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Arms and Armor of the Breton Champion, Vignac Antieve of Evermore

Author: 
Longinus Attius

Vignac's prowess matches that of his guard sergeant brother, and he was swift to indicate that the vampires of Rivenspire, while they don the same leathers and plate, are a blight upon High Rock to be cleansed with a swift dispatch.

Many of the men of High Rock feel a wistful dalliance with the supernatural or a bend with the mercantile life, but this caused a loss of loan on the might of steel or the savagery of the blade. Our cousins to the northwest are canny to have brokered the Daggerfall Covenant and remain united behind High King Emeric. For his grip across northern Tamriel to remain strong, a standing army, from the lowliest man-at-arms to the Lion Guard captain, must be ready to defend their quaint and picturesque province. While they are not regimented and trained to the same quality as an Imperial force, we share more similarities and less divides us, especially compared to the filthy Nord or the beastling clad in scales or fur. I intend no disrespect with my words.

Breton armor is wonderfully dependable, in terms of both strength and comfort. From the comb sitting atop the heavier helms to the overlapped steel lames that harness you in tight, construction from the very finest blacksmiths offers protection without the constant need for rubbing ointments. Tanning is almost seen as a fine art, and many quality pieces use softer, more pliable leathers (from guar or cattle) at the joints of the gorget collar, and thicker pieces (from the wolf) at the vambrace. For those of a foppish disposition with an overabundance of wealth, additional minerals can be added in the forging process to vary the color of the plates, from a deep red to a marbled white.

In the main, Breton arms are of a standard fare. When one conjures the picture of a sword in the mind's eye, a Breton blade usually appears. But do not think these weapons are in any way unvaried or tedious. From the finial carving atop a staff to the quillon block of a dagger, expect an element of curved carving most pleasing to view, and the use of enchanted gemstones, and an overabundance of lion heads when shields are raised or when Wayrest is your journey's end. But it is the inclusion of orichalcum, conjoined to the base metal of the very best weaponry a Breton has to hand, that proves the might of the master merchants.

Fine, sturdy, and of quality craftsmanship, a Breton's blade, bow, or shield has a pleasing weight, if perhaps an overabundance of heraldry and pattern work. 

A Royal Embarrassment

Author: 
Aemilianus Falto

By Aemilianus Falto, "A Concerned Citizen"

Can we be frank, just one citizen to another? It's dismayingly obvious that what we have left for a royal family here in Bangkorai is just not going to suffice. Nothing against the late King Eamond, who was a reasonably strong voice from the throne—though it was a shame the way he planned to allow Moneybags Emeric to get away with giving nominal rulership over the Fallen Wastes to Fahara'jad (who's never even been there, so far as I know).

However, now that Eamond's gone, we're in deeper trouble. Princess Elara acts more like a flighty Wood Elf than an honest Breton maid, and Prince Adrien—well, you've heard about his gambling debts, haven't you? And that he's a little too fond of the old spiced wine? All true, from what I've heard. In fact, that story about his half-Orc bastard might even be true too, so far as I know.

And as for Queen Arzhela, to be charitable, let's just say she isn't playing bowls with a full set of pins. Sewing with her thimble on the wrong finger. Fishing for mudcrabs without a net. You know, waltzing barefoot on oyster-shards with a duck egg, a nose-flute, and a nine-pound hammer. Got me?

So where does that leave us? Dangerously bereft of strong leadership, that's where. And I'm not about to accept another bird-brained, gift-wrapped import from Wayrest, I can tell you.

Where, then, can we turn? Personally, I've got my eye looking east, toward Cyrodiil. The Empire's a proven source of strong leaders when we Bretons are in the soup, going all the way back to Empress Hestra. And they worship the proper Eight Divines, too—none of your weird Tall Papas or Malacaths for me, thank you very much.

The Empire. Think about it. I'm pretty sure you'll agree.

Picnic at Pelin (A Horror Story)

Author: 
DeWitte Bourbois

"Come on, Falinne," I said. "It'll be fun."

"I don't know, Jacques," Falinne replied, her gamine's face betraying embarrassment, unusual for her. "I just don't think—it doesn't sound like a good idea to me."

"What, going for a picnic? It's Sovereignty Day, celebrating High Rock's independence from the First Empire. Everybody goes for a picnic on Sovereignty Day!"

"Yes, but not to Pelin Graveyard. And the weather isn't looking very good for a picnic—it's so gloomy." She shivered.

"Not to worry," I said, leading the way past through the wrought-iron fences and into the great cemetery. "We'll have a roof over our heads. We're going to eat inside this old mausoleum here."

"Wh-what?" Falinne said. "But this is the crypt of …."

"Of your namesake, Baroness Falinne Guimard, who commanded the troops of Bangkorai on Sovereignty Day? The very same." I smiled, bowed, and waved her in to the dark mausoleum.

Falinne looked inside and gulped, then said, "All right, Jacques. You can't scare me." And, hunching her head a bit into her shoulders, she ducked into the Baroness' last resting place.

I followed, unfolding the picnic blanket with a flourish. "Here we are! No need to sit directly on the clammy, strangely-stained flagstones of the dark and dismal charnel vault. Comfort and elegance are my watchwords!"

"Very funny, Jacques." She smiled gamely and folded her legs beneath her as I put the picnic basket in the center of the blanket. "So what did you bring?"

"Chef Artoine's deluxe picnic collation from the Anchor's Point inn! A brace of rock pigeons, grilled and deboned, with combwort chutney, ballom pudding, and a jug of syllabub. Unless for pigeon…."

"…Less … egion…" a voice whispered from the back of the vault.

"Er… an echo, by Mara! Did—did you hear that, Falinne?"

"…Falinne … Aless … Legion …!" came the whisper, louder this time.

"I certainly heard that!" Falinne said, leaping up. "Jacques, what kind of trick are you playing here?"

"Alessian Legion! Where?" said the voice, quite distinctly. And before our widening eyes, a blue phantasm came drifting up from a steep and narrow stairwell.

With a shriek, Falinne backed flat against the far wall and froze, seemingly paralyzed. I felt cold stones at my own back and realized I'd done the same.

The translucent blue phantasm, clad in armor of antique design, drifted between us, halted at the entrance, and turned. "This is the day, isn't it?" she demanded in hollow tones. "The day of the attack!"

