Lore:Skyrim

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Skyrim
Type Province
Continent Tamriel
Appears in Arena, Dawnstar, Shadowkey, Skyrim, ESO, Legends
Skyrim

Skyrim, the northernmost province of Tamriel, is a cold and mountainous region also known as the Old Kingdom, Mereth, or the Fatherland,[1][2] or Keizaal in the dragon tongue.[3] Many past battles have given it a ravaged appearance and many ruins.[1][4] Though currently inhabited primarily by Nords, the Elves who they replaced had resided there since time immemorial.[1][4] The sovereign, the High King of Skyrim, is chosen by the Moot, a convention of jarls.[5] A jarl is a regional ruler chosen through heredity and, rarely, through right of arms.[5][6] The High King typically rules until death, though acts of dishonor, particularly the appearance of cowardice, can lead to the recall and reconsideration of the Moot.[5][7] Since the Pact of Chieftains was signed in 1E 420, the Moot does not give serious consideration to anyone but the High King's direct heir unless one is not available.[1]

Copy of a map of Skyrim dating to the late First Era
Skyrim circa 2E 864

Geography[edit]

Morrowind lies to the east over the Velothi Mountains, Cyrodiil is south beyond the Jerall Mountains, Hammerfell (and the latest incarnation of Orsinium) is to the south and west, High Rock is past the Druadach Mountains to the west, and the Sea of Ghosts runs along the province's long northern coastline. Skyrim holds four of the five highest mountains in Tamriel (the Red Mountain being the only one outside Skyrim). Much of the northern half of Skyrim is cold and covered in snow. However, the southern regions of the province are relatively mild.[6]

Holds[edit]

The Nords long ago divided the province into nine geopolitical regions known as holds. Each hold is a large area of land roughly equivalent to a county in Cyrodiil, each individually governed by a jarl who maintains court in the hold's capital city. The nine traditional holds of Skyrim are: Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, the Pale, Winterhold, Eastmarch, the Rift, Whiterun, Falkreath, and the Reach.[8] During the Interregnum, when the Reach became an independent Reachman kingdom and lost its status as a Nordic hold, a tenth hold named Karthald was created from the Reach's northern fringe.[9]

Winterhold, Eastmarch, the Rift, and the Pale lie to the north and east of the province and are known as the Old Holds and remain isolated from the rest of Tamriel, both geographically and politically. In contrast, the western hold of the Reach has historically been more cosmopolitan and members of all the races of the continent have made their homes there.[1]

Eastmarch[edit]

Eastmarch is the eastern hold of Skyrim, and one of the four known collectively as the Old Holds. As its name suggests, it lies against the province's eastern border, close to the Dunmeth Pass, the only passage to and from Morrowind in the area due to the high and rugged Velothi Mountains. Windhelm is the only sizable city in the otherwise rural province due to the expansive hot springs which dominate the hold. Darkwater River winds north from Lake Geir into this treacherous hot spot, where it meets the White River which then drains into the Sea of Ghosts as it passes Windhelm. River Yorgrim also joins with the White River before it ends at the Sea of Ghosts. It drains Lake Yorgrim, which lies west in the hold known as the Pale. Nord tales say the hot springs of the region resulted from an intense battle between the hero Wuunding and a mighty Daedra.

The Pale[edit]

The Pale (named for the pallid Tundra and pigmentation of its Nord inhabitants) is one of the four oldest Holds in Skyrim. The harsh environment here makes life a chore rather than a joy, and the shape of the Hold has led some to refer to it as “the old boot.” It stretches from the center of Skyrim all the way to its Northern Coast. Dominated by ice fields and glacial deposits, especially along its northern shore, some scattered ragged peaks, snow-covered ground, and little sunshine means most of the Nords congregate at the city of Dawnstar, a popular port and mining town. The Pale lacks waterways, save for Lake Yorgrim, located in the southeastern corner of the Hold. The aptly named Yogrim Forest is a pine forest found around the lake, in between the central mountains and the Shearpoint range. A small part of the White River Valley encompassing Heljarchen is also within the borders of the hold.

Possessing fewer roads and pathways than most other Holds, there is still a reasonable road connecting the Pale to Hjaalmarch, which continues past Fort Dunstad and eventually heads east into Eastmarch and Windhelm or south below the snow line into Whiterun Hold. This Hold's perimeters are dominated by mountains that run north to south along the western edge, and the Sea of Ghosts runs along the northern coast. The Hold's distinctive boot shape is due to it curving around the Anthor mountain range which forms its border with Winterhold, following the perimeter south and then east, to the partially frozen Lake Yorgrim. The River Yorgrim begins from here, merging with the mighty White River just east of Anga's Mill, this Hold's most easterly location. The rest of the dwarven ruins, barrows, and windswept catacombs are nestled between crags and the jutting, unforgiving mountains.

