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The Ancient Falmer (Quotes and Notes)

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Tailin Sero's picture
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The Ancient Falmer, also known as Snow Elves, lived in Skyrim before the time of the Nords. What follows is a collection of notes and quotes regarding the forgotten race, detailing their fall from glory. To avoid confusion, this text will use the term “snow-elf” when referring to the Ancient Falmer and “the Betrayed” when referring to the modern goblin-like creatures commonly known as Falmer in TESV: Skyrim. The reason for this is to make it easier to find info on the Ancient Falmer. Please give feedback. Thank you.

 

“I prefer snow elf. The name "Falmer" usually holds a negative meaning to most travelers. Those twisted creatures you call Falmer, I call the Betrayed.”

~Knight-Paladin Gelebor



Before the Ages of Man:

 

“In the time before man, they were known as the snow elves. They lived in the sunlight and had a very prosperous society.

~Enthir

 

Unfortunately, there are very few lore books describing Snow Elves society before the arrival of Atmorans in the Late Merethic Era.

 

“[The Chantry of Auri-El] is, or was, the epicenter of our religion. Most of the snow elf people worshipped Auri-El. The Chantry was constructed near the beginning of the First Era to provide a retreat for those that wished to become enlightened. Our empire had temples to some of the other deities: Trinimac, Syrabane, Jephre and Phynaster rounded out the rest. But those temples paled in comparison to the glory of the Chantry and its wayshrines. ”

~Knight-Paladin Gelebor

 

Night of Tears and the 500 Companions:

 

“What happened on that Night of Tears, when Saarthal was razed to the ground? What provoked the elves to such a deliberate, vicious attack, and what prompted such a severe response from the Nords?

[...]The true motives behind the Night of Tears have been obscured to us by the passage of time, but I believe this was not a simple war of territory, or of control of Skyrim. I believe that what happened was a significant event based around something very particular.

The Nords found something when they built their city, buried deep in the ground. They attempted to keep it buried, but the elves learned of it and coveted it for themselves. Thus they assaulted Saarthal, their goal not to drive the Nords out but to secure this power for themselves. I believe Ysgramor knew something of what the elves would find under Saarthal, and rallied together his people to keep the elves from gaining it.”

~Dranor Seleth, Night of Tear

 

After discovering the Eye of Magnus in the nordic ruin of Saarthal during the Under Saarthal quest, the player returns to the College of Winterhold where he/she is given a copy of Night of Tears. This makes it seem that Dranor Seleth was right in his assumption about there being more to the sack on Saarthal than just a simple territory dispute.

 

The war between the Atmorans and the Snow Elves began in the Late Merethic and ended around 1E 140, 3 years before Harald was crowned King of Skyrim.

 

“13th of Sun's Dusk 1E139

At the command of Lord Harald we have swept our company to the south edge of our territories in an attempt to drive the Snow Elves up north to the main host of his forces. The first few days met with heavy resistance, but as we approached the eastern edge of Lake Honnith we have seen little and less of them.”

~Skorm Snow-Strider’s Journal

 

The Snow Prince:

 

“Elf we called him, for Elf he was, yet unlike any other of his kind we had ever seen before that day.

[...]There was then a great calm that overcame the Elves that still stood. Through their mass the Snow Prince did ride, and as a longboat slices the icy waters of the Fjalding he parted the ranks of his kin. The magnificent white horse slowed to a gallop, then a trot, and the unknown Elf rider moved to the front of the line at a slow, almost ghostlike pace.

A Nord warrior sees much in a life of bloodshed and battle, and is rarely surprised by anything armed combat may bring. But few among us that day could have imagined the awe and uncertainty of a raging battlefield that all at once went motionless and silent. Such is the effect the Snow Prince had on us all. For when the joyous cries of the Elves had ended, there remained a quiet known only in the solitude of slumber. It was then our combined host, Elf and Nord alike, were joined in a terrible understanding -- victory or defeat mattered little that day on the slopes of the Moesring Mountains. The one truth we all shared was that death would come to many that day, victor and vanquished alike. The glorious Snow Prince, an Elf unlike any other, did come that day to bring death to our kind. And death he so brought.”

