Skyrim

Skyrim is a vast region set in the northern part of Tamriel. It is the home of the Nords, large and hardy men and women who have a strong resistance to frost, both natural and magical. It is bordered by Morrowind to the east, Cyrodiil to the south, Hammerfell to the southwest, and High Rock to the west. The island of Solstheim lies to the northeast of Skyrim.

Government

The collected province of Skyrim is ruled by the High King (or Queen) and their consort. Each hold is ruled by a Jarl. Until the Stormcloak Rebellion and Skyrim Civil War, the province was included in the Empire of Tamriel. While under this banner, Skyrim enjoyed military aid from the Emperor’s army and inclusion in world affairs, as part of the Elder Council. The High King and each Jarl held a seat on the council.

History

Skyrim, also known as the Old Kingdom or the Fatherland is the home of the Nords.

During the Merethic Era, Atmorans called the land Mereth, in recognition of the vast number of Mer that lived there. It was the first region of Tamriel to be settled by humans, who migrated there from the land of Atmora in the far north, across the Sea of Ghosts. According to legend, Ysgramor landed first at Hsaarik Head, at the extreme northern tip of Skyrim’s Broken Cape. It is said that he and his companions were fleeing the civil war in Atmora, which at that time had a sizable population.

For a long while, relations between the Snow Elves and men were relatively peaceful. However, the Snow Elves saw that the Nords, with their considerably shorter life expectancy, fast rates of physical maturation and expedient (by Elvish standards) reproductive cycle, would eventually overtake them if left unchecked. At the time, men were viewed by Snow Elves as being primitive and animal-like, and it was seen as no great moral remission to stop the spread of a potentially disastrous invasive species, who would destabilize the Tamrielic ecosystem. Thus, Elvish pogroms razed the city of Saarthal on what became known as the Night of Tears. Only Ysgramor and his two sons escaped back to Atmora, and, seeing the tenuous peace which had developed between the various factions, recognized the opportunity to turn their plight into a uniting force for the human race. Within a few years, Ysgramor returned to Skyrim with an army known as the “Five Hundred Companions”, composed of the heroes of the Atmoran Civil War who, without much resistance, drove the Snow Elves out and were knighted in the foundations for the First Empire.

Snow Elves persisted within the borders of Skyrim until the reign of the Thirteenth of the Ysgramor Dynasty, King Harald, at the beginning of the First Era. King Harald was the first to relinquish all holdings in Atmora (until that time, the Nords of Atmora and Skyrim had been considered the same group), proclaiming that the people of Skyrim were an independent people.

Vrage the Gifted started the expansion that would eventually lead to the First Empire of Men. Within fifty years of his reign, the Nords ruled all of Skyrim as well as parts of High Rock, Cyrodiil, and the Dunmer lands of Morrowind. The acquisition of Morrowind was particularly bloody, still remembered in Morrowind. The purpose of the formation of the Chimer-Dwemer kingdom of Resdayn was to expel the Nords.

The system which chose the successors to the Empire eventually proved to be its undoing. For a great while the Moot, a gathering of the lords of the many different Holds, chose the successor to the Empire. This lasted well until the death of King Borgas.

Geography

Skyrim features many different terrain types, including tundra plains, forests, highlands and mountainous regions. It is the most rugged region on the continent; not only containing five of the highest peaks in Tamriel, but also very snowy and cold. Only in the western reaches are there some measure of flat land, where most of the population resides. The rest of Skyrim is vertical; mountains, cliffs, and deep valleys. A variety of crops are raised in Skyrim, from wheat to the hardy snowberry. Of note is that the particular climate of Skyrim makes it the only region in Tamriel, outside of the most northern reaches of High Rock and Morrowind, suitable for the brewing of the infamous alcoholic beverage Nordic Mead, also known simply as “Rotgut”. This is because that, in addition to the local availability of certain ingredients, several times during the distillation process, the substance must be subjected to extreme cold temperatures, so that it may freeze and refreeze. The drink is noted for the distinct “cold” taste, similar to extraordinarily strong mint, which persists as a feeling of ice in the stomach, as well as for the very deleterious nature of its content. Nordic Ale is illegal throughout the Empire, but this does not stop many proprietors from stocking smuggled bottles for those brave enough to try a mug.

