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summerset isles

Restoring the Welwas


By Ambolisse, Sapiarch of Zoological Studies

Summerset was a very different place when the early Aldmer first stepped upon its pristine shores. Different creatures roamed the island, some fearsome, some benign. The early Aldmer, ever thorough when it came to cleansing the environment of unwanted threats, set out to completely exterminate welwas—a creature they, for some reason lost to the historical record, totally despised. In a few short years, welwas were driven to extinction and removed from the Summerset ecology.

According to ancient writings, the welwas sought the demise of the newly arrived Aldmer. Along with the gheatus and the ilyadi, the welwas attacked the Aldmer. Using ancestral lore and power drawn from the stars, the Aldmer used lightning, ice, and fire to utterly destroy these ravaging creatures.

Summerset art and sculpture depicts welwas as strange, holy beasts with horns and savage teeth. In fact, due to these representations, many scholars believed that the entire species was extinct and a few considered the creatures to be nothing more than myths and legends. Imagine our surprise when entire herds were discovered roaming the Craglorn region of eastern Hammerfell, and in sufficient numbers to make a reintroduction program not only feasible but totally within the realm of distinct possibility.

It was with great pride that I took on the project of reintroducing welwas into the Summerset environment. We started modestly at first, gathering six mated pairs from the wilds of Craglorn. After a period of quarantine to make sure the creatures were healthy and bonded to their counterparts, my team and I released them in the northwest swamps. They immediately took to the region and, after three additional expeditions to acquire more welwas, the welwa packs appeared healthy and vibrant. I was even able to witness one of the first welwa births on Summerset in modern times. It was a glorious experience!

Of course, not everyone agreed with the goals of this ambitious undertaking. Even some of my esteemed colleagues among the Sapiarchs protested that returning such a savage beast into an environment we tamed long ago was not only foolhardy, it was dangerous. To these critics I repeat the old adage, "anything worth doing involves some level of risk." I was disheartened by the number of level-headed Altmer who showed up to demonstrate their disapproval as the ship carrying the first mated pairs of welwas pulled up to the dock. Luckily, the Divine Prosecution and the city guards were on hand to maintain order and make sure no one tried to harm the majestic creatures.

Now, despite some continuing protests and a few legal actions aimed at altering the plan I championed and put in place, packs of welwas once again run free in the Summerset wilderness. Thanks to the Sapiarchs, the island is one step closer to returning to its original splendor. Now if only I could figure out how to restore the gheatus and the ilyadi.

On the College of Sapiarchs


By Adandora, Chronicler at Large

The College of Sapiarchs. It lies to the west of Lillandril, on a small island outcropping that rises from the sea. The general public cannot access the compound, not without obtaining the permission of the portal master who controls the magical egress that leads from Lillandril proper to the small island. They say this is to protect the sages and maintain the solitude they need to think deep thoughts and study obscure lore. This chronicler has made repeated attempts to ascertain what exactly goes on in the isolated college compound. Here is what I have uncovered.

First, though, some background on the Sapiarchs themselves. There are two-hundred-and-twenty-three fully accredited Sapiarchs at any given time, each devoted to and responsible for a specific field of study. The current leader of the Sapiarchs, Larnatille of Lillandril, for example, serves as the Sapiarch of Arcanology, encapsulating the collected knowledge of arcane lore within her prodigious mind. The Sapiarchs, in turn, are each assisted by one or more acolytes. These Sapiarchs-in-training hope to one day replace their masters and earn a seat in the college, though that isn't the only path for aspiring sages to take. Any distinguished High Elf scholar could receive a summons at any time and be invited to join the prestigious college.

Individually, Sapiarchs conduct and catalog research to expand their particular area of expertise, give lectures, consult when called upon in regards to their field of study, and write papers and books to expound upon their subject matter. As a group, the function of the College of Sapiarchs is to advise the current rulers of Summerset and train the heirs to the throne. They also issue proclamations as necessary when research and study reveal new information the public needs to know and they review such research to determine if it should be included in scholarly reference material.

Now let's get back to the physical compound that also goes by the name of the College of Sapiarchs. Now, while this chronicler has not yet been able to personally explore the College compound, I have it on good authority that the following details are mostly true and predominantly reliable. The walled compound fills the small island that lies directly west of Lillandril. The main level of the compound features, from what I've been able to gather, a grand library, study halls, and suites for the most senior members of the College. I understand that dormitories and study cells are available for the use of the lesser Sapiarchs.