~Fall of the Snow Prince

 

Long story short, the Snow Prince cut through the Atmoran line, until he is killed by a 12-year-old. Unlike the corpses of the other fallen elves that were burned after the battle, the Snow Prince was buried in a freshly dug tomb, Jolgeirr Barrow on Solstheim.



“And so we brought the body of the Snow Prince, wrapped in fine silks, to a freshly dug barrow. The gleaming armor and spear were presented on a pedestal of honor, and the tomb was arrayed with treasures worthy of royalty. All of the mighty chieftains agreed with this course, that the Elf should be so honored. His body would be preserved in the barrow for as long as the earth chose, but would not be offered the protection of our Stalhrim, which was reserved for Nord dead alone.”

~Fall of the Snow Prince

 

The Betrayed:

 

“But where the story of the ancient snow elves ends, that of the current-day Falmer begins. For when the snow elf host was shattered on that fateful day, it did not simply disperse - it descended.”

~The Falmer: A study

 

News has reached us that the great Snow Prince has fallen in battle. The urgency to go into hiding has left many of us scattered and those of us still together unsure of which direction to turn. [...]In the night I overheard the Old Ones whispering secrets of the underground and the Dwemer who dwell there. I thought back on stories Father once told me of these dwarves, heroic tales of honor and glory. The Old Ones must know of these stories for it has been decided that we will change course upon first light. I feel hopeful that the Dwemer will help us to avenge our fallen and reclaim our land.

~Journal of Mirtil Angoth

 

“And so it was that your people were given passage to our steam gardens, and the protections of our power. Many of your people had perished under the roaring, snow-throated kings of Mora, and your wills were broken, and we heard you, and sent our machines against your enemies, to thereby take you under. Only by the grace of the Dwemer did your culture survive, and only by the fifteen-and-one tones did your new lives begin. We do not desire thanks, for we do not believe in it. We do not ask for gratitude, for we do not believe in it. We only request you partake of the symbol of our bond, the fruit of the stones around us. And as your vision clouds, as the darkness sets in, fear not. Know only our mercy and the radiance of our affection, which unbinds your bones to the earth before, and sets your final path to the music of your new eternity.”

~Dwemer Rosetta Stone

 

“And when the Snow Prince fell to ground,

The Ice Elves divided above and below.

Now vanquished and brutally bound,

One moment had shattered all they did know.

 

The once cool wind on their skin,

Now replaced with the heat of the flame.

And a pride once felt deep within,

Forgotten along with their name.

 

Torn from their home of ice and frost,

Thrown into the pitch black dread of night.

Living in fear as their minds become lost,

As their eyes begin dimming the light.

 

Chained and enslaved,

What once was light turned to blackness.

Alone and betrayed,

Sinking deeper into madness.”

~The Betrayed

 

“We know that we can never again be the Snow Elves and live freely in this world. We will forever be in hiding in one form or another. But there is no reason we cannot live life with the sun and the wind against our skin. There are those here who are friends to us and plan to help us once the threat has ended. We know now to survive we must be born anew. Outside, we will appear as though we belong here. Inside, we will carry our truth and our scars.”

~Diary of Faire Agarwen

 

“The Eyes of the Snow Elves!

The Dwarves thought they took them from the Falmer, but they themselves were fooled. A statue, built in secret by the slaves, the eyes burn into you, and I see them even now.”

~Thief’s Last Words

 

“Perhaps they'll never return to their former appearance, but over the centuries, I've noticed a rise in their intellect. If a line of communication could be established with them, maybe they can find peace. It's the only way they'll discover that they weren't always malignant... they were once a proud and prosperous race.”

