Lore:Skyrim

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Skyrim
Type Province
Continent Tamriel
Appears in Arena, Dawnstar, Shadowkey, Skyrim
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Skyrim circa 4E 201
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Nation: Skyrim
Capital: Windhelm (until 1E 420), Winterhold (unknown),
Solitude (as of 4E 201)[nb 1]
Native Populace: Nords
Founded: Circa 1E 143
Official Language: Tamrielic
Head-of-State: High King
Currency: Septim

Skyrim, the northernmost province of Tamriel, is a cold and mountainous region known as the Old Kingdom, Mereth, or the Fatherland.[1][2] Many past battles have given it a ravaged appearance and many ruins.[1][3] Though currently inhabited primarily by Nords, the Elves who they replaced had resided there since time immemorial.[1][3] The sovereign, the High King of Skyrim, is chosen by the Moot, a convention of jarls.[4] A jarl is a regional ruler chosen through heredity and, rarely, through right of arms.[4][5] The High King typically rules until death, though acts of dishonor, particularly the appearance of cowardice, can lead to the recall and reconsideration of the Moot.[4][6] Since the Pact of Chieftains was signed in 1E 420, the Moot does not give serious consideration to anyone but the High King's direct heir unless one is not available.[1]

Contents

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Copy of a map of Skyrim dating to the late First Era
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Skyrim circa 2E 864

[edit] Geography

Morrowind lies to the east over the Velothi Mountains, Cyrodiil is south beyond the Jerall Mountains, Hammerfell (and the latest incarnation of Orsinium) is to the south and west, High Rock is past the Druadach Mountains to the west, and the Sea of Ghosts runs along the province's long northern coastline. Skyrim holds four of the five highest mountains in Tamriel (the Red Mountain being the only one outside Skyrim). Much of the northern half of Skyrim is cold and covered in snow. However, the southern regions of the province are relatively mild.[5]

[edit] Holds

The Nords long ago divided the province into nine geopolitical regions known as holds, each of which has a ruling jarl. Each hold is a large area of land roughly equivalent to a county in Cyrodiil, each individually governed by a jarl who maintains court in the hold's capital city. There are nine of them in total: Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, The Pale, Winterhold, Eastmarch, The Rift, Whiterun, Falkreath, and The Reach.[7]

Winterhold, Eastmarch, The Rift, and The Pale lie to the north and east of the province and are known as the Old Holds and remain isolated from the rest of Tamriel, both geographically and politically. In contrast, the western hold of The Reach has historically been more cosmopolitan and members of all the races of the continent have made their homes there.[1]

[edit] Eastmarch

Eastmarch is the eastern hold of Skyrim, and one of the four known collectively as the Old Holds. As its name suggests, it lies against the province's eastern border, close to the Dunmeth Pass, the only passage to and from Morrowind in the area due to the high and rugged Velothi Mountains. Windhelm is the only sizable city in the otherwise rural province due to the expansive hot springs which dominate the hold. Darkwater River winds north from Lake Geir into this treacherous hot spot, where it meets the White River which then drains into the Sea of Ghosts as it passes Windhelm. River Yogrim also joins with the White River before it ends at the Sea of Ghosts. It drains Lake Yogrim, which lies west in the hold known as the Pale. Nord tales say the hot springs of the region resulted from an intense battle between the hero Wuunding and a mighty Daedra.

[edit] The Pale

The Pale is a northern boot-shaped hold of Skyrim, one of the four known collectively as the Old Holds. The hold is a barren realm covered by vast fields of ice and snow, some scattered mountains, and some pine forests. It stretches from the center of Skyrim all the way to its northern coast. Lake Yogrim marks the eastern corner, while the capital Dawnstar is a busy port found along the northern coast. The hold's distinctive boot shape is due to it curving around the mountain range which forms its border with Winterhold.

[edit] Winterhold

Winterhold is the northernmost hold in Skyrim, and has weather to match. The Sea of Ghosts is off its northern coast, Eastmarch is to the southeast and Dawnstar is to the south and west. The College of Winterhold is the most notable feature of the hold, which was spared even though the Great Collapse tore down most of the city around it. What remains is a meager village, technically the hold's capital city, near the entrance to the College.

