Disclaimer: Long and Full of Lore. Also spoilers about some quests.
The Dwemer race may have done what Malyn Varen could not in the quest “The Black Star.”
I don’t follow Dwemer related theories very closely, so feel free to add criticism or comments to the following statements if I’m wrong or if it has been thought of already. Anyway…
For those who don’t know, Malyn Varen was a student at the College of Winterhold before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He was exiled from said college after discoveries of his meddling in questionable uses of Soul Gems. In particular, his study and obsession with the idea of immortality via the keeping of his soul within these strange gemstones. He used a particularly powerful soul gem, Azura’s Star, to trap his soul and achieve a sort of twisted immortality.
But how does this have anything to do with the Dwemer? Well, that is where things start to get foggy. We have absolutely zero information as to what could have happened to the dwemer, and we have almost no information as to how developed their technology actually was. However, we can assume that they were extremely technologically advanced due to the fact that they have seemingly sentient minions and ruins that continue to run and operate quite efficiently, even years after their entire race’s disappearance.
One thing that we almost never see in dwarven ruins however, are signs of Magicka use. Aside from the occasional enchanted piece of loot laying around and a few soul gems, we see almost no signs of magical use at all. So even though other races have had access to magic since their theoretical beginnings, The Dwemer didn’t even have a single alchemy stand? It makes little to no sense at all. But this doesn’t mean that we have no leads as to what happened to them.
Soul gems are present in almost EVERY SINGLE Dwemer automaton. From worker spiders, to sphere guardians, to huge centurions, they all have soul gems inside of them. It is actually insane how many soul gems you can get just by clearing out one Dwemer ruin. By connecting this to what happened to Malyn Varen, we may have a lead. But there are a few problems with this explanation. One being that regular soul gems cannot absorb the souls of humans. However, we don’t actually know anything about what the Dwemer looked like either. We cannot rule out that the Dwarves may have not been human.
One such example of an instance of something like this happening is snow elves, now known as falmer. It is not possible to absorb the soul of Arch-Curate Vyrthur, one of the only two intact snow elves seen in Skyrim, into a regular soul gem. However, falmer souls can go into normal soul gems. This shows that in some cases, exceptions can be made when it comes to soul absorption.
So, that means that if the Dwemer were not human or Mer, they could have transferred themselves into soul gems. Which is exactly what I believe happened. I believe that the Dwemer race transferred their souls into soul gems in order to become effectively immortal and to allow their empire to prosper for the eras to come. There is a decent bit of evidence to this theory too. For one, the fact that soul gems are found in every automaton is pretty convincing. Also the fact that when inside Nechuand-Zel, a dwemer ruin under Markarth, the automatons are already attacking us before we turn on the auto-defenses via the control lever. This could also be why we see spider workers working on the various mechanisms inside of the ruins. They are actually being controlled by a Dwemer through the soul gem inside of them. Dwemer would want to keep their cities and mechanisms functioning, would they not?
One counter to this theory that I have heard before is Why did no one know that it was happening then? The answer is simple. The Dwemer lived in self-sustaining, underground cities. They were almost never seen by the outside world. The only alliance they had was their shaky alliance with the snow-elves, and these falmer were blind! They couldn’t see anything that was happening. The Dwemer applied yet another stroke of genius to their already amazing history and preserved their secrecy by blinding all of their falmer slaves. This allowed them to go about their lives in secrecy, and shows why not a single document, tome, or letter had a single word on the appearance or disappearance of the dwarven people.
Thank you guys for reading or skimming depending on your time schedule. If you guys have any questions about anything related to this theory lore wise, or just wanted to put in some input, I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.
Sorry for the rant.
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