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Guide to Akavir

Adanorcil, Raptormeat

"We are a rare generation in Tamriel, when few of us have seen any denizen of Akavir. I suspect that we're lucky in that." - Carlovac Townway

Table of contents


Describing Akavir

    Tang Mo
    Other inhabitants

Tamriel-Akavir relations
    The invasion of 1E 2702
    The Second Empire
    The Potentates
    Kamal invades
    Uriel V

Influence on Tamriel


Akavir (translated as "Dragon Land") is the exotic continent to the east of Tamriel, and is said to be "the kingdom of beasts". Though Akavir may sound too bestial to take notice of at first glance, it is an important figure and influence in Tamriel's history. Akavir has influenced Tamriel for countless centuries, both in times of peace and in times of war, as the two continents have always had a tumultuous relationship.

The following document is an attempt to bundle all accessible sources about the continent of Akavir, its inhabitants and its influence on Tamriel and to present them in a comprehensible way.


Describing Akavir

For many, the mysterious Akavir lies far beyond the eastern horizon, on the vague border between legend and reality. To the common man, it holds as much meaning as the position of the stars or the workings of some complicated Dwemeri device. But what the common man does remember about this strange land is its frightening and hostile reputation. In the words of Carlovac Townway, author of novels such as the famous 2920 series:

We are a rare generation in Tamriel, when few of us have seen any denizen of Akavir. I suspect that we're lucky in that.

Through repeated invasions of Tamriel, Akavir has gained the reputation of being Tamriel's arch nemesis. Combine this with the tendency of stories to get more embellished and less accurate as time goes by; the smallest child will understand that what has been written about Akavir always has to be treated with some criticism. Listed below are the prime sources used while writing this document, with a few remarks in regard to their credibility. 

  • Mysterious Akavir: Mysterious Akavir is by far the most informative book there is to find on the subject of Akavir. It is, however, also the only book that mentions many specific aspects of the land that are not confirmed anywhere else. While that in itself is no reason to question its authority, it should also be noted that the author is anonymous and the time and circumstances of its first publishing are unknown. There is also not a clue as to how the writer procured this information. Many scholars wonder whether the book was intentionally written in an overly sensational -and thus inaccurate- style.
  • 2920, The Last Year Of the First Era: This extensive series of books describes the events in the last year of the First Era. Of particular interest are the actions of the Tsaesci Potentate Versidue-Shaie and his entourage that lead to the supremacy of the Potentates until the end of the Second Empire. Townway is a renowned author, known for his thorough historical research.
  • The Story of Lyrisius: A very old legend about a man named Lyrisius who defeats a full Akaviri army with the help of a dragon. Source and accuracy are questionable.
  • History of the Fighters Guild: A historical account of the origin of the Fighters Guild as a group of Akaviri mercenaries during the Second Era. Prized for its detailed description of Akaviri armor or rather, the lack thereof.
  • Report of the Imperial Commission on the Disaster at Ionith: A report describing Uriel V's failed invasion of Akavir. The report is neutral in tone and very detailed. It hints at yet undiscovered properties and powers of the continent itself, or of its inhabitants.
  • Pocket Guide to the Empire, edition 2E 864: Chapter Cyrodiil: The official encyclopedic reference book of the Empire. The chapter on Cyrodiil has detailed information about the Potentates and Akaviri in Tamriel during the Second Empire. Later editions of the Pocket Guide admitted the original's propagandistic tone. Though the propaganda was generally directed towards the Aldmer, it is still a good indication to take all information in this document with a grain of salt.



According to most sources, Akavir is divided into four major nations - Tang Mo, Kamal, Tsaesci and Ka Po'Tun. Each of these nations is the dominion of one of the four great races of Akavir, who share their name with their respective lands. (Whether this nomenclature is correct or not, remains to be seen. It might be based on Tamrielic ignorance, though the people from Tsaesci are known to refer to themselves as "Tsaesci". In lack of a better term, it is customary to refer to denizens of Tang Mo as "the Tang Mo", just as we call the people from Ka'Po'Tun "the Ka'Po'Tun" and the creatures from Kamal "the Kamal".)

