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The Redguard: Part 2

  • 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.


    Where as our first section dealt with the society Redguard people, our second will look at the history of the Redguard. It's worthy of note that they are the last major race to have arrived in Tamriel. While many cite the Alessian rebellion in the 3rd century as having occurred in at least a somewhat established period the Redguard landing took place in the 9th century. Thus the second section dealing with Redguard history are comparatively late.


    Yokuda and Exile:

    Yokuda was a land quite similar to Hammerfell by most descriptions yet is said to be even more arid; rocky deserts and grasslands split up tribes and civilization. It was a place of agriculture and interspersed with civil wars. Yokuda itself was split with civil wars that lasted from the in the 4th to the 8th centuries and resulted in the exile of the Yokuda people. It started with the overturn of the traditional Yokuda Emperors which resulted in an ineffectual government devoid of the power to make decisions. Increasingly charge of the Yokudan people reverted to petty nobles called Yokeda, as well as groups of warrior monks, and bands of brigand lords. This shifted Yokudan culture from focuses of poetry and the arts towards more martial tendencies.

    The Yokeda built societies mostly centered around their localized places of power, stone castles and bastions dotted the landscape and towns grew around them. This grew to be the norm. However, near the end of the Yokudan reign in 2245 of the Yokudan system (1E 609 converted to Tamrielic chronology) the warlord Mansel Sesnit came to power and in eight years he gained control over most of Yokuda before being assassinated. A commoner named Randic Torn took his place then followed an almost identical path of oppression and anti-partisanism. This led to a gap between the common Yokudan's and the warrior class by creating a series of increasingly harsh restrictions culminating in the barring of commoners from wearing swords in public. Only the warrior group 'sword singers' were allowed to wear them as a mark of distinction. By the time Torn died the civil war had been rekindled.

    At this time Frandar do Hunding No Shira was born, a noble of the Hunding desert. He was part of the mystic warrior cast which had emerged from the previous desert artisans; worshiping ancient unknown gods of war in the Hall of Virtues of War they forged elaborate swords woven with potent magics and taught near mystical arts. Their masters and most exceptional individuals were called the Ansei, or 'Saints of the Sword'. Each had their own schools of thought and training while wandering the countryside fashion fighting battles, chivalrously righting wrongs, and hoping to end the civil war. From 14-30 years old Hunding fought 90 duels and killed every opponent, eventually he stopped using physical swords and began using the Shehai Shen She Ru “Spirit Sword” exclusively. At the age of 60 Hunding retired to mount Hattu to record his “Way of the Sword” in a work called the Book of Circles before starting to write his death poem.

    With the rule of Emperor Hira the the Sword Singers came under renewed attack. Their distinction of wearing blades made them a separate social cast seen as a danger and an individual threat. Thus Emperor Hira raised an army comprised of brigand Yokudans and more oddly Orcs from the “Wars of the Empire”. The Sword Singers were not a large group, but they comprised a very powerful group comprised of singularly skilled warriors that were uncohesive as a single unit. They were scattered from their settlements and flocked to Hunding's mountain of Hattu. Hunding was placed in charge of the group, forming them into an Army of the circle dedicated to his Way of the Sword, and a campaign called the 'Seven Battles' lured the army of Emperor to the foot of the mountain. The first six battles were inconclusive but had essentially trained Hunding's army to act as a single cohesive force. The seventh battle dawned with Hunding's army outnumbered an improbable 30:1. Despite a 'great many' falling in the vicious confrontation there were still some 20,000 Sword singers who survived the final battle where as more than 300,000 of Emperor Hira's army was slain.

    The Sword Singers readied themselves, packing their belongings and followed Hunding to the city of Arch in Seawind to find a flotilla of ships where they fled from Yokuda. The Sword Singers and the Ansei were called the Ra'Gada, thus the other Yokuda's followed them in self exile (Redguards, their History and their Heroes). This clashes with Tamrielic tradition in two ways. One, it implies nothing physical such as a disaster formed by earthquake ravaged Yokuda, rather the depleted population simply left. It also calls Hunding's group the Hiradirge masters of 'Stone Magic' who, more peculiarly, were said to be defeated at Hattu in 1E 792. More oddly, the Redguard story seems to imply that there was some trade to the mainland as Orcs are specifically mentioned (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). If the story can be believed this may explain how the Redguard came to so quickly dispatch the Orcs from Hammerfell when they landed.


