On March 27, 2015, ESO-RP, a weekly podcast formerly on op-cast.com, released an interview with Community Manager Jessica Folsom and Lawrence Schick, Loremaster of ZeniMax Online Studios, by hosts Morriel, Nate, and Nights Knight. A transcript is provided below for convenience. Part of the interview features Schick answering questions as the in-game scholar Phrastus of Elinhir. Bracketed words indicate missing words, notes on pronunciation or context, or words where the proper spelling is uncertain.
A transcript of a second ESO-RP interview with "Phrastus" in 2016 can be found here.
Interview with Jessica Folsom and Lawrence SchickEdit
Morriel: Hi, everyone, this is Morriel with the ESO-RP podcast. This not a numbered episode, but a special interview we have with Zenimax Online Studios. With me tonight are my co-hosts...
Nights Knight: Nights Knight.
Nate: And Nate, aka [Meesa].
Morriel: We have two very special guests; I would like to introduce you all. Jessica Folsom and Lawrence Schick; Community Manager and our Loremaster respectively. Hey, guys.
Jessica: Thanks so much for having us.
Morriel: Welcome to the show. Glad to have you here.
Nights Knight: It's a pleasure. And I do want to add, Nate may have talked to one of these people before. So he has an upper hand on us.
Nate: Well, yes, Lawrene and I - hello, Lawrence. I actually did an interview with you for Wired a year or so ago.
Lawrence: Ah, yes, hi.
Nate: [laughs] So good to talk to you again, and thanks very much to agreeing to do this with us.
Lawrence: Sure. It's fun.
Morriel: Let's dive a little in there, and I'll - for our listeners, I'll give a little bit of a format of this episode. After, you know, talking a little bit about yourselves, we wanted to dive into some questions that the RP community has an asked on sort of all things lore and community-based for the RP community for you guys to answer. And we have about twenty questions, and we'll just kind of leisurely go through them.
Nights Knight: I did want to add, there was a ton of great questions that you guys posted in the forums, but ... I mean, there was just no way we could fit them all into the show with the time frame that we have.
Morriel: There's like thirty pages of questions.
Nights Knight: Yeah, so...
Jessica: So many. They were all really good, though.
Nights Knight: Mm-hmm. And Jess went and picked questions. And if they don't get answered, I mean, this isn't the end-all, be-all. They have 'em now, so who knows when they'll get answered on ESO Live, or what-have-you in the future. So, just keep questioning, and they'll get answered eventually, I'm sure.
Jessica: The focus of this selection was definitely lore.
Morriel: That's kind of what I was about to say. A lot of the questions asked were dev questions, which ... not really things they could ask right now - er, answer right now.
Nights Knight: Lore questions - what better to get answered when we have the Loremaster here with us? So we have a bunch of those to give you guys today.
Morriel: Right. So why don't we start off - tell us a little bit about yourself. You know, how did find yourself with ZOS? What do you guys do?
Jessica: So, my name's Jessica, I am one of the Community Managers here at ZOS for the Elder Scrolls Online. I've been doing community management for a little over ten years now, and love working with this community, especially with role-players. Lot of fun. I've been at ZOS for a little over two years. I work with Gina, who you've probably seen on ESO Live; Kai, as well, Jason, and [Mikael]. And we cover English, French, and German. So we definitely have a global community and a global community team. And, gosh, I guess that's about ... and I play all three alliances. Anybody who asks who my favorite is, I do play all three.
Morriel: So no comment on which one's your favorite?
Jessica: I don't have a favorite, I really don't. There's characters I love in each one. [laughs] So Lawrence, you're up.
Lawrence: Okay, yeah. So I'm Lawrence Schick. I've been at ZOS for - going on six years, I've been on this project. Before that, I've been in the role-playing game business since-since the late 1970s. I started at TSR working on Dungeons & Dragons, and switched over to video and computer games in 1981, and that's where I've been working ever since. And role-playing's my thing, so I'm very much into figuring out how to come up with characters and situations that will evoke character play on the part of the players, so that they will feel like they're in a place where they can be the person they want to be, and make a difference in that way. So that's the point on the charge that I've been leading ever since I came to Zenimax Online.
