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Ebonheart Pact

The Black Fin: Foreign Adventures


By Mee-See, Squire and Personal Aide to Keshu the Black Fin

I started out as a simple ka in service to the mighty Keshu the Black Fin. In the Saxhleel tongue, ka roughly translates as apprentice, but it doesn't necessarily carry the responsibilities and obligations that such a position among the Nords or Dark Elves does. Later, as Keshu began to adopt some of the customs of our allies, I was named as squire to the Black Fin. When Peek-Ereel decided to leave the legion, I also inherited the duty of recording significant events as they happened in the life of the mighty Keshu. Now, understand, this wasn't a specific duty related to my role as ka. This was an obligation passed on to me by Peek-Ereel herself without the express knowledge of Keshu, and it was an obligation I readily accepted.

So, where to begin? I think I'll start with the day the alliance began to take shape. The three nations (well, I find it difficult to actually refer to our people as a nation, but the reference makes the Nords and Dark Elves more comfortable, so there you have it) had met on the field of battle and come together to finally defeat the Akaviri invaders. After the Akaviri finished sacking Windhelm, it turned its attention to the south and east and began to march against Morrowind. As the Akaviri invasion force cut a path toward Mournhold, the Dark Elf army—led by Almalexia of the Tribunal—established a defensive line to halt their progress. Jorunn and the Nords, meantime, rallied their own forces and followed after the Akaviri, catching them from behind. The Akaviri, caught between two powerful armies, nevertheless was able to withstand the two-pronged attack. They may even have been able to eventually win the day, but that might just be speculation on my part. In any case, they never had the chance to try.

Keshu's force, a phalanx of Saxhleel shellbacks and swamp warriors, hit the Akaviri from the south, providing the last element needed to end this period of invasion. Our troops, seasoned from fighting the Dark Elf slavers in Black Marsh, were the final ingredient required to overwhelm the invaders, and we fell upon them with wild abandon. Keshu wanted to help her friend Jorunn, but she also had an ulterior motive for marching our legion out of the swamp and into the heart of Morrowind. She wanted the other nations to recognize the value and veracity of the Saxhleel—the Argonians. We were more than primitive savages. We were more than slaves. We were the equals of the others, and we were here to save them from alien invaders.

I won't say that the victory was totally due to the intervention of Keshu's legion, but we certainly played our part. We fought valiantly alongside the ferocious Nords and the cunning Dark Elves, slaughtering Akaviri soldiers with every step of our advance. When the fighting finally ended near the city of Ebonheart and victory was ours, Keshu hurried to meet with the leaders of the other two factions. I, as her loyal squire, followed in her wake.

I had never been in the presence of so many powerful and important people before! I had heard stories about Jorunn the Nord Bard, but I never imagined he was really that big! And Almalexia—who the Dark Elves worshipped as a god—was cold and beautiful, for a scaleless Elf without a tail. Jorunn stepped forward and greeted Keshu like an old friend. "We owe you a great debt, Black Fin," Jorunn said in his loud, booming voice. "What can the Nords and the Dark Elves offer you for your invaluable assistance this day?"

Keshu was silent for a few long moments, looking intently at Jorunn first, and then turning her attention to Almalexia. With her eyes locked upon the Mother of Morrowind, she finally replied, "No more Argonian slaves. Set my people free."

Almalexia and Jorunn exchanged a look of their own, and the large Nord's gaze never wavered. After a time, the Dark Elf leader made a slight nod of her head and said, "A reasonable request. And one the Dark Elves shall honor—with one provision. The Argonians must join the Dark Elves and the Nords in a mutual pact of cooperation and defense. In that way, all three of our nations will remain free."

Thus began a series of negotiations that lasted well into the next day and ended with the formation of the Ebonheart Pact. Keshu agreed to keep her forces in the north to help bolster the defense of her new allies, but not before she sent runners to Stormhold to inform our people of the news: slavery was abolished and the Argonians were now allies with the Nords and the Dark Elves. Since we had no government, at least not in the sense that our new allies did, Keshu determined to remain in Nord and Dark Elf territory to solidify the Saxhleel position and make sure the various agreements were adhered to. In the meantime, she sent Xocin back to Black Marsh to find ambassadors to serve in the capital cities of the alliance.

And that was how the Argonians joined the Ebonheart Pact.

