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Type Settlement
Continent Tamriel
Province Black Marsh
Region Shadowfen
Subregions Reticulated Spine
Appears in Arena, Stormhold, ESO

Stormhold is a city located in the Shadowfen region of Black Marsh, close to the border with Morrowind. It served as the capital of the province as of 2E 582.[1][2]


Stormhold was originally founded by the primal Barsaebic Ayleids, and was so far from the heart of Ayleid civilization that it was never attacked in the onslaught by forces under Queen Alessia.[3] The same Ayleids also built the labyrinth of Silyanorn beneath the city.[4] The original name of the city is now forgotten, and it came to be abandoned by its Ayleid inhabitants.

Following the subjugation and incorporation of Black Marsh by the Second Empire in 1E 2812, Stormhold became an Imperial prison settlement. It was used by the Dunmer of Morrowind as a center for the slave trade,[5] and harsh Dunmeri stone structures were built alongside the intricate Ayleid ruins. Collaborating Argonians also settled in Stormhold, surrounding the city with mud huts and helping the Dunmer to raid nearby primitive villages. In the political upheavals of the early Second Era, thuggery, Dunmeri slave trade and inconsistent Imperial rule plagued Stormhold and the rest of Black Marsh, before the rise of Argonian vicecanons brought stability to the province.[6] In 2E 560, the plague known as the Knahaten Flu began in Stormhold. Spreading quickly to all corners of Black Marsh, the Flu wiped out the entire Kothringi culture, drove foreigners from the land and held the province in its grip for the next forty years.[3]

During the Three Banners War, the city was placed under the rule of three vicecanons of the Ebonheart Pact in an attempt to address racial tensions after the abolishment of slavery. Under the vicecanons' rule, Stormhold also attempted to find a new line of trade to fill the economic void that slavery left behind.[7][8]

The Conclave of Baal, an organization based in Stormhold, have the ability to find the current location of Murkwood by reading the Elder Scrolls with the aid of an ancient tablet. The Vaults of Gemin, once belonging to the Conclave, are located southwest of town. The Vaults sank into the ground when an associate cast a powerful spell with disastrous results, and they are now only crumbling ruins.[9]

The city's prison once held an infamous reputation. The Warden, Quintus Varus, was a reputed lunatic who broke into the old tunnels beneath town in search of valuable Stormhold Crystals. He had certain prisoners, nicknamed Tunnel Rats, dig for them in the haunted passages in return for a moderate amount of freedom. The prison soon became corrupted with evil; the prisoners went mad, slowly turning into horrible beasts. The corruption was kept at bay by storing it in Hollow Crystals. Varus's true goal was to find the location of the Storm Crystal, a powerful artifact made by the priests of a nearly forgotten religion. Varus had planned to remove all evil from the empire and store it in the crystal. However, a prisoner nicknamed the "Master Tunnel Rat" entered the prison, gathered allies and equipment, and tracked down the Storm Crystal. The prisoner and Varus battled over it, and the prisoner was victorious. Although the crystal couldn't hold the evil of the world, the prisoner used it to undo the corruption in the prison, allowing the innocents to go free.[10]

The city was overrun by the undead army of Umbriel circa 4E 40.[11]


  • Arena was originally conceived as a fighting game featuring a tournament that took the player to each of Tamriel's cities to challenge different gladiatorial teams. According to a file from that stage of development left behind in the final game, Stormhold's gladiatorial team would have been called "the Black Shields".[UOL 1]


  1. ^ Map of Black Marsh
  2. ^ The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Black MarshFlaccus Terentius, 2E 581
  3. ^ a b Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The War with the Trees: Argonia and the Black MarshImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  4. ^ Silyanorn Ruins loading screen in ESO
  5. ^ Aide Kjarc's dialogue in ESO
  6. ^ Wet Wilds of Black MarshCirantille
  7. ^ Events of ESO
  8. ^ Guide to the Ebonheart Pact
  9. ^ Events of Arena
  10. ^ Events of Stormhold
  11. ^ Lord of Souls — Gregory Keyes

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. ^ Original TES: Arena texts at the Imperial Library