Lands of Tamriel, an Epic Fantasy
Cyrodiil, also known as The Imperial Province, is the capital province of Tamriel. It is the homeland of the Imperial race.
The early Aldmeri settlers who came to Tamriel established strongholds on the Summerset Isles and along the coasts of Tamriel, but did not venture far inland. Only oral histories and the fragmented ballad of Topal the Pilot, an Aldmer adventurer and explorer, offer glimpses of the ancient beast races that inhabited the land, but they are shadowy, mist drawn portraits of a time before reckoning. It was not until the coming of the Ayleid that Cyrodilic history truly began. As mentioned in “A Pocket Guide To The Empire”, “The Ayleids were ancient Altmer, cousins of all the elven races that exist today. Over time, they became a distinct people, crafting a civilization whose ruins still puzzle and fascinate modern archaeologists and adventurers.” This is hinted at by the dialogue in Oblivion where when on rumours one might say something similar to ’Ayleid ruins are thousands of years old, and have much treasure. The traps still work after so long, which is amazing. The ancient Nedic people, ancestors who were in Cyrodiil long before their modern-day counterparts, came in during the First Era. Spreading south from their presently primitive and arctic land of Skyrim, they became slaves of the Ayleids, once man-mer tensions in Skyrim reached its peak. One of the most important events of Cyrodilic history is the slave rebellion of 1E 242. The men and mer had been fighting in Skyrim for quite a while, however this revolt, led by Alessia, handed the entire region to the insurgent humans. “The heart of Tamriel was going to belong to these former slaves, present day Cyrodiilics or Imperials, forever more.” Imperials are related from the Nords who eventualy settled in Cyrodiil.
In an alliance with Skyrim, the Alessian Empire pushed far west towards High Rock, which, at the time, was under the control of the Direnni, a clan of Altmer aristocrats. Another opening was present at this time, as described in “A Pocket Guide to the Empire”: “The prophet Marukh’s teachings brought both identity to Cyrodiil, codifying the pantheon most civilized Tamriellians worship to this day, as well as conflict, due to the more severe strictures he espoused.” Another big event in the history of Cyrodiil occurred in the year 1E 2703: the Akaviri invasion. This event not only affected Cyrodiil, but brought all of Tamriel together as one to fight the new threat of Akavir. The Akaviri forces were fought off, and the people of Tamriel subsequently became more cooperative with one another once they understood their values and boundaries. Under the new rule of Emperor Reman I, Cyrodiil became cosmopolitan, and incorporated architectural and geometrical aspects of High Rock, Colovian, Nibenese, and even Akaviri culture. This led to the diversity of Cyrodiil and the places certain races went based on their preferences. The Imperials preferred the inlands, which is why most could be found at the heart of Cyrodiil. On the other hand, races like the Argonians of Black Marsh and the Khajiit of Elsweyr stuck to themselves and went for more suitable places away from their human neighbors.
The Second Era
The Second Empire of Cyrodiil continued to expand, controlling almost all of Tamriel. All was normal, until the assassination of Emperor Reman III and his son Juilek, which marked the end of the First Era, and the Second Empire. The government was under the control of Akaviri Potentates, and it continued to evolve until the last Potentate was killed in the year 2E 430. The Empire maintained a steady structure, unlike future empires. Throughout the rest of the Second Era, Tamriel was in a state of chaos and corruption also known as the Interregnum. Nibenay and Colovia split apart, and farms, villages, and even highways were in ruin. Boycotting arose. Stealing, pillaging and murdering in towns abounded. Many tried to claim the Imperial throne, and the potential tyrants were slain by the guard. Claims of many kinds brought the worst of battles between neighbors. Skirmishes happened, but few things caused full scale war. This chaos lasted for centuries. The only hope for Tamriel was Tiber Septim. He started the Third Empire with new governmental states and laws, and helped Cyrodiil and the rest of Tamriel thrive. He was led to greatness when honored the name of Talos the Merchant, Watcher of The Empire. The Empire has thrived since then. The diversity gained its strength, yet the men ignored the mer peoples. All eventually was weakened by the War of the Red Diamond and The Imperial Simulacrum.
The Imperial Province continued to be the stable heart of the Empire, offering a good model to its satellites of government that settles disputes by diplomacy, not by force of arms. The marriage of Lady Alessia, daughter of the Countess of Chorrol, to Count Marius Caro of Leyawiin typifies this, a perfect blend of love and sound political judgement.
Nevertheless, there have been a few frightening moments in Cyrodiil. A suspected outbreak of the Knahaten Plague, a threat for the first time in hundreds of years, sparked panic along the southern border with Black Marsh. It was revealed to be a hoax, perhaps created by Argonians fighting back against Imperial incursions led by the Blackwood Company, and the fear was dissipated. Family strife in Kvatch claimed the lives of both sons of Count Haderus Goldwine, vying for the inheritance. While peace has been restored, the Count mourned the death of his sons and did not designate a new heir.
