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thalmor

Response to Citizen Inquiries Questions

Author: 
Aicantar of Shimmerene

September 26, 2014

I am often confused regarding the distinction between the Fists of the Thalmor, or Justiciars, and the diplomats and nobility known as the Thalmor. Would you perhaps explain the difference between the two groups and the duties they fulfill in the Dominion? – TheAxrat

Aicantar of Shimmerene says, “The Thalmor, which was originally a bureau responsible for safeguarding Altmeri heritage, was expanded by Queen Ayrenn and now functions as the executive arm of the Aldmeri Dominion. It incorporates representatives from all three of the Dominion’s member races, in ratios appropriate to their administrative abilities. The Fists of Thalmor is an effectuation unit of officers deployed when stern measures must be taken to enforce adherence to Thalmor dicta. The Justiciars are more conventional law-enforcement officers, often local in origin and jurisdiction.”

Who are the members of the Thalmor Inner Council and why were they chosen to be a part of it?

Aicantar of Shimmerene says, “The membership of the Inner Council is personally chosen by and serves at the pleasure of Queen Ayrenn. They are said to be all individuals whom Her Majesty trusts implicitly. The exact membership is confidential, but it is no secret that the Inner Council includes King Aeradan Camoran of Valenwood and Lord Gharesh-ri, the Speaker for the Mane.

As an Imperial, I am fully aware of the bitter differences that divide the Altmer and my people. However, I wish that one day we will set aside our hatred and prejudice for each other. What will it take for our two races to coexist in peace and friendship? Do you even think it possible? – Alessandra of Cyrodiil

Aicantar of Shimmerene says, “Your question, Imperial, is either naïve or disingenuous. The Empire of Cyrodiil was founded on the blood of Elves, and battened on Elven genocide. For thousands of years central Tamriel has whelped human empires, each bloodier than the last, spreading grief and savagery to every corner of the continent. We Altmer have long stood by, patiently waiting for Men to exhaust their penchant for warfare and embrace civilized behavior, but we can no longer abet the cycle of bloodshed by abstention. Now the Aldmeri Dominion marches to Cyrodiil. There will be peace, yes—once the cancer of human imperialism is extirpated utterly. This is a nice dry wine, by the way—is it local?”

I would like to know the Thalmor's official stance on the "lesser" races, specifically the other races of Elves. Would they be allowed to join us, much like the Bosmer and Khajiit? Many thanks! – Othelion Ralnor

Aicantar of Shimmerene says, “I must assume your question is a delicate reference to the Dunmer, as the Maormer are mere pirates who are beneath all consideration. Our unfortunate cousins of Morrowind are double apostates, of course, having rejected both the Aedra and the Daedra, and have been doubly punished by divine curse for their sins of hubris and heresy. However, they do have certain, shall we say, talents that have been honed by hardship, skills that will enable them to find appropriate employment in the Tamriel-wide Dominion to come. If they trust to our wisdom and guidance, they will survive, and even thrive, as citizens of the Dominion. Once they earn that status, of course.”

Thalmor Dossier: Ulfric Stormcloak

Author: 
Anonymous

Status: Asset (uncooperative), Dormant, Emissary Level Approval

Description: Jarl of Windhelm, leader of Stormcloak rebellion, Imperial Legion veteran

Background:
Ulfric first came to our attention during the First War Against the Empire, when he was taken as a prisoner of war during the campaign for the White-Gold Tower. Under interrogation, we learned of his potential value (son of the Jarl of Windhelm) and he was assigned as an asset to the interrogator, who is now First Emissary Elenwen. He was made to believe information obtained during his interrogation was crucial in the capture of the Imperial City (the city had in fact fallen before he had broken), and then allowed to escape. After the war, contact was established and he has proven his worth as an asset.The so-called Markarth Incident was particularly valuable from the point of view of our strategic goals in Skyrim, although it resulted in Ulfric becoming generally uncooperative to direct contact.

Operational Notes:
Direct contact remains a possibility (under extreme circumstances), but in general the asset should be considered dormant. As long as the civil war proceeds in its current indecisive fashion, we should remain hands-off. The incident at Helgen is an example where an exception had to be made - obviously Ulfric's death would have dramatically increased the chance of an Imperial victory and thus harmed our overall position in Skyrim. (NOTE: The coincidental intervention of the dragon at Helgen is still under scrutiny. The obvious conclusion is that whoever is behind the dragons also has an interest in the continuation of the war, but we should not assume therefore that their goals align with our own.) A Stormcloak victory is also to be avoided, however, so even indirect aid to the Stormcloaks must be carefully managed.

