The Elder Scrolls III / V: Sunder and Keening

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Jm419

Sr Member
Hello all,

Something I've always been clamoring to do was to build Sunder and Keening, two weapons which played a major role in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. If you haven't played Morrowind, or are trying to avoid all spoilers for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you might wanna skip to the pictures. (To be fair, there are only minor Skyrim spoilers here, though).

All right. This is going to take some explaining, so if you're curious about the backstory of these two weapons, read on. Otherwise, you can feel free to go look at the photos. :)



Sunder, the hammer of Kagrenac



Keening, the blade of Kagrenac

Probably the best comparison I can make between Sunder and Keening and a more familiar sword would be Anduril, from Lord of the Rings. Sunder, an ancient hammer, and Keening, a legendary blade, were both used in the heat of battle over the span of thousands of years in Tamriel, the world of the Elder Scrolls series. Together, they even felled a god - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

To begin, we have to go back to the old stories of Morrowind, knowledge gleaned throughout the game from conversations with characters or through reading books. The Dunmer, a fallen race of Dark Elves at the time of Morrowind (3E 427, six years before the Oblivion Crisis and roughly 200 years before Skyrim) were once a beautiful race of golden skinned High Elves, whose High King was a gifted and talented leader by the name of Indoril Nerevar.



Almalexia, Nerevar's wife.

Together with his wife, Almalexia, his close friend Lord Dagoth, and his generals, Lord Vivec and Lord Sotha Sil, Nerevar reigned over the High Elves (known as the Chimer) for decades. Together with Dumac Dwarfking, leader of the Dwarves, Nerevar and his armies defeated the invading armies of Skyrim, securing an uneasy peace known as the First Council. Morrowind, then known as Resdayn, flourished under the combined rule of Dwarfking and Nerevar, and the years of the First Council were marked by much prosperity and the growth of both cultures.

Soon, however, it came to Nerevar's attention that the Dwarves had secretly begun construction on a "brass god" known as Lorkhan. This mechanical terror would serve as an enforcer in the secret Dwarven plan for the subjugation of Resdayn and the destruction of the Chimer people. Unwilling to let this happen, Nerevar led his armies against his former ally, Dumac, in a conflict which raged for years.

The turning point of the war occurred at the Battle of Red Mountain, when Nerevar and Dagoth stole into the inner chambers of the Dwarven stronghold there. They encountered Dumac and his servant Kagrenac, the architect of the great monstrosity beneath the mountain. What happened next differs according to the accounts of those who were present.



A citadel on Red Mountain.

Nerevar may have confronted Dumac in hand-to-hand combat, which resulted in Nerevar's victory, at a great cost. Alternatively, Dumac and Nerevar may have together turned upon Kagrenac, who betrayed his Lord by building Lorkhan below. What we do know is that the battle raged into the Heart Chamber, where the god's artificial heart was prepared. Kagrenac used his tools, now known as Sunder and Keening on the heart in an attempt to wipe Nerevar from the face of the planet, but it backfired. In the blink of an eye, every Dwarf in all of Tamriel disappeared. They were simply gone.

In the battle, Nerevar fell, mortally wounded - perhaps by Dumac, perhaps by Kagrenac, perhaps even by Dagoth himself. When Vivec broke through the Dwarven lines and entered the citadel, he found Nerevar lying in Dagoth's arms, his life ebbing away. His dying words were to protect the tools, and never to use them to their own benefit. With that, Nerevar passed away, leaving Sotha Sil, Almalexia, Vivec, and Dagoth in combined command of the High Elves.



Lord Vivec as he appears in Morrowind.

Sotha Sil, Almalexia, and Vivec instructed Dagoth to guard the tools while they met with the Elven senate to debate the fate of the tools. When they returned, several months later, it became clear that Dagoth had succumbed to temptation experimented with the tools upon the heart - bestowing upon himself the power of a god, and now calling himself Dagoth Ur - the restoration of the evil sixth Great House of Resdayn. Acting quickly, the other three gained their own powers from the heart, and together, felled Dagoth in the Heart Chamber.

Azura, one of the great Nine Divines appeared to the three members of the Tribunal, and cursed them for what they'd done to betray Nerevar, one of her personal favorites. She stripped them of their beauty, their knowledge, and their wealth and cast them into darkness, causing their skin to become the color of ash and their eyes to turn red. So the Chimer became Dunmer - the High Elves fell.

Together, the Tribunal used their power only for good, for many hundreds of years. They accomplished many heroic deeds and saved the land countless times - but soon, more than eight hundred years after the death of Nerevar, the three returned to Red Mountain to perform a ritual to rekindle their fading power, as they'd done every year. However, this time was not like the others. It was clear that Dagoth had returned, and regained his body - he had grown so powerful that the three members of the Tribunal could not contain his power. They were forced to retreat, their power doomed to fade.



A Blight storm on the slopes of Red Mountain.