Winterhold consists of snowy coasts, as well as an even snowier mountain range which marks the border between Winterhold and the Pale, and some of the northern border to Eastmarch. Between the mountains and the sea to the east lies an ice plain, where the elements are at their harshest, and life at its most scarce. Rock and ice shelves form the barrier between Winterhold and the sea to the north and east, dotted occasionally with shingle beaches.

[edit] Hjaalmarch

Hjaalmarch, or Hjaalmarch Hold, is a lowland coastal hold in Skyrim. Roughly half the hold is a foul-smelling marsh, south of which is the capital and only settlement Morthal (although some farms dot the tundra). The region is veined with waterways that empty into the Sea of Ghosts, and the southern and eastern mountains near its borders further isolate the area.

Hjaalmarch is home to the "Karth delta", also called the "Mouths of the Karth, where the mighty Karth River and the smaller River Hjaal empty into the Sea of Ghosts through a variety of intricate channels. The Deathbell flower is known to be abundant throughout the swamps. Many ruins dot the hold, including the legendary Labyrinthian. Combined with the fog that surrounds the marshes and the creatures that stalk the land (Wispmothers purportedly originated here), Hjaalmarch is considered one of the more mysterious holds in Skyrim.

[edit] Haafingar

Haafingar, or Haafingar Hold, is a relatively small, mountainous, coastal hold in northwestern Skyrim. Its capital is the famed city of Solitude, and the two are sometimes treated as one and the same. Solitude is perched atop a large rock outcropping towering high above the end of the Karth River and the massive Karth delta. However, Haafingar is far more than just Solitude. The Karth River allows for a great deal of commerce in Solitude and the town of Dragon Bridge (mostly in timber and fish), and the long coastline with the Sea of Ghosts is littered with frozen shipwrecks and treasures. The mountain ranges are filled with caves and ruins where bandits and creatures make their homes. The hold shares borders with two other holds, the Reach to the south and Hjaalmarch to the southeast, and the province of High Rock borders it to the west. The mountains of Haafingar are only the tapered end of the Druadach Mountains, an enormous range of jagged mountain peaks to the south which rise up among the clouds of the Reach.

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Markarth

[edit] The Reach

The Reach is the large southwestern hold of Skyrim; it gives way to High Rock to the west and Hammerfell to the south, though exactly where has changed over the course of history and various wars. Near the southwestern corner, the capital Markarth, formerly a Dwemer stronghold, is built into the living rock of the Druadach Mountains, which are replaced by the Jerall Mountains near the hold's southeast corner. The Karth River begins in the southern region and drains the mountains, running like a deep gouge through the middle of the hold. The peaks of the Druadach range lie to the west of it, and high bluffs typically rise on the east leading to grassland and tundra.

The hold is inhabited by Nords and the native Reachmen, who are primarily of Breton descent. They are known for resisting foreign rule by using ancient magic and an intimate knowledge of the landscape to their advantage in guerrilla warfare and espionage tactics. An Orc stronghold could be found in the steppes of the mountains in the south of the hold in the Fourth Era, and there have been several settlements over the years along the Karth, such as Karthwasten and Old Hroldan.

[edit] Whiterun Hold

Whiterun Hold is a hold in Skyrim, located roughly in the middle of the province.

It borders six of the other eight holds in Skyrim, the exceptions being Winterhold and Haafingar. Giants are often seen traversing the landscape while herding mammoths to grazing areas or back to their camps. Surrounding the capital, Whiterun, are fertile plains dotted with farms that supply the food for much of Skyrim. The other notable settlements in the hold are Rorikstead and Riverwood.

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Lake Ilinalta

[edit] Falkreath Hold

Falkreath Hold is a southern hold in Skyrim along the border with Cyrodiil and Hammerfell. It's the second southernmost hold in Skyrim, after the Rift. The capital is Falkreath; the abandoned settlements of Helgen and Neugrad Watch are also located here. Home of Skyrim's famous Pine Forest, Falkreath Hold is covered in a fine mist that makes the land seem without season. The mountains rising above Falkreath are well above the snow line, striking a stark comparison to the rest of the hold. The most distinguishing geographic feature is Lake Ilinalta, which covers a large portion of the central region and acts as the source for the White River.