Now, the declaration of the formation of the Ebonheart Pact and the abolition of Argonian slavery didn't result in the immediate cessation of all Dark Elf slaver activity. It would take almost a full year for every Dark Elf province and holding to comply with the order of the Tribunal, and even then there would always be slavers who refused to adhere to the new accords. This resulted in a few awkward situations for Keshu and her Black Fin Legion as it toured the land of Morrowind as the initial Argonian representatives to the alliance.

We met with a good amount of fear and hatred during those early days of the alliance. Some Dark Elves became very uncomfortable when a heavily armed force of Argonians approached their town or village. At these, we were turned away at best or attacked by settlements with sizable militias. Others, though, having heard the story of the Battle of Ebonheart, appeared grateful for our help and were happy to welcome us into their homes. While such treatment is much more common now, back then it was nearly unheard of, and we were both surprised and thankful for every friendly face we encountered.

We spent that first year of the alliance in Dark Elf territory, making our presence known and working to make sure that all of the tenets of the agreement were adhered to. We also took in many of the newly freed Argonians, giving the ones who decided not to return to Black Marsh or try to make a go of it as a free Saxhleel in Morrowind an immediate purpose and a place to belong. In this way, the Black Legion continued to grow even as it traveled throughout Morrowind.

Eventually, we arrived at Mournhold as guests of the Tribunal. We spent nearly a month camped outside the city and regularly meeting with Almalexia and other important Dark Elf and Nord officials. Keshu participated in discussions to bolster the defense of the Pact by forming an "army of the alliance," which would include forces donated by each of the member nations. As we were looking for a purpose, Keshu volunteered the Black Fin Legion to serve as the backbone of the new allied army. In time, Keshu would become not only a war hero, but one of the foremost generals leading Pact forces.

Before that initial year had ended, Keshu and the Black Legion would prove their worth to the Pact by once again saving the day. This time, it was to deal with raiders crossing the mountains from the west. Rumors abounded that the raiders were either funded by the Daggerfall Covenant or were Covenant soldiers in disguise, but we were never able to prove that. But when reports of a large band of raiders attacking Dark Elf settlements in western Morrowind reached Mournhold, Keshu offered to take the Pact army on a hunting expedition.

Keshu's force consisted of mostly Black Fin legionnaires, bolstered by a contingent of Nord soldiers and a squadron of Dark Elf mages and healers. We moved quickly, following the path of destruction left by the raiders until we finally caught them at Indrano Pass. Keshu divided our forces, sending half of our contingent around to cut off the raiders' escape path into the mountains, while the rest of our troops formed an arrowhead and advanced on the raiders' position. Instead of holding fast, the raiders decided to turn and run. That's when our troops swarmed out of the rocky foothills and we caught the raiders between us. After all the trouble they caused, we expected them to put up more of a fight.

It was well into the second year after the formation of the Ebonheart Pact, and Keshu and the Black Fin Legion (minus the troops we left behind as part of the Pact army in Morrowind) were now touring the Nordic lands of Skyrim. Our first stop after crossing into Nord territory was the town of Riften, where we were treated to a typical Nord celebration that included lots of food, lots of mead, and a number of good-natured brawls that seem to be a common pastime in the colder climes. While there, we helped fortify some of the town's defenses, which Keshu insisted we do wherever we went to show our willingness to provide whatever assistance we could during our visits.

After more than a week in Riften, we began our trek north through Eastmarch toward the city of Windhelm and Keshu's reunion with Jorunn—who was now Jorunn the Skald-King, if you can believe that! Apparently, the big Nord was a prince or some such, and was now the leader of the entire Nord nation! And Windhelm, what a city! It was as large and as impressive in its own way as Mournhold, but where the Dark Elf metropolis was a reflection of its people, Windhelm was clearly and undeniably a reflection of the Nords. Repairs were still underway to deal with the damage inflicted by the Akaviri siege, but that did nothing to detract from the sheer grandeur of the Nord city.

Jorunn met us at the gates, grabbed Keshu up in an enormous hug, and then invited us all to enjoy the hospitality of his home and city. The celebration lasted for a week and a day! The Nords certainly love to throw a good party, and they seem to look for any excuse to have one. During the celebration, we were treated to the best mead and ale the Nords produced, exquisite delicacies such as rabbit meatballs, and some of the most ribald drinking songs I had ever heard—all sung extremely loudly and with a lot of clinking of mugs and goblets.