~Knight-Paladin Gelebor

 

Mr Moonpie's picture
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Great Article!, ive never been interested in the falmer though 

 

Stygies VIII's picture
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Mmmmmm, tasty lore. Thanks for getting all of this together! Sometimes reading it all in one place is better.

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The Lusty Dovahkiin wrote:

Thanks for getting all of this together! Sometimes reading it all in one place is better.

Yeah, I know what you mean. That was my reasoning behind this. Thanks.

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I recently discovered this quote and I wasn't sure where to add it (if at all) to the OP. So, I thought I would just put it here.

"I feel nothing but sympathy for the Betrayed, despite my actions against them."~Knight-Paladin Gelebor

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Add it!

Cordate's picture
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If you'd like, I could try and pull a few things out of Dawnstar regarding the Falmer or "Ice Tribes", as they are referred to in it

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Cordate wrote:

If you'd like, I could try and pull a few things out of Dawnstar regarding the Falmer or "Ice Tribes", as they are referred to in it

That would be great! I've always wanted to learn more about, but lack the means to do so.

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Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

If you'd like, I could try and pull a few things out of Dawnstar regarding the Falmer or "Ice Tribes", as they are referred to in it

That would be great! I've always wanted to learn more about, but lack the means to do so.

From what little I have gotten to playing, here's what I've collected thus far:

"Dawnstar has been besieged by the Ice Tribes outside its walls, and beset by a traitor within. The Governor banished his four champions as he could not ferret out the traitor, and has sent for you. Your job is to single out the traitor, and return with the three loyal champions to defend the city."

The game takes place during the Nord's war against the Snow Elves, and one of the Governor's four champions, Alhavara, Beatrice, Chung, and Delacroix, have betrayed the Nords and aids the Ice Tribes in their attempts at taking Dawnstar. It changes every run from what I can tell. 

"Warning horns sound as the Ice Tribes and their monstrous allies appear at the walls of Dawnstar. Sheer numbers allow some to slip past the defenses. You must track down and destroy the interlopers before they become too numerous and overwhelm Dawnstar. Kill the Gehenoth to win."

This is part of the screen shown when you accuse one of the four of being the traitor. Of the "monstrous allies", there's trolls, bandits, thieves, cutthroats, 'trollkin', trolls named things like "Base Mountain", and Snow Elves. I have yet to figure out what the Gehenoth is, as I've resorted to just accusing the same person at the beginning of the game and running around until I die because Java phone emulators are beyond frustrating on PC.

"For revealing the traitor, Governor Cyril Vinticae gives you the Starfrost, a magical frost which focuses the prayers of Dawnstar and the power of elemental winter through the user. With this power you just might win. To battle!"

This is the second half of the screen shown when you accuse the right one out of the four. I haven't been able to try out Starfrost, but I suspect it might be a necessary or extremely helpful item for fighting the Gehenoth, whatever that is. I'll definitely try actually playing the game all the way through for the largest shots of sweet sweet possibly unknown lore that there might be.

Also it's probably worth noting that if you die during the final attack on Dawnstar, the screen shown says:

"Your valiant efforts were not enough to save Dawnstar. (Traitor)'s forces proved overwhelming. You escape with your life, your honor, and little else."

I smell a headcanon forming.

EDIT: Headcanon collapsed

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A few new tidbits of interesting in formation:

There's an area through Glacier Run and after Troll Hole named Ice Council. Throughout there are enemy variants including: Snow Scouts, Winter Scouts, Winter Warriors, Elemental Warriors, Snow Leaders, Winter Leaders, and Ice Leaders. The sprites for them each have different equipment. They either have horned, regular, or no helm, spears or no weapons (despite dropping swords), the same cuirass, and usually a shield that's almost like the Roman Scutum but more ovalish.

They also drop trollskin leather equipment. That combined with the area before it and the fact that during the final assault trolls come too, I feel like the Ice Tribes keep them as pets for cannon fodder and leather harvesting.

