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Dragons in the Second Era


The community has lore questions about Dragons during the time of The Elder Scrolls Online, and we have answers! Check out the latest Loremaster’s Archive, written by Loremaster Leamon Tuttle himself!

Greetings, fellow scholars! I hereby call this lecture to order. I hope you’ll forgive any outbursts of scholarly enthusiasm. It’s just that I’ve waited ever-so-long to assemble this gathering of like-minded academics. You are all most welcome, and I will endeavor to provide detailed answers to your every inquiry! Perhaps an introduction to start?

My name is Camilla Calsivius—arcane naturalist in residence for the University of Gwylim. I’m also a member of the newly established Dragonguard! Or should I say reestablished? Honestly, it hardly matters.

While I have the utmost respect for the famed swordsman, Sai Sahan, the army he’s assembled strikes me as… unconventional. To put it mildly. Now, I’m no warrior; and even if I were, I would be loath to assault such majestic creatures as Dragons. But, spending time with the Dragonguard has provided ample opportunity to study the creatures up close. I offer modest support for the Dragonguard’s research, and in turn, they allow me to accompany them on their hunts. I can scarcely believe my luck!

Now, I suppose that’s enough about me. Let’s start this conversation in earnest. Who’s first?

“What prompted Kaalgrontiid to split off from the bulk of the Dragons in the Northern Lands, if they were originally part of Alduin's kingdom?”

An excellent question! Let me begin by admitting that I’ve never spoken with Kaalgrontiid, so I can offer little more than supposition. As I’m sure you already know, Dragons are conquerors by nature. All my research indicates that this thirst for domination is not unlike our thirst for water in a desert. They need to bring the world to heel. This drive to rule may have prompted Kaalgrontiid’s abandonment of the north.

Personally, I would take the assertion that a literal world-eating Alduin reigned over Skyrim with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, Dragons do reliably fall into natural hierarchies. In all likelihood, one Dragon reigned over all the others—a king of kings. Was this supreme Dragon the legendary Alduin? Perhaps. Perhaps not. In either case, a Dragon as proud and powerful as Kaalgrontiid would likely chafe against this chief Dragon’s hegemony. How can one conquer what already belongs to one’s elder brother? I believe pride and ambition drove him to leave.

Also, Elsweyr strikes me as a far greater prize than Skyrim. Which would you rather rule? Pristine jungles and dizzying plateaus peopled by one of Tamriel’s elder races, or a frozen wasteland inhabited by mead-guzzling barbarians? I’d choose the former, personally. No offense intended to any Nords in the audience!

“It surprises me that there are no known notable Draconic constructions, given the might of such beings. Was their civilization truly so simple as to perch on hills and mountains all day, as is told in stories, or might they have created great constructs which have been long lost to us?”

A “simple” culture? My word, I hope you never say that when a Dragon sails within earshot!

I would answer that question in three ways. First, some scholars do contend that Dragons “built” structures and “smithed” weapons in ancient times. These theories strike me as totally absurd, but I suppose anything is possible in the churning, timeless times of ancient antiquity.

Second, what self-respecting ruler builds their own monuments? Do you really think that the Na-Totambu kings took up the pick and spade to build the stone wonders of Hammerfell? Or that Vivec swings a hammer in that gaudy city he’s building? Certainly not! That’s what a loyal workforce is for. The Dragons ruled over countless thousands through their proxies in their Dragon Cults. Better to let the mortals toil in the stone and mud, right?

Finally, you must recall how profoundly old the Dragons are, and how quaint the labors of mortals must seem to them. Just try to imagine: Dragons sailed over the face of Nirn before “time” had any meaning at all. They witnessed the birth of all that is. Where you see “hills and mountains,” Dragons likely see the majestic, exposed bones of creation itself! Can we honestly claim that an ancient castle is somehow superior to the sublime majesty of Tamriel’s highest peaks? Perhaps you can, but I certainly can’t!

“Naharanji has found what are obviously Dragon eggs in her travels. What is the proper way to care for them such they grow into a financially lucrative opportunity? Obviously nurturing these eggs such that they become young and ferocious would be ideal, but as others have mentioned, one never sees these juveniles in the wild.”

May I? Oh dear. Yes, well…. Naharanji, what you have here appear to be wamasu eggs. It’s an easy mistake to make. I guess. I’m certain you can find a buyer somewhere. Perhaps in the “markets” beneath Senchal?

If any other attendees brought “Dragon eggs” with them, I’d kindly ask that you place them outdoors. Dragons do not lay eggs. I’m sorry if that comes as a surprise to anyone. Mara’s mercy….

