Skip navigation

oblivion crisis

The Oblivion Crisis

Praxis Sarcorum

The Oblivion Crisis


Praxis Sarcorum
Imperial Historian


At the turning of the Fourth Age, in the year 3E 433, the Emperor Uriel Septim VII was assassinated and the Amulet of Kings was destroyed. This set in motion a chain of events that would bring down an empire and change forever the relationship between man and the gods.

The assassins first attacked the Emperor in the White Gold Tower. While the Blades held them back, the Emperor made his way down to the dungeons, to a secret escape route built into one of the prison cells. For reasons known only to himself, the Emperor pardoned the fortunate prisoner in that cell. Some say the prisoner reminded him of a childhood friend. Others say it was a moment of prophecy. Whatever the case, the prisoner came to play a fateful role in the history of the Empire and Tamriel - surely a sign that the gods themselves were at work.

The pursuing assassins killed the Blades bodyguards in a relentless series of sneak attacks. Eventually they struck down the Emperor himself. Before he fell, Uriel Septim VII gave the Amulet of Kings to the prisoner, who somehow made it out of the Imperial sewers and into the light of day.

The assassination is now known to have been the work of a group of daedric cultists known as the Mythic Dawn. (Those who still suspect the Dark Brotherhood should consider two facts: first, they would have only needed a single assassin, not a small army of them; second, the Dark Brotherhood would never be so foolish as to effectively declare war on the Empire and thus ensure their complete destruction. Witness the eventual fate of the Mythic Dawn.)

The Amulet of Kings next surfaced at Weynon Priory near Chorrol. Jauffre, secret Grandmaster of the Blades and head of the priory, took possession of the amulet. The messenger was sent off to Kvatch to find a lowly priest named Martin. Unbeknownst even to himself, Martin was the bastard son of Uriel Septim VII, and the last heir to the Ruby Throne. He alone could use the Amulet of Kings to light the Dragonfires that wards the barrier between Tamriel and Oblivion, and save the world from the Mythic Dawn plot.

The prisoner arrived at Kvatch to find it overrun by daedra that had poured in from a newly-opened Oblivion Gate, the start of the Empire-spanning devastation of the Oblivion Crisis. How the prisoner closed the gate is not recorded. Once closed, Martin and the surviving Kvatch guardsmen drove back the daedra.

Now known as the Hero of Kvatch, the prisoner and Martin returned to Weynon Priory, only to find the priory sacked and the Amulet taken. Jauffre survived the attack, however, and the three of them made their way to Cloud Ruler Temple, bastion of the Blades. This secret fortress in the mountains outside Bruma is where Martin was held safe while the Hero of Kvatch searched for the lost Amulet.

Knowing only that a mysterious group called the Mythic Dawn was behind the assassination and theft of the Amulet, the Hero of Kvatch was sent to locate the cult. With the help of Baurus, a Blade in the service of the Emperor, they somehow used the Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes, esoteric works by the madman Mankar Camoran, to direct them to the Mythic Dawn's secret lair. Scholars familiar with the Commentaries claim the location is not directly mentioned in them. How they did this remains a mystery.

No official records exist of how the Hero of Kvatch penetrated the Mythic Dawn's lair near Lake Arrius. There is a bardic tale that claims the Hero used trickery and disguise, but that is just speculation.What was discovered there is that Mankar Camoran was behind the Mythic Dawn, and that the group worshiped the daedric prince Mehrunes Dagon. Mankar Camoran believed himself to be a direct descendant of the Camoran Usurper, the infamous pretender to the throne of Valenwood.

Somehow the Hero escaped with the Mysterium Xarxes itself, the holy book of the Mythic Dawn cult. Mankar Camoran fled to Oblivion with the Amulet of Kings. With some effort and great risk to his sanity, Martin deciphered the Mysterium Xarxes and intended to use it to open a gateway to Mankar Camoran in order to recover the Amulet of Kings.

