Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

Dealing with inconsistencies: Clan Volkihar

  • September 1, 2015

    Hi, this is a spring board topic from the Lore questions thread that Phil asked either me or Veloth to post. 

    The whole thing stems from Veloth the Pilgrim's question, which I'll quote below. 

    I was wondering, do we know when and where Lord Harkon ruled as a king? The reason I ask is beacuse his castle and a few of the tombs added by the Dawnguard DLC look very different compared to the architecture in the rest of Skyrim and I was wondering is this beacuse at one point in time in between the Atmoran style and the current, Nords favored a more gothic style of architecture? Or is the generic answer just vampires = big gothic castles.

    If people want, they can repost their answers from the Lore questions thread. I know  several; including Phil, Vaaljorn, Albino, Veloth the Pilgrim, and myself.

    This topic is of great interest to me, as I plan on writing extensively on the events of Dawnguard in my fanfiction. Do I have to be so lore-friendly, no, I don't, but I really make an effort to at least try to be, or at the very least make changes to the narrative to attempt to fix inconsistencies that are presented. I am no lore expert. I just want to tell a good story that makes sense. Volkihar, Harkon, and the Dawnguard DLC, in general, have been a source of problems for me. The plotholes, the  inconsistencies in history. 

    Intent versus actual execution.

    At any rate, even if it turns out I'm wrong in my assumptions, airing out this topic may help others make sense of things. 

    I thank Phil for advising me and Veloth to post here instead of cluttering up the Questions thread. He's right, this isn't a quick fix question. 

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    Why they would want to blot out the sun has always bothered me the most. With out the sun nearly all life would die, i.e their food. The only things that may live would be the denizens of Blackreach. Also, in the TES universe the sun is also the hole that magic seeps into Nirn from, so blocking that may also remove magic from the world. Neither would benefit the vampires.

    Maybe their ultimate goal is to create a new Coldhabor for Molag Bal.

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    Harkon doesn't understand the full consequences and implications of blotting out the sun; Valerica's dialogue confirms that. He just thinks to himself "we can go outside whenever we want, yay!" and that's it. Keep in mind that we're talking about a guy who clearly has a few screws loose.

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    Smart bad guys are so much cooler...

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    In most of the popular stories, the smart bad guy gets beat by the dumb good guy through sheer effort. BOOOORING!!

    I like Game of Thrones so much for that very reason.

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    Yea, in real life the one who is more skilled and prepared almost always wins, sheer effort and cause have very little to do with it.

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    Here's my post from the questions thread along with which I will attempt to justify why the Second Era is the perfect setting further.

    I think all we have to go on are GStaff's comment:

    The intention was that Serana went to sleep in the late second era, between the Reman and Septim empires. Her initial dialogue is just her surprise that there’s an Empire in Cyrodiil, as there hadn't been when she went to sleep.

    and Notes on Dimhollow Crypt which is too vague to be of help. If I had to make a guess on when Lord Harkon ruled it would be during the Interregnum.

    "Child, my life ended long before you were born!" An ambiguous statement from Arch-Curate Vyrthur to be sure, but fitting with the idea that a huge swathe of time has passed between his writing of the prophecy and the events of 4E 201.

    The Nord's conquest of Skyrim and war with the Snow Elves continued into the First Era before finally ending around the time of the founding of the First Empire in 1E240. Following their defeat the Snow Elves went underground to be slowly corrupted and enslaved by the Dwemer.

    So the assumption that the fall of the Chnatry of Auriel to the Betrayed - the corrupted Falmer - happened in the Merethic Era is not necessarily true. Indeed, it is more likely that the Falmer slaves, kept in check by the Dwarves, started their incursions into the world above after the disappearance of the Dwmer in 1E 700, long after the Alessian Rebellian of 1E242.

    "They swept into the Chantry without warning and began killing everyone without pause... The Chantry was a place of peaceful worship. I led a small group of paladins, but we were no match for the Betrayed's sheer numbers. They slaughtered everyone and stormed the Inner Sanctum where I believe they corrupted Vyrthur."

    As it turns out Vyrthur was infected by an acolyte rather than a Betrayed, either before, at the same time or after the Betrayed attacked the Chantry. It is likely that he didn't write his prophecy until after the fall of the Chantry, though. This allows for a number of years to pass in bitterness and hatred before the Tyranny of the Sun is penned. 

    I'm aware that all of this has nothing to do with Harkon but bear with me. The Merethic Era and early First Era were all about the expansion of Skyrim and establishment of Nord supremacy. Harkon's claim to have been a great lord who sacrificed a thousand virgins for the gift of immortality doesn't fit this time period. It is better suited to a later date in my opinion, a time when the High King and the land are much more directionless, say 2E431 when Skyrim is split in half and has two high kings.

