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The Redguard: Part 1

  • 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.




    Picking up after we left off with the not quite so popular Altmer race we'll take a look at one of the least popular human races. The Redguard. Now, this isn't quite as long as the Dwemer on the whole (of course) but there's still a lot of information. So I've decided to split it up into two sections. First will cover the Redguards as a people including their society and religion while the second will deal with the history of the Redguard from their roots in Yokuda to modern Hammerfell at the end of the Great War. As always, it's a overview from a lot of sources so it might be deliberately contradictory and is not absolutely infallible.






    Alright, we'll get the most controversial seeming issue out of the way first. The Redguards are a separate race of humans compared to all the other groups we know. That is, they are not from Atmora and have absolutely no connection to the other humans (The Annotated Anuad, however that also claims the Tsaesci are men which was repudiated a number of times as well). The name Redguard comes from a corrupted form of Ra'Gada which was the name of the first Yokudan warriors to seize Hammerfell in 1E 808. The Redguard people themselves seem to be able to live a considerably long life, a poet Destri Melarg lived until he was 113 when he died. This, in conjunction with several Nord Kings, seems to suggest the Nirn races of men have some variation regarding longevity and were longer than our medieval counterparts.


    The Redguard arean exceptionally diverse people. While the people of some cities adopt fashions directly from other places such as Elinhir who adopt Colovian tastes others revert to tribal or even primitive styles of clothing; such is the case in Rihad where people can go around naked. The native 'desert' people are hostile of foreigners the cosmopolitans are less so following an initial period of concern. This may be mostly culture dealing with the aftermath of the A'tor and crown rule, or Orsinium conflicts, or the general friction between themselves and the other humans with notable exception of the Cyrodillic people (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). They seem to have a long standing tradition which is both precise and substantial compared to the other humans after the Interregnum which was the equivalent of the Dark Ages. One of the reasons may be the predominance of memory stones, a device that is used to capture thoughts in records. One of the few points of agreement between the various cultural groups and factions of the Redguards is the universal disdain for eastern forms of magic which they call Nudri-hi.


    Redguard are considered poor Imperial soldiers for a number of reasons: they are said to be stubborn, haughty, easily provoked, immensely prideful, and obsessed with personal honor to the exclusion of all else. While some of this is well deserved, notable for routing the Orcs with relative ease as well as their independent nature revolving around cultural separation when it comes to origins, there is also a good deal of friction with external authority.


    On the whole the Redguards refuse to defer to superiors and likewise refuse disciplinary actions. This has led to a single major security problem, Hammerfall has no standing army. The only localized forces, historically, have been either Imperial Legion and local militias formed on a 'as needed' basis. There is one other group though they are as splintered as the realm itself. Knightly orders are quite common. These are feudal in nearly every respect having been raised by local lords they are entrusted to regional rulers. These groups are exceptionally dangerous given their well equipped nature and esprit de corps. That same high moral is formed by each recruit undergoing a plethora of rigorous and often very deadly tasks which are also used in place of formal discipline. Some knightly groups can be misconstrued as Racist, the Order of Diagna was formed to counter Orcs and they have an annual recreation of the Siege of Orsinium where new recruits are made to 'play' orcs for their betters to 'slay'.


    Compared to the knight's 'play' it seems that most of the cosmopolitan works are around for entertainment, and the cities have become a retreat for Breton and Colovians who associate well with the Redguards, yet the Redguards themselves are known for 'bizarre morality plays' (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). The single architectural feature they all have in common is each household in Hammerfell has an alcove by the heath, it has a single object in it Hunding no Shira's work the Book of Circles (Redguards, Their History and Their Heroes).


    One of the oddities of Redguard culture is that nothing is considered of value unless it is fought for on some level (the Alik'r). This may be as a direct result of their generally more desperate survival from the time of Yokuda or it may be a development stemming from the original Hammerfall invasion. Nevertheless, while they are a conquering race they seem to absorb other cultures far more readily than other cultures. In fact, the Redguard have formed many things into a semblance of the order dictated by other cultures. Many of the traditional festivals of the previous peoples as well as Yokuda tradition were changed to fit their present circumstances. (Holidays of the Iliac bay).


