The Scenarist Guild is an ancient guild with a presence across all of Tamriel. The Guild is for troubadours, bards, and minstrels; guild members are called Scenarists. The guild has a presence in every significant city across the provinces, but it is based in a citadel nestled in the Dragontail Mountains, which is protected from trespassers by a magical barrier. The guild was ruled with an iron fist by Nesmyt in the late Third Era, although it had existed for hundreds of years before he took command.
The Scenarist Guild offers guided tours in the cities, and helps people traverse the provinces physically, interactively, spiritually, and historically. It also answers riddles and puzzles. The notes and observations made by the Scenarists have been compiled into a thousand impressive volumes. A neutral guild member not associated with any geographic entity acts as an observer, keeping others' accounts honest and free from inborn or regional bias. In 3E 370, Nesmyt created a sect of Imperial scribes who were charged with recording all historical events, beginning with the defeat of Jagar Tharn in 3E 399. Smuggled out by an anonymous renegade guild member, the book, now known as The Daggerfall Chronicles, was hidden in a shrine to the Oracle of Hammerfell|. The guild possesses a Monster Watch Grid, which was used to locate the thousands of dark minions which were released by the Underking in the events leading up to the Warp in the West.
School of Julianos
The Schools of Julianos are the temples dedicated to Julianos. Because Julianos is the god of wisdom, his temples are organized like academies. The Schools of Julianos are among the most knowledgeable research institutions in Tamriel, probably second only to the Mages Guild. The Knights Mentor comprise the military wing of the schools.
Shad Astula Academy was a school of magic in Morrowind, located near the city of Mournhold. Although focused primarily on the arcane arts, its students were also educated in writing, leadership, and military strategy in preparation for assuming leadership roles in the Ebonheart Pact during the Alliance War. The entrance requirements and curriculum were infamously rigorous, but resulted in high-quality graduates produced in half the time of a traditional Mages Guild education. The academy was built on the foundations of much older buildings, and some of the underhalls, such as the library vaults, were still in use during the Second Era.
Students at Shad Astula learned from master mages in a highly permissive and experimental environment, designed to weed out the weak and rapidly enhance the skills of the strong. The curriculum divided the magical arts into schools, such as Restoration and Illusion, which was a novel approach at the time that would quickly be adopted by the Mages Guild.
In 2E 582, Shad Astula was under the leadership of Arch-Mage Valeyn when it was attacked by the Maulborn during an attempted takeover.
The Shadow Legion is a division of the Imperial Legion consisting of the Imperial Battlemages. It serves in the Imperial Guard, but had close ties to the Mages Guild before the Guild's dissolution. While the Guild had the authority to send battlemages onto the field, often to deal with violent rogue mages, the battlemages ultimately obeyed the orders of their superiors in the Legion.
The Shadowed Path was a cult of necromancers devoted to Molag Bal. They established themselves in Cyrodiil in 2E 582 following the collapse of civil order brought about by the Alliance War, although they were seemingly in existence before the war.
The cult was led by Dreadlord Naucratius, and was divided into several distinct Circles controlled by ranking Diabolists. Three such Circles were sent to southern Cyrodiil in search of an ancient relic buried beneath the ground. The cult occupied Haynote Cave, Nisin Cave and Pothole Caverns in search of this artifact, which the Shadowed Path planned to use to conquer the Imperial City and all of Cyrodiil in the name of Molag Bal. Following the falling of a Dark Anchor above Bruma, the Shadowed Path took command of the Daedric invasion forces and overran the city. The cult also occupied the ruins of Nagastani in preparation for taking Blue Road Keep.
The cult attempted to create a lich at Lindai to lead them, but it was destroyed on behalf of the priests of Weynon Priory. Many of the cult's existing leaders were also killed by adventurers, and the Fighter's Guild began offering bounties to hunt down cult members after their contract with Meridia was concluded.
Specific details of the Shadowed Path's relations with Mannimarco and the Order of the Black Worm are unknown, although the Order had supplanted the Mages Guild in Cyrodiil at the time and had Imperial approval. Similar cults, such as the Withered Hand and Stonefire Cult, cropped up all across Tamriel with the support of the Empire and the Worm Cult. Following the failure of the Planemeld and Mannimarco's fall from grace, the fate of the Shadowed Path is unknown.
