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Bosmer Part 4: History of the Garden Realm

  • 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.


    History of the Garden Realm


    The last part of our Bosmer exposition is that of their history. It is a long history almost entirely intertwined with that of its neighbors rather than solely of itself. As such we will look mostly at the four major eras and only briefly touch on the Dawn and Merethic era again.


    Dawn and Merethic:

    Valenwood, called Tamriel's garden, is typically ascribed to being strictly the home of Aldmeri settlers. Commonly accepted mythology states that the Bosmer were formed from Aldmer that simply went into the forests and had to adapt as prey to become predators. Much like the Summurset Isles of Alinor the early period was fraught with many terrible perils, beasts, and conflict with others. It was a time before men, populated by the many kingdoms of strange beasts: he hippogriffs, the satyrs, the minotaurs, the giants, the basilisks, the fairies, the hydra, and the Imaga. To survive in such an environment the Bosmer had to form the Green Pact with Jephre and thus they irrevocably changed. It's often ascribed to two different factors, both touched on in the Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition, either the Daedra changed them, or the Earthbones changed the Bosmer into what we know now.


    Dawn of the First Era:

    1E 0 is a notable date for the Bosmer as it is the starting of the kingdom of Valenwood. The great King Eplear, a visionary who saw unity, had spent years subjugating the wild Bosmeri clans and forming them into a single organized political unit. He'd done what became impossible in every other age, he formed the Bosmer into a single operating cohesive whole. King Eplear united the wild Bosmer clans and counts as one of the greatest military feats in Tamriel's history. The Camoran Dynasty was founded as the first Tamrielic Dynasty.

    It was an effervescent culture that had accepting and wide spanning ties to others as well. In the first era the Bosmer welcomed escaped slaves from the Ayleids, and then the Ayleids themselves fleeing from the Alessian empire.

    They formed a trade treaty with the Alessian Empire in 1E 340. It didn't last long and hostilities grew over the influence of the Alessian teachings from the prophet Marukh. One of the Cyrodillic prophet's most influential supporters was the Nord king Borgas. In 1E 369 he traveled to Cyrodiil, urging for a joint war against the Bosmer, and the Bosmer in turn called on the Wild Hunt which killed him before he reached the Alessian Capitol (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). Skyrim's Empire that stretched from High Rock to Morrowind fell apart in the war of Succession and was all but entirely dissolved within 50 years (History of Daggerfall)

    Like the Nord Empire, eventually the Alessian Marukh reform fell apart, but it left the Colovian west fighting the Bosmer as well. Empress Herda improved relations with the Colovian estate and relations only got worse. The Bosmer became a single functioning kingdom, resisting attempts for integration from the Alessians, the Khajiit, and even at times the Colovians.

    With the Rise of the Cyrodiil Empire a single event topples the realm that stood for nearly three thousand years. The Thrassian Plague. The Sload spawned disease was a sweeping blow that obliterated an enormous part of Tamriel's population. It decimated Valenwood as badly as it did their rich and thriving neighbor east. As such, the political unit fell apart and they, as well as the two surviving Khajiiti kingdoms, joined the Cyrodiilic Empire who could supply aid. It became official in 1E 2714. Under these provisions the Camoran dynasty remained in place though it lost its external power and internal power. The various leaders of the Bosmer clans called Threethanes had far more autonomy under the Cyrodiilic Empire and this fissure split apart the Bosmeri kingdom that Eplear created. It became a barely charted wasteland, a backwater that Cyrodiilic cartographers barely even surveyed, roads were built but the united Kingdom was merely a shell of what it once was. Rival cities and power centers arose, splitting power from Camoran to his own vassals as the Treethanes of Falenesti, Silvenar, Haven, Archen, Eldenroot, and Woodhearth. Each quickly grew to be regional powers as people flocked to them, making the Bosmer the most urbanized in this period than any there-after (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st and 3rd editions).


    Collapse and the Second Era:

    The Bosmer were obedient but not loyal vassals to the Cyrodiilic Empire, and upon the Empire's disintegration in 2E 341 the Camorans tried to reinstate their rule over the other kingdoms. But the other clans and treethanes had drifted and grown more autonomous, thus it began a period of civil war and infighting that spread to exterior conflicts with both the Colovians and the Khajiit. Because of this, the Maormer of Pyandonea began to encroach on Bosmer territory along the coast adding merely another power that attracted the attention of the wary, albeit flourishing realm of Alinor.