“The skeletal remains of Thurvokun were recently reanimated in the mines of Fang Lair by the foul Blackmarrow Cult, his ancient bones used as a vessel for the soul of their leader. Does this imply that Thurvokun's own soul was devoured by a fellow dov at some point in the past, or could he rise again?–Legoless”

Oh, thank the Eight. A real question!

The persistence of Dragons’ souls remains a matter of intense debate. All my research indicates that the soul of a Dragon persists eternally unless consumed. So, on that point, we are in agreement. As for this Thurvokun you mentioned, I can’t say for certain. I’ve never crossed paths with one of these Blackmarrow rascals, and I hope I never do!

Honestly, I find it extremely hard to believe that a mortal necromancer could manipulate a Dragon’s soul, but it does invite some fascinating hypotheticals. For instance, if someone managed to pry a Dragon’s soul from its mortal remains, where would that soul go? The particulars of soul magic are regrettably outside my area of expertise, but it seems to me that the link between a Dragon’s soul and its physical remains is far stronger than that of a mortal. Flesh and bone make up a Dragon’s form, but given their cosmic parentage, can we really compare that flesh and bone to our own? I strongly suspect that a Dragon soul, sheared from its remains, would either dissolve over time like cream poured into the ocean, or return to its point of origin—Akatosh himself. In either case, resurrection (as we understand it) would prove impossible. Reanimation, however, remains a horrifying possibility.

In summary, the classical binary of soul and body that we rely upon to explain life on Nirn just might not be broad enough to explain that relationship in Dragons. We may need to develop an entirely different vocabulary to articulate it.

“Are there such a things as modern-era Dragons that aren't wholly interested in death, domination and… well, fire?–Vivyer”

Well… no, to be perfectly frank. Dragons do occasionally find common cause with mortals. The red giant, Nahfahlaar, for instance. I’ve even heard rumors of a Dragon “monk” who dwells among those Nord ascetics on the Throat of the World. But even these exceptional Dragons cannot escape their intrinsic nature. At least I don’t think they can.

Again, we must remember that Dragons dwarf us in more than simple size and strength. Dragons are older and more primordial than the mountains they dwell upon. The forces that drive a Dragon cleave closer to natural laws than the simple whims of mortals. Waves crash. Moons wax and wane. Dragons conquer and rule. I’m afraid it’s as simple as that. Bad news for us mortals, but an astounding feature of the world at large!

Now, I’m afraid that’s all we have time for. I do hope this has been an enjoyable and enlightening lecture for all of you. Perhaps we can gather again soon. Farewell, my friends!

Oh, and Naharanji… please collect those eggs on your way out.

The Good Bits


I know you Dragonguard are going to fill your packs with as many Dragon scales, claws, teeth, horns, and Shor knows what else, but save some room for a few bottles of rheum and you won't regret you did. Dragon humours have all sorts of uses, and leaving them to soak into the dirt is a crying shame. Whenever you're butchering a Dragon, remember a pan or something to catch all the good bits.


All that hot red stuff leaking out the Dragon's corpse. Goes without saying. Provided you left any in the beast before you killed it, slip a sturdy dagger between the scales on the throat and give a squeeze. Unless you've got a way to string it up like a pig, you'll need to do the same for the arm pits, thighs, and base of the tail to extract the most out of it.


This one isn't so easy. You'll want to drive a blade into the Dragon's groin and cut in the direction of its head until you hit the ribs. Don't cut too deep or you'll hit the stomach and spill acid everywhere. Reach in under the ribcage until you find a muscly tube and follow that until you reach a melon-sized organ. Give it a squeeze. If it's spongy, yank it out. If it's firm, that's the stomach, and you don't want to rupture it. The spongy organ should be full of pure bile. Ring it out like a dishrag until you've got nothing but pulp in your hands.


Technically, you don't need to kill a Dragon to collect its rheum, but good luck scraping mucus off its face while its sleeping. Dragon's secrete this from their eyes, nose, and mouth when they sleep. It tends to collect and dry in the corners of their eyes, edges of the nose, and crease of the mouth. Dried crust is fine, wet is better, but it'll probably be rare to get it that fresh.

There's a lot more I could add to this list, but their too hard to gather in the field.

Good hunting,

Varieties of Dragons: An Initial Exploration

Axulsha of Black Marsh

To better prepare for possible threats to the Hist, I tasked myself with studying Dragons in Southern Elsweyr. Herein are my observations on the appearance, diet, daily habits, and combat techniques of two Dragons I observed. For simplicity, I have classified them by color.

The Red Dragon
My understanding, after talking with those in Senchal, is that the Dragons currently operating in Elsweyr have a hierarchy of sorts, which is unusual if you consider some of the lore I've read on the subject. As such, the red Dragon I observed for a few days as it hunted in Southern Elsweyr seemed remarkable in that it was not overtly part of a hierarchy at all. Aside from this broad observation, my compiled and clarified notes on this creature follow.