    So my hypothesis about Serana's line "Cyrodiil is the seat of an empire?" cannot be because she has never heard of such a thing. She was placed into her sleep-rock to protect the scroll from Harkon who had learned of the prophecy which wasn't penned until after the Alessian Empire was founded.  Therefore it only makes sense for her to have been alive and free during a period in which there was no empire and placed into hiding before the next one was established.

  • September 1, 2015

    The great thing is that my response can be exactly the same. 

    Well, bum. I had her older, taking her literally at her word. I've not seen that comment before. Intention, doesn't mean it was carried out particularly well though, as her dialogue is very vague and implies an earlier seal up in some instances. 

    There's an empire in Cyrodiil? Haha, predating Allessians. And a nice case can be made either way. She also speaks of Dwemer not in past tense, but there are still terrible inconsistences either way. I chock it up to the girl sleeping with an Elderscroll for that long. 

    Also, you could argue that the architecture is Snow Elf rather than Atmoran or Nordic. Dimhollow looks quite a bit like the forgotten Vale, the castle features that moon dial, which she said was there from the previous owners and she implies in her dialogue that it's of Elvish make. Snow Elves are gone from Skyrim by the Interregnum. And it was a Sun dial, Sun, Auri-El any one? Daddy probably took castle from a fleeing Snow Elf group, or took it by force. I'm just guessing.

    I'm not discounting what was said above, I just think arguments can be made either way. Who ever ended up doing her dialogue ended up being very inconsistent and that's frustrating. But so is Elderscrolls lore in general.  

    I place her sealed up much earlier. This is different from being born, and being made a vampire. After Dragon Wars, but before Allessians, between 0-242 1E, which is consistent with Snow Elves losing ground, with Volkihar being an old clan, Dwemer still being around, no Empire in Cyrodiil, Solitude still exists as a city, Atmoran migration and settling in Skyrim, and the College of Winterhold is even recently established. 

    My second response with further ruminations and perhaps an explanation of the pesky Mara statue.

    What I could also add is that remember that Valerica used the area as a secret lab possibly before, during, and after Serana was locked away. Serana doesn't remember the ruins, only the Sundial and the courtyard.

    The key word is "after". Then she "escaped" into the Soul Cairn. Now we need to determine how long is "after". Vampires have a loopy sense of time in the sense that time passes in a different way. And it may well be that some time passed between Serana's disappearance, Valerica finally sealing herself into the ruins, and then her actually going into the Soul Cairn. Durnehviir's stuff would come into play as well. It may well have happened after the Allessian rebellion and the establishment of the Imperial Pantheon. Atmoran's also revere a Mara type, though her totem is the wolf.

    But, I remember a discussion, dunno if it was here, or if it pertained to a character build. Something about the connection of Mara and necromatic ritual... so Valerica, being a Nord, or rather an Atmoran, who practices necromancy, based on what I'm implying either put the statue it, or the previous owners did. Found it.

    Mara and the Ritual Stone

    Interesting for a necromancer, no? And can't deny the connection between vampies, life and death, and Arkay.

    But these are musings for that thread. I'm really only trying to reconcile decisions I plan to make for my narrative. I'll probably choose late Merethic or early first era regardless of the results of the discussion, but if I do, I will probably change the appearance of Mara to reflect a more Elven aesthetic or have Valerica sneak the statue in for her creepiness. I guess part of the story-writing process is reconciling lore that isn't clear. 

    Lol, don't ask me how many plot holes I've had to address in the Companions alone. 

    The time period doesn't bother me all that much, and personally, I'm fine with either the Merethic or the Interregnum. I am okay with what you are proposing as I really don't have the lore chops to provide effective arguments against it. I just want to write a reasonably accurate story. Losing her Merethic origins only sacrifices a small part of my narrative that isn't all that important in the first place. 

    Still well could be that castle Volkihar is still of Falmer design originally. 

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    I don't think they literally block the sun, as in no light comes to Nirn after doing that. I see it more like a filter that stops the sun from having negative effects on vampires but still allows magic and warmth to get to Nirn

  • Member
    September 1, 2015

    Serana was placed into isolation to protect her and the Scroll form a prophecy not written until 500 years after the establishment of Alessia's Empire. There needs to be a long enough time for cause and effect, in my opinion, for this all to make sense:

    • Cause: Elimination of Snow Elves by Nords, C Merethic - early 1E.
    • Effect: Falmer driven underground with Dwemer. Falmer: a Study
    • Cause: After the disappearance of the Dwarves during the Battle of Red Mountain the rebellious Falmer could finally turn their attention to the surface world and attack the Chantry of Auriel.
    • Effect: The fall of the Chantry, Arch-Curate Vyrthur infected, the Prophecy written. C 1E 700 at least.
    • Cause: Harkon sacrifices innocents to secure Molag Bal's blessing.
    • Effect: Serana and Valerica become Daughters of Coldharbour.
    • Cause: Harkon hears of the Tyranny of the Sun.
    • Effect: Serana entombed.