Winterhold[edit]

Winterhold is the northernmost hold in Skyrim, and has weather to match. The Sea of Ghosts is off its northern coast, Eastmarch is to the southeast and The Pale is to the south and west. The city of Winterhold was once located in the hold, but it was mostly destroyed during the Great Collapse. The College of Winterhold is the most notable feature of the hold, which was spared even though the Great Collapse tore down most of the city around it. What remains is a meager village, technically the hold's capital city, near the entrance to the College.

Winterhold consists of snowy coasts and rocky islands in the Broken Cape, as well as the even snowier Mount Anthor range which marks the border between Winterhold and the Pale, and some of the northern border to Eastmarch. Between the mountains and the sea to the east lies an ice plain, where the elements are at their harshest, and life at its most scarce. Rock and ice shelves form the barrier between Winterhold and the sea to the north and east, dotted occasionally with shingle beaches.

Hjaalmarch[edit]

Hjaalmarch, or Hjaalmarch Hold, is a lowland coastal hold in Skyrim. Roughly half the hold consists of the Drajkmyr marsh, south of which is the capital and only settlement Morthal (although some farms dot the tundra). The region is veined with waterways that empty into the Sea of Ghosts, and the Skyborn Range further isolates the area from the east and southern border.

Hjaalmarch is home to the Karth delta, also called the Mouths of the Karth, where the mighty Karth River and the smaller River Hjaal empty into the Sea of Ghosts through a variety of intricate channels. The Deathbell flower is known to be abundant throughout the swamps. Many ruins dot the hold, including the legendary Labyrinthian. Combined with the fog that surrounds the marshes and the creatures that stalk the land (Wispmothers purportedly originated here), Hjaalmarch is considered one of the more mysterious holds in Skyrim.

Hjaalmarch has the lowest taxes of the nine holds, but it is also the poorest hold.

Haafingar[edit]

Haafingar, or Haafingar Hold, is a relatively small, mountainous, coastal hold in northwestern Skyrim. Its capital is the famed city of Solitude, and the two are sometimes treated as one and the same. Solitude is perched atop a large rock outcropping known as the Great Arch, towering high above the Solitude Inlet, which is found at the end of the Karth River and the massive Karth delta. However, Haafingar is far more than just Solitude. The Karth River allows for a great deal of commerce in Solitude and the town of Dragon Bridge in the Clearpine Forest (mostly in timber and fish), and the long Giant's Coastline with the Sea of Ghosts is littered with frozen shipwrecks and treasures. Mount Kilkreath and its associated mountains take a large portion of the hold and it is filled with caves and ruins where bandits and creatures make their homes.

The hold shares borders with two other holds, the Reach to the south and Hjaalmarch to the southeast, and the province of High Rock borders it to the west, the Forgotten Vale found between the hold and Wrothgar. The mountains of Haafingar are only the tapered end of the Druadach Mountains, an enormous range of jagged mountain peaks to the south which rise up among the clouds of the Reach.

Markarth

The Reach[edit]

The Reach is a geographic region surrounded by High Rock, Skyrim and Hammerfell. Its territory once extended into High Rock, but that portion was split off to create the Western Reach during the late First Era and has remained separate ever since. The region was historically inhabited by the native, Daedra-worshipping Reachmen, who were primarily of Breton descent. Control of the Reach has changed hands between the Reachmen, Nords, and even the Cyrodilics numerous times over the centuries in various conflicts, and the Reachmen became well-known for resisting foreign rule by using ancient magic and an intimate knowledge of the landscape to their advantage in guerrilla warfare and espionage tactics.

In the Fourth Era, the Reach is the southwestern hold of Skyrim. Near the southwestern corner, the capital Markarth, formerly a Dwemer stronghold, emerges from the living rock of the Druadach Mountains, which transition into the Jerall Mountains near the hold's southeast corner. The Karth River begins in the southern region and drains the mountains, running like a deep gouge through the middle of the hold called the Karth River Canyon. Settlements such as Karthwasten and Old Hroldan can be found along the Karth, with the Sundered Hills bordering Whiterun's Tundra Plateau to the east. The peaks of the Druadach range lie to the west of it, and high bluffs typically rise on the east leading to grassland and tundra. The Reachmen and settled Bretons constitute the demographic majority of the Reach and its various settlements, and an Orc stronghold can be found in the steppes of the mountains in the south of the hold.