"Y-yes, Countess," I said, surprised at my ability to speak. "Right d-day, but wrong century."

"What?" She flew at me, spectral hands raised like claws. Somehow, I shrank even further into the wall. "What? Not … again."

"That's right!" Falinne piped up. "Wrong century, wrong year! Go back to sleep, Grandmother."

"Wrong … year," the spectre said slowly. "Back … to sleep."

And to our immense relief, the Countess' ghost began drifting back down the stairs, fading as it went.
"Gales of Kynareth!" Falinne said, sinking to the floor. "I need a drink. You?"

"Oh, yes. At least one," I said, as she poured the syllabub. "What's taking so long?"

"My hands are shaking. Here."

I drained the milk-and-cider to the dregs and passed the mug back for more. Then I took a deep breath and began, "Falinne, I'm really, really sorry. I never thought…."

"Don't worry about it," she said. "Here, have some more. Think what a great story it'll make back at the Anchor's Point."

"You're not angry? Really?"

"No, Jacques. Not angry."

"Well then, let me carve the … huh, that's funny." As I reached for the plate of pigeons, I felt a wave of cold pass over my body, and my hand fell short. "By Arkay, what …?" I tried to stand, got as far as my knees and then fell over onto the blanket. "Falinne, something's … something's wrong."

"It's nothing, dearest," she said, smiling sweetly. "I just drugged your syllabub with a paralyzing potion."
"D-drugged?" I mumbled. "Why?"

"Because there's this really exclusive club I want to join. Namira's Forgotten? But to be admitted, you have to consume human flesh. It's quite thrilling, Jacques!" She drew a slender, razor-sharp blade from her bodice.

"Now, let's see—where shall I begin?"

 

The Knightly Orders of High Rock

Author: 
Lady Cinnabar of Taneth

The Breton passion for feudal hierarchy pervades every aspect of High Rock society, from the lowliest peasant farmer to the High King in Wayrest. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the curious phenomenon of the Breton knightly orders.

Here in Hammerfell, we Redguards sensibly award equal citizenship to every man or woman who knows which end of the sword to grasp. Oh, we have our governing class, of course, as civilization must be ordered and maintained, but below this aristocracy there are few distinctions.

Not so in High Rock, where everyone is aware of their degree of nobility, which is invariably traced back to those Breton families who led the region's liberation from the overlordship of the Direnni Elves. High Rock cultural history is founded on tales of the noble and chivalrous "Breton Knights" who flung off the yoke of their Elven masters. After these knights drove the Direnni back to Balfiera Island, they founded the knightly orders to carry on the tradition of nobles-in-arms, and to ensure that High Rock would have able and ready defenders in times of trouble.

So the stories go, at least. Today, every petty kingdom and duchy in High Rock has its own knightly order, with traditions that supposedly date back to the glory days of the Breton Liberation. The Knights of the Dragon in Daggerfall, the Knights of the Flame in Alcaire, the Order of Saint Pelin in Evermore—the list goes on and on.

And what, nowadays, do these knightly orders do to justify their gleaming greatswords and shining mail? If we look beyond the banners and pageantry, we find that the chivalric orders fulfill two main purposes in High Rock society.

First, they provide an acceptably "noble" calling for the excess sons and daughters of the aristocracy. Over time, as trade has made High Rock prosperous, the profession of merchant has become an accepted alternative to feudal lordship for the children of the nobility, but frankly, not every baron's son has a head for numbers and negotiation. For these spare heirs, there's always a membership available in the local knightly order.

Second, the bestowal of a knighthood on a lower-class man or woman is a convenient way to reward outstanding contributions to society (or to the elevating lord), and confers a measure of that nobility so prized in Breton society. Where the commoner is rewarded for achievements other than in conflict—and this is the case in the majority of knighthoods—the membership in the local knightly order is only nominal, and the new sir or dame is not expected to take up sword and shield. However, if their achievements were in the all-important realm of trade, the new "merchant knight" is expected to contribute heavily and regularly to the order's financial maintenance.

So if you're visiting Wayrest or Evermore on a mission of diplomacy or trade, don't be surprised if the head of a shipping company is introduced as Sir Doric, or the owner of a string of hostels is called Dame Lizabette. You're simply meeting one of the fabled Breton Knights of High Rock.

The Bretons: Mongrels or Paragons?

Author: 
Phrastus of Elinhir

That Men and Mer can interbreed has been known since the first humans began arriving on the shores of Tamriel in the middle of the Merethic Era. However, broad intermingling of Elves and humans only occurred in the far northwest of the continent, giving rise to the race of Men known as the Bretons. Given the history of conflict between humans and the children of Aldmeris elsewhere in Tamriel, how and why did this intermingling occur in High Rock?

The answer lies in the peculiar (for Elves) culture of Clan Direnni, the once-dominant Mer of northwest Tamriel. In contrast to the Ayleids of Cyrodiil, who brutally enslaved any humans they came into contact with, the Direnni simply conquered their local Nedes and then ruled them as a caste of nobility. The aristocratic Elves established a system of feudal vassalage over their human subjects, with rights and privileges that included the "Perquisite of Coition" with any human they desired. Sex with attractive Nedes was considered casual recreation, and Direnni nobles competed to have stables of the most desirable human subjects.

The inevitable Half-Elven offspring from these liaisons were not adopted into the families of their Direnni parents, being considered sub-Mer, but were nonetheless often given privileged positions among the subject Nedes. Over time, this led to the establishment of a recognized caste of mixed-blood humans, who were given the name "Bretons" (from the Ehlnofex "beratu," or "half"). The Breton caste was only allowed to marry humans, so over time their Elven blood became more diluted, and the Nedic appearance predominated.

Though they wielded great power for a time in the First Era, even then the Elves of Clan Direnni were never numerous, and as their geographical hegemony expanded administration and rulership was increasingly handed off to the Breton caste. After defeating the invading Alessian Horde in 1E 482 Clan Direnni was scattered and effectively exhausted. As the Elves retreated to central High Rock, then finally Balfiera Isle, the Bretons stepped easily into their shoes, assuming the feudal hierarchy established by the Direnni and simply replacing them with their own noble families.

