482. The autonomous automaton


They say invention is the art of creating order out of chaos, I am pretty certain however that if Razak’s final invention is discovered to have worked, then it can only mean more chaos for Tamriel. The risks of liberating their constructs from the boundaries of their own cities was obviously recognized by the Dwemer themselves, for the final piece, or at least the means to forge it, was hidden so deep within a locked and heavily guarded vault.

I do wish Neramo were here, he at least would make an argument as to a positive application for Razak’s invention, because even in a land whose culture has been so sculptured by magic, our progressive development is vitally dependent upon our physical invention and creativity.

However, whatever Razak’s original intent, since escaping Coldharbour I have witnessed necromancers corrupting the bodies of saints, Hagraven’s corrupting flowers, and daedic cultists corrupting the very dreams of men and mer. And I remember that at Carzog’s Demise on the Isle of Betnikh, there were some too who made the argument that the Aylied Relic could be employed for good.

So when asked if Razak’s invention worked I shall inevitably answer alas… and hope that nobody notices the small inconspicuous metallic creature that has been following me ever since I left the delve known as Razak’s Wheel.



481. How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge


As I enter a large chamber deep in the heart of the Razak’s Wheel delve, I am almost overwhelmed by the sickly stench of decaying flesh. I discover the festering body of a flesh atronach laying prone upon a raised platform, surrounded by a guard of dwemer constructs.


As I tried to work out whether the constructs were protecting the atronach from something, or something from the atronach, the machines began to attack. I had the rather macabre notion that perhaps the atronach was in-fact the machines attempts to create mortal life, in much the same way that mortals had once created them. But that unsavoury thought was soon enough dispelled when, as the last of the guardians fell to my blade, an Imperial necromancer appeared out of nowhere and quickly began to awaken her creation by her insidious dark arts.

It is most likely that the constructs had come across the necromancer and her abomination before she had the chance to finish its creation, and so she had retreated to the shadows to await an allies aid. Unfortunately that ally turned out to be me.


One final thought crossed my mind before my battle with the necromancer and her monster was done. Whilst traversing these ruins I saw no evidence that any other explorers had made it this deep into Razak’s Wheel besides myself and members of the Seventh Legion. That could only mean that this atronach was created from the body parts of her own comrades.

The flesh atronach may be a repugnant creature, but the necromancer that created it is without question the true monster.


480. Not all constructs are made equal


Whilst the ingenious architects and builders of these wondrous Dwemer cities are now all but folklore, their creations live on in self-sustaining autonomous societies where every construct is but a moving part of a much larger mechanism. But even in these egalitarian utopias not all are made equal. The design of Dwarven spiders, spheres and centurions has been found to be fairly universal throughout Tamriel, and for the most part the Dwarven constructs I encounter in Razak’s Wheel were made the same, only a few were made a lot bigger.

I begin to wonder about those who centuries ago subsisted amongst these constructs in their underground settlements. Living constantly with the stifling heat from the giant machines in the subterranean halls, the taste of stale, humid air, the smell of grease and burning oils, the sound of the metal spiders scuttling through the metal pipes in the walls, floors and ceilings, and the sight of the strange spheres that appear before you seemingly out of nowhere, then suddenly and violently bloom like metal flowers to stand awkwardly upright. Or even subconsciously, the constant uneasy feeling that the eyes of the centurions are watching your every move.

Surely some amongst Dwemer society must have felt a little resentment towards their own creations, whether it be for their unnaturally relentless efficiency, or because the more freedom the constructs gained, the more freedom the Dwemer themselves would have lost.

And from there perhaps one might begin to speculate as to why so many spheres and centurions were needed. Was it to protect the Dwemer people from the those outside their walls of stone, or to protect the machines from those within?


479. The Imperial Legion at Razak’s Wheel


As her grip on Southern Bangkorai weakens more and more, it is perhaps a sign of desperation that Septima Tharn has sent such a large force into the ruins of Razak’s Wheel to chase what may be little more then myth or legend. Led by the experienced Major Cirna, other notable Imperials I encounter in the ancient city include the Spymaster Geta, the Archivist’s Poneria and Sanctius, and the seasoned Centurion Solinthia.


Whilst the Imperial presence is indeed strong, it has need to be, for Razak’s Dwarven constructs are proving to be uncommonly aggressive and robust.

The Imperial squads I encounter in the tunnels and halls are the expected mix of scouts, legionnaires, batllemages, and the odd necromancer. But what I don’t meet in these dark and murky ruins are any daedra. I witnessed first hand at the Bangkorai Garrison the Seventh Legion’s nefarious pact with Molag Bal, where banekin and daedroth made up their final line of defence. So given the obvious importance Tharn has placed in this venture, where are they now?


Perhaps it is that the daedra proved just too difficult to control in the tight confines of an underground city, even for the Legion’s battlemages. Maybe even this most corrupted of Legions have lost faith in their demonic allies.

Or perhaps the daedra just don’t cut the rustic mustard when it comes to battling Dwarven constructs. For much of the daedra’s power against mortals comes from the fear and dread that their outworldly and unhallowed appearance incites. Indeed most men and mer will either cower or flee when faced with the horror of these creatures of their nightmares. Yet Dwemer constructs know not the meaning of fear, anxiety, or indeed emotions of any kind. They have no imagination, so they do not dream. One might even go as far as to speculate that it might be in fact the daedra who fear the emotionless constructs of the Dwemer; for what unsettles a bully more then the bold and the dauntless?


Moreover, could it possibly be that the Gods themselves were in such fear of what these Mer had created, or had the potential to create, that it eventually led to the Dwemer’s sudden, inexplicable disappearance from Nirn?

Perhaps I should leave such whimsical conjectures to the scholars, for I suspect that before we finally catch up with Septima Tharn, I have not seen the last of the daedra in Bangkorai.


478. Standing on the shoulders of giants


Just off the southern desert road out of the city of Hallin’s Stand in Bangkorai, I find the burnt corpse of a Seventh Legionnaire next to the battered and broken remains of a dwarven construct. Underneath his body I recover charred notes that seem to suggest that he had taken the automation from the ruins of Razak’s Wheel to the south with the intention of taking it apart. I wonder what he, and more importantly his corrupted legion, are searching for?

From what I could gather from the Imperial’s books and papers I find scattered about the corridors, Razak was considered to be a quite brilliant Dwemer engineer who was working on the creation of a wholly autonomous construct that would be able to operate freely outside the confines of the Dwemer’s cities without having to employ a control rod. This then explains the Imperial’s interest in Razak’s Wheel. The thought that the Seventh Legion could somehow complete Razak’s designs, and create a tireless army of constructs that lack the human soldier’s mortal ‘flaws’ of morals, empathy and conscience is a frightful thought. Though it is unlikely that the Imperial scholars could achieve what the genius Razak failed to, one can never discount the jeopardy of accident or blind luck.


As I continued to explore the ruins I begin to recall the many books I had read on the Dwemer culture as a daydreaming youth. Having now visited many of the known locations across northern Hammerfell, I am now convinced most were written from the comfort of a scholars study without ever getting their hands or feet dirty in a real delve.

One common misconception I read was that all Dwemer lived in holes in the ground and deep under mountains, and that they would often go weeks, perhaps even months without feeling the warmth of the sun, or brush of the wind upon their skin. But like Volenfell, much of this city is built in and between mountains and hills, with hidden canyons, ravines and gorges linking many of their great halls and workshops. Of course unlike many of the settlements discovered in Morrowind and Skyrim, the Dwemer of Hammerfell had no fear of the elements because metal constructs tend not to rust in the sands.