Karthald[edit]

Karthald is a historical hold in Skyrim that existed during the Interregnum. It was established as a defensive border against the Reach after being carved from its northern territory. The Reach was at the time an independent Reachman kingdom ruled by the Despot of Markarth. Karthald was established in 2E 577 by the kingdom of Western Skyrim, although Nordic clans had inhabited the land for generations. The fortified village of Karthwatch was established in as the new hold's capital. Karthald's borders also encompassed the Orc stronghold of Mor Khazgur, though the Orcs were keen to insist that Mor Khazgur was a sovereign outpost of Wrothgar. While the roads of Karthald were safe enough for travelers, Karthwatch was a spartan settlement with little hospitality to offer.

Karthald ceased to exist as a separate hold after the destruction of Karthwatch at the hands of the Icereach Coven circa 2E 582. The Reachmen created a Harrowstorm above the town in order to drain the life energy of its inhabitants, using their souls to fill ancient reliquaries containing the mortal remains of members of the Gray Host. Many of the residents of Karthwatch were transformed into vampiric monstrosities known as Harrowfiends, including Jarl Olfwenn herself. Others were taken hostage by the witches, although a rescue was mounted by the town's survivors. The sole survivor of the jarl's court was the court wizard, Magister Fridelja, who went on to represent the hold politically in the turmoil that followed. She and the other survivors sought refuge in Solitude. However, the rest of the hold was similarly laid to waste, its people left dead or scattered. With the Nords driven out and the hold's capital destroyed, Karthald was no more, allowing the territory to be reclaimed by the Reach.

In 2E 852, the Reach was conquered by Tiber Septim and annexed by Skyrim as a Nord hold. By the Fourth Era, no traces of Karthald's time as a hold remained, and a ruined fortress called Broken Tower Redoubt sat on the approximate site of Karthwatch.

Whiterun Hold[edit]

Whiterun Hold is a hold in Skyrim, located roughly in the middle of the province. Roads numerous well maintained, and visibility across the plains is excellent. The hold is relatively flat, surrounded the by mountains of the Reach to the west of the Tundra Plateau, the Skyborn Range of Hjaalmarch and the Yorgrim Forest of the Pale to the north, and the Brittleshin Hills of Falkreath to the south. However, Whiterun's southeastern comer is dominated by the gigantic and soaring Throat of the World—the highest mountain in all of Tamriel.

Whiterun is certainly one of the most well-tracked holds, with main roads and excellent access west to the Reach, with a border road north through the town of Rorikstead and up toward Dragon Bridge. The plains have a number of odd borrows and giant comps to investigate, and the center is dominated by Fort Greymoor and the surrounding Greymoor Foothills. The road here allows travel to the north, up through the Skyborn mountains to reach the dreaded Labyrinthian in Hjaalmarch. Further east is Whiterun and the roaring White River and town of Riverwood on the southern border with Falkreath. Another road stretches north from here, into the wilds of the Pale. There's yet another road that skirts the northern foothills of the Throat of the World, following White River Valley into Eastmarch. Although the first of the 7,000 steps that pilgrims climb to reach the summit of Throat of the World begins in Ivarstead (in the Rift), the actual mountain lies within Whiterun's domain.

It borders six of the other eight holds in Skyrim, the exceptions being Winterhold and Haafingar. Giants are often seen traversing the landscape while herding mammoths to grazing areas or back to their camps. Surrounding the eponymous capital, Whiterun, are fertile plains dotted with farms that supply the food for much of Skyrim. The other notable settlements in the hold are Rorikstead and Riverwood.

Lake Ilinalta

Falkreath Hold[edit]

Falkreath Hold is a southern hold in Skyrim along the border with Cyrodiil and Hammerfell. It's the second southernmost hold in Skyrim, after the Rift. The capital is Falkreath; the abandoned settlements of Helgen, and Neugrad Watch are also located here. Before its destruction, Helgen was the Hold's second largest town and “the Gateway to Skyrim,” a well-traveled town at an important crossroads in the foothills of the Jerall Mountains. The town of Granite Hill is also found here, into the small stretch of the Hold that encroaches upon the Tundra Plains. Home of Skyrim's famous Pine Forest, Falkreath Hold is covered in a fine mist that makes the land seem without season. The mountains rising above Falkreath are well above the snow line, striking a stark comparison to the rest of the hold. The most distinguishing geographic feature is Lake Ilinalta, which covers a large portion of the central region and acts as the source for the White River, and is the largest body of water in the province. The people of Falkreath are reasonably prosperous farmers and loggers, thanks to the abundant supply of fresh water from Lake Ilinalta.