Covered in crimson, overlapping scales, the red Dragon possessed a sleek profile. It lacked ostentatious horns, which surprised me. Perhaps my expectations led me to believe that all Dragons had a jagged profile with horns that would gore prey, much like a bull's horns. Its yellow eyes had slitted pupils.

The primary diet of the red Dragon appears to be meat. I did not see it eat plants at any point, so it most definitely be classified as a carnivorous creature. As an apex predator, this makes sense. As for preferred food? I didn't notice any particular preference, though at times the Dragon acted as if it hunted intelligent prey for the challenge they presented. It especially savored a two-person hunting crew that gave it a brief challenge. It toyed with them until one made a lucky strike with an arrow. It ended the confrontation quickly after this.

Daily Habits
Aside from eating, I did not witness a range of cyclical habits pertaining to this Dragon. I cannot say for certain that they need sleep, which makes them even more dangerous if this proves to be the case. Given my sample size, though, I may have stumbled across an insomniac who has no preference for time of day and activity. Even its eating habits were somewhat random, though perhaps they were based on how much it had last eaten and its digestive process.

Without large horns, the Dragon relied on claws, shouts, wings, and tail against intelligent prey. Against animals, it simply grabbed what it wanted and landed to eat it. This Dragon also utilized flame-based attacks and could summon creatures of flame, such as flame atronachs. Methods for countering fire must be developed for dealing with this creature.

The Black Dragon
As with the red Dragon I observed, the black Dragon (though some might call it "dark gray") also seemed to observe no hierarchical societal structure in regards to other Dragons. At least, none that I could see.

The black scales on this Dragon also overlapped, and its head structure featured downward curving horns. Its tail was covered in spikes at the end, making it particularly effective as a melee weapon. Its orange-gold eyes have slitted pupils.

This Dragon preferred meat to anything else, though I did see it graze on some leaves at one point. Perhaps it requires plants to add valuable nutrients to its system? When hungry, it grabbed the animal it wanted and flew a short distance to eat it in relative safety. As for hunting intelligent beings, its tactics tended more toward stealthy hunting, then ambushing them to keep resistance to a minimum. I can only guess as to why it chose ambush tactics. Perhaps it was wounded in the past when stalking armed hunting parties? Or maybe it finds joy in stealth and surprise.

Daily Habits
The black Dragon preferred nocturnal activity, taking shelter during the day in a location I found only through careful observation. Upon sunset, it began hunting for food, returning with captured prey to its shelter. After that, it would take to the skies and fly, returning at dawn to what I came to think of as its nest or lair. I believe that it must have sensed my presence at one point, for it did not return the next morning. A quick examination of the remains of its recent meals demonstrated the Dragon to be a fastidious eater. It was careful to remove armor and eat around natural protection to get at the soft meat inside.

As noted, the black Dragon I observed preferred to hunt and ambush its prey, surprising and making quick work of its targets. It used a combination of tail swipes, wing buffets, shouts, and claws on those it attacked, preferring the snatch-and-grab tactic against animals. Since this black Dragon called lightning and storm atronachs to aid it against multiple targets, I'm tempted to call it a storm Dragon.

Wisdom of the Flying Gods

Magnius Calussa

Our message spreads among the ranks and soon it shall spread to the people beyond. It is time we write down and teach the Words of the True Masters. The Gods that Fly Above Us. For I have listened and will share what I have heard. Their wisdom. Their commands.

What follows is my understanding of the Words of Dragons and my interpretation of what those Words mean, imperfect though that interpretation may be.

* * *
"Dov nifaas wiixseroth."

Dragons fear not a trap of vines.

Be aware of your strengths. Fall not for weaknesses that would trip lesser beings.

* * *
"Nihnzey miir wah viik."

Betrayal is the path to defeat.

Betrayal, literally, a poisoned brother, fractures alliances. It can be the beginning of the end.

* * *
"Nihnzey miir wah krongrah."

Betrayal is the path to great victory.

The Masters are wise. Sometimes breaking an alliance is necessary to achieve victory.

* * *
"Rul jol, lok."

When unsteady, rise.

I first misunderstood this, for I thought that "lok" meant just "sky," and that we should look to the sky, but now I understand fully. It is not a command to look to the sky and seek help from above. It is a metaphor for flight. "Rise." Brace yourself and push yourself harder above the turbulent winds. Do not seek the safety of the ground. Rise and seek greater glory instead.

* * *
"Nunon mey bo strun voqostiid naal sov."

