This sermon explores the Third Walking Way, and the nature of language and specificity in a universe where, like ours, there is no way to comprehend objective truth when even time itself can not be trusted.

In Morrowind, Sermon 27 grants a bonus to the Speechcraft skill. It is worth 200 Septims and weighs 3 units. A copy can be found in Ald'ruhn, in Guls Llervu's house, and in Ald Velothi, in Lledsea Relas's shack. In Vivec, it can be found in the Library of Vivec, and at the St. Olms Temple.

Sermon 29 names this Sermon "The Secret Fire." Its number is 120, which references the word "Stole."

This is one of those phrases in the 36 Lessons that stuck out the first time I read it. It's got just the right mix of brevity and oddity that I couldn't easily move past it, and I spent many years contemplating its meaning. At the end of the day, it's actually very, very deep. And it is a great line to open this Sermon with, since it speaks to the core of Sermon 27's message.

Perhaps language is based on meat in the respect that it is a living thing, and will rot if bereft of life. Maybe it's based on meat because it comes from living beings, and as such carries with it all the flaws intrinsic to mortality. But more to the point of this Sermon, all language must be "tasted" or "consumed," a concept that we will cover in greater detail going forward.

A Sophist is a teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in ancient Greece. These days, the word is associated with someone who practices specious reasoning and moral skepticism. A Sophist would suggest that language is perfect and true, that it can be trusted, which makes sense to a Sophist, who makes their living entirely on the manipulation and implementation of language. The interpretation of language's legitimacy is how they ply their trade.

Now we arrive at the Third Walking Way, one which explores attaining divinity through the use of the Dragon Break - the point at which we become reunited with the Dawn, the beginning of reality, where all things happen at once.

In a post on the official Elder Scrolls Forums, Michael Kirkbride wrote a piece called "On Aldmeri Ancestor Worship" in-character as Vivec. In this post, he talks about people who refuse to consider the connections they have to their predecessors, and instead try desperately to create "little narratives" from recent events that describe their success in a way that makes it completely their own. On the subject of this desire to disregard all causal logic, Vivec says:

"it becomes akin to sensory deprivation, yet without the fear, for we sense things that remind us of the dawn"

This separation from their ancestors allows these madmen to create their own narratives, to reinvent themselves free from the deeds of those who have come before them. This must be done in a state where causal logic does not exist, because this reinvention cannot happen without ignoring the phenomenon of cause-and-effect, in the linear sense, upon which logic depends.

You're probably already familiar with one of these madmen - Mankar Camoran used the Mehrunes Razor to sever his ties with his ancestors and re-create himself according to his own will. By destroying his ancestral bonds, he rebuilt himself according to his whims, achieving a state of existence he considered closer to perfection, a new level of power so expansive that he could wield the Amulet of Kings as though he was dragon-born.

This is the key to the idea behind re-defining one's nature, of "arguing" a new truth. It cannot be done rationally, but rather in a state of determined insanity, a willing and methodical embrace of the irrational.

Don't apologize and hope to be forgiven. Beyond articulation, in other words, beyond the person who expressed the thought, there is no fault to be found. Furthermore, an apology does not present a position that can be argued, and therefore cannot be defeated. Think about how infuriating it would be to argue with someone who just keeps apologizing.

How did Vivec use this theory to steal Certainty? Simply by argument. Vivec exploited the fact that language (spoken and written) is an attempt to capture an uncertain perfection with certain limitations. Since truth can only be found outside the realm of perfection, the moment you express a thought through speech or writing, you compromise that perfection, and in so doing you lose the truth. This loss of truth can therefore be exploited by the previously-mentioned madmen to create a new interpretation of the truth, or a new conceptualization of it.

Nietzsche wrote at points a few things concerning Truth. For example:

A uniformly valid and binding designation is invented for things, and this legislation of language likewise establishes the first laws of truth. For the contrast between truth and lie arises here for the first time. The liar is a person who uses the valid designations, the words, in order to make something which is unreal appear to be real. He says, for example, “I am rich,” when the proper designation for his condition would be “poor.” He misuses fixed conventions by means of arbitrary substitutions or even reversals of names. If he does this in a selfish and moreover harmful manner, society will cease to trust him and will thereby exclude him. What men avoid by excluding the liar is not so much being defrauded as it is being harmed by means of fraud. Thus, even at this stage, what they hate is basically not deception itself, but rather the unpleasant, hated consequences of certain sorts of deception. It is in a similarly restricted sense that man now wants nothing but truth: he desires the pleasant, life-preserving consequences of truth. He is indifferent toward pure knowledge which has no consequences.

In this respect, "truth" is just a function of language. That is a very important observation. Without language there is no truth.

If each word in a language is a reference to a concept, then in order to avoid making a reference, one must remain silent. If every word refers back to the concept's original form, as in Plato's Theory of Forms, then the Dawn, where all Dragon Breaks lead, is the point at which the forms can be created.

Remember this line from back in Sermon 6? All these years I've been doing this, and I'm still not sure what it means here.

I strongly suspect this is related to the concept of Platonic Truth, the idea that all language and all meaning is shared conceptually by every living person, but that original meaning is lost to us in the same way that all things perfect are unattainable.

ALMSIVI reinvented themselves via the Dragon Break, using the Third Walking Way.

I don't think that this is a reference for meeting God in Sermon 11. Although, in a way, it might be, for if you are to meet God, you will do so as a Thief, or not at all. Instead, try reading C0DA again and thinking about how Jubal, the thief, kills Numidium - with silence, without reference, a suppressed aphorism.

This is likely a reference to "On Exactitude in Science" by George Luis Borges. The clothes are worn by fools and heretics because it allows them to reference the map and make statements they claim to be true.

On Exactitude in Science

Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley.

...In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

—Suarez Miranda,Viajes devarones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

Similar to other "eating" metaphors in the Lessons, this devouring and internalization of the truth is similar to Gnosis and Enlightenment. All language is based on meat, and you have to "taste" or experience truth if you want to truly understand it. A reference to truth is no substitute for experience.

This Sermon explains mostly how ALMSIVI exploited the phenomenon of a Dragon Break to disrupt time and re-write reality, or in other words, create a new truth. The theory is:

Special thanks to felixarrowny and tordirycgoyust who tuned in on Twitch and offered a lot of assistance during the development of these comments.

Lesson Twenty-seven

Synopsis | Narration

The Scripture of the Word, First:

'All language is based on meat. Do not let the sophists fool you.'


'The third walking path explores hysteria without fear. The efforts of madmen are a society of itself, but only if they are written. The wise may substitute one law for another, even into incoherence, and still say he is working within a method. This is true of speech and extends to all scripture.'


'Do not go to the realm of apology for absolution. Beyond articulation, there is no fault. The Adjacent Place, where the Grabbers live, is the illusion of the vocal or the middle realms of thought, by which I mean the constructed. This is how I stole the certainty of the Chancellor of Exactitude, perfect to look upon from every angle. When you come out of the vocal, you can never be certain.'


'The truest body of work is made up of silence: as in the silence that results from no reference. By the word I mean the dead.'


'The first meaning is always hidden.'


'The realm of apology is perfection and impossible to attack. Thus, the wise avoid it. Trinity in unity is the world and word of action: the third walking path.'


'The sage who suppresses his best aphorism: cut off his hands, for he is a thief.'


'The clothes of the broken map are worn only by fools and heretics. The map is an exit for laziness. It is the dusty tongue, which is to say the given chart that most take as a story that is complete. No word is true until it is eaten.'

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.