    Internal and internal sank as Valenwood entered the Interregnum period of bloody warfare on every front. Treethanes became independent, the Camoran line of Kings had very little direct control, and strife caused rifts amongst Bosmer. The only permanent roads are stone roads built by the Cyrodiilic Empire but their maintenance has been neglected by the Camoran dynasty and fell into disuse. The introduction of the Knahaten flu in 2E 560 (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st and 3rd editions). It lasted for 43 years.

    One of the few last bastions of Valenwood wa the hero Oreyn Bearclaw. As the son of King Faume Toad-Eye he was a famous hunter and next in line as a leader. He defeated many of the beasts that terrorized the countryside such as Glenhwyfaunva, the witch-serpent, and a great many other feats for his people and the others before dying of the Knahaten flu. After Oreyn Bearclaw died, his clan split and took his famous namesake helm with them (Tamrielic Lore).


    The Rise of the Aldmeri Dominion:

    In the early 9th century the Camoran line finally came to dynastic disputes. It became the tipping point as two factions drew their political alliances. One of the factional contenders made overtures of peace to the Western Colovians and were pledged support on their cause. The Altmer saw it as being the tipping point and swiftly invaded the region citing it was their duty by a treaty made in the first era by the Anaxemes Camoran line. Thus in 2E 830 the Aldmeri Dominion was founded. The Altmer and Camoran Anaxemes line set up a provisional joint government named the Thalmor.

    This government acted as a bulwark against the Colovians who were still reeling from the Interregnum period which had sapped money and support in a larger Cyrodiilic Empire. Thus the westerners were ill prepared and their armies supporting the rival Camorans were swiftly routed from Valenwood by the armies of the newly founded Thalmor.

    The short war ended with the Anaxemes placed in power, who silenced the other regional factions and capitulated to the stipulations of the treaty. In turn for the military support, the Anaxemes Camoran line pledged service as vassals to the king of Alinor for a term of fifty years. The capitol of Valenwood changed from Falinesti to Elden Root during the 50 years of the Aldmeri Dominion and was to revert back at the end.. Under the Dominion these road systems were greatly improved, benefiting from new material, sufficient funds and wardens, and were greatly widened to allow for quick transportation by the Altmer in particular (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition).

    This new Thalmor government was made up of a congress of Bosmeri Chieftains and Altmer diplomats from Alinor. The Thalmor itself was not all that popular to the Bosmer but it was far better than the Chaos caused by the civil wars (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). The Dominion was never quite at ease with the Colovians on the western border along the River Strid which resulted in a number of small skirmishes. By the time Tiber Septim was proclaimed Emperor the attacks had subsided but larger camps and garrisons had been established along the permanent border. Given the increasing strength of the Colovians in the later part of the skirmishes, the Thalmor constituted command of an inferior land force but a far stronger navy.

    Valenwood was protected by the Altmer who extended the boundary of the Aldmeri Dominion not only to Valenwood and Alinor, but also Pyandonea, and giving regional support to the Reachmen of Skyrim and High Rock (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). The big pay-off during the formation of The Aldmeri Dominion wasn't that Colovia was a threat, it was that they didn't want the Maormer to gain any more of a foothold along the west coast. Thus it seemed to be a political 'alliance' to a threat they saw as severe and others didn't. The Dominion Thrived until Tiber Septim's shocking attack with Numidum devastated the capitol of Alinor despite a peace treaty being signed by Tiber Septim's adviser and attache Zurin Arctus (the Arcturian Heresy). Thus ended the short cultural renaissance for the Altmer and Bosmer.


    Neglect and the Hart-King:

    Tiber Septim allowed the Bosmer to retain the Camoran King as well as the tribal councils, leading to 250 years of peace through neglect. The two major conflicts, the Cyrodiilic dynastic war of the Red Diamond and the vicious War of the isle that devastated the new Summerset Isles province left Valenwood untouched.