Morriel: Definitely a man after my own heart in that way. It's - I've spent a long time, like, dreaming kind of table-top games myself over the last ten years. It's always really rewarding to see your- see the players enjoy, you know, getting this kind of character interaction out of situations you engineer.
Lawrence: Well, you know, back in the late 70s - or the mid-70s, when I started playing roleplaying games - this kind of visualization, of immersion in a world, we could only dream of. And so, you know, table-top gaming started out as being, sort of, profoundly immersive in your mind and interactive with the players you were with, but then, as we got into video and computer games, it was a long time before we could do anything but single-player, and very - and very crude displays and contexts for the environment. And so, you know, getting to something like the Elder Scrolls Online, for me, is coming full circle, thirty-five years later. This is - this is what we always hoped for, and now we're finally able to enact that and bring it to a broad audience, and get everybody involved all at the same time. It's, it's pretty great, as far as we're concerned.
Morriel: Cool. Let's go ahead and dive right into the questions; we've got a lot of them.
Nights Knight: So I think we need to do the summoning, then. You just can't dive right into the questions without summoning the sage.
Morriel: You know what, you're right. It's difficult to, you know, to-to learn all about these-these different aspects of this interesting world we've come upon without, you know, talking to the people who know about this, and I think I might just have the sage in mind.
Nights Knight: All right. And Nate, are you ready?
Nate: Of course, I was born ready.
Nights Knight: [laughs] All right.
Morriel: I'm going to go ahead and summon him up for us...
Interview with Phrastus of ElinhirEdit
Jessica: Phrastus? You there?
Phrastus: [stammering] What-what?
Jessica: Phrastus? Yes?
Phrastus: What is this place, young lady? And how did I get here? What is this, some sort of Oblivion realm? And-and what are you? Some kind of Seducer?
Jessica: Just wanted to ask you a few questions, Your Scholarness, if you don't mind.
Phrastus: Wha- well- whatever went wrong, I assure you, I had nothing to do with it!
Jessica: Not those kinds of questions, Phrastus, don't worry about it. Just the usual type of questions somebody would pose to a sage like yourself.
Phrastus: Uh, then you'll send me back to Nirn?
Morriel: Certainly, certainly.
Phrastus Well, all right then. The sooner, the better.
Phrastus: Uh, all right. Uh, right. Who are you?
Morriel: Oh, who am I? Well, I go by many names and, you see, our ... sphere of influence is obscured from mortals. But think of us somewhat of a ... a quester and a question asker.
Phrastus: Is that why you have two mouths in your - in your chin? And- and where did you get that extra eye? This is - this is creepy.
Morriel: Well, it's-it's all a part of the theme. Like, you know, the, the mouths in the sky, and the-the things that are crawling on the ground. Don't look that those, by the way.
Phrastus: Um, ugh, yeah, well, let's get started. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can finish, and I can get back to my naptime.
Morriel: [laughs] All right, who would like to begin?
Nights Knight: That would be, uh, you, Double Mouth.
Morriel: Well, fine, well fine. You think just because I have two mouths I'm the one that does all the talking, ugh. Companions, I mean, honestly ... Well, you see, there was a ... there was an elf, a Bosmer, I talked to recently, and he had a bit a question - I-I had no idea why he didn't know this - but, you see, I'd like to ask about Bosmer antlers. You see, the last time this has been asked, as far as I understand, I had heard that Bosmer have- wear a lot of cosmetic - or prosthetic, I suppose - antlers on their brows, and a few have them, you know, magically grown from their skulls. My question is, I've seen about three stages of antler growth when - well, observing things - and it makes far more sense to me, at least, that they're related to the chaos times, or so, one of the gods, like Hircine or Y'ffre. I mean, yeah, they're [elves] with antlers on them, but where do these things come from?
