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"Few families in Tamriel can boast so many famous figures, wielding so much power over the fate of so many. Our warriors and kings are stuff of legend, and it is not to dismiss their honor and their achievements to say you have heard quite enough about them." — Vorian Direnni, De Rerum Dirennis

The Direnni were an aristocratic clan of Altmer[nb 1] merchants, alchemists, and sorcerers who became a powerful dynasty ruling over High Rock for hundreds of years. They formed the Direnni Hegemony, a loose area of influence around the Isle of Balfiera.[1]

The Direnni Acropolis on Summerset Isle


Early History[edit]

A clan Direnni banner

Clan Direnni originated from the small farming village of Tyrigel which sat on the banks of the river Caomus (then called the river Diren hence the family's name) on Summerset Isle. Using his knowledge of alchemy, Asliel Direnni poisoned a barbarian tribe called the Locvar that were continuously raiding Tyrigel. With this external threat dealt with, the way was paved for the future prosperity of the Direnni farms, and generations later they would leave Summerset and travel to mainland Tamriel which would further increase their power and influence.[2]

According to Beredalmo the Signifier, Direnni Cygnus, "the Swan of Tyrigel", was the progenitor to Clan Direnni as she discovered the Isle of Balfiera and decreed that her descendants should carry her name.[3] In the Middle Merethic Era the Adamantine Tower was rediscovered and captured by the Direnni, a prominent and powerful Aldmeri clan.[4]

The Direnni Hegemony[edit]

Clan Direnni rose in power on the mainland through political maneuvering and devious machinations in 1E 355.[5] In 1E 358, the joint army of Cyrodiilic Emperor Ami-El and Skyrim attacked the Clan Direnni in the Western Reach of High Rock.[UOL 1] With the rise of the Alessian Order in Cyrodiil in 1E 361, many Ayleids fleeing Cyrodiil migrated to High Rock to escape the order, and this exodus may have strengthened Clan Direnni as these immigrants were absorbed into their hegemony.[6] When Laloriaran Dynar and his people arrived at the Bjoulsae in 1E 375, they were welcomed by the Direnni and given a place to settle.[7]

The Isle of Balfiera was later acquired by Ryain Direnni in 1E 461[8][7][9] and used as a base for their war against Skyrim, which later ended in 1E 477.[7]

Clan Direnni managed to conquer High Rock, some parts of Skyrim and Hammerfell until 1E 477[5], going as far east as Markarth and Elinhir.[3] The Kings of the Colovian West joined with Kvatch and Skingrad to resist the Alessian Empire. Soon after, Skyrim under High King Hoag Merkiller and Ryain Direnni of High Rock joined the resistance. Ryain Direnni outlawed the Alessian Reform and put its major advocates to death. Direnni forces began to harass the Colovian West, pushing for the Heartland.

Following the Direnni involvement in Cyrodiil, the Alessians began conquering territories of the Direnni Hegemony. By 1E 479 Craglorn had fallen to the Imperials.[7]

Between 1E 480 and 1E 482, the Alessian Order was trying to conquer High Rock.[7] It was in 1E 482[7] that Prince Aiden Direnni led the Direnni against the Alessians in the decisive Battle of Glenumbria Moors, with Raven Direnni, King Laloriaran Dynar of Nenalata, and Hoag Merkiller helping to secure the final victory.[10][11] Daggerfall became a minor base of operations for the Direnni and their allies in 1E 480-1E 482,[12] and the enchantress Raven Direnni was one of the earliest occupants of Castle Daggerfall.

Although the Direnni Clan won the Battle of Glenumbria Moors, they could not regain the power they once had. One by one, control fell to the emerging nobility of Greater Bretony, who seized power throughout most of High Rock within two decades of the Alessian defeat. In the end, only the Isle of Balfiera was left in their hold. Around 1E 500, almost all of High Rock was freed from the Direnni.[11] Clan Direnni are the only known Altmer ruling family that still remains in human lands.

Retreat to Balfiera[edit]

DF-banner-Direnni Clan.png

While most Direnni relocated to the Isle of Balfiera in High Rock, some members of the clan stayed on Summerset, retaining the clan's holdings around the Diren Valley. Some time in the First Era, one of the remaining Direnni—by the name of Lauriel—became highly skilled in the arts of necromancy, to the horror of her family. Facing the possibility of execution, Lauriel refused to repent and claimed that she could not be killed and would only rise again. To prevent Lauriel from doing this, the Direnni buried her alive in a sarcophagus deep below the Direnni Acropolis, and bound her spirit to it by kindling two sacred flames in braziers. A Keeper was then appointed to make sure the braziers remained lit, and the title was passed down between generations. However, the Direnni population on Summerset diminished with time, and they lost contact with their kin on Balfiera. By the mid-Second Era, the last Keeper was long dead, and the braziers had gone out. In time, Lauriel managed to manifest as a ghost, and haunted the Acropolis, hoping to contact and convince someone to release her from her imprisonment. Around 2E 582, the Vestige entered the crypts of the Direnni Acropolis. Lauriel tried to convince them to release her by burning her remains, while the lingering spirits of the dead Keepers wished to see the braziers relit. It is unknown what decision was made by the Vestige.[13]

