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Type Settlement
Continent Tamriel
Province Skyrim
Hold The Reach
Appears in Arena, Skyrim, ESO
Karthwasten circa 4E 201
Karthwasten Hall during the Imperial Simulacrum

Karthwasten (also called Karthwasten Hall)[1] is a long-standing settlement located in the Reach near the banks of the Karth River, from which it gets its name.

Control of the settlement has changed hands between Nords and Reachmen multiple times, usually due to violent conflict.[2] The town was built around the ancient Sanuarach mine, which the Nords prized greatly for its silver. The Reachmen of the Karth, by contrast, traditionally held that mining was an affront to nature, and so would often ignore or even destroy the mine during their tenure.[3][4]

Eventually, the fighting between the two factions would die down. By the Fourth Era, Karthwasten was known as a mining town with a mixed population. Despite being owned by a Reachman at this time, the town not only mined the Sanuarach, but the newer Fenn's Gulch Mine near the settlement as well.[5][6][7]


The area surrounding the Karth River was historically the site of continuous conflict between Reachmen and the Nords of Western Skyrim, with the territory around Karthwasten in particular changing hands multiple times through the Eras.[2][8][9] Numerous stories of woe and treachery were told about the settlement over the years. The most prominent one was The Seeping Sickness of Karthwasten.[8] It was an active settlement during the rule of king Hylfrald of Solitude, but it is unknown who controlled it at that time.[9]

Second Era[edit]

Karthwasten Silver Boar

By the mid-500s of the Second Era, the aforementioned conflict had reached a stalemate. Although the Nords had successfully seized control of the territory north of Karthwasten, Karthwasten itself remained in Reachman hands, under the leadership of the Crow-Eye Clan, led by its spiritual leader Shaman Ulvoch.[2][3]

At some point prior to 2E 558 the village was visited by Camhain Tharn and described in his A Reach Travel Guide. He stated that its local Reachfolk population was willing to trade with outsiders, accepting both empire's gold and goods for barter.[10]

In 2E 577, Jarl Svargrim declared that the seized land would now be known as a new hold, Karthald, so that it, and its newly-built capital Karthwatch, could serve as a bulwark against further Reachman incursions from Karthwasten.[2]

In 2E 582, the Icereach Coven began performing Harrowstorm rituals throughout Western Skryim; stealing the souls of its residents to resurrect the Gray Host. Notably, both of these Karth settlements were chosen as targets by the Coven. Karthwatch was utterly destroyed in their attack.[11] However, Karthwasten survived, largely thanks to the defensive wards the Crow-Eye Clan maintained, but numerous inhabitants of the village were still affected by the harrowstorms and turned into harrowed.[3][4]

In the same year, the village was visited by an outsider who was willing to aid locals with their problems related to the Gray Host activity in the region. Local shaman accepted their help and requested them to help his apprentice with the renewal of the wards. They collected materials with a connection to Karthwasten and the surrounding countryside and offered them to the spirits. However, the final part of the ritual was disturbed by the Netherroot, a plant that was cultivated by the Gray Host in the Sanuarach Mine. After the mines were cleared, and Grey Host defeated the ritual was finished successfully and the wards have been restored.[3][4] Damaged buildings were not restored, however, as they were seen as "echoes left over from those who did not belong".[12]

The village throve once again and the outsider was named a Crow-Eye in spirit and a friend to the Clan.[3][12][4] Shaman Ulvoch attended the moot during which regional leaders Ard Caddach of the Reach, and Jarl Svana and King Jorunn of Skyrim signed the peace treaty between the Reach, Eastern Skyrim, and Western Skyrim.[13]

During the Second Era, Karthwasten was known for its domesticated Silver Boars.[14]

Third Era[edit]

By the Imperial Simulacrum, in the late Third Era, the town had come under imperial control and was now known as Karthwasten Hall. Ruled by Duke Alarke, they maintained a rivalry with nearby Granitehall.[1] It was neighbored by several settlements, including Amber Guard in the northeast, and Granitehall in the southeast.[15]

Fourth Era[edit]

Sometime during the Skyrim Civil War the town of Karthwasten was the site of a massacre allegedly committed by the Stormcloaks, who disputed their responsibility for the bloodshed. The Imperial Legion would later demand compensation for the massacre from the Stormcloaks as a condition for a temporary truce during negotiations at High Hrothgar.[16]

By this time, Karthwasten was one of the last pieces of land in Skyrim that was owned by a Reachman, in this case, Ainethach. His family had owned Karthwasten for generations. Ainethach was disliked by both the Nords and the local Reachmen, who saw him as a race-traitor. During his stewardship, Karthwasten was targeted by the Silver-Blood family of Markarth. Whether or not the mining town was ultimately claimed by the family is unknown, but it remained active regardless.[7]

At around the same time, the Sibyl of Markarth had passed away, and a new one was needed for the House of Dibella in the city. The priesthood had discovered the young girl, Fjotra in Karthwasten, but a group of Reachmen known as the Forsworn had taken her to Broken Tower Redoubt. From there, the young girl was freed by someone sent by the Temple of Dibella, and taken back to Markarth, where she would serve as the Dibellan Sybil of Markarth.[17]


See Also[edit]