The Breton nobles, who had been forced to differentiate themselves from the Direnni part of their heritage, justified their new ascension by distancing themselves from Elves and everything Elven—ironically so, as the Elven blood ran strongest in the older noble families. The Direnni were increasingly vilified by their former vassals, and the island clan became ever more insular and isolationist. However, they were still known as powerful magicians, and they were strong enough to repel an attempted Redguard invasion in 1E 907.

The Bretons continued redefining themselves, inventing a myth of a history of noble resistance to Direnni rule, and developing a thriving merchant class that began trading around the coasts of Tamriel. By the time the Empress Hestra and her legions arrived at Bangkorai Pass in 1E 1029, they were ready to join the Empire of Men and embrace the Eight Divines. Under the Remans, High Rock was possibly the most stable and prosperous province in the Second Empire.

Which brings us back to the (deliberately provocative) question of our title: are the Bretons then mongrels, or paragons? The answer, of course, is both (though if you call a Breton a mongrel, he is liable to feed you an inch or two of steel). The passionate race of Bretons embodies the strengths of both Men and Mer—as well as their flaws.

Racial Motifs 5: The Bretons

Author: 
Doctor Alfidia Lupus

The Arch-Magister at the University, Lady Opel Dantaine, is a Breton, so I consulted with her on Breton motifs. She was friendly, and very helpful.

The Bretons were the last major group of humans on Tamriel to free themselves from their Elven overlords, and in many ways their long vassalage to the Direnni defines their culture. They are fiercely autonomous, each kingdom in High Rock jealous of its individual sovereignty, but Breton society retains a feudal structure that hearkens back to the rank-obsessed Direnni Hegemony. The Bretons are nearly as fractious as their cousins the Nords, but their long tutelage under the Elves makes them open to the magical arts, rather than suspicious of them.

How is this reflected in their arts and crafts? Let's look at Breton armor, for example. The gleaming heavy armor of a Breton knight is as tough and practical as that of a Nord housecarl, but its pleasing form exhibits a subtle sophistication that is reminiscent of Elven elegance. One sees the same influence in Breton weaponry, which is beautiful yet undeniably deadly.

It made me think of the differences between Divayth's Elven urbanity and Morian's breadth of knowledge and all-too-human inconsistencies, even peevishness. Apparently the transliminal experiments have not been going well. When I stopped by the townhouse last night, neither Morian nor Divayth were in—Seif-ij, Morian's apprentice, told me they'd quarreled over the appropriate price to pay a transporting entity to ensure safe return from a jaunt to Oblivion, the remarks became personal, and then my name was apparently brought up. There was shouting, and they both huffed their way out of the laboratory and marched off down Divines Street in opposite directions.

This is terrible. Fighting? Over me? I must confess I was so disturbed I blurted out the whole thing to Lady Opel, who was incredibly kind and solicitous. She asked me if I had feelings for either of the two wizards, and I admitted I did, but they were conflicting and confusing. Opel opened a bottle of two of Bangkorai spiced wine, and we got quite confidential with each other as the evening waned. I'm not sure how I got home, and today my head hurts, but it was worth it, as my heart is no longer so heavy.

Douglas Goodall's Posts

Author: 
Douglas Goodall

On the difficulty of keeping lore consistent between games (04/08/01)

You have no idea. NO idea.

Seriously, I have re-learned the necessity of GREP. I only wish Arena and Daggerfall had left more documents for me to search... Redguard and the early Morrowind stuff is all easily searchable for contradictions. Still, I fear several are inevitable.

AND I should note that I was a big fan of the series, which makes this much easier... I only THOUGHT I knew everything about Tamriel... I can't imagine coming to work here without already being something of an Elder Scrolls loremaster.

On Dwemer trivia (pre-Morrowind) (04/19/01)

"I never told you or have been told myself that House Dagoth was not *linked* to Dwarves. It's just that House Dagoth *was not* Dwarves. See the difference?"

Right. The Dwemer didn't divide themselves into "Houses" anyway.

"Actually, according to "The Songs of King Wulfharth", some dude called Dagoth Ur killed Dumac the Dwarfking during the Battle of the Red Mountain. The Songs controverse each other, so take it with a grain of salt. After all, it's a legend, and a Nordic one. Nords, after all, might not have a clue as to what was going on."

Well, the Nords *were* there... Only the combined might of the Dunmer and Dwemer could drive the foreigners out to found Resdayn. After the Battle of Red Mountain and the mysterious disappearance, the Dunmer no longer needed Dwemer technology for defense -- by then, they had the Tribunal.

"On a side note, Dunmer traditionally place family name first and given name second, as in "Indoril Nerevar" and "Hlaalu Brevur"."

Um. I suppose you're referring to the

If they place the family name first, how do you explain that the quote about Brevur the Betrayer was spoken by Paulus Hlaalu?

Your first guess was a good one, but it is not the right one. Not that it matters in the larger scheme of things.

For instance, Indoril Nerevar's full and formal name would be Serjo Indoril Nerevar Mora.

I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up.

Raptormeat: Lakene had a good point, but not many people ever thought that way. Certainly not enough to destroy a whole race... Unless, of course, a whole race can be destroyed by the actions of one person...

Xachariah II: The Dwemer did not use solar panels. Good guess, though.

"Only Boethiah can change a race's skin. Only the Dwarves can cover it in tin foil."

Carry on.

Clarifying some Khajiit information (04/19/01)

"It has got something to do with Khajiit Culture ..."

YM: Biology

Their culture came from their odd biology. They missed out on Y'ferr's decree, so Lorkhaj played a little trick on them...

"Depending on WHEN a Khajiit is born , she looks more human or feline. The most humanoid breed , looks almost like elves , but with tails and soft fur covering parts of the torso."

One of the "humanoid" breeds looks like that.

"Depending on their Khajiit Breed they have different duties to do in Khajiit society..."

This is more a practical matter than some kind of caste-system. Obviously there are jobs you cannot do without opposable thumbs, etc.

If you ever move to Tamriel, keep in mind that there is a whole province just waiting to be introduced to the tasty fishy stick.

On the mortality of gods (04/20/01)

Arkay and the King of Worms were once mortal...

And what about Tosh Raka?