[edit] The Rift

The Rift, the southeastern hold of Skyrim, is a temperate region northwest of the intersection between the Velothi Mountains and the Jerall Mountains. It is one of the four holds known collectively as the Old Holds. The capital city of Riften is nestled in the expansive Fall Forest, on the shores of Lake Honrich, which is drained by the Treva River and Lake Geir. The relatively mild climate allows for thriving agriculture.

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Illustration of a typical Nord male

[edit] History

Skyrim's history is mostly that of the Nords. The Nords believe the sky, Kyne, breathed life into them at the summit of the Throat of the World, which is now considered the tallest mountain in Tamriel (the Red Mountain was acknowledged as the tallest before its eruption during the Red Year).[8][1][9]

The many mountain ranges in and around the province resulted from unknown cataclysms in the Dawn Era.[3] The only known relic from this time is the Skyforge, an ancient, powerful, and still-active forge built into the living rock in modern-day Whiterun. Who built it remains a mystery, but the Elves feared it, and this led the invading Atmorans to claim it for themselves.[10]

The Aldmer and Snow Elves occupied Skyrim until the late Merethic Era, when the final wave of Nordic immigration, led by Ysgramor, finally established Nordic supremacy in modern-day Skyrim.[1][11] Settlers from Atmora crossed the Sea of Ghosts and made landfall here many times, often clashing with those who had already established themselves.[3] They often lived in harmony with the Aldmer, though they sometimes clashed.[1][11]

Ysgramor's clan expanded their territory, and it continued to expand and contract by winning and losing territories in Morrowind and High Rock during the First Era.[1][3][12] Elven rule of Skyrim is thought to have ended under the reign of King Harald (1E 143 - 1E 221). However, the Dwemer remained in their underground cities and in massive underground caverns like Blackreach, while on the surface pockets of Snow Elves hid away in the wilderness.[1] The Nords often tried to battle with the Dwemer, but rarely had any success.[13] When the Dwemer disappeared around 1E 700, they left behind the Falmer, Snow Elves who they had allowed to take refuge with them and then twisted into rebellious slave monsters.[14] They remained under the ground, occasionally making forays to the surface and creating legends amongst the Nords of their presence and malevolent intent.[1][14]

After the assassination of High King Logrolf in 2E 431, a dispute over the succession resulted in Skyrim's division into two independent kingdoms. It began when Jarl Svartr of Solitude challenged the legitimacy of Logrolf's heir, Freydis, and a Moot was convened. Although Freydis was accepted by the Crown of Verity, a magical artifact crafted to test the worthiness of potential rulers of Skyrim, and named High Queen in Windhelm, a partial Moot held in Solitude declared Svartr to be High King. From then on, Skyrim was divided into an Eastern kingdom, ruled by the successors of Freydis, and a Western kingdom, ruled by the successors of Svartr.[15] This schism persisted at least until the time of the Alliance War in 2E 582.[16]

Orc strongholds dot the wilderness; many Orcs were escorted into Skyrim by the Imperial Legion following the sacking of Orsinium in the early Fourth Era.[17] Besides the Orcs, the Elven population has also increased due to the Red Year of 4E 5, when natural disasters in Morrowind sent many Dunmer fleeing into eastern Skyrim.[18][19] Following the Great War, Thalmor officials hunted for and persecuted Talos worshippers, thus bringing some small measure of Elven rule back to Skyrim.[5][20] While these smaller creatures vied for dominance over the millennia, the giants have been largely ignored (and often protected by law).[5]

[edit] Rulers

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The Jagged Crown

The political structure of the Elves who first inhabited Skyrim is unknown. When the Atmorans first migrated to Skyrim, before the Dragon War of the Merethic Era, the Dragon Priests of the Dragon Cult held roles on par with kings, but the Atmorans recognized relatively secular chieftains as their leaders.[1][21] Ysgramor is the first known human ruler of Skyrim.[22] His progeny would continue to rule after his death; King Harald, the 13th of his line, is considered the first "historical" ruler.[11][23] Since Harald's time or even before, the High King traditionally wore the Jagged Crown, though it was lost with King Borgas in 1E 396 until its rediscovery in 4E 201.[5] A new symbol of rulership, the Crown of Verity, later called the Crown of Freydis, was crafted to determine the worthiness of potential rulers following the death of Olaf One-Eye, but has not been seen beyond the Second Era.[15] Known High Kings and their reigns are listed below:

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The stone and timber buildings of Winterhold
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The Blue Palace of Solitude

[edit] Architecture

Many ancient Nordic ruins built into the mountains dating back to the Merethic and First eras remain standing throughout Skyrim.[5] They are towering, foreboding structures of black granite. Some were settlements and temples from when the Nords lived under the rule of the Dragon Cult and after; others are burial tombs for the honored dead. Most modern buildings in Skyrim are built partly underground to conserve heat, and are made with stones, with wood used only for support, and roofs of straw above the wood. The Nords are known as masters of lumber construction, and these houses are essential to keep in heat in the freezing climate.[1] Nordic designs are also seen in Bruma and Solstheim.