Economy

Skyrim is a wealthy and powerful province; the hold of Solitude has always been one of the richest and most influential regions. Recently, Solitude has grown ever more powerful, controlling much of the northern coastline following King Thian’s alliance by marriage with Macalla, the Queen of Dawnstar It has sought to expand its influence further by annexing several former Imperial fiefs, such as the island of Roscrea, ruled directly by the Emperor since Uriel V conquered it in the 271st year. There are also influences from Morrowind because refugees from Morrowind escape there, bringing new ideas, cultures, and stimulating the economy. In some cities, a citizen becomes a part of the economy by either logging or blacksmithing. In the fourth era, Skyrim was politically unified until the outbreak of civil war, which pitted the Eastern Holds against the Western Holds. Though this, coupled with the Great Collapse, has caused some damage to Skyrim’s economy, the city of Riften has become a industrial powerhouse, producing mead and fish. This has led to some political corruption, however, but on the whole, Skyrim is one of the more powerful and wealthy nations on Tamriel.

Religion

The pantheon of Skyrim consists of various deities. Most notably, the Nine Divines are worshiped. Specific deities venerated by Skyrim and her people include: Alduin, Dibella, Orkey, Tsun, Mara, Stuhn, Kyne, Jhunal, Shor, Ysmir, Herma-Mora, Maloch.10

Shor is considered the father deity of the providence, as opposed to Akatosh, the chief Divine of Cyrodiil. Some scholars report that Akatosh and Alduin are the same deity, while others disagree.

Daedra worship is rare in Skyrim. The main pantheon consists of Herma-Mora, an Atmorian demon who some claim is the incarnation of Daedric Prince, Hermaeus Mora. Mephala, the Daedric Princess and webspinner, is Herma’s sister, supporting claims that he is a Daedric Prince. Maloch, an incarnation of Malacath is the patron of the ostracized. This Daedric Prince was brought to Skyrim by the Orcs. Other Daedric Princes worshiped in Skyrim include Azura — whose followers fled Morrowind after receiving spiritual dreams from their liege; Nocturnal — worshiped by the Nightingales; Namira — worshiped by a cult of cannibals; and Hircine, largely patronized by lycanthropes.

Talos worship

Because Tiber Septim liberated Skyrim from the elves, many consider his divine apothesized form, Talos, as worthy of veneration. Worship of Talos was prevalent in Skyrim until the Thalmor and the Elder Council signed the White-Gold Concordat as a treaty to the Great War conflict. Within the document contained explicit demands by the Second Aldmeri Dominion to uproot the worship of Talos in Cyrodiil and its territories. Skyrim, at the time, was a territory of the Empire of Tamriel, its High King being a member of the Elder Council. Loyalists supported the efforts of Imperial Legion and the Thalmor to eradicate Talos worship in Skyrim, although rebellious groups such as the Stormcloaks refused to relinquish these beliefs. Popular insurgents included the Jarls Elisif the Fair (of Solitude) and Ulfric Stormcloak (of Windhelm). Sometime after the Concordant was signed into law, the shrine of Talos in the Temple of the Divines was vandalized and removed.

Hold capital cities

Scattered across the rugged landscape of Skyrim are five cities, as well as minor villages and settlements. The presence of more numerous and smaller cities gives the land a more natural, rural feel than the somewhat urbanized Cyrodiil.

Dawnstar

A garrison town on the northern coast of Skyrim. Capital City of The Pale It was after the destruction of a fortress in Dawnstar during 2E 283 that Potentate Versidue-Shaie declared martial law, leading to one of the most brutal and bloody periods in the history of Tamriel. Dawnstar is one of the northern most cities in Skyrim along with Solitude and Winterhold.