On the Khajiit breeds as seen in the games (04/20/01)

The breeds of Khajiit in the various games:

Arena: Ohmes
Daggerfall: censored>
Morrowind: suthay-Raht

There are no Ohmes or in Morrowind.

The "jaguar men" are cathay-Raht... a little different from the suthay-Raht. The screenshot Khajiit (see the above link or the screenshots section) are suthay-Raht. S'rathra and Joto were also suthay-Raht.

On the meaning of "Khajiit" (04/22/01)

You'll have to wait for the game. Or later. You need to read "Ta'agra for the Unclawed."

I'll give you some hints, though.

khaj = desert

-iit (when applied to places) = "one who lives/walks in"

On what the Ta'Agra (04/22/01)

A "beta version" of it.

Back when I had time to do that sort of thing, I set up grammar rules, etc. The vocabulary is limited, and it doesn't *sound* as cool as the pseudo-english of S'rathra in Redguard. It needs more work, but I no longer have time to do that sort of thing. I'm only on the forums now while waiting for my computer to... Oh. It's done now. Excuse me.

On Khajiit phalic barbs (04/22/01)

"There's no accounting for taste."

I don't know who wrote/said that. I suspect it is a "modern" and anonymous quote. In any case, my profile will disprove this notion.

And, in the spirit of tastelessness, only some breeds of Khajiit have the... traits that Therris had in Real Barenziah. While all Terran felines have this trait (and many carnivorae have something similar), it makes no biological sense for the Khajiit to have it... unless Khajiit women are not sexually receptive year-round like human women or always ovulate during intercourse... The fiction from Daggerfall somewhat disproves that notion as well, thus the dilemna.

I thought of a couple explanations for this and eventually settled on one which I should save for later revelation.

I retroactively removed this trait from most of the Khajiit. I'm allowed to do that because I said so. So there. Therris was obviously a cathay-Raht, since he clearly wasn't a Senche, [censored], [censored], or [haven't made up a name yet]. Ohmes don't have this trait at all and suthay-Raht (like the Khajiit in Morrowind) have it only to a slight degree.

So far, this is the only "design" topic I've brought up that even Ken was unwilling to comment on...

Perhaps if I get around to writing the other volumes of Khajiit Physiology, the game itself will have a more lucid explanation.

Answering some questions about Bretons and Knights (04/26/01)

"1.What is the stereotype on the breton knights? (are they seen as the most chivalric?, mystic?, or what?)
2.Which of the eight divines is held in the most accord by the bretons?
3.Any ideas on what the breton unique ability will be for Morrowind?
4.Is the bretons penchant for magic tied in with them being a particularly relgious group of people?"

1. There's more than one order of Breton Knights... Why not make up one you like playing?
2. Like most of the Empire, Bretons worship all of the Eight Divines (and there's a strong Emperor Cult in a few places), but they are not generally devout. The Bretons used to be ruled by witch-kings and High Rock has more witch covens than many provinces... Alas, this is not relevant for a Knight. If you're looking at playing a Breton religious crusader, feel free. Each of the Divines supports a Knightly Order, in addition to the other Knightly Orders (Bretons are a Knightly people, if not a particularly religious one).
3. Yes.
4. Their talent for magic comes from their history. There's a clue in the link Raptormeat posted.

Perhaps you should read Heroic Achievements of the Bretons... That's a joke, btw.

Is that joke too obscure?

On whether "the Daedra were created by the 'intelligent races' of Tamriel" (04/28/01)

A similar argument was made by the opponents of the Allesian heresy. Might I direct the interested scholar once more to volume XI of Marobar Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer... which doesn't exactly answer your question, but is quite interesting.

More on the Hist (04/30/01)

"1) i wonder, will the Hist will be modeled as an NPC??? one gets killed, and has Argonian Eggs when you search it.
2) are the Hist related to Spriggans?"

No comment on the exact relationship between the Hist and the Argonian reproductive cycle, but it's cool. As for egg-laying, this is an interesting question. While the majority of reptiles do lay eggs, there are a number that have live births (basically, the eggs hatch internally). I guess I had pictured the Argonians going more the live birth route, because they are so humanoid, but the concept of them laying eggs is an interesting one. Have to think more on that.

As for your questions:
1) Nope, no Hist NPCs to be found, although I think it's a really cool idea. Remember, we're gonna be in Morrowind this time around, and won't be delving into murky Black Marsh quite yet. The Argonians are pretty touchy when it comes to crossing their borders.

2) Nah. Hist are much cooler.

On Ebonheart(s) (05/11/01)

There is a city of Vivec and a Castle Ebonheart and a city of Ebonheart. 2 of the 3 are in the game Morrowind. The third may or may not exist, but it would help explain some gaps, etc.

On musical Argonians (01/31/02)

I thought they should use the marsh itself as their primary musical instrument like the Baka Forest People use rivers. And play lots of odd percussion instruments like water drums and bohdans and djimbes and udus. And make slowed-down bird-call noises.

I wanted the Khajiit to be arrhythmic jazz musicians.

A sample of Ta'agra in response to an attempt to crack Morrowind's cyphers (07/17/04)

Pleased is Jobasha at your work. Very good for smooth skins and blunt ears. The Imperial and Telavanni ciphers broken? Oh, but Redoran is easiest of all! A Sermon here, a Sermon there... But so many sermons hide their secrets like naughty children. Jobasha would suggest a study of Sermon Zero if Jobasha were not so kind and wise. And the fine tapestries of my close friend your kind calls "Cherim."
 
Of course, Jobasha could ruin this game for you, but where would Jobasha be then? No, the big secrets are for the ja-Kha'jay.
 
But Jobasha is so pleased, he forgets himself. Jobasha tells you three truths, gives you three gifts, like the eighth keeper on the road to the western lands...
 
Ahziss zwinthodurrarr rabi.
"I have a yellow writing utensil.
Ahziss liter ajo'iiliten rabiba.
"My brother has a wonderful girl."
Ahziss aaliter vakasash.
"I wish I was my brother."
Is the Cherim of Sermon Zero the same Cherim as the famous tapestrist? (07/18/04)
A common misunderstanding. Cherim is Jobasha's good friend, shared much sugar, many sands. Cherim is famous tapestry maker, puts the ja'Kha'Jay in every one. White Gold is one of his best, one of the least often seen. It shows the White Tower, a dragon spirals around it, a moth priest at the top. Very famous moment, but few men remember.
 