Falkreath is among the most-traveled Holds in terms of major roads and minor pathways. The lake is an excellent anchoring point, allowing one easy access to surrounding areas via swimming from almost any angle. North of the lake are the sharp and protruding Brittleshin Hills—snowy peaks dominated by Bleak Falls Barrow that overlook the origin of the White River—and the town of Riverwood just across the border in Whiterun Hold. To the east are the blizzards of the Jerall Mountains, bandit attacks in the high mountain passes, and the windswept caverns of Haemar's Shame. To the south, the Jerall Mountains dominate, their icy crags making many locations difficult to reach and almost impossible to escape from without blade or spell. Still, resolute hunters can still be found in this vast wilderness, determined to live life on their own terms. To the west, the pine forests give way to more rocky scree and sharper crags, where the howls of anger of the Forsworn from the Reach can be heard, and are home to old or forgotten cuts into the earth, including the fabled Twilight Sepulcher.

The Rift[edit]

The Rift (sometimes called Rift Hold), the southeastern hold of Skyrim, is a temperate region northwest of the intersection between the Velothi Mountains and the Jerall Mountains. It is one of the four holds known collectively as the Old Holds. The capital city of Riften is nestled in the expansive Fall Forest, on the shores of Lake Honrich, which is drained by the Treva River and Lake Geir. The relatively mild climate allows for thriving agriculture.

Solstheim circa 3E 427

Solstheim[edit]

Although the history of the island of Solstheim is somewhat complicated, there was a time when it was considered a part of Skyrim.[10] The Skaal, an offshoot tribe of Nords, inhabit the northeastern corner of the island.[11][12] In 3E 433, the Nords of Skyrim launched a successful campaign to claim the whole of Solstheim.[13] In 4E 16, the High King of Skyrim formally gave the island to Morrowind as a refuge for the Dunmer after the events of Red Year.[10] The northern half of the island is snowy and mountainous. The southern half was originally covered in coniferous forests, but after the Red Year it was transformed into an ashland similar to those seen in Morrowind.[11][12]

Bleakrock Isle

Bleakrock Isle[edit]

Bleakrock Isle, also considered a part of Skyrim, is a small, snowy island in the Sea of Ghosts between Windhelm, Blacklight and Solstheim. A small populace of the Nords inhabited the Bleakrock Village until they were driven from the island by the Daggerfall Covenant in 2E 582. It is unknown if the island was resettled afterwards.[14]


Illustration of a typical Nord male

History[edit]

Skyrim's history is mostly that of the Nords. The Nords believe the sky, Kyne, breathed life into them at the summit of the Throat of the World, which is now considered the tallest mountain in Tamriel (the Red Mountain was acknowledged as the tallest before its eruption during the Red Year).[15][1][16] While historians tend to portray Ysgramor as the first Nordic settler of Skyrim, ushering in concurrent waves of immigration from Atmora, this is not the case. While their exact origins are unknown, the most widely accepted theory is that the early Nedic peoples (a now extinct culture) settled in Skyrim after arriving from Atmora well before the arrival of Ysgramor, and from there spread to the rest of Tamriel.[17]

In ancient times, Skyrim was ruled by the malevolent Dragon Cult. This early society revolved around the worship of dragons through intermediaries known as dragon priests, who ruled as gods above men. Sometime in the late Merethic Era, the mythical Dragon War saw the overthrow of the Dragon Cult when Alduin, Akatosh's firstborn, was defeated atop the Throat of the World. The veneration of animals gods was eventually replaced by the Eight Divines.[18]

The many mountain ranges in and around the province resulted from unknown cataclysms in the Dawn Era.[4] The only known relic from this time is the Skyforge, an ancient, powerful, and still-active forge built into the living rock in modern-day Whiterun. Who built it remains a mystery, but the Elves feared it, and this led the invading Atmorans to claim it for themselves.[19]