    Most of the time Valenwood was neglected and only used when required by the Third Empire. This caused resentment of the authorities which seemed distant and alien. It was the exact conditions right for the spawning grounds of a new power to come to the forefront. Once again, a dynastic dispute split Valenwood between the ruling Camoran monarch and Camoran Kaltos in 3E 249 (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rdedition). Camoran Kaltos was to become king and Haymon Hart-King Camoran was his sorcerer and adviser. The initial assaults relied in fear tactics to terrorize opponents as Haymon's power grew (The refugees) and was supplemented by armies of Daedric allies and added this with his existing forces. As such the fractured Bosmer were easy prey to Camoran the Usurper and yet there were quite a number who say him as freeing them from the Empire.

    Falinesti fell quickly during the initial scuffle when Haymon was under Kaltos's leash. Kaltos killed only those that were opponents, sparing others. But by the time Haymon came into control in the west, the cities were being slaughtered wholesale, including Kvatch. Kaltos was distraught at the destruction and ordered Haymon and his forces return to Valenwood, but Haymon turned on Kaltos and fled. Kaltos had no intention of attacking and destroying the western reaches of Cyrodiil in Colovia as well as Hammerfell and promoted other means to prevent the invasions without apparent success. The initial rebellion that overturned the existing Camoran line in Valenwood took only 2 years but Haymon tried to wrest power for himself in external kingdoms.

    In 3E 255 Haymon Hart-King Camoran, now known as Camoran Usurper, butchered the major Hammerfell cities of Rihad and Taneth leaving no survivors in the dis-unified Redguard province. It took 13 years to conquer most of Hammerfell but this was just as much thanks in part to Kaltos's power sapping Haymon's local base of support (The Refugees). Several other sources such as The Fall of the Usurper mention that because of this perceived freedom most of the later armies were made up of volunteers from liberated areas, typically Bosmer and Redguard. It seems the first part of the army was summoned Daedra and Undead from Arenthia, and then was replaced by recruits from the new territories which isn't strange given the Bosmer's proclivity to use mercenaries and foreigners in armies. The Kings of Wayrest and Sentinel were both in their minority (underaged) and the Queen Helena of Daggerfall was fighting with her cousin Jilathe. The lord of the military fortress of Reich Gradkeep died of illness in 3E 266, so there was no unified force or leadership. 8 more leaders signed treaties with the Usurper to protect their lands . This is likely where the recruits came from in Hammerfell and Valenwood as well.

    The war moved across the Hammerfell border and into High Rock through the Wrothgarian mountains in 3E 266-67. Most Bretons supported Camoran the Usurper against Cephorus II, the Emperor at the time who had no attachment to High Rock. Despite the invasion it seems Haymon's attack was a last ditch attempt as his power was weakening. Terror attacks were once again being used as a force multiplier effect. The site of the climactic final battle was to be near the barony of Dwynnen and in a naval battle in the Illiac bay called the Battle of Firewaves. Haymon Hart-King lost both battles and was killed in the resultant fighting (The Refugees). The war ravaged land that was left behind didn't trust the Empire or the Aldmer, and neither did it trust its local leaders and governors. As such it fostered an individualistic and isolationist temperament as cities emptied, and the early traditions of the forest began to revive. (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition).


    Post Usurper and the Third Era Doldrums:

    The timing of the Bosmer return to tradition couldn't have been worse. Valenwood was to give rise to two of the major figures of the later Third Era. Haymon Camoron's illegitimate son, Mankar Camoran, and the Valenwood born part Bosmer Jager Tharn (The Real Barenziah) known as Nightingale at the time. Both factor in to this period and were critical events in the downfall of the Septim Dynasty.

    When Jager Tharn came into power and ushered in the Similacrum period in 3E 389 Valenwood was one of the worst hit by the events. The Five Year War between Valenwood and Elsweyr began with a single major event in 3E 394 (Cherim's heart of Anequina). The Bosmer orchestrated the 'Slaughter of Torval' which the Khajiit claim was unprovoked. It was an invasion without provocation that focused on killing civilians before being driven off by nearby jungle tribes in one of Elsweyr's spiritual capitol city. Bosmer claim it was provoked by Khajiit bandits attacking wood caravans bound for Valenwood (Mixed Unit Tactics).