    There is a great deal of boarder strife originating from disputes between the two sections of people, the cosmopolitan boarder states and that of the desert people, a small group devoted to their God Satakalal. This causes friction along the A'likr desert states as bands of Redguard loot and terrorize the countryside much like the Forsworn of Skyrim. These devotees go to the odd extremes of rolling around in the desert and biting people's ankles as if they were snakes (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). They are a dangerous albeit borderline insane group opposed to the imperial presence and have been run out of the major cities by the cosmopolitan militias in order to safeguard native citizens and as a show of support to the harassed civil servants of the Empire.




    The Duality Issue: Forebear vs. Crown


    During the second empire the two Redguard factions reorganized. While the official reasoning is whether or not they remained faithful to traditional values there may be something more derived from the information concerning the Yokuda exile itself.


    The first group are the self appointed rulers, called the Crowns. They are the offspring of the ruling Na-totamba faction of the Ra'Gada were the Na-totamba. These were the traditional hierarchy in Yokuda and favor retention of the cultural norms that had been previously established. They are near feudal lords, creating a number of small kingdoms all along Hammerfell's coasts and inland to some degree. From the landfall of the Ra'Gada in 1E 808 until the Forebearer republic in the late 2nd Era it was the Crowns who have traditionally been in charge of Hammerfell politics. If the story of Hunding is correct, they were also the second group consisted of the basic 'people' of Yokuda as well as the ruling cast which is what is left of Emperor Hira's people and the kingdoms opposed to the Ansei and Sword Singers. This would make them the more populous faction initially though likely popularity would decline given the state of the kingdom's relative strength and local custom eroding cultural predispositions following the sacking of Orsinium in 980.


    The second group are that of the Ra'Gada which renamed themselves the Forebearers. They are the military component originally made up of up to 20,000 Sword Singer warriors that landed in 1E 808 and proceeded to drive the Nedes and the Orcs from Hammerfell. They too seemed to fall into a confederate state with lords power only filtering down into intra-tribal authority. They claimed sovereign rights as the first Redguards in Tamriel which put them at odds with the traditional rulers in the Crowns. The Forebearers, despite this, maintained closer ties with the Imperials and the Bretons through trade. Because of this their stronghold in Sentinel became a trade center in the Iliac bay and had strong ties to Cyrodiilic cities such as Anvil. Thus they represent a progressive liberal faction within Redguard's divided society. They claimed to create a pseudo-Republican style government which was supported by the Colovian monarchs. During the Imperial Interregnum (roughly 2E 324-854 spanning the time between the second and third empires) this Republican style of government collapsed and lapsed back into Crown rule by the Hereditary monarchy of the Crowns (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). However, from this event came King Lhutunic. After the Miracle of Peace IE Warp in the West, Lhotunic's faction gained widespread support. They are a group that simultaneously accepts Crown superiority and rule stemming from tradition, but believe that there should be social progressiveness and closer ties to other trade cities and realms (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). Given the fresh conflict involving the Crowns and Forebearers in the 4th era it seems the Lhotunic's lost momentum or more likely lost popularity.






    The Redguards are the only major human group known to agree with many of the Elven ideals regarding the nature of existence. It is seen as a burden and a cruel trick of Lorkhan which sundered connection to the spirit plane. As such all the detailed information on Satakalal and Ruptga is from the Monomyth, the rest is from Varieties of Faith in the Empire. One of the principle actions of the rapidly advancing cosmopolitan Redguards was to try and form their traditional gods into a semblance of the eight divines. There is some speculation from the Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition that states Imperial gods, on the whole, are called 'febr'a' meaning useless, and the dieties that are accepted are merely approximtions of older agricultural deities.


    Tamrielic religions focus on two principle causes for creation, order and chaos, which go by different names. The Redguard are different in that they fused the principles of creation into that of a single entity, Satakal. Satakal is depicted as a great snake who is coiled around itself, it is existence and a pervading theme to the point it is always assumed to be rather than explicitly stated. The spirits called 'worlds' were apparently part of its scales, constantly grinding against each other, and the worlds called outwards for something to save them but there was only Satakal.