Flight from the Thalmor

Author: 
Hadrik Oaken-Heart; Ashad Ibn Khaled, ed.

Dearest reader: The work you are about to experience has been copied and duplicated, so that the story it relates can be spread throughout the Empire. But make no mistake - this is not a work of fiction. The events chronicled in this account are all true, were originally documented in a private journal (which now remains safely guarded in the House of Quills in Hammerfell) and occurred not more than a year before this book was printed.

- Ashad Ibn Khaled, High Scribe, House of Quills, Hammerfell
 

It's been nine days. Nine days since I slipped my bonds. Nine days since I strangled my captor with my own chains. And nine days since I rushed headlong into the night, always listening, but never looking back.

But in order to understand my current predicament, one must first understand where I came from, and just where this story began.

My name is Hadrik Oaken-Heart, and I am a proud Nord of Skyrim. I am a skald by trade, and received my formal training at the Bards College in Solitude. For years, I made my occupation as a traveling musician and minstrel, and even served several stints as war-bard in service to the armies of the various Jarls.

And it's fairly safe to say that if I weren't a bard, I never would have gotten into this mess to begin with.

My troubles began when I first started singing about Talos, the Ninth and greatest Divine, beloved of the people of Skyrim. Turns out, he's not so beloved by the Thalmor.

Ah yes, the Thalmor. As common as a head cold in Skyrim these days, and just as annoying. Or so I thought at the time, before their true power and inlfuence made itself known.

For those not in the know, the Thalmor are Skyrim's recently honored "guests" - high elves of the Aldmeri Dominion who were gracious enough not to wipe us all out during the Great War.

But, as every Nord of Skyrim knows, Thalmor graciousness comes at a terrible price. One of the stipulations of the White-Gold Concordat - the peace treaty between our peoples - was the abolishment of Talos worship. A man ascend to godhood? Preposterous, claim the Thalmor. And so, the open worship of Talos has been outlawed in Skyrim, and actively enforced in those cities where the Thalmor have a tangible presence. Cities, I might add, in which the Empire has the most secure foothold.

It was in one of these cities - Markarth, to be exact - where I made the conscious decision to defy the ban on Talos worship. And my defiance came in the form of - what else? - a song. For what bard who has spent time writing and rehearsing an original work can possible refrain from performing it? So perform it I did. Not once, not twice, but seven times. Once a day, for an entire week.

Now here's something most of my kinsman are unaware of: not all Thalmor in Skyrim are equal in station, or purpose. In fact, there is one group in particular that operates secretly, in the shadows - watching and waiting for those Nords who break the law, and continue their worship of almighty Talos. These are the Justiciars, and it is their job to enforce this, the most terrible of conditions of the White-Gold Concordat.

And so, I would have performed my song for an eighth time had I been given the opportunity. Sadly, I was not. For the Justiciars had been watching, had been waiting. Instead, I received a black sack over my head in the wee hours of the morning, a dreadfully uncomfortable wagon ride, and sinister promises that I would enjoy my "new home," which I came to realize was some sort of secret Thalmor prison or detention camp. One I was certain I would never leave alive.

It was at that moment I realized I needed to make my escape. No matter what - even if I died in the attempt - I had to slip the grasp of my captors. Better that than rot in some godsforsaken Thalmor jail until the end of time.

I finally got my chance when the wagon stopped, and we made camp for the night. One of my two Thalmor guards set off into the forest to hunt, leaving me alone with the other. And so, my account comes full circle.

It is now nine days later, and in that time, I have realized the true extent of my foolishness. I couldn't have sung the song just once? Or maybe twice? Or not at all? I couldn't have swallowed my stubborn Nord pride and realized just how much power and influence the Thalmor truly have over the Jarls?

No. I could not. So now I run. Like a hare from the hound, I run. Always moving, rarely resting, never sleeping. But the Thalmor dog my every move. Where will I go? How will I escape their grasp? I honestly don't know. The only thing I now understand for certain is this: if the agents of the Aldmeri Dominion cannot have your soul, then they will take your very life.

