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Expedition: Abah’s Landing

Tags: #Lore Expedition 
  • November 15

    Expedition: Abah’s Landing

    Have you ever happened to travel by the ship between the shores of the Gold Coast and the sand beaches of Khefrem and its bright jewel Taneth? If so, you have probably run into pirates; and I can assure you with a confidence that those pirates most likely sailed from Abah’s Landing. I would like you to think about the worst of the worst now. What are you imagining? Skooma trade? Slavery? Fat lords growing even more fat on the poor? If that’s what you are imagining you have quite an accurate picture of Abah’s Landing.

    Yet it wasn’t always like that.

    Abah’s Landing as we know it now resides on the eastern end of a peninsula called “Hew’s Bane”, previously known as “Khefrem’s Boot.” If you look carefully at its shape, you can probably guess why it was called a boot. Khefrem is what the region of southern Hammerfell is called, with its main city being Taneth on the southern coast.

    Back in the First Era, Prince Hubalajad of Ra Gada attempted to colonize the peninsula, arriving with a sizeable amount of soldiers and artisans. He discovered a barren peninsula hostile to most life; scorching heat and seasonal flooding led to brackish water and ground which was unsuitable for crops,  a landscape of scorched rocks and sand dunes alternating with bubbling streams and lush desert foliage.

    Over the course of history Prince Hubalajad was twisted into this comic figure, making him a thick-headeded person.

    An oft-repeated Taneth expression for wasting money is "laying foundation with Hubalajad's coin."

    Yet, as Cinnabar of Taneth explains in her tractate In Defence of Prince Hubalajad, the prince was only doing what he could to bring at least some kind of stability to Khrefrem’s Boot. He built the city of Abah’s Landing, he built No Shira Citadel south of it - which was actually very soon undermined by seasonal flooding.

    But history is being twisted more often than not and Prince Hubalajad became known as Prince Hew and the peninsula was named after him and his failures.

     

    The Merchant Houses of Abah’s Landing

    By the end of First Era, when the peninsula was already known as Hew’s Bane, Abah’s Landing became ruled by self-styled “merchant lords”.

    Grandiose. Arrogant. Self-important. All these words and more can be used to describe the self-styled merchant lords of Abah's Landing. The four mercantile houses began to take shape about one-hundred-and-sixty years ago. They began as legitimate businesses, working to elevate Abah's Landing and create a center for trade and commerce between High Rock and Valenwood. But Hew's Bane has never been cooperative to those who tried to carve civilization out of the wilderness and, despite their best efforts, each mercantile house slowly became more corrupt as the pursuit of illegal profits quickly outdistanced more above-board enterprises. -  Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

    During this time Hew’s Bane became home to various kinds of low-life, namely pirates, smugglers and Maormer slavers who used the peninsula’s landscape to hide their stash and as a base of operations. All this with the blessing of the merchant houses.

    There were four merchant houses during this time, allied together and each working different avenue of… “profit.” Together they brought fortune to Abah’s Landing, supplied the city with food and protection, while growing fat on buying and selling “questionable” goods.

     

    at-Addin Syndicate

    The first and, according to the scions of the house, the greatest of the merchant houses of Abah's Landing is the at-Addin Syndicate. Founded by Afshuur at-Addin, a Redguard male known for both his physical prowess and his disarming charm, the Syndicate grew and flourished for almost one-hundred-and-twenty years. The enterprising Afshuur started out as a simple arms dealer, buying, selling, and trading Redguard swords, Orc axes, and Wood Elf bows. His first customers were the pirates and privateers that used Abah's Landing as a port of call on their trips to more prominent locations, but it wasn't long before he was making shipping deals with those very same vessels and their crews. - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

    Over time the house expanded to selling armors and shields and very soon the Syndicate became the first stop for mercenaries and pirates, which soon led to new lucrative profit for this house - brokering mercenary contracts.

    The current leader of the Syndicate, Orahan at-Addin, rules the business with an iron fist. Ruthless and brilliant, the Redguard male treats every negotiation as a battle, every competition as a war. In fact, war has become at-Addin's primary avenue of trade.

