Lore:House Dagoth

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'Pity Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House. All they do, all they are is foul and evil, but they began in brightness and honor, and the cause of their fall was their loyal service to you, Lord Nerevar.' — Peakstar

House Dagoth or simply the Sixth House is the defunct sixth Great House of the Chimer led by Voryn Dagoth, later known as Dagoth Ur. All records of the house's existence were destroyed following the Battle of Red Mountain and its members were either killed or absorbed into the remaining houses. Unbeknownst to all, Lord Dagoth had survived and spent centuries slowly building his strength and influence from within Red Mountain. This culminated with Dagoth's attempt to re-create the Dwemer god-construct Numidium in order to overthrow the Tribunal and conquer Morrowind.[1] In 3E 400 Dagoth Ur was slain and his plans halted with the destruction of the Heart of Lorkhan by the Nerevarine.[2]

History[edit]

The War of the First Council[edit]

The first mentions of House Dagoth are recorded in connection to the War of the First Council between the Chimer and the Dwemer. Imperial sources claim that House Dagoth stood with the Dwemer (and identifies both as Chimer clans).[3] However, others with more direct knowledge of the actual events, such as the Ashlander tradition and that of the Tribunal Temple depicts the war as first being prosecuted against the Dwemer by an alliance of all the Great Houses, including Dagoth. By this account, Voryn Dagoth had discovered that the Dwemer, whose king Dumac had been a close friend and ally of the Chimer Hortator Indoril Nerevar, were secretly using the Heart of Lorkhan to build a mechanical god, which was an affront to the Chimer faith. After counseling with Azura, who confirmed Dagoth's story, Neverar came before Dumac to force the issue. Dumac, however had no knowledge of this project undertaken by Kagrenac and his tonal architects, and responded with hostility to Nerevar's accusations which resulted in war.

The specifics of what happened after the climactic Battle of Red Mountain are lost to history. By the Ashlander account, Voryn Dagoth wished for the destruction of Kagrenac's Tools, while Nerevar sought counsel with his advisers -- Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. The three coveted the power of the Heart and so conspired to obtain the tools by any means, even going so far as to murder Nerevar because he would not go along with their plan. When the three came to Lord Dagoth without Nerevar he refused to hand over the tools, citing his oath to Nerevar to guard them, but was defeated and driven underneath Red Mountain, beneath even the Heart Chamber, and the Tribunal took the tools. The version of the story told by Vivec privately to his priests is somewhat different. Nerevar returned to the mountain with his advisers after deciding that Kagrenac's Tools could be used for good, but Dagoth had already experimented with them and the Heart. He fought against the Tribunal, believing only he could be trusted with the tools. Though this version does not mention how Nerevar died, it is somewhat supported by Dagoth Ur himself who, in a message to the Nerevarine states that it was Nerevar himself who "struck me down."[4][5][6]

Since Dagoth Ur had disappeared, and the rest of his house had been soundly crushed in battle, Great House Dagoth sank into obscurity until the late Second Era. Efforts to resurrect the House were made around 2E 583, but were seemingly unuccessful.[7]

The Re-awakening[edit]

In the year 2E 882, at the close of the Second Era, Dagoth Ur and his remaining subjects became active again within Red Mountain. Having somehow been kept alive by the power of the Heart, he had spent centuries dreaming and planning. When he arose, he took possession of the Heart Chamber and with unknown rituals, bound himself to the Heart, becoming a heartwight. He also made his nobles into the first of the Ash Vampires, powerful beings who were also bound to the Heart, though not as strongly, who would serve as generals in his coming conquest. In his long sleep, he had adopted the goals of Kagrenac and set about finishing the Dwemer's ill-fated project, hoping to create a new god called Akulakhan for whom his House would serve as the priesthood. In the long term, House Dagoth and its new, immortal masters would conquer all of Tamriel and worship of Akulakhan would become its sole religion.[1]

The first blow was struck that same year when the Almsivi came to Red Mountain for the annual ritual to tap the Heart and renew their powers. Dagoth Ur and his minions ambushed them and drove them from the Heart Chamber. This would prove to be a pivotal event in the history of Morrowind, as the forces of the Temple would never again control the region around Red Mountain, nor would the Tribunal ever regain their full powers. With the initiative in his hands, Dagoth Ur set about expanding the number and influence of his House. To this end, he spread The Blight, terrible ash storms spawned at the center of Red Mountain that carried with them the dreaded Corprus disease which twisted its victims into monsters.[8] Called the "Divine Disease" by the some of the Temple faithful, Corprus is in fact the effect of Dagoth Ur's power on mortal flesh. Those deemed unworthy to the cause it turns into mindless husks, but those with potential to serve it made into Ash Creatures, beings whose bodies and minds are progressively warped by the alien designs of Dagoth Ur. These creatures would go on to promote the interests of the House throughout Vvardenfel, notably by influencing the dreams of some susceptible Dunmer. These "Sleepers" would go into a trance-like state and act as conduits for the thoughts and message of Dagoth Ur, and even act as assassins.[9]

