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So What Happened? A Tale of Two Centuries

  • Member
    July 2, 2014

    Disclaimer: This is an article of our former member, renown Loremaster Vix, acknowledged by Bethesda themselves. It ended up being deleted and I'm merely reposting it.


    Okay, we had the question before “what happened in two hundred years?” The answer, a lot. More over, the shifting political and social landscape is far more fluid than we've given it credit for. But to fully realize it, let's start at the beginning and work forward two hundred years.



    The First Twenty Years: Aftermath of Oblivion

    There was a lot more to the Oblivion crisis than what we saw strictly in Cyrodiil. The individual provinces of the Septim dynasty empire were under siege as well. The books 'The Rising Threat' made it clear that at least the Summerset Isles were affected in the crisis. It's wise to at least be mindful that it's a very anti-Thalmor series in a politically heated time. Heretic circles conjured terrible creatures from Oblivion and while they were suppressed the final act was the destruction of the Crystal Tower, one of the oldest structures in Tamriel and the center for magical learning only surpassed by the Arcane University.


    The end of the Oblivion crisis heralded a number of new things. High Chancellor Ocato had seized the Elder Council and tried to rule through it as a stabilizing measure. He himself tried to place forward a bit to select a new Emperor. Instead, he found there was no one suitable and became the first Potentate since the Akaviri in the post Reman Empire.


    The time in between Ocato's rise and the more solid dates involve Vivec disappeared and the Ministry of Truth crashed down into the city causing the annihilation of Vvardefell. That alone caused a social decapitation in Morrowind, destroying the elites and business leaders and causing widespread panic that wouldn't be quelled. The Impact also caused the eruption of Red Mountain, the largest volcano in Tamriel.


    It was about the same time that Black Marsh seceded from the empire and the Elsweyr confederacy left shortly after that. The secession of Black Marsh allowed for an Argonian invasion of mainland Morrowind. The panic and confusion had crippled the Dunmer province and made it prey for their invaders who drove most of the Dunmer from their lands mostly to Skyrim, presumably the Eastern sections of Cyrodiil, and the island of Soltheim.


    Like the previous Potentate Ocato was soon assassinated beginning the 'Stormcrown Interregnum' which would last for for seven years. He wasn't the only one, apparently the Mane of Elsweyr was assassinated at some point as well but the details of who, why, and when are all nebulous as it was given a cursory passing mention. While there were many potentials and contenders in that time the Colovian warlord Titus Mede ascends the throne and occupies the Imperial city, thus proclaiming himself Emperor. He has a son, the first in his ruling line, Attrebus Mede in 4E 18 which is the first solid date we have.


    The Elven Era: Rise of the Thalmor

    By now I'm assuming people know who the Thalmor are, for those uninitiated they're a league of Altmer/Bosmer that reestablished the old Aldmeri Dominion crushed at the time of Tiber Septim. With that in mind they were reformed in 4E 22 and overtook the Summerset isles, renaming it Alinor. 'The Rising Threat' series says they instituted a number of pogroms to kill any non Aldmeri minded individual as well as the monarchy (It smacks of the Reign of Terror and the French Revolution). But it also claimed that the Thalmor incited the Argonians to invade Morrowind and that was quite a number of years before. A number of Altmer, still loyal to the Empire, left and tried to take warning to the Imperial City where they were ignored.


    In seven years the Thalmor invaded Valenwood, taking the loyalist Bosmer and their Imperial allies by surprise. Despite the Imperials having the benefit of numbers and contingents of Bosmer, the Altmer were already set up for an attack and had many infiltrators and spies. They concentrated themselves into a number of sub-armies constituting strong Altmer professional corps and skirmishers which harassed, deferred, and outmaneuvered Imperial armies while seizing isolated holds. The war didn't last long, and ultimately this victory caused a rift between Bosmer which dispersed a number into Imperial held territories. For the victory the Thalmor of Alinor proclaimed it the start of the Aldmeri Dominion. In response, Penitus Oculatus agents began smuggling in arms to small scale resistance groups in Valenwood and any dissidents which were usually comprised of half elves. It seemed to be, in effect, a vicious proxy war between the Empire and Dominion, using the Bosmer in particular as pawns to cause instability.


    Umbriel, the floating 'doom' city appeared over Black Marsh and into Morrowind, destroying everything in its way and destroying several major cities including Lilmoth in Black Marsh. Most of this is old news, what we have now is something else.