Have you not heard of Muzariah and her death at the hands of the Three Angry Men? Muzariah was Indoril by birth and a painter by choice. Her best painting lies in the cellars of the Imperial Palace by Imperial decree. No one wishes to destroy such beauty, but no one wishes it to be seen. A dilemna.
 
But Jobasha says too much. 

 

Breton

Author: 
B

Breton - OblivionArena Description
Bretons hail from the province of High Rock. They are tall, dark-haired people. Bretons are highly intelligent and willful people, and have an outgoing personality. It is said that Bretons are weaned on magic, for it seems to suffuse their very being. As a result Bretons take half damage from any Magic based attacks, and no damage on a successful save. They are excellent in all the arcane arts.

Know ye this also: Thy race is descended from the ancient Druids of Galen, quick witted and strong in the mystical arts. Thy folks are crafty and intelligent, a learned people who use their gifts to guide others to enlightenment...

Breton - MorrowindDaggerfall Description
Highly intelligent and willful, the Bretons have a natural bond with the forces of magicka. Many great sorcerers have come out of High Rock, and even the humblest Breton can boast a high resistance to the destructive powers of magicka.

Battlespire Description
Highly intelligent and willful, the Bretons have a natural bond with the forces of mgicka. Many great sorcerers have come out of their home province of High Rock, and even the humblest Breton can boast a high resistance to the destructive powers of magicka.

Morrowind Description
Passionate and eccentric, poetic and flamboyant, intelligent and willful, the Bretons feel an inborn, instinctive bond with the mercurial forces of magic and the supernatural. Many great sorcerers have come out of their home province of High Rock, and in addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, enchantment, and alchemy, even the humblest of Bretons can boast a high resistance to destructive and dominating magical energies.

Shadowkey Description
Intermingling with Elven blood has given Bretons an affinity for magic but hardiness is also part their heritage. Breton Hardiness quickens the pace at which Fatigue and Health are recovered.

Oblivion Description
In addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, even the humblest of Bretons can boast a resistance to magical energies. They are particularly skilled at summoning and healing magic.

Skyrim Description
In addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, even the humblest of High Rock's Bretons can boast a resistance to magic. Bretons can call upon the Dragonskin power to absorb spells.

Elder Scrolls Online Description
The men and women of High Rock were once ruled by High Elf overlords. Some Elven blood still runs in their veins, giving Bretons an innate grasp of magic that distinguishes them from the other human races. Passionate and flamboyant, intelligent and resourceful, the Bretons are renowned and talented craftsmen, shrewd merchants, gallant cavaliers, and inventive wizards. They can also be proud and quarrelsome. Tales of warfare between the kingdoms of High Rock account for much of their history, but most revere the Eight Divines and value prosperity over glory.

Elder Scrolls Legends Description
The men and women of High Rock are known for their clever spellcraft, which often lets them avoid harm.


Breton Gods

Akatosh
(Dragon God of Time)
Akatosh is the chief deity of the Eight Divines (the prescribed religious cults of Cyrodiil and its provinces), and one of two deities found in every Tamrielic religion (the other is Lorkhan). He is generally considered to be the first of the Gods to form in the Beginning Place; after his establishment, other spirits found the process of being easier and the various pantheons of the world emerged. He is the ultimate God of the Cyrodilic Empire, where he embodies the qualities of endurance, invincibility, and everlasting legitimacy.
Magnus
(Magus)
The god of sorcery, Magnus withdrew from the creation of the world at the last second, though it cost him dearly. What is left of him on the world is felt and controlled by mortals as magic. One story says that, while the idea was thought up by Lorkhan, it was Magnus who created the schematics and diagrams needed to construct the mortal plane. He is sometimes represented by an astrolabe, a telescope, or, more commonly, a staff. Cyrodilic legends say he can inhabit the bodies of powerful magicians and lend them his power. Associated with Zurin Arctus, the Underking.
Y'ffre
(God of the Forest)
Most important deity of the Bosmeri pantheon. While Auri-El Time Dragon might be the king of the gods, the Bosmer revere Y'ffre as the spirit of 'the now'. According to the Wood Elves, after the creation of the mortal plane everything was in chaos. The first mortals were turning into plants and animals and back again. Then Y'ffre transformed himself into the first of the Ehlnofey, or 'Earth Bones'. After these laws of nature were established, mortals had a semblance of safety in the new world, because they could finally understand it. Y'ffre is sometimes called the Storyteller, for the lessons he taught the first Bosmer. Some Bosmer still possess the knowledge of the chaos times, which they can use to great effect (the Wild Hunt).
Dibella
(Goddess of Beauty)
Popular god of the Eight Divines. In Cyrodiil, she has nearly a dozen different cults, some devoted to women, some to artists and aesthetics, and others to erotic instruction.
Arkay
(God of the Cycle of Life and Death)
Member of the Eight Divines pantheon, and popular elsewhere as well. Arkay is often more important in those cultures where his father, Akatosh, is either less related to time or where his time aspects are difficult to comprehend by the layman. He is the god of burials and funeral rites, and is sometimes associated with the seasons. His priests are staunch opponents of necromancy and all forms of the undead. It is said that Arkay did not exist before the world was created by the gods under Lorkhan's supervision/urging/trickery. Therefore, he is sometimes called the Mortals' God.
Zenithar
(God of Work and Commerce, Trader God)
Member of the Eight Divines, Zenithar is understandably associated with Z'en. In the Empire, however, he is a far more cultivated god of merchants and middle nobility. His worshippers say, despite his mysterious origins, Zenithar is the god 'that will always wins'.
Mara
(Goddess of Love)
Nearly universal goddess. Origins started in mythic times as a fertility goddess. In Skyrim, Mara is a handmaiden of Kyne. In the Empire, she is Mother-Goddess. She is sometimes associated with Nir of the 'Anuad', the female principle of the cosmos that gave birth to creation. Depending on the religion, she is either married to Akatosh or Lorkhan, or the concubine of both.
Stendarr
(God of Mercy)
God of the Eight Divines, Stendarr has evolved from his Nordic origins into a deity of compassion or, sometimes, righteous rule. He is said to have accompanied Tiber Septim in his later years. In early Altmeri legends, Stendarr is the apologist of Men.
Kynareth
(Goddess of Air)
Kynareth is a member of the Eight Divines, the strongest of the Sky spirits. In some legends, she is the first to agree to Lorkhan's plan to invent the mortal plane, and provides the space for its creation in the void. She is also associated with rain, a phenomenon said not to occur before the removal of Lorkhan's divine spark.
Julianos
(God of Wisdom and Logic)
Often associated with Jhunal, the Nordic father of language and mathematics, Julianos is the Cyrodilic god of literature, law, history, and contradiction. Monastic orders founded by Tiber Septim and dedicated to Julianos are the keepers of the Elder Scrolls.
Sheor
(Bad Man)
In Bretony, the Bad Man is the source of all strife. He seems to have started as the god of crop failure, but most modern theologians agree that he is a demonized version of the Nordic Shor, born during the dark years after the fall of Sarthal.
Phynaster Hero-god of the Summerset Isles, who taught the Altmer how to naturally live another hundred years by using a shorter walking stride.

