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akaviri

From Argonian to Saxhleel

Author: 
Vicecanon Heita-Meen

Misunderstanding and oppression have poisoned Black Marsh for centuries. My egg-siblings have endured subjugation by the Empire and slavery at the hands of the Dunmer. Armored boots tread on our traditions and culture. We are fortunate to have the Marsh. Without its perils to deter hapless dryskins, our ways might have already crumbled to dust. Despite our troubles, the Hist guides us still. And for the first time in memory, we have the chance to break the cycle.

I spent my young life as a slave. An angry one. It cannot have been easy to become recognized for cruelty among the tyrants of House Dres, but Councilman Glathis Dres managed it. After I was beaten to unconsciousness for seating the guests at a banquet out of order, I could take no more. When I was able to work the saltrice fields again, I waited for an opening, overwhelmed the drunken guards, and escaped with my fellow slaves.

We fled into the Thornmarsh. When we crossed paths with a troop of Argonians, we realized too late they were traitors, Archein tribe scum in the employ of House Dres. Hungry and exhausted, we were easy to capture. The sun abandoned my sky. Looking back, though, I see the subtle work of the Hist’s will. In the Archein village, a vision came to me. Their Hist tree spoke, showing me blood and horror—the Akaviri invasion, Nords and Dunmer falling like dead leaves.

This was an opportunity. A turning point. But how could I take advantage? We were taken back to Thorn, now nearly empty as the Dunmer answered Almalexia’s call to battle. For my transgression, I was to be whipped by Glathis himself. In the courtyard, Glathis struck his first lash. I grabbed his whip and strangled him with it. I’ll never forget the look he gave me as the light drained from his eyes.

Wasting no time, I challenged the centurion of the Archein guards for her position by right-of-combat. She could not refuse and maintain any respect from her cohort. The duel was brief. I assumed command and advanced on Stormhold to do the same there. I am thankful that I did not need to shed any further Saxhleel blood. Walks-in-Ash, who met us as we approached, was able to convince Stormhold’s Shellbacks to join our command.

I revealed my plan. We would march to Morrowind, into Stonefalls, and engage in battle—with the Akaviri. We would defend the Dunmer and turn the tide. To say some disagreed with my strategy would be quite an understatement. I told of my vision from the Hist, and let any who wished to return to the Marsh do so. Still strong in numbers, we marched.

When we arrived in the chaos of battle, there was fear on the faces of the Dunmer, who saw armed slaves charging towards them. The fear turned to shock as we joined their ranks, our Shellbacks providing enough muscle to overpower the invaders and force them to flee.

And now, we are recognized. We have allies, not overlords, for the first time in memory. We are free under the law, and we are taking back our villages and strengthening our traditions. There is still bitter blood flowing between many Saxhleel and our new allies, and not every tribe has joined us—only those of Thornmarsh, Shadowfen, and Murkmire. This is not a surprise. I hope that they will, in time, and realize that this opportunity we have been given to cultivate the understanding will allow us to preserve our way of life.

Second Invasion: Reports

Author: 
Anonymous

7 Sun's Height
The Akaviri land their ships in force. Several have been turned away or sunk, but more slip past our guard. Our forces move forward to meet them on the cliffs above the beaches, where we hold the high ground.

From our vantage point, the queen watches their approach. She will get to see firsthand the ferocity and strength of the Blood Claws!

8 Sun's Height
The Akaviri ships have dropped anchor back from the beach. Perhaps they fear our blades. I say let them starve themselves in their ships, but Princess Nurnhilde believes they plot, rather than cower. She is wiser than I, so I have sent scouts to find and foil any cowardly, underhanded tactics they might be ready to deploy.

19 Sun's Height
More than a week, and still the Akaviri do not attack. The soldiers grow restless, and Princess Nurnhilde broods. Scouts have returned without any information. Still, I continue to send them out day after day. None have spoken against me, but I see their looks as I order yet another patrol along the beaches.
The Blood Claws were made for slaughter, not waiting.

22 Sun's Height
Arguments and fighting in the camp, and the Akaviri still wait with their fleet, just beyond of our grasp. We've heard reports of attacks north and south of us, along the coast, even as far south as the Dark Elf lands. The troops wonder why we wait when fighting takes place elsewhere. And wonder begins to turn to anger.
Princess Nurnhilde insists that this is their main fleet, and that they are trying to lure us away from our position. When she speaks, the soldiers become calm and thoughtful. She cuts right through their anger and bitterness. I wish she would address them more often.

26 Sun's Height
An Akaviri ship landed today. It hit the beach in the darkness just before morning. Our soldiers surrounded it, expecting a hail of arrows from within, but none came. It was odd that such a large ship beached itself, but the troops were bored and hungry for blood. The magical traps on the ship claimed the lives of seven warriors.
I have never seen the troops so angry. Even the Princess had trouble calming them. When the Akaviri land, they will be torn to shreds. If we don't tear ourselves apart first, that is.

29 Sun's Height
Reports of the Dark Elf lands being overrun. There is little love lost between Nords and Dark Elves, but at this moment we share the frustration they must feel. The report talks of Akaviri in their fields, and our warriors hunger for combat.

I spoke with the Princess. I told her this news may have pushed the Blood Claws to a new level of rage. She said nothing, only pressed her lips together. She's always several steps ahead of the rest of us, and I fear she has seen something I have yet to notice.

2 Last Seed
The Akaviri landed this morning, a massive wave of destruction crashing upon the beach. Our soldiers were whipped into a frenzy as the call to arms rang out. They were reckless, and the first rush was cut down by archers before a proper line could be formed. Our recklessness cost us the beach, and the invaders now have a foothold in our land.

3 Last Seed
We had to fall back. Fighting was too intense and Princess Nurnhilde ordered the troops back to Windhelm. We'll fight from the walls and use the strength of the city to crush the invaders once and for all!

4 Last Seed
Tension runs high tonight, as we wait for the Akaviri to press forward. I saw Nurnhilde donning armor. The Blood Claws will follow her, listen to her orders like the voice of the Dragon itself, but the risk is so great. Word has come to us the princes are nearby, fighting their way to the city. I pray they arrive in time to help.

7 Last Seed
Queen Mabjaarn and Princess Nurnhilde are dead. Nurnhilde led the Blood Claws into combat when the gates of Windhelm fell. They fought like I have never seen anyone fight before, raging in perfect coordination. When the queen went down, the rage took over, though Nurnhilde donned the crown and try to restore order to our lines. The Akaviri were driven from the city. They thought to goad us, and they did, but the beast they awoke was more than they could handle.