Only a fool flies in a storm and is surprised by the shock.

Be aware of your circumstances. Do not be so blind to your surroundings or focused on your goals that you forget to see the obvious dangers around you.

* * *
"Dey on folook fey ko ven ahrk ron."
Implausible spirits haunt a grove in the wind and rain.

Whatever you think you see, look again. Look closer. Is there a more reasonable explanation?

A note: The word "dey" seems to have a rather bawdy direct translation. At its core, it means "false," but has the connotation of "laughably false," laughing at those who make a claim. "On" is a little more slippery. I think it means something like "soul," but more empty. Something lifeless.

* * *
"Nid jiid, nid kun."

No moon, no moonlight.

Ensure that your resources are secure. That you know where they come from and that you do not take them for granted.

* * *
These are but a few of the pieces of wisdom that I have overheard in my time near the Masters. I feel I have a good grasp of their ancient language, but I must listen closely for the wisdom in the words. I will stay close, as I am able. I am not an important officer, but my duties allow me to listen. And I will report, that you may hear their wisdom, as well. I will share more when the time is right.

Caluurion's Notes


So much planning, so much preparation. Decades of effort gone in an instant. Vanished in a fruitless experiment, never to be repeated. Under any other circumstances, I'd be furious, but driven to discern the root of the failure.

I perfected this Soul Trap over countless iterations, each with its own challenges to overcome. This time, I only feel numb. Sitting alone in this literal pit of despair among the broken bodies of my companions, and the last vestiges of a bygone era.

The Dragon is gone and its precious soul along with it. The last of its kind, or near enough to make no difference. To the victor goes the spoils? Not this day. I've won nothing but a mountain of decaying meat and scales.

I mustn't squander this opportunity. Even without its soul, this corpse contains a wealth of potential. Dissection and preservation will take precedence. There won't be much sleep to be had in the coming days.

The creature's undamaged organs have been transferred to receptacles more suitable for preservation. Foodstuffs and simple reagents can be replaced. My search of the Dragon's den revealed a hoard of Dwemer wealth, much contained in air-tight mechanical lockboxes.

Emptying them out, I discovered a significant quantity of an unknown material: raw chunks of vibrant blue crystal that give off their own light. They'll receive closer examination once I've sealed the remaining perishable Dragon parts in the emptied containers. I take a certain gratification in the irony that these treasure chests will soon mostly contain the Dragon itself.

The crystals are useless. To call them inert is an understatement. They are the essence of stasis. Unchanging and unalterable. I can safely put their study aside indefinitely.

My remaining rations spoiled more quickly than anticipated. I don't know if it was the dank of the ruins, or the prevalence of fungus that lead to this outcome, but I'll be dining on Dragon meat until I find an alternative source of food.

Roast Dragon is an adequate repast, though the meat is dense and thick with ligaments. If I had to describe the taste, I would say it was ... fowl.

The claims that Dragon remains retain innate magical properties are not exaggerated, though I would categorize them as more catalytic than anything. Potential applications are broad, though I will refrain from alchemical studies, given the impossibility of acquiring replacement materials.

This creature does not give up its secrets easily. I could spend centuries unravelling them, but that's time I don't have. I have little left to eat and I fear I've lingered too long already.

Without the strength to descend the mountains, it's time I come to terms with my situation. I will die here, but I intend to do so on my terms. The question is, will those immutable crystals comply?

Daedra Dossier: The Titans

Denogorath the Dread Archivist

I have compiled this account at the request of Kkrohziz the Greater Titan, who was peeved to find that the Library of Dusk contained nothing at all related to the origins of our most imposing Coldharbour residents.

Therefore let the tale be told—and it is fitting that this be done, for in our Lord and Master's upcoming Planemeld campaign, the Titans will be released for the first time upon the hated mortals of Tamriel. And fear and doom shall follow in their footsteps.

There are, or have been, or will be a race of beings upon Nirn called Dragons, creatures of almost Daedra-like majesty. They naturally sought domination over the mortals of Nirn, and achieved a measure of success therein.

But upon a time that was and will be the ever-pernicious mortals of Tamriel betrayed these their natural masters, and those who were not slain were driven into hidden refuge. Then one such Dragon, a greater Dov named Boziikkodstrun, exerted his nigh-divine will in an attempt to fly beyond the borders of the Mundus. And though he did not succeed, his effort was valorous and remarkable, and impinged upon the attention of Molag Bal himself.

Our Lord and Master noted this feat of will-force, considered that the race of Dov had achieved dominion over much of Nirn, and thus spake unto this Boziikkodstrun, offering him a place of honor and privilege in his domain of Coldharbour. And the Dragon, his resources all but spent by his efforts, did accept and agree.