[edit] Flora

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Skyrim's Pine Forest
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Skyrim's frigid environment still supports a great wealth of flora, notably its many pine forests.[9][36] Many of its plants and fungi are useful for alchemy, including bleeding crown mushrooms, the deathbell flower, jazbay grapes, and nightshade. Tundra cotton is not only used for making potions, but for making many of the fabrics for clothing and other purposes in Skyrim.[36]

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A horker attack
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Ice Wraith
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Druadach Mountains
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Blackreach
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Frost Dragon
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A peak in Eastmarch
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A Nordic ruin

[edit] Fauna

The beasts of Skyrim are as diverse as they are dangerous. Horkers line the northern coast, posing a greater danger to hunters and fisherman, and ice wolves prowl in pairs all over the province.[5][37] Slaughterfish and other types of fish glide through the rivers and lakes.[5] Other common beasts roam the wilderness, and rumors abound of less common ones like werewolves and wispmothers.[38] Many of them, such as hagravens and luna moths, yield body parts used in alchemy.[36] Ice wraiths and other creatures are hunted in the mountains by young traditional Nords as rites of passage.[1][39] Undead draugr still guard the ruins of the province.[40] Of course, the most legendary "creatures" are the majestic and intelligent dragons, who have left their mark on Skyrim in more ways than one. Ancient structures dedicated to the Dragon Cult and "word walls" in the language of the dragons still dot the landscape.[5][41]

[edit] Notable Places

Bleakrock Isle
An island northeast of Skyrim (between Skyrim and Solstheim) that contained an Ebonheart Pact outpost and a small village in the second era.
College of Winterhold
A famous school for Magic in the city of Winterhold.
Dawnstar
A busy port on the northern coast and capital of the Pale.
Dunmeth Pass
The main pass and one of the few traversable roads leading through the Velothi Mountains between northwestern Morrowind and eastern Skyrim.
Falkreath
The capital of the eponymous hold is in southwestern Skyrim, close to the border with both Cyrodiil and Hammerfell.
Lake Geir
A lake in the western Rift.
Hsaarik Head
At the extreme northern tip of Skyrim's Broken Cape, it is the place where tradition holds that Ysgramor's Five Hundred Companions made landfall.
Lake Ilinalta
A lake in west-central Falkreath Hold, in the middle of Skyrim's Pine Forest.
Karth River
A western river running the length of Skyrim before emptying into the Sea of Ghosts near Solitude.
Labyrinthian
An ancient Nordic ruin. Named for the labyrinth built sometime in the First Era by Arch-Mage Shalidor, although the ruins themselves are much older, having been the city of Bromjunaar, the capital of the Dragon Cult.
Markarth
The capital of the Reach is in the southwest corner of the province.
Morthal
The fairly small, humble town of little economic or strategic importance is noteworthy as the capital of Hjaalmarch.
Pale Pass
A secluded pass through the Jerall Mountains on the Cyrodiil-Skyrim border.
Riften
The capital of the Rift, long a center for crime, lies close to both Cyrodiil and Morrowind.
Saarthal
An ancient Nordic city that was sacked in the Night of Tears, Saarthal is where the Eye of Magnus was found in the Fourth Era.
Sky Haven Temple
Fortress stronghold in the Druadach Mountains built by Reman Cyrodiil's Akaviri Dragonguard.
Snowhawk
A city located in Hjaalmarch, abandoned sometime during the Fourth Era.
Solitude
A major port city and capital of Haafingar.
Throat of the World
The highest peak in the province of Skyrim. Though once considered second to Red Mountain, it is now known as the highest mountain in all of Tamriel.
Treva River
A river at the center of the Rift. It flows from Lake Honrich to Lake Geir.
White River
The longest river in Skyrim, stretching from the south of the province to the northeast corner. Its source is Lake Ilinalta, north of Falkreath. It flows northeast to join the Sea of Ghosts past Windhelm.
Whiterun
A city in central Skyrim, and the capital of the Whiterun Hold. Built at the spring of the White River.
Windhelm
The capital of Eastmarch lies close to the border with Morrowind. It's the famed location of the Palace of the Kings.
Winterhold
The capital of the eponymous hold was once quite prosperous, but was devastated in the Great Collapse in 4E 122.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ While Solitude has been the seat of the High King and thus the capital of Skyrim for "centuries" prior to 4E 201 because of its importance to the Empire, Windhelm was the capital of the kingdom from the time of its founding by High King Harald at least until the collapse of the First Empire of the Nords in 1E 420. One of Skyrim's loading screens also mentions that Winterhold once served as capital, but does not specify when.
  2. ^ Rislav The Righteous states that Kjoric the White was killed eight months before certain events in 1E 478, placing his death either in that year or in 1E 477.
  3. ^ Hoag Merkiller was said to have died at the Battle of Glenumbria Moors, after which Wulfharth ascended to the throne. However, some sources place the date of the battle at 1E 480, and others at 1E 482.
  4. ^ a b c d e Skyrim split into independent Eastern and Western kingdoms in 2E 431 amid a dispute over the succession. Freydis was proclaimed High Queen in Windhelm, and her successors (who include Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, Nurnhilde, and Jorunn the Skald King) ruled Eastern Skyrim. Svartr was proclaimed High King in Solitude, and his successors ruled Western Skyrim.