 

The Sons and Daughter of the Direnni West: High Rock

Author: 
Imperial Geographical Society

Map of High Rock

High Rock, the westernmost province on the mainland of Tamriel, is a land of temperate climates and soft rolling hills, split in half by the towering Wrothgarian Mountains. The quaint charm of its hamlets and austere grandeur of its cities speak of a gentle life, something that was only a distant dream for most of the long, peculiar history of the Bretons.

History

With its fertile soils and generally clement weather, it is little wonder that the region that is now known as High Rock has attracted many cultures throughout history. The Gods were the first of these. The Adamantine Tower, in a little island in the middle of the Iliac Bay, is widely considered to be the oldest structure in Tamriel. If the ancient tales are to be believed, it was crafted in the Dawn Era by the Gods themselves to have a place for meeting and deciding what would be the fate of Nirn. Perhaps this is merely a myth, but it is true that when the earliest Aldmer came to the region, the Tower was already standing.

Breton RaceThere is evidence that early beast men of one variety or another may have been the original inhabitants of High Rock, but the Aldmer coming from Summerset Isle were the first to settle and form permanent communities. The early Nedic people who arrived next were stumbling upon a highly sophisticated culture, and were quickly overwhelmed and absorbed. One of the earliest tales of Khosey describes a Nord raiding party attacking a group of what they presumed to be Aldmer, but who were, on closer inspection, a mongrel race between elf and human, the remnants of the earlier lost Nedic tribe. They were somewhat awkwardly called "Manmeri," but we know them today as Bretons.

It took many centuries for the Bretons to become the dominant force in High Rock. For most of the First Era, the elves kept their hold on the land, with the Nords founding fortified towns along the coasts to support their pillaging parties, such as Daggerfall, which as a kingdom would have a profound influence on High Rock in years to come.

Of all the families of Aldmer who colonized High Rock, none did it so successfully as the Clan Direnni. So dominant were they that by the middle of the First Era, the whole of High Rock was commonly called "The Direnni Hegemony." As an economic and military power, they were formidable enough to pose a continued threat to the battle-hardened Nords and the nascent Alessian Empire of Cyrodiil. Taking advantage of the internal strife in Skyrim, the Hegemony began taking land north and south of High Rock, claiming portions of Skyrim and Hammerfell. At the peak of their power, they controlled nearly a quarter of Tamriel. But they had overextended their reach, and slowly, year by year, they lost all that they had gained, falling back to their fortress in Balfiera, the Adamantine Tower, now called the Direnni Tower.

The Bretons were operating beneath the eyes of history, and their rise in High Rock was through commerce and the foundation of small villages in well-chosen positions, such as the sleepy fishing hamlet of Wayrest on the coast between the Bjoulsae River and the Iliac Bay. Daggerfall, Camlorn, Reich Gradkeep, and many other Nordic cities became Breton not by any act of war, but simply by being assimilated by them. By the end of the First Era, High Rock was the land of the Bretons, and would be so ever after.

But High Rock was never a single cohesive Breton nation. The power vacuum left by the decline of the Dirennis fractured High Rock into a hundred fiefdoms of small, walled city-states. This has often left the Bretons at the mercy of the larger powers of Tamriel, but has also made High Rock surprisingly resilient during the times of chaos following the fall of the great empires.

Scarcely had the rule of the Dirennis passed into history before two new powers arrived in the region. The Redguards of Yokuda began their conquest of Hammerfell in the 808th year of the First Era, largely displacing beast folk in their attacks, but also supplanting Breton settlements along the southern Iliac Bay. The two cultures warred over dominance in the Bay, until they were faced with a common enemy in the Orcish kingdom of Orsinium.

The rise and fall and rebirth of Orsinium is detailed in a larger section, but suffice it to say for now that the discovery of the "monstrous" kingdom of the creatures, as they were regarded, was a very unpleasant surprise to both the Redguards and Bretons. An alliance between Daggerfall and the new kingdom of Sentinel led to the long war known as the Siege of Orsinium. The humans eventually prevailed: Orsinium was destroyed and the Orcs dispersed far and wide across Tamriel.

High RockHigh Rock fared relatively well during the long interregnum following the fall of the Cyrodilic Empire, but its multitude of fractious kingdoms were easily conquered by Tiber Septim. Indeed, many Bretons welcomed the rebirth of the Empire. Still, some of them managed to unite to stop the encroachment of the Camoran Usurper in his destructive march northward from Valenwood in 3E 267. With a weak Emperor on the Imperial throne, and no clear leadership from the usual powers of the west, the Usurper may have swept over High Rock had the smallest of regions of the Iliac Bay not banded together under the Baron of Dwynnen to defeat him. Once again, an overwhelming force had underestimated the Bretons, and been defeated.

The unity was lost when the threat was removed, and for the next one hundred and fifty years, internal and external conflicts continued. In the east, the Nords reclaimed some of their old kingdoms in the War of the Bend'r-Mahk. In the west, the War of Betony, though ostensibly between Daggerfall and Sentinel, spilled into Daggerfall's neighboring kingdoms. In the center, Orsinium reappeared as the home of the Orcs, threatening once again the fortunes of Wayrest. In the year 417, however, the province redefined itself in a most mysterious way.