Dagoth Ur caused the volcano to enter a permanent state of eruption, spewing death and disease upon the land. He split the tools of Kagrenac, hiding them deep within separate ruins of ancient Dwarven citadels in the ruined landscape around the mountain. He protected himself with Ash creatures; totally loyal to him and merciless against anyone else. The Tribunal hastily erected a tall fence around Red Mountain to contain the Blight, as the curses came to be known, and Vivec sent his personal bodyguard to guard the Ghostgate, the valiant Buoyant Armigiers. Together with the Ordinators, the ancient protectors of the house of Indoril, the guards held back the spread of the Blight, but could do no more. The Tribunal retreated to their own citadels, and the world began to fall into ruin. It was into this time period, six hundred years after the fall of the Tribunal, that the Nerevanine came to Morrowind.



Landfall in Morrowind.

The Nerevarine was prophesied to have been Nerevar reborn, and much of the game of Morrowind is finding out the truth behind that prophecy. After undergoing many trials, proving to the world that the prophecies were true and even meeting the goddess Azura, the Nerevarine was called before Vivec, one of the last to see Nerevar alive. After asking the Nerevarine some questions, Vivec gave him his blessing and tasked him to end the Blight - to defeat Dagoth Ur. To aid him, Vivec provided him with the first of Kagrenac's tools; Wraithguard. Without this gauntlet, the enchantments on Sunder and Keening would kill any who held them.



The legendary gauntlet of Wraithguard.

The Nerevaine retrieved the two remaining tools from their respective citadels, fighting through hordes of enemies to rescue the fallen tools. Returning to Vivec, the god then tasked the Nerevarine to destroy the heart of Lorkhan; by smashing it twice with Sunder so it "rang" and then by striking it five times with Keening to shatter it. Then, and only then, would Dagoth Ur be mortal once more.

Nerevar reborn entered the citadel at the top of Red Mountain, and made his way down to the place where he had fallen; the Heart Chamber. Before entering, however, he was confronted by Dagoth Ur, who wanted to discuss the Nerevarine prophecies - and what really happened that day beneath Red Mountain - the day Nerevar had died. After a brief discussion, Nerevar and Dagoth Ur crossed blades once again, and Nerevar was victorious.

However, upon entering the Heart Chamber, Dagoth Ur returned to life. The Nerevarine hurried to the heart, and after following Vivec's instructions to the letter - astonishing and horrifying Dagoth Ur, who could not believe Nerevar would not want the power for himself - Nerevar reborn turned to face his old friend for the last time. So it was that Dagoth Ur perished beneath Nerevar's blade. So it was that the Blight was ended. So it was that Morrowind was saved.



The deactivated Ghostgate, standing to serve as a memorial - and a reminder.

NOTE: Keening does appear briefly in Skyrim, but serves as little more than an Easter egg for Morrowind players.

_______________________________________________________________

I always thought Morrowind was the best game I ever played. I recently replicated a small piece of jewelry from the game, but last week I started something, well, a little more impressive. Take a look.

I've started with Keening. The hardest part has been the scaling, actually. How big do you make it, anyway? My model's about sixteen inches long - or it will be when it's finished. Anyway, enough reading. Let's get to the build photos!



Here is the lathed grip and the beginning of the "blade cage:"





The blade was kind of a pain. It's supposed to be a six-sided rock crystal, and rough. While that's hard to do on a machine, I managed to get my cuts not quite straight, my routed edges not exactly sharp. :lol It turned out all right, though, but it's perhaps a little too long.

Anyway, wood's not gonna work for that, so I made a mold.



First time I've ever done this with Legos... genius. If you ever make a mold, this is the way to do it.



The random circular patch is from my depression rod - wood floats in silicone, you know? I needed something to keep it in the mold, so I just put my lathe's tool rest on it. Worked for me. :)



I thought this was funny. This is the bottom of the mold; one can actually read a reversed "LEGO" on the inside of the little nubbins. If you look closely, you can see the wooden master beneath some of those nubbins.

And my first cast worked out just fine:





Crystal clear, so I'll have to scuff it up a bit. :lol

Sunder's on the way, folks, and this build's going fast - so stay tuned!
 
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mosarmini

Active Member
Nostalgia!!! To this day Morrowind is by far the best RPG I have ever played, better than Skyrim, no regrets about that statement :3
 

Aus Askar

New Member
Great start and it was cool to revisit the events of Morrowind, my favourite RPG of all time. Best of luck with Keening, it looks promising.
 

Jm419

Sr Member
Hey guys, thanks for your comments. I've gotten some more work done today, and scarred up the crystal a bit. Hey, it's supposed to be fifteen hundred years old, after all. :)
 

Jm419

Sr Member
All right, folks. Got another update for ya.

This build's going pretty well. Here's where I'm at right now:



As you can see, I cast a new blade. It's sharper, clearer, and has cleaner edges. It's also held in place in the cradle by nothing more than friction, which is awesome - considering glue would be visible through the crystal.



The new blade is installed, obviously. As you can see here, the only major structure I have left is the blade tang; I have to figure out a way to attach the handle to the blade cradle. I'll probably end up using a screw as a tang.



