The Fighters Guild, present across most of Tamriel, provides a common and, more importantly, public place of training, study, and employment for those of a martial persuasion. The guild is a professional organization chartered by the Emperor to regulate the hiring and training of mercenaries, protect commerce, capture or drive away beasts, and similar security duties. Guild halls can take on a contract from any citizen, provided it does not conflict with the laws or customs of the region.
The Guild gained greater prominence at the beginning of the Third Era under Uriel I. Guild Stewards are entrusted with receiving and dispensing contracts to Guild members, hearing complaints about the servicing of said contracts, promotions, and determining the eligibility for re-admittance into the Guild of former members who had stolen from or assaulted other members.
For more information, see the main lore article.
The Five Companions were a group of adventurers who embarked on a quest to rediscover the lost Amulet of Kings during the Interregnum. The Companions were led by Emperor Varen Aquilarios of the Empire of Cyrodiil, who desired to use the Amulet of Kings to rekindle the Dragonfires in a ritual aimed at persuading Akatosh to alter his heritage and make him a Dragonborn, and thus a legitimately-ordained ruler of the Empire. The other four Companions consisted of some of the greatest fighters and minds of that time. Lyris Titanborn, a Nord warrior said to have the blood of giants, served Varen as his personal bodyguard. Sai Sahan, the Redguard Captain of Varen's Dragonguard, was charged with protecting the group. Abnur Tharn, Chancellor of the Elder Council and Varen's advisor, accompanied Varen in his capacity as Imperial Battlemage. Lastly, there was Mannimarco, a legendary necromancer who held considerable influence with Varen and claimed to know how to conduct the Dragonfire ritual.
For years after Varen's conquest of the Empire, the Five Companions traveled the land in search of the elusive artifact. In 2E 579, having successfully located the amulet and returned to the Imperial City, Varen and the Companions initiated the ritual with the Amulet. It was then that Mannimarco revealed his treachery and corrupted the ritual to break the ancient covenant between Akatosh and mortals, triggering a catastrophe which the Elder Scrolls named the Soulburst. A powerful explosion of magical energy swept across Nirn, setting the plane adrift in Oblivion and rendering it vulnerable to Molag Bal's plans to merge Nirn and Coldharbour in the Planemeld.
Varen vanished in the chaos of the Soulburst, allegedly destroyed in the blast. In the immediate aftermath, Sai Sahan managed to secure the Amulet of Kings and fled from the Imperial City to hide it, taking it to the ruins of the city of Sancre Tor, the burial site of the Reman emperors. Mannimarco made Lyris Titanborn his captive, and Abnur Tharn, seeking to preserve his status, pledged his loyalty to Mannimarco and had his daughter, Clivia Tharn, declared Empress Regent in Varen's absence. The Five Companions and Varen's dream of reviving the Reman Empire came to an end, and the world was set on a course for the Alliance War.
The Forebears is the name given to a social and political group of the Redguards. The Warrior Wave of Ra Gada, or first invasion of Yokudans to reach Tamriel, are now known as the Forebears. They cleared the way for their rulers, the Totambu, and their faction, which is now known as the Crowns. The Crowns and Forebears represented the two halves of a highly stratified Hammerfell and fought a bitter civil war during the Common Era. Today they are at peace, though divisions remain. During the Third Era they were the most cosmopolitan of the Redguard factions and happily embraced the Empire of Tiber Septim. Recently a third faction, the Lhotunics, have emerged, representing a middle ground. Sentinel is a major Forebear city, even though it is the seat of the king.
The Forsworn, also known as the Madmen of the Reach, are a faction of Reachmen formed following the Markarth Incident in 4E 176. The Forsworn claim that they are the true sons and daughters of the Reach, but are often considered "two septims short of a pint of ale".
Despite appearing primitive in nature, the Forsworn have proven to be an aggressive political force which has an astute grasp of insurgency warfare, and even have agents living among the populace of Markarth in secret. They directly oppose all other major political groups active in the Reach, including the Thalmor. They wish to drive both Nords and the Empire out of the Reach and attain independence.
The Fryse Hags are an order of savage Nord witches dedicated to the goddess Kyne. Each hag is powerful ice mage in her own right, although they have also been known to consort with the undead or use enchanted silver weapons. The hags wander the wilds of Solstheim, living outside civilized society and indiscriminately killing any traveler they come across, viewing outsiders as a despised threat to their beliefs. They are known to congregate in ice caves.