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A Loathsome Civilization

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Main article: Books (Online)

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A most unexpected curiosity has entered my collection after being appropriated from a defeated Maormeri fleet. Why this text was aboard one of the vessels, I cannot guess, but it appears to be the journal of a diplomat to Thras written before 1E 2260. Though it is damaged, the descriptions of the Sload that remain legible are fascinating—assuming this is not some strange work of fiction or forgery. If it is legitimate, it is a remarkable find, as the Sload were loath to treat with any of the races of Tamriel.

We know that the slug-folk of Thras practiced foul necromancy, but their involvement with that dread art may have been more prominent than previously thought, if this is an authentic text. The author expresses frequent disgust at interacting with re-animated slaves. It seems the Sload also slaughtered and revived various sea creatures—turtles, crabs, and the like—to keep as pets. His repulsion did not end there, though, as he complained about the repugnant smell of the Sload, the several inches of slime-coated water upon the floors of any land-based building, and the various molds and fungi served as food.

There are mentions of elaborate sacrificial rituals, which I find unusual given their general rejection of worship. The Sload certainly entered pacts with the Daedra when it suited them, but the ceremonies described here are not indicative of typical Daedric sacrifice. They may have spent years grooming individuals to participate in re-enactments of the deeds of Sload mythological heroes and villains, with the eventual performance (which may have lasted weeks) culminating in the deaths of every actor by the application of “desiccation crystals" to the body. Ancestor worship? Unnamed deities? Preservation of ancient magics? It is impossible to tell.

More intriguing is a badly-damaged entry that discusses an audience in the submerged tower of an “Elder Distended One." I can make out little of the discussion between the two, but there are mentions of an “impressively corpulent body and strangely pulsating head," and three eyes that emerged upon its belly that each “opened again as a toothless mouth, disgorging [unreadable] that the attendants eagerly consumed." This is the first insight I have encountered into potential cultural leadership among the Sload.

It has caused me no end of frustration that the entries chronicling a visit to the “Menagerie of Sublime Infection" are nearly unreadable. Aside from the name, almost nothing of this section can be deciphered aside from several unnerving words implying all manner of affliction, from “suppurating extrusions" and “blood-rot" to “festering myiasis." Much about the Thrassian Plague remains a mystery—and perhaps one that is best left buried. I cannot, however, deny my interest in the whys and wherefores of the grotesque fascination with disease expressed here.

Now that I have documented my own immediate reactions to this text, I must send it along to colleagues in Alinor to hopefully verify its authenticity. Whether or not there is anything useful to be gained from it, at the very least it may add to our understanding of a terrible enemy to all the races of Tamriel in the unlikely event that such a threat re-emerges. If anything contained herein is factual, let us pray to Auriel that it never does.

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