Sermon 26 shows us the attempt and eventual capture of another one of Vivec's children, this time a strange collection of demons called "The Pocket Cabal." It deals heavily with magic, and the Telvanni, and generally only serves to confuse most readers.

In Morrowind, Sermon 26 grants a bonus to the Sneak skill. It is worth 200 Septims and weighs 3 units. A copy can be found in the shrine at Ashurnibibi, the Helas Ancestral Tomb, and in the Secret Library at the Hall of Justice in Vivec.

Sermon 29 names this Sermon "The Rogue Plane." Its number is 81, which references the word "He."

Since they are referred to plurally, we can probably interpret their name literally. So a Pocket Cabal is a group of persons or entities that act in secret. The only question is whether "Pocket" refers to the total size of the Cabal, or to the size of the individual members of the Cabal. Since we later see the members hiding in the mouths of slaves, we can assume the latter.

House Telvanni is one of the Great Houses of Morrowind. The list of Houses considered to be "Great" changes over time, but it's hard to say if Telvanni has ever not been counted among them. Leading Telvanni members are often practicing magicians, or study magic, and are frequently considered to be eccentric, insular, and paranoid. This reclusive attitude creates an air of mystery and… oh well, is it any accident that Sotha "Mystery" Sil is also a mage?

This tendency towards sequestration and impartiality makes them perfect candidates to fill the "Mage" portion of the Dunmer House enantiomorph. Though they may not know it, they fit their role as the Observer very seriously - historically Telvanni have been resistant to political involvement.

Dark Elves living in lands filled with gigantic mushrooms are a trope that the Elder Scrolls universe inherits from other settings, most notably the Underdark from various Dungeons and Dragons settings. While I haven't been able to find a reason for the massive size of the fungi in any of the aforementioned settings, I can say that the incredible size and freakish shape of the mushrooms in North-East Vvardenfell were produced via careful manipulation by Telvanni magicians, who utilize the monstrous fungus as buildings, preferring them over the more traditional "Magician's Tower" trope of other fantasy settings.

The Mage's Tower has a great deal of significance, both symbolic and practical, in many Western esoteric practices. Unfortunately, there's so much to cover that I can't figure out where to start. But for the purposes of Elder Scrolls Lore, the Tower is often used as a symbol that represents the structure (figurative or literal) in which the King, and the King's treasure, resides. When applied to Mages, the Tower is where the Mage practices and stores his secrets.

This is the first and clearest connection Sermon 26 has to the one that follows it, a trend we see in many of the Lessons that have followed Sermon 20. The destruction of each of Vivec's children leads to a Scripture that relates to the lessons learned in the previous Lesson.

In this case, we are beginning to see the connection between the Pocket Cabal and the Sermon of the Word, the concept of which we will cover extensively in the next Lesson. Just keep in mind that The Word and Magic are closely related.

Litanies are repetitive prayers that often use a call and response format. Litany fiends seem to be demons that feed off the excess magic produced by the hymns of the slaves. So you could say they are fiends for litanies.

Grabbers from the Adjacent Plane show up a few times in the 36 Lessons. Lore fans often debate what they could be, and I have a few theories myself.

First, yes, I suspect that they could just simply be some kind of demon or inhabitant of a parallel Daedric realm in Oblivion. But that is Boring And Therefore Wrong.

Second, I can't shake the feeling that the Grabbers are a physical manifestation of the psychological phenomenon known as Cryptomnesia. This at least would explain their need to adopt ("grab") concepts and principles from Tamriel for use in their own timeline.

Third, in a meta-gaming sort of sense, I wonder if they perhaps represent a fictional, exaggerated incarnation of other development studios, known for stealing ideas from their neighbors? All personal interpretations aside, the Grabbers are a thorn in Vivec's side for a few Sermons. They want what Tamriel has, and what Vivec can create, and they are a threat because of that.

The original concept art for Telvanni wizards suggested that they floated around in hollowed-out bug carcasses.

It's probably pretty obvious, but this is an insult referencing Vivec's submission to Molag Bal earlier in the 36 Lessons. Clearly this mage gets what he deserves.

Sadrith Mora, which translates to "Mushroom Forest" in Dunmeris, is a strange and corrupted place, consisting of scattered islands and magic-twisted mushrooms. Does this sermon serve in some way as a myth intended to explain the odd landscape of Sadrith Mora? If so, it certainly doesn't treat the Telvanni very favorably.

This is another clue tying the Pocket Cabal to the Scripture of the Word that follows. It is implied that the "languages" of the Pocket Cabal are fatal, an idea that reminds me of the lethality of Thu'um.

We covered this in Sermon 13. I suggested that all mortal races on Nirn were "myths" bound by their mortality to time. Considering this, it is possible to envision "man" as the subject of the myths that are told in Tamriel.

Therefore Vivec may be inferring that, within hir dome-head demon, the subject of the myths inside is not "man," but rather something else. Something not of this realm.

Just kidding, it's actually all about Pokemon!

Lesson Twenty-six

Synopsis | Narration

Then Vivec left his architectural rapture and went back to the space that was not a space. From the Provisional House he looked into the middle world to find the fourth monster, called The Pocket Cabal.

The monster hid itself in the spell-lists of the great Chimeri wizards of the extreme east, where the Emperor Parasols grow wild. Vivec disguised himself as a simple traveler, but radiated a tenuous sense-fabric so that the wizards would seek him out. Of Muatra he made a simple walking dwarf.

Before long the invisible one was among the libraries of the east, feeding the essential words of The Pocket Cabal to his walking dwarf and then running when the magic would fail. After a year or two of this thievery, Muatra was sick to its stomach, and the walking dwarf exploded near the slave pens of a wizard's tower. The Pocket Cabal then slipped itself into the mouths of the slaves and hid again.

Vivec then watched as the slaves erupted into babble and breaking magic. They rattled their cages and sung out half-hymns that formed into forbidden and arcane knowledge. Litany fiends appeared and drank from the excess. Grabbers from the Adjacent Place came into the world sideways, the slave talking having disrupted the normal non-cardinal points.

So of course a giant bug appeared, with the greatest eastern wizard inside it. He could see past Vivec's disguise and knew of the warrior-poet's divinity but he thought himself so powerful that he talked harshly:

'See what you have wrought, silly Triune! Columns of nonsense and litany fiends! I cannot believe how reason or temperance can be made whole again due to your eating, eating, eating! Consort with more demons, why don't you?'

Vivec stabbed the wizard through his soul.

The giant bug harness fell on the slave cages and the slaves ran about free and reckless, too reckless more with pregnant words. Colors bent into the earth. Vivec created a dome-head demon to contain it all.

'The Pocket Cabal is therefore interred here forever. Let this be a cursed land where sorcery is broken and maligned.'

Then he picked up Muatra by the beard and left the ghostly hemisphere of the dome-head demon. On its boundaries, Vivec placed a warning and a song of entrance that contained errors in it. With mock bones of half-dead Muatra he created the tent poles of a fortress-theory and fatal languages were imprisoned for all time.

Seht appeared and looked on what his brother-sister had created. The Clockwork King said:

'Of the eight monsters, this is the most confusing. May I treasure it?'

Vivec gave Seht leave to do so, but told him never to release The Pocket Cabal into the middle world. He said:

'I have hidden secrets in my travels here and made a likeness of Muatra to ward against the unwise. Under this dome, the temporal myth is no longer man.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.