When the mead casks were finally empty and the rabbit meatballs had run out, the celebration came to an abrupt end. Then the work began. We stayed in Windhelm for the better part of a month, helping repair the outer walls of the city and providing whatever other aid the Nords were comfortable allowing us to deal with. And whenever they could both spare the time, Keshu and the Skald-King huddled in a corner and spoke at length about a variety of topics. No one was allowed to join them during these discussions, but I always got the sense that they were sharing their thoughts on leadership, the alliance, and the future of our nations.

The Black Fin Legion, as we had come to know it, came to an end in Skyrim, as well. Our soldiers were divided into small teams and sent to serve with Pact troops of mixed nationality, fighting alongside Nords and Dark Elves in the same cohorts. I stayed with Keshu, of course, and I was there when the Skald-King offered her a unique honor. "I want you to command the Pact forces in Skyrim, Black Fin," Jorunn proclaimed. "Will you accept this charge?" To no one's surprise, Keshu agreed. And through her efforts over the next seven years, the tactics and strategies of the Pact's military might were developed and set in place.

Which is why the Pact was prepared when the War of the Three Banners began.

In the midst of General Keshu's continued build-up and improvement of the Ebonheart Pact allied forces, the Black Fin received a summons from Jorunn the Skald-King. We had been training with combined troops near Riften when the runner arrived with the sealed letter. The meeting would take place at Fort Amol, in Eastmarch, in two-day's time. Keshu began to make preparations to depart at once.

Keshu the Black Fin decided to travel light and fast, taking only a small contingent with her to meet with the Skald-King. I accompanied the General, of course, along with Tee-Wan, Xocin, and the Nord warrior, Kora Greatstorm. Vos-Huruk remained behind to command the troops and continue the training exercises. As our small group approached Fort Amol, we were met a good distance outside the settlement and led in through a hidden trail that bypassed the main roads into and out of the town. We were hurriedly escorted to the jarl's manor and taken to a secret meeting room within the large estate. There, standing behind a large table, was Jorunn the Skald-King.

I sensed immediately that something was very different from our previous meetings with Jorunn. For one thing, he didn't rush to scoop up Keshu in a tremendous hug, and he wasn't his usual loud and boisterous self. To be fair, the weight of the crown had taken a toll on the bard-turned-ruler, but he appeared more grave and serious than I had ever seen him. "The Tribunal has sent a dire warning, Black Fin," Jorunn began. "Almalexia has had a vision. Or maybe it was Vivec? Who can say? In any case, they warn that a threat to the Ebonheart Pact is developing and we need to be ready. So, everything you've been doing? Now you must triple your efforts and prepare us for war."

The new war effort was placed in the hands of three generals, one from each member nation of the Pact. Keshu represented the Argonians, Kora Greatstorm represented the Nords, and Yeveth Noramil represented the Dark Elves. These were the generals that would, together, bolster and prepare the Pact's offensive and defensive capabilities for the coming years. And, thanks to the preparations that the Black Fin had already begun, the foundation was in place for the arms buildup to reach the next level in a relatively short amount of time. Before we departed that secret room in the jarl's manor, Jorunn had one last nugget of wisdom to pass on to Keshu. "Peace is a fragile, precious thing, Black Fin," the Skald-King said in a weary voice. "Cherish the time you have with it, for it never lasts long."

Over the next two years, the expanding Pact army faced a number of small tests, including skirmishes with Imperial legions and Daggerfall troops, and it acquitted itself admirably. In many ways, these small encounters led to the War of the Three Banners. When the three separate alliances finally declared war against each other, Keshu led the Pact army into the field. The land of Cyrodiil became the battlefield, and the sound of war echoed throughout the land.

For the better part of a year, General Keshu and the Pact army gained ground, lost ground, and gained it back again. We couldn't claim victory, as the war continued, but we won many significant battles—much to the chagrin of the Covenant and the Dominion. Then, at the height of her power and popularity, the Black Fin made a decision that surprised us all. "We've done all we can for the Pact," Keshu explained. "It's time for us to go home."

And that was how the Black Fin's foreign adventures came to an abrupt end.

The Black Fin Goes to War, Part 2


Keshu's war against the House Dres slavers continued for a number of seasons, and with every victory the Black Fin Legion notched, her army of loyal Saxhleel expanded. They came from far and wide to pledge themselves to her banner: slaves liberated from Dark Elf holdings; adventurous Saxhleel from widely separated villages; even a few citified Argonians from Stormhold and locations beyond the influence of the Hist.

