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Systres History: Volume 7

Author: 
Trilam Heladren
By Trilam Heladren, Associate Dean of Eltheric History, University of Gwylim
 
After the fall of Potentate Versidue-Shaie in 2E 324, and his successor, Savrien Chorak in 2E 430, all of Tamriel collapsed into disarray. Pretender kings and savage conquerors sprang up like daisies in springtime, precipitating a painful realignment of continental rulership.
 
As vassals of the Gardner dynasty, the dukes of House Mornard nominally owed their allegiance to the kingdom of Wayrest. However, communication between the Systres Archipelago and the mainland remained unreliable in the early years of the Interregnum. Diplomatic missions were routinely waylaid by Redguard freebooters and Sea Elf marauders. When messages did arrive, House Mornard often ignored them, claiming they were lost at sea or intercepted by Elven spies. This inconsistent diplomacy allowed House Mornard to establish total hegemony over the islands, with one notable exception—the properties of House Dufort.
 
The barons of House Dufort owned small but valuable tracts of land across High Isle, and they used these parcels to confound the Mornards' plans whenever possible. The Duforts never passed up an opportunity to stick their thumb in House Mornard's eye—especially when the maneuver could increase their stock in King Gardner's court. This ceaseless needling led to a centuries-long dance of intrigues, assassinations, kidnappings, and at least one naval skirmish that claimed the life of a Dufort heir apparent. Finally, in 2E 478, Duke Ruffe Mornard seized a full third of House Dufort's lands and exiled its leadership to Amenos, claiming sedition against the crown with a raft of forged documents and forced testimony. The Gardners viewed the coup with suspicion, but had their own troubles with an ascendant Camlorn and left the matter unresolved.
 
House Mornard maintained its stranglehold on the archipelago until 2E 563. The Knahaten Flu swept through the province with alarming speed, slaying commoner and noble alike. As a shipping port, the Systres Archipelago suffered terribly—stricken by wave after wave of steadily escalating strains of the disease. In 2E 565, Duke Avrippe Mornard sealed the island off entirely, barring anyone from leaving or entering the archipelago. As a land dependent on trade, the Systres fell into total destitution. Wayrest, now under the rule of King Emeric, looked upon Avrippe with disfavor when the plague receded, as he had ensured his own safety and fortune at the expense of his people. The resurgent House Dufort watched and waited.
 
Shaken by Emeric's reproach, Avrippe Mornard looked to other noble houses to secure his position. When King Ranser of Shornhelm declared war on Wayrest in 2E 566, Avrippe threw in with Emeric's enemies, forsaking his ties of vassalage. Emeric leveraged his diplomatic bonds with an array of unlikely allies and crushed Ranser utterly at the Battle of Markwasten Moor. Once matters were settled on the mainland, Emeric turned his eyes to the Systres.
 
The High King meted out his justice swiftly. Emeric stripped Duke Avrippe of his title and exiled him to Cyrodiil, where he died a year later. Additionally, he seized a full two-thirds of the house's holdings and granted them to the Mornard's eternal foe, House Dufort. What remained of Mornard's land and fortune passed to Avrippe's son, Leonard, and as a final insult, Wayrest installed House Dufort as rulers of the Systres.
 
Today, the islands prosper under the rule of Duchess Elea Dufort. As in days of old, the Systres Archipelago serves as a port where all are welcome and where Tamriel can reach its full potential. It is a place of learning, deep tradition, maritime adventure, and enduring bonds of fellowship. A shining jewel in the Eltheric, where the fate of Tamriel's future may well be forged!