    Presence in Tamriel:

    Redguard from Yokuda did not simply drop anchor in Hammerfell harbors, rather many of the general populace landed on the Island of Herne ( Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). The vanguard Ra'Gada continued on and arrived in Hammerfell in 808. They slaughtered or enslaved the beast-folk, Nedic peoples, and Orcs of the region in a quick albeit bloody war. The Na-totamba ruling class arrived with the colonists in a second 'wave'. What can be implied is that there was a specific rift that had already existed between the Ra'Gada and the Na-Totamba stemming from the Yokudan war. This may have been partially hidden by the swift cultural conversion from Yokudan to Colovian and Breton customs as they amalgamated well after the initial war. The Yoku, the Redguard oral language, disappeared into Tamrielic given the need for trade.

    The colonization of Hamerfell was a slow and gradual process. Most of this was due to the rocky expanse of the Alik'r desert where as the coastal regions had fertile grasslands. However, the Yokuda landscape was said to be more inhospitable so agricultural techniques learned there greatly aided the Redguard on arrival. The site of their capitol was chosen as Hegathe, which is Aldmeri for something loosely translating to 'deathlands' (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). This creates a differentiation in Redguard culture on par with the Dunmer of Vvardenfell. The Alik'r desert people are nomadic wanderers retaining traditional styles (Of both Yokuda and Nedes) and are derided by their counterparts along the coasts. The coastal regions, are decidedly cosmopolitan civilizations that are decidedly Breton and Imperial both in dress and style of buildings with only symbols from Yokuda. (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). However, it seems there was a natural architectural design favoring domes and mosaics (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition).

    A Goblin invasion caught Redguards by surprise in era just after settlement. Apparently five mystic swords had been brought from Yokuda and sealed away. These were recovered and used to seal a rift in time that stopped the Goblin invasion before it could entirely over run the Redguards (Notes for Redguard History). The swords were assumed to be lost, but with the endeavor the teachings of Grandar Hunding return to a place of prominence.

    During the Interregnum the Forebear Republic collapsed and the Crowns took charge, moving the capitol from Old Hegathe to Sentinel which was the third biggest trade empire in the Iliac Bay (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). 2E 862 was witness to a Forebearer revolution which killed the Crown king Thassad II. In retaliation Crown Prince A'tor embarked from his land of Stros M'kai -the island off the coast- and massacred the Forebears. Tiber Septim dispatched troops to assist the Forebears and routed the Crown army and then crushed the Crown fleet with the West Navy at the battle of Hunding Bay. Once more the Redguard land of Hammerfell became a republic under the aegis of the Imperials( Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). The Redguard became staunch supporters of the Imperials up until the 4th Era White-Gold concordat.

    The Bretons and Redguards both seemed to have a common enemy, the Orcs. This could come specifically from the Yokudan heritage and Book of Circles which is a constant part of a household. The early Redguard were wary of the Bretons but the united military offensive against a common enemy in Orsinium led to a trade partnerships ( Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). This led to the first of many sieges of Orsinium in 1E 980 (From the Memory Stone of Makela Leki). More recently Orsinium was sacked early in the 4thera by another combined Redguard-Breton force leaving many Orcs to emigrate to Skyrim (Apparently in Lord of Souls).

    In 3E 253 the Redguard lands were taken over by Camoran the Usurper which was said to have raised an army first of Undead and Daedra then replaced by Redguards and Bosmer. They were eventually defeated by the Bretons (The Fall of the Usurper). The Redguards themselves still have the decidedly fractured existence, with the Crown and forebear cities not coming to each others aid. It was for this reason that Hammerfell so quickly fell (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition). This cropped up later on in the recent war of Bend'r-Mahk in 3E 396 which the Forebears refused to help Crown cities which were subsequently taken by the Nords.


    War of Betony:

    The war of Betony was fought over the titular island of Betony, a small independent island between Hammerfell and Daggerfall. In 3E 402 Lord Mogref of Betony was accepted as a vassal of King Lysandus of Daggerfall. While the island offered little in the way of resources, it provided a good strategic position with a good fishery. The unilateral decision was not accepted by King Camoran of Sentinel who cited a two century old declaration that Betony was a Redguard fife. The Redguards declared war on the Bretons despite a warning was given by an oracle of the Sentinel court. She predicted that the Redguard forces would be defeated though this was promptly disregarded by king Camoran.