The new blade is actually clear enough to read text through; see here:



And compared to the old blade (new blade on top, with sharper, cleaner tip):



So, making steady progress here; I hope to have this one finished up in the next couple of weeks.
 

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Jm419

Sr Member
I may be able to hook you up with a blade, but I'll have to see about that. I had a run go South a while back and I lost a helluva lot of money because I made some stupid mistakes. If I do a run, it'll be after I have three or four in hand.
 

mosarmini

Active Member
Sounds good enough, keep up your amazing work, thanks for bringing up that amazing feeling Morrowind gave me a while back :)
 

xdmray

Well-Known Member
nice! i never played any of the other previous TES. so i didnt know that Keening is also in the previous games. i have it hanging in Breezehome in the kitchen.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hah! I just found Keening the other day in Skyrim while cave diving and was wondering if it was some sorta quest item that I hadn't gotten the quest for yet. I put it in a display case in my Windhelm home and it glitched and now I can't equip it.:lol
 

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xdmray

Well-Known Member
it's part of arniel's endevour quest line. he is a mage in Winterhold.
it's a bummer you can't equip it back, that quest line has a cool ending.
 

Igniitus

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You have to do the quest to be able to equip it, it doesn't exist in the wild. You probably got a glitch to acquire it, and now the game is teasing you.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You have to do the quest to be able to equip it, it doesn't exist in the wild. You probably got a glitch to acquire it, and now the game is teasing you.
I actually found it in Tolvald's Cave (where you have to go to grab the thing, I believe), before I got the initial quest, thinking it was just another cave for me to spelunk.
 

Jm419

Sr Member
There is. I've been putting off updating the thread - I had a disaster and the thing fell on the floor, and everything shattered. I had to rebuild the cage essentially from scratch.

Basically, I still need to remake one side of the arm, but the handle is now attached.
 

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Moses

New Member
Seems we both had the same idea. lol

http://www.therpf.com/f9/mosess-replicas-other-stuff-56k-warning-145052/

I won't be making Sunder though and it'll be quite a while before I make Wraithguard. I honestly didn't think anyone else would have the idea to do a replica of Keening. The design is slightly modified for structural support though. For one there are 4 screws in the side pieces rather than 3 rivets. Using screws rather than rivets was so it can be taken apart in case something is damaged and I need to replace a part.
 
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Jm419

Sr Member
Hey, look at that. Great work, pal. Mine's way behind your build, lol. I've got to just put the time in on it. Mine's almost all sculpted, as I'm sure you saw. ;)
 

Moses

New Member
I'd love to see it when it's done. I've got this thread bookmarked so I can check on the progress. I'm currently drawing the cracks and such on the blade which I will probably carve tomorrow. Seeing your build was actually the reason I decided to join this forum so high five for that o/
 

Jm419

Sr Member
Hey, awesome. That brought a smile to my face for sure. I'll get back to work on it when I have some time. I like the way you did the blade cradle - the curved part over the blade itself. I might have to copy you on that, if it matches up with the concept art well enough. I see you modelled the Skyrim version - any particular reason for that?

I put the Sixth House Cup in Rethan Manor, once I had it finished. I had so much cool stuff in that game, because once I sold all my accumulated crap, I had so much friggin gold that I could just buy whatever enchantments I wanted.
 

Moses

New Member
I love Morrowind to death more than any other game I have ever played. There is one big problem though, the models are very low in detail and the textures are so stretched, low res, and a lot of the time difficult to tell the topology on that I can't really use them well for references. I figure that the Skyrim version would be more accurate to whatever concept art they may be drawing from and when details are better defined it is easier to tell what's what. That's one reason I'm having such a hard time mapping out the topology of the goblet in my mind and drawing the details. The throwing knife was also a pain in the ass. Keening doesn't have much to worry about in that department, but the blade is a drastic change from morrowind to skyrim. In morrowind it tapers straight to a point and has no real thickness to it. the skyrim one is more bulky and personally I like it better. I did go off of the morrowind one for the way the crescent's sections are shaped.


I modified a copy of keening from morrowind and changed it's proportions and such and textured it with screenshots my friend took to see what skyrims looks like and rendered them side by side. There's a significant difference. Remember that the morrowind one is straight from the game with no edits at all.




edit: Also, yeah, I believe the "blade cradle"(I call it a bridge cause it's goes over the blade) is accurate. I came to that conclusion when looking over the models. The blade goes through the bridges in the model and honestly is the only thing I can see holding the blade in. Because of that I also put a steel plate going through the blade about 1/8in from the base of it and it hooks into the side pieces. It doesn't go ANYWHERE lol. The way I've got keening built everything is very sturdy and I even dropped it on the floor today by accident from about 4 feet up and it was fine(i wear it around the neighborhood and show my friends the progress lol). The only weakpoint I've been able to pinpoint in my design is that it's not very strong if you're pushing on the tip of the blade AGAINST the bridges. The way the bridges are built into mine leave them with only a little bit of plastic holding them in. I remedied that though by flooding the slot they slide into on the side pieces with jb weld.
 
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