I had finally completed my rites of maturity and was now considered a full-fledged adult in the eyes of the tribe. I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my existence. As much as I loved Keshu and believed in her cause, I did not want to be a soldier or a freedom fighter. I wanted a simpler life, something in service to the Hist or the Xal-Uxith. I was destined to become a sap-speaker or an egg-tender, or so I believed at the time. So I decided to let Keshu know my desires and withdraw from the Black Fin Legion.

Keshu understood my situation and agreed to release me from my obligation. I was still with the Legion, however, when Tee-Wan returned to camp. He was Keshu's spy-master now, ranging into the field for days or weeks at a time to gather information for the Black Fin Legion to use against the forces of House Dres. The news he brought back with him this time, however, dealt with a much larger, more dangerous foe. "Outsiders from across the far ocean have invaded the land of Skyrim," Tee-Wan explained. "I bring a message for you from the Nord who helped us in Stormhold, Jorunn the bard."

Jorunn's message explained that an enemy called the Akaviri had laid siege to the city of Windhelm and was now marching toward Mournhold. Jorunn's sister had fallen and he had temporarily taken command of the Nord forces. "I go to aid the Dark Elves and try to stop this vile invasion," Jorunn had written. "I would not mind in the slightest if you decided to return that favor you owe me and join us in Morrowind. Your Argonian shell-backs would certainly help turn the tide of this conflict."

I could tell by the look in Keshu's eyes that she had already decided to go to Jorunn's aid. "Vos-Huruk, Fire-From-Nothing," Keshu called to her chief lieutenants, "rally the troops. Today, the Black Fin Legion goes to war."

I wished Keshu and the others cool breezes and clear water, but I wasn't going to join them on this adventure. I was going home, back to Tadulpa. I assumed they would be back after the moons had moved through a few of their cycles, but I was wrong. I would not see Keshu again for more than ten cycles of the calendar, and by that time she would be much changed.

But word would reach us even in isolated Tadulpa. We heard that the Akaviri were defeated, thanks to the combined efforts of the Nords and Dark Elves—and the timely intervention of a phalanx of Argonian warriors. On that day, the Ebonheart Pact was born. Keshu and her legion stayed in allied lands after the Akaviri threat was dealt with, helping to establish the parameters of the newly formed alliance and securing the freedom of Saxhleel for as long as the Pact survived. She spent time touring Skyrim and Morrowind, helped crush rebellions, and defended the borders from competing alliances before eventually taking up arms in the Three Banners War.

Do I regret not joining Keshu on that mighty adventure? Sometimes. But I would not trade my time in Tadulpa as an egg-tender for anything—not even to fight at Keshu's side once more.

The Black Fin Comes Home


By Mee-See, Squire and Personal Aide to Keshu the Black Fin

General Keshu, known as the Black Fin, turned command of the Pact forces in Cyrodiil over to a Dark Elf general named Felisi Varo. Then, with a small group of companions that included myself, Vos-Huruk, Tee-Wan, Xocin, the Dark Elf twins Llensi and Meralyn, and the Nords Jod and Ulfbel, we departed the war-torn countryside and returned to Mournhold for a final meeting with Jorunn the Skald-King.

"The more time I spend in this strange country, the more I miss the mountains and the snow," Jorunn said as we entered his audience chamber in the Dark Elf city. "Now tell me, Black Fin," he said, turning to face Keshu, "are you sure you want to do this?"

Keshu raised the spine of affirmation and said, "I've done all I set out to do for you and the Pact, Jorunn. It's time for me to return to Black Marsh and do the same for my people."

Jorunn nodded solemnly. "Then I can ask no more of you, my trusted friend," he said with a tear in his eye. "May Kyne guide you back home, Black Fin. And if you ever need my aid, you have but to ask."

At those words, Keshu's eyes sparkled like the stars in the sky. "Well, there is a small matter," she said, and then she went on to explain how she was hoping to open Black Marsh to outsiders, especially crafters and artisans, to help expand the knowledge and experiences of her people. "I shall put out the word," Jorunn agreed. "And where should these crafters and artisans go? To Stormhold?"

"No," Keshu replied. "Send them to Gideon."