My name is Hadrik Oaken-Heart, and I am a proud Nord of Skyrim. Remember me. For soon I will be dead.

Rising Threat

Author: 
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!
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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
 

The Great War

Author: 
Justianus Quintius, Legate

 

A Concise Account of
the Great War Between
the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion

 

by
Legate Justianus Quintius

Author's Note: Much of what is written in this book is pieced together from documents captured from the enemy during the war, interrogation of prisoners, and eyewitness accounts from surviving soldiers and Imperial officers. I myself commanded the Tenth Legion in Hammerfell and Cyrodiil until I was wounded in 175 during the assault on the Imperial City. That said, the full truth of some events may never be known. I have done my best to fill in the gaps with educated conjectures based on my experience as well as my hard-earned knowledge of the enemy.

The Rise of the Thalmor

Although it is not well known, Summerset Isle suffered from the Oblivion Crisis as much as Cyrodiil did. The elves made war upon the Oblivion invaders, occasionally even crossing over to close down Oblivion gates. As a nation they had more successes than Cyrodiil did, although the limitless daedric hordes made the outcome a foregone conclusion.

The Thalmor had always been a powerful faction within Summerset Isle, but had also always been a minority voice. During the crisis, the Crystal Tower was forced to give the Thalmor greater power and authority. Their efforts almost certainly saved Summerset Isle from being overrun. They capitalized on their success to seize total control in 4E 22. They renamed the nation Alinor, which hearkens back to an earlier age before the ascendency of man. Most people outside of the Aldmeri Dominion still call it Summerset Isle, either out of peevishness or ignorance.

In 4E 29, the government of Valenwood was overthrown by Thalmor collaborators and a union with Alinor proclaimed. It appears that Thalmor agents had formed close ties to certain Bosmeri factions even before the Oblivion Crisis. The Empire and its Bosmer allies, caught completely off guard, were quickly defeated by the much-better prepared Altmer forces that invaded Valenwood on the heels of the coup. Thus was the Aldmeri Dominion reborn.

Shortly afterward the Aldmeri Dominion severed all contact with the Empire. For seventy years they were silent. Most scholars believe there was some sort of internal strife in Alinor, but very little is known of the factional struggles that went on inside the Dominion while the Thalmor consolidated its power in Summerset and Valenwood.

In 4E 98, the two moons, Masser and Secunda vanished. Within most of the Empire, this was viewed with trepidation and fear. In Elsweyr it was far worse. Culturally the moons are much more influential to the Khajiit. After two years of the Void Nights, the moons returned. The Thalmor announced that they had restored the moons using previously unknown Dawn Magicks, but it is unclear if they truly restored the moons or just took advantage of foreknowledge that they would return.

Regardless of the truth of the matter, the Khajiit credited the Thalmor as their saviors. Within fifteen years, Imperial influence in Elsweyr had so diminished that the Empire was unable to respond effectively to the coup of 4E 115 which dissolved the Elsweyr Confederacy and recreated the ancient kingdoms of Anequina and Pelletine as client states of the Aldmeri Dominion. Once more the Empire failed to stop the advance of Thamor power.

When Titus Mede II ascended the throne in 4E 168, he inherited a weakened empire. The glory days of the Septims were a distant memory. Valenwood and Elsweyr were gone, ceded to the Thalmor enemy. Black Marsh had been lost to Imperial rule since the aftermath of the Oblivion Crisis. Morrowind had never recovered fully from the eruption of Mount Vvardenfell. Hammerfell was plagued by infighting between Crowns and Forebears. Only High Rock, Cyrodiil and Skyrim remained prosperous and peaceful.

Emperor Titus Mede had only a few short years to consolidate his rule before his leadership was put to the ultimate test.
 

The War Begins

On the 30th of Frostfall, 4E 171, the Aldmeri Dominion sent an ambassador to the Imperial City with a gift in a covered cart and an ultimatum for the new Emperor. The long list of demands included staggering tributes, disbandment of the Blades, outlawing the worship of Talos, and ceding large sections of Hammerfell to the Dominion. Despite the warnings of his generals of the Empire's military weakness, Emperor Titus Mede II rejected the ultimatum. The Thalmor ambassador upended the cart, spilling over a hundred heads on the floor: every Blades agent in Summerset and Valenwood. And so began the Great War which would consume the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion for the next five years.

