catastrophe, even spellcasters turn to the Outlaw life, adorning the finials of their magic staves with the three-bladed symbol of our defiance. Plus, having a pointed end on your staff is handy when keeping guard dogs at bay.

SWORDS

Like their daggers, Outlaws' swords tends to be straight, simple, and edged on both sides of the blade. If it comes to swords, then Daedra take it: get the job done, get out, and live to heist another day. At least you'll have a good story to tell in the Refuge.

Aldmeri Dominion

Attention smiths, forgers, weapon-masters, and arms crafters: the following are the specifications for all work to be done for the Aldmeri Dominion military. We expect the finest workmanship in every piece, for those of Aldmeri heritage can do no less, but deviation from these norms is not acceptable. I have heard some commentary to the effect that the Aldmeri Eagle is overused in these designs. Such remarks are contrary to Praxis.
Do it right. Do it well. Do it to honor the Ancestors.

AXES

What could be more natural than that the unfurled wings of the Aldmeri Eagle should become the razor-sharp blades of our warriors' axes? Long may they lop, and ever may they sever!

BELTS

Many pieces of a Dominion warrior's armor are intricately embellished, but the cincture that supports the soldier's weapons and tasset-plates has too much humble work to do to carry much in the way of decoration. A simple Aldmeri Eagle belt-buckle will suffice.

BOOTS

The toes of Dominion soldiers, the most elegant in Tamriel, are protected by reinforced points on the Aldmeri trooper's sabatons. At need, our warriors' very boots can serve as weapons!

BOWS

The Dominion longbow may look too slender to be able to drive an arrow through armor, but look again: its winged limbs are forged of a supple alloy known as Lillandril Steel, as durable as it is ductile. Our enemies have learned to fear these bows' deadly darts!

CHEST PIECES

As an eagle's plumage has layers, from down to flight feathers, so are our cuirasses made of layers of metal plate over a leather aketon both thick and flexible. On the plastron, the Aldmeri Eagle soars over an abstract world below.

DAGGERS

A Dominion dagger is essentially smaller versions of our sword: a double-edged blade that broadens toward the tip before it narrows to a point, with the wings of the Aldmeri Eagle as serving as the crossguard.

GLOVES

Dominion gauntlets are of soft kid leather, so as not to compromise our nimble Aldmeri fingers. For protection our warriors rely on broad vambraces that shield the forearm, and also provide a prominent place for military unit insignia.

HELMETS

Aldmeri flesh can be sensitive to overexposure to sunlight, so it's as well that we wear full helms with full-face visors. Our helmets' steel caps are surmounted by golden eagles' wings, the very symbol of the Dominion!

LEG GREAVES

A Dominion soldier's greaves are worked in metallic patterns that represent the flow of wings under the wings of a soaring eagle. Actual Aldmeri Eagles should not appear on the poleyns that protect the knees, as it is not appropriate for a warrior to kneel upon the sacred symbol of our alliance.

MACES

A Dominion warrior's mace has a tripartite head of three heavy eagle's wings: one for each of the Aldmeri races in our alliance! The sharpened wings can slash as well as bludgeon, and as they are made of a dense ebony-steel alloy, they are heavier than they appear.

SHIELDS

The shining shield of the Dominion is worked with an intricate design that combines both the eagle of Summerset and the graht-tree of Valenwood, thus commemorating the historic alliance between our two Elven races!

SHOULDER ARMOR

The eagle-winged pauldrons of Dominion armor not only provide practical protection to our warriors' shoulders, they also provide a convenient location for insignia of rank.

STAVES

With their flaring winged heads, the weapons of Dominion spellcasters almost look more like pole-axes than magical staves—and indeed, many an arcane warrior has used them as such when in a tight spot.

SWORDS

Dominion swords are long, straight, and powerful, edged on either side, and with a blade that widens toward the tip before ending in a point. The eagle's-wing crossguards are sturdy enough to trap an opponent's blade on a parry and, with a twist, perform a disarming maneuver.

Daggerfall Covenant

Yes, we based the Daggerfall Covenant arms and armor on classic Second Empire designs, and we're unapologetic about it. In fact, we're proud! The Covenant represents the continuing ideals of Reman's Imperium, the uncontested height of Tamrielic civilization, when everyone, even the Orcs, were included in history's greatest confederation. Insofar as we seek to restore those lost glories, we deliberately hark back to them in our designs and symbolism.

AXES

Our axes are adorned with the lion rampant of the Daggerfall Covenant, so our enemies feel the lion's bite with every swing! Solid, sturdy, sharp, and heavy—we learned that from the Orcs. Yes, we can even teach the Imperials a trick or two.

BELTS

The Covenant belt is strong and solid, made of square links but fronted with a round buckle. The buckle's abstract design is meant to represent the entire world of Nirn, of which Tamriel is the center. It stands for a Tamriel reunited under the Remanic ideals exemplified by our king, Emeric.

BOOTS

Steel sabatons, simple and utilitarian: the warriors of the Covenant are shod with the boots they need for the long march to Cyrodiil—and beyond. Our knights may ride sturdy mounts, but in battle they mostly dismount and fight on foot, alongside the infantry and archers.

BOWS

The Covenant bow gives our lions' claws a fearsomely long reach! In the Daggerfall Covenant, we choose our archers for strength, the muscles needed to draw a bow powerful enough to drive an arrow through the thickest armor.

CHEST PIECES

The cuirasses of Daggerfall Covenant troops are unabashedly Imperial in design and outline, but unmistakably Covenant in adornment, with the lion rampant prominent on the chest. King Emeric chose well when he selected that as they symbol of our alliance!

DAGGERS

Our Covenant daggers, wide yet pointed for thrusting, are definitely based on the short stabbing swords of the Second Empire's Imperial Legions. If it was good enough for the soldiers who followed Emperor Reman, it's good enough for us!

GLOVES

Though the Reman Imperials wore only braces for hand and forearm protection, in the Covenant forces we feel the need for a bit more protection in modern melee warfare. We keep the hands relatively unencumbered, but have added strong upper gauntlets for forearm defense.

HELMETS

Our chest pieces may be based on Imperial designs, but when it comes to helmets the Covenant draws its inspiration from the armor of High Rock's knightly orders. We go for a full helm, complete with visor, and an aventail to protect the neck.

LEG GREAVES

Covenant greaves are plain but thick and rigid, for maximum protection of the troops' vulnerable lower legs. The design draws from both Breton knightly armor and Orcish forge-wear.

MACES

Daggerfall Covenant maces are standardized on a heavy round head with spikes on all sides. This is a time-honored and eminently practical Orcish design: when your bludgeon is the same no matter how you hold it, you never have to wonder in the heat of combat if you've got the head facing the right way.

SHIELDS

Covenant soldiers march into battle protected by kite-shaped shields embossed with the proud symbol of the lion rampant, the seal of our alliance personally selected by our monarch, His Majesty King Emeric! Forward, the Daggers!

SHOULDER ARMOR

Covenant shoulder cops are derived from the practical pauldrons typical to the armor worn by Breton knightly orders. Sometimes we ornament them with snarling lion faces as a reminder that we are fierce and mighty.

STAVES

When it comes to magic, it's the Bretons who are the most naturally talented of the Covenant allies, and the High Rock spellcasters are proud to wield staves tipped with the lion rampant of Emeric, our High King. The wrought-metal lion typically rears atop a facet-cut focusing crystal of some sort.

SWORDS

Daggerfall Covenant troops are armed with swords that harken back to those of the Second Empire: broad, straight blades edged on both sides, designed for both slashing and thrusting, with a strong crossguard above the hilt to enable vigorous parrying in the heat of melee.

Ebonheart Pact

I'm no writer, Jhunal knows, but here I am, taking up the quill again at the behest of King Jorunn—or his advisors, anyway. I haven't seen that young rascal of a monarch in days. Wonder what he's getting up to?

Anyway: I'm supposed to summarize what our alliance arms and armor should look like, so the smiths and armorers all make them to uniform standards. I guess I can do that—by Shor's stones, I've seen enough of them!

AXES

We arm our Pact soldiers with axes based on traditional, proven Nord designs, only with Dragons stamped on them, because we stamp Dragons on everything in this alliance. Not that I'm complaining—can't think of a better symbol for something you'd better not mess with than a Dragon!

BELTS

I like a nice, sturdy belt, without a whole lot of fiddly decorations on it that might snag your weapon's hilt when you try to draw it, understand? If you're a soldier for the Pact, that's the kind of belt we give you. You want to get fancy, look to your chest piece and pauldrons.

BOOTS

Personally, I like the Pact military boots: plain steel-toed sabatons, practical and easy to keep clean. Like Nords, really, except for the easy-to-keep-clean part. (Just kidding, Your Majesty!) But seriously, these are fine boots, though I admit they could be improved with a touch of fur.

BOWS

For our Pact archers, we took a Dark Elf composite bow and added a couple of grinning metal Dragon heads on the forward facing. They look great, and enable the archers to use the limbs of the bow to parry with, if necessary.

CHEST PIECES

All right, here's where we get fancy, with embossed Dragons and Argonian nature-designs and Dunmeri what-have-you, I don't know what those things are, but they look good. But don't be fooled by all the spangles and trim, these cuirasses aren't just for show: that's some solid steel and leatherwork, there.

DAGGERS

When it came to choosing a design for our Pact daggers, we turned to the Dark Elves, because when it comes to sticking somebody in the back—no, maybe I shouldn't say that. Anyway, you'll see the crossguard is adapted from Tribunal symbology, though we did slap a Dragon on it.

GLOVES

I wanted some serious Nord gauntlets for our Pact soldiers, but the Dunmer and Argonians said they wanted their hands kept pretty free, so I got overruled on that one. They're good gloves, though, with some decent mail on the back of the heavier versions.

HELMETS

I must say, we outdid ourselves on the Pact helms, which have some proper flaring wings and horns to them. Warms an old Nord's heart just to look at them. They're solid, too, let me tell you, good protection all around, with full visors. Good headgear.

LEG GREAVES

The front plates on the Pact greaves are nice and solid, and with enough trim to look good on dress parade, too. And I like the pointy poleyns on top—you want those when you're kneeing some milk-drinker in his stones. You do that to an opponent, you don't want him getting up again for a payback.

MACES

I like the one-handed Pact mace, it's a good, basic Argonian design: spikes, heavy round head, what more do you need? I think we went a little overboard on the two-hander, though, what with its three roaring Dragon heads and all. Harder for the smiths to craft, and it won't knock your brains out any better than its simpler little brother.

SHIELDS

Pact shields take a basic Nord oval kite shape, and then add a bunch of spikes around the outside because, I don't know, the Dunmer and the Lizardfolk like lots of spikes. Oh, and we put a pair of big Dragons on the front just to remind our enemies which alliance is about to bash the crap out of them.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The Dark Elves from House Redoran insisted on big, flaring pauldrons, so that's what we gave them. And I have to hand it to them, they look good. Sometimes those fellows know what they're talking about.

STAVES

By now you know what our alliance symbol is, right? So I'll give you one guess as to what we put on the heads of the staves of our Pact spellcasters. If you said "roaring metal Dragons," give yourself a pat on the back. If you said anything else, soldier, you're standing guard duty tonight, because you're too dumb to be allowed to go into town.

SWORDS

Like I said, we adapted a Dark Elf design for our Pact daggers, and it looked so good we just up-scaled it for our warriors' swords. Same straight blade, same semi-barbed point, same Tribunal-inspired crossguard with a Dragon stamped on it. Nice sword. Nothing like a good sword.

Ra Gada

The Ra Gada or "Warrior Wave" of settlers from Yokuda actually occurred in four successive waves in the First Era's ninth century. This catalogue focuses on the second, or "Tavan" wave, so-called because it was spearheaded by the Hattu Metropoles brigade, which revered holy Tava, Lady of the Air. Thus the Tavans' arms and armor are replete with bird imagery. This second wave primarily settled on the southern coast of Hammerfell, and almost three millennia later their structures can still be found jutting from the coastal dunes. And one doesn't have to look far to see the influence of these ancient settlers on modern Redguard society.

AXES

Axe-wielders among the Tavans were taught with an emphasis on the "Singular Cleave" attack, intended to cleave a target in twain with a single blow. That's why these Ra Gada axes feature one large, heavy blade.

BELTS

The belt is the central cincture of a much broader girdle, which provided an extra layer of protection to the Ra Gada's abdomen and lower back. The large, round buckle is embossed with air-current symbols.

BOOTS

Ra Gadan boots are cobbled from heavy leather, usually camel hide, with thick soles as insulation against hot sand and stones. The traditional turned-up toes conceal metal caps to protect the soldier's vulnerable feet.

BOWS

Aggressively avian in design, the bow of the Ra Gada is faced with two brazen ibis-heads that can be employed as parrying edges in the heat of melee. It's a compound bow, and the entire front is faced with horn, often painted a metallic color.

CHEST PIECES

The Ra Gada were sword-fighters, and their cuirasses were solid and sturdy to enable their wearers to withstand blows in close melee. They are covered with swirling air-current symbols, and most feature the distinctive Tavan bird-wing back banners.

DAGGERS

The daggers of the Tavan Ra Gada echo the scimitar-like curve of the second-wave sword blades. The Tavans didn't use daggers for parrying, preferring to use shields on their off-arms, so their daggers lack crossguards. They are, however, weighted for throwing.

GLOVES

Ra Gada warriors, particularly those wielding two-handed weapons, were trained to parry with their heavily-armored forearms rather than with their weapons' crossguards. Their gloves, therefore, are basically reinforced upper gauntlets that leave the fingers free for deft weapon manipulation.

HELMETS

The Tavan Redguards' headgear was typically a turban wound around a sturdy steel cap, usually embossed with the near-universal wind-current symbols. Most of the face was concealed by mouth and cheek guards, as much to intimidate foes as to keep out blowing dust and sand.

LEG GREAVES

Stiff and sturdy armor to protect the front of the lower legs was standard gear for the second-wave Ra Gada, echoing the form and function of the reinforced gauntlets on the forearms. Layers of heavy hide covered the back of the calves.

MACES

Ra Gada maces were made to deal with well-armored opponents, their heads heavy and spiked for crushing and puncturing their targets. The weight of these bludgeons necessitated development of the "Terminal Blow" style, similar to the "Singular Cleave" used by Tavan axe-wielders.

SHIELDS

Ra Gada shields were wide and heavy to provide maximum coverage, not just to the bearer but also, at need, to his nearest ally. Besides the usual embossed wind-current symbols, the bottom of the shield was wrought to resemble a hawk's broad tail.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The so-called "pagoda pauldrons" of the Ra Gada are quite distinctive, but the three layers of cops are not as rigid as they appear: they are articulated underneath, allowing the cops to swivel to follow the warrior's arm movements.

STAVES

Ra Gada spellcasters often tipped their staves with finials in the shape of Tu'whacca's sacred ibis, as the Tricky God was (and is) the patron of mages. Nowadays being suspicious of magic is regarded as a hallmark of Redguard culture, but this was not always so pronounced.

SWORDS

The Tavans came from the Yokudan sword tradition that called for edging only one side of the blade, so the backing can be thicker and stronger. This gives the curved Ra Gada swords, both one- and two-handed, the weight to hack through a target in one slash—and single-move attacks have always been celebrated by Redguards as the epitome of fencing elegance.

Soul-Shriven

Here in Coldharbour we have people who've come from every corner of Tamriel. And who can blame them? This realm is a virtual paradise! And also, now that I think of it, a victual paradox. I mean, we Soul-Shriven live, but we do not eat. I can't remember the last time I've felt even a bit peckish. Curious, isn't it? I wonder how that works?

But never mind that. On to the matter at hand: style! Soul-Shriven style, to be precise. It's the style that has no style, because it draws from every style! It's got the best of everything, doesn't it?

I mean, just look at our weapons! A veritable bounty of battle-ready accoutrements [sic] and pointed pain-sticks. The dagger: a wavy kris from Soul-Shriven Khajiit! The mace: a clonking good morning-star, all spiky and everything, from freshly Soul-Shriven Orcs! The swords: real katanas from real Akaviri, those snaky Tsaesci, not those chilly Kamali with their silly straight swords! And the axes: nasty-looking things with scythe-blades … genuine scythe-blades from … well, truth be told, I've no idea where they come from, but someplace fun, almost certainly!

And have a look at our armor! Go on! I've never seen its like, but I like what I see. It's all … how should I say it? Rather mixed up and confusticating, isn't it? Cobbled together with bits and bobs from all over—a bit like a flesh atronach, but far more comfortable to wear, and not nearly as pungent.

So, if you give a tinker's damn about style, why not consider crafting Soul-Shriven weapons and armor for all of your madcap adventuring needs? They're quite fetching, and not at all dodgy. Not too dodgy, at any rate.

Morag Tong

Guild Memo to the Recondite Forge

I've been asked to convey to you the Exalted Master's dissatisfaction with your recent work for the Tong. The Sun's Dusk shipment was unacceptable, not up to standard either in quality or style. We're going to give you one opportunity to redeem yourselves. Don't fail. In the interest of your … rehabilitation … I'll summarize our requirements for you below.

- Naryu Virian, Knower

AXES

Note the broad, heavy crescent blade with the signature "double bite" inset edges at the center. These wide serrations result in particularly savage wounds that look like they were inflicted by some forest predator. (And what does "Morag Tong" mean in ancient parlance but "Forest Guild"?) Axe blades: double bite. Got it?

BELTS

The Morag Tong are like woods hunters, except people are our prey. Our belts are of simple stout leather, like a forester's, occasionally ornamented with dreugh or mudcrab chitin—but don't get too fancy. Save that for the cuirass and pauldrons.

BOOTS

The toes and uppers of Morag Tong shoes are protected by plates of chitin, but the sides and soles are of flexible leather, tough but quiet. The goal is to make sure our writ-targets never even hear us coming. Can you manage that? For your sake, I hope you can.

BOWS

Morag Tong archers wield composite bows of hardwood and horn, constructed on fundamental principles that haven't changed for millennia. For flourish, add metallic parry-crescents just above and below the central grip, with spider-web supports to honor the Webspinner. (Don't pretend you don't know of whom I speak.)

CHEST PIECES

A Morag Tong cuirass is designed to intimidate as well as to protect. The base arming coat shall be of dark, heavy leather, ideally Bull Netch, accented or (in heavier sets) layered with irregular plates of chitin. The effect should be monstrous, as if the wearer were more crustacean than person. Be imaginative! We have a reputation to maintain.

DAGGERS

The blade on a Morag Tong dagger should be an offset demi-crescent, with a hook or barb on the point so the dagger can double as a corpse meat-hook. The hook must be able to drag a body without bending or slipping out—which is what happened with that last batch you sent us. Don't you even test your work before you call it done?

GLOVES

In the last batch of gauntlets you sent us, you got the leather quality and the chitin plate on the back of the hand right, but you blundered by giving the gloves full fingers instead of half-coverage. We do delicate work, all right? We need the ends of our fingers free for things like picking locks and twisting garottes around victims' necks. Gauntlets with half-fingers. Got it?

HELMETS

You did a relatively good job with our flanged chitin helmets, but the visor goggles were a complete failure. The heavy glass lenses were rippled, distorting the wearer's vision and making everything viewed appear slightly off-center. We can't be going in to cut a writ-target's throat and hit them instead on the shoulder. Whatever source you've been using for lenses, change it.

LEG GREAVES

These should be heavy leather—once again, Bull Netch if possible—with a top layer of chitin plates. That's chitin, like from dreugh or mudcrabs, NOT bone. We don't wear bone. Also, the sharp poleyns on the heavier armor should jut out to the side rather than the front, because that's weirder and looks more dangerous.

MACES

For the Tong maces, we use a pretty traditional Chimer warhammer design, with two heavy cylindrical heads. Sheath the haft below the head with metal for parrying purposes. And make sure it's not too shiny: we don't want our weapons to compromise stealth.

SHIELDS

I know the shield design looks like chitin, but it's actually ashwood faced with metal. It only looks like layered chitin so as to be thematically compatible with the Morag Tong armor, which is made of actual chitin. Is this too confusing? Read it through several times slowly until you've got it. Then do it right.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Getting the shoulders right is very important to maintaining the Morag Tong armor's distinctive silhouette, so pay attention. The pauldrons are layers of articulated chitin plates, like the cuirass, but the upper plates need to have short curved spikes mounted on them. Use dreugh or shalk shell spurs for this.