In the Imperial Court, there was thankfully no such tragedy. While the Emperor chose not to remarry following the Empress’ death, she left to him three healthy sons who have spent their adult lives learning the arts of politics from their masterful liege and father. Crown Prince Geldall had already taken many of Uriel’s responsibilities, and impressed one and all with his acumen. As the heart of the Empire is solid, all of Tamriel is strong.
However, certain events turned the whole of Tamriel upside down. It began with the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim VII and his three known sons, and culminated with the invasion of the Imperial City by Mehrunes Dagon.
The events that followed were known as the Oblivion Crisis . Oblivion Gates opened all over in Tamriel, with the first completely destroying the city of Kvatch, an event later to be known as The Sacking of Kvatch. Other battles took place in Cyrodiil, including: The Battle of Bruma and The Battle of the Imperial City. The illegitimate son of Uriel Septim VII, Martin, was finally crowned Emperor, and with the divine help of Akatosh, cast down Mehrunes Dagon back into Oblivion. After these events, Tamriel was thrown into chaos and political strife.
Each city has its own Count/Countess that rules over the city (the county seat), and the surrounding county, which has the same name as the city. Anvil County is a small area to the west of Imperial City, ruled over by Countess Umbranox. Bravil County is the land on the west side of the Lower Niben, and is ruled by Count Regulus Terentius. Bruma County, ruled by Countess Narina Carvain, is to the west of Bruma, and borders Cheydinal County, which is the land to the north of Cheydinal, it is ruled by Count Andel Indarys. Chorrol is County seat of Chorrol county, which is the area north of Chorrol, it is ruled by Countess Arianna Valga. County Kvatch is the land to the Northwest of Kvatch, it was ruled by Count Ormellius Goldwine, who died in the Daedric assault on Kvatch, with his death the job of assigning a new Count rests with the Elder Council. Count Marius Caro and Countess Alessia Caro control the land from the Panther River down to the Topal Bay. Skingrad’s Count Janus Hassildor controls the land in between the Gold Road and the Green Road. The Imperial City doesn’t have a Count as it is ruled by the Emperor and the Elder Council. The Imperial City has no accompanying county, but the Imperial Reserve is located to the west and the Nibenay Basin to the east.
Cyrodiil is mostly an expanse of forest and mountains. Its heart, the Nibenay Valley, is a vast plain, enclosed by equatorial rain forests. Many rivers flow through this area, and as one ventures further down the rivers, the land slowly becomes more sub-tropical, eventually giving way to the swamps of the Black Marsh. The elevation rises gradually to the west and sharply to the north. The western part of the region is relatively dry. The Velothi Mountains (Valus Mountains, as the Imperials call them) to the east have some roads, but most travel in Cyrodiil is dominated by rivers. Cyrodiil is the most diverse province in terms of geography and climate.
The Nibenay Valley is the most prominent area of the land, a great grassland with Lake Rumare in its heart. Several small islands dot the surface of this lake, and between them stand great bridges. It is on these islands that the Imperial City stands. The rest of Cyrodiil also contains the cities of Anvil, Bravil, Bruma, Chorrol, Cheydinhal, Kvatch, Leyawiin and Skingrad.
Prior to Oblivion, and specifically in the Pocket Guide to The Empire, Cyrodiil was described as a vast jungle. Arena’s maps of the region with a boreal green, fading into brown in the west and a richer pine green in the southeast, towards Black Marsh. Oblivion, however, found Cyrodiil to be completely lacking in any form of tropical climate. Former game developer Michael Kirkbride wrote a minor text rationalizing the change within the game, wherein Emperor Tiber Septim uses CHIM to bring a temperate climate to the region. The Imperial Library refers to the text as a “retcon”.
_ “‘You have suffered for me to win this throne, and I see how you hate jungle. Let me show you the power of Talos Stormcrown, born of the North, where my breath is long winter. I breathe now, in royalty, and reshape this land which is mine. I do this for you, Red Legions, for I love you.’”_– From the Many-Headed Talos
Most of Cyrodiil’s population is Imperial, but the Nibenay Valley is largely multicultural, and is often the site of conflicts between rival Khajiit and Argonian. The northern city of Bruma is largely occupied by Nords. Elves are dispersed throughout Cyrodiil and the Count of Cheydinhal is a Dunmer with Cheydinhal itself having a large Dunmer population due to its proximity to Morrowind. Orc’s aren’t seen very often.
Imperial culture is a pragmatic melting pot of the various contrasting cultures of the provinces, unified by the strong hereditary Emperor and bureaucracy, the rule of law, a professional army, and tolerance of disparate polytheistic cult worships. Education and wealth is broadly distributed through all social classes where Imperial culture has flourished. Many citizens are literate and protected under Imperial Law.
Persons of all races and creeds can advance in wealth and status in commerce, the bureaucracy, and the military. However, moral and political corruption at the highest levels of Imperial society, and the economic strain of maintaining military occupations in widely separated hostile provinces like Morrowind, signals the impending decline of the Empire.