The Aldmer and Snow Elves occupied Skyrim until the late Merethic Era, when the final wave of Nordic immigration from Atmora, led by Ysgramor, finally established Nordic supremacy in modern-day Skyrim.[1][17] Settlers from Atmora crossed the Sea of Ghosts and made landfall here many times, often clashing with those who had already established themselves.[4][17] These early settlers called the land "Mereth", after the Elves that roamed the untamed wilderness. While the Nedic peoples were generally peaceful, the arrival of Ysgramor and the proto-Nords sparked a long, antagonistic chain of conquests that ultimately expelled the Elves from Skyrim.[18][1] The instigating spark of conflict was the infamous Night of Tears, where the Elves attacked the human settlement of Saarthal. According to Imperial scholars, the Elves realized that this newer race could outpace their relatively stagnant own. Others posit that the human inhabitants had discovered a powerful artifact, the Eye of Magnus, that the Elves desired.[6] Nonetheless, Ysgramor escaped the carnage, returning to Skyrim with his now legendary band of Five Hundred Companions, slaughtering the Elves and establishing man as the foremost race in Skyrim.[1] Ysgramor's clan expanded their territory, and it continued to expand and contract by winning and losing territories in Morrowind and High Rock during the First Era.[1][4][20] Elven rule of Skyrim is thought to have ended under the reign of King Harald (1E 143 - 1E 221), though pockets of Snow Elves hid away in the wilderness.[1]

In the years after 1E 420, however, the Dwemer of Clan Kragen migrated into Skyrim from Resdayn, following in the footsteps of Clan Rourken's exodus. Clan Kragen founded the city of Arkngthamz, which flourished despite constant attacks from the Nords. The success of Arkngthamz encouraged other Dwemer clans to settle in Skyrim, and these joined with Clan Kragen to form a loose alliance of four city-states that were considered unassailable. Clan Kragen's presence eventually extended further west into the Dragon's Teeth Mountains, where they carved out an even larger bastion called Arkngthamz-Phng.[21] The prosperity of Skyrim's Dwemer city-states was relatively short-lived, as the discovery of rich deposits of Aetherium and the creation of the Aetherium Forge immediately shattered the alliance and launched decades of internal conflict. With the Dwemer distracted and weakened, the Nords under High King Gellir finally conquered the squabbling city-states in only three years, though the Dwemer would return a century later and reclaim their former holdings.[22] When the entire Dwemer race disappeared around 1E 700, they left behind the Falmer, Snow Elves who they had allowed to take refuge with them and then twisted into rebellious slave monsters.[23] They remained under the ground, occasionally making forays to the surface and creating legends among the Nords of their presence and malevolent intent.[1][23]

Skyrim circa 3E 432

After the assassination of High King Logrolf in 2E 431, a dispute over the succession resulted in Skyrim's division into two independent kingdoms. It began when Jarl Svartr of Solitude challenged the legitimacy of Logrolf's heir, Freydis, and a Moot was convened. Although Freydis was accepted by the Crown of Verity, a magical artifact crafted to test the worthiness of potential rulers of Skyrim, and named High Queen in Windhelm, a partial Moot held in Solitude declared Svartr to be High King.[24] From then on, Skyrim was divided into two kingdoms: Eastern Skyrim and Western Skyrim. In the east, Freydis and her successors ruled over The Rift, Eastmarch, The Pale, and Winterhold,[24][UOL 1] while in the west, Svartr and his successors ruled over Falkreath,[25][26] Whiterun Hold,[26][25] Hjaalmarch,[27] Haafingar,[28] and later the newly-established hold of Karthald.[9][24][UOL 1] This schism persisted at least until the time of the Three Banners War in 2E 582;[29] Eastern Skyrim fought in the war as a member of the Ebonheart Pact, while Western Skyrim remained neutral.[30] At that time, The Reach did not belong to either kingdom and the Reachmen had banded together under the Despot of Markarth, who allied himself with Mannimarco.[18][UOL 1] The two kingdoms of Skyrim, as well as The Reach, were eventually reunified into a single realm following the Tiber Wars.[31][32]

Orc strongholds dot the wilderness; many Orcs were escorted into Skyrim by the Imperial Legion following the sacking of Orsinium in the early Fourth Era.[33] Besides the Orcs, the Elven population has also increased due to the Red Year of 4E 5, when natural disasters in Morrowind sent many Dunmer fleeing into eastern Skyrim.[34][35] Following the Great War, Thalmor officials hunted for and persecuted Talos worshippers, thus bringing some small measure of Elven rule back to Skyrim.[6][36] While these smaller creatures vied for dominance over the millennia, the Giants have been largely ignored (and often protected by law).[6]

Rulers[edit]