STAVES

There are only a few real spellcasters in the Tong, and I'm not one of them, so I can't comment on where the design for our spell staves comes from, or why it's so important we stick to it. I think the finial looks like a heavy brass Dwarven fish, but that's just me. What matters to you is that you follow the design as closely as you can.

SWORDS

Morag Tong swords have one sharp edge, with a curve toward the point, which ends in a back-barb like the dagger, and for the same reason: so it can double as a corpse meat-hook. Put some irregular curved points on the sword's spine, just so it looks nastier.

Skinchanger

Would you live among the wild of the northern woods, and perhaps be wild yourself? Would you worship Hircine in his aspects of Alrabeg the Hunter, or Storihbeg the Skinchanger? Would you seek for the Beast Within, so it may be released to seek its blood prey? Then let your arms and armor bespeak these things of you, for at times your speech may be naught more than a growl. Hearken, Manbeast:

AXES

Woodsman you may have been, but though you bear an axe, you are woodsman no more. For you shall turn your axe from hewing wood to spilling blood. Broad shall be the fore-blade, and narrow the hind, but the hind-blade shall sport three claws, that you may scrape the mark of the beast into the flesh of your prey.

BELTS

You shall make your belt from the hide of your prey, tan it and tool it and bedeck it with teeth, so all shall know that you fear no bite. And your belt shall be broad, and from it shall depend tassets of thick hide, the better to protect your midsection when the prey turns at bay.

BOOTS

Your boots shall be of tanned hide, thick and well-oiled, for you will hunt your prey up streams and through swamps. Take care the soles are thick and be-ridged, for you must be sure of foot when the surface is uncertain. Even the best hunters fall to their prey when they slip and stumble.

BOWS

Your bow shall be of heartwood and antler, for to shoot true in the forest, the archer's tools must be of the forest. The limbs of your bow shall be clawed, like the limbs of your prey, for like calls to like. And your quiver shall show the face of a beast.

CHEST PIECES

Your cuirass shall be many-layered and tough, and the breastplate shall be a beastplate, with the glaring eyes and wrinkled nose of a predator hard on the trail of its prey. And this is not strange, for beneath your cuirass beats the heart of a hunter, pumping the blood of a beast.

DAGGERS

You shall bear a dirk like a long, curved claw, a steel talon with which to gut your prey and skin its hide. It shall be deadly, yet simple and unadorned, for does the bear paint its claws, or the falcon gild its talons? They do not. So say I, and who shall contradict me?

GLOVES

Your gauntlets shall be a mighty protection for your forearms, for the biting beasts will try to grip your forelimbs with their fangs and wrestle you to their level, and you must deny them this. Stud your gauntlet backs with metal spikes to give them fangs of their own, but leave the fingers free, nimble to grasp for arrows or dirk.

HELMETS

When the beasts look upon you, they will see another beast looking back, for your helm shall be a wolf's-head of steel. And this is as Storihbeg would have it, for the Manbeast within shall manifest without, and the hunter shall be exalted.

LEG GREAVES

To protect your legs your greaves shall be of the densest hide, and they shall be studded with metal rivets, that they may turn the fangs of serpents and blunt the tusks of boars. For while you are Beast you are also Man, and must stay upright except when in form most feral.

MACES

Your mace shall be heavy and spiked, like the fist of a kwama warrior, but you shall strike twice as hard with it, for you are at once both Beast and Man, and none who are of single nature shall stand before you.

SHIELDS

The beast-face on your chest and your helm shall be repeated on your shield, of great size and feral aspect, so as to strike fear into your enemies from a distance. Then you may smite them from afar, or close and savage them by hand, as best suits your way of doing honor to Hircine.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Your pauldrons shall be as you will, whether metal, leather, or fur, so long as they are strong and solid to turn both blows and fangs. For your shoulder is anchor to the arm that brings your weapon down upon your prey.

STAVES

Every spell you cast from your staff shall do honor unto Lord Hircine, in both his Princely form and in his aspect as Alrabeg. For your staff shall be crowned with antlers like unto the Lord of the Hunt, and your spells shall emit therefrom. This is the way, and no other!

SWORDS

Your sword shall be long and curved, a great talon to extend the reach of your mighty arm, and it shall have an edge that shall slash like the tusks of a great boar. But it shall end in a point, for when your prey has finished fighting for its life, you shall take that life quickly and cleanly with a thrust to the heart. See to it.

Abah's Watch

I just sold that Iron Wheel outfit a load of first-quality arms and armor—good enough that our own Abah's Landing guards are going to look shabby in comparison, and that's not going to do. We need to show a united front to the Wheel, with a standardized look to our guards. Based on what we've got in the warehouses, let's equip them as indicated below.

—Merchant Lord Orahan at-Addin

AXES

We have a number of those axes with the double-crescent blades down in the water-level warehouse. They're very similar to what I sold the Iron Wheel; let's equip our own axe-wielders with those arms.

BELTS

That shipment of heavy wool sashes we got from Rihad will do fine as belts: just put a round metal boss on front to cinch it through, and hang metal tassets at the hips for the more heavily-armored guards.

BOOTS

The basic goat-leather boots shipped in from Senchal ought to do fine: we have plenty of them, and nobody looks at a guard's feet anyway. But make sure they have good quality straps at the ankle to attach to the bottom of the greaves.

BOWS

We're arming town guards here: they don't need to shoot arrows at battlefield ranges, so there's no point in giving them powerful (and expensive) composite bows. Simple self bows will do fine—and as a matter of fact we just got a ship load of those from Velyn Harbor!

CHEST PIECES

It was smart to buy out that entire shipment of mix-and-match layered cuirass pieces from that forge that went out of business in Satakalaam. We sold most of them to the Iron Wheel, but there are enough pieces left over to equip our own Abah's Watch guards.

DAGGERS

Redguard blades—swords and daggers—are just the best, even simple, relatively plain stabbers like those crates of used weapons we got from the school at Leki's Blade. They may have been forged as practice blades, but they're none the less lethal for that. Make sure every one of our guards has one of those simple curved daggers.

GLOVES

When we bought those Satakalaam cuirasses, I got them to throw in two crates of matching gauntlets constructed along similar lines: a sturdy leather base that supports layers of mix-and-match plates mounted on top. Those are good combat gloves; it's almost a shame not to sell them. But the guards must have gauntlets!

HELMETS

We sold the Iron Wheel three crates of those turbaned conical helmets from Gilane. I think we have one crate left, so let's issue those to the Abah's Watch guards. If we run out of the conical helms, give them metal skullcaps to wear under the turbans.

LEG GREAVES

The greaves we're using follow the same design principle as the gauntlets and cuirass: they're heavy top-grain leather lined with strap-points for buckling on layered metal plates. Leave off the metal plates for the guards working beats on the docks—if they fall in the harbor, we want them to be able to get out again.

MACES

We got the maces from the same forge as the axes and shields, and they have that same double-crescent motif, in this case as the shape of the sharp flanges on the maces' heads. That double crescent: I wonder what it means?

SHIELDS

Even after equipping the Iron Wheel, we still have a lot of those round shields faced with the double-crescent design. Put a slightly different tint on them and issue those to our guards.

SHOULDER ARMOR

We have a fair number of sets of pauldrons from Satakalaam that match the cuirass and gauntlets—heavy leather with attachments for overlapping metal plates. In for a copper, in for a drake: might as well give those to the Landing guards as well.

STAVES

In the warehouse at the outer harbor you'll find a round dozen spell-staves topped with double-crescent finials. That ought to be enough to equip our spellcasting officers, and as a bonus they match the design on the axes, maces, and shields.

SWORDS

We got both one-handed and two-handed swords from the school at Leki's Blade, and from their quality and condition you'd never know they'd been used as practice blades by students for years. Redguards take care of their swords like nobody else.

Thieves Guild

Do you know what's a good way to waste money? …Actually, you probably know a lot of ways to waste money. Let me rephrase that: do you know a good way to save money? I'll tell you—buy in bulk, and have any manufactured goods made to specific standards. Economy: that's the reason Thieves Guild arms and armor need to follow the specifications below.

AXES

Thieves Guild axes are sturdy, made to open up both armored opponents and reluctant doors. Also, note the way our axes have hooked blades so they can act as prying tools when necessary. The Guild triple-dagger symbol appears in the center of the head.

BELTS

Actually, the Guild is not all that finicky about belts, so long as they're strong and made of top-grain hide, whether from cattle, welwa, or kagouti. Design of the metal buckle is less important than the fact that it shouldn't be shiny.

BOOTS

Guild boots should be of sturdy leather, with stiff uppers but soft and flexible soles. Get a pair from the supplier and test them yourself: if they creak or rustle when you walk, they're not suitable for the Thieves Guild.

BOWS

A Thieves Guild bow should be of dense but springy ash or yew, powerful enough to drop a guard at medium range. The front of the limbs should be faced with (dull) metal sheathing for parrying purposes. Arrowheads should be steel, but once again, not shiny: you don't want a glint from your arrow to betray your position as your [sic] draw down on your target.

CHEST PIECES

Our cuirasses are constructed of overlapping layers of articulated tooled leather, well-oiled to keep the armor both flexible and silent. Heavier versions will be faced with light steel plates to protect critical areas, but the metal must be matte and dullish. A round boss with the three-bladed Guild symbol is to appear on both chest and upper back.

DAGGERS

The official Guild dagger is a double-edged stabbing weapon with a broad blade—almost a short sword. The flaring three-bladed Guild symbol at the hilt serves as a crossguard.

GLOVES

Thieves Guild gloves may look like warrior's gauntlets above the wrist, but the fingers must be sheathed in soft kid or chamois so as not to interfere with the delicate manipulation so critical to thieving.

HELMETS

We're thieves, so we don't wear steel pots on our heads: metal helmets are noisy, shiny, and would impair our vision. We want a nice, flexible, dark leather cowl, with a feature-concealing mask covering the lower half of the face.

LEG GREAVES

Guild greaves are nothing fancy, just gaiters of dark oiled leather with attachment points for dull steel overplates. As with the rest of the armor, they mustn't creak during movement.

MACES

A Thieves Guild warhammer doubles as both weapon and tool: the heavy, flat head is backed with a spike that can also serve as a crowbar. The three-bladed Guild symbol should appear on both sides of the hammer head.

SHIELDS

Deciding to encumber oneself with a shield can be a difficult decision for a thief, so we allow a fair amount of variation is both shape and size: anything from a medium round shield up to a full kite shield is acceptable. The Guild symbol should appear in the center on a (rather large) round boss.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The fact is, thieves often run away, and when you're running away you tend to get hit on the shoulders. So for us, shoulder armor is not a good place to economize. We want multiple layers of thick, articulated leather on our pauldrons, with buckle points for adding additional layers of non-shiny metal. Don't skimp.

STAVES

Thieves Guild spell staves are pretty low profile, of dark hardwood with a finial in the shape of our familiar three-bladed symbol. It's a good idea to add metal prongs to the foot so the staff can help add stability when thieving on uncertain surfaces.

SWORDS

A thief doesn't really want to close with an opponent (except by surprise), so our Thieves Guild swords are broad, double-edged affairs made for slashing so as to keep an enemy at bay. As with the daggers, our flaring three-bladed Guild symbol provides a crossguard at the haft.

Assassins League

The "Dark Brotherhood"? Utter nonsense. The Brotherhood is a myth. A legend. A lie. Death comes to us all, and murder is merely a matter of mundane craft—there's no need to invoke the Void, or its, ahem, mother.
Ah, but a secret society of assassins, a guild of killers for hire—now that makes sense. That's just good business. And like every good business, we have standards. You wish to join us, and dress like one of our league? Then follow the instructions below. And one day, if you are found worthy, you may be invited to learn some actual secrets.

AXES

The hallmark of Assassins' weapons is that they are both nimble and effective, striving for that sweet spot between the heavy arms of soldiers and the supple but over-subtle weapons of duelists. Our axes, for example, feature a single, broad blade, with no more than a short slicing crescent on the backside for ripostes.

BELTS

You'll notice that all Assassins wear dual belts, one above the other, with weapons and tassets depending from the lower strap. Why is that? Because sometimes a job goes wrong and you need to make a sudden escape, in which case you can drop the bottom belt and everything on it, losing all that extra encumbrance.

BOOTS

Boots? An Assassin's footwear will be more like a dancer's shoes than a warrior's sabatons: light, flexible, and above all quiet. The best leather for soles is guar hide, which is limber but provides good traction on uncertain surfaces.

BOWS

If someone should say unto you, "Oh, I see your bow has death's-heads on it, so I guess I should be really afraid, since you must be some kind of assassin or something, right?" …You are authorized by the League to kill such a person, and take their head. Full-sized skulls make good decorations for ballistas.

CHEST PIECES

Remember, Assassin, you are not a soldier—it may be your job to kill, but wholesale slaughter is not your task: you kill once, and escape to kill again. So League-standard armor, even your cuirass, is to be relatively lightweight and flexible, with plenty of attach-points for tools and weapons.

DAGGERS

For the League Assassin, the primary function of the dagger is as a weapon for surprise attack from behind, to either slice the windpipe or plunge into the lower back. It must be small enough to be nimble but big enough to kill, and razor-sharp on both edge and point. A barb behind the point comes in handy when manipulating a body, whether living or dead.

GLOVES

Keeping your hands nimble and free is of critical importance in all phases of assassination. When lightly armored, we forego gloves entirely below the forearm; even when more heavily armored, our gloves are so light and supple as to be barely there at all.

HELMETS

Executioners don't wear helmets, they wear hoods—and so do we. To be quite accurate, we wear leather coifs, layered underneath, in the heavier versions, with skullcaps and flexible mail. The value of a buffe that conceals the lower features is obvious in our profession.

LEG GREAVES

As often as not, a League Assassin travels on all four limbs, leaping and climbing, clambering and crawling. For such activities, rigid greaves are a liability, so with leg armor, as elsewhere, the watchwords are resilience and ease of motion. Modest knee poleyns are useful when crawling or kneeling to shoot.

MACES

For bludgeoning, we use a square-headed warhammer backed with a metal spike deliberately curved to evoke the look of a raptor's talon. It's also useful for prying open any doors or windows you might encounter between you and your target.

SHIELDS

For the League, a shield usually comes into play on two-person missions, where one assassin is using it to cover a second killer who's picking a lock or lining up a shot. So the shield must be large enough to crouch behind, but with cutouts to left and right so one can stab or shoot around it.

SHOULDER ARMOR

While flaring pauldrons may make a fashionable silhouette for a warrior, they are counterproductive for an Assassin, who can't risk getting hung up in the scenery in the middle of a stalk. Shoulder protection is important, but so is keeping a low profile.

STAVES

When we assign an Assassin a target, we say, "Pass over them with the Hand of Death." Thus we use a stylized iron hand as the finial on our spellcasters' magic staves. It is acceptable to place a round-cut precious stone on the back of the hand to represent the all-seeing eye of the League.

SWORDS

A League Assassin's sword is a tool of death, long and strong, sharp-edged and sharp-pointed, with a barb behind the tip of the slightly-curving blade. It designed to be fearsome to behold, its very look calculated to paralyze an opponent who sees it come gleaming from the shadows.

Dro-m'Athra

Somewhere, deep in the Dark Behind the World, there are grim forges and bent benches where Lost Cats arm and armor themselves. On those dire times when they appear among us, their outfitting is much alike, implying they are made to certain standards. This one shall sing the song of these standards below. Because all knowledge is useful, no? If only to know what to stay away from.

AXES

Many times dro-m'Athra weapons and armor show the "waning crescent" symbol—waning because evil is strongest in the dark of the moons. Thus the Lost Cat axes show two waning crescents, one for Jode and one for Jone. But diminishing, yes?

BELTS

Many tassets! On the buckle of the dro-m'Athra belt we see waning crescents lengthened into two long, curving fangs, often below a sort of "dark eye" sigil. Full meaning of latter is obscure, and perhaps that is for the best. Who would know all that Namiira knows?

BOOTS

Dro-m'Athra boots have enclosed toes, a curious exception to usual Khajiiti practice; it brings to mind this ancient song: "One foote Jone, one foote Jode, Lost Cattes be most straungely toed." Are the enclosed toes hiding some sort of hind-paw disfigurement?

BOWS

The waning crescent motif is very pronounced on dro-m'Athra bows, which feature two pairs of sickle moons, one pair on the face bracketing the grip, and another, smaller pair at the ends of the limbs. Such a bow may shoot more than mere arrows, alas.

CHEST PIECES

The cuirasses of dro-m'Athra warriors have a central boss of double waning crescents, surrounded by the jagged patterns of what I call "blue claw marks," the distinctive slashes of blue lightning so common in Lost Cat imagery.

DAGGERS

The dro-m'Athra dagger is a short stabbing weapon, with a so-much-curved crossguard that must assist when parrying. Curiously, this means dagger has but a single "waning crescent moon," where most Lost Cat weapons display two. Is missing moon symbolic of Ghost Moon? This one does not know.

GLOVES

Gauntlets protect hands from blows, of course, but also it is cold, very cold in Dark Behind the World, so wear gloves. Fingertips are covered—where are Khajiiti claws? On forearm, blue claw marks, but on hands, no claws. Very disturbing.

HELMETS

Cat-face doubled, one atop another—so eerie! But dro-m'Athra face is hidden, which is a Good Thing. Crowned with double waning crescent, yes. False ears, but teeth are real, or at least real sharp. No gorget!

LEG GREAVES

Dro-m'Athra greaves almost normal, mundane. Must guard lower limbs just like Top-of-World greaves, yes? Darkening moons on shins, pointed down, emptying out all life. Sing me a song of shinbalds, turning 'round and walking away!

MACES

With blows of mace, Lost Cats beat out rhythm of the Bent Dance. See, dro-m'Athra mace head is shaped like shield, and yet dro-m'Athra shield is not shaped like mace! Who can sing the answer to this riddle? Not this one, no.

SHIELDS

Double-waning-crescent shield, Jode to right, Jone to left, with gaps in moon-sickles for stab-stabbing from behind it. See the blue lightning? Very dangerous: beware.

SHOULDER ARMOR

So clawsome, the pauldrons! And laced with blue claw marks, yes. High collars help make up for lacking of gorget and aventail. Sharp and sharp: do not touch them, for they touch back. This one is quite serious.

STAVES

What a staff it is! Two down-turned waning crescents emptying the head, while above is crescent Ghost Moon, rampant, ready to funnel forth spells of Destruction. No need to guess why Lost Cat Sorcerer is most feared dro-m'Athra of all. No, not a bit.

SWORDS

Heavy at end, Lost Cat sword would be awkward wielding for any but muscle-cat dro-m'Athra! Weight of sword drives sharp-sharp edge through body and bone. Crosshilt is waning-double-crescent, but by now you guess this twice over. Avoid! Evade! Will you be wise, and heed Adara'hai? Who can say? Var var var.

Dark Brotherhood

Heed me, Initiates: we are not soldiers, and do not wear a uniform—it would be a difficult thing indeed to do our jobs if we had to wear gear that identified us as members of an order of assassins. But just because we don't typically use uniforms when on assignment doesn't mean we don't have them: we do. When it is necessary for you to represent the Dark Brotherhood in a manner that leaves no doubt as to our involvement in an affair, you will wear guild armor and wield guild arms as described below.

AXES

Your axe blades, Initiate, are shaped like those of meat cleavers, and for much the same reason. While the blade may not be heavy enough to decapitate a target with the first blow, if wielded with care it will still go halfway through your target's neck, and that usually suffices.

BELTS

An initiate's belt shall be leather that is broad and strong, to keep armor cinched tight and weapons secure. It shall display the Brotherhood's gray steel dart design, either toward the buckle or away from it. Hip tassets shall be broad and display the steel dart wrought large.

BOOTS

An Initiate's boots shall be of flexible leather for maximum mobility. The uppers shall bear the broad steel dart, toe-ward, for protection of the instep. The sole shall be ridged for traction.

BOWS

The Brotherhood bow is simple and utilitarian in appearance, but strong enough to drive a clothyard shaft through the heaviest breastplate. Double-chevron plates shall protect the facing, and enable the Initiate to parry. The quiver shall be blazoned with either the black or the bloody hand.

CHEST PIECES

The Initiate's cuirass shall be of dark leather accented with divers steel dart and chevron designs. There shall be extra straps for easy carriage of tools and spare daggers. And on the sternum shall be blazoned the black hand of dark knowledge.