It should be noted that, apart from the Tsaesci, the Akaviri races have not been described by modern scholars. While tales that survive from the Potentates describe these races in great detail, it is unknown how literally they should be taken, given the possible mistranslation of the complex Tsaesci language.

Note: When discussing the Akaviri, keep in mind that although there are many different beast-people in Akavir, the majority of the Tamrielic populace associates the word "Akavir" with the Tsaesci, the race of Serpent Men who invaded Tamriel in the 28th century of the First Era and continued to have a profound influence on the Empire in the following centuries. The two names are easily confused in historic sources.

The Monkey People of Tang Mo

Tang Mo is translated as "Thousand Monkey Isles". The inhabitants are said to be simian in appearance, though probably distinct from the ape-like Imga of Valenwood. Despite of their many different breeds, they are all simple, brave and lighthearted.

Tang Mo is the "Thousand Monkey Isles". There are many breeds of monkey-folk, and they are all kind, brave, and simple (and many are also very crazy). They can raise armies when they must, for all of the other Akaviri nations have, at one time or another, tried to enslave them. They cannot decide who they hate more, the Snakes or the Demons, but ask one, and he will probably say, "Snakes". Though once bitter enemies, the monkey-folk are now allies with the tiger-folk of Ka Po'Tun. (Mysterious Akavir)

The Tang Mo apparently have had to defend their lands from all of the other nations and have always succeeded so far. The alliance with the Ka'Po'Tun (greatest enemies of the Tsaesci) may have been a shrewd political move. The Tang Mo are perhaps the most obscure race of Akavir. Apart from Mysterious Akavir, they are scarcely mentioned.

The Snow Demons of Kamal

Kamal is said to mean "Snow Hell" and it may seem as the most horrendous area of all of Akavir. Kamal is populated by a race of Snow Demons who launch periodic attacks on the other nations, Tang Mo in particular, as soon as temperatures (in the presumably arctic climate of their homeland) allow it.

Kamal is "Snow Hell". Demons live there, armies of them. Every summer they thaw out and invade Tang Mo, but the brave monkey-folk always drive them away. Once Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, a king among demons, attempted to conquer Morrowind, but Almalexia and the Underking destroyed him at Red Mountain. (Mysterious Akavir)

The Tiger-Dragons of Ka'Po'Tun

The great enemies of Tsaesci are the Ka'Po'Tun. According to Mysterious Akavir, they are (tiger-like) "cat-folk", though it is not know to what extent they are similar to the various types of Khajiit. Their leader, Tosh Raka, is a different case. This reputably divine being was the first of his race to succeed at becoming a dragon. This process may be metaphorical or not, but Mysterious Akavir leads us to believe the change was indeed physical and that Tosh Raka has all the characteristics of a dragon, with a tiger-like coloring. Under the rulership of Tosh Raka, the former Po'Tun was renamed to Ka'Po'Tun and it became a rival to the supremacy of Tsaesci.

Ka Po' Tun is the "Tiger-Dragon's Empire". The cat-folk here are ruled by the divine Tosh Raka, the Tiger-Dragon. They are now a very great empire, stronger than Tsaesci (though not at sea). After the Serpent-Folk ate all the Men, they tried to eat all the Dragons. They managed to enslave the Red Dragons, but the black ones had fled to (then) Po Tun. A great war was raged, which left both the cats and the snakes weak, and the Dragons all dead. Since that time the cat-folk have tried to become the Dragons. Tosh Raka is the first to succeed. He is the largest Dragon in the world, orange and black, and he has very many new ideas.