I also think I might have an idea as to what the Gehenoth is. Occasionally when you rest you get attacked by a creature who's sprite is the creature you'll see if you Google image search the game. I'm curious about what it's significance is to the Ice Tribes, though.

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Cordate wrote:

*snip* x2

Thanks for gathering all that!

Do they ever say in-game that they are Falmer?

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Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

*snip* x2

Thanks for gathering all that!

Do they ever say in-game that they are Falmer?

Ironically enough, I just finished typing up something about this.

Short answer: not outright

Long answer: In the year 2E 283, something happens to a fortress in Dawnstar that was so bad, the city needed to be rebuilt, and was during 3E. This obviously takes place some time after the Snow Elves are driven into hiding by the Proto-Nords, and Skyrim is under the banner of the Empire, ruled by the Potentate. The Dwemer hold Aftand is somewhat close to Dawnstar, which leads me to believe the Ice Tribes might be some form of Limbo Falmer, as I call them. They aren't quite the blind, ugly, balding creatures with crazy primitive equipment and cultures, but they have definitely fallen far from their original grace. As you can see from my previous two posts, the plot is that a traitor has been helping the Ice Tribes. No matter if you find the traitor or not, there's still a big final battle where Dawnstar is nearly taken. It's my belief that the Dawnstar Ice Tribes come from Aftand as these Limbo Falmer with the help of trolls, bandits, and the traitor in order to destroy the fortress. That final battle, I think, is the reason why the fortress was damaged and the city needed to be rebuilt.

EDIT: I forgot all the Limbo Falmer are bald

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Found another variant in the area Frostheim named Hungry Warrior. They have the same equipment as the scouts. Also I got confirmation that the creature from the cover art is in fact the Gehenoth.

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The last mention of Snow Elves is the War of the Crag, between the Ancient Falmer and the Dwemer in 1E 668. That puts 2,535 years between the War of the Crag and the destruction of Dawnstar, in 2E 283.
 
We know that the Falmer had already begun to turn blind from the Dwemer Rosetta Stone unless the Ice Tribes are from a secluded group of Falmer like the ones hidden in the Forgotten Vale prior to the Arch-Curate Vyrthur's betrayal.
 
That being said, you did mention Aftand, which suggests that they are not a hidden group of non-blinded Falmer because if they had come from a Dwemer city/stronghold they would have been subject to the Dwemer's poison a couple thousand years before.
 

So, either they are not Falmer at all, or they are and are just from a different location. Another possibility is that they are Falmer and that they had found sanctuary in Aftand after the Dwemer's disappearance. (this last possibility is my favorite because it makes the attack on Dawnstar a sort of revenge plan on the Falmer's part.

Cordate wrote:

They also drop trollskin leather equipment. That combined with the area before it and the fact that during the final assault trolls come too, I feel like the Ice Tribes keep them as pets for cannon fodder and leather harvesting.

This is highly possible as the Dawnguard are known to keep Trolls as pets too. And if the Altmer can train Goblins, why couldn't the Falmer train trolls?

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Tailin Sero wrote:

The last mention of Snow Elves is the War of the Crag, between the Ancient Falmer and the Dwemer in 1E 668. That puts 2,535 years between the War of the Crag and the destruction of Dawnstar, in 2E 283.
 
We know that the Falmer had already begun to turn blind from the Dwemer Rosetta Stone unless the Ice Tribes are from a secluded group of Falmer like the ones hidden in the Forgotten Vale prior to the Arch-Curate Vyrthur's betrayal.
 
That being said, you did mention Aftand, which suggests that they are not a hidden group of non-blinded Falmer because if they had come from a Dwemer city/stronghold they would have been subject to the Dwemer's poison a couple thousand years before.
 

So, either they are not Falmer at all, or they are and are just from a different location. Another possibility is that they are Falmer and that they had found sanctuary in Aftand after the Dwemer's disappearance. (this last possibility is my favorite because it makes the attack on Dawnstar a sort of revenge plan on the Falmer's part.