But then they came back. Now Queen Nurnhilde is dead. I should have been able to command my warriors, control them. It should have been me, not her. The responsibility for their deaths is mine, and I will explain that to the princes personall

The Rise and Fall of the Blades

Author: 
Anonymous

There are many that still remember the Blades. There are fewer that can pass down their stories, their origins and their downfall. My father could. In his proudest moments he said to me, "You keep secrets like the Blades."

The Blades were good at keeping secrets. They didn't write down much. They passed information carefully between their spies in every province, to their elite members that protected the Emperors. Even amongst their members, they kept much secret.

Most associate the Blades with their ceremonial Akaviri armor and curved longswords. One can trace the Blades back to the fiercest warriors of Akavir, the Dragonguard. It was there, just as they would do in Tamriel, that they protected rulers and their kingdom. But recent discoveries show it to be much more than that.

Many classic texts tell us of adventures to Akavir, known as the dragon lands of the east. Many from Tamriel have attempted to conquer it, most famously Emperor Uriel V and his Tenth Legion in 3E288 as documented in the Imperial dispatch "Disaster at Ionith." Dragons have long been legend in Akavir, and many believe that their brief appearance in Tamriel's history are those that escaped Akaviri, for it was there they were hunted and killed off by the Dragonguard. The Dragonguard would follow those that fled to Tamriel in the late 1st Era.

Invading from the north, the Dragonguard met not only dragons, but the men of Skyrim, who don't meet invasions with pitchers of mead. The Dragonguard cut a path through Skyrim, and it was not until they were stopped by Reman Cyrodiil during the battle at Pale Pass that the invasion came to an end. It was Reman who united the human lands of Cyrodiil and defeated the Akaviri invaders.

Reman is one of the first documented, and widely accepted, of the mythic Dragonborn; those anointed by Akatosh and Alessia themselves. "Born with the soul of a dragon" is what his followers would say. Reports differ widely on the nature of the battle at Pale Pass. But the end result is the same, that the remaining Dragonguard, upon hearing the voice of Reman Cyrodiil, knelt and swore their lives to him, their conqueror and savior. Fragments of from late 1st era texts refer to the warriors dropping to their knees saying "we were not hunting" (or "did not intend", author - rough translation), continuing "we have been searching, for you."

They protected Reman with their lives, as well as his descendants, as the Reman Dynasty ushered in Tamriel's 2nd era. It was through these years that their reach extended, and their order grew to become the Blades. Their conquest of the dragons complete, they only sought to protect the Dragonborn, and through him, the Empire.

They reached their height late during the 3rd era under the rule of the Septim emprors. Despite their numbers, they kept their secrecy. The most visible and well documented were the members who personally guarded the Emperor, still wearing the original Akaviri armor. But that was the just the tip of the spear, for the Blades were a larger organization, stretching to every corner of Tamriel. These agents were of every race. They were merchants, thieves, craftsman, mages, and warriors, all acting as spies, protecting the Empire as needed, and operating in secret. They often acted alone, but some fragments speak of them meeting in secret fortresses across the continent. The most famous being Cyrodiil's Cloud Ruler Temple, where they hung the swords of those slain protecting the Dragonborn. Other maps speak of Wind Scour Temple under the great expanse of Hammerfell's Alik'r desert, Sky Haven Temple in the mountains of Skyrim, and Storm Talon Temple east of Wayrest.

They were known to have a "Grandmaster", who often lived amongst the people, unknown to others. The nature of their communications, meeting places, and missions were known to only a few elite members. The only two to know all were the Grandmaster himself and the Chronicler, whose only job was to make sure the group's mission was never known, but never lost.

With the death of Uriel Septim VII and his son, Martin, the 3rd era came to a close with the Blades fortifying themselves deep within Cyrodiil's Cloud Ruler Temple, as they waited for a Dragonborn to return when they would be called upon again.

The Empire of the 4th era no longer saw the Blades openly protecting it, or the Emperors. That role is now filled by the Penitus Oculatus, a purely Imperial organization. But the Blades continued their secret work, to watch for the Dragonborn and guard against future enemies. The Blades were among the first to see the signs that the Thalmor of the Aldmeri Dominion would not remain isolated within their borders forever. They could do what the Penitus Oculatus, servant to Imperial policy, could not, and thus earned the lasting hatred of the Thalmor.

The warnings of the Blades were proved right, as is well known to all. The Great War between the Empire and the Thalmor consumed the Empire and nearly destroyed it. Emperor Titus Mede II eventually brokered peace with the Thalmor, but at a price many of us still bear.

The reach and destructive nature of the Thalmor is known to many (author's note - in my family firsthand). They are not fools. They knew early on that the Blades were an enemy. So they hunted them throughout the Great War. Some were killed defending their Temples, others as they slept in their hideaways, alone. Some fought, some ran, some hid. But the Thalmor found them all.

There are those that say the Blades still exist around us, in hiding from the Thalmor. Waiting as they have done time and time again, for a Dragonborn to return. For one to protect, for one to guide them.

Book of the Dragonborn

Author: 
Prior Emelene Madrine

The Book of the Dragonborn

by
Prior Emelene Madrine
Order of Talos
Weynon Priory

Year 360 of the Third Era,
Twenty-First of the Reign of
His Majesty Pelagius IV

Many people have heard the term "Dragonborn" - we are of course ruled by the "Dragonborn Emperors" - but the true meaning of the term is not commonly understood. For those of us in the Order of Talos, this is a subject near and dear to our hearts, and in this book I will attempt to illuminate the history and significance of those known as Dragonborn down through the ages.

Most scholars agree that the term was first used in connection with the Covenant of Akatosh, when the blessed St. Alessia was given the Amulet of Kings and the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One were first lit. "Akatosh, looking with pity upon the plight of men, drew precious blood from his own heart, and blessed St. Alessia with this blood of Dragons, and made a Covenant that so long as Alessia's generations were true to the dragon blood, Akatosh would endeavor to seal tight the Gates of Oblivion, and to deny the armies of daedra and undead to their enemies, the Daedra-loving Ayleids." Those blessed by Akatosh with "the dragon blood" became known more simply as Dragonborn.

The connection with the rulers of the Empire was thus there from the beginning - only those of the dragon blood were able to wear the Amulet of Kings and light the Dragonfires. All the legitimate rulers of the Empire have been Dragonborn - the Emperors and Empresses of the first Cyrodilic Empire founded by Alessia; Reman Cyrodiil and his heirs; and of course Tiber Septim and his heirs, down to our current Emperor, His Majesty Pelagius Septim IV.