The true wonder of the College of Sapiarchs, though, not counting their connection to the Crystal Tower, is the massive maze of chambers and corridors beneath the main compound. This area, known as the Labyrinth, serves a number of functions, but its most celebrated use revolves around the matriculation of the royal heirs of Alinor. When an heir to the throne reaches the appropriate age, they go to the Sapiarchs' Labyrinth to study Altmeri Regal Praxis and Ceremoniarchy for 3,555 days before being crowned.

This chronicler is quite certain that the mysterious College of Sapiarchs contains additional secrets, but as long as the sages demand privacy and the Queen and her agents support such a policy, the people of Summerset will never know what truly lurks within the walls of the College compound.

Our Blessed Isles: A Guide

Runilstir the Surveyor

Seven-fold venerations to you, my dearest kin. Set aside your noble pursuits a moment and let your mind wander with me.

We'll begin this wondrous journey from the seat of civilization that is Alinor. Nestled among the mountains of the western shore, the city climbs nearly as high as the peaks themselves, its white spires reaching far into the sky. From these heights our sovereigns have surveyed their dominion for thousands of years. Avail yourself of the opportunity to see the splendor of the Royal Palace and offer your respects to the crown. The sense of pride you will feel at basking in the unrivaled greatness of our kingdom is well worth the journey.

If you have a taste for the exotic, there is no better place on Summerset than Alinor to sample cosmopolitan fare. Sundries from all over Tamriel are ferried into port daily. Those the Divine Prosecution finds fit for sale will give you a whole new perspective on life, and a greater appreciation for Altmer craft.

To see why our goods are such a cut above we only need to take a quick ferry ride across the bay to Lillandril. This venerable town has been the center of higher learning for centuries. Many a king and queen have come seeking the wisdom of the College of Sapiarchs, where the two-hundred and twenty-three greatest minds of our people advance our knowledge of all things.

For the arts, we follow the highway east to Rellenthil to see where the finest entertainment in all the world is conceived: The House of Reveries. The Maestros of this famed troupe organize performances day and night in a beautiful outdoor theater from the earliest days of settlement. As heirs to our long legacy of cultural arts, membership is exclusive. Only true talents may join. Whatever your tastes, the House of Reveries is certain to put on a show that will leave you in awe.

Speaking of tastes, allow me to lead you to the birthplace of wine in our Isles, only a short trip down the road. The vineyards of Russafeld span nearly the entire stretch of land between Rellenthil and Shimmerene. Resist the temptation to pluck a ripe grape from the vine. Surely there are no better found in nature, but once you have tasted the fruits of the winery you'll regret having deprived them a single purple pearl.

"But I've had a Russafeld red," you say! Dearest kin, you haven't truly tasted until you've savored a three-thousand-year-old vintage straight from the cask it aged in. The privilege may cost you the deed to your home, but it is well worth the experience.

Cast your eyes to the north and you'll see Cloudrest perched atop the great mountain Eton Nir. The view from its bridges and terraces will take your breath away, though perhaps not quite so literally as the ascent to reach them. Unless, of course, you count yourself among the Welkynars. The Gryphon Knights keep vigil over our lands from the summit, prepared to take to the skies and soar to the defense of anywhere in Summerset at a moment's notice.

Before departing Cloudrest, take a moment to view the Crystal Tower in all its glory from the best vantage in the Isles. This pillar of enlightenment is the keystone of creation, as old as our oldest ancestors, and an endless font of knowledge. The Sapiarchs protect and study its secrets night and day, hoping to bring us ever closer to the perfection of the Ascendants.

If you need a rest from your travels, Shimmerene is a pleasant sea-side town, filled with pleasant people. It's an ideal place for a quiet night's respite before embarking on a voyage to Auridon, or the long road west. Pay a visit to the Monastery of Serene Harmony while you are there and ask to participate in the rituals of equilibrium. You will never have a better night's sleep.

Take pleasure in greeting the sun as it rises upon the eastern shore to join us on the final leg of our journey. Just south, the pristine wilderness of Sil-Var-Woad is carefully tended to by the rangers of the Royal Menagerie. There you will find a collection of unique creatures from around the world. The grounds are open to the public and free to citizens, making it the perfect destination for a family outing.