Cordate wrote:

They also drop trollskin leather equipment. That combined with the area before it and the fact that during the final assault trolls come too, I feel like the Ice Tribes keep them as pets for cannon fodder and leather harvesting.

This is highly possible as the Dawnguard are known to keep Trolls as pets too. And if the Altmer can train Goblins, why couldn't the Falmer train trolls?

There was actually an interesting bit of dialogue from one of the four champions where they mention that the trolls use caestus. There's also troll leaders, apparently, and some trolls drop troll war axes

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Cordate wrote:

There was actually an interesting bit of dialogue from one of the four champions where they mention that the trolls use caestus. There's also troll leaders, apparently, and some trolls drop troll war axes

If I recall correctly there was a troll in Oblivion (a sort of easter egg type of thing) that wrote a poem or some sort of text. I think it was a Three Billy Goats Gruff easter egg, but it proves that trolls possess some level of intelligence above the common beasts.

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Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

There was actually an interesting bit of dialogue from one of the four champions where they mention that the trolls use caestus. There's also troll leaders, apparently, and some trolls drop troll war axes

If I recall correctly there was a troll in Oblivion (a sort of easter egg type of thing) that wrote a poem or some sort of text. I think it was a Three Billy Goats Gruff easter egg, but it proves that trolls possess some level of intelligence above the common beasts.

I think you're thinking of the troll in Oblivion that killed itself and wrote a suicide note

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Cordate wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

There was actually an interesting bit of dialogue from one of the four champions where they mention that the trolls use caestus. There's also troll leaders, apparently, and some trolls drop troll war axes

If I recall correctly there was a troll in Oblivion (a sort of easter egg type of thing) that wrote a poem or some sort of text. I think it was a Three Billy Goats Gruff easter egg, but it proves that trolls possess some level of intelligence above the common beasts.

I think you're thinking of the troll in Oblivion that killed itself and wrote a suicide note

I probably am. I watched a few of those hidden easter egg videos back-to-back so I might be mixing a few of them together. Regardless, trolls (or at least some trolls) can write.

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Combined like this, falmer history looks like completed story, beautiful *_*

But is there any evidence about actual falmer slavery? It is mentioned often, but I haven't found anything proving by far. One though is location name in Irkngthand - "Slave Pens", where the statue is located. But modern falmer are keeping slaves by themselves, so maybe that name isn't ancient? I mean, who needs blind slaves? And if you are as mistrustful as a dwemer, you wouldn't let a stranger into your works despite how well he sees.

Knight-Paladin Gelebor call modern falmer "the Betrayed" hardly because of the dwemer poison - their contract engraved on Calcelmo's Stone, and, well... you can't call "a betrayal" something you signed up for by yourself, yes? Maybe he means exactly their state in dwemer society?

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Mehra Damori wrote:

Combined like this, falmer history looks like completed story, beautiful *_*

But is there any evidence about actual falmer slavery? It is mentioned often, but I haven't found anything proving by far. One though is location name in Irkngthand - "Slave Pens", where the statue is located. But modern falmer are keeping slaves by themselves, so maybe that name isn't ancient? I mean, who needs blind slaves? And if you are as mistrustful as a dwemer, you wouldn't let a stranger into your works despite how well he sees.

Knight-Paladin Gelebor call modern falmer "the Betrayed" hardly because of the dwemer poison - their contract engraved on Calcelmo's Stone, and, well... you can't call "a betrayal" something you signed up for by yourself, yes? Maybe he means exactly their state in dwemer society?

I think the Songs of Return or some other similar books may mention them. I'll look around when I get back from work.

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Tailin Sero wrote:

I think the Songs of Return or some other similar books may mention them. I'll look around when I get back from work.

Oh, thank you, that wold be cool!

Yep, that is mentioned in the Songs of Return (vol 7 and 19), but there elves are held captive by humans, not by their deep relatives :)

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oops, my bad.