Phrastus: Well, I've never been to Valenwood [Vay-len-wood], but I ... I'd caution you against assuming any single or simple answer involved with those reprobates the Wood Elves. Now, I daresay that most antlers worn by Bosmer are cosmetic and removable, but I myself have met a Treethane who had a magnificent 6-point rack growing right out of his cranium, and it was no prosthetic! Now, he told me that he'd had it magically grown upon assuming his title, as a symbol of his authority. The spells were sung -
Phrastus: Yes, sung, by a particular kind of aether-priest called a Namespinner, and she was able to perceive the Treethane's protonymic, and unweave it slightly and then chant a new suffix into it, thus actually changing the Treethane's physical form. Or so he told me, if you want to trust the word of a Bosmer.
Morriel: Oh, my, how interesting.
Nate: That would be me up next, then. Now, I'm playing an Ashlander, who eventually wants to break away from his group and form his own tribe. How are the Ashkan and Wise Woman selected in an Ashlander tribe? Is there a particular ritual or challenge they have to go through to earn these titles? And when a previous Ashkhan is replaced, must he be killed in the process, or can he just lose his title and continue living with the tribe?
Phrastus: Well, uh, as most things, it's not a simple thing. It's an easy mistake to look at a gathering of Ashlanders and assume that, because they all look pretty much alike, to our eyes, in their dusky uh- uh tan skin robes, that they all have the same habits and practices. However, I assure you, that variation among the Ashlander tribes can be quite significant, especially when comparing tribes geographically distant from each other. Now, one of the ways in which the tribes vary from [each other] is in the selection of their elders. In some tribes, the Ashkhan must prove his strength and courage by undertaking a dangerous hunting quest. Then female Ashlanders can become Wise Women in those tribes only by fasting and going on dream quests alone in the wilderness. However, in other tribes, and typically those which are less nomadic, and live closer to the Great House Dunmer, they choose new elders by vote or acclamation, upon the death of the old ones. And you must decide which type of tribe is good for you.
Nate: Great, thank you.
Nights Knight: Hmm. All right, great and wise sage. I think I have one that may stump you a little bit. Majorn the Ancient from Eastmarch is from what we've been told a very old vampire. In this questline, Majorn can under specific circumstances be seen transforming into a big gargoyle model, but with the strange red stripes covering his body. Is Majorn the Ancient here using the infamous Vampire Lord form, or is this a new type of ability ala a stone gargoyle transformation? If Majorn the Ancient is in fact using the Vampire Lord form here, we vampire lore fans would love to know, which of the following theories are right when it comes to the Vampire Lord transformation?
Phrastus: Well, it's a long question, and it deserves a thorough answer. Every serious student of vampirism knows that there are many different vampire bloodlines in Tamriel. Scores of them, in fact. Their forms are many and varied, and they're found in every corner of the continent. Now, most people think of vampirism as an accursed disease, but what few know is that it is not one disease, but at least six, and possibly more. The different kinds of vampires all tend to resemble each other in the early stages, but they become more differentiated as they grow more powerful. I suspect the late stage form that you call the 'Vampire Lord' may vary quite a bit from one curse form to another, and perhaps by bloodline as well. Now, in our time, the dominant form of the disease is what we sages call Noxiphilic Sanguivoria. This, uh - the last stage form of Noxiphilic Sanguivoria may very well vary significantly from those of the other-other forms, which go by other names. Furthermore, they may vary by bloodline, considering all the things that a vampire goes through to become a so-called Vampire Lord. They may even vary from individual to individual. So, I don't think that in the case of vampires, which are inherently shape-changers, that one can rely on them looking - on any one late-stage vampire looking like any other late-stage vampire. It's just not in their nature to be orthodox. There, ha! You thought could stump me! Phrastus of Elinhir does not fall so easily to questions of tyros.
Nights Knight: [laughter] It's kind of hard to keep this Daedric persona going on with this ...
Morriel: My ... Well, you see, you must excuse him. He's a bit new to this. I picked him up only about five hundred years ago, rolling around with some form of skooma, but he's-he's done much better since then, you know, haven't you?
Nights Knight: Uh, a little bit.