So Molag Bal opened a window between worlds to allow the Dragon to pass into our Lord's realm, where Boziikkodstrun was granted the privilege of being bound in chains of cold ebon iron, and set in a place of honor in the nethermost depths of the Tower of Lies. For our Lord and Master desired to know the secrets of the Dragons' dominance over the mortals of Nirn. Long was the Dragon tortured and interrogated. But the dragon was haughty, and indignant at his ill treatment, and no matter what torments were brought to bear, the intransigent Boziikkodstrun refused to utter so much as a single syllable in his abrasive language to reveal the secrets of the Dov.

Vexed by this obstinate defiance—and rightly so—our Lord and Master at length waxed wroth and avenged himself upon Boziikkodstrun by slow consumption of the flesh from his bones, yea, every gobbet. Then Molag Bal regarded the skeleton of the Dov and laughed. "If I cannot have the secrets of the Dragons," he thundered, "then I shall make Dragons of my own—Dragons even mightier than those of Nirn!"

He ordered the skeleton taken to the Vile Laboratory, where it was infused with the blood-of-darkness that reawakened it as a Vestige. During this process Molag Bal ordered that the skeleton be somewhat adjusted and improved to a plan of his own devising, forming a bone-frame even mightier than that of its forebears. Then it was plunged into the deepest pool in the Azure Chasm, there to absorb the blue liquescence that would give our Lord's new servant its body, brain, and brawn.

Within a nanaeon a mighty creature drew itself from the chasm plasm and shook itself free of the primordial slime. In response to the summons of our mutual Lord and Master, it ascended to the plateau and bounded nimbly up the Endless Stair. The first of the Daedric Titans was among us.

From its very first performance in the grueling Test of Fealty it was clear that this new morphotype would be a valuable addition to our Lord and Master's forces of dominion. Its strength was unparalleled, its savagery remarkable even among the war-slaves of Molag Bal, and its native intelligence was impressive (though perhaps not on the level of its forebears).

Most fearsome of all is the Titan's ability to speak a spell of flaming essence-drain that can debilitate an opponent with a single word. Theoretically, if the utterance were interrupted before completion, the spell would recoil upon its caster, but that eventuality is remote.

Songs of Skyrim - Revised

Giraud Gemaine

Songs Of Skyrim
Revised Edition

Compiled by
Giraud Gemaine
Historian of the Bards College

Ragnar the Red is a traditional song of Whiterun. Despite the grim final image the song is generally regarded as light and rollicking and a favorite in inns across Skyrim.

Ragnar The Red
There once was a hero named Ragnar the Red, who came riding to Whiterun from ole Rorikstead!
And the braggart did swagger and brandish his blade, as he told of bold battles and gold he had made!
But then he went quiet, did Ragnar the Red, when he met the shieldmaiden Matilda who said...
Oh, you talk and you lie and you drink all our mead! Now I think it's high time that you lie down and bleed!
And so then came the clashing and slashing of steel, as the brave lass Matilda charged in full of zeal!
And the braggart named Ragnar was boastful no moooooree... when his ugly red head rolled around on the floor!

The Dragonborn Comes
Our hero, our hero, claims a warrior's heart.
I tell you, I tell you, the Dragonborn comes.
With a Voice wielding power of the ancient Nord art.
Believe, believe, the Dragonborn comes.
It's an end to the evil, of all Skyrim's foes.
Beware, beware, the Dragonborn comes.
For the darkness has passed, and the legend yet grows.
You'll know, You'll know the Dragonborn's come.

The Age of Oppression and The Age of Aggression are variants of one song. It isn't known which of the two was written first but the tune, with loyalty appropriate lyrics, is quite popular on both sides of the war.

The Age of Oppression
We drink to our youth, and to days come and gone. For the age of oppression is now nearly done.
We'll drive out the Empire from this land that we own. With our blood and our steel we will take back our home.
All hail to Ulfric! You are the High King! In your great honor we drink and we sing.
We're the children of Skyrim, and we fight all our lives. And when Sovngarde beckons, every one of us dies!
But this land is ours and we'll see it wiped clean. Of the scourge that has sullied our hopes and our dreams.

The Age of Aggression
We drink to our youth, to days come and gone. For the age of aggression is just about done.
We'll drive out the Stormcloaks and restore what we own. With our blood and our steel we'll take back our home.
Down with Ulfric the killer of kings. On the day of your death we'll drink and we'll sing.
We're the children of Skyrim, and we fight all our lives. And when Sovngarde beckons, every one of us dies!
But this land is ours and we'll see it wiped clean. Of the scourge that has sullied our hopes and our dreams.