Because of this connection with the Emperors, however, the other significance of the Dragonborn has been obscured and largely forgotten by all but scholars and those of us dedicated to the service of the blessed Talos, Who Was Tiber Septim. Very few realize that being Dragonborn is not a simple matter of heredity - being the blessing of Akatosh Himself, it is beyond our understanding exactly how and why it is bestowed. Those who become Emperor and light the Dragonfires are surely Dragonborn - the proof is in the wearing of the Amulet and the lighting of the Fires. But were they Dragonborn and thus able to do these things - or was the doing the sign of the blessing of Akatosh descending upon them? All that we can say is that it is both, and neither - a divine mystery.

The line of Septims have all been Dragonborn, of course, which is one reason the simplistic notion of it being hereditary has become so commonplace. But we know for certain that the early Cyrodilic rulers were not all related. There is also no evidence that Reman Cyrodiil was descended from Alessia, although there are many legends that would make it so, most of them dating from the time of Reman and likely attempts to legitimize his rule. We know that the Blades, usually thought of as the Emperor's bodyguards, originated in Akaviri crusaders who invaded Tamriel for obscure reasons in the late First Era. They appear to have been searching for a Dragonborn - the events at Pale Pass bear this out - and the Akaviri were the first to proclaim Reman Cyrodiil as Dragonborn. In fact it was the Akaviri who did the most to promote his standing as Emperor (although Reman himself never took that title in his lifetime). And of course there is no known hereditary connection between Tiber Septim and any of the previous Dragonborn rulers of Tamriel.

Whether there can be more than one Dragonborn at any time is another mystery. The Emperors have done their best to dismiss this notion, but of course the Imperial succession itself means that at the very least there are two or more potential Dragonborn at any time: the current ruler and his or her heirs. The history of the Blades also hints at this - although little is known of their activities during the Interregnum between Reman's Empire and the rise of Tiber Septim, many believe that the Blades continued to search out and guard those they believed were (or might be) Dragonborn during this time.

Lastly, we come to the question of the true meaning of being Dragonborn. The connection with dragons is so obvious that it has almost been forgotten - in these days when dragons are a distant memory, we forget that in the early days being Dragonborn meant having "the dragon blood". Some scholars believe that was meant quite literally, although the exact significance is not known. The Nords tell tales of Dragonborn heroes who were great dragonslayers, able to steal the power of the dragons they killed. Indeed, it is well known that the Akaviri sought out and killed many dragons during their invasion, and there is some evidence that this continued after they became Reman Cyrodiil's Dragonguard (again, the connection to dragons) - the direct predecessor to the Blades of today.

I leave you with what is known as "The Prophecy of the Dragonborn". It often said to originate in an Elder Scroll, although it is sometimes also attributed to the ancient Akaviri. Many have attempted to decipher it, and many have also believed that its omens had been fulfilled and that the advent of the "Last Dragonborn" was at hand. I make no claims as an interpreter of prophecy, but it does suggest that the true significance of Akatosh's gift to mortalkind has yet to be fully understood.

When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world

When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped

When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles

When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls

When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding

The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.

History of the Fighters Guild, First Edition

Author: 
Anonymous

In the 283rd year of the 2nd Era, Potentate Versidue-Shaie was faced with a disintegrating empire. The vassal kingdoms throughout Tamriel had reached a new height of rebellion, openly challenging his rule. They refused his taxes and led sorties against the Imperial garrisons throughout the land. At the destruction of his fortress in Dawnstar, he gathered the Imperial Council in what would be called the Council of Bardmont, after the town south of Dawnstar where they met. There the Potentate declared catholic and universal martial law. The princes of Tamriel would dissolve their armies or face his wrath.

The next thirty-seven years were perhaps the bloodiest in the violent history of Tamriel.

In order to crush the last of the royal armies, Versidae-Shaie had to sacrifice many of his best legions, as well as spend nearly every last piece of gold in the Imperial treasury. But he accomplished the unthinkable. For the first time in history, there was but one army in the land, and it was his own.

The problems that immediately surfaced were almost as staggering as the triumph itself. The Potentate had impoverished the land by his war, for the vanquished kingdoms had also spent the last of their gold in defense. Farmers and merchants alike had their livelihood ruined. Before the princes of Tamriel would not pay his taxes - now, they could not.

The only persons who benefited from the war were criminals, who preyed upon the ruins of the lawless land, without fear of arrest now that all the local guards and militia were gone. It was a crisis the Akavir had seen coming long before he destroyed the last of his subjects' armies, but for which he had no solution. He could not allow his vassals their own armies again, but the land was deeper into the stew of anarchy that it had ever been before. His army sought to fight the rise of crime, but a central authority was no threat against the local underworld.

In the dawn of the year 320, a kinsman of Versidae-Shaie, Dinieras-Ves "the Iron", presented himself with a host of companions before the Potentate. It was he who suggested an order of mercantile warriors-for-hire, who could be hired by nobility in lieu of a standing army. The employment would be temporary, and a percentage of the fee would go to the Potentate's government, thus putting salve on two of Versidae-Shaie's greatest pains.

Though it was then called The Syffim, after the Tsaesci word for 'soldiers,' the organization that was to be known as the Fighters Guild had been born.

Dinieras-Ves "the Iron" initially believed that the entirety of the order should be composed of Akaviri. This belief of his is not disputed by any historian, though his motivation is often debated. The traditional, simple explanation is that he knew his countrymen well, trusted them, and felt that their tradition of fighting for profit would be of use. Others believe, with reason, that he and the Potentate sought to use the order to effectively complete the conquest of Tamriel begun over five hundred years earlier. When Akavir attacked Tamriel in the 2703rd year of the 1st era, they had been beaten back by the Reman Dynasty. Now they had a Potentate on the throne, and with Dinieras-Ves's machinations, the local armies would also be Akaviri. What they had failed to do by combat, they would have successfully accomplished by patience. A traditional strategem, many scholars suggest, of the immortal snake men, the Tsaesci of Akavir, who always had time on their side.

The point, however, is largely academic. Though the Syffim did establish themselves in some kingdoms neighboring Cyrodiil, it became quickly apparent that local warriors were needed. Part of the problem was simply that there were not enough Akaviri for the work that needed to be done. Another part was that the snake men did not understand the geography and politics of the regions they were assigned.

It was evident that some non-Akaviri were needed in the Syffim, and by the mid point of the year, three Nords, a warrior-sorceress, a rogue, and a knight were admitted into the order.

