Systres History: Volume 1

Author: Trilam Heladren

By Trilam Heladren, Associate Dean of Eltheric History, University of Gwylim

The islands of the Systres Archipelago have a long and tumultuous history that stretches back at least as far as the First Era.

The first accounts of the island come from the writings of druids—Y'ffre-worshiping Bretons who fled High Rock to escape an increasingly hostile Direnni Hegemony around 1E 330. This was a turbulent period in High Rock history, given the jockeying for power between the Direnni Elves and the increasingly puritanical Alessian Empire. The Alessian Order suffered no deviation from orthodoxy and likely purged some of the druids as Meriphilic heretics. Likewise, the ascendant Direnni Hegemony viewed them as a potential threat to Elven interests in High Rock. The druids openly advocated druidic governance of the province, making them a target for virtually every faction in northwestern Tamriel.

Whether pushed out by House Direnni or departing of their own accord, legends indicate that the druids made the perilous voyage to the Systres Archipelago by following a mysterious "song" the eldest druids heard on the wind. Other legends state that they carried an Elder Scroll with them and followed its guidance to the shores of their new adopted home, Y'ffelon.

We regrettably know very little about these early days on the archipelago, as most of the records were burned during the Sinistral invasion of 1E 660. According to druid orthodoxy, however, the first Draoife harnessed the power of the Earthbones to transform the scarred, volcanic island into a verdant paradise. Most scholars consider this account apocryphal, but I have found evidence of an abundant period shortly after the druids' arrival.

This golden age precipitated a swift expansion of druids across the archipelago and beyond. Priest-navigators set out on enchanted vessels, kindling life on every barren rock and bleached coral they came upon. This period was not without strife. These "three mornings of sail" witnessed the rise of the druidic "Circles"—three distinct cultural sects. Religious scholars like Otho Calatorius and Tilnendarion of Lillandril believe that each priest's distinct experience on the high seas—and perhaps the races they interacted with—gave rise to new beliefs. These new doctrinal schisms that set Stonelore, Eldertide, and Firesong Circles apart nearly erupted into open conflict. As fortune would have it, however, a threat from beyond their shores would spell the end of druid supremacy in the Systres.

Scroll to Top