Morriel: A little bit ... I have one. You see, I'm a bit interested in - I'm a bit of a connoisseur of quests, of journeys of sorts. So I would like to ask you - there's a large displacement I've seen of Cyrodiilic residents and legions of the Imperial ... Empires of the fallen Reman dynasties ... so I remember, I've been trying to find a little bit of information on them, and I would like to know, where are the majority of them? Have they just scattered to the winds, or where are they?
Phrastus: Well, there's been a ... a gradual depopulation of-of Cyrodiil, ever since 431, when the Reman Empire dissolved, and the recent events have caused them to scatter even further. I mean, look at me! I was teaching in the University of Gwylim [Gwy-lim], and now I ply my scholarly trade in mage-haunted Elinhir in Craglorn! Some fled to the northern, eastern mountains for refuge, where there are traditional places to hide during warfare, and others went south into misty and insect-ridden Blackwood. I hate that place, gives me the hives. However, those who could afford it, Nibenese nobles mostly, bought estates in the back country, near Kvatch and Anvil, away from the warfare in central Cyrodiil, off to the east. However, I gather the Gold Coast hasn't turned out as cushy as they'd hoped, since Anvil has declared itself a 'free city', and is welcoming all sorts of sea rovers at their docks. Privateers, smugglers, even open pirates! What Tamriel is coming to, I don't know.
Morriel: So that makes me wonder, then: you never answered about the Imperial Legions; did the nobles just take the legions with them?
Phrastus: Oh, no, by and large, they've simply been bled dry in the endless warfare of the last one hundred and fifty years. What's left are the ones who were, mostly, too tough to be killed.
Nate: Right. It's time for me to moisten my scales for this question. Now, we know there are multiple Argonian variants, or tribes, in Black Marsh, who range in visual appearance. Are any of these other Argonian 'types' part of the Pact, or was it just one tribal group of Argonians that joined the Pact?
Phrastus: Huh… Well, that's a - that's a difficult question to answer, because nobody knows how many Argonian tribes there are in Black Marsh, not even the Argonians! Uh, the ones that joined the Ebonheart Pact are those who had the most to gain from cessation of the raids of the Dunmeri slavers to the north. In other words, the tribes in and around Stormhold and Thorn in the northern regions of Black Marsh. Now, deeper in the center of Black Marsh, as you say, the Argonians are rumored to assume many different forms, but insofar as Imperial ... the Imperial ... expeditions, did not manage to penetrate far beyond the outskirts of Black Marsh, few of these are known to Imperial scholarship. Some of the more southerly tribes may yet join the, uh, the northern tribes which have joined the Ebonheart Pact, but who knows? Personally, I never expected the Pact to hold together as long as it has!
Nate: [laughter] Well, I erect the spine of gratitude for that answer.
Phrastus: Stay moist, dryskin.
Nights Knight: All right, sage, I may be able to out-do you yet. My lore might be a [bit] fuzzy here, but the last purported emigrant from Atmora, known in history as Talos Tiber Septim [came] in the ninth century of the Second Era. Does this mean, at the time of ESO, Atmora had yet to begin to freeze over completely and there would still be a rare chances of ships [and] communication between Atmora and Skyrim? Or do they just disregard each other entirely?
Phrastus: Oh, trick questions! Trick questions are no fair! Are you sure you're not associated with Clavicus Vile in some way? Look, I don't know who this 'Talon Septic' person you refer to is, but so far as I know, there has been no traffic or trade between Tamriel and Atmora since the early First Era. What may be going on at present in that more or less mythical land is anyone's guess.
Nights Knight: Very well.
Morriel: Seems he got you there.
Phrastus: Ha! I dodged that!
Nights Knight: I can't seem to stump him.
Morriel: You do purport yourself a scholar, and, but, as we all know, some of the most grandest of mystical scholars are from Arteaum, part of the Summerset Isles where those ... Altmer are. Now, I've heard that it disappeared, didn't it? And where, what was it … the, how do you mortals do it, Second Era two hundred and thirty, if I'm correct? Now, I've heard - is it still gone, or has it reappeared? Just idle curiosity.