Before Martin could perform the ritual to open the gateway, Mehrunes Dagon opened an Oblivion Gate outside Bruma. The Hero of Kvatch saved the city and Martin by entering the gate and closing it before a daedric siege engine could destroy Bruma and Cloud Ruler Temple. Many songs and stories have been told of this battle and I will not retell them here. The Hero of Kvatch was now also known as the Savior of Bruma.

With the city and Cloud Ruler Temple safe, Martin opened the portal to Mankar Camoran's "Paradise". The details of what transpired in this place have not been recorded. All that is known is that the Savior of Bruma travelled to this Paradise, killed Mankar Camoran, and returned with the Amulet of Kings.

With the Amulet in hand, Martin Septim presented himself to the Elder Council to be crowned Emperor of all Tamriel. Once crowned he planned to relight the Dragonfires and seal Tamriel from Oblivion. In a last-ditch attempt to stop him, Mehrunes Dagon launched an assault on the Imperial City, opening several Oblivion Gates within the capital itself. Uncrowned, Martin joined the battle in the city streets.

Mehrunes Dagon himself left Oblivion and entered Tamriel, breaking the covenant. Only the unlit Dragonfires allowed this to be possible. Now that the barrier was ripped asunder, it was too late to relighting the Fires. Martin Septim chose to make the ultimate sacrifice - he shattered the Amulet of Kings to become the avatar of the god Akatosh and do battle with Mehrunes Dagon.

Records of this battle vary wildly. What we do know is that Mehrunes Dagon was defeated and sent back to Oblivion. The avatar of Akatosh was turned to stone and can be seen to this day in the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. With the Amulet gone, the Dragonfires quenched, and the last Dragonblood Emperor dead, the barrier to Oblivion is sealed forever.

Rising Threat

Lathenil of Sunhold; Praxis Erratuim, ed.

The following is the account of Lathenil of Sunhold, an Altmer refugee from Summerset Isle who came to Cyrodiil in the early years of the Fourth Era. According to Lathenil, he did not flee the aftermath of the Oblivion Crisis in Summerset - rather he fled "the darkening shadow of the Thalmor upon my beloved homeland."

Lathenil had a very intense presence, to put it politely, and some of his accusations of Thalmor involvement border on madness. This may be why his fervent warnings and outspoken criticisms of the Thalmor and the Aldmeri Dominion went unheeded, but history has at least partially vindicated Lathenil's claims.

Praxis Erratuim, Imperial Historian

I was barely more than a child when the Great Anguish fell upon us. The very air was torn asunder, leaving gaping, infected wounds that spewed daedra from the bowels of Oblivion. Many flocked to the shores, seeking escape from Dagon's murderous host - but the seas betrayed our people, raising up to smash our ships and our ports, leaving us to fates so vile and wicked that death would seem a mercy.

The Crystal Tower stood as our last bastion of hope, in both the literal and figurative sense.

Refugees filled the Crystal Tower until it could hold no more. I could taste the fear hanging in the air; feel the pall of despair suffocating us. We could see the daedra moving through the trees in the distance, but they did not come. Days passed, and still the daedra would not approach within arrow-shot of the battlements. Hope began to grow. "They fear us," some would say, "even a daedra knows not to trifle with the wisdom and magicks of the Crystal-Like-Law!"

It was as if the foul denizens of Oblivion had been waiting for this very spirit to stoke our hearts before they acted.

As we slept, innumerable legions of daedra amassed around us... and they were not alone. Hundreds of Altmer prisoners were gathered with them. As dawn broke, we were awoken by their screams as the daedra began to flail them and flay them. We watched in abject horror as our kinfolk were defiled completely... carved up and eaten alive, impaled on their depraved war machines, and worried apart as meals for their profane beasts.

This bloodletting was only a prelude to whet their appetites.

Once the daedra finished with our kinfolk, they turned their eyes to the Crystal Tower. Our great and noble bastion proved as much of an impediment as a mighty oak to a landslide - standing tall for but a few moments, appearing almost able to ride the tide of destruction around it, but ultimately being swept away.

