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Hlaalu Construction Syndic

Manaran Renim

High Councilor Meriath,

I have completed an extensive audit of our ongoing business association with the Hlaalu Construction Syndic. While it is true that they provided us with much needed labor and resources, and it was certainly advantageous from a fiscal point of view due to their surprisingly (and now suspiciously) low bid for the contract, I have uncovered a number of disquieting consequences as a result of this continuing relationship.

As far as the construction of the towns of Suran and Balmora, aside from the garish use of Hlaalu architecture when the contract clearly called for the utilization of a more dignified Redoran design, they did complete the work on time and on budget. However, we inadvertently provided them with a foothold beyond Seyda Neen. This, in turn, has enabled them to establish business relations with all sources of raw materials and provisions throughout Vvardenfell, giving House Hlaalu a near-monopoly in these areas. Much of House Redoran now buys all of its local goods through Hlaalu aggregators!

Moreover, House Hlaalu continues to expand its influence in both towns, much to the chagrin of our regional councilors. It's clear they have their eyes on these strategic locations, and I fear that they know how to conquer us through business while we instead remain vigilant against more militaristic overtures.

In conclusion, I fear that in retrospect, we should never have entered into this deal with House Hlaalu. In the long run, we may have saved time and gold only to have lost the territory we so desperately require.

Manaran Renim, First Clerk of House Affairs, Vvardenfell

Understanding House Hlaalu

Hlaandu Hlaalu

By Hlaandu Hlaalu, Grand Historian for the House, Written in the 121st Year of the Golden Peace

Stand proud, kin of Hlaalu! You belong to one of the original Great Houses of the civilized Dunmer. From our capital in the city of Narsis, our influence extends throughout the central region of Morrowind. Some call us opportunistic like it's a curse. But as Grandmaster Hesleth always implored, "The Dunmer who ignores opportunity deserves every failure that comes his way."

From the earliest days of the House, Hlaalu focused on trade and crafts. Our maxim was simple. The goal for every housekin was to succeed in business and turn a tidy profit. The Book of Grasping Fortune reminds us to "seize every chance to make a profit, but remember that your reputation also has value."

Without huge armies or vast holdings, it fell to our housekin to become experts at diplomacy and negotiation. Our words became our strength. Oh, there were also the less-savory attributes that went along with fast-talking and deal-making. We became thieves and sneaks, blackmailers and backstabbers. Still, we always appreciated the value of the deal. As the Book of Grasping Fortune tells us, "The perfect approach to negotiations is to compromise with an eye toward securing the best possible deal."

Our influence and our wealth has always been distinguished by our willingness to live in peace with our neighbors. While there can be short-term profit in conflict and war, sustainable growth only comes from harmony and fair trade. It falls to House Hlaalu to acknowledge our Dunmer culture with one hand while using the other to adapt to changing conditions as necessary in order to succeed. And what is success? A satisfying deal and a tidy profit, of course!

There is a dark stain on our history, however. Our natural tendencies encourage others to use bribes and favors to influence our housekin. This means that for every honest and fair councilor Hlaalu produces, there might be as many as four or five that are underhanded and corrupt. Does this concern us? Not overly, as history shows us that even the corrupt can wind up serving the common good. Or, at least, the profit earned has no moral component. As the Book of Grasping Fortune proclaims, "You can trade with a friend forever, steal from a fool once or twice, and bargain with the dead not at all, so always go for the most sustainable profit."

Grasping Fortune

Serjo Hlaalu Dram Bero

I am a councilor of House Hlaalu and chose to write this short guide for those who seek to understand us or join us. House Hlaalu is the most open and modern of the Great Houses. We are the only Great House who has embraced the irresistible tides of Imperial law and custom. And thus we have profited by the Empire's new policies, rising from obscurity as the Greatest of the Houses.

In the great wind of progress, tradition cannot stand.

The Redoran may surpass us on the field of battle, but when the dust clears, they will find themselves indebted to us. The Telvanni may know many arcane secrets, but they fight among themselves more than against each other, and they cannot adapt to the ways of the Empire. Ancient and powerful though a Telvanni wizard may be, no individual can withstand the march of history. The Indoril are loved by the people for their gifts and donations, but when the money runs dry, will the people remember? The Dres know how to make money, but they have not learned how not to make enemies.

Grasp fortune by the forelocks. When you see your chances, seize them.

When you see a chance to turn a profit, take it. But do not follow money blindly. There is value in reputation, more than many young Hlaalu realize. This value must be carefully balanced against the more tangible coins in any deal. Theft and murder are bad for business. You can steal from someone, but will he trade with you after that? You can't bargain with a dead man.

There are many ways to do business.

In House Hlaalu you must be fast and agile. You must be able to keep up with business and with the times. You must be able to speak quickly and convincingly. You must be able to trade with the best of merchants and make a profit. You must learn to protect your own property by securing it with hidden chests, locks, and even traps. And when confrontation is unavoidable, it is best to fight quickly in comfortable, light armors with short blades, or to fight from a distance with a marksman's weapons.

Then, reader, would you seize this opportunity to join House Hlaalu? Would you have yourself be counted among the victors in the race for success? Then submit yourself for examination at the Balmora Council Manor. If you have the skills, you will be welcome. And if you have the will, you may serve House Hlaalu, and advance in the ranks, for above all things, House Hlaalu prizes initiative and ambition.

Great Houses of Morrowind


In modern times Morrowind is ruled by five Great Houses: House Hlaalu, House Redoran, House Telvanni, House Indoril, and House Dres. Only three of these Houses have interests in Vvardenfell. The three Great Houses on Vvardenfell identify themselves by their traditional colors: red for Redoran, yellow for Hlaalu, and brown for Telvanni. Thus, members of House Hlaalu may be referred to collectively as Yellows.

