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Let me start by saying this is NOT a guide about items or characters, but a page with my theory on the Disappearence of the Dwemer mentioned in Skyrim, and on the inner workings of the automatons. I would like to start a discussion with the following:
During a quest in Skyrim to cure vampirism, the expert you speak to says that he had been to Oblivian, where he encountered the Dwemer. The thought that I had was that the Dwemer were put there by the Daedra, whom the Snow Elves, now known as the Falmer, worshipped. In fact, there was a record by the Snow Elves that claimed the Dwemer mocked their worship of the Daedra and "preferred instead, there gods of Reason and Logic." Not to mention the Falmer were enslaved and betrayed by the Dwemer, which may have led up to a ritual by the disgruntled elves that banished the Dwemer to Oblivion. This would explain why there are absolutely no Dwemer remains, other than the metalworks and automatons that were left behind.
On the subject of automatons, there is a book in Mzinchaleft written by a researcher that claims soul gems are an important component in the construction of Dwarven Spiders, and that the constructs were very clever, which suggests intellegence. I would think that instead of directly resonating to cause the steam power, perhaps a soul existed in the gem that can animate the metal frame. The soul in the gem would also explain the intelligence of the constructs, with the Centurions being the most advanced and deadly, with a grand soul gem. Any thoughts on the two subjects?