Within days, Aldmeri armies invaded Hammerfell and Cyrodiil simultaneously. A strong force commanded by the Thalmor general Lord Naarifin attacked Cyrodiil from the south, marching out of hidden camps in northern Elsweyr and flanking the Imperial defenses along the Valenwood border. Leyawiin soon fell to the invaders, while Bravil was cut off and besieged.

At the same time, an Aldmeri army under Lady Arannelya crossed into western Cyrodiil from Valenwood, bypassing Anvil and Kvatch and crossing into Hammerfell. Smaller Aldmeri forces landed along the southern coastline of Hammerfell. The disunited Redguard forces offered only scattered resistance to the invaders, and much of the southern coastline was quickly overrun. The greatly outnumbered Imperial legions retreated across the Alik'r Desert in the now-famous March of Thirst.
 

4E 172-173: The Aldmeri Advance Into Cyrodiil

It appears now that the initial Aldmeri objective was in fact the conquest of Hammerfell, and that the invasion of Cyrodiil was intended only to pin down the Imperial legions while Hammerfell was overrun. However, the surprising initial success of Lord Naarifin's attack led the Thalmor to believe that the Empire was weaker than they had thought. The capture of the Imperial City itself and the complete overthrow of the Empire thus became their primary objective of the next two years. As we know, the Thalmor nearly achieved their objective. It was only because of our Emperor's determined leadership during the Empire's darkest hour that this disaster was averted.

During 4E 172, the Aldmeri advanced deeper into Cyrodiil. Bravil and Anvil both fell to the invaders. By the end of the year, Lord Naarifin had advanced to the very walls of the Imperial City. There were fierce naval clashes in Lake Rumare and along the Niben as the Imperial forces attempted to hold the eastern bank.

In Hammerfell, the Thalmor were content to consolidate their gains as they took control of the whole southern coastline, which was in fact their stated objective in the ultimatum delivered to the Emperor. Of the southern cities, only Hegathe still held out. The survivors of the March of Thirst regrouped in northern Hammerfell, joined by reinforcements from High Rock.

The year 4E 173 saw stiffening Imperial resistance in Cyrodiil, but the seemingly inexorable Aldmeri advance continued. Fresh legions from Skyrim bolstered the Emperor's main army in the Imperial City, but the Aldmeri forced the crossing of the Niben and began advancing in force up the eastern bank. By the end of the year, the Imperial City was surrounded on three sides - only the northern supply route to Bruma remained open.

In Hammerfell, Imperial fortunes took a turn for the better. In early 4E 173, a Forebear army from Sentinel broke the siege of Hegathe (a Crown city), leading to the reconciliation of the two factions. Despite this, Lady Arannelya's main army succeeded in crossing the Alik'r Desert. The Imperial Legions under General Decianus met them outside Skaven in a bloody and indecisive clash. Decianus withdrew and left Arannelya in possession of Skaven, but the Aldmeri were too weakened to continue their advance.
 

4E 174: The Sack of the Imperial City

In 4E 174, the Thalmor leadership committed all available forces to the campaign in Cyrodiil, gambling on a decisive victory to end the war once and for all. During the spring, Aldmeri reinforcements gathered in southern Cyrodiil, and on 12th of Second Seed, they launched a massive assault on the Imperial City itself. One army drove north to completely surround the city, while Lord Naarifin's main force attacked the walls from the south, east, and west. The Emperor's decision to fight his way out of the city rather than make a last stand was a bold one. No general dared advise him to abandon the capital, but Titus II was proven right in the end.

While the Eighth Legion fought a desperate (and doomed) rearguard action on the walls of the city, Titus II broke out of the city to the north with his main army, smashing through the surrounding the Aldmeri forces and linking up with reinforcements marching south from Skyrim under General Jonna. Meanwhile, however, the capital fell to the invaders and the infamous Sack of the Imperial City began. The Imperial Palace was burned, the White-Gold Tower itself looted, and all manner of atrocities carried out by the vengeful elves on the innocent populace.

In Hammerfell, General Decianus was preparing to drive the Aldmeri back from Skaven when he was ordered to march for Cyrodiil. Unwilling to abandon Hammerfell completely, he allowed a great number of "invalids" to be discharged from the Legions before they marched east. These veterans formed the core of the army that eventually drove Lady Arannelya's forces back across the Alik'r late in 174, taking heavy losses on their retreat from harassing attacks by the Alik'r warriors.
 