During the Three Banners War, both the Daggerfall Covenant and Aldmeri Dominion used the history of the Direnni against each other in propaganda leaflets. With the Daggerfall Covenant pointing out that they let Clan Direnni live in their borders as proof that they could live with elves in peace.[14] Whereas the Aldmeri Dominion used the history of Clan Direnni to generate sympathy for the Altmer describing their Direnni cousins as "cruelly suppressed".[15] During that time period Direnni considered themselves to be more humble, pragmatic and open-minded than Altmer of the Summerset Isles. Clan Direnni's intelligence guild, the Sinderill had active agents across the Tamriel.[16]

The master summoners of the Direnni were the first to discover that a conjurer could impose any desired shape on a Flame Atronach, such as that of a horse, which they used in the Battle of Glenumbria Moors.[17] Peregrine Direnni was also the first to conjure the first ever Flame Atronach in the form of a camel.[18] Direnni were also known to utilize golems[16], and quasigriffs.[19]

At maturity, every Direnni of high blood is brought into the Adamantine Tower, conducted to the Foundation Vault, and shown the Zero Stone. During the ceremony, they are allowed to touch it once so they can feel the transcendent mystical power that courses through it.[3]

The Direnni Tower, which was used as a fortress, prison, and palace by the Direnni Hegemony, still bears their name.[20]

Notable Figures[edit]

  • Direnni Cygnus, the Swan of Tyrigel, discovered Balfiera and its Tower and claimed it for her own, decreeing that all of her clan who came after would bear her name.[3]
  • Asliel Direnni is believed to have been the first individual to formulate alchemy into an art and science. As such, some Direnni banners feature an alembic in recognition of his accomplishment. He also became a Member of the Psijic Order[2][3]
  • Raven Direnni, with her better known cousins Aiden and Ryain, brought an end to the tyranny of the latter Alessian Empire. Before the Psijics of Artaeum, it is said, she created the art of enchantment, learning how to bind a soul into a gem and use that to enchant all manners of weaponry.[2][3] One known creation of hers is an inflammable rug, which was supposedly one of her first creations after she discovered the principles of enchantment.
  • Ryain Direnni, who bought the Isle of Balfiera and made it his seat of power. He then started conquering High Rock,[21] making the Direnni Hegemony stretching as far east as Markarth and Elinhir.[3]
  • Prince Aiden Direnni, who led Direnni forces to victory against the Alessians in the Battle of Glenumbra Moors in 1E 482[3]
  • Corvus Direnni was the Arch-Conjurer of clan Direnni at some unknown point and mentored students for the Master Conjurer test. [17][18][3]
  • Peregrine Direnni drove an entire Ra Gada flotilla back to Sentinel by merging her very will with the waves of the Iliac Bay.[3]
  • Pelladil Direnni, who was Imperial Battlemage to the first ruling Potentate, Versidue-Shaie, and encouraged the Guild Act which allowed for the creation of the Mage's Guild and Fighter's Guild. Pelladil was also responsible for the construction of Blackrose Prison.[3] He was the great great grandfather to Jovron Direnni.
  • Jovron Direnni, an Imperial Battlemage to the court of the Dunmer Empress of Tamriel, Katariah, assisting her in creating peace in a time of turmoil. He was also the grandfather to Medora Direnni.
  • Lady Thorn, also known as Lady Ingerien, was an Altmer Vampire Lord who ruled over Castle Thorn in the Second Era.[23]
  • Maalanrie Direnni, who "walked through dreams" and summoned the first Iron Atronach Senche to free her from captivity.[24]
  • Irastimil Direnni was a notable Direnni scholar who created quasigriffs through magic and selective breeding.[19]




  • ^  In A History of Daggerfall the Direnni were originally described as native Bretons. Although they are described to be predominantly Altmer in later content, they still have some humans in their ranks.


  1. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri DominionImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  2. ^ a b c De Rerum DirennisVorian Direnni
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k OnceBeredalmo the Signifier
  4. ^ Before the Ages of ManAicantar of Shimerene
  5. ^ a b The Daggerfall Chronicles — Ronald Wartow
  6. ^ The Last King of the AyleidsHerminia Cinna
  7. ^ a b c d e f A Life of Strife and StruggleKing Laloriaran Dynar
  8. ^ Rislav The RighteousSinjin
  9. ^ Tower of AdamantHrerm House-builder, Bards College, Solitude
  10. ^ The Final LessonAegrothius Goth
  11. ^ a b Five Songs of King Wulfharth
  12. ^ A History of DaggerfallOdiva Gallwood
  13. ^ Events of ESO: Summerset
  14. ^ A Warning to the Aldmeri DominionErystera Ligen
  15. ^ Crimes of the Daggerfall CovenantAicantar of Shimmerene, Sapiarch of Indoctrination
  16. ^ a b Norianwe's dialogue in ESO
  17. ^ a b Flame Atronach Horse description
  18. ^ a b Flame Atronach Camel description
  19. ^ a b Description of Quasigriff in ESO
  20. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire
  21. ^ Rislav The RighteousSinjin
  22. ^ Harvest's End, 3E 172 — Chimere Graegyn
  23. ^ Letter of WelcomeLady Ingerien of Clan Direnni
  24. ^ Description of Iron Atronach Senche in ESO

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.

  1. ^ Matt Grandstaff's Posts, The Imperial Library