The Jagged Crown

The political structure of the Elves who first inhabited Skyrim is unknown. When the Atmorans first migrated to Skyrim, before the Dragon War of the Merethic Era, the Dragon Priests of the Dragon Cult held roles on par with kings, but the Atmorans recognized relatively secular chieftains as their leaders.[1][37] Ysgramor is the first known human ruler of Skyrim.[38] His progeny would continue to rule after his death; King Harald, the 13th of his line, is considered the first "historical" ruler.[17][39] Since Harald's time or even before, the High King traditionally wore the Jagged Crown, though it was lost with King Borgas in 1E 396 until its rediscovery in 4E 201.[6] A new symbol of rulership, the Crown of Verity, later called the Crown of Freydis, was crafted to determine the worthiness of potential rulers following the death of Olaf One-Eye, but has not been seen beyond the Second Era.[24] Known High Kings and their reigns are listed below:

Name Crowned Died
Consolidation
Harald 1E 143[40] 1E 221[40]
Hjalmer 1E 221[17][41] 1E 222[41]
Vrage the Gifted 1E 222[41][42] 1E ?
Borgas 1E ? 1E 369[43]
War of Succession occurs (1E 369 - 1E 420)[nb 1]
Olaf One-Eye 1E 420[40] 1E 452[40]
Kjoric the White 1E 452[24] 1E 478[nb 2]
Hoag Merkiller 1E ? 1E 480[nb 3]
Wulfharth 1E 480[40] 1E 533[40]
Erling[44] 1E ? 1E ?
Gellir[22][nb 4] 1E ? 1E ?
Hale the Pious[45] 1E ? 1E ?
"Head-Rolling" Roleke[46] 1E ? 1E ?
Irthvyd the Impassive[46] 1E ? 1E ?
Temylda[46] 1E ? 1E ?
Unknown[46][nb 5] 1E ? 1E ?
Alldimar the Ghostmaker[46] 1E ? 1E ?
Logrolf 2E ? 2E 431[24][47]
Schism[nb 6] — Rulers of Eastern Skyrim
Freydis 2E 431[48][24] 2E ?
Mabjaarn Flame-Hair 2E ? 2E 572[24]
Nurnhilde 2E 572[49][29] 2E 572[49][29]
Jorunn the Skald King 2E 572[50][14] 2E ?
Schism — Rulers of Western Skyrim
Svartr 2E 431[24] 2E ?
Svargrim 2E 561[UOL 2][51] 2E 582[14]
Reunification
Pelagius the Mad[44] 3E 137[52] 3E 145[52]
Jolethe 3E 145[53] 3E ?
Istlod[7] 4E ? 4E ?
Torygg 4E ? 4E 201[6]

Architecture[edit]

The stone and timber buildings of Winterhold
The Blue Palace of Solitude

Nord architects are masters of creating structures that last for generations, with designs that can be found from Bruma to Solstheim dating over 3,000 years old.[1][18] Many ancient Nordic ruins built into the mountains dating back to the Merethic and First eras remain standing throughout Skyrim.[6] They are towering, foreboding structures of black granite. Some were settlements and temples from when the Nords lived under the rule of the Dragon Cult and after; others are burial tombs for the honored dead. Most modern buildings in Skyrim are built partly underground to conserve heat, and are made with stones, with wood used only for support, and roofs of straw. The Nords are known as masters of lumber construction, and these houses are essential to keep in heat in the freezing climate.[1] Some Nord wells are known to have spikes attached to the bottom of buckets to crack through ice.[18]

After the reign of Ysgramor, Nord stonesmiths created a method of erecting igneous rock. Initially, these blocks were hewed from porphyry deposits, although by the Second Era, they were somewhat supplanted by hard-wearing granite and volcanic stone gathered from the eastern side of the province. Each block was slotted together without requiring seams or mortar, allowing huge walls, structures, and towers to be constructed with both ease and haste, even with irregularly-shaped stone. Many of these structures proved difficult for invaders to dismantle, such as the Old Fort, a royal bastion on Skyrim's northern frontier, which still stood in the mid-Second Era after being built in the time of the First Empire.[18][1]

Flora[edit]

Skyrim's Pine Forest

Skyrim's frigid environment still supports a great wealth of flora, notably its many pine forests.[16][54] Many of its plants and fungi are useful for alchemy, including bleeding crown mushrooms, the Deathbell flower, Jazbay grapes, and Nightshade. Tundra cotton is not only used for making potions, but for making many of the fabrics for clothing and other purposes in Skyrim.[54]

A horker attack
Ice Wraith
Druadach Mountains
Blackreach
Frost Dragon
A peak in Eastmarch
A Nordic ruin
The Rift
Winterhold

Fauna[edit]