Falkreath

A city in south-western Skyrim, Capital of Falkreath Hold. Close to the border with both and Hammerfell. Just across the border in Hammerfell lies the town of Elinhir. Falkreath is known for its cemetery, which dominates the southern part of the town.

Markarth

A city in west-central Skyrim, the capital city of The Reach. Notable for possessing the Imperial College of the Voice, which was founded by Tiber Septim to restore the Voice to the art of warfare. Half of the town is controlled by a wealth family known as the Silver-Bloods, and violence runs rampant throughout most of the city because of the Forsworn.

Morthal

A town in west-central Skyrim, capital city of Hjaalmarch, close to both Dragon Bridge, and Solitude. The mage, Falion, who can cure Vampirism, is located there. The current Jarl in Morthal is Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone.

Riften

Also known as Rifton, Capital of The Rift this town is located in south-eastern Skyrim, close to the province’s borders with both Cyrodiil and Morrowind. Home to the Skyrim Thieves’ Guild, it was in Riften that Barenziah joined the Guild during her return to Morrowind from exile in Skyrim. Maven Black-Briar is the most influential person in Riften, and has both the Riften Guard and the Jarl in her pocket, as well as connections in both the Thieves Guild and The Dark Brotherhood.

Solitude

Solitude is the center of Imperial influence within Skyrim and capital city of Haafingar . Castle Dour is located there, from which General Tullius runs the Imperial Legion. The royalty are housed within the Blue Palace. Solitude is located far northwest of the center of the map. The home of the famous Bards’ College, Haafingar is also one of Skyrim’s few natural harbors and chief ports; ships from up and down the coast can be found at her crowded quays loading timber and salted cod for the markets of Wayrest, Anvil, and Senchal. Founded during Skyrim’s long Alessian flirtation, the Bards’ College continues to flaunt a heretical streak, and its students are famous carousers, fittingly enough for their chosen trade. Students yearly invade the marketplace for a week of revelry, the climax of which is the burning of “King Olaf” in effigy, possibly a now-forgotten contender in the War of Succession. Graduates have no trouble finding employment in noble households across Tamriel, including the restored Imperial Court in Cyrodiil, but many still choose to follow in the wandering footsteps of illustrious alumni such as Callisos and Morachellis.

Whiterun

A city in central Skyrim and capital of Whiterun Hold. It is the trade hub of Skyrim. The young Barenziah, during her escape, took shelter here for a week with a young lover during her return to Mournhold. This hold contains Whiterun and High Hrothgar and was once referred to as the “Imperial City of Skyrim” before it underwent several acts of chaos including a dynastic feud, attacks by Hörme bandits and frost trolls and a series of annihilating winters of alternating floods, droughts, and fires. A self-proclaimed priestess of Lorkhan, Jsashe the Witch-Queen, controls the county and the local witches’ coven. It is interesting to note that the local giant population seems to use the tundra outside Whiterun as a pasture of sorts for their mammoth herds, and a place to set camp, like Bleakwind Basin.

Winterhold

The capital city of Winterhold Once a wealthy and influential city and county in north-eastern Skyrim, Winterhold is heavily affected by Dunmer ways and ideas, being close to the border. It contains the Ysmir Collective and the well known College of Winterhold. Winterhold’s current Jarl is Jarl Korir. Due to the Great Collapse, most of the historic city sank into the ocean two hundred years prior to the dragon attacks. It is arguably the smallest hold capitol, with only a tavern, the Jarl’s Longhouse and the College of Winterhold.

Windhelm

Once the capital of the First Empire, current capital city of Eastmarch. The palace of the Ysgramor dynasty still dominates the center of the Old City. Windhelm was sacked during the War of Succession, and again by the Akaviri army of Ada’Soon Dir-Kamal the Palace of the Kings is one of the few First Empire buildings that remain. Today, Windhelm remains the only sizable city in the otherwise determinedly rural Hold of Eastmarch, and serves as a base for Imperial troops guarding the Dunmeth Pass into Morrowind.

Skyrim

Lands of Tamriel, an Epic Fantasy Moritz Moritz