"First," Tosh Raka says, "is that we kill all the vampire snakes." Then the Tiger-Dragon Emperor wants to invade Tamriel. (Mysterious Akavir)

According to Mysterious Akavir, it is Tosh Raka's prime goal to destroy the Tsaesci empire and once this impressive task is completed, he plans on invading Tamriel. If this is true, we cannot begin to imagine what horrors the Ka'Po'Tun could unleash on Tamriel, especially in this uncertain time when there is no heir to the Imperial throne.

The Serpent-Folk of Tsaesci

The Tsaesci are by the far the most (in)famous race of Akavir and the one that has left the most lasting impression on Tamriel. At the same time, they are the race that is most shrouded in controversy. Tamriel's encounters with the Tsaesci were so various and frequent that their actual description has become entangled in legend. Whether the Tsaesci are like snakes in appearance or only in a metaphoric way is still a mystery. There are sources to consolidate either theory, though the sources describing them as actual snakes slightly outnumber the others. Mysterious has the following to say on them:

Tsaesci is "Snake Palace", once the strongest power in Akavir (before the Tiger-Dragon came). The serpent-folk ate all the Men of Akavir a long time ago, but still kind of look like them. They are tall, beautiful (if frightening), covered in golden scales, and immortal. They enslave the goblins of the surrounding isles, who provide labor and fresh blood. The holdings of Tsaesci are widespread. When natives of Tamriel think of the Akaviri they think of the Serpent-Folk, because one ruled the Cyrodilic Empire for four hundred years in the previous era. He was Potentate Versidue-Shaie, assassinated by the Morag Tong. (Mysterious Akavir)

This parapgraph in Mysterious Akavir is particularly open to interpretation. Scholars wonder if the Tsaesci could litteraly have eaten the legendary Men of Akavir or whether it is a misinterpretation of a metaphor or a mistranslation or simply something alltogether different. Their immortality is also being questioned, as some say it may simply be longevity similar to that of Elves, which may indeed come across as immortality for shorter-lived mortals. The same goes for their vampirism; some scholars blame the idea on the serpentine fangs the Tsaesci may possess and the demonisation of their race in Tamriel. 

Other inhabitants

Finally, there are also a number of other beings that are said to live or have lived in Akavir.


Until shortly, the only evidence to presume the existence of men in Akavir was a short reference from Mysterious Akavir, as quoted in the previous paragraphs. However, recently with the rediscovery of Pale Pass, new light has been shed on this matter. Scholars are beginning to theorise that the Akaviri men may even have set foot on Tamriel. More information on this subject follows in the chapter on Pale Pass.


Dragons are perhaps the most famous of Akavir's denizens, as the continent derives its name from them. According to Mysterious Akavir, the dragons (subdivided into red and black dragons) all perished in a cataclysmic war between the Tsaesci and Po'Tun.


Tamriel-Akavir relations

The influence of Akavir on Tamriel can not be denied. Tamriel would not have looked the same if it hadn't been for the almost constant - often hostile - interaction between the Akaviri and the Tamrielians and the waves of cultural renewal it brought about.

The earliest record of Akaviri is the Story of Lyrisius. The story as we have it today, sounds a lot like a romanticized embellishment of an older story. The events are dated in "ancient times" without any futher indication of time or place. Historically accurate or not, it does suggest that the Tamrielians had had encounters with Akaviri very early in or even before recorded history.

There are many obscure references to Akaviri pirates which are said to have scoured the shores of Tamriel in early times and which may have been scouts for the later invasions. Stories survive of beastfolk with rat-like or canine features, suggesting Akaviri cultures yet undiscovered or perhaps extinct.

The invasion of 1E 2702

In 1E 2702, the entire population of the city of Wayrest is forced to take refuge in the walled Gardner Estate, to escape a group of Akaviri pirates. The timeframe of this event suggests that these raiders may actually have been the vanguard of the coming invasion. During the next months, the Akaviri invaders sweep through Tamriel. They remain unstoppable until Reman I rallies the troops of the Colovian Estate and convinces the armies of the Nibenay Valley to join his. The Akaviri are defeated at Pale Pass, an icy mountain pass in the Jerall mountains between Cyrodiil and Skyrim. More information about these matters can be found in the chapter on Pale Pass.