    There's just one other little oddity that should be noted before we get to the more interesting later half of the timeline. In 4E 98 the two moons Masser and Secunda disappeared in an event called 'The Void Night'. For two years they disappear and in the most peculiar event (given the Elves hatred for Lorkhan) the Thalmor took responsibility for its return to the skies. (This sort of gives credence to the Camoran notion that all of Nirn is really just another Oblivion realm looking out at the others)


    Re-emergence: The Second Century

    The Khajiit of Elsweyr, while independent, had remained somewhat conjoined to the Empire for external affairs quite posibly because they lacked a Mane though it may have also been tradition. With the Thalmor gaining credit for the Lunar recovery after the Void Night, and given the Khajiit's enormous dependence culturally and even physically on the moon (moon sugar and their own morphology are lunar dependent), they were greatly swayed towards the Aldmeri Dominion though still remained separate.


    Fifteen years later Elsweyr is no more. It was split and becomes the two original constituting Kingdoms of Anequina and Pelletine. Both of these realms remain nominally independent but are accepted under the aegis of the Aldmeri Dominion. This seems to herald a time of relative peace but like all things it doesn't last forever. Half a century later Titus Mede II ascends the throne and can likely be credited for what shape the Empire is currently in.


    The Great War:

    On the 30th of Frostfall 4E 171 the Aldmeri Dominion sent ambassadors to the Imperial City. They came with gifts but also asked for a large number of concessions including tribute, the dissolution of the Blades, and tracts of Hammerfell territory. Despite military and political backing in support for the peace accord Titus II rejected this overture.


    Thus began the Great War (appropriately found in a book called 'The Great War'). The Aldmeri Dominion invades Hammerfell, starting the conflict after Titus Mede II, the current Emperor, rejects negotiations of the Thalmor ambassadors to ensure peace. The Hammerfell armies consisting of the X Legion amongst others seem to have taken the brunt of the invasion and held despite the surprise attack. An Altmer general, Naarifin, takes a second army from the Elsweyr and invades Cyrodiil, catching the legion entirely unprepared taking Anvil in the process. The southern states of the Empire up to the Nibanese basin including Bravil and Layawiin are likewise lost and a navel battle occurred on Lake Rumare. Soon after a third Aldmeri Dominion army under Lady Arannelya marches past the boarders into Hammerfell. Disaster is averted through the Imperial legions arriving from High Rock and a bloody battle is waged which halts the Thalmor at Skaven.


    Fresh from the campaign in southern Cyrodiil the Aldmeri armies encircle the Imperial city. In a last ditch attempt Titus Mede II sallys-forth from the city and evacuated his main army northward to Bruma. The plan was to link up with more Nord reinforcements under General Jonna. The Imperial city falls after a protracted battle with the single sacrificial VIII legion defending the walls. The ensuing ransack damages the White Gold tower and slaughters a great many of the civilians (I'll note it right here right now, this is quite normal behavior prior to the modern era. It might seem brutal but this is pretty much how sieges function, the question of surrender or fighting means it was a fight to the death and is understood as normal under the usual edicts governing warfare.)


    A combined Imperial/Nord army takes to the field a year later in 4E 175 the Battle of Red Ring (Dreams of Sovngarde, The Great War). Three Legions, two Imperial and one Nord advance in three separate wings on the Imperial City. Over the course of five days the Aldmeri Dominion's forces were crushed which put Titus Mede II in a good position to sue for peace.


    The White-Gold Concordat:

    This peace made possible through a treaty called the White-gold Concordat. In essence, it allowed a great number of concessions to the Aldmeri Dominion and allows for Thalmor ambassadors, extra-territorial judicial rights, the end of the Blades as a single coherent body which were later replaced by the group called the Penitus Oculatus. More over, the worship of Talos is banned by this treaty. In other words, it was nearly identical to the peace treaty rejected four years earlier. It was accepted by Mede and passed ratification in Cyrodiil, Skyrim, and presumably High Rock but failed in Hammerfell.


    Despite large tracts of land being conquered by the Aldmer Hammerfell refuses to ratify the treaty and as such they were renounced by the Emperor and seceded from the Empire. As of now the Cyrodiilic Empire consists solely of parts of Cyrodiil, High Rock, and Skyrim. In the meantime the Hammerfell armies resumed their actions and continued the fight. This dragged on and eventually a separate peace was signed known as the second treaty of M'kai which saw the Aldmeri entirely withdraw from Hammerfell in 4E 180.


    So, that's what we know. Strange, it's only from a few books. Of course if there's more I'd be happy to hear about it. Skyrim is, lets just say, rich in cultural material and out of the many hundreds of volumes it's easy to overlook cooperative or contradictory facts.