Finally, we return westward to Sunhold, the sister city to Alinor. In fact, if not for the mountains between them, the two would inevitably merge into a metropolis not seen since Lost Aldmeris. Possessing one of the largest harbors in Summerset, Sunhold is a frequent target for Sea Elf attack, but the port is nothing if not defensible. From its thick sea walls, to its narrow winding alleys, every stone has been laid out with rebuffing the Maormers' assaults in mind. While it is certainly a formidable fortress, let's not forget it is also a thriving city, and the heart of shipping among the Isles. I highly recommend spending a few hours getting lost in the labyrinthine streets and sampling the best seafood offered anywhere in the world.

Dearest kin, we've come to this journey's end, but I hope this will only be the beginning of your wanderings through our homeland. Though we may pine for Old Ehlnofey, the golden warmth of the Divines will always dry our tears in the sun-kissed land of Summerset.

The Crystal of the Tower

Larnatille of Lillandril

By Larnatille of Lillandril, Sapiarch of Arcanology

The Crystal Tower rises over northern Summerset, standing as a beacon and a symbol of everything the Altmer hold dear. Also known as the Crystal-Like-Law, the tower, contrary to the beliefs of those who live beyond our cherished borders, is not made of crystal. No, the tower is named for the crystal that resides at the utmost level, Transparent Law.

Transparent Law lends power and energy to the Crystal Tower, which allows the mystical structure to offer its protections to all of Summerset. The energy radiates from the tower, spreading across the land like an invisible awning to keep the island safe and secure.

Now, these protections are ancient and were set in place long ago when the crystal was imbedded within the tower by the Aldmer who erected it. In truth, for all our knowledge, the Sapiarchs do not fully understand the exact workings of the tower or the crystal. We know that the Aldmer constructed the Crystal Tower to preserve the graves of the early Aldmeri settlers and forever remember the spirit of the Elven people and mark that brief moment in history when we were fully unified.

As for the significance of Transparent Law, I should think that to be self evident. One only has to break down the meaning of the name and all becomes clear. To be transparent is to be easily recognized or detected, to be made manifest, to be open, obvious, and candid. Law, meanwhile, refers to the principles and regulations that govern some specific portion of reality. In this case, the crystal manifests the clear and unequivocal fundamental principles of our Aldmer heritage. Indeed, we suspect that the crystal may even be a fragment of divinity given physical substance.

Obviously, theories concerning the Transparent Law and its significance to the Crystal Tower abound within the College of Sapiarchs. I like to believe that the crystal absorbs the drive for perfection that marks the Altmer and reflects it back, driving away any imperfections that would weaken or endanger the island. Not everyone agrees with me, but I see a correlation between the pride and admiration our people feel for the Crystal Tower and the feeling of security and safety that it, in turn, projects across the land. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Or, it could just be ancient Aldmer magic. Who can really say?

The Welkynars of Eton Nir


By Relequen, Leader of the Welkynars

The Welkynar are part of an order which spans nearly all of Summerset's grand history. We dedicate our lives to protecting our homeland, to fight back against the dark tides of evil. Wherever malice rears its ugly head, wherever villains threaten our citizens, that is where we shall be.

Though Cloudrest may be where we lay our heads, our order answers any urgent call. This need for quick mobility is what led the first of our order to bond with gryphons. With the aid of these creatures, our order is able to quickly move to far away locations. This is what led the Welkynars to choose Cloudrest as the home of our Aerie, given the city's central location within the island.

Our order numbers four, representative of each of the cardinal directions. When one member decides to retire or dies in the line of duty, another is chosen to replace them. This initiate's training will take years to complete, as they will need to first capture and raise their own gryphon companion.

Each Welkynar is chosen for his or her combat abilities. Though our order is well known for producing some of the finest battlemages within Summerset, magical ability is not necessarily a requirement to join. After all, Mornyalemar the Battle-Hardy is thought to be one of the greatest Welkynars to ever live, and had not one ounce of magical ability. An initiate need only prove themselves highly capable in battle to join our ranks.

Any member of either Summerset governance or military may petition the Wekynars for aid. Of course, accepting the petition has always been up to the order's discretion. Between assignments, our members continue to patrol Summerset for signs of danger, often stopping in cities and collecting information on any potential threats.

Yes, a Welkynar never truly rests. But for this lifelong dedication, we ensure the safety of every citizen of Summerset. There is truly no greater honor than joining the ranks of this prestigious order.

Thoughts on the Sacred Numbers


As I sit here in the perfection of this garden, I contemplate the Sacred Numbers that we recognize as Auspicious and critical to the existence of the universe.

Three is the Number of the Prime Celestials, as embodied in the sun and the two moons. It is also the number of my perfect daughters, which is why we shall produce no other heirs.