    The help that was pleaded for came from an internal source. The god Akel was the hungry stomach' of Satakal, and thus Satakal gorged itself, feasting upon its own flesh and it grew larger, and as such the worlds too began to expand. Things in creation were poor, Satakal expanded far too quickly and as a result things were considered quite terrible. And Satakal's insatiable hunger meant he was constantly eating and expanding so many of those spirits were destroyed.


    This cycle of destruction was ended when Akel caused Satakal to eat his own heart. This killed Satakal, but death didn't last long and Satakal shed its skin and began anew (this version is actually quite similar to the Nord version, Alduin which persists in a constant cycle of creation and destruction). The spirits realized this was simply how things would always be, a constant cycle of creation and destruction. These spirits took names and became the Redguard gods. The wisest learned how to avoid being eaten in a process called the Walkabout. The strong spirits placed the stars as a marker to the weaker spirits, a sort of guide through the 'walkabout' and were able to move from shed skin to shed skin, ruins of realities and the outer realms of the stars became known as the Far Shores, a time of waiting roughly analogous to Aetherius (the Monomyth).


    The foremost god of the Redguard pantheon was Ruptga “Tall papa” because he had many children, that is other spirits, through those many cycles.


    Ruptga created a helper from the 'skins' of past realities and called it Sep who would function as the Yokudan version of Lorkhan. Sep was a second serpent formed of intrinsic hunger from those multiple skins cast off by Satakal. Sep repeatedly ate the very spirits that he had supposed to help, and each time Ruptga had to reach in Sep's mouth and pull out the other spirits. Sep tired of this and collected the other 'skins' together, balling them up with help from the other spirits he tricked. It created a settled environment, a single place rather than the many shades and fabrics of realities that they had to jump between in order to survive. This became Mundus.


    Those spirits, disconnected from Satakal, had ventured too far into the Far Shore and were soon trapped. In such a state they slowly began to die. They pleaded with Ruptga to help them, and yet he refused and said they had to learn a new way to live a Mortal life. For his part in luring the new 'mortal' creatures away from immortality Reptuga crushed Sep with a big stick, and his 'hunger' fell out. As such, Sep lived on, weaving through the new worlds or in the dead 'skins' or in Oblivion and tries to eat or block mortal ascension to the Far Shores (similar to the elven belief that mortals can't become gods, thus Tiber Septim by both religions is considered a false god though still a generally good guy according to Redguard Forebearers).


    despite being the same as Arkay the god Tu'whacca started off as the god of 'Nobody really Cares'. After seeing the plight of the mortals on Mundus he became the caretaker of the Far Shores and continues to help the Redguards.


    Much like Zenithar the Yokudan god of crops and plenty is that of Zeht. He was said to be a spirit who renounced Ruptga after Sep created Mundus.


    The goddess of Fertility analogous to Mara is that of Huptga's favored wife Morwha. She is portrayed as having four arms, “all the better to grab more husbands with my dear.”


    The Yokudan equivalent of Kynareth is that of Tava, the air goddess. She is very popular given it was the currents and air which brought the Yokudan's across the seas.


    One of the peculiar gods started as an avatar of Hoonding that achieved a separate state. Diagna is said to have helped defeat the 'left handed elves' in Yokuda and helped lead the Redguard against the Orcs in Hammerfall Now he remains the god of the Dragontail mountains.


    One of the gods at least with an interesting title is that of HoonDing, the good of “Make way”. Basically, he's the god of expansion that leads Redguards on external conquests. He has materialized twice, once during the Ra Gada invasion of Hammerfel and once during Tiber Septim's wars.


    One of the daughters of Ruptga was that of Leki the sword maiden. She aided Diagna in selecting the best warriors to lead the Yokudan's against the Left Handed Elves.


    The last of the Redguard gods is that of Onsi. It was Onsi who taught the Yokudan's how to make swords instead of simple cutting knives.




    Part 2: Redguard History →