The knight, whose name has been lost in the sands of time, was also a great armorer, and probably did more to strengthen the organization than anyone but Dinieras-Ves himself. As has often been stated, the Akaviri, particularly the Tsaesci, understood weaponry better than armor. Even if they could not wear it themselves, the knight was able to explain to the other Syffim what the weaknesses were in their opponent's armor, explaining to them how many joints there were in a pauldon and a grieve, and the differences between Aketons and Armkachens, Gorgets and Gliedshrims, Palettes and Pasguards, Tabards and Tassettes.

With this knowledge, they made long strides in defeating the brigands, doing far better than their meager numbers would suggest. It is a joke among historians that if Akavir had a Nord armorer in their employ in the first era, they would have won the invasion.

The success of these first three outsiders to the Syffim opened the door for more local members. Before the year was through, Dinieras-Ves had spread his business throughout the Empire. Young men and women, for a variety of reasons - because of desperate poverty, for love of action and adventure, in order to aid their crime-stricken neighbors - joined his new order en masse. They received training, and were immediately put to work helping the aristocracy's problems, assuming the roles of guards and soldiers within their locality.

The early success of the Syffim in combating crime and defeating local monsters so inspired Potentate Versidae-Shaie that he entertained representatives from other organizations interested in Imperial sanction. Though formed much earlier, the Mages Guild had always been viewed with suspicion by the government. In the 321st year of the 2nd Era, the Potentate gave his approval to the Guilds Act, officially sanctioning the Mages, together with the Guilds of Tinkers, Cobblers, Prostitutes, Scribes, Architects, Brewers, Vintners, Weavers, Ratcatchers, Furriers, Cooks, Astrologers, Healers, Tailors, Minstrals, Barristers, and the Syffim. In the charter, they were no longer called the Syffim, however: bowing to the name it had become known as by the people, they were to be called the Fighters Guild. All the Guilds, and those that followed by later sanctions throughout the second and third eras, would be protected and encouraged by the Empire of Cyrodiil, recognizing their value to the people of Tamriel. All would be required to pay to expand their influence throughout the land. The Empire was strengthened by their presence, and the Imperial coffers were filled once again.

Shortly after Versidae-Shaie's death, only three years after the Guild Act, his heir Savirien-Chovak, allowed the reforming of local armies. The Fighters Guild was no longer the principal arm of the local aristocracy, but their worth had already been established. Though there were certainly strong individuals who sought their own fortunes in the past, many historians have suggested that Dinieras-Ves was the ancestor in spirit of the modern phenomenon of the Adventurer, those men and women who dedicate their lives to questing for fame and fortune.

Thus, all owe a debt of gratitude to the Fighters Guild -- not only its members, and the people who have been helped by its neutral policy of offering strong arms for a fee within the boundaries of the law. Without them, there would be no guilds of any kind, and it may be argued, no model for even the independent Adventurer.

 

The Elsweyr Confederacy

Author: 
Imperial Geographical Society

pge01_elsweyr.gif

Elsweyr is the youngest of the modern regions, and the only one to have established itself in the Common Era, nearly six hundred years ago. It is inhabited by a strange race of intelligent beastmen, who call themselves the khajiit in their native tongue. These khajiit are all feline in aspect, some far more than others. A particular family-tribe, or pride, might include a hunting party of males that appear like upright jaguars, a few beautiful youths who could pass for Elves were it not for their swishing tails, an uncle or two that would stalk the perimeters on all fours, and a chief who, depending on the moons of his birth, might have the form of any of the above. The khajiit attribute their improbable biology to the workings of the ja-Kha'jay (the "Moonstrings," or "Lunar Lattice"), a magical and semi-divine phenomena believed to derive from the influence of Tamriel's twin moons, Masser and Secunda. According to the native tradition, a khajiit born while Masser is full and Secunda a thin crescent will grow to be a cathay-raht, one of the aforementioned jaguar-men, while one born under the opposite conditions will be little more than an intelligent house-cat. Even the Senche-tiger, the largest great cat in existence, has proven to be just another form of the khajiit; these massive beasts can often be found serving as steeds for their more humanoid cousins. Over twenty forms have been documented among the catmen of Elsweyr, and, in their own society at least, no one of them is more important or inherently better than another (with the exception of the Mane form, to be described shortly). However, the ohmes, or "man-faced" khajiit, are those most commonly seen outside of the province, as most adventurers and diplomats come from this, the most discreet of the "breeds."

Until relatively recently, the nearly constant insurrection and tribal warfare among the catmen rarely troubled the stage of history. In CE309, however, Keirgo of Anequina and Eshita of Pellitine combined their long-feuding kingdoms to create Elsweyr, sparking a great class struggle that briefly threatened to draw in outside intervention. Power shifted from two separate kingdoms, each with its own central government and allied tribes, to a nobility besieged by those tribes, who felt that both their ruling classes had betrayed them. Chieftains forgot their ancient sugar-vendettas and signed treaties of their own (recorded, incidentally, through facial tattoos), and before long the cities of former Anequina were under constant attack. Keirgo petitioned the Empire for help, but it had just lost its own ruler, Potentate Versidue-Shaie, and was in similar disarray. When the old capital, Ne Quin-al, fell to the rebels, it seemed Elsweyr would soon burst under the weight of its own union. Peace was restored,however when the normally nonpartisan khajiit spiritual leader, the Mane Rid-T'har-ri'Datta, "bestowed to the classes equality under the bi-lunar shadow, dividing their power in accordance with two-moons-dance of the ja-Kha'jay". What this established, in a more understandable sense, was a rotational power base in which both sides of khajiit society, the city-dwellers under the nobility and the nomadic tribes of the desert chieftains, shared alternate control of the region based on the phases of Masser and Secunda; the terms of this measure, the Riddle-T'har, were overseen by the thinly-veiled dictatorship of the Mane himself. Since then, Elsweyr has withdrew itself into a secrecy that has scarcely been breached in five hundred years.

Geographically, Elsweyr is a harsh area of badlands and dry plains. Only near the southern reaches does the soil turn fertile, and the whole of this region is covered in jungle and rainforests, with sugarcane groves clustering against the two main river basins. The old kingdom of Anequina is its northern section, and has historically offered no threat to either the early Cyro-Nords or the later Cyrodiliic Empires. Indeed, Pelinal Whitestrake, Nibenay warlord of the Elven Pogrom, mistook the khajiit for another strain of Aldmeri and killed many of their number before realizing his error1.