The Sixth House demonstrated a tremendous amount of foresight, and constantly looked towards its long-term goals. While House Dagoth was ideologically expansionist, it was also very slow and methodical in its movements. In more than 400 years of conflict with the Tribunal, House Dagoth hardly expanded from Red Mountain—only to some ancient Dunmer strongholds and smuggler's caves. This was largely due to Dagoth Ur's apprehension of the Empire. He knew that a premature conflict would result in the inevitable defeat of his House, and so shunned open conflict, at least until Akulakhan could be completed.[1]

House Dagoth and the Tribunal[edit]

For the following four hundred years (roughly the first four hundred years of the Third Era), Almsivi sent raiding parties in an attempt to capture the Heart Chamber, but they were always unsuccessful. In the meantime, Dagoth Ur recruited followers by manipulating and controlling their dreams. Corprus disease appeared in these 400 years, pioneered by House Dagoth. Blight storms progressively began to ravage more and more of Vvardenfell during this period. The growth of blight storms was practically exponential, posing a massive threat to the people of Vvardenfell. To combat this, at some time around 3E 400, Almsivi began the construction of the Ghostfence. Once constructed, it required most of the Tribunal's power for its own maintenance. It was completed some time before 3E 417.

The Ghostfence may have been part of House Dagoth's larger plan. With most of their power devoted to maintaining the Ghostfence, Morrowind was opened to non-Temple settlement in 3E 414, and Almalexia and Sotha Sil lost the artifacts Sunder and Keening while raiding the Sixth House Bases. Vivec's intervention was the only thing that allowed Almalexia and Sotha Sil to escape with their lives. Given these tactical strengths, it is not hard to believe that the expansion of the Blight was intended as a feint, to force the Tribunal to spend a lot of energy to stop said storms.

In keeping with the feint hypothesis, House Dagoth rapidly obtained the use of several smuggler bases and ships along the Bitter Coast. With these, they either imported or exported custom idols called "ash statues", which apparently had a sort of corrupting magic attached to them. They caused people to murder, to be aggressive, and possibly made it easier for Dagoth Ur to extend his dream influences. They also may have caused ash kin to be transported to a manor in Ald'ruhn.

In an event that was likely prior to the completion of the Ghostfence, in 3E 400, Dagoth Uthol took the old Dunmer fortress of Kogoruhn and created a underground tunnel leading under the Ghostfence, into Red Mountain. The Tribunal were probably not aware of this until much later.

After the loss of Sunder and Keening in 3E 417, the Tribunal retired to their capitals and offensives were only carried out by the Temple priesthood. With the drain of the Ghostfence, the Tribunal could no longer raid within the Ghostfence. It is not known what their plan was; it is possible that they were waiting for House Dagoth to attack first, so that they could drop the Ghostfence and counterattack with more strength.

Dagoth Ur, though he held Sunder and Keening, lacked Wraithguard to bind them all together. The best he could have done would be to study Sunder and Keening's enchantments and attempt to duplicate them himself, later. This undoubtedly required some time and for the next ten years he was remarkably silent. Perhaps recognizing the Tribunal's strategy to wait for House Dagoth to make the first move, in 3E 427, his cultists became far more aggressive, and there was a sudden chain of assassinations. Curiously enough, these assassinations were all targeted at Imperials and at House Hlaalu's Imperial sympathizers.[1] Presumably, these targets were chosen because of House Dagoth's opposition to the Empire and its belief that it would conquer all of Tamriel.

Culture[edit]

Chimes inside a Sixth House shrine

Due to the purge of records associated with House Dagoth, very little is known about its culture and character. One of the few extant documents describes them as "subtle" and having a penchant for diplomacy and subterfuge.[10] This may go some way to explain Dagoth Ur's willingness to take up the failed project of his race's ancient enemy, as well as his seemingly conciliatory attitude towards the Nerevarine.[6]

The risen House Dagoth displays a pronounced affinity for sound and music, though it's difficult to know if this was part of its makeup before its fall. Nearly every shrine encountered in Vvardenfell features a set of large bells or chimes, which seemingly play an important role in its rituals. Some of the more advanced forms of Ash Creature have long, perforated, trunk-like snouts which may be used as musical instruments.[oog 1] The fictional epic Poison Song depicts the house having a strong connection to music to the point that its descendants can somehow "hear" its songs still, though it's unclear what basis, if any, this has in reality.

See Also[edit]

  • For game-specific information, see the Morrowind and ESO articles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Dagoth Ur's PlansTribunal Temple
  2. ^ Events of Morrowind
  3. ^ The War of the First CouncilAgrippa Fundilius
  4. ^ Nerevar at Red Mountainthe Tribunal Temple
  5. ^ The Battle of Red Mountain, and the Rise and Fall of the TribunalVivec
  6. ^ a b Message from Dagoth UrDagoth Ur
  7. ^ Events of ESO Morrowind
  8. ^ A Short History of MorrowindJeanette Sitte
  9. ^ Sleepers Awake
  10. ^ The Seven CursesGilvas Barelo

Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.

  1. ^ Concept art of an ash creature, from The Art of Morrowind