- Do you mean, where were the Khajiit when the Dragon Broke? R'leyt tells you where: recording it ... While you were fighting wars with phantoms and giving birth to your own fathers, it was the Mane that watched the ja-Kha'jay, because the moons were the only constant, and you didn't have the sugar to see it. We'll give you credit: you broke Alkosh something fierce, and that's not easy ... You did it again with Big Walker, not once, but twice! Once at Rimmen, which we'll never learn to live with. The second time it was in Daggerfall, or was it Sentinel, or was it Wayrest, or was it in all three places at once? Get me, Cyrodiil? When will you wake up and realize what really happened to the Dwarves? — Where Were You When the Dragon Broke?
A Dragon Break is a phenomenon where linear time is broken, and becomes non-linear. The "Dragon" refers to Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time. A Dragon Break not only precedes significant changes in Tamriel, but challenges mortal comprehension. It is a re-alignment of time and space in response to an event which makes the normal continuity of reality impossible. Such intervals are often called a Middle Dawn, referring to the Dawn Era, of whose chaos the Dragon Break is a refrain. The area that is noticeably affected, and length of the interval measured in the areas not apparently affected, varies with each Dragon Break. Historically, the cause is often attributed to mortals manipulating divine matters.
The first established Dragon Break in known history was in Skyrim during the Merethic Era, and it served to bring about the end of the Dragon War. The ancient Nords confronted Alduin himself, the First-Born of Akatosh and leader of the dragons. With no conventional means to defeat the wyrm, their ancient champions instead used an Elder Scroll and the power of the thu'um to create a localized Dragon Break and eject Alduin from their time, propelling him into the future. His temporary defeat cleared the way for Nordic civilization to emerge as it is known today.
A sect of the Alessian Order, the Maruhkati Selective, is also said to have caused the longest known Dragon Break, which spanned one thousand and eight years from the 13th to the 23rd centuries in the First Era, by attempting to exorcise elements of Elven Auriel from Imperial Akatosh. This is the only Dragon Break that is a universally-known event, though some civilizations claim to have been protected from it. Yet this event's actual occurrence is disputed, most notably by the scholar Fal Droon. Droon attributes a combination of factors, including translational error by historians, a lack of decent archaeological records, and a bout of religious creativity in the Third Era, to the creation of a legend of a millennium of Alessian rule and paranormal events. He believes that no cosmic disruption took place at all, and that the "Dragon Break" story was concocted in the early Third Era to explain inconsistencies in the Encyclopedia Tamrielica. He cites "scholarly inertia", obsession with "eschatology" and fanatical "Numidiumism" in order to explain the perpetuation of the error. This explanation, which tries to resolve solely Imperial accounts of the event, notably neglects to explain the records which a variety of cultures hold. In the case of the Dunmer of the era, they were hostile towards the Empire, yet they still acknowledge a Dragon Break occurred.
The first activation of Numidium by Tiber Septim at the town of Rimmen in Elsweyr is said to have preceded a Dragon Break that heralded the Third Empire. The second activation of Numidium in the Iliac Bay region during 3E 417 brought about another Dragon Break. Sentinel, Wayrest, Daggerfall, Orsinium, and the Empire all gained control of the Totem of Tiber Septim, somehow at the exact same time, which allowed them to control the power of the golem. When this "Warp in the West" ended (the effect objectively seemed to last roughly two days), the many other kingdoms of the Iliac Bay region were conquered. Each remaining kingdom consolidated its newfound territory and swore fealty to the Empire, bringing historically unusual harmony to northwestern Tamriel.
Because the use of Numidium has not once, but twice been associated with a Dragon Break, it is speculated that some of the events surrounding the Battle of Red Mountain and the disappearance of the Dwemer around 1E 700 may be explained by a Dragon Break.
- Vivec's "Scripture of the Numbers" begins with "The Dragon Break, or the Tower. 1". The Dragon Break could also be associated with number 17, "The Hurling Disk".[OOG 1]
- A "kalpa" is thought to be the conventions governing the flow of time, and that the end of the Dawn Era and its chaos was the end of a previous kalpa.[OOG 2] Dragons Breaks could then be said to be interruptions in the new kalpa which began along with the Merethic Era.
- ^ a b Events of Skyrim.
- ^ Paarthurnax's dialogue with the Dragonborn.
- ^ Atlas of Dragons, 2E 373 — Brother Mathnan
- ^ a b c d e f Where Were You When the Dragon Broke? — Various
- ^ a b c d e The Dragon Break Re-Examined — Fal Droon
- ^ Reflections on Cult Worship — Cuseius Plecia
- ^ a b The Warp in the West — Ulvius Tero
- ^ The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec, Sermon Twenty-Nine — Vivec
- ^ The Song of Pelinal-Volume 7: On His Battle with Umaril and His Dismemberment
Note: the following references are not found in game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.
 See Also
- The Dragon Break Re-Examined by Fal Droon — Explanation of an historical error of timing
- The Egg of Time by Bthuand Mzahnch — A refutation of a popular theory among the Dwemer that the use of Lorkhan's Heart involved unjustifiable risks
- The Warp in the West by Ulvius Tero — Reports from Imperial Blades concerning the effects of the Dragon Break on the Iliac Bay region
- Where Were You ... Dragon Broke by Various — A brief description and multiple accounts of the Dragon Break