Our exalted wizards decimated the fiends, roasting them by the dozens. Archers were finding the narrowest of chinks in their daedric armor at over a hundred paces, felling their captains and commanders. The might and skillfulness of our heroic defenders was astonishing to behold, but it was not enough. The daedra clambered over the corpses of their cohort. They marched headlong into death and destruction that would make the mightiest armies in all of Tamriel quake with fear.

When they breached the walls, I fled along with the other cowards. I take no pride in that act. It has haunted my existence ever since, and I burn with shame to admit it, but it is truth. We fled in mindless panic - abandoning those stalwart Altmer who held the line against the onslaught, to preserve and defend our illustrious Crystal Tower.

We raced through cleverly concealed passageways and emerged well away from the chaos that had descended upon the tower. That is when it happened. It started like a gust rustling through the leaves of a dense forest, but the sound did not taper off. It rose into a roar as the very ground on which I stood began to shudder. I turned to look, and the world held its breath...

I stood transfixed as the heart of my homeland was torn as if from my own breast. The unthinkable, the incomprehensible... the tower of Crystal-Like-Law cast to the ground, with all the dignity of a beggar meeting an iron-clad fist. An eternity I watched, trying to reconcile what I knew with what I saw.

Sobs racked my chest, and weeping filled the air around me as the spell loosened its hold and I realized where I was. There were scores of other refugees mesmerized by the horror that had likewise ensorcelled me. "Go," I croaked out as my heart - the heart of my land - shattered. No one moved, not even me.

I mustered what will I could and bellowed all the fear and hatred and agony at what had just happened, turning the word into a mindless shriek: "GO!" I ran then, feeling more than seeing that the others had followed.


What happened after the tower of Crystal-like-law fell was a daze. It was as if my mind simply... stopped. Instinct took over, as my every thought sank into a black abyss of despair. Time lost all meaning, and to this day I know not how long I was in this state. Eventually a conscious thought managed to break my fugue: the daedric horde had vanished! Gone as suddenly as they had come. 

Before my numbed mind could comprehend the tumult that consumed my beloved Summerset Isle, before I could formulate the question "how?" they were there, dripping honeyed poison in our ears: the Thalmor. They were the ones that saved us, they claimed, working deep and subtle magicks. It was their efforts, their sacrifices that delivered the Altmer from extinction.

Oh, what fools we were. We wanted so desperately someone to thank for ending our tribulations, we lavished it upon the first to step up and claim the glory. With that simple act of gratitude, we allowed a vile rot to seep into our homeland, to putrefy our once noble and distinguished civilization.

It was months before I began to suspect the error we had made. Small twinges of unease would vex me, but each one alone was easy enough to disregard and push aside. The exile of the great seer-mage Rynandor the Bold was the final doubt that I could not ignore. You see, Rynandor was one of the very few who survived the collapse of the Crystal Tower - I saw some of his bravery and heroics with my own eyes. It was his leadership and sorcery that made the daedra pay such a high price for their destruction of the Crystal Tower.

The Thalmor besmirched his name when he had the audacity to publicly doubt and question their role in ending the Oblivion Crisis on Summerset Isle. Rynandor made the mistake of ignoring the consensus gentium, trusting instead to logic and facts. The shrewdness of the Thalmor, however, was not such to allow something as trivial as the truth stand in their way. As soon as they shifted the collective opinion ever so slightly against Rynandor, they had him sequestered and intensified their efforts to tarnish his reputation. Unable to mount any sort of defense to the Thalmor's attacks, Rynandor was quickly denounced and exiled.



Ever so cautiously, I formed a cabal made up of others who distrusted the motives and methods of the Thalmor. Over several months, I liquidated my ancestral holdings and took whatever inheritance I could without raising any suspicions. I would follow after Rynandor and help him restore his reputation and status. We would then return to best the Thalmor at their own game and win back the mores and morals of the Altmer! The rest of my cabal would stay on Summerset Isle and win the trust of the Thalmor on whatever level best suited each of them, sending clandestine missives to me when possible.


