Lore:Elder Scrolls

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Contents of an Elder Scroll, as seen in TES IV: Oblivion
"Go ye now in peace. Let thy fate be written in the Elder Scrolls..." — A message to the Eternal Champion, as seen in Arena

The Elder Scrolls (Kelle in the Dragon Language), also called the Aedric Prophecies (though the accuracy of that term is often disputed), are scrolls of unknown origin and number which simultaneously archive both past and future events. The number of the Scrolls is unknown not because of their immense quantity, but because the number itself is unknowable, as the Scrolls "do not exist in countable form". They are fragments of creation from outside time itself, and their use in divining prophecies is but a small part of their power. They simultaneously do not exist, yet always have existed.

From a philosophical viewpoint, the origin and purpose of the Elder Scrolls is rather obscure and indescribably abstract. As one author puts it, "Imagine living beneath the waves with a strong-sighted blessing of most excellent fabric. Holding the fabric over your gills, you would begin to breathe-drink its warp and weft. Though the plantmatter fibers imbue your soul, the wretched plankton would pollute the cloth until it stank to heavens of prophecy. This is one manner in which the Scrolls first came to pass, but are we the sea, or the breather, or the fabric? Or are we the breath itself? Can we flow through the Scrolls as knowledge flows through, being the water, or are we the stuck morass of sea-filth that gathers on the edge?"

Any person gifted with prescient powers is able to interpret the contents of the Elder Scrolls with practice. The information revealed about the future is never absolute. Once an event foretold within the Scrolls is carried out in the world it becomes fixed within them. Such insight into the inner fabric of reality comes at a price, however, as each new foretelling and interpretation strikes the reader with blindness for a greater period of time, while simultaneously granting them a broader view of the Scroll's contents. Ultimately, the reader, having engaged in frequent acts of prophecy, is left bereft of their vision, forever after removed of their right to read the Scrolls. By time-honored tradition only those of The Cult of the Ancestor Moth may read from the Scrolls, the younger members caring for the elder as they gradually and irreparably lose their sight. Long ago, however, the Dwemer devised a means to extract knowledge from the Scrolls without requiring someone to sacrifice their sight. Complex machinery interfaces with the Scroll and draws out information, inscribing it onto a metal Lexicon which can then be read by those with the requisite knowledge. It is unknown how the quality or quantity of the information gained this way compares to that when read directly from a Scroll.

Numerous Elder Scrolls were stored at the White-Gold Tower within a chamber known variously as the Imperial Library, the Hall of Records, and the Elder Library. Once, after rumors circulated that a Scroll had been stolen, an Imperial Librarian attempted to take a complete inventory of the Scrolls, but the effort proved fruitless as their numbers and placement seemed to fluctuate for no discernible reason. Around 4E 175, the Elder Scrolls mysteriously vanished from the Library, and were scattered across Tamriel.

The year 4E 201 saw the discovery of three Elder Scrolls. Two Elder Scrolls were discovered in Skyrim itself, one hidden in the Dwemer city Blackreach and the other in the ancient ruin of Dimhollow Crypt. The third was located in the Soul Cairn.

Known Elder Scrolls

  • Elder Scroll (Blood)
  • Elder Scroll (Dragon)
  • Elder Scroll (Nocturnal's Curse)
  • Elder Scroll (Planemeld Obverse)
  • Elder Scroll (Sun)
  • Elder Scroll of Alma Ruma
  • Elder Scroll of Altadoon
  • Elder Scroll of Chim
  • Elder Scroll of Ghartok
  • Elder Scroll of Mnem
  • Elder Scroll of Ni-Mohk
  • Elder Scroll of Rhunen


  • Arngeir of the Greybeards viewed the Elder Scrolls as "blasphemies".
  • Runes written on the Elder Scrolls and their covers seem to belong to the same language as those carved on the Eye of Magnus. Both kinds of artifacts being probably of aedric origin (Paarthurnax describing the Scrolls as "fragments of Creation"), it is likely aedric runes. The same kind of runes are found on the amulets of the Elder Council, who seem to be made of a metal similar to that of the Elder Scrolls' covers and crimped with a similar purple gem.


See Also