The Shadowscales are an order of Argonian assassins originating in Black Marsh. Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow are taken at birth and offered to the Dark Brotherhood where they are trained in the arts of stealth and assassination. Any Shadowscale who lives to come of age is accepted into the Dark Brotherhood as a full member of the family. They may also leave the Brotherhood to serve the Argonian people in Black Marsh. They act with impunity there, and some are said to serve as personal assassins to a King of Black Marsh; but no such king is thought to have ruled since the height of Argonian civilization in ages past—if at all—and the monarch's role as commander of the Shadowscales is said to be overstated.
Shadowscales follow the same five tenets traditionally followed by members of the Brotherhood, although they are a distinct set of rules. For example, a Shadowscale cannot kill a fellow Shadowscale even if they are not members of the Brotherhood. However, breaking a tenet of the Brotherhood invokes the Wrath of Sithis, and forgiveness is possible if the family member survives the encounter. If a Shadowscale breaks a tenet, it is viewed as treason and the perpetrator will be put to death. This is usually carried out by the Argonian Royal Court, who will send an unaffiliated assassin to carry out the execution.
Many Shadowscales were opposed to the formation of the Ebonheart Pact in the Second Era, with some even turning traitor and fleeing Black Marsh. However, some Shadowscales fought on the Pact's side during the Aldmeri Dominion invasion of Shadowfen in 2E 582 by liberating the town of Murkwater.
The Silver Hand were a group of werewolf hunters in Skyrim circa 4E 201. They were enemies of the Companions, as they were aware that the mercenary group's elite inner circle were lycanthropes. Hunters affiliated with the Silver Hand were known to brandish silver swords and sought to rid Skyrim of werewolves. However, while the Silver Hand solely hunted werewolves and members of the Companions, it was evident that the group was overzealous at best, and at worst was no better than a group of bandits, murdering unarmed civilians and torturing their captives, even those not suffering from lycanthropy. To spite the Companions, the Silver Hand also attempted to retrieve scattered pieces of Wuuthrad, the shattered axe of Ysgramor which was of great importance to them.
The Skaal are an offshoot tribe of Nords living in a village in northeastern Solstheim. They are known as a trusting and hospitable people, welcoming strangers into their village without any suspicion. Their village is located to the east of the Isild River, along the Felsaad Coast just north of Lake Fjalding. The Skaal are descended from the Nords who served the Dragon Cult on Solstheim, and built tombs to honor the Dragon Priests who ruled over them. They get all that they need from the land around them and do not often accept coin in trade from travelers.
Though they are Nords by race, the Skaal embrace their own culture and religion, based around worship of the All-Maker. They believe when something dies, be it an animal or a person, the spirit of the deceased is returned to the All-Maker, who then reforms it into a new being and returns it to the mortal plane, to live out a new life, in a new body. As such, the Skaal do not view death the same way as other Nords. All life is sacred to the Skaal, and they try to live in harmony with nature, impacting their environment as little as possible. They hunt deer, bear, and horker, only to the extent necessary for survival, never for enjoyment or practice, and gather their firewood from dead trees that have already fallen. The antithesis of the All-Maker is a being known as the Adversary. The Adversary has many aspects, each one of them designed to test the Skaal, to push them so that they do not become lazy and weak. One aspect of the Adversary is Thartaag, the World-Devourer, likely the Skaal's version of Alduin, the World-Eater. Legend says that Thartaag will return at the End of Seasons, and bring an end to all of creation.
Early in the third century of the Third Era, a group of Skaal left the village, hoping to return more to their roots. These Skaal were led by Hrothmund the Red, and founded Thirsk Mead Hall, a settlement on the southern shore of Lake Fjalding (though some local Nords believe the history of the hall dates back to the late Second Era). There, they lived like the Nords of old, hunting and fighting without restraint, with the mightiest warrior rising to leadership.
For more information, see the Lore article.
Society of Concerned Merchants
Soul Shriven (or Soul-Shriven) are the remnants of individuals who have been enslaved by the Daedric Prince of Domination, Molag Bal. They are eternally doomed to toil in torment for the glory and amusement of the Daedric Lord.