The beasts of Skyrim are as diverse as they are dangerous. Horkers line the northern coast, posing a greater danger to hunters and fisherman, and ice wolves prowl in pairs all over the province.[6][55] Slaughterfish and other types of fish glide through the rivers and lakes.[6] Other common beasts roam the wilderness, and rumors abound of less common ones like werewolves and Wispmothers.[56] Many of them, such as Hagravens and luna moths, yield body parts used in alchemy.[54] Ice wraiths and other creatures are hunted in the mountains by young traditional Nords as rites of passage.[1][57] Undead Draugr still guard the ruins of the province.[58] Of course, the most legendary "creatures" are the majestic and intelligent Dragons, who have left their mark on Skyrim in more ways than one. Ancient structures dedicated to the Dragon Cult and "word walls" in the language of the dragons still dot the landscape.[6][59]

Notable Places[edit]

Bleakrock Isle
A small island northeast of Skyrim and south of Solstheim.
College of Winterhold
A famous school for Magic in the city of Winterhold.
Dawnstar
A busy port on the northern coast and capital of the Pale.
Dunmeth Pass
The main pass and one of the few traversable roads leading through the Velothi Mountains between northwestern Morrowind and eastern Skyrim.
Falkreath
The capital of the eponymous hold is in southwestern Skyrim, close to the border with both Cyrodiil and Hammerfell.
Lake Geir
A lake in the western Rift.
Hsaarik Head
At the extreme northern tip of Skyrim's Broken Cape, it is the place where tradition holds that Ysgramor's Five Hundred Companions made landfall.
Lake Ilinalta
A lake in west-central Falkreath Hold, in the middle of Skyrim's Pine Forest.
Karth River
A western river running the length of Skyrim before emptying into the Sea of Ghosts near Solitude.
Labyrinthian
An ancient Nordic ruin. Named for the labyrinth built sometime in the First Era by Arch-Mage Shalidor, although the ruins themselves are much older, having been the city of Bromjunaar, the capital of the Dragon Cult.
Markarth
The capital of the Reach is in the southwest corner of the province.
Morthal
The fairly small, humble town of little economic or strategic importance is noteworthy as the capital of Hjaalmarch.
Pale Pass
A secluded pass through the Jerall Mountains on the Cyrodiil-Skyrim border.
Riften
The capital of the Rift, long a center for crime, lies close to both Cyrodiil and Morrowind.
Saarthal
An ancient Nordic city that was sacked in the Night of Tears, Saarthal is where the Eye of Magnus was found in the Fourth Era.
Sky Haven Temple
Fortress stronghold in the Druadach Mountains built by Reman Cyrodiil's Akaviri Dragonguard.
Snowhawk
A city located in Hjaalmarch, abandoned sometime during the Fourth Era.
Solitude
A major port city and capital of Haafingar.
Throat of the World
The highest peak in the province of Skyrim. Though once considered second to Red Mountain, it is now known as the highest mountain in all of Tamriel.
Treva River
A river at the center of the Rift. It flows from Lake Honrich to Lake Geir.
White River
The longest river in Skyrim, stretching from the south of the province to the northeast corner. Its source is Lake Ilinalta, north of Falkreath. It flows northeast to join the Sea of Ghosts past Windhelm.
Whiterun
A city in central Skyrim, and the capital of Whiterun Hold. Built at the spring of the White River.
Windhelm
The capital of Eastmarch lies close to the border with Morrowind. It's the famed location of the Palace of the Kings.
Winterhold
The capital of the eponymous hold was once quite prosperous, but was devastated in the Great Collapse in 4E 122.

Gallery[edit]

Maps[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ During the War of Succession there was no High King for approximately 51 years.
  2. ^ Rislav The Righteous states that Kjoric the White was killed eight months before certain events in 1E 478, placing his death either in that year or in 1E 477.
  3. ^ Hoag Merkiller was said to have died at the Battle of Glenumbria Moors, after which Wulfharth ascended to the throne. However, some sources place the date of the battle at 1E 480, and others at 1E 482.
  4. ^ Gellir could not have reigned any earlier than 1E 533. His chief accomplishment is the conquest of Skyrim's Dwemer city-states, and according to Arkngthamz-Phng, those city-states were not established until the decades after Clan Rourken founded Volenfell in 1E 420. Since the consecutive reigns of four other High Kings span the years between 1E 420 and 1E 533, Gellir could only have ruled sometime after 1E 533. The Aetherium Wars notes that the Dwemer reclaimed their lands "a century" after Gellir's conquests, and since the Dwemer had disappeared by 1E 700, it is likely that Gellir's reign occurred before the end of the 6th Century of the First Era.
  5. ^ This unidentified descendant of Temylda was crowned High King forty years after Temylda's death while still a child. He was quickly usurped by Alldimar the Ghostmaker according to Scandals of Solitude's Royalty.
  6. ^ Skyrim split into independent Eastern and Western kingdoms in 2E 431 amid a dispute over the succession. Freydis was proclaimed High Queen in Windhelm, and her successors (who include Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, Nurnhilde, and Jorunn the Skald King) ruled Eastern Skyrim. Svartr was proclaimed High King in Solitude, and his successors ruled Western Skyrim.