The following is an ancient song we've only recently been able to translate. Without a tune or a sure pronunciation the song is lost to time. It's included here to show the deep history of song here in Skyrim.

The original version...

Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin, naal ok zin los vahriin, wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal!
Ahrk fin norok paal graan fod nust hon zindro zaan, Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draal!
Huzrah nu, kul do od, wah aan bok lingrah vod, Aahrk fin tey, boziik fun, do fin gein!
Wo lost fron wah ney dov, ahrk fin reyliik do jul, voth aan suleyk wah ronit faal krein!
Ahrk fin zul, rok drey kod, nau tol morokei frod, rul lot Taazokaan motaad voth kein!
Sahrot Thu'um, med aan tuz, vey zeim hokoron pah, ol fin Dovahkiin komeyt ok rein!
Ahrk fin Kel lost prodah, do ved viing ko fin krah, tol fod zeymah win kein meyz fundein!
Alduin, feyn do jun, kruziik vokun staadnau, voth aan bahlok wah diivon fin lein!
Nuz aan sul, fent alok, fod fin vul dovah nok, fen kos nahlot mahfaeraak ahrk ruz!
Paaz Keizaal fen kos stin nol bein Alduin jot, Dovahkiin kos fin saviik do muz!

And the translation...


Dragonborn, Dragonborn, by his honor is sworn, To keep evil forever at bay!
And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph's shout, Dragonborn, for your blessing we pray!
Hearken now, sons of snow, to an age, long ago, and the tale, boldly told, of the one!
Who was kin to both wyrm, and the races of man, with a power to rival the sun!
And the Voice, he did wield, on that glorious field, when great Tamriel shuddered with war!
Mighty Thu'um, like a blade, cut through enemies all, as the Dragonborn issued his roar!
And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, that when brothers wage war come unfurled!
Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, with a hunger to swallow the world!
But a day, shall arise, when the dark dragon's lies, will be silenced forever and then!
Fair Skyrim will be free from foul Alduin's maw, Dragonborn be the savior of men!


Tale of the tongues is a newer song. One that has come in to favor since the Dragonborn put down Alduin. It actually describes the events of the first battle against the dragons.

Tale of the Tongues
Alduin's wings, they did darken the sky. His roar fury's fire, and his scales sharpened scythes.
Men ran and they cowered, and they fought and they died. They burned and they bled as they issued their cries.
We need saviors to free us from Alduin's rage. Heroes on the field of this new war to wage.
And if Alduin wins, man is gone from this world. Lost in the shadow of the black wings unfurled.
But then came the Tongues on that terrible day. Steadfast as winter, they entered the fray.
And all heard the music of Alduin's doom. The sweet song of Skyrim, sky-shattering Thu'um.
And so the Tongues freed us from Alduin's rage. Gave the gift of the Voice, ushered in a new Age.
If Alduin is eternal, then eternity's done. For his story is over and the dragons are... gone.

Dragon Language: Myth no More

Hela Thrice-Versed


The very word conjurs nightmare images of shadowed skies, hideous roaring, and endless fire. Indeed, the dragons were terrifying beasts that were once as numerous as they were deadly.

But what most Nords don't realize is that the dragons were in fact not simple, mindless beasts. Indeed, they were a thriving, intelligent culture, one bent on the elimination or enslavement of any non-dragon civilization in the entire world.

It therefore stands to reason that the dragons would require a way to communicate with one another. That they would need to speak. And through much research, scholars have determined that this is exactly what the dragons did. For the mighty roars of the beasts, even when those roars contained fire, or ice, or some other deadly magic, were actually much more - they were words. Words in an ancient, though decipherable, tongue.

Nonsense, you say? Sheer folly on the part of some overeager academics? I thought precisely the same thing. But then I started hearing rumors. The odd snippet of a conversation from some brave explorer or gold-coveting crypt diver. An always, always, it was the same word repeated:


So I listened more. I began to arrange the pieces of the puzzle, and slowly unravel the mystery.

Spread throughout Skyrim, in ancient dungeons, burial grounds, and other secluded places, there are walls. Black, ominous walls on which is written a script so old, so unknown, none who had encountered it could even begin its translation.

In my heart, I came to know the truth: this was proof of the ancient dragon language! For what else could it possibly be? It only made sense that these walls were constructed by the ancient Nords, Nords who had lived in the time of the dragons, and out of fear or respect, had somehow learned and used the language of the ancient beasts.

But at that point, all I had was my own gut instinct. What I needed was proof. Thus began the adventure of my life. One spanning 17 months and the deaths of three courageous guides and two sellsword protectors. But I choose not to dwell on those grim details, for the end result was so glorious, it made any hardship worth it.

In my travels, I found many of the ancient walls, and every suspicision proved true.