And that's where Keshu led us. To Gideon, the Imperial stronghold in Murkmire, where she was determined to establish a more inviting and vibrant "modern" Argonian society. Her plans, as she explained them to us during the journey, was to start out by bringing the things we learned and discovered during our time in Morrowind and Skyrim to Gideon, and then begin a series of quests to re-discover the secrets of the ancient Argonian civilization. "I do not want to change our culture," Keshu assured us. "I want to enhance it and bring back the glory we had and lost in ages past."

We may not have all agreed with everything Keshu outlined on our journey home, but we believed in the Black Fin. We would follow her to Oblivion and back if she asked it of us. So it wasn't that far a leap to realize that we were going to help her achieve her dream for our people.

As we approach the borders of Murkmire, this ongoing narrative comes to an end. I may write again in the future, but I imagine that my free time will evaporate like a small puddle on a hot day as soon as we get settled in Gideon. But if you ever make it to our fair city, stop by and say hello. We welcome all visitors—Argonians and dryskins alike!

Folly of the Northmen


Men of High Rock and Hammerfell: would you marry a red-eyed devil of the Ashlands or a scaly lizard out of Black Marsh? Of course not! Then how are we to account for our brothers the Nords lying down with the Dark Elves and Argonians?

Only foul magic from Morrowind can explain it. By forming the Ebonheart Pact, the Tribunal of the Dunmer is taking advantage of the chaos in Cyrodiil to attempt an extension of their rule to the rest of Tamriel. These so-called "Living Gods" of the Tribunal are no more than imitation Daedric Princes who have derived their power from dangerous and forbidden sources. The Pact cannot be allowed to conquer Cyrodiil and the Imperial City: at a time when all Nirn is threatened by Daedric corruption, trading one cabal of Daedra-worshipers for another is just a different road to destruction.

Tamriel's history tells us that the Dark Elves are uncanny and not to be trusted. Their allies the Argonians are alien and unknowable, and we dare not submit to their inhumanoid vagaries. As for our brothers the Nords, perhaps it was their long and bloody civil war that drove their Eastern Kingdom to join such an unnatural alliance. The Northmen are unwise, but they can still depend on the Daggerfall Covenant. It's our duty as the heirs to the Empires of Men to break apart the Ebonheart Pact and free the Eastern Nords from their Dark Elven masters.

Enduring Nord Society

Nevil Hleran

If, like the unfortunate author of this text, you have the displeasure of being required by your House to interact with our Nord "allies" and "trade partners" on a regular basis, you'll quickly discover that Nord social interactions are far removed from our complex and dignified Dunmeri culture. My frequent exposure to their habits and behaviors has made me something of an authority on avoiding physical harm when in the company of Nords, and I hope it may assist you, the reader, in the same.

With Nords, insults are not always insults—unless they are. When conversing among themselves, references that might otherwise seem offensive (like "you old horker's arse") might, in fact, be familiar terms of endearment. One should avoid chiming in with similar epithets unless quite familiar with the Nords in question. Keep in mind, even then, that insulting a Nord's strength, bravery, or honor in any way almost inevitably leads to violence as the offended party attempts to prove otherwise.

Never turn down a drink. You must become an expert at discreetly emptying your sixth or seventh cup of mead underneath the table (don't worry, there will be plenty of spillage already present; no one will notice). Refusing a drink is seen as an admittance of weakness and is a sure way to alienate yourself from those you have been forced to work alongside.

My last bit of advice is to attempt to speak in the simplest terms possible. Nords, while they do love absurd stories, do not appreciate the finer arts of conversation, and become suspicious of those who speak in elaborate language. A suspicious Nord is a dangerous Nord, likely to go off and begin yelling and throwing accusations that you're deliberately being confusing and must be lying. Keep it simple and you'll avoid bruises.

Good luck, reader. You will need it as you attempt to cooperate with these brutish Men.

The Time of the Ebonheart Pact

Alla Lalleth

The Wheel of Time turns: in the dawn, it was the day of the Aldmeri, and then came the time of Men—but now, as the decay and chaos in the Empire makes clear, the time of Men has past. Of the Men of Tamriel, only the Eastern Nords had the strength of character to join Dunmeri and Argonians in repelling the recent invasion of Snake-Men from Akavir, thereby showing that of all Men, only they may be trusted.