They call the even the Miracle of Peace. On the 10th of Frostfall, a strange force exploded over the Iliac Bay, displacing armies and decimating whole territories. Though its nature is still unknown, most Bretons believe it was the ancient Gods who had once made High Rock their home scouring the land, making it whole once again. Though it was a painful process for most - the Miracle is sometimes spoken of as the Warp in the West - the result of it is a province that is more unified than it has ever been in modern history.

Where once there were a hundred small squabbling kingdoms, today, just two decades after the Miracle, there are five.

Current Events

Battle-weary, the kingdoms of High Rock have eschewed violence recently in favor of diplomatic solutions. This is not to say that there have been no tensions over the new borders between Daggerfall and Wayrest, or between Camlorn and Northpoint and Evermore, but they are localized skirmishes, and have yet to explode into war, as they might have done in the past. The royal family of Daggerfall has recently celebrated the marriage of their son Camaron to Lady Kelmena, the daughter of Duke Senhyn of Camlorn, suggesting a possible unified kingdom along the western coast of Tamriel. King Gothryd and Queen Aubk-i's own marriage twenty years before had cemented relations and formed the basis of the peace between Daggerfall and Sentinel, which continues to this day.

Northpoint and Evermore were not directly affected by the Miracle of Peace, but took advantage of it, swallowing up their small neighbors in the chaos of its aftermath. Far enough west to avoid the predations of Skyrim in the Bend'r-Mahk, and far enough north not to be targeted by Daggerfall and Wayrest, they have been quiet of late, watching their neighbors distrustfully.

The Queen of Wayrest, Elysana, is considered by many to be the most feared ruler in the West. It is hardly surprising, considering that in order to achieve the throne, she had to outmaneuver and defeat her stepbrother, Helseth, a man now renowned in the East for his cunning, as well as his mother, Barenziah. With her consort, Elysana continues to control and dominate politics in High Rock, and her recent alliance with Wayrest's old enemies, the Orcs of Orsinium, has many observers wondering what her next move will be.

High Rock

Author: 
Imperial Geographical Society

pge01_highrock.gif

 

High Rock encompasses Greater Bretony, the Dellese Isles, the Bjoulsae River tribes, and, by tradition, the Western Reach. Its various peoples are called Bretons for the sake of convenience only, as the endless multitude of city-states, principalities, baronies, duchies, and kingdoms that make up High Rock has, until recently, resisted all attempts at centralization into a single culture or government. The Nords of the First Empire never conquered the whole of High Rock; the Cyrodiils ruled it, but failed to stamp out its virulent sectarianism, which sprang up again with renewed fury during the Interregnum. It is only now, under the guidance of the Third Empire, that High Rock is finally tasting the fruits of peace and unity, although a few Bretons still chafe under Tiber Septim's firm hand. Aside from Imperial rule, Bretons are connected only in their language, geographic location, and the ancient rift that separated them from their Nordic progenitors, the Night of Tears.

Khosey, in his 'Tamrilean Tractates (sic),' transcribes a firsthand account of the "discovery" of the Bretons by a Nordic hunting party. The Bretons, in ten generations of Elven intermingling and slavery, had become scarcely recognizable as humans. Indeed, the hunting party attacked them thinking they were some new strain of Aldmeri, halting their slaughter only when one of the oldest began to wail for his life, a shrieking plea that was spoken in broken Nordic. When word of this reached Windhelm, the Nords reasoned that the "Manmeri" beyond the Reach were, in fact, descended from human slaves taken during the Elven destruction of Saarthal. King Vrage made the first priority of his Empire the liberation of his long-tormented kinsmen in High Rock. His initial onslaught took him as far as the Bjoulsae, but beyond that the First Empire never established a lasting presence; the crafty Elves were too strong in their magic, and many of the Bretons aided the Elves against their would-be liberators. Ironically enough, it took the tyranny of the Alessian Order to finally free High Rock from Elven dominion. Although the Alessians were crushed at the Battle of Glenumbria Moors, this costly victory so weakened Aldmeri power that the Elves could no longer challenge the emerging nobility of Greater Bretony, who seized power throughout most of High Rock within two decades of the Alessian defeat.

This rebellion was not a coordinated effort, however, and while most of High Rock was freed from Elven tyranny by 1E500, parts of the province remained under Elven rule for much longer. The Western Reach, paradoxically, was one of the last bastions of the Aldmeri in High Rock, the legacy of which is still apparent today (see below). Bretons have fought on both sides of most of the great conflicts of Tamrielic history, including Glenumbria Moors; the memories of these victories and defeats continues to taint relations between the many factions of this divided people. The burghers of Anticlere, for instance, still noisily commemorate the Battle of Duncreigh Bridge, the "famous victory" of their Duke over the neighboring hamlet of Sensford in 1E 1427 (a battle which apparently achieved nothing, as each village continues to boast its own ruling family of antique lineage), by marching each year down Sensford's main street, a progress that results in numerous injuries on both sides even when it does not provoke a brief war between the "knightly orders" of the two villages.

Today, the social structure of the Bretons has divided itself into a poor middle class and destitute peasantry, a magical elite separate from their squalor, and an often incoherent jumble of nobility and ruling families above them all. It is beyond the small ambition of this pamphlet to address the latter in any better terms, for even the natives have difficulty distinguishing their leaders from one another. Indeed, it is an old joke among the Bretons: "find a new hill, become a king," and many have taken it to heart. Youths of all professions and trades in High Rock spend their free time in knightly pursuits, real and imagined, performing good deeds and the like for all and sundry, in oft-vain efforts to achieve, one day, a noble status. This "quest-obsession," more than anything, has served as High Rock's sense of national identity, a peculiar form of altruism and mutual reliance that binds its people together.

The geography of High Rock is as varied as its people. The forested peaks of the Wrothgarian Mountains, occupied only by herders and the occasional dismal hamlet, divide the Western Reach from more heavily settled west of High Rock. The only true cities lie along the Iliac Bay, where several small kingdoms prospered from the trade that flowed through the Bay to the Bjoulsae River. Inland, the land rises to the windswept plateau of North Kambria, with many small towns tucked into the folds and valleys that wind their way down to the northern coast. This bucolic landscape is marred by the grim fortifications that perch atop every hill and crag, a reminder of the constant warfare that has been the scourge of the province. In the past, each petty lord, secure in his castle, enriched himself with tribute from all who traversed his domain, a circumstance clearly incompatible with the free flow of commerce. Now Tiber Septim has begun a program of demolition of these myriad fortresses, a wise policy that should facilitate prosperity while removing a potential refuge for subversives.