    Orahan at-Addin deals in arms and armaments, mercenary contracts, and smuggling supplies to all sides of any given conflict. He has no trouble selling weapons to the Covenant, armor to the Pact, and vital supplies to the Dominion - as long as each side has the gold to pay for his services. - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

     

    House Vien

    It was inevitable. A den of vice and corruption such as Abah's Landing requires a master to feed its needs. Or, in this case, a mistress. Enter Lady Felice Vien, who arrived in Abah's Landing from Wayrest with her dignity, a cask full of gold, and the intention to make a place for herself amid the debauchery and depravity of the port city.

    Whatever the situation that sent her to Abah's Landing, Lady Felice wasted no time purchasing property and establishing the Winsome Welwa, a tavern and inn that soon became the talk of the port. What started as a humble eatery and fest hall began offering other entertainments, entertainments of the less than legal kind. - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

    Today, the house is lead by Lady Ylanie Montaine, and the Winsome Welva - modeled after the infamous Chaste Harpy in High Rock - serves as a brothel and base of operations for the house’s mistress. All of the house’s trade is focused on Abah’s Landing and what exactly is that trade? Well, that’s easy. Drugs, secrets and sex. I guess that all goes hand in hand with a brothel these days.

     

    Thazahrr Cartel

    When the merchant houses of Abah's Landing were first established, one stood out from the rest. Significant not only for its unusual leader, but for the type of business she decided to trade in. The Khajiit who called herself Thazahrr-ra formed the Thazahrr Cartel to handle the despicable but necessary slave trade moving through the port city. The powerful Thazahrr-ra, one of only a few women in Khajiit history to take the male honorific "ra" as her own, formed a cartel that included Imperials, Bretons, Redguards, and a few Khajiit. - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

    Apparently, just as Argonians have the Archein, who capture their own kind for the Dunmer, so do Khajiit deal in slavery of their own kind too. And this kitty built a business just on that, processing both Khajiit and Argonians to distant lands - I wonder where, because we know only of the Dunmer using Khajiit and Argonians as slaves.

    This bit actually got me into a spin, because Abah’s Landing nobility has slaves and such which raises the question of slavery in Tamriel. Does every lawless city, port or town practice slavery? To what distant lands are these slaves sent? Food for thought.

    So the Cartel quickly became known as a very dangerous group, willing to sell their own children and comrades if the profit was high enough. Over the years the Cartel also expanded into the areas of smuggling and buying and selling information, eventually pushing the competion out - because how can someone compete with a group who is willing to sell their own people?

    Today, Thazahrr Goldfang, the sixth Khajiit woman to take the name and title of merchant lord of the Thazahrr Cartel, oversees the house's businesses. She appears restless and unhappy with the state of the houses in Abah's Landing, and with the state of her business in general.

    Thazahrr Goldfang bubbles over with anger and ambition. She feels that Abah's Landing owes her a level of wealth and respect that, frankly, it has no intention of awarding her with. For this reason, she remains frustrated, anxious, and more than a little dangerous. My recommendation? Do not approach the Khajiit slave trader. Not even with a ten-foot pole. - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

     

    Gurges and Associates

    Now I want to tell you about the sad and unfortunate fate of the fourth major merchant house of Abah's Landing, an organization I like to call, "the Fallen House." Gurges and Associates dates back to a powerful and important Imperial family that has all but disappeared from the Cyrodiil records. It came to prominence during the rise of the merchant lords of Hew's Bane, when Isobel Gurges - known as the Regal Pirate of the Abecean - retired from raiding and pillaging to form a more or less legitimate business.

    Of course, legitimate business means something very different in a place like Abah's Landing. Isobel began by making loans with exorbitant interest rates, but it wasn't long before she took Gurges and Associates into gambling, fencing, laundering, and highjacking (where she had her crews steal cargo from merchant vessels so they could sell it back to those same merchants for an immediate profit). - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

     

    The Hidden House

    Now we’re getting to the most recent history. The four merchant houses ruled Abah’s Landing in a sort of alliance, until rumors of fifth house, a hidden house, began spreading throughout the port, sometimes referred to as the Shadow Conglomerate.