Understandably, the ja-Kha'jay makes the culture of Elsweyr very strange and alien. It is a peculiar affliction, which seems, at first glance, to be related to lycanthropy. It is not, however, contagious or temporal in effect like the latter- a khajiit retains the form of his birth throughout his lifespan, and the moons, while they determine that form, do not affect it thereafter. There are no known shapeshifting khajiit. On the whole, the catmen of Elsweyr are a bestial lot, victims of their own preternatural anatomies. They are quick to anger, unpredictable, and dangerous, though singly no match for an Imperial legionnaire. It is also worthwhile to point out that the so-called "human" features found among many of the khajiits are, in fact, distinctly Elven in appearance, no doubt proving once and for all the baser predilections of the Elder Race.

This is not to say that Elsweyr is without some semblance of civilization. The khajiit that do walk erect dress and conduct themselves in a close approximation of a modern, human culture. Their dress is an abundant shawl, commonly of brightly patterned cloth, for defense against the harsh sun and saber-cuts. Their chief attire, the budi, or shirt, is fastened in braids down the right side, not permitting any part of the torso fur to be seen, for such is believed to be highly indecorous. Jewelry and trinkets often adorn the costume, and tattoos are very popular. In some quarters, the latter can even have religious and legal significance. A recent trend among the younger ohmes is the application of feline facial tattoos that make them resemble their more hideous and savage brethren. The obvious weapon of choice among the khajiit are their claws, naturally sharp and retractable. Others, though, have mastered the use of the saber and scimitar, the dagger and the longbow. There is no standing army in Elsweyr, and the catmen have never shown an expansionist inclination. In fact, they have lost territory in the last fifty years with the secession of their rim territories (see Rimmen)*.

 

Tamriel's two moons are inextricably linked to the society of the khajiit, who worship their different phases, and the combination of the phases, as if they were gods. Therefore, each "breed" of khajiit has its own patron deity. Earlier it was believed this practice was just another heathen system of worship common among the beastmen of Tamriel, but recent studies in comparative religion have proven that the lunar gods of Elsweyr are merely the divinities of the Imperial Pantheon (Stendarr, Mara, Kynareth, etc.) in disguise. Similar findings have revealed that the dro-m'Athra, or dark spirits of Elsweyr, which correspond to the inverse phases of Masser and Secunda, to be aspects of the more universal Daedric powers. The khajiit also believe that their gods regularly bestow blessings to their chosen people, in the form of the moon-sugar, a substance native to the Tenmar Forest in southern Elsweyr. This sugar has a variety of uses; it is alternately a seasoning and a magical ingredient, a source of communion with the holy moons and a dangerous and addictive drug. The khajiit understand it to be "crystallized moonlight," caught in the water of the Topal Sea and brought to the sugarcane groves of the Tenmar by the force of the twin tides. By partaking of the sugar, the khajiit believes they are consuming small portions of their gods' eternal souls. This drives them into fits of ecstasy and abandon, and the streets of Elsweyr's major cities are full of catmen shivering in the grip of sugar fits. A particularly hazardous derivative of the moon-sugar, known as skooma, is often smoked in raw form through a water-pipe by the more pathetic khajiit; its victims are addicted for life, and in constant, alternating states of euphoria and lethargy. Nevertheless, moon-sugar is a daily part of khajiit life, and their kingdom's chief export. The food of Elsweyr is invariably sweet; candies, cakes, puddings, and sugarmeats are the staples of the khajiit diet, and travelers to Elsweyr are cautioned against partaking of any of the native food. Humans, it seems, are even more susceptible to the effects of the moon-sugar than the catmen themselves.

Places of Note:

Senchal

This infamous city is the largest port in southern Tamriel. Its sprawl covers the easternmost tip of Elsweyr's Quin'rawl peninsula, a motley assortment of bazaars, taverns, merchant quarters, and open-air markets ringed on three sides by its crowded harbors. Senchal is a favorite stopping point for pirates and sea captains seeking to ply illegal or blackmarket goods, it being far easier to smuggle these goods into and out of the Empire by way of the Topal Sea than to use the well-guarded inland highways. Thieves abound here, as do beggars and pathetic khajiit sugar junkies. The traveler is advised to steer clear of Black Keirgo, Senchal's most squalid and dangerous quarter, when visiting the city. Illicit sugar-dens line the streets here, where beastmen and nobility alike wither away in sucrose fevers. All in all, Senchal is the ugliest city outside of Imperial jurisdiction. The air is humid and full of the chimney-smoke caught in the eddies from the surrounding coasts. Much of the city is abandoned or in ruins. In CE560, a strain of the Knahaten Flu blew across the channel from nearby Argonia and quickly infected the city's population. Whole neighborhoods were razed in some mad effort to cleanse Senchal of the Flu and have never been rebuilt. Visitors to the open-air markets can see these charred skylines on the periphery, as black and jagged as the teeth of the nearest sugar junkie, begging for cake.

Torval

Torval is the city-state of Elsweyr's spiritual and temporal ruler, the Mane. He and his tribe live here in stately and exotic palaces built from massive timbers of Valenwood oak, whose territorial borders are only a few hundred miles away. Symmetrical sugarcane gardens surround these palaces, where the Mane is often seen in day-long meditations atop his palanquin, held up by his inexhaustible cathay-raht servants. As has been said, the moon-sugar of Elsweyr is the holiest of substances to the khajiit. They speak of sugar as we might speak of the soul or the lifeforce. Therefore, humans have been traditionally forbidden to trespass on these estates, and the Warrior Guard enforce this measure as strictly as they do around the Tenmar Forest. An Imperial diplomat was not long ago chased from the premises, even though he had been promised an audience with the khajiit ruler. The panther-like Warrior Guard hissed at his approach, bared their fangs, and threatened him to leave quickly, lest they "leak his sugar" into the sand. Our Glorious Emperor, Tiber Septim, has yet to seek redress from the lawless catmen.

Rimmen*

Though ostensibly its own kingdom, Rimmen still pays tribute to the Mane of Elsweyr, from whose realm it seceded in CE812 during the Interregnum. Earlier, Akaviri refugees had fled persecution when the warlord Attrebus briefly aspired to the Imperial Throne. Attrebus, though he lasted no longer than most of the pretender kings of that period, thought he might rid Cyrodiil of the foreigners who had ruled it for the first half of the Common Era, and he drove the Akaviris past the Empire's borders into Elsweyr. The khajiit granted them asylum in the hills and steppes of northwestern Elsweyr, where they dwelt in relative seclusion until remnants of the Dir-Kamal resurfaced in Cyrodiil, seizing the Throne from Attrebus' successors. The Rimmen (literally, the "Rim Men," as the khajiit called them) joined their brothers to try to rebuild the Empire. This effort was doomed to failure, but not before the khajiit attempted to reclaim their lands in a series of bloody border wars. Currently, since the ascension of Tiber Septim, the hapless Rimmen have once again submitted to the protection of the Mane, with a renewed tribute paying for the Cat Lord's guarantee of their independence, a truly weak reed upon which to lean.