It did in fact appear as if the ancient Nords had copied the language of the dragons of old, for the characters of that language very much resemble claw marks, or scratches. One can almost envision a majestic dragon using his great, sharp talons to carve the symbols into the stone itself. And a human witness - possibly even a thrall or servant - learning, observering, so that he too could use the language for his own ends.

For as I observed the walls I found, I noticed something peculiar about some of the words. It was as if they pulsed with a kind of power, an unknown energy that, if unlocked, might be harnessed by the reader. That sounds like nonsense, I know, but if you had stood by these walls - seen their blackness, felt their power - you would understand that of which I speak.

Thankfully, although entranced, I was able to retain enough sense to actual transcribe the characters I saw. And, in doing so, I began to see patterns in the language - patterns that allowed me to decipher what it was I was reading.

For example, I transcribed the following passage:


Assigning those scratchings to actual Tamrielic langauge characters, I further translated what I saw into this:

Het nok Yngnavar Gaaf-Kodaav, wo drey Yah moron au Frod do Krosis, nuz sinon siiv dinok ahrk dukaan.

Which translates into the Tamrielic as follows:

Here lies Yngnavar Ghost-Bear, who did Seek glory on the Battlefield of Sorrows, but instead found death and dishonor.

Then, in another crypt, I encountered a wall with this transcription:


Which translates into:

Het nok kopraan do Iglif Iiz-Sos, wo grind ok oblaan ni ko morokei vukein, nuz ahst munax haalvut do liiv krasaar.

Which ultimately translates into the Tamrielic as:

Here lies the body of Iglif Ice-Blood, who met his end not in glorious combat, but at the cruel touch of the withering sickness.

And there you see the pattern. The repeated words "Here lies" - which could only mean one thing: those walls marked actual ancient Nord burial grounds.

You can imagine my nearly uncontainable excitement. It all started to make sense. The anicent Nords used the dragon langauge for these walls for very specific reasons. One of them was obviously to mark the grave of some important figure. But what else? Were they all graves, or did they serve other purposes as well?

I set off to find out, and was well rewarded for my efforts. Here is what I discovered.

This passage:


Translates into this:

Het mah tahrodiis tafiir Skorji Lun-Sinak, wen klov govey naal rinik hahkun rok togaat wah gahrot.

Which in Tamrielic translates into this:

Here fell the treacherous thief Skorji Leech-Fingers, whose head was removed by the very axe he was attempting to steal.

So here we see a wall that marks the spot where some significant ancient Nord died.

This passage:


Translates into this:

Qethsegol vahrukiv daanik Fahliil kiir do Gravuun Frod, wo bovul ko Maar nol kinzon zahkrii do kruziik hokoron.

Which in Tamrielic translates into this:

This stone commemorates the doomed elf children of the Autumn Field, who fled in Terror from the sharp swords of the ancient enemy.

This wall seems to commemorate some ancient, long-forgotten event in Tamrielic history. Whether that event occurred on or near the place where the wall was erected, we will probably never know.

And finally, this passage:


Which translates into this:

Aesa wahlaan qethsegol briinahii vahrukt, Thohild fin Toor, wen smoliin ag frin ol Sahqo Heim.

Which in Tamrielic translates into this:

Aesa raised this stone for her sister, Thohild the Inferno, whose passion burned hot as the Red Forge.

This wall (and I encountered quite a few like this) was obviously commissioned or built by a specific person, to honor someone important to them. What was the significance of the location? Was it important to the person who died? Or is it the actual location of that person's death? Again, those answers are probably lost to time, and will never be know.

And so you see, the ancient dragon language is, indeed, myth no more. It existed. But better yet, it still exists, and probably will until the end of time, thanks to the ancient Nords and their construction of these many "word walls."

But don't take my word for it. For the walls are there for the discovering, in Skyrim's dangerous, secret places. They serve as a bridge between the realm of the ancient Nords, and our own. The dragons may never return to our world, but now we can return to theirs.

And someday, someday, we may even unlock the strange, unknown power hidden in their words.

Olaf and the Dragon

Adonato Leonetti

One of the more colorful legends in Nord folklore is the tale of Olaf One-Eye and Numinex.

Long ago in the First Age, a fearsome dragon named Numinex ravaged the whole of Skyrim. The dreadful drake wiped out entire villages, burned cities and killed countless Nords. It seemed that no power in Tamriel could stop the monster.

This was a troubled time in Skyrim's history, for a bitter war of succession raged between the holds. The Jarls might have been able to conquesr the beast if they had worked together, but trust was in desperately short supply.