DAGGERS

For assassinations, Initiate, your dagger will often be your primary weapon. The Brotherhood dagger is heavy, single-edged, and slightly curved, with a serrated back. If plunged hilt-deep between a target's ribs, the serrations may make quick removal difficult, so carry several daggers in the event you are forced to leave one in your target's corpse.

GLOVES

An initiate's gloves shall be of the finest kid leather, supremely flexible, with metal dart studs to protect the knuckles and back of the hand. The palms and insides of the fingers shall be textured to hold and apply the black soot of dark knowledge.

HELMETS

The Initiate's headgear shall be a thick leather cowl accented by matte steel studs, with a lower half-mask to conceal the wearer's features. The cowl shall be of generous length so as to drape full to the shoulders.

LEG GREAVES

The Initiate's greaves shall be of sturdy boiled leather, supplemented by metal dart-and-chevron plates in the heavier variations. They shall extend over the top of the boot for protection of the Initiate's ankles. Calf-straps shall be adjustable so as to provide room for stowage of hideout daggers.

MACES

The standard Brotherhood bludgeoning weapon is a square-headed warhammer, flanged on the corners for collateral laceration. The two-handed hammer is double headed, but the head on the one-handed variation is backed with a curved spike, useful as a tool for dragging cadavers into the shadows to hide them.

SHIELDS

The Initiate's shield shall be of oval kite-shape and large enough to protect a co-assassin as she plies her bow or spell staff. Upon the central boss shall be blazoned either the black or bloody hand.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The Initiate's pauldrons shall likewise be of sturdy boiled leather, surmounted by double-chevroned metal plates to turn blows from above. The elbows may sport cowters of matching design. All metal shall be matte to prevent glinting and reflection.

STAVES

The Brotherhood spellcaster's staff ends in such a heavy flanged head that it almost resembles a two-handed mace—and may be used in that capacity in extremity. Make your staff strong enough that it can be used as a pry bar when breaking and entering, or as a rod to hold a door open or jam it shut.

SWORDS

Your sword, Initiate, should be a long, curved single-edged blade, with an unevenly serrated back. This latter detail has little practical purpose, serving more as an indicator of your ferocity, potentially paralyzing with fright a target who sees it. There is little difference between the one- and two-handed versions other than size.

Ebony

The Ebony style of arms and armor: so striking, so strange, so distinctive that there's no mistaking it. But how are we to account for its bizarre admixture of stylistic forms, Dunmer, Nord, and even Daedric? Where does it come from, and who established it? I have spent years seeking the answers to these questions, and all I have for my pains are a few names and terms that may (or may not) apply. Mackkan. Caldera. Fickledire. "Glorious Upheaval." I wish I knew what these words mean, but I do not. I only know that the Ebony style is ancient, and can be defined as described below.

AXES

The Ebony-style axe is notable for its oversized single blade, twice as long below the axle as above it. There is a spike opposite the blade, and another one, curved, at the ferrule.

BELTS

The Ebony belt is surprisingly simple, considering how ornate the rest of the armor set can be. It's constructed of black leather with metal rivets, and a shield-shaped buckle at the front.

BOOTS

The boots of Ebony armor are articulated metal sabatons, with overlapping chevron-shaped plates similar to those on other pieces of the set. The toes are pointed, but the heels are flat, and can be equipped with spurs.

BOWS

The Ebony bow is of heavy compound composition, dark springy hardwoods faced with ebony in the set's chevron pattern. It features inward-curving metal spikes above and below the central grip. The quiver, in contrast, is of supple black leather, holding arrows whose points have a slight, wicked curve.

CHEST PIECES

The cuirass is constructed of overlapping ebony plates atop leather or chainmail, articulated so the wearer can bend freely. The breastplate is shield-shaped, above double-chevron bands that protect the abdomen. They may be embossed with jagged flame symbols of Daedric inspiration.

DAGGERS

The Ebony dagger has a long, slender blade with a slight S-curve to it, reminiscent of the dark rocky Coldharbour spikes that accompany incursions of the Planemeld. Its crossguard is minimal: it's a dagger for thrusting, not parrying.

GLOVES

Ebony gauntlets are of black leather with thin, articulated plates protecting the backs of the hand and fingers. Pointed metal flanges protect the forearms on the heavier variations.

HELMETS

Ebony helms resemble those worn by Dremora, with full visors, crests, and flaring wing-shaped prongs over the ears. The eye-slits are narrow and deliberately sinister in aspect.

LEG GREAVES

The greaves are constructed to the same design as the rest of the armor set, with overlapping chevron-shaped plates, and shield-shaped poleyns at the knees.

MACES

The Ebony warhammer is a decidedly nasty affair, with a heavy flanged head and a curved back spike. The haft is partly sheathed in metal for parrying purposes, while the ferrule sports the same curved spike seen on the bottom of the axe handles.

SHIELDS

The Ebony shield clearly shows the armor set's mixed stylistic heritage: though kite-shaped like a heavy Nord shield, its bulbous central forms resemble Dunmeri bug-armor, all inscribed with unknown runes that look like Daedric script—but aren't.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The pauldrons on Ebony armor are sharp and shield-shaped, with an extra chevron-shaped plate flaring out over the upper arms. There is a layer of thick leather, or even chainmail, beneath the over-plates.

STAVES

Compared to the ornate detailing on the armor, Ebony spell staves are relatively simple in design, consisting of a shaft of dark hardwood, sheathed in metal toward the top, with a finial of down-flaring crescent wings. The ferrule is equipped with the same curved spike as other hafted Ebony weapons.

SWORDS

Ebony-style swords are definitely Daedric in inspiration, with crinkled, asymmetrical handles topped by twisted guards, from which sprout single-edged blades with disturbing curves. The sides of the blades are etched with runes that, though traditional to the Ebony style, are of unknown origin.

Draugr

So, you want to be able to pass yourself off as a Draugr? That makes perfect sense! Done it myself, and more than once! Just follow my instructions below, and you'll have gear so Draugr-y not even a Dragon Priest's mother could tell it from the real thing! After all, if you're going to imitate my exploits recovering relics from ancient Nord tombs, in theory it will go much easier if it looks like you belong there!

Anyway, that's the theory.

AXES

Draugr-style weapons have three characteristics: they're old-fashioned Nord in design, they're typically high-caste or high-quality, and they look like they've been in a tomb for centuries. Draugr axes exhibit all of these traits.

BELTS

Draugr all wear those big, broad Nord belts of thick leather, with great, round metal buckles—but the buckles should be rusty, as should any metal rivets or edgings on the tassets that hang from the belts. And rub grave dirt into every crack.

BOOTS

Take a pair of Nord boots, you know the kind: simple, but thick and sturdy. Leave them next to your stove or forge for a month, making sure to spray them with water once or twice a day. When the metal is spotted with rust, and the leather is cracked and flaking, you're done.

BOWS

How Draugr bows maintain their flexibility and functionality after rotting in a vault for a thousand years is a mystery, even to me—but they work just fine, and I've got the arrow-scars to prove it. However, if you don't want your "new" Draugr bow to snap in half when you draw it, I advise using fresh materials. Just antique it appropriately for that musty from-the-catacombs look.

CHEST PIECES

Get one of those Nord cuirasses that shows a lot of skin, the kind that says, "I'm too tough to care about the weather." Then weather it: dry out the leather, spot the steel with rust, rip chunks out of any fur, and finally scar up every visible surface with a chisel. There you have it: authentic Draugr armor!

DAGGERS

Why does a Draugr dagger look so creepy? I mean, it's just an ancient Nord fighting knife that's been buried with an undead warrior for a millennium. If you want the same look for your dagger, you can't go wrong with rust spots and spider webs.

GLOVES

Acquire a pair of medium-grade Nord gauntlets, with good coverage of the lower forearms. Then Draugr-ize them by tying them to a cord and dragging them behind your mount for a few weeks.

HELMETS

Don't get mere helmets, get full Nord helms that cover the entire head, and ideally have prominent horns. Don't skimp on this: the horned helm is very important to achieving that classic Draugr silhouette. Scar the leather parts with a cleaver, ding up the metal with a hammer, and rub rust and grave dirt into every surface.

LEG GREAVES

Start with a pair of basic cylindrical greaves of Nord design, then "Draugr them up" by burying them in a dung heap for two weeks. You can add verisimilitude by nicking them with a chisel if you like, but after the dung treatment nobody's really going to look at them all that closely.

MACES

A Draugr's mace may look old and rickety, but I assure you, it's strong, solid, and will crush your skull in a heartbeat if you're careless. Make sure your Draugr warhammer is made of sturdy materials underneath its coating of dust, rust, and cobwebs.

SHIELDS

The ancient Nords bore large shields, and so do their revenants. Use modern oak and steel, but craft your Draugr shield to an old pattern, then use a heavy axe to nick its face and edges as if it's survived a hundred battles. I use a heavy lumberjack's tool for this purpose—no points for subtlety!

SHOULDER ARMOR

Take a pair of classic Nord shield-shaped pauldrons, and then abuse them by tying them to the rim of a servant's wagon wheel for a week. Your servants may complain that this makes the wagon's ride intolerably bumpy, but just tell them you're following Narsis Dren's advice. That will silence them!

STAVES

Draugr revenants schooled in "the clever art" don't cast a lot of happy healing and light spells, so for authenticity, make sure your Draugr staff has a dark and sinister look to it. You can't go wrong with dried bloodstains on the head and haft, in my experience.

SWORDS

The ancient Nords liked their swords large and heavy enough to kill at a single blow, so avoid light, dueling-style blades for your Draugr-style swords. And no matter how nicked and dented it is, your sword's edge should still be razor-sharp.

Minotaur

Would you do honor to the noble and all-but-forgotten race of Minotaurs, those mighty man-beasts who symbolized the Empire of yore? Do you believe in the legends of their greatness, as I do? Listen, then, and I shall teach you how to craft a set of arms and armor that will pay appropriate tribute to these nigh-extinct avatars of ancient Alessia!

AXES

The typical Minotaur's axe resembles nothing so much as a great cleaver modified for combat—and could anything be more ironic, considering the fate of most Cyrodilic beef cattle? The two-handed version features a small blade mounted at the heel of the haft for backhand remise attacks, which Minotaur warriors excel at, despite their false reputation as clumsy brutes.

BELTS

The Minotaur's belt is so broad, it would be more correct to refer to it as a war-girdle, a wide triple-layered cincture with a great round buckle-placket in front, as background to a large metal boss that serves as the actual buckle. Thick tassets hang from this war-girdle all around its circumference.

BOOTS

The footwear of the Minotaur style, especially on heavy armor, consists of sandals made to emulate the Minotaur's great hooves. Though the uppers are light, the soles are thick, and scored to enhance traction.

BOWS

The Minotaur-style bow is made of darkest yew, stiffened, not surprisingly, by horn, and faced with spiked rivets. Morihaus the Winged Bull was said to be the finest archer of his era, and the finely-fletched arrows of the Minotaurs pay him due tribute.

CHEST PIECES

The Minotaur's chest armor seems to take its inspiration from that of arena gladiators, crisscrossed by heavy straps, and with exposed skin on all but the heavy armor variations, so the wearer can more easily bear the heavy weight of the style's massive helm, arm, and shoulder armor.

DAGGERS

The Minotaur's dagger is a simple spike-poniard with a triangular blade, usually wielded in the left hand to deliver the coup-de-grace following a mortal blow from the main weapon in the man-bull's right. Not fancy—just deadly.

GLOVES

Like arena gladiators, Minotaur-style warriors have the strong forearm protection of military gauntlets, but the hands are left entirely free. I would speculate the origin of this tradition lies in the difficulty of finding gloves that would actually fit a Minotaur's massive hands.

HELMETS

Insofar as a Minotaur can be simplistically described as having a humanoid body with the head of a bull, it's no surprise that the Minotaur-style helmet simulates a bull's head, in boiled leather or steel. Actual bull's horns are typically affixed to the helmet's brows.

LEG GREAVES

The thick greaves and cuisses of Minotaur leg armor emulate the powerful and muscular lower limbs of the Minotaurs themselves. They are usually decorated with simple repeating designs; some take this as an indication that Minotaurs are simple-minded, but I reject this as mere racialist presumption.

MACES

The Minotaur's mace sports a heavy cylindrical head studded with sharp rivets. These heads are often lead-filled when wielded by the mighty man-bulls, but ordinary mortals find that too unwieldy, and instead settle for mere iron or steel. The two-handed version features an iron spike on the butt end.

SHIELDS

The shield of the Minotaurs has a diamond shape for its central boss, but one should expect such Imperial iconography on the arms of a race so deeply linked to the early history of Cyrodiil. It's an all-metal shield, and thus heavy—if one isn't a Minotaur. Ordinary mortals may make them thinner and lighter.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The mighty and muscular shoulders of the Minotaurs are simulated by heavy pauldrons that rise almost to the neck, and overlap the gorgets on the over-armored right arms. Here again we see the influence of the armor of arena gladiators, which begs the question: did the Minotaurs imitate the gladiators, or vice-versa?

STAVES

What could be more appropriate as the finial of a Minotaur spellcaster's staff than a pair of broad horns? The haft below the head is metal-wrapped so the staff can serve as a parrying implement, or a means of condign chastisement for erring lesser mortals.

SWORDS

Like the dagger, the Minotaur's sword is a simple triangular blade, sharp and double-edged, with an Imperial diamond at the curved crosstree. These blades are thick and heavy, easily lopping limbs from smaller or poorly-armored opponents. Wield them with care.

Order of the Hour

The Order of the Hour is the defensive arm of the Chantry of Akatosh, and as well-disciplined knights of the Order, you must at all times properly represent the dignity and glory of the ancient Imperial worship of the Dragon God of Time. Though the Order is not technically a part of the Imperial hierarchy, we nonetheless embody the virtues of the old Empire—and our equipment must reflect those virtues as well.

AXES

The Order's axe, whether one-handed or two, is a weapon not overlarge, but rather well-balanced and wieldy, for use in both military melee and civilian riots. The long axe-head is as useful for prying as it is for chopping, and it's backed by a strong spike that can be used to dismount opponents or dismantle barricades.

BELTS

The belts worn with Order armor blend in with the cuirass above and the tassets below, seemingly part of the greater armor set rather than a separate garment—much as every Knight of the Order sets aside his or her personal agenda to become a living embodiment of the will of the Primate. The buckle may display the hourglass symbol of the Akatosh Chantry.

BOOTS

Our knightly footwear is adapted from the standard sandals of the Imperial legionaries, and pays tribute to the Empire by displaying a Cyrodilic diamond on the instep. In the heavier armor variations, the entire foot is wrapped in flexible leather for protection.

BOWS

Knights of the Order of the Hour stress the skill of mounted or hand-to-hand melee combat, and place little emphasis on ranged attacks. Our bows, therefore, are relatively simple implements of yew or ash, decorated just enough to do honor to the dignity of our position in the Colovian community.

CHEST PIECES

Our cuirasses are based on Imperial Legionary armor of the Reman period, but ornamented with swirling designs representing the roiling mists of time, optionally supplemented by Imperial diamonds or the hourglass symbol of the Akatosh Chantry.

DAGGERS

The Order's dagger is a broad, triangular stabbing blade, a smaller version of the Imperial gladius, or short sword. It is edged on both sides, and narrows to a razor-sharp needle point. The quillion is barely broader than the base of the blade, and may be ornamented with a diamond or hourglass symbol.

GLOVES

A rigid upper gauntlet protects the forearms of Knights of the Order of the Hour, ornamented with swirling time mists, and perhaps an Imperial diamond or Akatosh hourglass. The gloves that cover the hand are made of supple kid leather, to facilitate the grip of our weapons.

HELMETS

The design of an Hour Knight's helm harkens back to the officer's helmets of the Imperial Legions of the Second Empire, with a proud and noble crest above, and nasal and cheek plates to protect the face. No knight should fear getting embroiled in close melee because his or her face is unprotected.

LEG GREAVES

The standard leg armor worn by Knights of the Order is faced in front with rigid kite-shaped greaves to protect the shins, ornamented as desired with time-swirls, Imperial diamonds, or the Akatosh hourglass. A small hourglass may even be inset within a large diamond.

MACES

The Hour Knight's mace has a heavy spherical head, studded with pointed spikes. This is a weapon for killing, not crowd control, and is used only in military affairs where the enemy is to be given no quarter. The upper haft is sheathed in metal to enable parrying.

SHIELDS

The shield of the Order of the Hour is distinctive, so that all may know whom they oppose. It is large and rectangular in design, and made of good steel, though to keep the weight down the metal is thick only at the edges and in the center. Its chief symbol is a great hourglass, showing a double twist that represents our devotion to duty and the right.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Like our cuirasses, an Hour Knight's pauldrons are based on the armor of the Second Empire, with two or three curved, overlapping plates, rising toward a vertical gardbrace that protects the side of the neck.

STAVES

The staves of the Order's spellcasters are truly magnificent, with finials like great hourglasses crowned with the wings of the Dragon God of Time. The ferrule at the end of the haft is a pointed steel spike, and the haft itself is decorated with designs that evoke the swirling mists of time.

SWORDS

A Knight of the Order of the Hour bears a sword with a long, broad, triangular blade, edged on both sides and pointed for thrusting. The crosstree is narrow, as our melee doctrine emphasizes active parrying, rather than letting the opponent's blade slide to the pommel, which is just sloppy.

Celestial

As above, so below. This was ever our creed. And thus, O Celestial below, as thou craftest thy arms and thy armor, thou shalt follow ever the guidance and model of ye Constellations that wheel above.

AXES

Who wieldeth the axe? The Warrior, of Last Seed. Like the Warrior, make thy axes strong and sharp of edge. Their blades shall be like crescent moons, aglow in the light of ye Warrior's stars.

BELTS

Who circles ye zodiac, and crawleth where it will? The Serpent, of unstars and no moons. Thy belt shall be thus strong as wyrm and long as a twelve-month, when ye head shall meet ye tail. See to it.

BOOTS

Who hurrieth across the sky, bearing night from dusk till dawn? The Steed, ye noble mount. Thus shalt thou make boots to bear thee withal like the bearing of ye Steed, to support all in their celestial journeys.

BOWS

Who striketh from a distance, all heart afire with sympathy? The Lady, who bends bowing in the firmament, as it's meant thy firm bow shall bend like a lady whose darts speed true. Mark these words, Celestial.

CHEST PIECES

Who protecteth Nirn from roguish particles, ye ill from on high? The Aurora, curtain of light that wrappeth the globe in its folds. Like the Aurora thou shalt make thy cuirass, that it may wrap thee and ward thee particularly 'gainst weaponry.

DAGGERS

Who wieldeth the dagger as the surgeon doth his scalpel? The Thief, who cometh in ye dark of Evening Star. As thy knife is thy luck, make thou thy dagger of fortune, so thou mayest make fortune from thy dagger.

GLOVES

Who draweth off her gloves when the season of safety is nigh? The Lover, who covers all till Sun's Dawn, then covers none. Glover, follow the Lover, and make therefore gloves for thy hands clingsome and supple, protection in peril, yet lovely when undonned.

HELMETS

Who watcheth all with glowing eye in the face of space? The Ritual, of Morning Star, whose eye is seen but whose visage is hidden. Be ye then like the Ritual, and hide thy visage beneath cap and behind visor, seeing but not seen, unknown until thy actions make thee known.

LEG GREAVES

Who supports ye master, and does all needful and minor-magical? The Apprentice, right behind thee, to hold thee up to Sun's Height if thou falleth. Make thus thy greaves as supportful as ye Apprentice, and with a right good will.

MACES

Who bludgeons the sky with magical might? The Atronach, ye golem, who rolls like juggernaut twixt night and day. Make then thy mace like the Atronach's mighty arm, to smite thy foes even as rocks that fall from ye sky.

SHIELDS

What protecteth ye Celestials e'en as it supports the very world? The Tower, that both opens and closes the Way. Make therefore thy shield so it be strong as the Tower, closing the way to the weapons of thy foes, yet opening when thou smitest on thine own account.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Who hideth beneath the Second Seed, uncovering only to strike from below? The Shadow, unseen although seen, shadowing the sky's every move. Make then thy pauldrons to be like ye Shadow, to follow thy form, faithful and silent, and protect betimes ye striketh.

STAVES

Who wieldeth ye staff as the mightiest of armaments? The Mage, of Rain's Hand, whose hand raineth magicka by rod and by staff. Make then thy staves in emulation of ye Mage, with star-disk at finial for faster stellar spellcaster.

