Lore:Crypt of Hearts
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|Crypt of Hearts|
|Appears in||Arena, Shadowkey, ESO|
- The Crypt of Hearts. A place of love and hope twisted by jealousy and hatred into a perverse dungeon of eternal torment. The dead cry out for rest. — Glirion the Redbeard
The Crypt of Hearts is a multi-level mausoleum located in northern Tamriel made up of dank, winding passageways filled with strange creatures. As befits such a place, its exact location is uncertain, having entrances in both High Rock and Skyrim. The city of Shornhelm, near its High Rock entrance, is sometimes referred to as "the Keeper of the Crypt".[UOL 1]
At some point during the early Second Era two Altmer, Nerien'eth and his wife Alanwe, built a school known as 'Agea Relle' for the purpose of teaching adventuring skills along with magic. Curiously, the school was found to have been built on top of a system of caverns which contained the seven Star Teeth, artifacts held in high regard by the Ayleids.  Soon after the school's completion, Nerien'eth came into possession of the Ebony Blade. He initially brought it to the Agea Relle for study, but the blade would soon drive him mad with whispering of betrayal from those he loved, leading him to slaughter all those within the school. Afterwards, Dutheil, the Mad Architect, was contracted to rebuild the ruins left by Neiren'eth's rampage and convert it into a crypt of torment and suffering from which none of the lost souls could escape. The unfortunate tale of the former Agea Relle, now renamed the Crypt of Hearts in reverence to the loved ones Nerien'eth imprisoned, would spread across Rivenspire and throughout Tamriel. 
In 2E 582, a group of Undaunted entered the Crypt of Hearts and aided the spirit of Alanwe in ending the influence of both her husband and Mephala on the souls within. After defeating the Daedric tormentors and slaying Nerien'eth, who had since then become a Lich, Alanwe would cleanse the crypt of any remaining corruption by sacrificing her own soul, banishing the Ebony Blade and cursing it to never remain with a single owner for an extended period of time. This act would free the crypt of any lingering Daedric influence and the souls of the students were freed from their prison and finally allowed to pass on into the afterlife.
In 3E 397, due to the ongoing War of the Bend'r-mahk, a Shadow of Conflict was created deep within the crypt. This Shadow of Conflict, or "Umbra' Keth", could be controlled by a powerful Shadowmage. Pergan Asuul, one such Shadowmage, sought to control the monstrosity for his own ends, as did Jagar Tharn, who was posing as the Emperor Uriel Septim VII. An unknown hero, under the guidance of Azra Nightwielder and Skelos Undriel, recovered the seven Star Teeth in an effort to destroy the Umbra' Keth. The hero descended into the crypt on the Skyrim side of the border, near the city of Dragonstar. All but one of the crypt caretakers had fled, as the Umbra' Keth's presence had caused the dead to rise. The hero battled the final incarnation of Pergan Asuul in the crypt, and placed the Star Teeth on their pedestals in the Vault of the Heavens. The hero then lured the Umbra' Keth from the third level of the crypt and into range of the power of the Star Teeth, which weakened the shadow creature and allowed the hero to destroy it, preventing it from falling into the hands of Tharn, or anyone else who would misuse it.
The crypt was also used as a hiding place for one of the shattered pieces of the Staff of Chaos throughout the Imperial Simulacrum. The Eternal Champion, on a quest to dethrone Jagar Tharn, sought out the crypt. The Brotherhood of Seth in Camlorn, with the aid of a map that the champion recovered, were able to find an entrance to the crypt. The entrance was at the end of the northern bay in High Rock, near the city of Shornhelm. The champion recovered the piece of the staff on the fourth level of the crypt.
By the Fourth Era, the Crypt of Hearts had become the home of a Breton knightly order, the Order of the Crypt. Though initially serving merely as crypt keepers and protectors within the kingdom of Shornhelm's borders, events led them to become legendary crusaders. One of the order's knights had fallen in love with a wyress of the Beldama coven and willingly gave up his heart to her and was converted into a briarheart. The coven took the union as a betrayal, and killed the lovers. As punishment, the husband's heart was defiled afterward by the coven so that he could not reunite with his lover in the afterlife. As a result of the full story being clouded, the wife was branded a trickster who aided the coven in defiling the knight's heart. The knights started crusading into the Reach to avenge their knight, and the Order extended its influence far beyond Shornhelm as they gave chase to the Coven, pushing them all the way into Skyrim.  They extended their wrath to the rest of the Reachmen as well, and to them, became known as the War Mages of Shornhelm. Since then, the Order has taken a vow to "guard not just the crypt in Shornhelm, but the hearts of all men."
- Arena map
- Shadowkey map
- Star Teeth, Volume I — Alanwe
- Alanwe's dialogue in ESO
- Requisition Order — Dutheil
- Glirion the Redbeard's dialogue in ESO
- Events during Lover's Torment
- Events during Edge of Darkness
- Events of Shadowkey
- Events of Arena
- Crypt of the Heart - Draft — Ariana Dumas
- Beldama Witch's Note
- Spell Knight Armor Creation
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.