History of Necrom: The City of the Dead

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Author (in-game): Meralyn Randas

Hopefully this primer will teach you to see beyond today, to all the things the past can teach us.


Did you know, no one can claim to know who founded the great city of Necrom? It’s true. Necrom was a city here at the mouth of the river thousands of years ago. Long before Azura’s curse. I won’t bore you with yet another lesson about the Tribunal, but the ancient city was a thing to behold, even in those ancient days.

The Chimer came to this region looking to make their own way in the world, to worship their own gods, who today we call the Daedric Princes. Fresh water and a defensible spit of land was the perfect spot for one of their early settlements. They built shrines to Boethiah, Mephala, and Azura, and put the many lessons they learned from their patrons into practice. As an example, they followed Boethiah’s teachings and built great wooden ramps to cross the chasm, which you can see still echoed in our marble causeways today.

Chimer culture has left behind so little we can see clearly. In the centuries after the curse, so many of our ancestors wanted to turn their backs on a past that they saw as no longer relevant to them. But here in the ancient city that became Necrom, we know that early stirrings of what would become Dunmer ancestor worship first separated from the kind that had been practiced by Altmer since before the beginning of recorded time. If Boethiah was the god-ancestor of our ancient people, it was at Necrom that our own ancestors began to rise to the fore.


Something about this city has always called to the dead. Even in the days of the Chimer, the writings of the time speak of how much easier it was to reach across the threshold and speak with those who had gone before. If life and death are just two parts of the same path, the ancients began to see Necrom as a waystation on that long and twisting road.

The ability to look inward, to see the merits of a family or clan’s ancestors and elevate them for their triumphs even beyond death, was a fundamental turning point for our people. This was, no doubt, happening across Chimer culture. After all, Boethiah made for a strong role model. But it was here at Necrom that veneration of a specific family’s slain kin became part of everyday life. I read an old story once about a family losing track of a tome that a dead relative had loved in life. They went to speak to his shade simply to discover where he had left it!nnAn amusing tale, but written for a purpose. The dead and the living both call Necrom home.


After Azura’s curse and the disappearance of the hated Dwemer, Necrom became a fixture in Dunmer culture that spread to the edge of the Ashlands. While cities of the dead can be found from Ebonheart to Vvardenfell, for centuries now Necrom has been “The” City of the Dead for our people as a whole. Whether they’re from a Great House or a small clan, rich or poor, renowned or unsung, penitents are welcome with open arms in Necrom.

You must see the city on festival days. The columns of mourners stream across every causeway, in some cases clogging the road from here to Bal Foyen. Incense fills their air in great plumes that rise to the sky, and the dead line the streets in great numbers to pay homage to the living as the living pay homage to the dead. It is quite a sight.

As you might imagine, living among the dead in this way has led to a unique outlook here within our precious white walls. Pay great respect to any departed you see walking the city streets, of course. Pay no mind to the hawkers and liars who clog the courtyards with claims to know the deepest secrets of those who have gone before. And if you hear a Necrom street artist tell a joke with a bit of a morbid edge to it, forgive them. Death is all around us, and that changes a person. Perhaps it will even change you!


Which, of course, brings us to today. When the Ebonheart Pact was formed and the Telvanni magisters refused to join the grand alliance, the Three wisely made a move to secure peace and security for the City of the Dead.

By setting it aside and allowing us to govern ourselves here in this “neutral” land, they ensured that all our people could continue to make the great pilgrimage. That no High Elf mistrust or Breton imperialism would close our gates or burn our temples.

Necrom stands alone, yet is also stands with us all.

And as we say to all who cross the causeway: Don’t be surprised if you leave something of yourself behind in the city, even as you take something of the city with you when you depart.

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