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

Volume I of this series described in brief the lives of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, beginning with the forebear Tiber Septim and ending with his great great great great grandniece Kintyra II. Kintyra’s murder in Glenpoint, while in captivity, is considered by some to be the end of the pure strain of Septim blood. Certainly, it marks the end of something.

Uriel III not only proclaimed himself Emperor of Tamriel, but also proclaimed himself Uriel Septim III, taking a surname as a title. In truth, his surname was Uriel Mantiarco from his father. In time, Uriel III was deposed and his crimes reviled, but the tradition of taking the name Septim as a title for the Emperor of Tamriel did not die with him.

For six years, the War of the Red Diamond tore apart the Empire. The combatants were the three surviving children of Pelagius II, Potema, Cephorus, and Magnus, and their offspring. Potema, of course, supported her son Uriel III, and had the support of all of Skyrim and northern Morrowind. With the efforts of Cephorus and Magnus, High Rock turned. Hammerfell, Sumurset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh were divided, but most kings supported Cephorus and Magnus.

In 3E 127, Uriel III was captured at the Battle of Ichidag in Hammerfell. En route to his trial in the Imperial City, a mob overtook his carriage and burned him alive within it. His captor and uncle continued on to the Imperial City, and by common acclaim, was proclaimed Cephorus I, Emperor of Tamriel.

Cephorus’ reign is marked by nothing but war. By all accounts, he was a kind and intelligent man, but what Tamriel needed was a great warrior, and he was that. It took an additional ten years of constant warfare for him to defeat his sister Potema. The so-called wolf queen of Solitude died in the siege of her city-state in the year 137. Cephorus only survived his sister by three years.

Cephorus never had the time during the war years to marry, so it was his brother, the fourth child of Pelagius II, who assumed the throne. The Emperor Magnus was elderly, and the business of punishing the traitorous kings of the War of the Red Diamond drained much of his health. Legend also accuses Magnus’ son and heir Pelagius III of murder, but that seems very unlikely. For no other reason, Pelagius was King of Solitude, following the death of Potema, and seldom visited the Imperial City.

Pelagius III, sometimes called Pelagius the Mad, was proclaimed Emperor in the 145th year of the 3rd Era. Almost from the start, his eccentricities of behavior was noted. He embarassed dignitaries, offended his vassal kings, and, on one occasion, marked the end of a grand ball by attempting to hang himself. His long-suffering wife was finally awarding the regency of Tamriel and Pelagius III was sent to a series of healers and asylums until his death in 3E 153 at the age of thirty-four.

The Emperess Regent of Tamriel was proclaimed Emperess Katariah I upon the death of her husband. Some who do not mark the end of the Septim bloodline with the death of Kintyra II consider the accendancy of this dark elf woman as the true mark. Her defenders assert that though Katariah was not descended from Tiber, the son she had with Pelagius, was, so the chain does continue.

Despite the racist assertations to the contrary, Katariah’s forty-six year reign was one of the most glorious in Tamriel’s history. Uncomfortable in the Imperial City, Katariah travelled extensively throughout the Empire, such as no Emperor ever had since Tiber’s day. She repaired much of the damage the broken alliances and bungled diplomacy had created. The people of Tamriel came to love their Emperess far more than the nobility did. Katariah’s death in a minor skirmish in Black Marsh is a favorite source for conspiracy-minded historians. The sage Montalius’ discovery of a disenfranchised branch of the Septim family’s involvement with the skirmish was a revelation indeed.

When Cassynder assumed the throne at the death of his mother, he was already middle-aged. Only half-elven, he aged like a Breton. In fact, he had left the rule of Wayrest to his half-brother Uriel due to poor health. Nevertheless, as the only true blood relation of Pelagius, and thus Tiber, he was pressed into accepting the throne. To no one’s surprise, the Emperor Cassynder’s reign did not last long. In two years, he was dead.

Uriel Lariat, Cassynder’s half-brother, the child of Katariah I and her Imperial consort Lariat, left the kingdom of Wayrest to reign as Uriel IV. Legally, Uriel IV was a Septim: Cassynder had adopted him into the family when he had become King of Wayrest. Nevertheless, to the Council and the people of Tamriel, he was a bastard child of Katariah. Uriel did not possess the dynamism of his mother, and his long forty-three year reign was a hotbed of sedition.

Uriel IV’s story is told in the third volume of this series.

Scroll to Top