    What is the Shadow Conglomerate? I really don't know. Every avenue I approach that promises to reveal the truth of the organization instead sends me running in a dozen different directions, searching for the next clue that always seemed to be at least one step out of reach. Here's what I do know. I believe that the Shadow Conglomerate was formed about forty years ago, suddenly coming on the scene to challenge the merchant lords after a century of only having to deal with themselves. Within twenty-five years, the Shadow Conglomerate had risen to a place of prominence that allowed it to actually cause the merchant houses to step back and concede a portion of their power and influence to this new and secret organization. - Abah's Landing Merchant Lords

    Gurges and Associates were brought to bankrupt by this hidden house, pretty much destroyed. The other merchant houses were forced to take a step back and more importantly the Shadow Conglomerate turned the merchant lords on each other.

    But what is the Shadow Conglomerate? Well, let’s look at this little piece from the Loremaster’s Archive.

    I kept them from drawing lines on the ground by taking them to the rooftops. Taught them to see fawning over the merchant lords as the cause of Bright Ilmund's vicious greed and petty revenges. To think, three simple rules undid the mess our former guildmaster made:

    1. Don't steal from the Thieves Guild. We rob the merchant lords, not each another.

    2. Don't kill on Thieves Guild business. Corpses can only be robbed once.

    3. Don't take from the beggars. They're allies in the alleys, who hate the Guard more than we do.

    Now look where we are. We brought four Abah's Landing merchant houses down to three as an example of our guild's power. We receive thousands of drakes per week from every merchant lord. It's a tax they throw to the gutter, because if they don't, they'll find themselves dragged down into it. What happened to Gurges and Associates is a lesson they won't soon forget. - From a Copy for the Archive

    From the hand of Nicolas, Guildmaster of Abah’s Landing’s Thieves Guild. Now you can put two and two together.

     

    Hew’s Bane

    So the last part of the expedition should be dedicated a little to the the recent events and the layout of Hew’s Bane. This map shows very clearly that the north-eastern part of the peninsula is taken by the city itself, with the ruins of No Shira Citadel being to the south of it. The Citadel is currently occupied by Iron Wheel, a group of law enforcers from Taneth.

    To the west of the city is Bahrara’s Gloom, a defiled Yokudan tomb filled with necromancers and dark spirits. Enter on your own peril.

    To the west of No Shira Citadel, in the south-western part of Hew’s Bane,  is Shark’s Teeth Grotto; a haven for pirates run by an Orc who thinks she’s a shark. They’re not really a friendly sort.

    As for Abah’s Landing current events? Well, Abah’s Landing and its rival Taneth came to a head recently, because someone broke into royal al-Danobia Tomb and stole Magnifica Falorah’s dowry.

    Falorah was rumored to hold more power than even the queen of Taneth and she used this opportunity not only to find and punish those who desecrated the tomb, but also to cripple Abah’s Landing. So she hired Iron Wheel to find those responsible, but Iron Wheel soon realized they were being used for political reasons in order to occupy the city, and so they retreated to No Shira Citadel, which they used as a base of operations for their search for the thieves of Magnifica’s dowry.

    And this is where we are getting to you, my friends. Go on, visit Abah’s Landing, I highly recommend it. Being robbed, stabbed, drugged and sold to slavery all in one day is an unforgettable experience.











  • Member
    November 15

    Interesting stuff, Karves. Well-researched and written, a good reference for anyone besides the one who comissioned it. The slavery thing is a good question, my money on the likely high demand for bodies from the coral kingdoms of Thras, and pirates in need of oarsmen. Maybe the Maormer too? Also, the Shadow Conglomerate got me all sorts of confused :D

  • November 15

    Paws said:

    Interesting stuff, Karves. Well-researched and written, a good reference for anyone besides the one who comissioned it. The slavery thing is a good question, my money on the likely high demand for bodies from the coral kingdoms of Thras, and pirates in need of oarsmen. Maybe the Maormer too? Also, the Shadow Conglomerate got me all sorts of confused :D

    Very good point, Phil. Maormer. They are mentioned in one of those sources, that they have hideouts in the wilderness. Maormer slavers it says explicitly. 