Although the Bretons are divided into numerous mutually antagonistic factions, to the outsider a singular uniformity in dress, architecture, and customs prevails throughout the land. Bretons are not an imaginative people, a legacy of the Elves, perhaps, and traditional ways are not lightly abandoned. Their villages are pleasant collections of half-timbered structures of one or two stories, with the rustic inn, a shop or two, and perhaps a lordly manor completing the picture. The traveler need not visit more than a handful of Breton communities before satisfying himself that he has captured the flavor of the whole. The people, too, despite their cherished particularism, are remarkably similar in name, accent, and dress throughout the province. It may be that this unacknowledged homogeneity bodes well for the future harmony of High Rock.

Most Bretons share an affinity for magic wrought, no doubt, by their lamentable intermingling with the Elves. This talent manifests itself in High Rock's pocket cultures in various ways. In the richer, more urban centers of the Iliac Bay, it has been systematically organized along the hierarchical lines of the Mages Guild. Children are tested for their magical potential at an early age, and those who pass enter apprenticeship programs funded by the Guild itself, or through independent sponsorship. In more remote regions, such as Glenpoint and the Wrothgarian Mountains, witches and medicine men, barely distinguishable from Orcish shamans, hold sway over the superstitious peasants with feats of untutored, but often impressive, magical ability.

 

Places of Note:

Daggerfall

One of the oldest and largest cities of High Rock, Daggerfall has long considered itself the capital of High Rock, by virtue of its antiquity, prominence, and prosperity. All three of these qualifications may seem fanciful to the outsider, in comparison to Cyrodiil, Windhelm, or even Sentinel across the Iliac Bay. But Daggerfall was one of the largest kingdoms in High Rock before its accession to the Empire, and retains the right to maintain its royal court according to Cyrodilic tradition. Although few buildings of any age survive, Bretons being unsentimental about their history, Daggerfall is of considerable antiquity, founded originally by the Nords as a coastal foothold during the heyday of the First Empire. The city's fortunes have waxed and waned over the years; during the Alessian period it was of considerable importance, but it suffered greatly in the Thrassian Plague and is only now beginning to recover. The rise of Wayrest has lessened Daggerfall's importance as a trading port, although it should benefit from the opening of trade with the interior of the province.

Wayrest

Wayrest has always seen itself as the rival of Daggerfall, but continues to suffer from an inferiority complex that is evident in the ostentatious display of its ruling house. Daggerfall was already a well-established kingdom when Wayrest was merely a collection of rude huts at the mouth of the Bjoulsae River. But Wayrest prospered mightily after the Fall of Orsinium when the commerce from the whole of Tamriel began to flow past its gates, and today it boasts the largest and richest population in High Rock. The merchants of Wayrest have welcomed the arrival of the Empire, particularly the Navy's Northwest Fleet, which has made suppression of the notorious pirates of the Iliac Bay its top priority.

 

Isle of Balfiera

This island in the Iliac Bay has been used for centuries as a neutral meeting place for diplomatic negotiations and treaty signings by the kingdoms of High Rock. It is also famous for the enigmatic structure known as Direnni Tower, a circular tower soaring hundreds of feet into the sky. The traditional ruler of the island is known as the Castellan of Balfiera, perhaps reflecting his original role as commander of Direnni (or Balfiera) Tower, which was used as a fortress, prison, and palace by the infamous Direnni Hegemony. Even more curiously, the hereditary Castellans are High Elves, the only known Elven ruling family remaining in human lands. The Castellans continue to reside in the Tower, although its true provenance and purpose remains a mystery. A recent archaelogical study, using the latest techniques of divination and sorcery, has pushed the Tower's construction date back to around ME2500, making it by far the oldest known structure in Tamriel. Although it has been much modified and added on to over the years, its core is a smooth cylinder of shining metal; the Tower is believed to extend at least as far beneath the surface as is now visible above, although its deepest bowels have never been systematically explored.

The Western Reach

The Western Reach is actually the easternmost section of the Breton lands; its name derives from its location on Skyrim's western border. During the First Empire, it was incorporated as one of the Holds of Skyrim, and many Nords settled in its rolling hills and pleasant valleys. But they paid a terrible price during the Dissolution of Skyrim's Empire; the Aldmeri retook the Western Reach with a vengeance, slaughtering the Nord colonists to a man; precious little Nord blood flows in the veins of today's Reachmen. As a hedge against future incursions from Skyrim, the Aldmeri fashioned the Western Reach into an impregnable bastion. Thus, the Western Reach remained under Elven rule the longest of any part of High Rock, and the legacy of this dark sojourn can still be seen today.

The Reachmen are a mongrel breed, even for Bretons. Descended originally from one of the earliest Atmoran tribes to settle Tamriel, their lineage now partakes of nearly every race imaginable. The uprising that finally "freed" the Western Reach ended in the extermination of the Aldmeri overlords, but Elven blood still flows strong in the Reachmen, and they share the secretive, haughty demeanor of that race. In later years, they traded and exchanged customs with the Orcish villages that shared their mountains, and eventually learned much of the beastfolk's magic. Reach-magic is still widely studied, although it is banned by the Mages Guild (who fear it as dangerous and wild hedge-wizardry), and the Reachmen are often referred to as the "Witchmen of High Rock."

Banditry and lawlessness continue to plague the region, and it remains under the direct rule of Provisional Governor Titus Alorius1. Travelers are advised to avoid this region until the present disturbances are quelled-- a state of affairs, however, that is likely soon to be rectified. The benefits of membership in the Empire are so patent, and the resistance of the rebellious Reachmen so futile, that it is to be expected that the Western Reach will soon join the rest of High Rock in the new era of peace and prosperity wrought by the tireless efforts of Tiber Septim and his loyal companions. We can only hope that this comes to pass without further useless effusion of blood.

 


Annotations by YR:

1. "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 ~"