    Every single major battle was won by Daggerfall and Lysandus's league (not High Rock, this is pre-warp in the West with 44 separate kingdoms). This included the battle of the Bluffs, a sea battle in which Daggerfall routed the Redguard. The second larger battle was that of Glenpoint Foothills, which again was won by Daggerfall. The third notable engagement was the siege of Craghold where a Redguard army shortly besieged a Breton fortress on the Island of Craghold before a relief army under lord Bidwell routed them. Then the final battle of Cryngaine Fields. The battle was spawned at a peace conference between King Camoran and king Lysandus at Reich Gradkeep. Imperial records state that Lysandus tried to conclude the war but requested the debated island, King Camoran ordered his army to raze the then neutral Reich Gradkeep of lord Graddock. Sentinel records record that King Camoran agreed to joint custodianship of Betony but the papers were purposefully mis-recorded by Daggerfall scribes and the terms were very different from what was agreed upon (Fav'te's war of Betony). The Daggerfall Chronicles says that the high priest of Kynareth, Vanech of Daggerfall, rewrote the treaty to offend king Lysandus and lord Bridwall, Lysandus's leading commander, started the massacre. Whatever the case the Daggerfall contingent forced out the Redguard forces which retreated for a week to the fields of Cryngaine.

    The Dragon Skakmat, envoy of Nulfaga Queen mother of Daggerfall, had used its breath to cover the field in a thick fog. King Lysandus was struck and killed by a stray arrow and his son Gothryd was crowned on the field. His coronation was short but the renewed appearance of a Daggerfall lord, could have facilitated the Breton victory. Gothryd was said to be a better swordsmen than king Camoran and slew the Redguard lord (The Daggerfall Chronicles says it was lord Bridwell not Gothryd that slew Camoran. The death of Lysandus was an imposter and everything had been set up far in advance, Gothryd killed the imposter and made himself King). The interim leader, lord Oresme of Sentinel surrendered soon after and committed suicide in disgrace on his way back to Sentinel (War of Betony). To keep peace King Gothryd married Princess Aubk-i, the only daughter of King Camoran. This allowed for a fair restoration of peace though it led to peculiar claims to regal entitlement of lands.

    In short the Redguard won only a few minor skirmishes and lost every major engagement. (Strangely, one of the few references to gunpowder weaponry occurs here too; the Sentinel army apparently possessed cannons. Both the information about the siege of Craghold and the mention of cannons come from the book Jokes).


    The Great War:

    More recently the Redguards have fallen back into infighting along Crown and Forebear lines which retarded its industrial and economic growth. The Great War itself was started over an Aldmeri claim of the southern reaches of Hammerfell in 4E 174. An initial assault pushed back the Imperial legion as the Hammerfall militias had once more begun to squabble. As such the Imperials withdrew northward across the Alik'r desert in the 'March of Thirst'. Most of the south was lost as the Thalmor consolidated their armies along the coast. The Imperial Legion regrouped and was reinforced from soldiers from High Rock which helped to press Aldmeri positions. This alleviated most of the pressure allowing a Forebearer army from Sentinel to defeat a Aldmeri force besieging the Crown city of Hegathe which in itself was a reconciliation of the two factions. The Imperials, meanwhile, held off a larger invasion army crossing the Alik'r desert by fighting them to a standstill outside the city of Skaven.

    Resistance in Hammerfall was aided even with the withdrawal of a number of imperial troops. A core of Imperial veterans with the cover of being 'invalids' remained with the Redguard troops of the Alik'r. The Imperial troops formed a disciplined core to a combined army which forced the Aldmer far southwards. The Alik'r warriors were a exceptional warrior group of light infantry conjoined with Imperial heavy soldiers defeated them and seemed to provide support for a renewed offensive. Even when the White-Gold Concordat was signed in 4E 175 Hammerfell continued to fight, given that the Concordat still left the Aldmeri Dominion control of the south of Hammerfell. The Imperial veterans were not withdrawn, but they and the Redguards continued the offensive for 5 years which left the south of the realm devastated. This resulted in the Second treaty of Stros M'kai in 4E 180 which ceded all Aldmeri possessed lands in Hammerfall and ended the wider theater of the Great War.

    Despite Imperial help and strong Colovian ties the Redguard consider this a betrayal by Emperor Mede II, who had denounced them as a rogue state after their rejection of the White-Gold Concordat ratification. This hasn't led to any sort of sympathy towards Skyrim's rebel storm cloaks for their anti-Imperial ideals. According to a particular journal the Redguards seem to dislike Ulfric as much if not more because of his inaction compounded by the war of Bend'r-mahk creating a general animosity between Redguards and Nords. The Crowns and Forebearers maintain a protracted war could still have been won by the Empire, in that commonality much of the divide between the antagonistic Redguard factions had been bridged (The Great War).


    ← Part 1: Religion and Society


    *As always, thanks to the Imperial library for keeping a catelogue of the old pocket Guide images.