The Second Empire

With the support of both Colovia and Nibenay and with the military triumph over the Akaviri, Reman now has the opportunity to unite Cyrodiil and establish a new empire. The Aldmer, opposed to human imperialism, become the greatest obstacle in his vision of a united Tamrielic empire. To be able to oppose them, Reman makes an unexpected tactical move. He grants the defeated Akaviri amnesty and recruits many of them into his service, taking profit from their superior military and tactical knowledge.

The restructured Imperial legions, which learned an unparalleled measure of coherence, logistics, and discipline from the Akaviri, began to easily overwhelm the other regional armies; soon every region in Tamriel belonged to Cyrodiil except for Morrowind. (Pocket Guide to the Empire, edition 2E 864: Chapter Cyrodiil)

The Akaviri soon found their way into all aspects of governing an Empire. They helped establish the base of Cyrodiil's administrative, political and legal systems and the Empire in general benefited from the influence of the sophisticated Akaviri. A Tsaesci was appointed Potentate, the chief advisor and confidant of the Emperor. With their help, the Second Empire entered a golden age that would last for over two centuries.

The Potentates during the Second Era

In the year 2920, the Cyrodiilic Empire, now lead by Reman III, finally succeeds at subdueing Morrowind. In that same year, Reman III is assassinated and his only son, Prince Juilek, dies. The Emperor's chief advisor, the Potentate, who was traditionally of Akaviri descent, immediately assumes the responsibility of ruling the Empire. To mark this event, Versidue-Shaie, the new Tsaesci leader of the Empire declares that moment to be the end of an epoch and thus ushers in the Second Era. In the words of Carlovac Townway:

"The Cyrodiil line is dead," announced the Potentate to the crowd gathered beneath the Speaker's Balcony of the Imperial Palace. "But the Empire lives. The distant relatives of our beloved Emperor have been judged unworthy of the throne by the trusted nobility who advised his Imperial Majesty throughout his long and illustrious reign. It has been decided that as an impartial and faithful friend of Reman III, I will have the responsibility of continuing on in his name."

"As my first act, I declare that in commemoration of this historical moment, beginning on the first of Morning Star, we will enter year one of the Second Era as time will be reckoned. Thus, we mourn the loss of our Imperial family, and look forward to the future." (2920, The Last Year Of the First Era, Chapter 12)

As the Second Era progressed, the Empire slowly fell prey to an increasingly strong centrifugal mentality. The Potentate was faced with rebellion local rulers again began to challenge Imperial rule. In 2E 283, at the height of the rebellion, Versidue-Shaie realises that he has to prevent his Empire from desintegrating and attempts the unthinkable: during thirty-seven years of bloodshed, the Potentate crushes all uprisings, but at a high cost. The Imperial treasury is left depleted, the Legions have been decimated and large parts of Tamriel are impoverished or destroyed. In 320, to prevent complete anarchy, Dinieras-Ves, a kinsman of Versidue-Shaie, forms an organisation of mercenaries. The Syffim, after the Tsaesci word for "soldiers" originally existed of Akaviri only, but it quickly became obvious that Tamrielians would be needed, even if it was just to make up for the acute shortage of Akaviri warriors. Not much later, the organisation was renamed and the Fighters Guild was born.

A mere four years later, in 324, Versidue-Shaie is assassinated by the Morag Tong in his palace in current day Senchal. His son, Savirien-Chorak, takes his place. The Morag Tong is outlawed, but in the following years, ex-members form a splinter group called "The Dark Brotherhood". Savirien-Chorak rules for little over a century, until he too is assassinated in 430, this time by the Dark Brotherhood. This events marks the end of the Second Empire.