SWORDS

Who wieldeth both sword and plowshare, planting both seeds and foes? The Lord, master of sword and harrow, from First Seed to all. Make then thy sword as straight as a Lord, and wield it justly, in high law and low.

Hollowjack

Conjure, conjure, jill and jack
Harvest arms and armor tack
Pumpkin drear and black hawthorn
Wrought into grim garments worn

AXES

Cur-ved blade and wicked point
Victim disembowel and joint
Chop and amputate and hack
Happy work for Hollowjack

BELTS

Cincture hold our raiment tight
Sure and secure to prowl the night
Straps to hold our weapons near
Ready all for time of fear

BOOTS

Soles of rind and pointed toes
Shall surprise unwary foes
Hollowjack shall ever tread
On the corpses of the dead

BOWS

Thorn-tree wood, bend and release
Thor-ned arrow, mark decease
Flet-ched dart, twist and fly
Taking target through the eye

CHEST PIECES

Cuirass of enduring rind
Guarding torso fore and hind
Turn all weapons, point and edge
Like impenetrable hedge

DAGGERS

Bodkin blade dig inward deep
Tween yon ribs and organs creep
Like vine of orange jack-all fruit
A pumpkin knife of ill repute

GLOVES

Thor-ned night-black gauntlets planned
To cover Hollowjacky hand
But flexible so hands can strangle
Throttle, eye-gouge, tear, and mangle

HELMETS

Grinning Hollowjack must laugh
Dismember, threshing, wheat from chaff
Now inner anger embers show
As lambent eye-slits ever glow

LEG GREAVES

Rind and bark are intersected
Lower limbs shall be protected
Weapons swung and darts projected
Shall be tur-ned or deflected

MACES

Pointed hammer made to puncture
Mail and armor at their juncture
Hollowjack fair grins with glee
Murd'ring on a killing spree

SHIELDS

Hawthorn bark and twisted limb
Ward with visage gaunt and grim
Despite what weapon foe will wield
None shall penetrate this shield

SHOULDER ARMOR

Summon pauldrons, shoulder plate
Deadly damage shall abate
Rind be tough and vine be long
Hollowjack be armor strong

STAVES

Summon segments, mirthful medley
Hollowjack staff long and deadly
Casting spells good and malign
Pumpkin daemon knows the sign

SWORDS

Sword to cut, a blade to sever
Crafting a condign endeavor
Point to pommel, edge to back
Scimitar for Hollowjack

Grim Harlequin

My Lord Sheogorath has directed me to compile a guide for those seeking to create "Grim Harlequin" arms and armor, so that the Mad God's mortal servants may have a way to make all their equipment look the same. Of course, this standardization runs counter to all other cult practices, and is insane on the face of it. (Ahem.) Milord has probably already forgotten he asked me to do it, but what better do I have to do with my time than write manuals for mortals?

Actually, almost anything, now that I think about it.

AXES

Curved crescent axe blades are specified, with edges of varying depth, and a complicated cluster of sharp, curved … somethings … at the haft. You know: what-you-may-call-ems. Also, grinning skulls. Put those on everything.

BELTS

The belt shall be made of one, two, three, or four leather straps, of tanned Human or Elf skin, where possible. A grinning skull for the buckle, of course. Hip tassets may also sport skulls, wearing fool's caps and with tongues extended. The extended tongue is very important—a stylistic hallmark, really.

BOOTS

Pointed toes are required. This is not negotiable. Uppers may be of dark quilted motley, as you like. But nobody will be looking past the pointed toes: do that right, and the rest is gravy. Note: not actual gravy. Gravy may be implied, but is never stated.

BOWS

Now isn't this a pretty thing: seed pearls on the facing, and swooping recurved limbs that terminate in finials curled 'round large, lovely milk pearls. An instrument of death, but ornamented with nacreous excretions: simply splendid. Don't you think?

CHEST PIECES

Straps, straps, straps, and many layers—but not too rigid, not t0o confining, we do not wish to make it impossible to somersault. A Grim Harlequin must somersault, after all. As appropriate. (You'll know when.) Also: grinning skull sternum cameo. Very important!

DAGGERS

What we want here is more or less a curved poniard. Pointed, of course, but with a definite crescent edge, so it matches the swords and axes. The serrated back edge is handy for cleaning fish or grating cheese. A bastard to keep clean, though.

GLOVES

His Derangment has decreed that the fashion in Grim Harlequin gauntlets this season shall be for half-fingered gloves—the upper half. The lower digits shall remain nimble and free, so they can, as Milord Madness puts it, "Dance like little rabbits from blade to bow and back again." The metaphor is strained, but you get the point, do you not?

HELMETS

Let your headgear be a cunning cowl that simultaneously evokes both a fool's cap and an executioner's hood—jolly but gruesome is the goal here, mortal. And there's nothing to lose by adding a mummy-wrap bandit's mask to the lighter sets, or a skull visor to the heavy.

LEG GREAVES

These should match the boots. I suppose. Just between you and me, to be quite candid, I have had no instructions from The Avuncular One in the matter of greaves or schynbalds. Not a peep. It's as if he didn't care what you put on your lower legs. Make of that what you will.

MACES

The Grim Harlequin mace head is a grinning skull (naturally) wearing a fool's cap, with a long extended tongue that wraps right 'round the top of the haft. It's quite cunning, really. If I were a mortal, I'd want both the one-handed and the two-handed versions. But I'm not.

SHIELDS

Grinning skulls, fool's-capped jester faces, diamond quilting, those curving sharp what-you-may-call-em motifs: the Grim Harlequin shield has it all, really. Strap this on your off-arm, and they'll get out of your way in the grocery store, believe me.

SHOULDER ARMOR

For your left pauldron? A grinning, grimacing jester-face with an upturned spade beard, of course. Oh, and another one on the right. Assuming symmetry is your goal. Who knows—it might be!

STAVES

I already effused about the fool's-capped grinning skull on the mace head; doing so again about the same motif on the finial of the Grim Harlequin staff would be just rather tedious. I would prefer not to.

SWORDS

The swords should be long, curved single-edged blades—almost scimitars, really. The crossguard is another one of those clusters of curving overlapping sharp whatevers, you'll recognize it when you see it. And there, that's the Grim Harlequin guide, for what it's worth, which fortunately is not up to me.

Silken Ring

First of all, a warning: do not be so careless as to allow these instructions to fall into the wrong hands! If the authorities in Stormhold knew I was hiring out-of-work smiths to create arms and armor for the Silken Ring, my head would soon be adorning a pike on the Big Bridge!

Second of all: follow these instructions to the letter. You don't want a secret society of assassins irritated at you because you made them squeaky boots. Pay attention, hatchling, and we'll all profit.

AXES

If you expected to stamp out a few hundred daggers for some easy gold, disabuse yourself of that notion right now. The Silken Ring collects killers of all kinds, and they are particular about their methods. Hand axes are to have a single shallow crescent extending well above the haft. The blade is to come to a sturdy point to facilitate stabbing as well as slashing. Two-handed variations require a second blade of this design and may be employed as a man-catcher . [sic]

BELTS

The Silken Ring Prefer [sic] their belts to be woven from leather or silk to allow for greater flexibility and fastened by a sturdy silver buckle. The large buckle must include a hidden compartment and unfasten quickly using only one hand.

BOOTS

Flexibility and grip are of utmost importance, so stick to cloth or supple leather. Hardened leather may be used for shin guards and capped with silver plate. Soles must be tough leather, ridged for traction. Alit hide would be ideal.

BOWS

A simple wooden recurve bow is preferred by these assassins. Draw strength and accuracy are to be prioritized over durability as the bow may well be abandoned after a single use.

CHEST PIECES

The signature identifying feature of a Silken Ring uniform, aside from their creepy masks, is a wide band of silver (not silk, don't ask me) that encircles the collar. This may be layered or permanently affixed, but should prominently feature the curved "tangled web" embossing that the Silken Ring prefers for embellishment.

DAGGERS

More a short sword, the Silken Ring's blades will need to be on the thick side to compensate for the softer silver coating the blade. Mount them with a full tang into a thick rounded hilt. The daggers will need to be twisted free with ease and you'd better hope the blade comes out along with the hilt.

GLOVES

More so than the boots, the gloves must accommodate dexterity even at the cost of protection. Fine leathers only. Bracers may incorporate hardened leathers and silver plate, but be mindful of added weight and keep them separate pieces. Affix with braided leather or cloth.

HELMETS

The hallmark of the Silken Ring are their silver masks. They resemble a human head with no mouth, narrow squinting eyes, and symmetrical crescent horns rising high off the skull. The incorporation of hair into the design of the head is strongly encouraged. DO NOT USE ANIMAL HAIR.

LEG GREAVES

The Silken Ring favors knee length skirts over constricting legwear. Thick leather may be used, but the cut must not impede range of motion. Banded leather tassets may be hung from the belt or cuirass, but mobility is an assassin's best defense, apparently.

MACES

As you might expect, an assassin's wants for a mace involve puncturing heavy armor more than messy bashing. Keep the striking point narrow with minimal protrusions. More a hammer with a thick dagger for a head than anything else I could compare it to. The two-hander is more a conventional post maul with upward sloped spikes on the business ends.

SHIELDS

Perhaps the most challenging pieces will be the shields. They need to be lightweight, but sturdy and full sized. Don't bring me any bucklers. I recommend a layered, cross-grain core of light wood, backed in silver with a thicker face. The embossing should look good winding through the frame's layers.

SHOULDERS

While the Silken Ring prefer to keep their arms bare, they do not forgo shoulder pads. Thick silvered plate may be employed either by itself, or affixed to leather. Add one or two secondary metal bands as protruding elements for ornamentation.

STAVES

As you might have guessed, harnessing the Destruction school is of greatest interest to the Silken Ring. The staff heads will be spear-like but blunt, and sprouting curls of silver similar to the embossing found throughout their designs. Why it isn't a literal spearhead, I don't know, but I'm not the mage here.

SWORDS

Much like the daggers, Silken Ring swords are thick single-edged blades meant for hacking. Long serrated curves along the blade are more visually intimidating than functional, but they'll split a neck cleanly all the same.

Mazzatun

I try to catalogue the arms and equipment of all the deep marsh tribes—it helps our fighters identify who and what we're up against. This Mazzatun gear, with its panoply of plumes and avian and reptilian skulls, is particularly garish. That's fine by me: it makes identifying it all the easier. What follows are brief descriptions of arms and armor of Mazzatun origin, both for the record and for the use of guild fighters in the field.

AXES

Much like the ruined city's stone, the war axes of Mazzatun tend to be made from reclaimed detritus. Often they are nothing more than the repurposed splinter of a sword lashed to a hewn branch by leather straps. Crude, but effective enough for butchering unarmored combatants and rebellious captives.

BELTS

Belts range from sashes of cloth and fur, to intricately woven and braided leather or fibers. One thing is consistent, if not make or material: the spiraling path sigil of Mazzatun is featured prominently at the navel. If there's any significance to that, I'm sure there are eight books on the subject you can reference at the Mages Guild.

BOOTS

Footwear is light, if worn at all. Sandals are the preferred dress of warriors, soled in thick hide or bark. Bone, shell, or other inflexible materials are sometimes strapped around the ankles and shins for protection, but I'd say they're still fair game for a hobbling strike.

BOWS

Mazzatun missile weapons are mostly thrown, but simple recurved bows are favored by their most keen-eyed warriors. Most are made from flexible swamp reeds, but be on the lookout for plumed wooden bows. They are a sign of distinction among tribal archers and a good indicator to take cover.

CHEST PIECES

The primary protective material of Mazzatun gear is bone, and while it might not seem like much, it's deceptively effective. Layers of bone splints offer protection and flexibility nearly as good as steel scale mail, and thick horns, tusks, etc. will stop even a forceful strike. Mazzatun armorers appear to lack the means to adequately protect the abdomen, so their warriors are most vulnerable at their bellies.

DAGGERS

Proper daggers are rare and appear to serve mostly ceremonial purposes. The short blades most likely to be seen in the hands of a warrior are machetes meant for clearing vines and scrub. But I have seen one hack into a sword arm through a steel vambrace, so overextend your guard at your own risk.

GLOVES

A combination of leather bracers and armlets do the heavy lifting for arm protection. These are often reinforced with thick plates of bone and steel bands, but even the lightest armor will add wraps of stone beads for rigidity. They sometimes contain flint used to ignite alchemical concoctions and oil.

HELMETS

A basic leather hood is the foundation of most Mazzatun headgear. Beyond that, the functionality of the helmet falls away in favor of grand displays of personal status based on how many ostentatious layers of skull and plume can be mounted to it. Occasionally these ornamental features happen to serve to protect the skull beneath it all.

LEG GREAVES

Leg protection is minimal, as the inhabitants of Mazzatun favor loincloths as their primary dress. Occasionally a warrior will hang bone plates from their belt or strapped to the front of their knees, but for the most part they leave their legs bare. Take advantage when you can: they move fast over this mucky terrain.

MACES

For its simplicity, I can't argue with the design of a Mazzatun mace: a simple hardwood sphere mounted to a wooden shaft and studded with steel. The whole thing vaguely resembles a bird with bright plumes on the back of its head and a steel-spiked "beak" on its face.

SHIELDS

Shields are elaborate affairs, combining wood, reed, stone, bone, cloth, feathers, and steel. The face is primarily bone plate stitched together around a central stone stud. The reed construction is light, and durability is questionable. Keep hammering and the whole thing will fall apart eventually. Mind the horns on the rim, or you'll find one jutting into your throat.

SHOULDERS

I don't know why the Mazzatun gear puts so much emphasis on protecting the collar, but the bulkiest bones tend to find themselves strapped around the neck and shoulder. Sometimes you'll find the entire jaw of a large beast draped there. Maybe a collar is just the easiest thing to wear when you lack modern armoring techniques.

STAVES

I have yet to identify a meaningful difference between a ceremonial staff and a battle staff among the Mazzatun inhabitants. They typically seem to carve them from fallen branches of their tribe's Hist tree. Animal—and other—skulls are the usual ornamentation for the head of the staff. Usually the skull selected bears some significance to the wielder.

SWORDS

Little of the Mazzatun warriors' weapons and armor contain worked metals, with swords being the primary exception. Obviously they're a favorite for combat, but they also pull double duty as tools. These oversized machetes can hack through most vegetation, and the teeth on the back edge make a passable saw. Between those and the scale-like carving along the flat of the blade, I think the blades are supposed to resemble the native Wamasu.

Frostcaster

STALHRIM FROSTCASTER STYLE

(Previously unpublished notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus, Imperial Ethnographer)

…After meeting King Logrolf, I took the time to examine a display of clothing from the many subcultures of Skyrim, which it seems is home to other peoples than just those mainstream Nords so well-known across northern Tamriel. Some of these cultures still wallow in barbarism, such as the clans of the Reachmen, famous—or rather infamous—for their savage raids over the northern borders. But I also came across the clothing of a culture previously unknown to me, that of the Skaal, who inhabit an island in the Sea of Ghosts named Solstheim (I hope I've spelled that right—my notes were taken in haste).

Unlike the Reachmen, racially the Skaal are Nords, but they differ from their continental cousins, who were among the first foreigners to adopt the worship of the Eight Divines, in that the Skaal still cling to a primitive monotheism, venerating a single creator they call "the All-Maker." At least some of the shamans of this ancient faith specialize in Frost Magic, and are called "Frostcasters." (All this is according to the information inscribed on a tablet next to the clothing display.)

The most curious aspect of this Frostcaster clothing was its extensive use of an unfamiliar translucent blue-white material labeled "Stalhrim," a sort of crystalline metal unlike anything I've ever seen. It was so strange that, after checking to make sure no one was paying any attention to what I was doing, I laid hands upon it, rubbing and tapping. It was rigid, faceted yet smooth, and gave off a distinct chill, despite the heat from the Embassy's roaring log fires. I was fascinated, and went so far as to try to scratch this Stahlrim [sic] with a nail file from my clutch—to no effect whatsoever. And this gave me pause: for could a culture described as being "barbaric" have produced an armor material that even steel couldn't scratch?

Buoyant Armiger

Vivec smiled at those brave souls around him and summoned celebration demons to cleave unto the victors. There was a great display of love and duty around the netted monster, and Vivec was at the center with a headdress made of mating bones. He laughed and told mystical jokes and made the heads of the three houses marry and become a new order. "You shall forever be now my Buoyant Armigers," he said.

AXES

"So to quiet his mind the Hortator chose from the Fight Racks an axe. He named it and moved on to the first moon." And the edge of the blade of the axe of the Armiger shall be rippled like a hanging curtain, a tapestry for cutting.

BELTS

"A scavenger cannot acquire a silk sash and expect to discover the greater systems of its predecessor: perfect happiness is embraced only by the weeping." And the belt of the tassets and the arms of the Armiger shall be fore and aft a chevron, and descend in the places of generation.

BOOTS

"Six are the walking ways, from enigma to enemy to teacher." And the boots of the walking feet of the Armiger shall have rigid uppers and spines, like a dreugh that clothes the pedal appendage.

BOWS

"Out of their fortresses they came with golden ballistae that walked and mighty atronachs and things that spat flame and things that made killing songs." To afflict enemies from afar with singing darts, the Armiger must have a bow of chitin and verdigris, doubly recurved.

CHEST PIECES

"The mystics began by wrapping one of their sages in the shells, a series of flourishes by two supra numerates, one hormonally tall and the other just under his arms." The carapace of the cuirass is a sacred shell to contain the Armiger's soft hot heart of truth, as the volcano contains the lava.

DAGGERS

"At which he stabbed the heart of City-Face with the Ethos Knife, which is to say RKHT AI AE ALTADOON AI, the short blade of proper commerce." And the Armiger's blade shall be green as a leaf, but sharp and supple as a thorn that pierces between the sixth and seventh rib of eventuality.

GLOVES

"'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.'" And the gauntlets that house the Armiger's digits shall grasp and hold like sharp-shelled lampreys, but cleansed of all ordure.

HELMETS

"CHEMUA, the Running Hunger, who appeared as a mounted soldier with full helm, had the powers of Heart Roaring and of sky sickening." And who shall be crowned like the Buoyant Armiger, with verdant flares of solid flame?

LEG GREAVES

"He sat with his legs in the ocean and with a troubled look on his face." And the greaves and cuisses of the Armiger shall be like pillars and columns of manifest argument, with heavenward chevrons all akimbo.

MACES

"Truth is like my husband: instructed to smash, filled with procedure and noise, hammering, weighty, heaviness made schematic, lessons learned only by a mace." And the terrible truncheon the Armiger bears shall be like the scepter of a king unforeseen and unreckoned.

SHIELDS

"The ruling king is to stand against me and then before me." And the shield of the Armiger shall be like the shell of the Emperor, for what is a monarch but a shield to his people?

SHOULDER ARMOR

"The ruling king is armored head to toe in brilliant flame." And the shoulders of an Armiger shall flare up and out like a blazon of fire, broad-bearing the burden of bastion against the words-like-knives.

STAVES

"He attempted to attach them and form a staff but Vivec would not let him, saying, 'It is not the time for that.'" And thus the spell staff of the Armiger Magical shall be shaft-singular, and speak only contradictions.

SWORDS

"The true sword is able to cut chains of generations, which is to say, the creation myths of your enemies." And therefore behold the Armiger's sword, by which I mean the sensible, by which I mean the first night, for which I mean the dual nature, preceded by a sigh.

Ashlander

So, Clanfriend, you are curious about our clothing? You wonder how such simple, nomadic barbarians can come to have such elaborate and sophisticated garments and tools? Then learn this: for the Ashlander, simplicity is a choice, not a necessity. We follow the precepts of the Good Daedra, and our practices and preferences are in accord with their teachings. We have other, deeper secrets which I will not reveal now, but the making of our apparel and arms are not among them.

AXES

The crescent moon is an ancient and holy symbol for us, used sparingly but with significance. Our axe blades are edged crescents, though incomplete at top; our tales say that, should certain prophesied events occur, the crescents shall be full once more, and our axes will be wielded in a time of hardship and glory. It may yet be so.

BELTS

Our belts are always several, fashioned of strong leather and crossing each other on the diagonal, the better to support our tools, arms, and tassets of chitin. The buckles are ornamental rather than symbolic, decorated at the wearer's choice, and may be of chitin, carapace, or even metal, if one leans to the ostentatious.

BOOTS

Our boots are of supple leather, usually guar, but with chitin knobs and plates to protect the toe, instep, and shin. This chitin is affixed to the leather beneath with a powerful and permanent adhesive we derive by boiling kwama cuttle and (when we can get them) horse's hooves. The rest of the horse goes into the stew pot.