The Great Houses traditions derive from ancient Dunmer clan and tribes, but now function as political parties. Dunmer Great House membership is largely a matter of birth and marriage, but Imperial colonists may also become retainers of a Great House, or may be adopted into a Great House. Initially an outlander may gain status in a house as an oath-bonded hireling, pledging exclusive loyalty to a single house and forsaking ambitions with all other houses. Later, after faithful service and advancement in lower ranks, an outlander may seek adoption into a Great House. Adoption and advancement to higher ranks in a Great House requires that a Great House councilor stand as sponsor for the candidate's character and loyalty. Finding a councilor to sponsor an outlander often involves performing a great service for the prospective sponsor.

House Redoran is one of the three Dunmer Great Houses with holdings on Vvardenfell. The Redoran prize the virtues of duty, gravity, and piety. Duty is to one's own honor, and to one's family and clan. Gravity is the essential seriousness of life. Life is hard, and events must be judged, endured, and reflected upon with due care and earnestness. Piety is respect for the gods, and the virtues they represent. A light, careless life is not worth living. Redoran settlements are designed in the Dunmer village style, built of local materials, with organic curves and undecorated exteriors inspired by the landscape and by the shells of giant native insects. Redoran villages are typically centered on Temple compounds and their courtyards, with huts and tradehouses gathered around a central plaza, as in the West Gash village of Gnisis. Ald'ruhn, the Redoran district seat, is exceptional, with its distinctive feature being the colossal prehistoric bug shell that has been adapted as the house's council house.

As a result of its close relationship with the Imperial administration, House Hlaalu has emerged as politically and economically dominant among the Great Houses of Vvardenfell and Morrowind. Hlaalu welcomes Imperial culture and law, Imperial Legions and bureaucracy, and Imperial freedom of trade and religion. Hlaalu still honors the old Dunmer ways -- the ancestors, the Temple, and the noble houses -- but has readily adapted to the rapid pace of change and progress in the Imperial provinces. Unlike the other Great Houses, which are largely hostile to non-Dunmer, House Hlaalu aspires to live in peace and harmony with the other races, and to share in the growth and prosperity of the Empire. Hlaalu public buildings -- tradehouses and craft guilds, manors and council halls -- are designed as simple multi-storied buildings roughly rectangular in plan, featuring arched entranceways and modest decorated exteriors. More modest one-story private dwellings follow the same plan, except with less decoration. Hlaalu plantation estates resemble Temple compounds, with walled precincts enclosing outbuildings for craftsmen and servants, dominated by a grand manor residence in place of a Temple shrine.

The wizard-lords of House Telvanni have traditionally isolated themselves, pursuing wisdom and mastery in solitude. But certain ambitious wizards-lords, their retainers, and clients have entered whole-heartedly into the competition to control and exploit Vvardenfell's land and resources, building towers and bases all along the eastern coast. According to Telvanni principles, the powerful define the standards of virtue, and the Telvanni are unwilling to allow the ambitious Hlaalu to dominate Vvardenfell's untapped resources by default. Telvanni architecture is dominated by the wizards' tower, a fantastic organic form grown and sculpted from stems, caps, and root-like holdfasts of the giant native mushrooms. Telvanni villages are comprised of smaller mushroom pods hollowed out for craftsmen and commoners. Open-air markets often include the giant cages displaying the wares of the slave masters.

House Indoril and House Dres are the two Great Houses without holdings or interest in Vvardenfell. Indoril District occupies the heartland of Morrowind, comprising the lands south of the Inner Sea and the eastern coast. The city of Almalexia is located in Indoril District, and the Indoril are orthodox and conservative supporters of the Temple and Temple authority. House Indoril is openly hostile to Imperial culture and religion, and preserves many traditional Dunmer customs and practices in defiance of Imperial law. Dres District is in the south of Morrowind, bordering the swamps and marshes of Black Marsh. House Dres is an agrarian agricultural society, and its large saltrice plantations rely completely on slave labor for their economic viability. Always firm Temple supporters, House Dres is hostile to Imperial law and culture, and in particular opposed to any attempts to limit the institution of slavery.

Yellow Book of 3E 426


Yellow Book of Great House Hlaalu

Councilors of House Hlaalu
Vvardenfell District
Imperial Era 426

Mistress Velanda Omani, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Lord of Omani Plantation, Elmas Island, East Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Dram Bero, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Gentleman of No Fixed Residence, Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Crassius Curio, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Curio Manor, Hlaalu Compound, Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Yngling Half-Troll , by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Yngling Manor, Canton of St. Olms, Vivec, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Nevena Ules, by Grace of Almsivi, Honored Councilor of Hlaalu Council, Vvardenfell District, Free Trader, Ules Manor, Suran, Ascadian Isles, Bal Ur, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Council Affairs of Note

King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, High Councilor and Lord of Morrowind, grants relief to merchants complaining of high tariffs on imported alcoholic beverages.

The council is pleased to report a reduction in the incidence of theft and violent crime in the Hlaalu House Districts, thanks to the vigilance of the Legions and stern sentences by the magistrates. The council laments the unfortunate disturbances of the public peace resulting from the increasingly aggressive competition between the Thieves Guild and the Camonna Tong for control of the black markets.

A minor tax revolt in Balmora was suppressed without undue harm to life and property. The council sent deputations to the Duke to express their concerns over the high tax rates and the injurious effect of high tariffs on trade.