Annotations by YR:

1. Human relations have been minimal in the intervening years, but there is talk that the Elsweyr Confedracy has recently struck treaty with the Aldmeri Dominion (see Places of Note: Torval, for more supporting evidence), a situation that, if true, may force the catmen into another bloody confrontation with the Cyrodilic masters of Tamriel.*


*. This text did not exist in the final version of Pocket Guide from TESA: Redguard.
 

Cyrodiil

Author: 
Imperial Geographical Society

pge01_cyrodiil.gif

 

Cyrodiil, Dragon Empire, Starry Heart of Nirn, and Seat of Sundered Kings... Indeed, if the history of the Nords is the history of humans on Tamriel, then Cyrodiil is the throne from which they will decide their destiny. It is the largest region of the continent, and most is endless jungle. Its center, the grassland of the Nibenay Valley, is enclosed by an equatorial rain forest and broken up by rivers. As one travels south along these rivers, the more subtropical it becomes, until finally the land gives way to the swamps of Argonia and the placid waters of the Topal Bay. The elevation rises gradually to the west and sharply to the north. Between its western coast and its central valley there are all manner of deciduous forest and mangroves, becoming sparser towards the ocean. The western coast is a wet-dry area, and from Rihad border to Anvil to the northernmost Valenwood villages forest fires are common in summer. There are a few major roads to the west, river paths to the north, and even a canopy tunnel to the Velothi Mountains, but most of Cyrodiil is a river-based society surrounded by jungle.

Cyrodilic history truly begins by the middle of the Alessian Reformation (see sidebar, Alessian Order), when civilization and cultivation had allowed the region to emerge as a discernible Tamrielic power. Its culture and military strength centered in the sacred Nibenay Valley, a grassland expanse with a vast lake at its heart. Several small islands rose from this lake, and the capital city sprawled across them, crisscrossed with bridges and gondola ferries. Rivers connected the city-state to both its profitable outlying territories and the friendly inland ports of Skyrim and Pellitine. Rice and textiles were its main exports, along with more esoteric treasure-goods, such as hide armor, moon-sugar, and ancestor-silk. The sheer size of Cyrodiil's physical theater, and frequent intervals of Elven tyranny, made its unification as a whole a slow and oft-interrupted process. At the height of Alessian influence, its western arm enjoyed a brief autonomy as the Colovian Estates, a demarcation that still colors an outsider's view of the Empire today; often, Cyrodiil has two faces, East and West, and any discussion of its later social history must first be tempered with a summary of this early divergence.

Traditionally, the East is regarded as the region's soul: magnanimous, tolerant, and administrative. It was in the rain forests of the Nibenay Valley that the original Cyro-Nordic tribes, the Nibenese, learned a self-reliance that separated them culturally and economically from Skyrim. The Elven harassment of the First Empire gave rise to an elite form of support troop for the Valley armies, the battlemage1. By the time the Alessian Doctrines filtered down from the north along the river trade ways, these mages had become the ruling aristocracy. They were quickly superseded by the Alessian priesthood, whose inexplicably charismatic religion found purchase in the lower classes. The traditional Nordic pantheon of Eight Divines was replaced by a baroque veneration of ancestor spirits and god-animals, practices encouraged by the mutable-yet-monotheistic doctrines of the Alessian faith. The doctrines eventually codified nearly every aspect of Eastern culture. Restrictions against certain kinds of meat-eating, coupled with the sentiments of the blossoming animal cults, soon made agriculture and husbandry nearly impossible. Thus, many of the Eastern Cyrodiils were forced to become merchants, which, over time, allowed the Nibenay Valley to become the wealthiest city-state in the region. Yet, under Alessian rule, no matter how rich or powerful the merchant class became it was still a tenanted citizenry, and the tithes they were forced to pay the priesthood were constant reminders of the state's true masters.

The West is respected as Cyrodiil's iron hand: firm, unwavering, and ever-vigilant. The Cyro-Nords that settled it had relinquished the fertile Nibenay Valley long ago, determined to conquer the frontier. Their primitive ferocity was disinclined to magic or the need for industry, preferring bloody engagement and plunder instead. After they had captured the Nedic port-cities of the Strident coast, the Westerners embarked on a mastery of the sea. Their earliest voyages took them as far as the Iliac Bay and the Cape of the Blue Divide, whose ports they annually raided until the (then) superior Yokudan navies arrived, ca. 1E810. By the time of the Alessian Reformation, the Westerners were firmly in a position, both geographically and socially, to resist its doctrines. Hammerfell, its northern border state, was now protected by its own holy-avenging order, the Ra Gada, whose bloody intolerance for foreigners acted as West Cyrodiil's buffer against the Alessian priesthood. The pantheon of Eight Divines, therefore, survived unchecked in Western Cyrodiil, and relations with the increasingly Alessian East became strained. Ultimately, the West isolated itself from the theocratic hegemony of the Nibenay Valley, establishing an autonomous government, the Colovian Estates.

Things persisted in this vein until the Thrassian Plague of 1E2200 (see Free Regions- Thras), which decimated more than half of Tamriel's population, particularly the western coastlands closest to Thras. After Bendu Olo, the Colovian king of Anvil, led the All Flags Navy to victory over the slugfolk of Thras, the glory of the Cyrodilic people became known throughout the world. The Colovian Estates began to overshadow the richer, more populous East then, which eventually lead to the War of Righteousness that ended Alessian rule. Control of the Nibenay Valley reverted to a mercantile-magocracy that was still far too arcane for Western tastes to entertain a reunification of Cyrodiil. Four hundred years would pass before that would happen, when Reman I, another proud son of the West, rallied the Valley's army to join his own and fight the Akaviri Invasion of 1E2703. The Cyrodilic forces engaged the Akaviri in every region of the north, eliciting their surrender at last in the Pale Pass of Skyrim. By war's end, the Cyrodiils found themselves not only united as a nation, but, too, responsible for the further protection of the northern human kingdoms at large. When the Elves of the Summerset Isles took umbrage at what they perceived as a renewed human imperialism, Reman was forced to prove them right. In order to prevent the Elves from attacking2 the already weakened northern kingdoms, he offered the captive Akaviri Horde amnesty in his future dominions if they would serve as the nucleus of the Army of the Second Empire of Men. Reman's own dynasty lasted for two hundred years, and in that span it conquered all the kingdoms of Tamriel except for Morrowind. Indeed, the Dark Elven Morag Tong were the doom of Reman's heirs, and the death of the last true Cyrodilic Emperor heralded the beginning of the Common Era.