Phrastus: The Isle of Arteaum?
Phrastus: Nooo [laughs] by all accounts, it's gone, all right. Or if it is still where it used to be, nobody knows how to get to it. These recent stories of Arteaum celebrating Ayrenn's succession to the throne may be courtly poetry, or, or just sheer folderol. Julianos knows the High Elves have an insatiable appetite for folderol. Or it may refer to her being welcomed in the flesh by a few actual Psijics, since it's entirely possible that a few of them weren't on Arteaum when the isle went ... well, where ever it went. I ... might have met a Psijic once, but we'll save that for another day.
Morriel: Fair enough.
Nate: Now, some lore texts in ESO suggest that Khajiit varieties determined by the lunar arrangement are more metaphorical than physical, and outsiders able to look at Suthay-rahts and Senche-rahts and see them as the same. Now, is this the direction that particular bit of lore is being nudged, or is it fair to say that Senche and Alfiq and other morphologically-striking breeds are a real thing, fully sentient, and may one day be represented in-game?
Phrastus: Well, heh, let me tell you, nothing will reduce a gathering of Imperial ethnographers to a pack of quarreling children quicker than the subject of Khajiiti morphology! Every scholar seems to have his own exclusive theory on the matter. So, what do I believe? I think it probable, that in Elsweyr, the Khajiit exhibit substantial differences among their breeds, or 'fur stocks', as they call them, but that the cat folk in the border towns, those who trade with men and mer, are quite naturally those that most resemble the other mortal races of Tamriel. This is especially true of those Khajiit who leave Elsweyr, such as the nomadic Bandaari Peddlers. But I think that the ways in which Khajiit differ physically from the rest of us are as nothing to the ways they differ mentally and mystically. Oh, yes, much about the cat folk of the south remains to be learned. When we get to, uh, central Elsweyr, I predict that there will be many surprising revelations.
Nights Knight: Although Aylee-uds… Al-i-dids, Aylee-you-ids-
Nights Knight: Ayleids.
Phrastus: Ayleids, please.
Nights Knight: Thank you, scholar.
Nights Knight: Have traditionally been described as the offshoot of ancient Aldmer who conquered Cyrodiil specifically and succumbed to certain forms of ... Padomaic influence, we see that it is described as Ayleid ruins in Auridon itself, and Ayleid is occasionally used to simply mean 'ancestral elf'. Is this distinction between Ayleids and Altmer firmly maintained in ESO? This may seem like abject nerdery, but is it important to the self-perception of Altmer as Anuic, unchanged descendants of the Aldmer?
Phrastus: Well, hmph, any description of Elven ruins in the Summerset Isles as 'Ayleid' is an ignorant mistake! Probably made by someone who can't tell Heartland Elf architecture from High Elf. Look, it's quite simple: if you go into an Ayleid ruin, they're lit by these spooky, eerie blue lights, these-these Varla stones and Welkynd stones. Whereas, if you go into an Altmeri ruin, it will be lit by the golden glow of the Culanda and Malondo stones. So, uh that's one easy way to tell them apart, even if they may look superficially similar. However, despite these superficial similarities, it is incontrovertible that all the various races of the elves derive from Altmeri- Aldmeri root stock. Don't confuse your 'D's with your 'T's. Next!
Morriel: Very well. It seems that he keeps getting you.
Nights Knight: I got schooled!
Morriel: Oh, yes. That's a quaint term - isn't that where you got that - Bravil where you got that?
Phrastus: I heard of somebody who got something in Bravil, but it wasn't schooled.
Morriel: ... Well, I've got a bit of a question. You see, it's been a long time since I've been summoned to Summerset. These High Elves just don't know when to lay out the welcome mat. That ... what are they called, the Veiled Heritance movement - pfft, Veiled Heritance - did that get to Summerset proper, or was that purely a ... Auridon thing?