    By 3E 396 the war was in full swing, starting with smaller skirmishes in the North the major battles+ seemed to focus around this point in time and escalate from the battle of fort Sphinxmoth. The battle of Zelanin was a Bosmeri victory. The Khajiit, having listened to Nord tactics and advisers, replaced their natural armor and methods and were defeated. It didn't seem to be a decisive victory though and the subsequent battle of the Heart of Anequina reversed the tides of war (Cherim's Heart of Anequina).

    In the same year Valenwood had internal problems whether from opportunists or strictly foreign intervention is harder to establish. But it was at least inter clan warfare. One was notably between the Benoch clan, and the Parikh clan, supported by the Altmer. The Parikh eventually won the struggle (Words and Philosophy). At the same time the Altmer entered the conflict over Bosmeri Pirates causing problems to their shipping (A Dance in Fire, Pocket Guide to the empire 3rd edition). This was known as the War of the Blue Divide. The Altmer besieged many of the major settlements and between themselves and the Khajiit, carved off two sections of land by the time the wars were concluded in 3E 399. The longer of the two, the Five year war, lasted for 4 years and 9 months (Cherim's Heart of Anequina) and Valenwood lost the territory up to and including both sides of the Xylo river while the Altmer took some of the islands and coastal stretches (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition).

    When the real Uriel Spetim VII regained power after Tharn was killed, he attempted to mend a lot of the problems that arose during the Similacrum. Yet the Khajiit had already settled the area to the river and wouldn't move despite the Emperor's demands and pleas. A legal paper was uncovered that supported the Khajiiti claim that Valenwood had in fact been encroaching on Khajiiti territory and legally the territory belonged to the Khajiit. This seemed to cause a general resentment and in general the Bosmer seemed despondent and resigned to their lot. Valenwood began a wasteland area one again in a deep depression. There was no nationalism, no national sentiment, and the tribal councils didn't meet again for the remainder Era (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition).


    Resurgence of the Aldmeri Dominion:

    Mankar Camoran's Mythic Dawn and the resulting Oblivion crisis put an end to the Third Era and the Septim Empire. By the dawn of the 4th Era most of Tamriel was in chaos. Chancellor Ocato tried to calm the matter as Mede did later on but in 4E 29 the Altmer invaded Valenwood. Like the early days of the Dominion, the Empire had Bosmer supporters but both were caught flat-footed and defeated then scattered by a Altmer army. With local support of disenfranchised Bosmer, the Thalmor was reinstated after having ejected the Imperials in a short but vicious military campaign. The Thalmor forces picked secluded spots, well plotted in advance and cut them to pieces. It was done through spies and good intelligence. It created a powerful foothold so that there couldn't be any operations against Alinor. Many believe they had infiltrated the Bosmer before the Oblivion crisis and likely the treatment at the end of the Similacrum had turned popular sentiment against the Empire. After Valenwood had been annexed the newly refounded Aldmeri Dominion severed tied for 70 years Many believe the cause was quelling internal disputes. (Rising Threat, The Great War).

    This infighting seems to have been the case for quite some time leading up to the Great War. Falinesti was burned and cleared of traitors, but this was aggravated by the Empire's Penitus Oculatus. The Imperial agency had been funneling supplies to the rebels in Vakenwood and thus were waging an incessant proxy war. Though there were many deaths, 60 rebels and 4 Imperials in the space of a week so it seems to be a rather vicious conflict (Lord of Souls). Attrebus Mede saw that the Thalmor grasp on Valenwood was weak and expected that he could return it to imperial control with a thousand men and local sympathizers (Infernal City). The Cyrodiils has always viewed the Bosmer as a type of people easily amused and interested in being pawns for other's amusement to make themselves feel more important, but typically the wars waged through those other powers have done a great deal of damage (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition).

    When the Aldmeri Dominion re-emerged and the Great War began, military build ups in Valenwood led it to being the jump off point for several prongs of the invasion of Hammerfell (The Great War).


    This brings us up to present times during the events of Skyrim. Valenwood has a fairly lengthy history and the current status within the Aldmeri Dominion is reflective of the stages before the end of the first Dominion, thus, history in a sense, repeats itself. I hope it was worthwhile and I'm always looking forward to what people think and feel about the subject.

    Thanks to the Imperial library for archiving the majoirty of the visual works.

    ← Part 3: On Valenwood


  • August 8, 2015
    Wow, I just read all four parts, I think I Have Found my new Favorite Race! :D Thanks Vaz for recovering it.