BOWS

Our composite bows are constructed of limbs of ash willow and trama trunk laminated together with cuttle glue, and faced with chitin or claws from mudcrabs or, if possible, dreugh. Our arrows are fletched with gristlewing or racer plumes.

CHEST PIECES

Ashlanders armor their torsos with layers or bands of guar leather, augmented with chitin, carapace, horn, bone, or even vvardvark shell. The bands are sewn together with twisted thread made of kresh or roobrush fibers, often waxed with desiccated scrib jelly or dreugh wax. Colorful enamels may be applied to display tribal or cult affiliation.

DAGGERS

The sacred crescent appears again in the wavy blade of the Ashlander kris. For us the kris is both a stabbing weapon and a handy tool, with a strong point for prying and thick-backed edges for scraping. The hilt is of heartwood from trama or fungus trunk.

GLOVES

Our gloves are thick, of several layers of hide, for we live in a volcanic land and must protect our hands from burning stone and boiling liquid. On war gauntlets, the forearms are protected by chitin plates, affixed to the gloves' leather by cuttle glue. These plates may have spikes or flanges.

HELMETS

Our hoods and helms cover the entire head, for safety in the harsh environment of the Ashlands, particularly when Red Mountain's mood is ugly. A mask or filtered visor keeps ash from nose and mouth, and goggles protect the eyes from soot, embers, and fume. The skull is protected by overlapping bands of rigid chitin, sometimes knobbed or crested.

LEG GREAVES

Like our cuirasses, Ashlander greaves are made of bands of guar leather sewn together with waxed and twisted thread made of kresh or roobrush fibers. Chitin or carapace poleyns may be attached at the knees. In this way our legs are protected not just from weapons, but also from thorns, scathecraw, and jagged volcanic rocks.

MACES

We tip our maces with heavy heads flanked by dual edged crescents, creating weapons that can both cut and crush. The long trama-trunk hafts are wrapped diagonally with leather strips to provide a sure grip. The base of the haft ends in a pointed ferrule of metal or bone.

SHIELDS

An Ashlander shield is made of several large pieces of light but rigid carapace cuttle-glued into a single unit, and studded with spikes of chitin. The edge is lined around the back with a metal rim that prevents chopping blows from splitting the shield.

SHOULDER ARMOR

We Ashlanders make our shoulder cops from half-cones of thick guar leather boiled for stiffness. In the heavier weights of armor, small or even large plates of chitin may be affixed to the leather with cuttle glue. Such plates may sport sharp knobs or spikes.

STAVES

An Ashlander spell staff is not only a magical weapon, but a ceremonial crosier, and thus its decoration is fraught with symbolism—at least for us. Each staff is tipped with one, two, or even three symbols of the Good Daedra, surrounded by a double crescent of chitin and bone. The haft ends in a pointed ferrule like that of the mace.

SWORDS

Our swords have sinuous blades, with edges that curve and snake like crescent serpents or razor-edged frozen flame. There is a full crescent on each side of the crossguard, and the tang is seated in a hilt of heartwood from trama or fungus trunk. Baring a blade is a significant act, and an Ashlander will rarely return a sword to its sheath without using it first.

Militant Ordinator

Justice never sleeps: three gods, One True Faith. And one true uniform for each Order of Ordination, which must be correct and proper in every detail. As High Ordinator of the Order of War, known also as the Militant Ordinators, it is one of my many duties to ensure that our arms and armor conform to Temple directives. So heed these words, Citizen Armorer, and go about your business. But I'm watching you.

AXES

As the crests on our helmets are curved and sharp as the blade of an axe, so are the blades of our axes sharp and curved like the crests on our helmets. Like fungusjacks fell the mushroom forests, so we with our axes fell the enemies of the Tribunal. They cannot escape the righteous.

BELTS

Our belts are simple and strong, like our faith in and loyalty to ALMSIVI. Strong tassets depend from our cinctures, and the buckle is a triple rhombus (do not say diamond!), representing our triple devotion to justice, retribution, and the Three Most High.

BOOTS

The boots of a Militant Ordinator are strong boots, for the march of justice is eternal and we must be prepared to go wherever heresy needs to be eradicated. Across the instep of each boot shall be a golden band embossed with the Triple Rhombus of our threefold devotion.

BOWS

The bow of the Order of War shall be faced with sharpened crests pointing forward, as the crests on our helms point the way to righteous mayhem. And the quiver shall sport overlapping plates in wide descending chevrons like those on our shields. The points of the arrows shall be brazen.

CHEST PIECES

The cuirasses of the Militant Ordinators are to be brazen or bronze, patterned with elaborate filigree and richly decorated to do honor to our lieges the Tribunal, and to impress the impressionable with the Order's majesty and might.

DAGGERS

The dagger of the Ordinator of the Order of War is to be a broad dirk, single-edged and slightly curved, the better to carve heresy from the hearts of the schismatic and apostate. No crossbar is needed at the hilt, for what Ordinator would parry when they can attack?

GLOVES

Though our gauntlets protect our forearms with overlapping plates, our fingers remain at all times unencumbered, so that we may wrap our hands around the neck of heresy and strangle it until it breathes no more.

HELMETS

Justice wears but one face, and so the stern visage of Temple justice is stamped upon the faceplate of every Militant Ordinator helm. Above is our soaring forward crest, pointing toward heresy, which we always attack and from which we never retreat. Three Gods, One True Faith.

LEG GREAVES

Our greaves and cuisses are of thrice-cured leather, from hides of kagouti or alit, dense enough to turn a blade or deflect a blow, but flexible: a Militant Ordinator must move without hindrance, for heresy cannot escape the righteous.

MACES

The maces of our siblings of the Order of the Watch are more blunt, like truncheons, in accord with their function of maintaining order among the citizens. We, however, are the Order of War, and our maces are flanged and edged, to slash as well as smash. We are the Militant Ordinators, and no heresy shall survive us.

SHIELDS

Our shields are large, for we are charged with defending the Truth of the Three against all threats and doubts. Broad descending chevrons they show, for deflecting the blows of the unfaithful, and they may also display the Triple Rhombus of our threefold devotion.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Each pauldron shall be two plates, rigid like our devotion to the Three, pointed like the arguments of our swords, and patterned with elaborate filigree to do full honor to our masters.

STAVES

The staff of a Militant Ordinator spell-caster is surmounted with dual sweeping crests like those on our helms, pointed and parallel for the aim and guidance of our righteous magical onslaughts. A spell-staff can also serve horizontally as a barrier to entry when on sentry duty at door or portal.

SWORDS

The Temple's Order of War wields single-edged swords with razor-sharp points, for with these do we chop logic with heretics. Militant Ordinators keep their swords near their hands at all times, for at any moment we may encounter apostasy or error that must be condignly corrected.

Telvanni

So, good-looking, you wish to show your allegiance to House Telvanni? Then you must dress the part, dear thing. You know what we say: "The powerful define the standards of virtue." And so our House Council has appointed me their Mouth Costumier in order to define our standards of virtue in cloth and clothing, in arms and armor. And I hereby define and decree the look of House Telvanni to be both distinctive and awe-inspiring.

AXES

The blades of our axes resemble sharp-edged shelf or bracket fungi, and in fact, they may be made of forge-hardened ferrofungus if metallic ore is unavailable. The blades are no bigger than they need to be: Telvanni warriors wield their weapons with precision and finesse, and instill proper awe by their use rather than mere appearance.

BELTS

Telvanni war-girdles are thick and strong, and distinguished mainly by the overlapping plates they support at front and rear, protecting the abdomen and small of the back. These flexible plates are shaped like the woody fruiting bodies of bracket fungi, displaying radiant patterns of spore gills.

BOOTS

The terrain of the Telvanni lands is rugged, so the soles of our boots must be thick, albeit with flexible uppers. For the heavier armors, where the boots are actually sabatons, overlapping metal plates protect the instep, the forward ends pointed upward. This echoes the upward-pointing shape of the pauldrons, as well as evoking the pointy-toed shoes of our Master Wizards.

BOWS

Though magic is of course the Telvanni range weapon of choice, House thralls may be armed with bows, so it's just as well to specify their appearance. We provide our archers with simple recurved bows faced with protective metal in overlapping mushroom-cap shapes. Quivers are decorated to match.

CHEST PIECES

Telvanni chest armor is layered, of flexible leather topped with stylish overlapping plates of chitin, ferrofungus, or metal, in shapes inspired by shelf fungi or toadstool caps, and scored with spore gill lines. Lacquer overpainting is optional, but can be used to express your inner kagouti.

DAGGERS

Our dagger is like a long, curved athame, albeit with the hooked end that makes it distinctively, deliciously Telvanni. The swirling patterns on the metal tang between hilt and blade resemble both an unfolding spell and our glorious House symbol.

GLOVES

Our gauntlets display the same contrasting nature as the rest of our garments: guar hide covers the hand and fingers, leather sufficiently thin and pliable so dexterity isn't compromised, while the back of the hand and forearm are protected by rigid plates with the shape and spore gill lines of shelf fungus.

HELMETS

Telvanni helmets cover the entire head, and come in two distinct variations: hoods of mail fronted by rigid faceplates for lighter armor, and the "mushroom-mask" full helms, with their unmistakable toadstool silhouette, to accompany heavy armor. I, for one, can't look at the helm of a Telvanni heavy trooper without feeling a proud shiver of awe!

LEGS

Instead of cuisses, a Telvanni warrior's legs are protected by kilts of mail that fall from hip to knee. Inspired by our Wizard Lords' robes, these are both stylish and practical—and frankly, I find them exciting. A Dark Elf in a kilt? Yes, please!

MACES

The mushroom-cap maces borne by Telvanni sentries resemble the fungal scepters of our House Councilors, though larger, and with a head heavy enough to crack an escaped slave's skull like an eggshell!

SHIELDS

Our heart-shaped shields are constructed of overlapping plates of chitin or ferrofungus, with a brazen central boss displaying the sorcerous symbol of House Telvanni. Rigid but light, their edges are reinforced with steel for added protection.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The overlapping plates of our pauldrons contribute the points of their upwardly-flared ends to the distinctive silhouette of our Telvanni armor, particularly at the heavier weights. Oh, those broad-shouldered Telvanni troopers! I'll take two.

STAVES

The finial of a Telvanni spell staff is surmounted by our House symbol wrought in gilded silver, so that even when one of our mages isn't wearing the Telvanni uniform, there's no need to guess which House the wizard belongs to. Enchanting!

SWORDS

A Telvanni sword has one long curved edge, its point backed by a hook or barb useful for dismounting riders or toppling heavy knights. Traditional Telvanni swordplay emphasizes the cut over the thrust, so the point isn't used much. As with the dagger, there are swirling spell patterns on the metal tang between hilt and blade.

Hlaalu

Trade makes the world go 'round, and in trade, reputation is everything, so maintaining House Hlaalu's reputation for reliability is critical to our continued pre-eminence in mercantile affairs. The arms and armor of our House guards and marines must adhere to strict standards in quality and appearance, exemplifying that dependability expected from us by our trading partners. Where possible, we adorn our items with the stylized merchant-scale sigil that symbolizes the source of our power.

AXES

The Hlaalu axe has a single heavy curved blade, backed on the opposite side of the haft by a narrow spike for grabbing opponents or punching through their armor. For parrying purposes, most of the haft is sheathed in a cylinder of metal, and there is a heavy, pointed ferrule at the base.

BELTS

Our belts are made of double-tanned guar hide, strong and thick, to support tassets, weapons, and of course money pouches. The buckle in front may display a Hlaalu House symbol or a personal family crest.

BOOTS

Our boots are rather heavy, and though narrow below, they widen as they rise up the shins toward the knee. Toes are steel-shod except in the lightest armors; shin plating extends around the back of the leg to protect against hamstringing.

BOWS

Hlaalu House bows are made of imported ash or yew wood, which is superior for this purpose to our native funguswoods. Quivers are of guar leather, adorned with our House symbol, the long double-scales version.

CHEST PIECES

Hlaalu cuirasses are constructed of overlapping plates of traditional worked bonemold, or of metal plates cast to resemble bonemold. The House scales-symbol is prominently displayed on the chest and abdomen.

DAGGERS

Our daggers are primarily parrying weapons, double-edged, broad and straight, with that distinctive curve-hooked tip design they share with Hlaalu swords. The wide crossguards resemble the wings of cliff striders, but are edged and pointed for backhand attacks.

GLOVES

Hlaalu gauntlets are of flexible leather over the fingers and hands, with the forearms and back of the hands protected by flaring plates of bonemold (or metal cast to resemble it). The leather at the fingertips must be supple enough not to impair the rapid counting of coins.

HELMETS

Our House helms (and in light armor, hoods) cover the entire head, with a full face visor for protection against environmental dangers no matter where our trading takes us. They are of bonemold, or metal crafted to resemble it, bulbous in shape, and elongated toward the back of the skull to protect the traditional cranial coin stash.

LEG GREAVES

Hlaalu cuisses and jambes are constructed of flaring bonemold (or bonemoldesque) plates, protecting the legs at front, sides, and rear. Knee poleyns may display the House scale symbol or a personal family crest.

MACES

The Hlaalu mace is tipped with a trio of curved flanges, heavy for crushing and edged for slashing. As with the axes, mace hafts are sheathed in metal for most of their length to enable parrying, and footed with heavy, pointed ferrules.

SHIELDS

The large, kite-shaped Hlaalu shield was traditionally crafted of bonemold, but these days is just as often made of metal plated over funguswood. Our bold House scales-symbol is prominently displayed on the front.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Hlaalu pauldrons are constructed of overlapping triangular bonemold or bonemoldesque plates, flaring at the top to help protect the side of the neck. Their designs may be abstract, or inscribed with House symbols.

STAVES

A Hlaalu mage's spell staff sports a finial in the shape of our House double-scales symbol, proudly displaying the wielder's affiliation with the world-famous Morrowind mercantile masters. The foot is sheathed in metal, with a heavy ferrule, and can serve as defensive weaponry at need.

SWORDS

The Hlaalu swords are long and straight, like our reputation for fair dealing, and double-edged, like our contracts. They sport the distinctive curve-hooked tip design they share with Hlaalu daggers. The quillions resemble broad wings that protect the hands of the wielders.

Redoran

Should any non-Redoran ask you why our arms and armor are inspired by the claws and chitin of gigantic arthropods, just ask them if they've seen any Emperor Crabs lately—you know, those cathedral-sized crustaceans that once roamed the ashlands of Vvardenfell. Where did those go?
We killed them. We, the warriors of House Redoran.
Duty, gravity, and piety: these are our watchwords. We are the wartime defenders of the House Dunmer of Morrowind. Follow the guidelines graven below for crafting in the Redoran style, and do not cut corners, for that would be unworthy of our House.

AXES

The double-edged blades of our Redoran axes evoke the claws and mandibles of the mammoth Morrowind insects whose fierceness we embody. Though accented with bronze, the blades themselves should be of the most durable metal available, ideally carbon steel.

BELTS

Our belts are strong but simple and relatively unadorned, though the buckles may be of ornamental chitin. If available, the leather should be tanned kagouti hide, though premium guar leather may be substituted at a pinch.

BOOTS

House Redoran boots are made of the toughest available leather, with thick soles for protection against our land's rugged terrain. Each instep is protected by two overlapping plates of rigid, pointed chitin.

BOWS

The classic Redoran bow is a composite of native funguswood and springy leg-chitin, faced with chitin plates on the limbs as they radiate from the grip. The quiver is of light chitin plates accented with bronze; arrows have broad, barbed heads.

CHEST PIECES

Our House Redoran cuirasses are of flexible leather covered in layers of medium-sized overlapping chitin (or chitin-looking) plates, embossed and filigreed with ornamentation that may include our sacred scarab symbol.

DAGGERS

The Redoran dagger has a broad and relatively short blade that ends in two diverging prongs that can inflict savage wounds on an unarmored opponent. Our House blade-fighting style emphasizes cutting over thrusting, so the twin prongs are no liability against armor.

GLOVES

To facilitate grasping and grappling, even in the heaviest armor sets House Redoran gauntlets eschew rigid components over the hands and fingers, mounting overlapping chitin plates only on the forearms. These gauntlet-plates are typically pointed as an enhanced danger to enemies who get too close.

HELMETS

Inasmuch as Redoran warriors are encouraged to get close and personal with their enemies, our helmets are designed to provide maximum protection for the head, with thick cranial domes and full face visors. The helmet's crown is ornamented with tall horns that resemble the mandibles of shalk.

LEG GREAVES

Redoran greaves are of heavy but flexible leather, with overlapping chitin (or chitin-appearing) plates fastened in front to protect the wearer's shins. These plates should match those mounted on the insteps of the outfit's boots.

MACES

The Redoran mace has a heavy head that sprouts sharply edged flanges on all sides, curved like insect claws. Though accented with bronze, the mace head should be of heavy iron or steel—or even Dwarven metal, if available.

SHIELDS

The large, kite-shaped Redoran shield appears to be fashioned from the overlapping chitin plates of a gigantic scarab, and indeed our House scarab symbol often adorns the shield's central boss. The shield-face is topped with an open network of spiked bug-limbs that provide protection without blocking the wielder's vision.

SHOULDER ARMOR

A Redoran pauldron is usually a single curved, flaring chitin (or chitin-looking) plate embossed with ornamental filigree, the whole mounted on the shoulder in such a way as to enable full, free movement of the shoulder and arm joints.

STAVES

The finial of a Redoran mage's spell staff echoes the shalk-mandible horns of our helmets. To keep these twin prongs from getting entangled with enemy armor in close combat, they are designed to easily break away without damage, and fit back onto the staff's shaft when the battle is over.

SWORDS

The sword of a warrior of House Redoran is broad, straight, and double-edged, with a murderous flaring double prong at the tip. Crossguards are narrow, as the Redoran swordfighter is trained to parry with the blade's forte, a hand's-width above the grip.

Tsaesci

What does "Akaviri" mean? For many generations after the coming of my ancestors to Tamriel in the late First Era, Akaviri meant the people and heritage of the Tsaesci, the most refined and sophisticated civilization on the remote eastern continent of Akavir. As every schoolchild knows, at the beginning of the twenty-eighth century of the First Era, the Tsaesci sent a large and well-armed Fortified Embassage to Tamriel for reasons of mythic import that are not for discussion in a venue such as this. This Tsaesci force met General Reman of Cyrodiil first as an antagonist, and then as an ally. Thereafter General Reman became Emperor Reman I, and the Second Empire was born.

My ancestors were among that Tsaesci force, and indeed, many Imperials could now claim some measure of Akaviri descent, and might well do so—were the name "Akaviri" not tarnished by the recent invasion of the Kamali barbarians, so ill-advised, so abominably led, so resoundingly defeated. But we will speak no more of them.

We will speak, instead, of what may be spoken of the Tsaesci. Much may not be shared outside the true bloodlines, but this was never true of our artisanship, of the Serpentine Ways of Making. These my ancestors freely shared with the People of Reman, and though over time the old styles have become diluted and debased, still pristine examples of the Serpentine Ways can be seen in the Tonenaka at Rimmen, where I am honored to labor as Chronicler.

See our traditional armor, painstakingly crafted of many small rigid plates laced or wired together to form a flexible blade-proof fabric. Note how the most vulnerable areas are protected by several overlapping layers, all hinged to move as the body moves.

Notice our masked helms, each a fierce scowling visage crowned with horns or flaring crests to create an imposing and intimidating silhouette, as of an unstoppable demon warrior.

Admire our katanas in three lengths, dagger, sword, and two-handed sword, narrow blades with a slight curve away from their single edge, superbly designed for quick cutting, though with a point for when a thrust is needed.

Wonder at the beauty of our shields, which, though we rarely use them in combat, are still made and decorated to the most exacting standards passed down from one generation of artisans to the next.

And fear our snake-headed bows, striped red-and-tan to represent the duality of life-and-death and how close to each other the two always are and must be. Even the fletching of our arrows is meticulous.

Would you follow the Serpentine Ways of Making? Then here, armorer, are your models.

Bloodforge

Clanfellows, in the name of the Hunt-Father, whom I invoke in his aspect as Alrabeg the Hunter, take now to heart these sacred schema that define the trappings of we who work the Bloodroot Forge. For it is as Bloodforge Smiths that we shall hammer the Nords upon the anvil of our rage and hatred, until all bend the knee before the Hunters of Hircine. Fellihboh!