Time and again Men have shown that without proper guidance, their meddling with External Powers leads to disaster. Men's reckless dabbling with beings beyond Nirn must stop forever. Now it is the time of the Ebonheart Pact, which shall and must become the Tamriel Pact. Within the Pact, the Aedra, Daedra, and Hist are all revered … from an appropriate distance. Within the Pact is the Tribunal, three Living Gods who abide among us here on Nirn and whose interest therefore coincides with that of all residents of Nirn. Only they have shown how to treat successfully with powers beyond Nirn.

The rash actions of those who sit the Ruby Throne, or who pull their strings, have brought Tamriel to the verge of irretrievable doom. They must be scoured from the face of Cyrodiil, and the decaying remains of the Empire of Men must be swept away. It shall be replaced by the Pact, which will enforce peace across the continent and strictly regulate all involvement in dangerous magical pursuits.

Onward, warriors of the Pact! We will never know peace and freedom until we occupy White-Gold Tower!

Guide to the Ebonheart Pact


The Ebonheart Pact has forged an unlikely alliance between the far-flung nations of Morrowind, Skyrim, and Black Marsh, bringing together the Dark Elves, Nords, and free Argonians for their mutual defense. Thanks to the size of its allied nations and the distances involved, the Pact remains relatively free of inner strife and discord. The Nords and Dark Elves have so much of their own territory to deal with that they have little time to spare for meddling in each other's affairs.

The Ebonheart Pact came about in 2E 572 in response to the Second Akaviri Invasion of northern Tamriel. The Nords, Dark Elves, and free Argonians joined forces to save the rest of Tamriel from slaughter and subjugation. Forged in war, the alliance brought a sudden new power to the continent. At first, few believed the Dark Elves would be able to maintain an alliance with their ancient blood enemies and former slaves, but after a troubled decade, the Pact remains strong and intact.

A Great Moot governs the Pact. This council of equals from each of the member races is not only known for hot tempers and loud voices, but also for mutual respect and an amazing will to hold the Pact together against all odds. Only as equals can the allies hope to mollify the pride of the Nords and the Dark Elves while addressing the injuries suffered by the once-enslaved Argonians.

Serving as an integral, perhaps even critical, part of the alliance, the Dark Elves of Morrowind are aloof, proud, and profoundly strange. They work hard to conceal their disdain for their "inferior" allies, but the current crisis requires the strong arms of Nords and wily resourcefulness of Argonians to keep rival alliances at bay. Wizardly craft and a deep well of experience serve the Dark Elves well, providing the Pact with the vital ability to react and adapt—something neither the Aldmeri Dominion nor the Daggerfall Covenant can claim to do as well. The Pact fields superior warriors and sorcerers. And they possess an asset that no other race can match. Three living gods—Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil—abide among them.

The Nords of Eastern Skyrim are fearless and aggressive, industrious and enterprising. They excel at war and prosper in trade, and they are without equal as explorers and trailblazers. Strong, stubborn, and hardy, they customarily solve problems through combat. Nords cheerfully rush into battle with a ferocity that frightens and appalls their enemies. They accept and even revel in their role as shock troops for the Ebonheart Pact. Nords are direct, not subtle: they champion simple solutions in the meetings of the Great Moot, though they are often outvoted by shrewd Argonians and sagacious Dark Elves. On the field of battle, however, they have no equals. Pact generals tend to be Nords, as are most of the soldiers in the field. The Nords don't mind. This means they also get first choice of the spoils of war.

By their decisive intervention against the Akaviri, the Argonians of Black Marsh won their freedom from Dark Elf enslavement, and the lessons they learned have made them a valuable member of the Pact. Reserved and alien, their expressionless faces and flat intonations make it difficult for other races to interpret their true motives. Nevertheless, the Argonians possess a cool intelligence. Slow to trust and hard to know, their natural agility makes them as comfortable employing magic as they are using stealth and steel. Years of defending their borders have made them experts in waging war against stronger, more traditionally organized armies. Equally at home on land or in water, they serve as scouts and skirmishers for Pact forces. Other aspects of Argonian culture are nearly incomprehensible to outsiders, including their social hierarchy and collective decision making. Their representatives present strange proposals without explanation, but their allies have learned that there's always a reason for everything they do.

Today, the young Jorunn the Skald King serves as the acting High King of the Moot, but not all in the alliance support him. As the members of the Pact struggle to maintain and solidify their alliance, they must also deal with internal threats to each of their nations. Unsolved, these threats could destroy them before they ever face the Dominion or Covenant in open battle.

