The Footsteps of Shezarr

Author: Sister Priscia Stolvo
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Demigods such as Pelinal Whitestrake or Morihaus the Winged Bull were not the first divine aid Men received in their struggle against the Ayleids. The myths of Shor’s campaigns to claim a place for Men in Atmora are well known to scholars. But less well known are Shor’s deeds in Tamriel afterward. A careful examination of Nedic oral traditions, documented haphazardly in the oldest Imperial texts, traces the outlines of a fascinating (if mostly forgotten) tale.

In the Middle Merethic Era, the Mer who would become the Ayleids left Summerset to carve out new realms for themselves in Tamriel. More advanced in both warmaking and the uses of magicka than the Nedic peoples who already lived there, at first they easily subjugated or drove away their new neighbors. But slowly, the divided Nedes began to resist the Ayleid advances.

Time and again in Nedic folklore, a “stranger” arrives to help ancient Men. This stranger comes as a teacher, an advisor, and a maker of alliances between tribes who otherwise would have fought alone. He is not a warrior-ruler like Shor, but instead a figure who inspires others to fight for themselves.

A Duraki legend mentions “Shezarr, who stole stoneworking from the Dwemer and taught Zinfara to call nirncrux from the mountain-roots.” A Perena tale claims that the Cult of Stars learned soul magic from a “white-bearded stranger.” Likewise, “Shezarr of the Snowy Beard” is said to give the secrets of Ayleid battle-magic to the Nedes of Cyrod, showing them how to turn their enemies’ arts against them. And, most fascinating of all, a stone tablet said to have been found in the ruins of Sedor depicts a bearded figure as “the Shezzarine, Shor-Who-Lives, Teacher of Men.”

Taken together, it seems these disparate tales show that Shezarr inspired many different tribes to resist Ayleid oppression. Yet the later Nedic sagas do not mention the wise stranger. Whatever part Shezarr—or Shor, in the guise of a teacher instead of a warrior—played in those days came to an end in the middle of the Merethic Era. But the ember of hope he gave to ancient Men sustained them through centuries of enslavement by the Ayleid Empire, until it at last blazed once again to inspire Saint Alessia’s rebellion.

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