Kamal invades

During the following centuries, Tamriel is cast into chaos, but the Akaviri do not play an important role in history. The book "The Arcturian Heresy" records that Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, a Snow Demon King of Kamal, attempts to invade Morrowind around 2E 547. The Underking and Almalexia halt his efforts at Red Mountain. Not much more is known about this invasion. The name "dir-Kamal" can be found in some other documents, but details about it are sketchy at best.

Uriel V's invasion of Akavir

It is only many years later, deep into the 3rd Era and the 3rd Empire, that Akavir and Tamriel come into close contact again, but this time, Tamriel takes the initiative. When Uriel V takes the Imperial throne, his empire is in disarray. In an effort to turn the attention away from internal strife, he begins a number of invasions, the most ambitious of which is the conquest of Akavir, beginning around 3E 285. Two years after he set foot in Akavir, Uriel gets killed. The invasion is crushed and the Imperials are forced to abandon the continent.

Since then, Akavir has ceased its hostilities towards Tamriel and its influence has gradually declined. The reasons for this are unknown. Maybe internal struggle is preventing the Akaviri from concentrating their efforts on Tamriel or perhaps they are planning a new strike?




Before The Second Empire

- Lyrisius defeats the armies of Akavir, halting their raids of Tamriel. (legend)
- Akaviri scouts explore Tamrielic coasts.


1E 2702

The entire city of Wayrest flees into the walls of the Gardner's Estate to escape Akaviri pirate raiders and the Thrassian Plague.


1E 2703

Reman I defeats the Akavir forces at Pale Pass in Skyrim. This act begins the 2nd Empire


1E 2920

Reman III, the last of the Reman line, is assassinated by the Morag Tong. Potentate Versidue-Shaie assumes control of the Empire.


2E 283

Versidue-Shaie starts a campaign to forcefully suppress all rebellion in his disintegrating empire.


2E 320

After thirty-seven years of violence, all uprisings have been crushed. The Empire is left impoverished. Dinierias-Ves founds an organisation of warriors that will later become the Fighters Guild.


2E 324

Potentate Versidue-Shaie is assassinated by the Morag Tong. The Morag Tong is outlawed.


2E 430

Potentate Savirien-Chorak is assassinated by the Dark Brotherhood. The Second Empire ends and an age of chaos and insurrection begins.


ca. 2E 547

Ada’Soom Dir-Kamal, an Snow Demon King of Kamal, attempts to invade Morrowind. The Underking and Almalexia halt his efforts at Red Mountain.


3E 270

Emporer Uriel Septim V conceives the plan of conquering Akavir. He begins with the conquest of a number of smaller islands in between Tamriel and Akavir.


3E 271

Roscrea is conquered.


3E 276

Cathnoquey is conquered.


3E 279

Yneslea is conquered.


3E 284

After the completion of the conquest of Esrionet under the leadership of Prince Bashomon, Uriel can now devote his full attention to Akavir.


3E 285-286

Several expeditions are launched to scout the sea lanes and coastlands of Akavir. On the basis of all this information, the kingdom of the Tsaesci, in the southwest of Akavir, is selected as the initial target for the invasion.


3E 288

The Imperial navy with Uriel V himself sets foot in Akavir, thus beginning the invasion. Two Tsaesci cities (renamed to Septimia and Ionith) fall to the Imperials, practically withoutresistance.


3E 288-289

The winter storm season is unusually long and exceptionally severe, and cuts down the supply line between Tamriel and Akavir. Tsaesci raiders start to attack the Imperial settlements.


3E 290

A large Tsaesci force attacks Ionith. Uriel V is killed by arrows while defending the city. Few survivors escape to bring the news to Septimia. Eventually Septimia too is abandoned, and the the Imperial forces leave Akavir. The invasion of Akavir has failed.



Influence on Tamriel

Many traces of Akaviri culture can still be seen in Tamriel today.


The Akaviri, and the Tsaesci in particular, are known for their superb knowledge of crafting weapons. From the dagger-like tanto to the mighty dai-katana, all Akaviri weapons are considered to be good, if not better alternatives for their straight Tamrielic counterparts.