4E 175: The Battle of the Red Ring

During the winter of 4E 174-175, the Thalmor seem to have believed that the war in Cyrodiil was all but over. They made several attempts to negotiate with Titus II. The Emperor encouraged them in their belief that he was preparing to surrender; meanwhile, he gathered his forces to retake the Imperial City.

In what is now known as the Battle of the Red Ring, a battle that will serve as a model for Imperial strategists for generations to come, Titus II divided his forces into three. One army, with the legions from Hammerfell under General Decianus, was hidden in the Colovian Highlands near Chorrol. The Aldmeri were unaware that he was no longer in Hammerfell, possibly because the Imperial veterans Decianus had left behind led Lady Arannelya to believe that she still faced an Imperial army. The second army, largely of Nord legions under General Jonna, took up position near Cheydinhal. The main army was commanded by the Emperor himself, and would undertake the main assault of the Imperial City from the north.

On the 30th of Rain's Hand, the bloody Battle of the Red Ring began as General Decianus swept down on the city from the west, while General Jonna's legionnaires drove south along the Red Ring Road. In a two-day assault, Jonna's army crossed the Niben and advanced west, attempting to link up with Decianus's legions and thus surround the Imperial City. Lord Naarifin was taken by surprise by Decianus's assault, but Jonna's troops faced bitter resistance as the Aldmeri counterattacked from Bravil and Skingrad. The heroic Nord legionnaires held firm, however, beating off the piecemeal Aldmeri attacks. By the fifth day of the battle, the Aldmeri army in the Imperial City was surrounded.

Titus II led the assault from the north, personally capturing Lord Naarifin. It is rumored the Emperor wielded the famed sword Goldbrand, although this has never been officially confirmed by the Imperial government. An attempt by the Aldmeri to break out of the city to the south was blocked by the unbreakable shieldwall of General Jonna's battered legions.

In the end, the main Aldmeri army in Cyrodiil was completely destroyed. The Emperor's decision to withdraw from the Imperial City in 4E 174 was bloodily vindicated.

Lord Naarifin was kept alive for thirty-three days, hanging from the White-Gold tower. It is not recorded where his body was buried, if it was buried at all. Once source claims he was carried off by a winged daedra on the thirty-fourth day.
 

The White-Gold Concordat and the End of the War

Although victorious, the Imperial armies were in no shape to continue the war. The entire remaining Imperial force was gathered in Cyrodiil, exhausted and decimated by the Battle of the Red Ring. Not a single legion had more than half its soldiers fit for duty. Two legions had been effectively annihilated, not counting the loss of the Eighth during the retreat from the Imperial City the previous year. Titus II knew that there would be no better time to negotiate peace, and late in 4E 175 the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion signed the White-Gold Concordat, ending the Great War.

The terms were harsh, but Titus II believed that it was necessary to secure peace and give the Empire a chance to regain its strength. The two most controversial terms of the Concordat were the banning of the worship of Talos and the cession of a large section of southern Hammerfell (most of what was already occupied by Aldmeri forces). Critics have pointed out that the Concordat is almost identical to the ultimatum the Emperor rejected five years earlier. However, there is a great difference between agreeing to such terms under the mere threat of war, and agreeing to them at the end of a long and destructive war. No part of the Empire would have accepted these terms in 4E 171, dictated by the Thalmor at swords-point. Titus II would have faced civil war. By 4E 175, most of the Empire welcomed peace at almost any price.
 

Epilogue: Hammerfell Fights On Alone

Hammerfell, however, refused to accept the White-Gold Concordat, being unwilling to concede defeat and the loss of so much of their territory. Titus II was forced to officially renounce Hammerfell as an Imperial province in order to preserve the hard-won peace treaty. The Redguards, understandably, looked on this as a betrayal. In this, the Thalmor certainly achieved one of their long-term goals by sowing lasting bitterness between Hammerfell and the Empire.