Unexpected Allies


When I was a lad, I stood at the eastern edge of Skyrim and looked upon Morrowind. From Stendarr's Beacon, I could see the Red Mountain of Vvardenfell, but I never ventured there. Like many Nords, I was content to leave foreign lands to the foreigners.

A scant ten years ago in 2E 572, my father took a different path. He fought with our Dunmeri allies to repel the Second Akaviri invasion. As a soldier of Skyrim, he was there when the Nords pursued the invaders into Stonefalls. He told me of an army on the brink of ruin, marching ever further into foreign territory, hungry and nearly broken, until the Dunmer brought in Argonian troops to aid the Nords.

No one expected this. I still cannot believe it. The Dunmer once held the Argonians as slaves, yet on that day, the Argonians' arrival changed the course of history. From the jungles they came, adorned with blood and mud. Akaviri fell beneath their claws, as well as the swords and spells of their Nord and Dunmeri allies. An alliance was forged that day and has never faltered since.

Agreements were signed in Ebonheart, but these were formalities compared to the ties made on the battlefield. Our alliance was forged in the fires of adversity, a shield to protect us from all invaders. Our cultures differ but our aims bind us.

A few years ago, the Dunmeri Tribunal called for more troops from our alliance, insisting that we take up arms against a new enemy: an Empire growing in Cyrodiil. Our enemies in the Covenant and Dominion also sent troops to liberate this territory.

And now? War rages across Tamriel. Khajiit and Bosmer war against Dunmer and Argonians. Altmer strike against Skyrim. And from High Rock, the Daggerfall Covenant attacks us all.

In the midst of such chaos, what choice do we have? Our alliance with the Dunmer and Argonians has stood for a decade. I have fought beside our allies in battle. And when I return home, I tell my children proud tales of victory over our foes, fighting with Dunmer and Argonians beside me.

The Pact never ceases to surprise me. I have spoken at great length with Argonian mystics, marveling at their view of the world. I have walked into the caves of Dunmeri priests, staring at shadows as they tell me tales of their gods.

And someday, we will walk together into the heart of Cyrodiil—Dunmer, Argonians, and Nords. We will triumph under the banner of our Pact, steadfast allies who can never be defeated.

Shad Astula Academy Handbook


Welcome to Shad Astula, the Academy of Magic! This is where the most talented mages of the Ebonheart Pact come to learn, share a common origin, and become leaders in the magical community. Your journey begins here.

For many, the journey to master magic is fraught with frustration and difficulty. The training provided here can lead to a life of service and rewarding work, thanks to the availability of the best teachers and teaching methods. The fact of the matter is, while everyone invited to the Academy is selected for their potential for greatness, not all of you will measure up to the task before you. For those unfortunate enough to fail, Shad Astula serves as a safety net, a place to refine one's meager skills without causing harm to oneself or to others.

But you will not fail. You are not one of the unfortunates. You will rise above. You will take your place as a leader in the Ebonheart Pact!

You have already realized that you are different from others who can wield the gift of magicka. Now, prepare to be introduced to a world of power. For you, Shad Astula serves as a place where you can spread your wings. With the help of our staff of master mages, you will not only learn to fly, you will soar!

As one of the chosen of the Academy, the usual restrictions and rules that govern the learning of magic do not apply to you. Those rules exist to ensure the safety of mages who may pose a danger to themselves or to others. We anticipate that the Academy's select students will excel, and we believe you're capable of learning your limits quickly. A few guidelines do apply, however:

— Do not summon creatures from Oblivion planes, except within designated summoning circles.
— Magical experimentation on other Academy students is forbidden.
— Magical experimentation on non-Academy members is discouraged, but use your best judgment.
— Magical experimentation on staff is encouraged. Keep them on their guard, and they'll do the same for you.
— Designation of assistants as "minions" is strictly prohibited, and cultist or cabalist behaviors or organizations will be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Save your megalomania for after graduation.
— Students who have not passed the Emotional Control and Mental Stability Exam (ECMSE) are forbidden from sharing a room.
— Magical dueling is strictly prohibited, except under a staff Battlemage's supervision.

You will soon receive an appointment with the Headmaster, who will have more to say about Shad Astula and your status as a member of the Academy. In the meantime, feel free to explore the campus and introduce yourself to your fellow students. Some will become your peers, others your underlings, and a very select few your betters. Learn them well.

Welcome to Shad Astula. Spread your wings and soar! We expect much of you. Do not disappoint us.