AXES

Forge the axe, fine the work, broad the blade, filigree, wrap the haft, leatherly.

BELTS

Broad the belt, interweave, strongly girt, buckle wide, cinch the sash, mammoth-hide.

BOOTS

Leather and stud, foot defense, kick and stomp, on offense, chase the prey, forward hence.

BOWS

Strong recurved, simple bow, hurling darts, at the foe, quiver bulge, with swift arrow.

CHEST PIECES

Bloodforged breast, tied to back, intricate, weave and tack, flexible, for the hunt.

DAGGERS

Straight and broad, guard and blade, tang in hilt, Bloodforge made, cut and thrust, Hunter's knife.

GLOVES

Gauntlets tough, fingers free, forearms wrapped, guarding thews, Hunter's hand, grips and hews.

HELMETS

Antlers sprout , [sic] from helmet brow, casque is thick, cradling head, enemy sees, enemy's fled.

LEG GREAVES

Serpentine, interweave, on front plate, of the greave, strap to calf, above the boot.

MACES

Heavy sledge, crushing arm, pounds the prey, deadly harm, weapon true, of Bloodforge.

SHIELDS

Keyhole shape, writhing cord, brazen boss, five more round, Hunter praise, Hircine lord.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Oblong cops, curved at crest, metal plate, steel is best, forged in blood, fringed in fur.

STAVES

Magic staff, tipped with horns, sharp and ringed, potent thorns, oaken haft, battle bred.

SWORDS

Double edged, long and strong, point for thrust, edge for slash, death in steel, doesn't rhyme.

Dreadhorn

Wayward sons and daughters, set aside your old ways and embrace the Hunt-Father's terrible champion Domihaus! Henceforth, his ways shall be our ways! Listen to these, the new precepts for crafting our arms and armor, and set to work to outfit our reborn clan—as the Dreadhorn!
[Found this in the Forge, instructions for scum on how to make scum-work. Who knew those barbarians could read, let alone write?]

AXES

Hew down the trees of Falkreath Hold as you would the Nords who have taken root. Flense the skin until it is ripe and raw as bone. Lash to steel as angular and sharp as the Jerall Mountains and mark it with the creeping vines of the Bloodroot Forge so that it may share your thirst.
[Fit only for brutes, but dangerous enough with some muscle behind it.]

BELTS

Bind tight your guts with the thick hide and hair of the minotaur and they will not be easily spilled. Pin the girdle with an icon of Domihaus at your core and his great power will stoke your hunger for battle.
[What a load of stinking bull manure! Fool superstitions won't stop pike nor pick, but that suits me just fine.]

BOOTS

Though our feet have been hardened by the pitiless stone of the Jerall Mountains, we will clad them in the unshorn skins of the bulls to keep our blood running hot and ready to stampede alongside the chosen.
[Until they trip over all the loose straps.]

BOWS

Use the horns of our allies as your guide as you shape the timber of our bows, so they too are shown the Hunt-Father's favor. Twist the fibers of Bloodroot vines tightly to string your bows with their hungry veins. Sharpen the skin of the mountain to give it teeth, and unleash them like the Hounds toward your quarry.
[Stone arrows aren't the match of Nord Steel, but get pelted with enough and their cowardly pecking may strike true.]

CHEST PIECES

Always guard your precious heart with the fruits of the Forge, for that is where it belongs. Remind yourself of this truth with glyphs of curling vines upon the steel. Beneath these Forge gifts, entrust your flesh to the hide, hair, and horn of the bull.
[Their hearts were black and empty before they started replacing them with stone.]

DAGGERS

When we offer our prey to the Hunt-Father, it's work best left to a butcher's blade: hefty, to split bone, but kept short and sharp to twist through the joints of your kill. To this end, leave a blunt notch at the base of the blade to hook a finger.
[Some fool knife this is. Too fat for proper skinning. No wonder Reachman leathers look like dog-chewed pizzle.]

GLOVES

Whether the Nirncrux beats in your chest or lays inked in your skin, let the Nords see its power coursing through your sword arms. Bracers of leather, haired hide, and the steel icons of our clan are all the protection you need.
[We'll see how they feel after the might of a true Nord prunes their limbs to the trunk.]

HELMETS

The Hunt-Father has shown us his champion! We shall honor this pact by taking on the visage of the chosen! Hammer a new skull of steel in the likeness of our bull brothers. Adorn it with stud and cap and band, as you would mark your own head, for in battle this shall be your face.
[If I were a filthy, feckless Reach-dog, I'd want to pretend I was something more impressive too.]

LEG GREAVES

We will shield our legs and loins with kilts of leather as has been our tradition, but wear upon them only emblems of the bull and the coiled vine. We are all Dreadhorn now. The old clan colors and glyphs are things of the past.
[Turn enough of these bulls to steers in the fields and they'll soon change their tune about their precious milkmaid skirts.]

MACES

The iron hides of the Nords may not be easily cut, but their inner softness can be battered and burst. Waste not your efforts on fanciful construction. A cudgel of four faces delivers a sturdy strike from any angle and its corners will crack even the toughest forged shell.
[Simple design to cover for their lack of skill. Good enough for their berserk flailing.]

SHIELDS

Just as the bulls lower their heads for the charge, so too will we raise shields forged in their likeness and take their power as our own. Brand its face in brass and mark it with the glyphs of the Horned Lord's chosen.
[A solid chunk of crude steel can block a fine blade, but that won't matter once they're too tired to bring it to bear.]

SHOULDER ARMOR

Combined with our helms, our pauldrons help shape us into the visage of the broad shouldered beasts we march alongside. Craft them of leather or steel, but do not neglect to present the haired hide as your mantle.
[If these savages worshiped wolves he'd be telling them to walk on all fours too.]

STAVES

Domihaus speaks for this land. Brandish an effigy of the Bloody-Horned and it will have no choice but to obey. Take the branches of our plundered home. Nail to it the face of the Hunt-Father's chosen rendered in steel and this icon will command the elements as he does.
[I don't know what Daedra-bothering creature he's yammering about, but I'd like to put its head on the end of a stick myself.]

SWORDS

The fangs and claws of the Forge are meant to taste blood! Tame the hot metal into a single broad blade with a snarling tooth at its point. Wrap the hilt in leather, and where you see fit to hold the blade, but never forget its thirst when you grasp the reins.
[It's true. The blades crave Reachmen blood as much as ours. Remember that.]

Apostle

So, you say you want to craft arms and armor in the Clockwork Apostle style? Well, don't just stand there spinning your gears! Tune your mnemonics to what I've got to say, and follow every diagram, schematic, and sequence-plaque to the letter. We'll get all your cogs and cams whirring in sync in no time. No time at all! Let's begin!

AXES

Apostle axes lean heavily upon the Law of Circles, or the winding-wheel method. Just a fancy way of saying the heads are round. Most feature a handy thread-fastener on the haft that lets the owner swap out axe-heads when they become too dull or tarnished. We're great at replacing things!

BELTS

Most outsiders consider Apostle belts unremarkable because most outsiders are fools! The flexible fabric binding is impressive in its own right, but what truly sets these belts apart are their masterfully crafted spin-fasteners. Rotating the central swivel tightens the belt to the ideal circumference without clumsy buckles or unsightly knots!

BOOTS

The harsh conditions of the Radius make sturdy footwear indispensable. Apostle boots eschew lacing and pliable leathers for solid, water-tight seals and accordion gaskets at the ankles. It can get a bit sweaty in there: all the more reason to replace those fleshy feet with metal ones!

BOWS

I honestly have no idea how archers manage outside the Clockwork City—plucking their silly wooden bows with their wobbly feathered arrows. Where's the creativity? The trick to Apostle bows is combining rigid limbs with an elaborate pulley system. The result is a bow that can put holes in solid steel.

CHEST PIECES

Apostle cuirasses are marvels of anatomical precision. The sturdy brass shell conforms to the ribs and abdomen like a glove, while pliable filaments allow for full range of motion, including chest expansion for breathing (for the silly people who still do that sort of thing). They're almost always covered in Sothic filigrees, but you can barely tell under all those white robes. What a waste!

DAGGERS

Apostle daggers excel at both slashing and stabbing—a product of their curved edge and hollow guard. The grip, wrapped in alchemically-treated fabricant skin, never slips; not even when covered in oil and blood!

GLOVES

I pity the exodromals, with their clumsy metal mittens and thick leather gloves. As practically everyone knows, the sense of touch is of paramount importance when conducting experiments—doubly so when fighting off verminous fabricants! The engineered filaments at the palms and fingertips protect the digits while preserving vital sensation.

HELMETS

First and foremost, the Clockwork Apostles must honor the Clockwork God. What better way to honor him than to imitate him? Apostle helms always feature a central crest that mimics the shape and motifs of Lord Seht's blessed mask. Some are more ostentatious than others, but what's the point of a crest if you're not going to flaunt it?

LEG GREAVES

Apostles rarely sit down. So much to do! To accommodate their busy lifestyle, our brilliant predecessors invented pneumatic support girders that connect to the cuisses and extend from the waist to the calf—allowing the wearer to walk for as long as they wish without tiring. The quiet hissing of the compressors can grate on the nerves after a while, but all progress requires sacrifice!

MACES

Smithing the Apostle mace requires a well-oiled mind and very steady hands. Unlike the clumsy mauls and clubs warriors wield in Tamriel Above, the circular flanges on this weapon orbit a perfect sphere. And I do mean perfect! Even slight miscalculations in the weight or orientation of the head can result in tiny dents, minor dings, and other totally unacceptable imperfections.

SHIELDS

The circular Apostle shield combines clockwork motifs with flawless parabolic angles to create an indestructible barrier! The brilliant aperture design redistributes the force of impacts to the outer ring in a perfect spiral pattern. It also produces a really tremendous clanging noise that can make your teeth rattle! I suggest replacing them with brass teeth.

SHOULDER ARMOR

What heroic proctor's silhouette would be complete without ornate pauldrons? Like the Father of Mysteries himself, the Clockwork Apostles adorn themselves with beautifully engraved shoulder armor. The hollows ensure it is both light and flexible, and the reinforced brass makes them nearly indestructible.

STAVES

Like the Apostle mace, our staves feature a perfect brass sphere as the focus. Unlike the Apostle mace, this sphere rotates on a central axle, making it even more difficult to balance. Flawless rotation reflects the perfection of Lord Seht, and stabilizes the magical energies channeled through the brass. Spinning it also provides hours of pleasant, idle distraction for children and pets!

SWORDS

The Apostle swords bear a strong visual resemblance to the Apostle daggers, but their composition is far more complex. Alchemical additives make the brass lighter and more flexible. This reduces the efficacy of thrusts, but radically increases the damage they inflict through slashing attacks!

Ebonshadow

You want to be beautiful. Beautiful, and whispering. Whispering, and dark. Dark, and beautiful, and whispering—with claws, such claws. You shall be cold, and sharp, and dark. You will be Ebonshadow.
You cannot rest, you can never rest, so you might as well craft. Craft arms for Her will; craft armor for Her machinations. You are filled with dark nothingness, filled until you spill it into that which you shall make. And for that time of making, though you do it alone, that time alone will have Meaning.

AXES

Do you see an axe? No, it is a claw, a glorious claw, a claw curved like the night sky. With a claw like this you can open them up, wide open, and let the purple and blue come out. It wants to come out. Pick, pick the axe like a pick-axe, pick and let the darkness spill. And it shall spill.

BELTS

It wraps around you, secure, never letting go. Holds you in its dark embrace, like Her embrace. You're bound within it, but it's yours! You created it! Within your hands you have created this darkness, this shadow, this black belt that binds you. Holds you.

BOOTS

You're already sinking into the shadows, up past your feet, up your legs. But it will not devour you, no. You've shaped the darkness. You've shaped, and strapped, and it has become a part of you. Boots which allow you to walk between the shadows, between the worlds.

BOWS

It's cold to the touch, isn't it? Black ice. But your fingers don't slip. You grasp tight upon its ebony grip, and let the arrow fly. Piercing. It pierces through the night, true. Quick. It pierces your enemy's flesh, and hot blood pours out. Hot against the icy arrow. Hot, but you remain cold.

CHEST PIECES

You gasp, and gasp, but you cannot breathe. The weight of the darkness consumes you, pressing against the lungs, but now. Now you've crafted armor to protect you. Wrapped around your chest, against your dully-beating heart. It will stop the weight. It will protect you from that crushing weight.

DAGGERS

Her crows that laugh, and caw, and peck and peck. You must peck too. So you forge daggers from the darkness, small, light, sharp. Sharp, a deadly point. They must pierce the hot flesh. Feel the blood against your fingers, hot, but your hands are still cold. Watch the steam rise into the night.

GLOVES

Your hands are ice, cold, numb to all touch, but still you try to keep them warm. Thread the shadows, forge it to do your bidding. They wrap around your fingers, enticing, feels almost safe. They move your hands for Her dark will, but it's a comfort. It's almost warm. Almost alive.

HELMETS

Your head is full of secrets. Dark omens, Her will, the cawing of crows. Your mind is slipping, floating, must keep it. Safe. A helmet, yes, craft a helmet. It binds the broken pieces of your consciousness. Let your mind know only Her. Her will. She will love those broken pieces. She still has uses for them.

LEG GREAVES

You're broken, aren't you? Pieces missing, something missing. This! Yes! This will make you complete. Whole. This will bind you together. The shadows bind us together. Create this and be one. Forge this and be one. Finally, be one with Her shadows. You are not broken. You are complete. I am complete.

MACES

Smash them open. Her enemies, they're warm inside. See? See the colors, running down. You have no colors, but you can still see. You've forged Her will within this mace. Use its force against all others. They are warm, but you are cold. Feel nothing. Shadows do not feel, after all.

SHIELDS

The light will try to take you, melt you away. Their light. Their swords, their daggers, their maces. They'll poke and pierce. Try to end you, but you are shadow. Never ending. Let this shield block their light. It shall keep you in the safety of Her darkness. In Her everlasting embrace.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Her will presses against your shoulders, heavy, unbearable. But you can forge the darkness now. Your broken pieces are held together by the shadows, a tar that binds you. Become Her will. Then your shoulders have no weight, no burdens, nothing. A numb nothing, save Her.

STAVES

Your magic once was color, was warmth and delight. No longer. You gave that to Her. My Mistress has your color, but has given you a power. A cold stave. A crow sits upon it, watching. Judging. Watching as your enemies fall, as you fall into the darkness. Deeper, deeper, the deepest shadow.

SWORDS

A blade of black, elegant, deadly. Like Her words which filled your ears one night. The edge is sharp, unforgiving. It's hungry, don't you hear it? It calls for warmth. For blood. Those who dare defy Her shall feed it. Hungry, like her crows are hungry, like you're always hungry. For warmth. For death.

Fang Lair

For too long the magical discipline of Necromancy has been disregarded as a mere subset of Conjuration, or worse, dismissed outright because it is "evil." But our efforts in Fang Lair will impress all Tamriel with the importance of Necromancy! As such, it is critical that you lesser members of the Blackmarrow make an impressive showing; therefore, when crafting your arms and armor, you will follow these instructions to the letter. Unless you'd prefer, of course, to serve as a subject of experimentation. Hmm?

AXES

For thematic reasons that should be obvious to even the dimmest intelligence, our axes look like great razor-sharp cleavers on poles, with our hallmark "fang" on the end of each blade. A person threatened by a Fang Lair axe will have no choice but to imagine what it will do to their flesh and bone if they do not instantly yield.

BELTS

While in principle the ideal material for our Fang Lair belts would be tanned human skin, in practice human-hide just isn't thick or durable enough for our needs, so you may substitute cattle or horse-hide leather. A skull-shaped belt buckle will get our point across just as well.

BOOTS

Our experience among the narrow-minded of Tamriel has taught us to be quick on our feet and ready to relocate, so our shoes are a relatively light element of our apparel. They may even be as simple as sandals, especially when paired with light armor.

BOWS

Any style with "Fang" in its name implies it will look sharp and dangerous, and that's certainly the case with our Blackmarrow bows. Even the quivers that carry our broad-headed arrows are adorned with sharp motifs and even sharper edges. (Wear gloves when arming yourselves, fools.)

CHEST PIECES

Though we haven't been able to provide them yet for every member, eventually all of you will proudly wear our Fang Lair tattoos and body markings. These marks are a tribute to your fervent commitment to the Blackmarrow cause, and to show them off our cuirasses leave the less-critical parts of your torsos exposed.

DAGGERS

Like much of our equipment, our daggers derive from proven Redguard designs: curved, single-edged blades, sharp pointed, and with our signature "fang" in the barbed hook behind the point.

GLOVES

You will agree—for you must—that for both conjuring and combat, it's best to have the fingers free of the confinement of cumbersome gloves; however, above the hands you can trust our flaring gauntlets to protect the wrists and forearms.

HELMETS

The Blackmarrow wear close-fitting metal skullcaps with upper-face visors covered by tight-turbaned hoods that extend to our shoulders. If you are wise, you will wear an additional mail coif under the hood to protect your neck.

LEG GREAVES

We rely on leather, supple but many-layered, to protect our legs. Our fighting style dictates the primacy of mobility, in which attacks to the legs are mainly avoided or turned aside before a blade can ever contact our greaves or chausses.

MACES

A mace is the preferred weapon for an order with necromantic ambitions, because a body struck down by a mace is more useful for reanimation than a corpse with severed limbs. Thus our maces are heavy and functional, so that you may defeat an adversary with the least number of blows, leaving behind a body ripe for necromancy.

SHIELDS

The broad oval shield of the Blackmarrow, rimmed with overlapping metal plates, has one purpose and one purpose only: to protect your body in combat. Those who fail to employ it properly may, upon death, be reanimated and assigned to menial and even humiliating tasks. So use it wisely.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The symbolism behind crafting our pauldrons to resemble grinning abstract metallic skulls should be obvious to even our least-sophisticated cult members. Remember: in Necromancy, there are no points for subtlety.

STAVES

The focal finial of our spellcasters' magic staves features a mystic crescent between two bony, taloned fingers. It has been pointed out to me that this symbology appears nowhere else on our gear, but as a Master Necromancer I am above such a small-minded emphasis on consistency. It looks impressive, and that's good enough.

SWORDS

Our swords fundamentally hearken back to Redguard roots, though the austere descendants of the Ansei would shy away from the baroque and spiky improvements we've made to their overly simple designs. The fools! Soon, they, too, will acknowledge our greatness and kneel before us.

Scalecaller

There is considerable evidence that orthodox Dragon Priests had their armor crafted from genuine remains of the great creatures, using actual Dragonscale and Dragonbone (rare materials indeed). The followers of the renegade Dragon Priest, Zaan, outfitted themselves like the greater clergy in replica Dragon Priest armor made of more common materials: metal forged to resemble Dragonscale and bonemold crafted to resemble Dragonbone. The details are described below.

AXES

Scalecaller axes follow barbaric early-Nord designs, but with highly abstract Dragon Cult claw-crescents at the finial. The upper part of the haft, just below the blade (or blades for the two-handed version), is clad in metal that resembles overlapping Dragon scales.

BELTS

The cult's belts are relatively simple and utilitarian, as the followers of Scalecaller preferred to display their ornamentation elsewhere. Leather from almost any source is acceptable; the surface may be pebbled to resemble reptilian hide.

BOOTS

These Scalecaller sabatons look like they're made from great overlapping Dragon scales, but actually the material is tough leather, except for the toes on boots made for heavy armor, which are always rigid bonemold. The ankles are protected by abstract forged Dragon-mouth uppers.

BOWS

The cult's bows are adorned by an exaggerated Dragonscale motif on the weapon's limbs just above and below the grip. The ends of the limbs sport stylized Dragon heads, while the quivers are wrapped in reptilian wing motifs.

CHEST PIECES

For the cuirasses, bonemold is formed to resemble plates of rigid Dragonbone, accented by tooled leather, with the arms clad in metal mail that resembles Dragonscales. These chest pieces are so sturdy they have endured for centuries with almost no evidence of rot or rust.

DAGGERS

The blades crafted by Zaan's folk are fairly standard Dragon Cult weapons, blades that start out straight and then, after a broadened forte, curve toward the sharp point, resembling nothing so much as elongated Dragon claws. Only the outside of the curve has an edge.

GLOVES

The cult wears full gauntlets of flexible leather, but backed by splints and plates of bonemold fashioned to resemble Dragonbone. Flaring bracers, similarly ornamented, protect the wrists and forearms.