In the end, the heroic Redguards fought the Aldmeri Dominion to a standstill, although the war lasted for five more years and left southern Hammerfell devastated. The Redguards say that this proves that the White-Gold Concordat was unnecessary, and that if Titus II had kept his nerve, the Aldmeri could have been truly defeated by the combined forces of Hammerfell and the rest of the Empire. The truth of that assertion can, of course, never be known. But the Redguards should not forget the great sacrifice of Imperial blood - Breton, Nord, and Cyrodilic - at the Battle of the Red Ring that weakened the Dominion enough to allow the eventual Second Treaty of Stros M'kai in 4E 180 and the withdrawal of Aldmeri forces from Hammerfell.

There can be no doubt that the current peace cannot last forever. The Thalmor take the long view, as is proved by the sequence of events leading up to the Great War. All those who value freedom over tyranny can only hope that before it is too late, Hammerfell and the Empire will be reconciled and stand united against the Thalmor threat. Otherwise, any hope to stem the tide of Thalmor rule over all of Tamriel is dimmed.

 

Dominion Prism Textract

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride

Dominion Prism Textract: Producing Tower Scrolls, Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore, and Tangible Majickas, or Entering onto Mundex Terrene, for Inspection and Other Purposes

(A.) In General.
An Anuielectorate may serve on any other Anuielectorate if Subdivisions within the Prism allow for a Submissions Allowance [Anullowance] into the Dominion within the scope of Article 002851226:
(1) to produce and/or aubric-imprint an ancestral palm-writ for the Submissions Anullowance or its representative to inspect, copy, test, torture, or sample the following items in the responding Anuielectorate's possession, custody, or control:
(A.) any draconated Tower Scroll(s) or Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore — including writings, drawings, eyegraphs, charts, inscriptions, echopages, images, and other chronocule or chronocule compilations — stored in any medium from which Memospore can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after TAL(OS) Biting by the responding Anuielectorate into a reasonably usable form; or
(B.) any draconated tangible Majickas; or
(2) any and all ancestral palm-writ entries onto an echo-safe draconated Mundex Terrene subsample or other permitted varliance possessed or controlled by the responding Anuielectorate, so that the Submissions Anullowance may inspect, measure, survey, eyegraph, test, or ponder the varliance or any draconated object or operation on it.

(B.) Procedure.
(1) Contents of the Submissions Anullowance.
The Submissions Anullowance:
(A.) must describe to the Dominion with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected;
(B.) must specify a reasonable time, place, and manner for the inspection and for performing the related acts, especially in regards to the safety of Prismatic Tension; and
(C.) may specify the form or forms in which a Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore is to be produced.

(2) Responses and Objections.
(A.) Time to Respond. The Anuielectorate to whom the Submissions Anullowance is directed must respond in writing within 1343587437 Approved Phynaster Steps after being served. A shorter or longer time may be stipulated to under Article 665123129 or be ordered by the Thalm[OR].
(B.) Responding to Each Item. For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection and related activities will be ancestrally chrysalicorded [Upon Palm] under Prismatic Protocol or state an objection to the Submissions Anullowance, including the reasons.
(C.) Objections. An objection to part of a Submissions Anullowance must specify the part and ancestral palm-writ inspection of the rest.
(D.) Responding to a Submissions Anullowance for Production of Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore. The response may state an objection to a Submissions Anullowance form for producing Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore. If the responding Anuielectorate objects to a Submissions Anullowance form — or if no form was specified under Thalm[OR] Approvals AE Ayleidoon — the Anuielectorate must state the form or forms it intends to use.
(E.) Producing the Tower Scrolls or Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the Thalm[OR], these procedures apply to producing Tower Scrolls or Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore:

(i) An Anuielectorate must produce Tower Scrolls as they are kept in the usual course of conquest (stabilization of aurbicage) or must organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the Submissions Anullowance of the All-Eras Established Dominion;
(ii) If a Submissions Anullowance sent to the Dominion does not specify a form for producing Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore, an Anuielectorate must produce it in a form or forms in which it is aurbicly maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms [see Article 823589v: draconated TALO[OS] defense]; and
(iii) An Anuielectorate need not produce the same Dreamsleeve-stored Memospore in more than one form.

(AND) Nonparties.
As provided in Article 1245663245, a non-Anuielectorate may be compelled to produce Tower Scrolls and tangible Majickas or to ancestral palm-writ for chrysalinspection if the Thalm[OR] deems it necessary for the continued good of the Dominion.