Phrastus: Well, of course, I've never actually had the privilege of actually visiting any of the Summerset Isles, what with being a human, but insofar as the so called 'Veiled Heritance' was a subversive movement, devoted to replacing Queen Ayrenn with her younger brother, it's said to have had adherents among the Altmer throughout the Dominion. I presume that would include the main island of the Summerset Isles.
Phrastus: Is it? If you say so.
Nights Knight: It is. Yes it is.
Morriel: It is. It-it-it is from certain ... nonlinear perspectives. Well, see now that the-that the collapse of their organization, what sort of remnants may still exist…
Phrastus: Well ... sad thing about the Lilmothiit [Lill-moth-eat]. I regret to say, they-they seem to have all succumbed with the Kothringi to the Knahaten Flu. So, hmm, I wouldn't, uh, hold my breath, as it were, waiting for the fox-folk to step on the stage. As for the Imga of Valenwood, I believe at present they're employing their time-tested strategy of hiding out during periods of warfare until the strife is safely over. Oh, my, these are easy ones. Next!
Nights Knight: All right, one more time, shall we? In the upcoming DLC, for Clockwork City, are there any plans to add in part of the surrounding countryside? From what we can tell in the lore, Clockwork City may be near Tear, the capital of Great House Dres - bless them. Will we be seeing Tear, and other never before seen parts of Morrowind?
Phrastus: Uh, well, there's still plenty of Morrowind to see, and, uh, I would hope to see more of it myself. However, insofar as the exact location of the Clockwork City is said to be unknown ... well, I don't know of any way to hide an entire city in a region as densely populated as Morrowind. It seems unlikely that said city is to be found on the terrestrial surface, if indeed it exists at all. [If] it is not just one of the Tribunal's many insufferably pretentious metaphors and allegories. City of Clockwork, fah!
Morriel: Skyrim is a place of many different holds. What is his name, Jorunn, or whatever - tall Nord, likes to sing a lot? Tell stories? That person. He is High King; with his decision to join the Pact, how have the other holds, aside from, what I understand, Whiterun and the Rift, reacted? What are their opinions on the Pact; have they even joined?
Phrastus: Well, I can easily answer this one; it comes right out of the curriculum from, uh, 'recent Skyrim history, the last three hundred years' ... well, since the fall of the Second Empire, over ... over a century and a half ago, Skyrim has in fact been split into two states, the west kingdom, consisting of the holds of Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, Falkreath, and Whiterun, which is ruled by the King of Solitude. And the east kingdom, the holds of Winterhold, the Pale, Eastmarch, and the Rift, which is ruled by the King of Windhelm. Now, of course, as is the way with Nords, both kings claim to be true High King of Skyrim. But, as you know, the east kingdom is a signatory of the Ebonheart Pact, and ruled, as you say, by King Jorunn. But that is the situation in Skyrim right now, split right now the middle. Except for the final hold, the Reach, which is currently independent, and ruled by the Despot of Markarth. And as far as I'm concerned, he can have it.
Morriel: [laughs] No one wants to live in those ... gods-forsaken Dwemer ruins anyway.
Nate: I do, because I found them fascinating, and if you live there, you'll understand it more, uh, is my view. So, we know that the High Kinlords and Kinladies rule over individual city-states as kings, essentially with the Altmeri family ruling over them as the High Kings, so to speak. But what about Kinlords and below? Do Kinlords specifically rule over towns, and, um, do they have lords and ladies under them? And what about the Altmer military? We know Battlereeves, but are there any other special ranks we haven't heard of?
Phrastus: Well, let's take the last one first. 'Battlereeves' are a term used among the Altmer that isn't found elsewhere. However, like most Tamrielic militaries, after the continent-wide spread of the Empire of Cyrodiil under the Remans, the standard military rankings used by the Imperials have now spread and are used pretty much in every province, with a few differences, such as the Battereeves, among the cohorts of the, uh, Aldmeri Dominion. Now, as to the Kinlords, we know the High Kinlords and Kinladies, uh, they do, in fact, have beneath them, Kinlords and Kinladies ruling other regions and city-states, and they vary in prestige according to their Altmeri heritage, and numerical size of the clans that they are the leaders of. However, beneath them, there are any number of other levels of nobility and petty gentry in a bewildering array of gradations that make little sense to anyone not born in the Isles ... All the quarterings, and, eightings, and sextuplings of, of their heritage, all very important to the Altmer, but baffling and, frankly, unimportant to the rest of us. Since we're not welcome there, it hardly matters, does it?