See Also[edit]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  2. ^ Provinces of Tamriel
  3. ^ Odahviing's dialogue
  4. ^ a b c d e Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Throat of the World: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  5. ^ a b c Skyrim's RuleAbdul-Mujib Ababneh
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Events of Skyrim
  7. ^ a b Sybille Stentor's dialogue in Skyrim
  8. ^ The Holds of Skyrim
  9. ^ a b Guide to Western Skyrim: KarthaldImperial Surveyor Buntara Gravius
  10. ^ a b Loading screen in Dragonborn
  11. ^ a b Events of Bloodmoon
  12. ^ a b Events of Dragonborn
  13. ^ Rumors in Oblivion
  14. ^ a b c Events of ESO
  15. ^ Children of the Sky
  16. ^ a b Loading screen in Skyrim
  17. ^ a b c d e Frontier, ConquestUniversity of Gwylim Press, 3E 344
  18. ^ a b c d e f The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: SkyrimFlaccus Terentius, 2E 581
  19. ^ Songs of the Return, Vol 7
  20. ^ The Legendary Sancre TorMatera Chapel
  21. ^ Arkngthamz-PhngNeramo
  22. ^ a b The Aetherium WarsTaron Dreth
  23. ^ a b The Falmer: A StudyUrsa Uthrax
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Crown of FreydisTaleon Mythmaker
  25. ^ a b Meet the Character - Eerika Skjoralmor
  26. ^ a b West Skyrim Scout Outfit
  27. ^ Guide to Western Skyrim: HjaalmarchImperial Surveyor Buntara Gravius
  28. ^ Guide to Western Skyrim: HaafingarImperial Surveyor Buntara Gravius
  29. ^ a b c Second Invasion: Reports
  30. ^ The Second Akaviri InvasionYngmaer Raven-Quill, Historian Royal of the Bards' College, Solitude
  31. ^ The Arcturian Heresy — The Underking, Ysmir Kingmaker
  32. ^ Kibell's dialogue in Skyrim
  33. ^ The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes
  34. ^ The Red YearMelis Ravel
  35. ^ Dunmer of SkyrimAthal Sarys
  36. ^ Nords Arise! — Anonymous
  37. ^ The Dragon WarTorhal Bjorik
  38. ^ Songs of the Return
  39. ^ The Annotated Anuad
  40. ^ a b c d e f Plaque in Windhelm
  41. ^ a b c The Daggerfall Chronicles — Ronald Wartow
  42. ^ King Edward, Part X
  43. ^ A History of DaggerfallOdiva Gallwood
  44. ^ a b Walking the World, Vol XISpatior Munius
  45. ^ On OblivionMorian Zenas
  46. ^ a b c d e Scandals of Solitude's RoyaltyErisa Sylbenitte of the Coterie of Organized Scholars
  47. ^ Crafting Motifs 4: The NordsDoctor Alfidia Lupus
  48. ^ Oengul War-Anvil's dialogue in Skyrim
  49. ^ a b The Brothers' War
  50. ^ Jorunn the Skald-KingHelgreir Lute-Voice, Bard of Windhelm
  51. ^ Jakolar's JournalJakolar
  52. ^ a b The Wolf Queen, v8Waughin Jarth
  53. ^ The Madness of PelagiusTsathenes
  54. ^ a b c Herbalist's Guide to SkyrimAgneta Falia
  55. ^ Horker AttacksHeidmir Starkad
  56. ^ Lost LegendsTalsgar the Elder, Archivist of Winterhold
  57. ^ Herbane's BestiaryHerbane
  58. ^ Amongst the DraugrBernadette Bantien, College of Winterhold
  59. ^ Dragon Language: Myth no MoreHela Thrice-Versed

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.

  1. ^ a b c Loremaster's Episode of ESO-RP
  2. ^ Lawrence Schick's Posts from 2015 - Who is the king in West Skyrim at the time of ESO? at The Imperial Library