Five is the Number of the Elements, for reality consists of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Aether. It is also the number of books I have open upon my desk at any given time.

Eight is the Number of the Planets, as well as the sum of three plus five. Eight is also the limit I impose when drinking glasses of Gossamer Tawny Port with the members of my philosophical society—no more and no less.

These are the Good Numbers. And the sum of the Good Numbers, which we call Sixteen, is a very powerful number indeed.

We must beware the Bad Number, though, for Two lacks vision and attempts to display duality, which we all know is impossible.

Kinlady's Letter

Kinlady Avinisse

My dear Aldarch Tilcalar,

I am so glad you suggested transferring to our beloved monastery. I was happy to use my influence to make that happen. Especially after that insightful discussion we had concerning Queen Ayrenn's radical and frankly dangerous decree. I look forward to working with you to make sure Shimmerene, and indeed all of Summerset, remains safe and secure.

Your plan to sequester newcomers in order to test their suitability for residency in Shimmerene is a stroke of genius. Determining who has the ability and temperament to become productive members of our society and who does not will allow us to spot troublemakers and lackadaisical transients before any damage is done. It isn't a perfect solution, but it will suffice until we can urge the Unforeseen Queen to rescind this order and send all the nebarra—the unwelcome—back to where they came from.

Send me a list of candidates you deem acceptable for life in Summerset. I'm sure Proxy Queen Alwinarwe will appreciate having documentation concerning who we permitted to stay and who we sent away. I keep saying that Summerset is sacrosanct. Let Auridon deal with the other races. After all, our "beloved" Queen spends all her time there anyway, carousing with cats and Wood Elves. I'm sure she'd love more company.

Kinlady Avinisse

The Myth of the Sea Sloads


By Raavarion, Sapiarch of Aquatic Malevolence

The sea that surrounds our beloved island provides sustenance and resources, allows for swift transportation, and serves as a boundary between Summerset and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, however, not everything that comes from the sea can be considered beneficial, and there exists many seaborne threats that pose a significant danger to the island. We here in the College of Sapiarchs have deemed the level of danger high enough that we have devoted an entire field of study to help research and formulate countermeasures, hence my appointment to the post of Sapiarch of Aquatic Malevolence.

Threats from the sea appear in many different forms, from natural events to enemy kingdoms. Nature has a way of letting the island know that even the magical protections provided by the Crystal Tower aren't always enough to stop a destructive storm, crashing waves, or flood waters from damaging Summerset. As far as enemies are concerned, the Royal Navy keeps the sea lanes as clear as possible and serves as a deterrent to the forces of the other alliances. The exception to this remains the various factions of the Maormer—the Sea Elves—who fearlessly slip past patrols to raid coastal settlements on a regular basis.

Probably the most fearsome potential threat appears in the form of the Sload. Even though these vile creatures from the southwestern Abecean Sea were much more ambitious in their attempts to conquer Summerset in centuries past, the residents of the coral kingdoms of Thras continue to pillage and raid our holdings to the current day. The amphibious, slug-like beings have an affinity for magic, though they seem more drawn to dark magic than to anything positive or beneficial. They deal in necromancy, plagues, and other instruments of death and destruction.

Recent rumors heard across the island suggest that a particular type of Sload, the Sea Sload, have returned to trouble Summerset. While they haven't been seen or heard from in centuries, the Sea Sloads rule the undersea kingdom of Ul'vor Kus, located somewhere in the Sea of Pearls. Even the possibility that such creatures have infiltrated the island is cause for concern and utmost diligence. To this end, I have consulted old tomes and ancient volumes contained within our extensive libraries to gather whatever information I can. I'm sorry to say, it isn't much. The Sea Sloads are even more reclusive and mysterious than their more numerous cousins.

What I could uncover indicates that we should not underestimate the threat the Sea Sloads pose. Instead of organizing themselves in small kingdoms, as the Thras Sload are wont to do, the Sea Sloads form cabals of small numbers of like-minded individuals who cooperate to attain some specific goal. Then the cabals break up, reform, and reorganize as interests and necessity warrant. While Sea Sloads have as much interest in necromancy as any other Sloads, they also demonstrate skill in alchemy, shadow magic, and mind magic, among other arcane disciplines. For all their ambition and power, however, our records indicate that the Sea Sloads may in fact be on the verge of extinction. My predecessor, Winawen, certainly wrote as much in her seminal work, "The Villains of Ul'Vor Kus." It was her educated opinion that the Sea Sloads would naturally disappear within a few centuries. Such an event cannot occur soon enough.