Tanro Tanto

"The tanto is a stylish dagger variant of Akaviri design. For obscure reasons, the Telvanni prefer them to standard daggers as a matrix for their enchantments, and Telvanni mercenaries are often equipped with enchanted tantos by their mage-lord patrons." - Garothmuk gro-Muzgub, smith


Wakizashi Wakizashi

"Like other exotic blades of Akaviri design, the wakizashi is an elegant and refined single-edged version of the more common double-edged longswords of Western design. Because the weapons themselves are rare, and few smiths know how to make them, they are not common in Morrowind." - Garothmuk gro-Muzgub, smith

Katana Katana

"Elegant and efficient, the Akaviri katana is too expensive and sophisticated a weapon to be popular with the Legions or hero-adventurers, but well-heeled nobles, collectors, and swordmasters prize the blade for its superior balance and effectiveness." - Garothmuk gro-Muzgub, smith











Daikatana Dai-Katana

"These exotic two-handed, single-edged long blades of Akaviri design are neither common nor popular for military or private use. They are superb examples of weaponcraft, but expensive and subtle in technique." - Garothmuk gro-Muzgub, smith











Dragonscale Armor Dragonscale armor

The Akaviri imported this rare medium-weight armor, which -as its name would suggest- has large scales fashioned into it in various places. It is not known whether these scales are authentic dragon scales or just artificial imitations made from metal or some unknown material.










Blades Armor Blades armor

The Blades are secretive order of knights sworn to protect the Emperor. Their armor was based on Akaviri designs. The first Blades are likely to have been Akaviri captives in the service of Emperor Reman. The armor is very ornate and also quite heavy. Nevertheless it suits the order in its role to protect the Emperor. Furthermore, the Blades also emulate the Akaviri in their choice of weapons and banners.













Akaviri influenced banner

The most potent symbol of the Empire and the Imperial crown, the dragon banner, is said to be based on an Akaviri design as well. Some sources claim that the Akaviri long ago rode red dragons as mounts in war.









As late as the end of the Second Era, Cyrodiilics who could trace their lineage to an Akaviri source were the better for it. During their long stay in Tamriel, human and Akaviri bloodlines have apprently intermingled. The exact anatomic circumstances remain a mystery and perhaps the "mixing" of bloodlines only happened by means of adoption. However, it is said that there are trace facial features of the Akaviri in many distinguished Cyrodilic families. In the past, many scholars wondered how the Tsaesci facial traits may have entered the human Cyrodiilic population. Even if a Tsaesci and a human could produce offspring, who would have chosen a Tsaesci as a partner?

Some scholars now theorise that the Tsaesci invasion may also have brought Akaviri humans to Tamriel, so the people of Tamriel may have married with the human Akaviri instead. (In this case, especially the nobility, who may have considered an Akaviri partner as a good diplomatic move or a chance to gain status within the Imperial court.).

Akaviri surnames are often still a sign of nobility in Cyrodiil, and they are a source of awe and respect in Tamriel. At the time of the publishing of the first Pocket Guide to the Empire, some colonies of "true Akaviri" are said to have existed in the Empire, though these were named so for their practices and customs rather than for the purity of their blood.


Cloud Ruler Temple

There are not many examples of Akaviri architecture to be found in Tamriel. The most noteable relic of Akaviri engineering is the mighty Cloud Ruler Temple, the headquarters of the Blades, high in the Jerall Mountains of northern Cyrodiil. Its curved roofs and lavish use of wooden artwork clearly sets it apart from all other forts in the Empire. Cloud Ruler Temple has always served as the last bastion of the Blades, as it was since it was designed by its Akaviri constructors to be an almost impregnable fortress.

Another example of Akaviri influence on the architecture of Tamriel is the Tonenaka, an Akaviri shrine in Rimmen, which reputedbly houses a thousand statues.