HELMETS

The full helms worn by the followers of the renegade Zaan feature face visors of bonemold formed to resemble the masks of legendary Dragon Priests—attire that would be blasphemous if worn by orthodox low-level Dragon cultists. It shows just how far the Scalecaller cult had deviated from the norm.

LEG GREAVES

Other than having Dragon-mouth poleyns at the knee, the cult's leg armor is relatively unadorned, though it may exhibit bonemold plates atop the leather chausses crafted to look like large overlapping Dragon scales.

MACES

These Scalecaller maces terminate in heavy cylindrical heads studded with wicked fanged abstract Dragon heads. The hafts are clad in the same overlapping metallic Dragon scales as the axe handles.

SHIELDS

The central oval of the cult's shield is adorned with a coiling snaky Dragon that evokes the Prince Peryite as much as it does the Dovah the Nords' ancestors revered. The shield's rim is protected by thick bonemold plates that resemble great Dragon scales, and echo the armor's pauldrons.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Scalecaller cult pauldrons are elaborate and fanciful, a double tier of flaring plates crafted in both bonemold and metal scale, surmounted by an abstract roaring Dragon head, the whole giving the Scalecaller warrior a very distinctive silhouette.

STAVES

The spell staff of the Scalecaller spellcaster is perhaps the single most emblematic design in the entire Zaan Dragon / Peryite visual lexicon: an oaken staff inscribed with mystic runes, ornamented with overlapping scales, and topped by an open-mouthed serpentine Dragon head. It's awe-inspiring.

SWORDS

The swords of the renegade Scalecaller cult are nonetheless recognizably weapons of Dragon worshipers, single-edged blades that start out straight and then, after a broadened forte, curve toward a sharp point, looking very much like elongated Dragon claws.

Worm Cult

In death is life, reanimation
A sacred and a dark vocation
Our Order's garb all shall recall
Their final sight before they fall

AXES

Worm axe blade's like a severed ear
Restored to life as metal hacker
A mighty arm that all must fear
Glint of steel and gleam of lacquer

BELTS

Echoes of Coldharbour see
In cinctures, sashes, belts
On each hip are tassets three
With hooks for scalps or pelts

BOOTS

Each sabaton is lapping, plated
Like those of Bal's dark legions
Our troops corpses reanimated
Returned from deathly regions

BOWS

From bones defleshed we craft our bows
They loose with bony rattle
The skeletal dart Worm archer throws
Slays men like so much cattle

CHEST PIECES

Worm armor's plates are tributes all
To our Lord of the Undead
The skin and form of Molag Bal
To steel and iron wed

DAGGERS

Like jagged fangs, our daggers curve
Serrated edge and point
Grim armaments, they also serve
To sever and disjoint

GLOVES

Our gauntlets guard forearms and hands
Enabling fists to grip
With fingers clad in bony bands
Ensuring hafts don't slip

HELMETS

Like metal skull of Daedric beast
Worm helm enwraps your head
Overlapping, layered, creased
March leading our undead

LEG GREAVES

Chausses echo chest design
Coldharbour inspiration
Daedric chevron, curving line
Of Lord of Domination

MACES

When slaying foes to animate
The mace has many charms
We want a corpse in wholesome state
With all its legs and arms

SHIELDS

On Worm Cult shield the horns of Bal
Adorn o'erlapping plates
For undeath is the fate of all
Who pass Coldharbour's gates

SHOULDER ARMOR

Pauldrons sharp as fangéd skulls
Adorn Worm Cultists' shoulders
Mortals rise as Black Worm thralls
Or in their graves shall molder

STAVES

With spellstaff horned like Bal himself
Dark mages focus magic
Thus mortals—human, beast, or Elf
All meet their endings tragic

SWORDS

Swords serrated, pointed, edged
To twist in mortals' entrails
March forth, Worm Cultist fully-fledged
Cause adversaries' wails

Psijic

The Psijic Order eschews combat, regarding all violence as a failure of negotiation and diplomacy, which are the highest of the non-magical arts. Our garb, therefore, lacks the martial look and feel of most "armor"—but that doesn't mean it's any less protective than clanking suits of metal, for powerful protective runes are woven into the very substance of our robes.

AXES

Psijic weapons are esthetically pleasing, as most of the time their function is merely decorative, but all of our arms are fully functional when necessary. Our axes, for example, though filigreed with gold and ornamented with turquoise, are nonetheless superbly balanced and razor-sharp.

BELTS

Psijic cinctures are usually simple leather girdles embossed with defensive runes and sporting buckles studded with turquoise or lapis lazuli. They may support broad tassets displaying runes for Deflection and Absorption.

BOOTS

In the order, we wear boots of leather with reinforced toes, the whole enhanced by protective runes embossed and sewn in on top, front, sides, and back. For durability and softness, the hide of Psijic Domino Pigs is preferred.

BOWS

Just above and below the handgrip, Psijic bows are adorned with Mundial Globes that represent our order's equal commitment to the defense of all mortals that walk the surface of Nirn. The three turquoise discs arranged vertically on the quiver represent the Three Kinetic Forces embodied in archery.

CHEST PIECES

Though a Psijic cuirass is light and flexible, its defensive enchantments are such that it will turn a blow or a blade as well as a much heavier chest piece of metal or chitin. The Psijic may choose to wear a lapis Scrying Eye medallion over the sternum.

DAGGERS

The appearance of Psijic daggers echoes that of the Athames, or ritual knives, that we use in certain spells, for example when cutting off the intrusive scrying of outsiders. Their crossguards are wrapped in runes of defense.

GLOVES

As hands are often extended when spellcasting, our Psijic gauntlets feature strong protection over backhands and forearms. However, the ends of the fingers are exposed so as not to interfere with the intricate gestures some magic requires.

HELMETS

Our headwear is a hood, because what else would the members of a monastic order wear? However, woven into the warp and weft of its gleaming material are runes of protection and mystic phrases of focus and concentration.

LEG GREAVES

Psijic greaves, crafted from the finest domino hog's-hide, are slender and flexible, yet enchanted so as to provide a measure of protection equal to that of far heavier materials.

MACES

By design, a Psijic mace is also a sceptre, depicting a Mundial Globe enwrapped in the order's protective spells of Balance, Envelopment, and Contemplation—the three Middle Forces of the Eleven. It's also a blunt object heavy enough to knock a welwa to its knees.

SHIELDS

Psijic shields are light metal plate, heavily reinforced by defensive runes, and adorned by three horizontal turquoises that represent the Three Middle Forces: Balance, Envelopment, and Contemplation.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Our shoulder cops are relatively unobtrusive, and may be constructed of leather or even light metal. What doesn't vary is the embossed Deflection rune that appears prominently on each pauldron.

STAVES

One might think that since a Psijic's temporal power is mainly expressed through wizardry, our spell staves would therefore be elaborate rune-encrusted objects, but not so: their relatively simple design reflects the truth that a staff is merely a focus of power, not a source of power itself.

SWORDS

Each Psijic sword is elegant, beautifully embellished, and when forged, it's blessed with an orison praying it need never be drawn in anger. For at need, the straight, double-edged Psijic sword can cut a terrible swath, though its use may always be regretted.

Sapiarch

The distinctive style of the robes of the Sapiarchs has not been designed so much as it's been refined, the style distilling the clothing choices of a hundred generations of the Wise. Every detail has its own deep history, all memorialized, of course, in the Apparel Archives of the Crystal Tower. The lighter styles of robes are for research in controlled environments, while the heavier, armored robes provide protection when a Sapiarch must do research in the field.

AXES

Though the bearing of weapons is usually delegated to research assistants, and their main function is as symbolic representations of authority, our arms are also supremely practical as weapons. Take, for example, our majestic eagle-claw axe, with its razor-sharp three-pointed blade. Most effective.

BELTS

Our belts are simple, the most pragmatic item of clothing we wear, because what matters to a Sapiarch is not how a belt holds their garments together at the waist, but what accessories and scholarly implements it can carry. This varies a great deal depending on the sage's specialty, but writing pouches and scroll travel-tubes belong in every Sapiarch's equipage.

BOOTS

My favorite subject! Sapiarch boots are calf-high leather with turned-down tops, often patterned with metal studs that serve the dual purposes of ornamentation and protection. The same is true of the boots' metal toe-caps, which are often wrought in shapes that evoke the flow of Magicka.

BOWS

The Sapiarch's composite bow is made of horn, bone, and Summerset yew, carefully crafted to rigorous design standards formulated and refined by centuries of Altmeri bowmer. The fletching on the arrows isn't feathers, but rather thin, aerodynamically-curved pieces of chitin from coral mudcrabs.

CHEST PIECES

Upon accession to a Seat of Knowledge a Sapiarch is invested with their formal robe, its yoke and placket adorned with mystic symbols of knowledge, wisdom, and Elven heritage. Of course, beneath this robe may be a layer of enchanted chainmail, depending on the dangers of the Sapiarch's researches.

DAGGERS

For most Sapiarchs, a dagger is the only weapon they'll ever need carry, and even then its function is mainly ornamental and ceremonial, so our daggers are justifiably ornamental and impressive. Of course, we leave the major weaponry to our defensive assistants, whom we trust to handle martial affairs when they come up.

GLOVES

For both spellcasting and fine laboratory work, it's of paramount importance that a Sapiarch's fingers be unencumbered, so we wear only fingerless demi-gauntlets that protect the back of the hands and the wrists. The armored versions may be crafted of lobstered steel.

HELMETS

The hood is the universal headwear of the scholar or sage, so naturally our light robes are topped with embroidered hoods of the finest material. However, when engaged in perilous studies, we don't scruple to wear a skullcap under the hood, or even replace it with a full visored helm. (Why do you think we're known as "the Wise"?)

LEG GREAVES

Though hidden by long robes, our legs don't go unprotected, and are sheathed above our tall boots in cuisses of leather or light mail, with metal poleyns at the knee. The fabric of the lower robe is also some defense, especially when inscribed or embroidered with warding runes.

MACES

The end of a Sapiarch's mace is a globe, representing the acknowledged fact that a Sapiarch is the leading sage and scholar in all Nirn in their field of expertise. The spherical mace head is also studded with eight diamond-shaped spikes to augment its menace as a weapon.

SHIELDS

Sapiarchic shields are light metal plate, heavily reinforced by defensive runes, and decorated with elegant shapes that evoke the flow of Magicka. The central boss recalls the Resolute Diamonds that are the keys to the gates of the Crystal Tower.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The yokes of our upper robes extend over our shoulders, beneath which we wear sturdy but unobtrusive spaulders of leather, chitin, or metal. Heavily-armored robes may have additional plates atop the shoulder yokes.

STAVES

The upper ends of our spellcasters' staves specifically echo the shape of our symbolic home, the Crystal Tower, surmounted by Magicka-flow brackets holding a finial Nirn-globe, representing our global leadership in all the arts of scholarship and knowledge. The sphere also serves as a focusing lens for magical projection.

SWORDS

Sapiarchic swords are elegant, straight, and tall, like the Altmer themselves, with superb ornamentation that is both refined and restrained. Our sword has two edges, for all questions must be looked at from more than one angle, but a single point, for in the end one answer is most correct. Such is our creed.

Dremora

When possible variations in physical appearance are unlimited, it is an act of supreme will and discipline to confine oneself to a uniform semblance. For we proud Dremora, who regard all other Daedra with well-earned disdain, self-expression is nothing but vulgar self-indulgence. Heed these regulations, kynfolk, and don't disgrace your clanmates with unauthorized variations—or it's the scathe-rings for you, and don't think otherwise.

AXES

Like all weaponry of those who proudly serve the Prince of Domination, our axes evoke Molag Bal's physical presence, echoing his dread features and extravagant ridged horns. It's said that after the mace, our Prince's favorite weapon is the axe, since it is the tool of the headsman. Perhaps it is so; who would dare ask?

BELTS

Our belts are layered of several straps and strands, overlapped to provide reliable support for our many tassets, faulds, weapon loops, scabbards, and tool pouches. By preference our cinctures are made of thrice-tanned human hide, but the pelts of other mortals are an acceptable substitute if manskin is unavailable.

BOOTS

Dremora sabatons are tough and soled with thick treads, for we stride the surfaces of worlds uncounted, regardless of the ruggedness of their terrain. Our toes and arches are protected by shields of filigreed dark-metal, but our boots' insteps and uppers are of finest Argonian hide—a lesson learned on Nirn, for not all mortal ideas should be disdained.

BOWS

The Coldharbour Dremora's bow is a composite weapon assembled from horn from various sources, including the prongs and spurs of our own honored dead. Quivers are adorned with motifs that evoke the Prince of Domination.

CHEST PIECES

Our many-layered dark-metal cuirasses are embossed with the swirling curlicues that represent the flow of chaotic creatia, shown in its state before it is hardened into martial permanence by the sheer willpower of the Daedra. Thus we honor the Prince of Domination, who makes every reality submit to his insatiable desires.

DAGGERS

The daggers of Coldharbour Dremora have triangular blades designed for both parrying and punch-stabbing, leaving wounds that close poorly in the flesh of mortals unless they are particularly skilled with Restoration magic.

GLOVES

We wear the gauntlets of warriors, battle gloves of mortalhide under curved plates and lames of metal, all embossed with symbols of chaotic creatia, to protect our forearms and weapon-gripping hands from the ill-aimed blows of our pathetic opponents. Dread Lord, with these we raise our fists to salute you!

HELMETS

We wear, forged in metal, horrific horned visages of resolution and terror, designed to paralyze our enemies into fear and indecision. Frozen, they gasp, "What nightmare is this that confronts me?" as our weapons, unheeded, scythe them down, a harvest of death we offer to the Prince of Domination.

LEG GREAVES

Greaves of grievance, we craft our cuisses from the tanned skins of our defeated foes, defending our hides with the hides that did not defend them. Fine-worked poleyns protect our knees, not for kneeling in submission, but to enhance sudden, vicious blows in close combat.

MACES

The mace, of course, is the symbol of our Dread Lord Molag Bal, and so the martial mace of the Coldharbour Dremora must pay homage to that symbol without crossing the line into blasphemous imitation. Therefore, follow our guidelines without deviation, kynworms!

SHIELDS

Dremora shields are of heavy metal, for we are strong, and replete with sharp points, for we are dangerous. Embossed symbols depict the flow of chaotic creatia as it appears before Daedric will imposes order upon it.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The Xivilai think our flaring and pointed pauldrons are ostentatious and extreme—and they're right, for thus do we achieve the distinctive angular silhouette that evokes the concept of "skeir-gallyn," or discorporation-by-geometry. For what is a Dremora if not a belligerent collision of acute hyper-angles?

STAVES

As proud servants of the Prince of Domination, the heads of our spellcasters' staves symbolically evoke our Dread Lord's ridged horns, with his awe-inspiring features depicted expressionistically beneath. The staff's haft ends in a point like a curved metal talon.

SWORDS

If, as you were trained, you impale our enemies so that they die slowly, their long final moments will be spent staring in horrified disbelief at the intricate scrollwork on your sword's upper tang and crossbar. It behooves you to follow our forging designs closely so that our Dread Lord will be honored by his enemies' dying contemplations.

Pyandonean

Some of my peers dismiss our nautical neighbors the Maormer as mere Elven pirates, seafaring bandits with no more sophistication than Gold Coast highway robbers, but this is a mistake: though over time some breakaway clans have descended into near-barbarism, the core clans loyal to King Orgnum are organized and well-disciplined martial forces it would be a mistake to underestimate. I will try below to describe their typical arms and armor turnout.

AXES

Pyandonean axes are double-bladed, even the one-handed weapons, great edged crescents like the wings of rays. They sport a shell motif where the tang goes into the haft, which features an edged and pointed ferrule at its base. For their size, the weapons are marvelously light, a hallmark of Sea Elf design.

BELTS

Pyandonean belts are made of the same thick, overlapping leather strips as their light and medium armor, and made from the same source: triple-tanned hide of porpoise, creatures the Sea Elves slaughter on sight out of sheer hatred for the blissful creatures' exuberance and joy.

BOOTS

In line with the Pyandoneans' obsession with survivability should they end up in the water, their boots are light affairs made of (what else?) porpoise hide, and easily kicked off before they can drag their wounded wearers down into the depths.

BOWS

Sea Elf bows are at core simple self bows of Pyandonean yew, though they are often elaborately decorated with sculpted sea serpents wrapping the bow's limbs above and below the grip. Their quivers are fanciful, shaped like great barbed fins, the arrows fletched with seabird plumage.

CHEST PIECES

The armored area of Pyandonean chest pieces is largely confined to protecting the chest, back, and abdomen, with the arms left lightly covered or free to enable swimming. (Note to self: do the Sea Elves have a particular fear of drowning? Worth researching.) Light and medium armor are of overlapping strips of porpoise leather, but heavy armor is of orgnium.

DAGGERS

Pyandonean daggers exhibit the same scimitar-like curve as their swords, with a barbed hook behind the point that the Sea Elves use to wicked effect in close combat. The cross-guards at the hilt are forged in the shape of the heads of sea serpents, and can be used to trap and even break a blade in parrying.

GLOVES

Gloves inhibit both swimming and climbing in ships' rigging, so they are not popular among the Pyandoneans, whose gauntlets consist mostly of bracers to protect their wearers' forearms.

HELMETS

Like their boots, a key aspect of Pyandonean headgear is that it's easily doffed in the event the wearer goes overboard. The light armor coifs are just hoods, but the medium and heavy helms seem intended to intimidate by presenting a nonhuman visage, either some sort of crustacean or a spiny deep-sea predator.

LEG GREAVES

Though their outfits are usually kilted, underneath them the Pyandonean marine wears greaves of overlapping porpoise leather, tightly wound so as not to interfere with swimming or the climbing of ships' rigging.

MACES

In line with the idea that Pyandonean marines' gear shouldn't be heavy enough to drag them under if they go overboard, the heads of their maces are relatively light, relying on points and flanges to do damage rather than bludgeoning weight. They're also comparatively short in the haft.

SHIELDS

Pyandonean shields are basically kite-shaped, but smaller than most kite-shaped shields, possibly as a way of mitigating their weight. They're forged of a light but durable metal, with radiant shell designs at top and bottom, and usually depicting at center the raised or embossed figure of a sea serpent.

SHOULDER ARMOR

The shell-shaped Pyandonean pauldrons are constructed of stiffened porpoise-leather often capped by a covering of orgnium, the mysterious light metal the Sea Elves use for their heavier arms and armor. Symbols of rank are typically affixed to shoulder armor for the easy identification of officers.

STAVES

The finial on top of a Pyandonean staff is, of course, sculpted in the shape of a sea serpent. Curiously, it's made of orgnium, the same light metal used so extensively in Sea Elven armor. Whether it's imbued with magical properties to assist in the focusing of spells is unknown, but seems likely.

SWORDS

Pyandonean swords are curved like scimitars, but with a dogleg just above the quillion, and a barb behind the point that enables the weapon to be used somewhat like a boathook, snagging enemies and dragging them overboard or into off-hand thrusts. They are ornamented rather simply except for the quillions, which take the shape of a two-headed looping sea serpent.

Huntsman

For those who would honor Hircine the Hunter, it is right and proper to adopt the apparel and arms of his Huntsmen, those spear-shakers, fewterers, and whippers-in of the Lord of the Hunting Grounds. Just as his Huntsmen evoke Hircine's Aspects by their appearance, we honor him by emulating our prince's Huntsmen. All hail the Great Hunter! Even his curses are blessings! It is so, for I have said it.

AXES

Heavy of blade is the Huntsman's axe, for it has but one sacred task: to behead the Prey once it is run to ground and sore wounded. Adorned with antlers, the axe evokes Uricanbeg the Stag, whose hooves drum the Blood Summons. Stamp for the Stag!

BELTS

The Huntsman's belt is typically made from the hide of mighty beasts such as mammoths or brown bears, and usually tanned with the fur or bristles left on. The Hunting Grounds is a land of woods and fields, not cities of cold brick and stone, so Hircine and his Hunters always show a touch of the wild about them.

BOOTS

Our boots are of flexible hide with felted uppers, studded in the heavier versions. They are based on the boots worn by our lord as depicted in his aspect of Alrabeg the Hunter and seen on traditional blankets and hunting lodge wall hangings. Praise be to Alrabeg, who finds the worthiest Prey! Gibber, manlings, and dance to his name!