[edit] See Also

[edit] Books

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  2. ^ Provinces of Tamriel
  3. ^ a b c d e Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Throat of the World: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  4. ^ a b c Skyrim's Rule: - An Outsider's ViewAbdul-Mujib Ababneh
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Events of Skyrim.
  6. ^ a b Sybille Stentor's dialogue in Skyrim.
  7. ^ The Holds of Skyrim:
    A Field Officer's Guide
    For Use by Officers of the Imperial Legion
  8. ^ Children of the Sky
  9. ^ a b Loading screen in Skyrim.
  10. ^ Songs of the Return - Volume 7 - The Tale of the Jorrvaskr
  11. ^ a b c d Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation: A Social History of CyrodiilUniversity of Gwylim Press, 3E 344
  12. ^ The Legendary City of Sancre TorMatera Chapel
  13. ^ a b The Aetherium WarsTaron Dreth
  14. ^ a b The Falmer: A StudyUrsa Uthrax
  15. ^ a b c d e f g The Crown of FreydisTaleon Mythmaker
  16. ^ a b Second Invasion: Reports
  17. ^ The Infernal CityGreg Keyes
  18. ^ The Red YearMelis Ravel
  19. ^ Dunmer of SkyrimAthal Sarys
  20. ^ Nords Arise!Anonymous
  21. ^ The Dragon WarTorhal Bjorik
  22. ^ Songs of the Return
  23. ^ The Anuad Paraphrased
  24. ^ a b c Plaque in Windhelm.
  25. ^ a b The Daggerfall ChroniclesRonald Wartow
  26. ^ King Edward, Part X
  27. ^ A History of DaggerfallOdiva Gallwood
  28. ^ On OblivionMorian Zenas
  29. ^ a b Walking the World, Volume XI: SolitudeSpatior Munius
  30. ^ Racial Motifs 4: The NordsDoctor Alfidia Lupus
  31. ^ Oengul War-Anvil's dialogue in Skyrim.
  32. ^ The Brothers' War
  33. ^ Jorunn the Skald-KingHelgreir Lute-Voice, Bard of Windhelm
  34. ^ Events of Online.
  35. ^ The Wolf Queen, Book EightWaughin Jarth
  36. ^ a b c Herbalist's guide to SkyrimAgneta Falia
  37. ^ Surviving A Horker AttackHeidmir Starkad
  38. ^ Lost Legends of SkyrimTalsgar the Elder, Archivist of Winterhold
  39. ^ Herbane's BestiaryHerbane
  40. ^ Amongst the DraugrBernadette Bantien, College of Winterhold
  41. ^ Dragon Language: Myth no MoreHela Thrice-Versed

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