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- 'House Dagoth is the "lost" Sixth House. In the First Age, House Dagoth betrayed the other Great Houses during the War of the First Council, and was destroyed for their treason.' — Hasphat Antabolis
House Dagoth is what remains of the ancient, defunct, Sixth Great House of the Chimer, headed by the demi-god Dagoth Ur. The House briefly reappeared in Vvardenfell c. 3E 400 but was destroyed shortly thereafter by the Nerevarine. Dagoth Ur attempted to create a new god, Akulakhan, to conquer Tamriel. Their primary bases lay within Red Mountain, in the ancient Dwemer crater citadels.
As far as is known, House Dagoth was much like any other Great House of the Chimer. Its advancement was done via struggle and confronting its elders. There isn't much information on any Great House in the early First Era; it's not known what support it had prior to Nerevar and Dumac's establishment of the First Council governing Resdayn (Morrowind).
The War of the First Council
In the War of the First Council between the Chimer and the Dwemer, some sources claim that House Dagoth stood with the Dwemer and were defeated, others that there was a subsequent Dunmer civil war against House Dagoth, and yet others claim that House Dagoth betrayed both sides in the Battle of Red Mountain. In any case, when the other Great Houses, led by House Indoril and their Hortator, Nerevar Indoril, defeated the Dwemer, House Dagoth was likewise destroyed. This same Chimer-Dwemer war caused the Chimer to turn into Dunmer in the late seventh century of the first era.
House Dagoth's leader was Lord Voryn Dagoth. He was at first a good friend of Hortator Nerevar Indoril. The specifics of what happened in the Battle of Red Mountain are lost to history. It has been suggested that Dagoth at first wished for the destruction of Kagrenac's Tools, while Nerevar sought counsel with his advisors -- Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. By the time Nerevar had returned with his advisors, Dagoth had already experimented with Kagrenac's Tools and the Heart, and had adopted the name Dagoth Ur. He fought against the Tribunal (and possibly Nerevar as well), and was driven underneath Red Mountain, beneath even the Heart Chamber, and the Tribunal kept Kagrenac's Tools.
Since Dagoth Ur had disappeared, and the rest of his house had been soundly crushed in battle, Great House Dagoth sank into obscurity until the late Second Era. Works such as Poison Song, record other "official" successors to the House of Dagoth. These may be romance novels but it is interesting to note that later sufferers of Corprus have described the powerful and compelling whispering of the God, Dagoth Ur in their dreams - despite the fact that they were not related to House Dagoth in any known way. It is clear that the House did not survive intact through the remaining 2220 years of the First Era, or the following 882 years of the Second Era. And the dispersion of the known surviving members of that House among the other Houses is known fact.
In the absence of other information therefore books such as Poison Song must stand. Therefore it is clear that the demi-God, Dagoth Ur, did rest somnolent for a comparatively short period and then began gathering the members of his dispersed and devastated House to him through their dreams.
In the year 2E 882, at the close of the Second Era, Dagoth Ur and his Ash Vampires became active again on Red Mountain, openly taking possession of the Heart Chamber. When the Almsivi attempted to partake in their annual ritual to re-infuse themselves with the power from the Heart of Lorkhan, they were opposed by Dagoth Ur and were ultimately unable to enter the Heart Chamber.
The arcane rituals that Dagoth Ur used to increase his own powers are not known. What is known is that during the time of his quiescence he gathered large numbers of his people to him and made them into creatures of fear.
When House Dagoth re-emerged, it sought a worldwide theocracy based on an as-yet-uncreated god, to be named "Akulakhan". This would be a second attempt at creating Kagrenac's god "Numidium", so Akulakhan was also known as Second Numidium. The surviving, distorted members of House Dagoth would then be the priests of Akulakhan.
House Dagoth sought to gain the people's support both by religious support (like the Tribunal Temple did), and by promising the banishment of all outside governance in Morrowind.
The Sixth House demonstrated a tremendous amount of planning, and constantly looked toward long-term goals. Dagoth Ur typically maintained a "wait-and-see" approach to his later conflicts. While House Dagoth was ideologically incredibly expansionist, it was also extremely slow in its movements. Vvardenfell was largely uncolonized until its doors were open to non-Temple folk in 3E 414; during the more than 400 years of conflict with the Tribunal, House Dagoth hardly expanded from Red Mountain at all—only to the lost Dunmer stronghold Kogoruhn and to some smuggling chains.
House Dagoth and the Tribunal
For the following four hundred years (roughly the first four hundred years of the Third Era), Almsivi sent raiding parties in an attempt to capture the Heart Chamber, but they were always unsuccessful. In the meantime, Dagoth Ur recruited followers by manipulating and controlling their dreams. Corprus disease appeared in these 400 years, pioneered by House Dagoth. Blight storms progressively began to ravage more and more of Vvardenfell during this period. The growth of blight storms was practically exponential, posing a massive threat to the people of Vvardenfell. To combat this, at some time around 3E 400, Almsivi began the construction of the Ghostfence. Once constructed, it required most of the Tribunal's power for its own maintenance. It was completed some time before 3E 417.
The Ghostfence may have been part of House Dagoth's larger plan. With most of their power devoted to maintaining the Ghostfence, Morrowind was opened to non-Temple settlement in 3E 414, and Almalexia and Sotha Sil lost the artifacts Sunder and Keening while raiding the Sixth House Bases. Vivec's intervention was the only thing that allowed Almalexia and Sotha Sil to escape with their lives. Given these tactical strengths, it is not hard to believe that the expansion of the Blight was intended as a feint, to force the Tribunal to spend a lot of energy to stop said storms.
In keeping with the feint hypothesis, House Dagoth rapidly obtained the use of several smuggler bases and ships along the Bitter Coast. With these, they either imported or exported custom idols called "ash statues", which apparently had a sort of corrupting magic attached to them. They caused people to murder, to be aggressive, and possibly made it easier for Dagoth Ur to extend his dream influences. They also may have caused ash kin to be transported to a manor in Ald'ruhn.
In an event that was likely prior to the completion of the Ghostfence, in 3E 400, Dagoth Uthol took the old Dunmer fortress of Kogoruhn and created a underground tunnel leading under the Ghostfence, into Red Mountain. The Tribunal were probably not aware of this until much later.
After the loss of Sunder and Keening in 3E 417, the Tribunal retired to their capitals and offensives were only carried out by the Temple priesthood. With the drain of the Ghostfence, the Tribunal could no longer raid within the Ghostfence. It is not known what their plan was; it is possible that they were waiting for House Dagoth to attack first, so that they could drop the Ghostfence and counterattack with more strength.
Dagoth Ur, though he held Sunder and Keening, lacked Wraithguard to bind them all together. The best he could have done would be to study Sunder and Keening's enchantments and attempt to duplicate them himself, later. This undoubtedly required some time and for the next ten years he was remarkably silent. Perhaps recognizing the Tribunal's strategy to wait for House Dagoth to make the first move, in 3E 427, his cultists became far more aggressive, and there was a sudden chain of assassinations. Curiously enough, these assassinations were all targeted at Imperials and at House Hlaalu's Imperial sympathizers. Presumably, these targets were chosen because of House Dagoth's opposition to the Empire and its belief that it would conquer all of Tamriel.
It is not known whether Dagoth Ur managed to grasp the secrets of Sunder and Keening sufficiently to immortalize himself. Prior to this, his actions had been on time spans longer than ten years, but that does not really prove anything.
- For more information, see the Morrowind Sixth House article.