Nate: I suppose not.
Nights Knight: We know that there are, have been, will be multiple Towers on Tamriel. Ada-Manita, Red Tower, White-Gold-
Phrastus: Ada-Mantia. Uh, beg your pardon for interrupting, but these things are so vexing, these mispronunciations. Go-go on.
Morriel: It's that ... Bravil accent.
Nights Knight: ... Crystal-Like-Law, Snow Throat, Green Sap, Orichalc, and Walk-Brass. Green Sap is said to actually be multiple walking tree cities. I assume, of course, that Falinesti, currently displaced, is one of these Towers, and that Elden Root is a second. Having rooted in place by Anumaril's fanglement, my question then is, how many Green Sap Towers were there? Was Gil-Var-Delle one of them before Molag Bal devoured it? It certainly seems large enough, more at the scale of Elden Root, than the central trees in Cormount and Silvenar. It would also more explain why Almalexia [or] anyone but Bosmer would care about the city's destruction.
Phrastus: Aha, so, we venture on to Tower Lore at last. Well, heh, whatever I say about this, Lady Cinnabar of Taneth is bound to disagree. But there's no help for it, and there's no use pretending I don't have my opinions. So, from what I can gather about the Bosmeri Tower, uncertainty is central to its very nature, and its nature is inherently multiple. I believe the number of great graht-oaks that make up the Green Sap Tower is not only uncertain, but inherently changeable. Like the Elder Scrolls themselves, they cannot be reliably counted at all, because their number is not fixed. Now, you mentioned poor, tragic Gil-Var-Delle. Its tree was certainly great enough to be counted among the Green Saps, but was it among the Tower-boughs at the time it was devoured by the God of Schemes? I personally have my doubts.
Morriel: Oh, speaking of the Bosmer, the Elves of the Wood, I know that there are a few Green-speakers there in Eyevea, and some places in Reaper's March, and I believe I've from the dreams of a Captain Odreth in Vinedusk Village, that has, when he dreamed of one of his, uh - not one, I believe it was many of them - of his mages that are accomplished Green-speakers, or whatever those are. So, as I understand it, they're the ones that use, what is it, 'Pact magic', whatever it is those Bosmer do to grow homes and bridges and ... tree statues, statuettes. Is there anything someone wanting to become a Green-speaker should know? How do you become one? And, along with that, how closely if at all tied to Spinners, or Priests of Y'ffre, and Namespinners or what-have-you, are these?
Phrastus: I can certainly speak to that, at least superficially. Now, as-as far as I understand it, a Green-speaker - or Green-singer - is one thing, and a Spinner is another thing entirely, so it's not wise to conflate the two. A Spinner is, of course, a Priest of Y'ffre [Iffer], while a Green-speaker communes with the flora of Valenwood to sing it, magically, into doing his or her bidding. However, let's be plain, the two are by no means mutually exclusive. A Spinner may very well also have the skills and perform the function of a Green-speaker. So, one wishing to become a Green-speaker would most likely need to find another Green-speaker to apprentice to oneself, so as to learn the trade, but one would not necessarily have to become a Priest of Y'ffre to perform the function.
Nate: This is an uncharacteristically short question. We've enjoyed the quests involving, uh, divination by the Orrery at, uh, Elder Root, but is the Great Orrery at Firsthold, wrought of celestial material retrieved by the Sunbirds of Alinor, still standing?
Phrastus: As it happens, I can answer this question, as a generation ago, the matter was a subject of scandal among scholars all across Tamriel. Around the year 235, Kinlord Rilis the Twelfth, whom I gather was a rather unstable character, asked the [Varmaster] of the Orrery of Firsthold a question about his future greatness. And when the [Varmaster] replied rather tartly that the Orrery was not a device that rendered astrological prediction, Rilis was vexed. He dismissed the [Varmaster] forthwith, and had the entire Great Orrery disassembled. It was crated up carefully, and is currently stored, I believe, in the vaults beneath Firsthold Palace.