The Spinners are Bosmeri priests and historians, who record the story of their people—past, present, and even future. Principally associated with Y'ffre, Storyteller and chief god in the Bosmeri pantheon, Spinners may serve other gods in their quest for historical knowledge. They seek to maintain all Bosmeri history, culture, and laws, usually in the form of stories or metaphors, which can be difficult to comprehend but always ultimately correct. Thus, they serve as highly-influential advisors and bards, as well as helping to enforce Y'ffre's Green Pact. The most talented among them can utterly ensnare listeners within their story as a potent illusion, casting them as a character within the tale and thus influencing their emotions. It is said that Spinners travel nowhere except when carried by others, never moving under their own power.
Circa 2E 582, Mera Stormcloak served as a thane of Windhelm, and was a trusted subject of Jorunn the Skald-King. Skegglund Stormcloak, a prestigious champion of the Fighters Guild, once served as a city guard. By far the most notable member of the clan is Ulfric Stormcloak, who inherited the title of Jarl from his father Hoag Stormcloak in 4E 183. He began the Stormcloak Rebellion in 4E 201 in order to usurp Elisif the Fair as High Queen and restore Talos worship. The family also owned a vineyard during the Second Era, which was known to produce extremely rare vintages on occasion.
The Stormcloaks were the main organization of rebels in Skyrim's Stormcloak Rebellion. Strongest in eastern Skyrim and based in Windhelm, they were originally founded by Ulfric Stormcloak as a private army to advance his interests. A few years later in 4E 201, after Ulfric killed High King Torygg, their ranks swelled with those who supported his call for an end to the ban on Talos worship, as well as action against the Empire and the Thalmor. The Stormcloaks claimed to be the only ones who could call themselves true Sons (or Daughters) of Skyrim, although their ranks were not strictly limited to Nords.
The Stormfist Clan was a Nordic clan of Whiterun Tundra, known for their prowess at battle and armor crafting. Their founder and ancestor was Ogra Stormfist, the powerful matriarch who ruled the clan for nearly fifty years. The clan's involvement was pivotal in numerous conflicts, such as in the Battle of Whiterun Hold and the Massacre at Dialmarch. However, their engagement in the Siege of Windhelm during the Second Akaviri Invasion in 2E 572 ended in their downfall and isolation.
A group of thieves from the Summerset Isles who attempted to set up shop in Windhelm around 4E 201. Much like the Thieves Guild in many regions, they forbade their thieves to murder while on a job. Of course, the Thieves Guild of Skyrim being more flexible on this injunction did not greet this incursion with pitchers of mead. On behalf of a client, they shamed the group by slaying their leader and embarrassing them, quickly bringing about an end to their organized presence in Skyrim.
Sword-singers were an order of Yokudan warriors who followed the "Way of the Sword", a martial philosophy on blade mastery. Singers were capable of astonishing feats of swordsmanship, and were viewed by some to be as much mages as warriors. They sought strength of body, and of mind. Although the tradition of sword-singing originated in Yokuda, it was brought to the shores of Tamriel by the Ra Gada in the First Era. The sword-singers were instrumental in claiming the entire province of Hammerfell and establishing a new homeland for the Yokudan people. The most accomplished sword-singer in history was Frandar Hunding, whose writings on the subject were revered by the Redguards centuries later.
The forerunner of the Fighters Guild, the Syffim was founded by the Akaviri Potentate Versidue-Shaie and his kinsman Dinieras-Ves. Although it began as an Akaviri-only organization named after the Tsaesci word for 'soldiers', it eventually opened its doors to all races. The Syffim became the Fighters Guild when it received its charter in 2E 321.
The Synod is one of the organizations formed after the dissolution of the Mages Guild at the start of the Fourth Era, the other being the College of Whispers. The two groups are rivals, and constantly strive to earn the favor of the Elder Council. The Synod played a part in defending the Imperial City from Umbriel circa 4E 40.
The Synod is headed by a Grand Council. Ranks within the Synod include Attendant and First Adjunct. One of the divisions within the Synod is the Binder's Conclave, which enchanted a focusing crystal for use at the Oculory of Mzulft. Both the College of Whispers and the Synod have attempted to form alliances with the College of Winterhold, but despite pressures the independent organization has remained neutral. In 4E 201, the Synod attempted to use the Oculory of Mzulft to locate artifacts of great magical power, but the Eye of Magnus prevented the Oculory from working correctly. The Eye was being held at the College of Winterhold at the time, which may have embittered relationships with the Synod.