    I actually raised that question on Tein's stream yesterday and Tein had quite good point that Illiac Bay and Abecean Sea is basicaly riddled with small islands and such and so we theorized that any of those islands could house more of the lawless ports and cities such as Abah's Landing, for aren´t that sea basicaly something like Carribbean? 

    Neither Bretons or Redguards strike me as the slaver types, but it´s very much possible that Abah's Landing isn´t the only "free" city out there. 

    But I still can´t help myself from asking: Couldn´t Crowns use slaves? I mean, for Forebears it doesn´t make any sense, but Crowns...Well, most likely not, but still can´t help myself but to think about that. 

  • November 15

    Huh, for some reason I'd never really thought much on the idea of slave use outside of Morrowind and the Ayelids but really it only makes sense historically. Most modern civilizations were built using slaves so it only makes sense that more Tamrielic Races would enslave others (though man, do Khajiit and Argonians really get fucked over here). That part's really got me thinking though.

    Really interesting article Karves, really have no clue where Abah's Landing is, assume it's from ESO and I've either forgotten it, or just not played enough of the game from that region to pick up on it, but it's very interesting regardless.

  • November 16
    Abah's Landing is the Thieves Guild DLC area, Deebs. As for other races enslaving others... Don't forget that slavery in TES is basicaly an elven concept. So we see Altmer enslaving goblins and such, Dunmer enslaving the beast races, Maormer probably enslaving everyone. The other races - especially humans - don't have a history of enslaving other races - well, except witchmen. But where there is no law, like in Abah's Landing it's very much possible that slavery is very profitous.
  • November 16

    Abah's Landing is the Thieves Guild DLC area, Deebs. As for other races enslaving others... Don't forget that slavery in TES is basicaly an elven concept. So we see Altmer enslaving goblins and such, Dunmer enslaving the beast races, Maormer probably enslaving everyone. The other races - especially humans - don't have a history of enslaving other races - well, except witchmen. But where there is no law, like in Abah's Landing it's very much possible that slavery is very profitous.

    Thieves Guild huh, I've always kind of been interested in getting that one based on the little bit of ESO Plus I got (a month or two) and finding the caches everywhere but I might seriously have to consider it if there are some more interesting locations like this in it. Or even if it's just Abah's Landing, seems interesting enough to cough up the... $15-$20 I assume it'd cost me.

    Have the Bosmer enslaved anyone? I think I sort of recall something about Bosmer having Khajiit slaves but I don't know if it was just a particular instance, or if I'm making it up entirely. Regardless, I suppose that with most of the major groups of man (everyone but the Redguards isn't it? At least not as an entire culture) they'd probably have a bit more of a cultural aversion to it, especially since there preferred method of dealing with races they hate is the old 'Exterminate every living creature you can see' sort of deal. Which really might just be logic-based, they've proven that they can rise against the Elves which would prove the Elves could probably do the same. Put a bunch of stab wounds in the elves and they can't really do much of that.

    EDIT: From my brief readings it appears that the Bosmer are really the only Mer that didn't practise slavery. The only thing even mentioning slavery that I've found is them accepting slaves that had ran from the Ayelids and Ayelids that ran to Valenwood after the revolt.

  • November 16
    Hew's Bane - where the DLC takes place - is little bit smaller than Wrothgar of Orsinium DLC but I would say the questline is worth it, the radiant quests are also quite fun and stealing is good way to make money - or so Thieves Guild says :D And yeah, Glade Goblins are the only elves that had no slaves. But it's interesting that Argonians and Khajiit are the majority of slaves everywhere, innit? It's that superiority complex, putting the beast races on the same level as goblins and other beasts, no doubt. S