The Cyrodilic Empire endured for another four hundred years under the auspices of the Akaviri Potentate (see sidebar, The Second Empire), fell, and suffered a similar span of years in the insurrections, misrules, and loss of power known as the Interregnum. Yet, the remnants of the Cyrodilic Empire refused to die, even though both East and West had become fragmented beyond measure. A petty king of the Colovian Estates, Cuhlecain, came to power and appointed an Atmoran as General of his legions. General Talos had studied in Skyrim, and used the thu'um. He could rout armies with his battle-cry and shout lesser men off their feet. A year later more than half of the Cyrodilic Empire was reclaimed or consolidated, and Cuhlecain saw fit to move into the Nibenay Valley, capture the capital city, and proclaim himself Emperor. By this point, High Rock and Skyrim, which bitterly opposed a return to Cyrodilic rule, gathered their armies for a joint invasion of the Colovian West. Talos met them on the field of Sancre Tor. The Nords that had come to cripple the Empire soon joined the General's forces, for when they heard his thu'um they realized he was Skyrim's Son and the Heir to the Empires of Men. The Bretons were sent back to High Rock with tales of Cuhlecain's new General, where they decided to combat the Emperor's sorcery with their own. In CE854, a nightblade from the Western Reach made his way to the Imperial Palace at Nibenay. There, the Witchman assassinated the Emperor, caught the Palace on fire, and slit the throat of General Talos. "But from the smoldering ruin he came, one hand to his neck and with Cuhlecain's Crown in the other. The legions wept at the sight. His Northern magic had saved him, but the voice that led them would be more silent from that night on. His word could no longer rout an army with a roar, but he could still command one with a whisper. He took for himself a Cyrodilic name, Tiber Septim3, and the Nordic Name of Kings, Ysmir, the Dragon of the North. And with those names he took, too, the Red Diamond Crown of the Cyrodiils, and became their True Emperor." Thus was born the Third Empire of Men.

Cyrodiil in the Third Empire is the young, vital embodiment of its ancient heritage. Internally, it has undergone an incredible restoration-- reconstruction of the ruined sections of the Imperial City is nearly complete, roads and cities destroyed in the Interregnum have been rebuilt, East and West are unified for the first time in four centuries. Cyrodiil's present stability and strength have not been seen since the Reman Dynasty; indeed, they were born under similar circumstances - a Westerner winning the Eastern throne, forging them both into the greatest power in Tamriel. And now, in but twenty years time, Tiber Septim has secured Imperial authority in High Rock, Skyrim, and Hammerfell. Every human region stands with him against the Elven menace4. The Emperor has gracefully attributed his success to his peoples, the Colovians and the Nibenese, whose cultures we shall now treat in their current incarnation.

The Colovians6 today still possess much of the frontier spirit of their ancestors. They are uncomplicated, self-sufficient, hearty, and extremely loyal to one another. Whenever the East would tremble under the weakness of a leader, the Colovians would withdraw unto themselves, always believing they were keeping the national spirit safe until the storm passed. They realize that the Nibenay Valley is the heart of the Empire and the cultural center of its civilization, but it is a fragile center that only can be held together by the strength of character of its Emperor. When he falters, so do the Colovians. Yet when he is mighty, like Tiber Septim, they are his legions. Today, West Cyrodiils make up the majority of the soldiers in the Ruby Ranks. The Colovian nobility, all officers of the Imperial Legions or its West Navy, do not allow themselves the great expenditure of courtly life as is seen in the capital city. They prefer immaculate uniforms and stark standards hanging from the ceiling of their austere cliff-fortresses; to this day, they become a little perplexed7 when they must visit the grandly decorated assault of color that is the Emperor's Palace.

[TRAVELER: "Colovian officers have traditionally been appointed as provincial governors to the human regions of the Empire, as these often need the most forthright of the Emperor's men."]*

By contrast, the Eastern people of Cyrodiil relish in garish costumes, bizarre tapestries, tattoos, brandings, and elaborate ceremony. Closer to the wellspring of civilization, they are more given to philosophy and the evolution of ancient traditions. The Nibenese find the numinous in everything around them, and their different cults are too numerous to mention (the most famous are the Cult of the Ancestor-Moth, the Cult of Heroes, the Cult of Tiber Septim, and the Cult of Emperor Zero). To the Colovians, the ancestor worship and esoteric customs of the East can often be bizarre. Akaviri dragon-motifs are found in all quarters, from the high minaret bridges of the Imperial City to the paper hako skiffs that villagers use to wing their dead down the rivers. Thousands of workers ply the rice fields after the floodings, or clear the foliage of the surrounding jungle in the alternate seasons. Above them are the merchant-nobility, the temple priests and cult leaders, and the age-old aristocracy of the battlemages. The Emperor watches over them all from the towers of the Imperial City, as dragons circle overhead.

 

Alessian Order

This monotheistic religion was once very popular, but today only remnants of its faith remain. It started in the coastal jungle of what is now the Colovian west, where a prophet named Marukh, who had spoken to the "Enlightened One," Saint Alessia, began to question the validity of Elven rule. These sentiments led to an increasingly abstract and unknowable depiction of a Single God. The Alessians were wise enough to realize that they had to incorporate the ancient polytheistic elements into their new religion for it to find a wide acceptance. The divine aspects worshipped by the various humans and Aldmeri were recognizable in the guise of the myriad saints and spirits of the evolving Alessian canon. It wasn't long before the Order was the authority on every religion in Tamriel, and their power grew to earthshaking proportions. Nearly a third of the First Era passed under their theocratic rule. When its priesthood had become too widespread to support itself, the Order began to fight among itself. With the severance of the territories of West Cyrodiil from the Empire, too much money and land had been lost. The War of Righteousness broke out, and the Order which had almost ruled the world undid itself in a ten year span.