After weeks of painstaking investigations and exorbitant bribes, I was able to learn that Rynandor was placed on a ship to Anvil. I booked my own passage to Anvil. My search almost ended there, for Rynandor had never arrived in Anvil Harbor. My instinct that Rynandor met a duplicitous end was confirmed when I sought out several of the deckhands who were reported to be aboard Rynandor's vessel. All died under mysterious and violent circumstances.

The first of many attempts on my life occurred soon after. Needless to say, I survived, but my grand plan to stymie the Thalmor fell apart without an esteemed leader to rally behind. I went into hiding, waiting anxiously for word of the Thalmor's activities back on Summerset Isle.

Over the following years, I tried to bend the ear of the Empire through various avenues and warn them of the Thalmor's doings. The Empire, however, was having enough troubles dealing with the aftermath of the Oblivion crisis within its own borders without seeking trouble in far away Summerset. With the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim VII and his heirs, and the self-sacrifice of Martin Septim (the true savior of Summerset Isle and the rest of Tamriel!) the Empire's leadership was left defunct.

High Chancellor Ocato convened the full Elder Council in an unsuccessful bid to select a new Emperor. Without an Emperor, the Empire beyond the reach of Cyrodiil began to splinter. Ocato reluctantly agreed to become the Potentate under the terms of the Elder Council Charter until Imperial rule could be reestablished, but a reluctant leader is rarely a strong leader.

Potentate Ocato made admirable efforts to rein in the bedlam that threatened to rip the Empire apart, and was even making headway when Red Mountain erupted and destroyed much of Vvardenfell (likely from Thalmor tampering, but I have yet to find proof of their misdeeds in this). What was left of Morrowind was thrown into absolute chaos. The effects of the eruption were felt even in Black Marsh, destroying roads and cutting off the Imperial garrisons there.

None were prepared for what happened next.


While Morrowind and the Imperial forces in Black Marsh were still reeling from the consecutive catastrophes of the Oblivion Crisis and the destruction of Vvardenfell, the Thalmor incited the Argonians to mount a massive uprising. Black Marsh and southern Morrowind were completely lost to the Argonians, but luckily the Thalmor too lost what influence they had over the reptilians.

All the while, the Thalmor consolidated their hold over my beloved homeland.

It took almost a decade before my own machinations put me into contact with Ocato. He seemed more interested than most in what I had to say about the Thalmor, maybe because he was himself an Altmer and recognized the threat they represented. It wasn't long before the Thalmor had Ocato assassinated.

Potentate Ocato's murder began the Stormcrown Interregnum. The Elder Council fractured, leading into years of ruthless in-fighting, plots and backstabbing. Many tried to claim the Ruby Throne. Most were pretenders to the crown, a few had legitimate claims, others still were little more than brutal dullards who thought mere strength of arms was all the entitlement they needed. Violent, unnatural storms lashed the Imperial City several times during this anarchy, always with the eye of the storm looking directly down upon White-Gold Tower, as if this was the judgment of the Nine Divines.

With the Empire submerged in this mayhem, the Thalmor were quick to act. They overthrew the rightful Kings and Queens of the Altmer. I remember the revulsion and horror that took hold when word reached me - that this dementia had gripped my homeland. Once so proud and majestic, many of our great race actually embraced this insanity!

Then the first of many pogroms descended on Summerset Isle. They slaughtered any who were not "of the blood of the Aldmer". A fine excuse to purge the dissidents, as well - the Thalmor have never been ones to waste such an opportunity.

After seven long, bloody years the Stormcrown Interregnum was ended when a Colovian warlord by the name of Titus Mede seized the crown. Whether he had rightful claim or not is moot. Without Titus Mede, there would not be an Empire today. He proved a shrewd and capable leader, such that Skyrim endorsed him as Emperor.

