A Brief History of the Empire, Part I [Daggerfall]

Before the day of Tiber Septim, all Tamriel was chaos. The poet Tracizis called that era “the days and nights of blood and venom.” The kings were a petty lot of grasping tyrants, who fought Tiber’s attempts to bring order to the land. But they were as disorganized as they were dissolute, and the strong hand of Septim brought peace forcibly to Tamriel. The year was 2E 896. The following year, the Emperor declared the beginning of a new era, so we began the 3rd Era, year aught.

For thirty-eight years, the Emperor Tiber reigned: a just, pious, and glorious age, when justice was known to one and all, from serf to king. It rained for a fortnight after as if the land of Tamriel itself was weeping.

The Emperor’s eldest living son, Pelagius came to the throne. Though his reign was short, he was as strong and resolute as his father had been, and we could have enjoyed a continuation of the Golden Age. Alas, an unknown enemy of the Septims hired the cursed organization of cutthroats, the Dark Brotherhood, to kill the Emperor Pelagius I as he knelt at prayer at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. Pelagius I’s reign lasted less than three years.

Pelagius had no living children, so the crown of the Empire passed to his first cousin, the daughter of Tiber’s brother Agnorith. So did Kintyra, former Queen of Silvenar, assume the throne. Kintyra I was blessed with a time of prosperity and good harvests, and was an avid patroness of art, music, and dance.

Kintyra’s son was crowned after her death, the first Emperor of Tamriel to use the imperial name Uriel. The Emperor Uriel I was the great lawmaker of the Septim Dynasty, and a promoter of independent organizations and guilds. Under his kind hand, the Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild increased in prominence throughout Tamriel.

His son Uriel II reigned for eighteen years, from the death Uriel I in 3E 64 to 3E 82. Tragically, the rule of Uriel II was cursed with blights, plagues, and insurrections. His tenderheartedness inherited from his father did not serve Tamriel well, and little justice was done.

Pelagius II inherited not only the throne from his father, but the debt from the poor financial and judicial management. Pelagius dismissed all of the old Elder Council, and allowed only those willing to pay great sums to return. He encouraged similiar acts of his vassals, the kings of Tamriel, and by the end of his seventeen year reign, Tamriel had returned to prosperity. His critics, however, have suggested that any advisor of wisdom, but without gold had been forcibly ousted. This may have led to some of the trouble his son Antiochus faced when he became Emperor.

Antiochus was certainly one of the most flamboyant of the usually austere Septim family. He had many mistresses and nearly as many wives, and was renowned for his grandness of dress and good humor. Unfortunately, his reign was rife with civil wars, surpassing even that of his grandfather Uriel II. The War of the Isle in 3E 110, twelve years after Antiochus assumed the throne, nearly took the province of Sumurset Isle away from Tamriel. The united alliance of the kings of Sumurset and Antiochus only managed to defeat King Orgnum of the island-kingdom of Pyandonea due to a freak storm. Legend credits the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum with the magic behind the storm.

The story of Kintyra II, heiress of her father’s throne, is certainly one of the saddest tales in modern history. Her first cousin Uriel, son of Queen Potena of Solitude, accused Kintyra of being a bastard, alluding to the famous decadence of the Imperial City during her father’s reign. When this accusation failed to stop her coronation, Uriel bought the support of several disgrunted kings of High Rock, Skyrim, and Morrowind, and, with Queen Potena’s assistance, coordinated three attacks on the Septim Empire.

The first attack occured in the Iliac Bay that separates High Rock and Hammerfell. Kintyra’s entourage was destroyed and the Emperess was taken captive. For two years, Kintyra II languished in an Imperial prison believed to be somewhere in Glenpoint or Glenmoril Wyrd before she was slain in her cell.

The second attack was on a series of Imperial garrisons along the coastal Morrowind islands. The Emperess’ consort Kontin Arynx died defending the forts.

The third attack was a siege of the Imperial City itself, occuring after the Elder Council had divided the army to attack western High Rock and eastern Morrowind. The much weakened government had little defense against Uriel’s attack, and surrendered after only a fortnight of resistance. Uriel took the throne that night and proclaimed himself Uriel III, Emperor of Tamriel. The year was 3E 121.

Thus begins the War of the Red Diamond, described in Volume II of this series.

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