BOWS

The Huntsman's bow is a composite of wood, horn, antler, and hide, and is the standard weapon of the stalkers and hunters who bring down the Prey. The bow is decorated with wolf's-heads at the angle of its limbs to honor Storihbeg, the Wolf Aspect of Hircine. Howl for Storihbeg!

CHEST PIECES

A chest plate of cuir bouilli atop a leathern jack is all the body armor a Huntsman needs, even against the fiercest of Prey—for a hunter must be nimble to avoid a beast's fangs and talons, or a mortal's dagger and glaive.

DAGGERS

The large hunting knives of Hircine's Hounds serve many purposes, of which "weapon" is only one: skinning knife, pointer-of-stakes, and trimmer of net cords are among the others. The blade has but a single edge, but it's forged of heavy steel and balanced for both chopping and thrusting. It's a clever tool, and thus dedicated to Gulibeg the Quick Fox.

GLOVES

Leather vambraces protect the Hunstsman's forearms, extending down even over the back of the hands, but fingered gloves are never worn. For does Gulibeg the Quick Fox wreathe his wise and wandering fingers in swaddles of fabric? Never!

HELMETS

Affixed to their stiff skullcaps of boiled leather, Huntsmen wear the antlers and horns of fallen Prey, for who should respect the Hunted more than the Hunter? And when we wear beast's clothing we are akin to Storihbeg the Skinshifter, and honor him thereby. Howl again, and stomp your heels like hooves!

LEG GREAVES

Is any Daedric Prince more active and more athletic than mighty Lord Hircine? I will answer for you to avoid foolish error: NO! And so his Huntsmen, and we who emulate them, must be quick and nimble, which is why we put little stock in leg armor. Does Uricanbeg the Great Stag armor his legs? No! Does Gulibeg the Quick Fox? —At this point, Uraccanach thinks he can let you answer it yourself.

MACES

The Huntsman's mace is a bone-breaker, its heavy metal head fittingly studded with bone, horn, and antlers. Though it can deliver the coup de grace when needed, it's usually employed to shatter a Prey's leg before it is beheaded with an axe. Wielding the mace calls for strength, for which we pray to Hrokkibeg the Mighty Bear!

SHIELDS

The Huntsman's kite-shaped shield is large and of thick boiled hide, nearly as strong as metal but much lighter. It bears the antlered visage of Uricanbeg the Great Stag, and is surmounted and bordered with actual stag antlers, lashed to the shield with strips of hart leather. Beat your weapon against it to drum like the Great Stag's hooves!

SHOULDER ARMOR

Though Huntsmen in general favor relatively light armor choices, there is no harm in a good pair of pauldrons—I tell you this as a Witchman from five generations of Witchmen! Pauldrons, they are all right. And they give us one more place to wear horns and spikes, so that is all to the good.

STAVES

Our spellcasters' staves are topped with the skull-and-antlers totem of Uricanbeg, Lord Hircine's aspect of the Great Stag. Rows of focusing claws line both the staff's lower head and the base of its haft, for as Destruction magic is cast from the front end, so Restoration is cast from the hind.

SWORDS

Sometimes the Prey requires a coup de grace of a thrust to the heart rather than a beheading, and for that task the Huntsman uses the sword. Though the Huntsman's blade is forged of the finest available steel, crossguard and haft are of claws and leather-wrapped bone, more serviceable than ornamental.

Silver Dawn

As I wait (oh, so impatiently) for permission to enact my plan for the final eradication of all lycanthropes, I find my mind turning to the history of our glorious order, its heritage and traditions. I shall try to describe our traditional arms and armor as briefly and clearly as possible for the benefit of future werewolf hunters. By the gleam of silver shall we slay!

AXES

The brazen blades of Silver Dawn axes have hewn many a werewolf asunder, and may their butchery ever continue! We wield a simple but effective single-bladed axe with a long, curved edge, its haft chased with silver, our favorite ornamentation.

BELTS

A Silver Dawn warrior's belt looks like a simple leather affair designed to hold up its wearer's gear and weaponry, but it's actually far less mundane than it appears. For each Silver Dawn belt is crafted of tanned werewolf-hide, butchered from the beast's inner leg to get pieces of proper length. Strewth!

BOOTS

The footwear of the Order of the Silver Dawn are always warriors' sabatons of heavy hide and plate, the better to protect the feet of our beast-slayers as they put the boot into wounded lycanthropes. "That's right!" we shout. "Give it another!"

BOWS

The elegant bows of our Silver Dawn archers send their winged darts arcing into the pelts and soft underbellies of the horrid abominations we are sworn to slay. Our greatest archer, the legendary Sir Brancas, once drove his arrows through the eyes of nine werewolves in succession. Oh, to have been there to see it!

CHEST PIECES

The Silver Dawn cuirass is constructed of overlapping bands of heavy leather, thick but flexible, for we must be nimble when contending with our fierce and feral enemies. Woe betide the werewolf who tries his teeth on the boiled leather of a Silver Dawn chest piece!

DAGGERS

A Silver Dawn's dagger is a short but sturdy stabbing blade with two edges and a silvered crosspiece for parrying. A warrior keeps one always at their belt for delivering the coup de grace to a mortally wounded man-beast—usually right in its abominable guts!

GLOVES

Many martial traditions prefer gauntlets that protect the hand and forearm but leave the fingers and thumb bare, the better to grip their weaponry—but their opponents aren't lycanthropes, whose bite brings a curse. For this reason all Silver Dawn gauntlets are full-fingered, even with light armor, as we dare not fight with bare skin exposed.

HELMETS

In most cases we Silver Dawn stalwarts wear helms that cover the entire head, for the same reason we wear full gauntlets: we dare not show exposed skin in combat with beasts whose bite brings a curse. We prefer headgear of tough, boiled leather—werewolf hide, if we can get enough of it!

LEG GREAVES

Werewolves: it's always said that they go for the throat, but we who fight them know they're just as likely to target the legs, as that's how their wild cousins bring down their prey. And that's why we spare no expense on Silver Dawn greaves, making them strong, durable, and of overlapping layers.

MACES

Silver Dawn's mace is a thing of terrible beauty, topped with a heavy brazen ball studded with two dozen silvered spikes. As you can imagine, a werewolf's skull that has been battered with one of these lovelies is barely recognizable!

SHIELDS

Silver Dawn shields are tall, oblong affairs crafted of durable hardwood, thin but dense, and all but impervious to the claws and fangs of our atrocious opponents, may the Divines ever aid us in striking them down! From behind these shields we hammer those bestial monsters with abandon.

SHOULDER ARMOR

To strike fear into the cowardly hearts of our wicked foes, the Silver Dawn warriors wear on their shoulders, not stiff pauldrons or shoulder cops, but instead the pelts and severed heads of wolves and man-wolves, their eyes replaced by silver spheres. For by the gleam of silver shall we slay!

STAVES

A Silver Dawn spell staff is surmounted with golden wings of victory unfurled around a finial bearing the silvered image of a severed wolf's-head. How I love to watch one of our staves glow with refulgent death before spitting its message of destruction at some wretched lycanthrope!

SWORDS

The swords of the Order of the Silver Dawn are straight, strong, and double-edged, like the pack-slaughtering knights who wield them. There's nothing like watching a howling man-beast go down under the flashing blades of half a dozen Silver Dawn warriors. Glorious!

Welkynar

Though the Knightly Order of the Welkynars numbers no more than four members at a time, each of those knights needs a broad array of equipment, including armor of all weights as well as a complete array of weapons. This gear must be made to exact specifications of the very best materials, adhering strictly to the guidelines stated below. Only equipment that is well and properly made will be accepted into the Welkynar Armory.

AXES

Welkynar axe heads are adorned with stylized golden gryphons, because what else would be on them? The blades themselves are of dark carbon steel, mounted on a long haft of studded ash wood ending in a hooked metal ferrule.

BELTS

The Welkynar's plumed war girdle supports gilded metal tassets and is cinched in the front by a buckle in the shape of a stylized gryphon's head. As an aerial order, we must avoid accruing undue weight wherever possible, so metallic materials must be both durable and, above all, light.

BOOTS

Though gilded sandals are sufficient protection to accompany light armor, for heavier load-outs we must have the traditional Golden Gryphon-Talon Sabatons. Copies of the cobbler pattern for these distinctive martial boots may be checked out of the Armory in Cloudrest.

BOWS

The bows wielded by the Knights of the Welkynar Order are among the most beautiful arms ever created by High Elves, bar none. Each beaked limb ends in an exquisite sweep of carved golden feathers—artful, and yet these are deadly weapons that shoot lethally barbed arrows. It's an irony that reflects the core esthetics of the order.

CHEST PIECES

As an aerial order that has to think about flight weight, most of our equipment looks heavier than it is. Welkynar cuirasses are a case in point: though they appear to be forged of weighty metal, most of those elements are actually lighter materials such as flexible scale maille or gilded cuir bouilli—boiled leather, if you can believe it! Wing banners attach to the shoulder blades

DAGGERS

A Welkynar's dagger is made of dark carbon steel and is doubly edged, but it's really a punching dagger so it's the needle-sharp point that counts. The crossguard evokes gryphon wings, forged thicker and more solid than they appear to enable the dagger to be used as a parrying weapon.

GLOVES

A Welkynar's substantial but intricate gauntlets may be the knight's proudest belongings, since they are among the first items of gear issued to a squire-in-training. If you give any thought to the practical issues of training spirited gryphon mounts, with their powerful, snapping beaks, you'll understand the need for sturdy gauntlets and vambraces!

HELMETS

Our helmets have been rightly described as "magnificent confections of plumes and gilt," with avian motifs such as cheek pieces that resemble gryphon wings, and a forepeak like a gryphon's pointed bill. They were designed by Mornyalemar the Battle-Hardy generations ago, and we see no reason to change them now.

LEG GREAVES

Our resplendent metal poleyns, adorned with gilded wing symbols, certainly draw attention from the rest of our leg armor, cuisses that are functional though less spectacular than our knee bosses. Welkynar greaves consist of light overlapping plates backed by flexible flaxen fabric.

MACES

When a Welkynar's mace strikes, with its heavy business end forged in the shape of four beaked gryphon heads, it's as if the entire Aerie of the Order smites its opponent at once! Though the gilded gryphon heads look delicate, they're actually crafted of carbon steel surrounding a solid lead core.

SHIELDS

The Welkynar's shield, with its overlapping plumage rendered in carbon steel, brass, and copper, represents the inescapable wings of Elven justice and Altmeri martial prowess. Let evildoers who threaten Summerset beware! This land is under Welkynar protection.

SHOULDER ARMOR

Welkynars never tire of avian symbology, so of course our flaring pauldrons evoke the wings of great raptors. Their edges are even feathered with genuine gryphon plumage! (Don't even think of substituting raven feathers.)

STAVES

A Welkynar's spell staff is topped (of course) with stylized gryphon wings, in this case pointed and parallel like those of a knight's flying mount when put into a power dive, a shape that also evokes the focus of a spellcaster's will. The long ash-wood haft ends in sharp ferrule.

SWORDS

The swords of the Knights of the Order of the Welkynar are as straight as our commitment to justice and as long as our heritage of heroism. Inscribed with runes of efficacy and balance, let our enemies beware when these noble weapons are drawn in defense of the Altmer!

Honor Guard

To make gear rightly,
One must follow the old rules;
Error, dishonor

AXES

Axe is made to cut;
The long edge slices open,
Then weight drives it through

BELTS

Warrior carries
Weight of weapons and honor;
A belt must know strength

BOOTS

Feet must feel the ground
Yet boot soles push it away;
Place your feet with care

BOWS

Archery reveals
Relation of heart and mind;
Aim with the whole self

CHEST PIECES

Armor frees fighter
To think solely of attack;
It must be strong yet light

DAGGERS

Knife trades reach for speed;
Yet it must be forged as well
As a longer blade

GLOVES

Gauntlets defend hands,
Yet hands are the source of blows;
Find the right balance

HELMETS

A well-guarded head
May wear a fearsome aspect;
Fight with the mind, too

LEG GREAVES

Intelligent foes
Will strike at a fighter's legs;
Good greaves forestall them

MACES

A blow from a mace
Can settle any debate;
Wield strong arguments

SHIELDS

A shield is the face
That your foe sees from afar;
Wear a grim visage

SHOULDERS

Strong pauldron deflects
The unseen flanking attack;
Make it durable

STAVES

A spell is a tale,
A staff a storyteller;
"Once upon a time…"

SWORDS

Akaviri swords
Often have slightly curved blades;
But Honor Guards' are straight

Dead-Water

My quill will write the truth words. Dead-Water warriors defend the tribe in both life and death. Many travelers find this tradition morbid. They speak of defiling our fallen kin. It is not so. To craft a weapon from the skin and bones of our warriors, this is honoring.

AXES

A proper axe requires a leg bone. This, the Dead-Water know. It is the only bone long and thick enough to support the axe head. Male bones are best for this because of their thickness. Female bones are too flexible, better suited for blades. By wielding this axe with strength, we honor a fallen warrior.

BELTS

Dead-Water Tribe is not renowned for beautiful creations. This is known. Still, our leatherworkers decorate the belts of our warriors. They carve intricate buckles from amber and stone. I nod in admittance. This is not necessary, but still, it is nice.

BOOTS

The mightiest Dead-Water warriors line their boots with sharp spikes. Useful in close combat. With every kick, we hope to pierce the hide of our foes. My egg-mother was able to behead her enemies with one swift kick. This is why I carry her bones in my weapons. I hope to carry her fighting spirit.

BOWS

Dead-Water quivers are made from the hardened hide of our fallen. Our bows are lined with their fangs, and our arrowheads created from their bones. After battle, we will salvage what arrows we can. Many will keep broken arrowheads in remembrance.

CHEST PIECES

The Dead-Water bound our warrior hearts in the skin of our fallen. Atop this, we wear hardened scales from lurking beasts: haj mota, wamasu, hackwing. Our hunters have slayed, our leatherworkers have skinned. And now our warriors proudly wear.

DAGGERS

Dead-Water daggers are made from bones of the arm or shin. When finally the blade wears, they are used for eating. I regularly eat with a dagger made from the shin of my egg-sire's egg-sire. He has lasted through many seasons. I do not share this with travelers I meet. They do not understand such things.

GLOVES

I flex my hands. Gloves must be supple. I look upon the metal hands of outsiders with questioning. A Dead-Water warrior must strike quickly. And, should all else fail, we will use our claws to rip and tear. To cover our fingers would be to take away such weapons.

HELMETS

I bow my head, displaying a helmet covered in long horns. It strikes fear into the heart of my foes. Dead-Water warriors must always be prepared for battle. So we place horns upon our helmets. This way, we continually display the spine of aggression. A display that all of Murkmire knows to fear.

LEG GREAVES

To the front, hardened scale. Behind, supple leather. Dead-Water leg greaves allow for quick movement during battle. Useful in a swamp where the land itself will swallow you whole. This also enables quiet movement. Useful for sneaking towards our enemies. Again, I eye the metal of travelers with distrust.

MACES

Dead-Water maces have rounded, curved edges. This was not always so. In my egg-mother's time, skulls were used. They proved far too brittle. Now we place sharp bones atop the heads. Still we honor our ancestors, but now the maces are more durable for battle.

SHIELDS

Dead-Water warriors protect in life and death. Their spirits have returned to the Hist. Flesh and bone remain to aid us in battle. I bow my head in respect. We show this most clearly with our shields. The skin of our fallen are stretched across the wood. Their bones decorate the sides.

SHOULDERS

Our shoulders proudly display spikes of bone. Should the wamasu try to crush us? Should our foes crash against us? The Dead-Water will drop their shoulders, bringing them up for a mighty blow. With skill, a bone will crack or sinew will tear. I will confess, such spikes also add awe to the look of our armor.

STAVES

Dead-Water staff is as dangerous as our blades. Its amber gem is soaked in the sap of the Hist. From this, its power is absorbed. Only the bones of our fallen mages will create such weapons. By this, they lend their magical essence to another. Or so it is believed.

SWORDS

Dead-Water swords are only held by our most cunning of warriors. Its jagged back can easily cut its wielder, should they not be careful. I bow in reverence. My blade is a most prized possession. Crafted from the leg bone of my egg-mother. Even still she fights by my side.

Elder Argonian

I am proud to present, on behalf of Cyrodilic Collections, my findings on pre-Duskfall Argonian raiment and adornment. The similarity of designs and motifs found during our expeditions across Black Marsh suggest that the Argonians once may have had a more unified civilization, or perhaps simply traded more widely.

AXES

The only elder axes we have recovered were clearly weapons of war, leading me to believe that mere tools might not have been created with the same care and grade of material. These war axes consist of one or two large shards of volcanic glass mounted in a brassy alloy and adorned with feathers, dyed yarns, and gold. This degree of metalwork is almost nonexistent in contemporary Black Marsh.

BELTS

Belts were almost entirely decorative, consisting of expertly woven cloth sashes sometimes adorned with gold chains, rings, or colorful cord. Warriors would employ sturdier reptile hide belts over these sashes as an anchor for arms and armor. Emblems, worn at what would be our navel, often bore Sithis iconography.

BOOTS

Elder Argonians used more footwear than many modern tribes, though they still favored open designs that allowed them to keep their feet immersed. Rubber-soled sandals were uniform among all walks of life, though fringed leg wraps, anklets, and shin guards were frequent accompaniments for those of high status.

BOWS

We still know little about the elder Argonians' relationship with the Hist, but I believe that the bows we've recovered were made from Hist wood. Perhaps they regarded the arrow as an extension of the Hist's will, like some fatal decree, though it might have been just the most readily available source of wood.

CHEST PIECES

Elder Argonians preferred light sashes and wraps over tunics. This might have been to keep their frills and spines uncovered for communication. Armor was almost entirely constructed from bronze splints and mostly covered the shoulders and abdomen, suggesting that their own scales were expected to protect the exposed flanks and back.

DAGGERS

Regardless of length, elder Argonian blades were made from a series of volcanic glass shards set in a beaten bronze channel. The prevalence of volcanic glass in so many weapons was quite surprising, given that there isn't any known volcanic activity within Black Marsh itself. That suggests the Argonians may have regularly ventured into what we now call Morrowind.

GLOVES

Much like their descendants, elder Argonians found gloves impractical. They either used a fingerless mitt that hooked upon the thumb, or hand wraps like those favored by pit fighters. Cloth or leather bracers were commonly worn for decoration and protection, some of the latter mounting rigid metal splints for war. Frilled bands around upper arms were also nearly universal adornments.

HELMETS

A simple circlet or headband acted as the base upon which many styles of headwear could be built. Most had prominent ornamentation above the face and employed feather plumes, jewels, and great brass icons as decoration. Impractical as it may seem, these headdresses were even worn into battle over leather hoods.

LEG GREAVES

Where a simple loincloth is one of the more widely preferred pieces of legwear among tribal Argonians now, their ancestors swaddled themselves in elaborate layers. Knee- and ankle-length skirts and pants were often layered with other frilled skirts and dangling drapery. Warriors favored a top layer of rigid leather or woven reeds reinforced by bronze and bone.

MACES

War bludgeons we recovered from a sunken foundry were impressive. Made largely of bronze, these weapons must have been wielded by warriors of great stature. Though it is the striking ends that are the most interesting features. Usually styled after Argonian heads, the designs were angular—almost geometric—and familiar, as was the metal it was cast from.

SHIELDS

Maybe it was the way the glass teeth along the rim reminded me of a cog, or the orange tinge of the shield's face, or the boxy scrollwork, but the answer to the nagging familiarity I felt with elder Argonian metalwork struck me like one of their maces: Dwarven influence. Black Marsh may not always have been as insular a province as it is these days.

SHOULDERS

Usually a combination of leather and bronze, shoulder guards consisted of nothing more than a simple curved pad and a strap to loop through the pit of the arm. Rather than being shaped to fit over the shoulder, many simply projected upward—some as high as the wearer's jaw, making them something of a neck-guard as well.

STAVES

Staves were primarily instruments of the priesthood of Sithis. Many of these bronze rods were capped with icons and symbols of the Great Serpent to whom the priests made their sacrifices, but some bore razor-sharp, glass teeth intended to spill blood in many of their ceremonies. All evidence points toward Sithis playing a more central role in ancient Argonian worship than in modern day, at least among most tribes.

SWORDS

We didn't understand why volcanic glass was preferred for blades when the ancient Argonians already possessed the capacity for metalwork. In testing one of the glass swords, we quickly learned that the brutal sharpness was frightening for as long as the glass remained intact. It's also easy to replace in the field and lighter than metal sharpening equipment.