With the Empire stabilizing under the auspicious efforts Emperor Titus Mede, I resumed my efforts to warn them of the Thalmor threat. Again, the Thalmor remained a step ahead. Before my efforts could come to fruition, the Thalmor struck: another coup, this time in Valenwood. The Empire was not prepared for the Thalmor's subterfuge and stratagem.

There are those who claim the combined Altmer and Bosmer forces greatly out-matched the Empire, but this is a farce. This short, savage campaign was won by the Thalmor even before first blood was drawn. They waited and watched their enemy, they chose where and when they would attack. The Thalmor were able to bring the full fury of their small contingent of Altmer and Bosmer to any of several Imperial strongholds.

Contrary to the posturing of the Empire's generals, the Thalmor did not command greater numbers. They had better spies and greater mobility, and knew how best to use them. This is the menace that the Thalmor represent! They are cruel and merciless, but they are no fools! They are devious and subtle, and so very patient.

In one fell stroke, the Thalmor took a strategic foothold on the mainland of Tamriel and prevented any significant attempt the Empire could have made to invade Summerset Isle and depose the tyranny of the Thalmor. At the same time, they took a better vantage to continue to watch the Empire and wait. In so doing, they also revived the Aldmeri Dominion with their alliance to the Bosmer of Valenwood!
Over the decades, the Thalmor have grown quiet - but this is not the end. It has only just begun. They merely consolidate their power and tighten their grip on the hearts and minds of the Altmer. The Empire may wish to forget the wounds its pride has suffered at the hands of the Thalmor, but they are still out there. Plotting. Watching. Waiting.

While the Empire is content to secure inconsequential corners of its vast holdings, the threat of the Thalmor continues to rise. Not since Potentate Ocato has anyone in the Empire listened to me. I beseech any and all citizens of this renowned Empire to heed my words! The Thalmor must be stopped, before it is too late.


Soon after Lathenil of Sunhold commissioned to have these volumes printed and distributed far and wide in the Empire with his own coin, he himself met a violent end. In light of the events that followed his death, we must consider that he may very well have been murdered by Thalmor assassins.

-- Praxis Erratuim, Imperial Historian

Jearl's Orders

Ruma Camoran

Jearl -

The Master was pleased to hear of your activities outside of Chorrol. The more gates that we open, the nearer we are to the glorious Cleansing.

The Master has chosen you and Saveri for a most crucial mission, a sign of your advancement through the ranks of the Chosen. We have learned that the Septim heir has gone to ground at Cloud Ruler Temple, the lair of the accursed Blades. The Master has made its destruction the top priority of the Order, and Lord Dagon has committed whatever resources are required.

Pending your report on the Septim's activities at Cloud Ruler Temple, and your assessment of Temple defenses and possible routes of escape, we plan to open a Great Gate in the open ground before Bruma as soon as possible.

Remember: the first three Lesser Gates represent only the preliminary stages of Great Gate Deployment. Do not in any way compromise your cover in defense of these gates. New ones can be quickly and easily reopened. And once the Great Gate is opened, the fall of Bruma is assured. Cloud Ruler Temple cannot stand long after that, and the Septim will be caught like a rat in a trap.

We would welcome any further details you can offer concerning the Imperial agent who rescued Martin from Kvatch, but again, we caution you... do not risk a confrontation. This individual is not to be trifled with.

The Dawn is breaking,

Ruma Camoran

The Fall of Ald'Ruhn

Michael Kirkbride

From the annals of the Crisis:



"The armies of Oblivion destroy Ald’ruhn, ancestral home of House Redoran, even though ancient rituals were used to awaken the dread emperor crab and the whole city literally rose up to fight the invaders. With their warrior House decimated, the dunmer of Vvardenfell fall back as daedra move towards a siege of Ghost Gate. Prayers to Vivec and the Nerevarine go unanswered."

 Merry Christmas, V, and holiday cheer to everyone!