Until confirmation of Sea Sload activity on Summerset is verified, I suggest we remain vigilant and watch the sea. Besides the Sea Sloads themselves, these arrogant and unfriendly creatures have been known to utilize all kinds of terrible sea monsters. The last thing the island needs in these turbulent times is attacks by creatures from the sea.

An End to Isolation


By Royal Decree of the Ceremoniarchy of Queen Ayrenn Arana Aldmeri, Monarch of the Throne of Alinor and Eagle Primarch of the Aldmeri Dominion, the Summerset Isle's long period of isolation is declared at an end. No longer will the brave and selfless Altmer hide from the world like spoiled or frightened children. No longer will we cut ourselves off from our allies and friends. Instead, we shall welcome them as brothers and sisters as we throw open the metaphorical gates of our ancestral home and make Summerset accessible to everyone who arrives with friendship in their hearts and an unquestioned desire to engage in dialogue, commerce, and diplomacy.

To accommodate this mandate, we must all put aside our preconceived notions and innate prejudices. We must open our hearts and share our bountiful land with the world. I need the proud Altmer of Summerset to forgive ancient grievances and forget old animosities. We must embrace the differences in stature and culture, thereby allowing friendship to blossom in our breasts. This is not only my steadfast dream, but my royal command.

Kinlords and Kinladies, Canonreeves, agents of the Divine Prosecution, citizens of Summerset, make no mistake. The will of your queen and the meaning of this mandate are perfectly clear: The island of Summerset is no longer off limits or forbidden to the lesser races. Everyone who meets the standards of honor, integrity, and enterprise are welcome, travelers, traders, and immigrants alike. In friendship we formed the Aldmeri Dominion, and in friendship we shall make Summerset an even more perfect paradise. This is not only my fondest wish, but my royal command.

Y'frre's Sparkling Steeds


If you spend any time in the pristine wildernesses of the Summerset Isles, you will see no shortage of flora and fauna that will take your breath away, but if you are truly blessed, you may glimpse one of the most storied creatures in history: the indrik. It's a privilege I've had only a handful of times, as wild indriks are wary by nature and exceptionally elusive. It's said that they can vanish in an instant when gazed upon by those with impure intent.

It feels trite to say that you will know an indrik when you see one, but few words seem up to the task of describing the creatures. A folk tale as old as the Altmer civilization tells of how Y'ffre the Singer wove indriks out of the very essence of the forest, giving them the aspect of every living thing found within. You might, with the briefest of glances, mistake one for a common deer, but even the most casual observation will reveal indriks are so much more.

The first thing likely to catch your eye about indriks are their antlers. Points of the finest crystal sprout from their crowns like the branches of some great, glimmering tree. This mesmerizing sight has been the end of many an ambitious hunter who thought the rack would make a fine prize. Let down your guard, for even a moment, and you risk being impaled by the stately lance jutting out from an indrik's forehead. There are countless legends surrounding the indrik's horn: that they are an alchemical cure-all, that touching one will extend your life seven-fold, even that they're made from Y'ffre's tears. All I can truly tell you is that an indrik's horn is both beautiful and deadly. If you believe what I've described thus far to be far-fetched, I've yet to even begin.

The body of an indrik is covered in a tapestry of fur, feathers, and fronds that defy classification. One might ask themselves: are they animal, bird, or plant? Can they be all of those things at once? They might not be any of those things at all. Some scholars theorize that indriks are divine beings, not truly of this world, closer to Aedra than mortal. One fable tells of a Mer who kills an indrik, only to find its heart is pure crystal. He decides to give the perfect gem to his ladylove, but she is so beguiled by its splendor that her avarice taints the perfect gem, cursing it. From then on, the couple's lives are filled with such sorrow that they cast themselves into the sea, leaving their kin to fight over the precious gem and carry on the curse. A fanciful tale, but while there is no doubt that indriks are inherently magical, I've found scant evidence indicating that they are literally the stuff of magic.

I suppose I should mention that they possess four ears. For any other animal that would surely stand out, but given what I've already described, I'm sure you'll agree that it hardly seems noteworthy. Presumably, this trait helps them appraise their surroundings and evade threats, but I'm certain there's a story out there somewhere claiming one pair is for hearing in the physical world and the other the spiritual. Until the indriks are studied more closely, they will continue to remain creatures surrounded by myth, but I can't help but feel like these creatures would be diminished by having their secrets laid bare. After all, who doesn't enjoy a little mystery in the world?