 

The Second Empire

The Second Empire is divided into two stages: the Reman Dynasty and the Akaviri Potentate. As mentioned in the text, after the Akaviri raiders had been defeated, Reman recruited many of them into his service. Later Cyrodiils traditionally kept a House Guard of Akaviri, and the Emperor's chief advisor, the Potentate, was usually of Akaviri descent. Other Akaviri slaves played a significant part in establishing the administrative structures of the Second Empire, as well as in the training of its military. The restructured Imperial legions, which learned an unparalleled measure of coherence, logistics, and discipline from the Akaviri, began to easily overwhelm the other regional armies; soon every region in Tamriel belonged to Cyrodiil except for Morrowind. After the assassination of Reman's last heir by the Dark Elven Morag Tong during the disastrous Four Score War, control of the Empire reverted to the Akaviri Potentate. They have left a visible mark on the Empire of today. The high crafts of daikatanas and dragonscale armor came from Akavir, as did the banners and military dress of Septim's shock troops, the Blades. The Red Dragons that have come to represent the Empire and the Imperial City were originally Akaviri war mounts. Akaviri surnames are rare and prized possessions among the Cyrodilic citizenry of today, and there are trace facial features of the Akaviri in many distinguished Cyrodilic families. Some colonies of "true Akaviri" still exist in both the Empire and its border regions, but they are named so only for their practices and customs than for the purity of their blood.

 

The Song of Tiber Septim5

From the Odes:

"He was born in Atmora as Talos, 'Stormcrown' in the language of the ancient Ehlnofey, and it was from that shore he sailed. He spent his youth in Skyrim among the Nords. There he learned much from the Tongues and their chieftains and their ways of war. At twenty he led the invasion of Old Hrol'dan, taking it back from the Witchmen of High Rock and their kinsmen.

"Soon the Greybeards made known that they were restless. Already the storms had begun from their murmurs. The Greybeards were going to Speak. The surrounding villages were abandoned as the people fled the coming blast.

"The villagers warned Talos to turn back, for he was marching to the mountain where the Greybeards dwelt.

"Inside he went, and on seeing him they removed their gags. When they spoke his name the World shook.

"The Tongues of Skyrim told the son of Atmora that he had come to rule Tamriel and that he must travel south to do so.

"And it is true that Talos did come to Cyrodiil shortly after the Battle of Old Hrol'dan.

"And it is true that a great storm preceded his arrival."

 

The Cult of the Ancestor-Moth

For long the Cyro-Nordics had exported ancestor-silks to other regions, simple yet exotic shawls woven from the silks of an indigenous gypsy moth and inscribed with the requisite genealogy of its buyer. Under the Cult, however, ancestor and moth became synonymous: the singing and hymnal spirits of one's forebears are caught in a special silk-gathering ritual, the resource of which is used to create any manner of vestment or costume. The swishing of this material during normal movement reproduces the resplendent ancestral chorus contained therein-it quickly became a sacred custom among the early Nibenese, which has persisted to the present day. Monks of the higher orders of the Cult of the Ancestor-Moth are able to forego the magical ritual needed to enchant this fabric, and, indeed, prefer instead to wear the moths about the neck and face. They are able to attract the ancestor-moths through the application of finely ground bark-dust gathered from the gypsy moth's favorite tree, and through the sub-vocalization of certain mantras. They must chant the mantras constantly to maintain skin contact with the ancestor-moths, a discipline that they endure for the sake of some cosmic balance. When a monk interrupts these mantras, in conversation for example, the moths burst from him in glorious fashion every time he speaks, only to light back upon his skin when he resumes the inaudible chant.

 

The Cult of Emperor Zero

This cult, started by Tiber Septim himself, was established in the honor of Cuhlecain, the Emperor Zero. Though Cuhlecain did not technically recapture all of Cyrodiil's holdings during his time, he is worthy of worship for the wisdom he showed in appointing Talos as his General, and the bravery he showed when retaking the Imperial City, two events that were crucial in restoring the glory of the new Cyrodilic Empire. He is therefore to be remembered in our prayers. The topiary-mages have begun to shape his aspect in the Palace gardens, where in the future Cuhlecain may share his insights with Tiber Septim in the same manner as the rest of the blessed hedgery heads of Green Emperor Road.

 

Places of Note:

The Imperial City8

Refayj's famous declaration, "There is but one city in the Imperial Province,--" may strike the citizens of the Colovian west as mildly insulting, until perhaps they hear the rest of the remark, which continues, "--but one city in Tamriel, but one city in the World; that, my brothers, is the city of the Cyrodiils." From the shore it is hard to tell what is city and what is Palace, for it all rises from the islands of the lake towards the sky in a stretch of gold. Whole neighborhoods rest on the jeweled bridges that connect the islands together. Gondolas and river-ships sail along the watery avenues of its flooded lower dwellings. Moth-priests walk by in a cloud of ancestors; House Guards hold exceptionally long daikatanas crossed at intersections, adorned with ribbons and dragon-flags; and the newly arrived Western legionnaires sweat in the humid air. The river mouth is tainted red from the tinmi soil of the shore, and river dragons rust their hides in its waters. Across the lake the Imperial City continues, merging into the villages of the southern red river and ruins left from the Interregnum.

The Emperor's Palace is a crown of sun rays, surrounded by his magical gardens. One garden path is known as Green Emperor Road-here, topiaries of the heads of past Emperors have been shaped by sorcery and can speak. When one must advise Tiber Septim, birds are drawn to the hedgery head, using their songs as its voice and moving its branches for the needed expressions.


Annotations by YR:

1. "Our old students forget themselves"
2. "Ha!"
3. "Even those humans who revile Talos as a traitor, oathbreaker, and scoundrel pay homage to his skill in obtaining his ends without resort to warfare ~"
4. "Truly, a doubtful statement"
5. "It is certain that the tale of Talos' conquest of the Cyrodiil through use of his voice is not literally true ~ that kind of thu'um is now forbidden. The is all obviously a poetic reference, crafted to satisfy the popular human lust for blood and magic. This young myth is perhaps inspired by Talos' reputation for shrewd diplomacy, attested by even his greatest critics, which permitted him to scheme and bargain his way into the capital city - which he lacked the armies or funds to conquer by dint of force ~"
6. "An observation: Colovians feel superior to Nibenese as a people, yet, because the East is the Empire's "heart", the Westerners ar often neglected in Cyrodiil ~ Even though the throne is taken continually by Kings from the West, the Nibenese quickly assimilate them into their ranks ~"
7. "Author oddly sympathetic to the West - a Colovian scribe, perhaps?"
8. "Of course no mention of the Aldmeri Citadel the capital city was built upon ~ or the crimes perpetrated there in the previous era..."


*. This annotation does not exist in the final version of Pocket Guide from TESA: Redguard.