Skip navigation

House Hlaalu

House Hlaalu Philosophy of Trade


If you want to understand the essential philosophy of House Hlaalu, examine its coat of arms. Behold the scale: it represents balance, trade, and compromise. These essential concepts influence everything the House seeks to accomplish and directs its activities.

Strive for balance in all things. When the scale tips to one side or the other, someone or something gets short-changed. When someone gets short-changed, unpredictability and strife unbalance the world around us. This idea must be embraced by every member of the House. To achieve freedom from greed, from want, and from strife, all parties in any exchange must find balance.

Trade is the House's weapon, its tool, and its way. The House thrives when value and profit flows between supply and demand. House Hlaalu seeks to maintain open trade with anyone who would engage in honest business. Not even a lowly Ashlander with gold or goods in hand would be turned away. This policy protects and empowers the House. The greatest defense remains a wall built of gold, and many foes have broken against the profitable walls of House Hlaalu.

The most honorable conclusion to any conflict is compromise. When two parties seeking balance come together in any exchange, compromise becomes the natural conclusion. Anything can be achieved if both the left hand and the right hand work together. Not everyone is reasonable, however. Sometimes others must be coaxed into compromise. For that, the House Hlaalu Guard stands ready.

War of Two Houses

Drelisa Hlaalu

By Drelisa Hlaalu, House Historian

War among the Great Houses of Morrowind isn't unique, and more often than not some kind of conflict between two or more Houses is under way somewhere across the land. Rarely do these conflicts escalate from subterfuge and intrigue to all-out war, but open hostilities aren't unheard of in the history of Morrowind. Let me tell you about one of these wars.

In 2E 559, House Hlaalu and House Dres advanced beyond the usual tensions and posturing and fielded squads of combatants south of Narsis, on the border of the Black Marsh. It wasn't the first time these two economic rivals had challenged each other, and it wouldn't be the last, but the actual war was memorable, both in scope and in the number of casualties that piled up over the course of the battles.

House Hlaalu was determined to set up a trading post in the disputed territory. House Dres was just as determined not to let that happen. Halfway through the construction of the outpost, the House Hlaalu workers suddenly found themselves surrounded by Dres mercenaries. The small squad of Hlaalu guards assigned to protect the workers, led by Purilla Falen, quickly established defenses and prepared to defend the outpost. The Dres mercenaries, who outnumbered the Hlaalu guards five-to-one, assumed they would make short work of the defenders and have the post burned to the ground before the midday meal.

But that's not the way it happened.

Purilla and her guards repelled the first assault with relative ease. She was determined to hold the line, no matter the cost, until reinforcements arrived. To facilitate the appearance of aid, Purilla set the one wizard they brought with them to work on opening a portal to Narsis. If the guards could hold back the onslaught of the Dres mercenaries long enough, an open portal could provide a path for Hlaalu battle-merchants to pour out of to turn the tide of battle. They only needed a little time.

As the wizard performed the portal ritual, Purilla and the defenders met each House Dres attack with skill and ferocity. The mercenaries rushed in, sending a wave of attackers at the post's barricades. Each wave was turned away, but not without a cost. After five hours and four separate waves of attacks, Purilla's forces were reduced to a third of their original size. By then only Purilla and six guards remained to fend off the next Dres assault. And the wizard required a few more minutes to complete the ritual and open the portal. "You shall have that time!" Purilla proclaimed. "For Hlaalu!"

The seven defenders, magnificent in their fury, fought with honor and savage resolve as the wizard completed the final steps of the ritual. One guard fell. Two. Four. Now only Purilla and two Hlaalu guards remained at the battlements. The Hlaalu workers, who had been providing support and watchful eyes throughout the previous battles, took to the walls as well, using tools and the weapons of the fallen guards to help defend the post. For all their effort, it appeared that the crushing weight of the Dres assault was about to engulf them.

And then the portal opened.

House Hlaalu battle-merchants streamed through the portal, hurling spells and arrows into the ranks of the surprised mercenaries. A full cohort emerged from the portal and crashed against the wall of Dres mercenaries. The wall held for a few long moments, and then it shattered against the weight of the Hlaalu troops. Dres mercenaries fell in scores before their line finally broke and the remaining mercenaries turned to flee. The battle-merchants chased after them just long enough to make sure they were really routed, and then they formed up to secure the post.

Brave and noble Purilla Falen was responsible for the Hlaalu victory that day, but she didn't survive the final battle. A Dres mercenary's blade had caught her in the neck as they were retreating. She was dead before a healer could reach her side. Thanks to histories like these, however, her efforts will never be forgotten.

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.