A skillful warrior named Olaf came forward and promised to defeat the beast. In some accounts, he is the Jarl of Whiterun. In other versions of the legend, Olaf promises the people of Whiterun that he will capture the monster if they will name him Jarl.

At any rate, Olaf ventures forth with a handful of his most trusted warriors and seeks the beast out, eventually finding Numinex in his lair atop Mount Athor. Needless to say, it's an epic battle.

First, Olaf comes at the dragon with his axe and his shield. Some variants of the legend say that Olaf and the beast battled with blade and claw for days, but were too evenly matched for either to gain an advantage.

Most accounts hold that Olaf, perhaps frustrated that his weapons are completely ineffectual against the dragon, finally casts them aside. Giving voice to the rage that has been building within him, Olaf unleashes a terrible shout.

Here again, the stories diverge. Many accounts hold that Olaf did not realize he possessed the power of Dragon-speech, while others suggest that he had long possessed this gift, but wished to test himself against the dragon in martial combat first.

Virtually all variations of the legend, however, agree on what happened next.

Using the awesome powers of the Dragon language, Numinex and Olaf engage in an epic shouting duel atop Mount Athor. So forceful are their words, they are said to shatter the stone and split the sky.

Finally, Numinex collapses from a combination of injury and sheer exhaustion. Somehow - and this detail is conspicuously absent in virtually every account - Olaf manages to convey the dragon all the way back to the capital city of Whiterun.

The people of Whiterun are suitably impressed with Olaf's hostage. They build a huge stone holding cell at the rear of the palace, which they rename "Dragonsreach". This enormous cell serves as Numinex's prison until his death.

Olaf himself eventually becomes the High King of Skyrim, putting an end to the war of succession. Presumably, his great deed made him the only leader upon whom all the people could agree, and so the land once again has peace.

As a visitor to Skyrim, I find this tale both fascinating and highly entertaining. It is one the most celebrated legends of the Nords, and one can easily understand why. It's a story of surpassing heroism, in which a resourceful and worthy Nord does battle with a truly terrifying adversary and emerges victorious by yelling him into submission. The only way in which this could have been even more of a Nordic tale would be if Olaf beat Numinex in a drinking contest.

The legend is not without its doubters, however. The bard Svaknir, who lived during Olaf's reign, wrote and performed an alliterative verse that challenged Olaf's version of events. Enraged, the High King threw the rebellious bard in prison and destroyed all written copies of the verse.

How I would love to lay hands on a copy of that verse! I admit, I am immensely curious to know what assertions Svaknir made about how Olaf really defeated Numinex.

There are a few ancient bard texts that provide one possible answer. These tomes suggest that Numinex was particularly foul-tempered because he was extremely old. In these accounts, the dragon spends his final years terrorizing the country side before flying off to the top of Mount Athor to die in peace.

When Olaf finds Numinex, the dragon is too weak to defend himself. Olaf and his men capture the beast without effort, but decide to take advantage of the situation by fabricating a heroic tale. It is worth noting that all of Olaf's warriors who were said to witness the shout duel went on to become wealthy leaders during Olaf's reign as High King.

However, it is equally likely that Svaknir had some grudge against Olaf, and his scandalous verse was an attempt to damage the High King's reputation. Alas, we will never know.

I leave you now, good reader, with this gentle reminder: A good historian must remain impartial, and consider all points of view. Time has a way of distorting our record of events, so the closer you can get to the original sources, the better!

High Hrothgar Tablets


Before the birth of men, the Dragons ruled all Mundus. 

Their word was the Voice, and they spoke only for True Needs.

For the Voice could blot out the sky and flood the land.

Men were born and spread over the face of Mundus

The Dragons presided over the crawling masses

Men were weak then, and had no Voice

The fledgling spirits of Men were strong in Old Times

Unafraid to war with Dragons and their Voices

But the Dragons only shouted them down and broke their hearts

Kyne called on Paarthurnax, who pitied Man

Together they taught Men to use the Voice

Then the Dragon War raged, Dragon against Tongue

Men prevailed, shouting Alduin out of the world

Proving for all that their Voice too was strong

Although thier sacrifices were many-fold

With roaring Tongues, the Sky-Children conquer

Founding the First Empire with Sword and Voice

Whilst the Dragons withdrew from this World

The Tongues at Red Mountain went away humbled

Jurgen Windcaller began His Seven Year Meditation

To understand how Strong Voices could fail

Jurgen Windcaller chose silence and returned

The 17 disputants could not shout Him down

Jurgen the Calm buit His home on the Throat of the World

For years all silent, the Graybears spoke one name

Tiber Septim, stiplingthen, was summoned to Hrothgar

They blessed and named him Dohvakiin

The Voice is worship

Follow the Inner path

Speak only in True Need