Nate: Mmm. Thank you very much.
Nights Knight: All right, sage, I may even get these words right this time.
Phrastus: We'll see.
Nights Knight: Vannus?
Nate: Vanus [Vain-us].
Nights Knight: Gall-arion.
Nate: Vanus Galerion!
Morriel: Close. Close, very close.
Nights Knight: Vanus Galerion [laughs] is a lucky fellow. In spite of [the] Tamriel's historian's attempt to departure from the Mages Guild, and subsequent death charting Tamriel's history - there's a treacherous job for you - not only is he alive and kicking, but he's even still the Arch-Mage of the guild. He's still got some exciting times to come, so I wanted to know, is there any chance we'll get to witness his huffy departure from the organization he founded, and final climactic battle against You-Know-Who?
Phrastus: Oh, well, Galerion's 'huffy departure' from the guild he founded already took place over a century ago. He merely recently resumed his old title for the duration of the present crisis. As soon as it's over, you can once again expect him to find the responsibilities of the guildmaster entirely too burdensome for one of his, uh, 'genius'. As for his death, I have never heard that he has come even close. He's a careful fellow, and I imagine that he's going to be among us for some time yet.
Morriel: What year did we summon this one from?
Phrastus: Uh, five eight three, or two, or … I forget, I was napping.
Morriel: I think it's three.
Nights Knight: [whisper] You summoned him from the wrong time?!
Phrastus: Farrun and Jehanna, Farrun and Jehanna, hmm ... there are locations in northern Wrothgar that are named similar to those you mentioned, but-but they're not now nor have they ever been High Rock kingdoms. Hmph. Way too many Orcs up there, not enough Bretons ... Of course, I suppose that could change in the future, but that's sheer speculation.
Morriel: Interesting, yes, I-I have heard that the Orcs are more active in that area; I suppose all of that's their land, then?
Phrastus: Well, they'll certainly tell you so, if you ask them.
Morriel: Hmph. Of course they will.
Nate: Right. It's the Last Question. So I'm going to ask about templars. Here it comes: is there an actual templar order out there that is the source of templar teachings, or does the templar simply represent an amalgamation of different teachings? There are four books in the game that paint the origin of the templar as a devout knight of Stendarr. And while I can see that that - where that might fit in - um, or rather, where that might fit in when the primary antagonist of the game's story is Molly B. - however we wish to summarize He Who Must Not Be Named - uh, it still doesn't say whether the Temple of Stendarr is responsible for the creation of these practices. So, does this light magic originate with the Stendarr priesthood, or is it simply something that they have repurposed?
Phrastus: Ah, this is a subject which is undergoing scholarly discussion quite actively at present. Uh, as the so-called templar discipline is rather recent and it may draw upon marshal magics originally developed by the Resolutes of Stendarr; in fact, that seems quite likely. But it also seems certain that the ability to use these magics has little, if nothing, to do with the faith of the wielder. The Resolutes - bless their souls - seem to have simply stumbled upon an approach which can be learned by anyone with the appropriate aptitude. Yeah, there. That wasn't so hard.
Nate: No, thank you very much, wow, we are-
Phrastus: Well, I hope my answers have proven satisfactory enough that you'll willing to s-send me back to Nirn?
Phrastus: I'm missing my [possip] cup and my afternoon nap.
Nights Knight: What do we say? That it feels like your skin may be torn off your body as you-
Morriel: Well, no, well, see, he's missing his cup of tea. You can't do that to a man who doesn't have his cup of-
Nights Knight: What does that have to do with the skin?
Phrastus: I don't think that's very funny at all.
Morriel: Nothing, really. But, have a nice trip; thank you for answering our questions. Uh, enjoy that tea, and ... forgive us for the pain. Bye-bye...