|Appears in||Arena, Stormhold, ESO|
Stormhold is one of the eight-major cities in the province of Black Marsh, serving as the largest settlement of the region of Shadowfen. Stormhold has a dark history which relates with the nearby Dark Elves, as it was once the foothold of slavery for the Dark Elves in Black Marsh. The modern-day Stormhold was built atop of an Ayleid ruin known as Silyanorn (meaning Library in Barsaebic Ayleidoon). During the time of the Ebonheart Pact, the city-state of Stormhold was named the capital of Black Marsh, at least for portions of the province that is affiliated with the alliance.
Layout & Geography
Stormhold is found on the northern edge of Black Marsh, near the border into Morrowind. It is specifically found in the region known as the Reticulated Spine, in the overall area of Shadowfen. What makes the border of both provinces is a large river, which leads around the entire, and down towards the Onkobra River, and the river that flows through the region of Deshaan. It is built on a hill that overlooks the area, and the marsh that makes up the city's harbor. The land wavers from being marshland to rough terrain, especially west of Stormhold. One of the last Kothringi settlements, Stillrise Village is found southwest of Stormhold, in the hills behind the settlement. This portion of Shadowfen had more Dark Elven activity than the rest of the region, as seen with Daedric ruins like Sanguine's Demesne and Ten-Maur-Wolk, and thriving communities like Mud Tree Village, a mining town just south of Stormhold. Water from the hills flows through the city, and into the wetlands. Stormhold is the first settlement along the river in Shadowfen. Following the river will eventually take travelers to the Forsaken Hamlet and Alten Corimont. Stormhold was once a prison settlement that mined throughout the land. Underneath the land is Stormhold Crystals, magical crystals with many different enchantments. These crystals were harvested when the Empire of Cyrodiil held control of Black Marsh. Stormhold is neighbored by several settlements, including Rockguard in the southwest, and Tenmar Wall in the east.
As mentioned before, Stormhold is built atop Ayleid ruins known as Silyanorn. The ruins rest on the mountainside and dig into the terrain. The people of Stormhold have come to utilize the ruins. The main chamber is used for the local Fighters Guild and Mages Guild, as well as, the government of Stormhold. Some areas are used for other services such as the Mortuary and the Outlaws Refuge. Much of it is destroyed, outside the main chamber and the town square are Ayleid bridges and arches. Foundations are reused as the harbor. Northeast Stormhold consists of traditional Dunmeri architecture, which mirrors the Dark Elves control over the city. More inland towards the west, Argonian mud homes are constructed. In the middle of Stormhold is the local Hist Tree. The city is separated by damp ravines, where Crocodiles are known to live. During the late Third Era, the Conclave of Baal had an active chapter in Stormhold. The Riverside Market is the local harbor of Stormhold. It does not contain large trading ships, but instead has skiffs that drift across the marsh and the river.
Stormhold was originally founded as Silyanorn by the Barsaebic Ayleids when they migrated into Argonia following the Narfinsel Schism in 1E 198. The Barsaebic Ayleids of Argonia were very far removed from Cyrodiil, so they were able to avoid the Alessian Slave Rebellion, in the early First Era. As time went on, the Ayleid civilization in Argonia died out and the ruins of Silyanorn were remade into Stormhold. The local Argonians had taken over the settlement. According to legend, the Hist Tree had conquered the Ayleids of Silyanorn.
In the late First Era, the region of Argonia was invaded by the Second Empire, under the reign of Reman Cyrodiil II. The second campaign, known as the Sardecus Reforms, was spearheaded by Imperial General Regulus Sardecus. The city-state of Stormhold was caught amidst the conflict. Sardecus' campaign ended with the event known as the Great Burn in 1E 2828, in early Rain's Hand. Sardecus' trusted Legate, Elissia Mallicus, was found outside of Stormhold, preparing an attack on the settlement. Mallicus had ordered her sappers to burn a peat bog outside of Stormhold, not knowing that the bog was connected to vast underground network that stretches across the province. Once the fire was lit, the region of Argonia was set ablaze, with reports as far as Gideon and Soulrest. It took several months for the Imperial Legion to realize what was going on. In 1E 2837, the Imperial Province of Black Marsh was founded, and Stormhold was a city of the Empire.
In 2E 560, the Knahaten Flu was first sighted, originating from Stormhold. It is unknown how the flu came to be, whether it was natural causes or if what was artificially made. Sources claimed that an Argonian priest had created the Knahaten Flu in retaliation against the oppression that was brought onto their people. The Flu had driven foreigns away from Black Marsh, and it killed off the non-Argonian races that lived in Stormhold, such as the Kothringi and the Lilmothiit. It had spread like wildfire, and it had lived on for as far as 2E 603..
The Dark Elves of Morrowind had taken control of Stormhold amidst the Interregnum, making it their foothold in Black Marsh. The reign of the Dark Elves in Stormhold has been known to be venomous and uncaring, and this is reflective on the Dunmeri architecture found in Stormhold. The mud huts found in the city were once occupied by collaborators, such as the Archeins, who worked alongside the Dunmer to raze villages and capture Argonians that were suitable for slavery. Nearby villages such as Zurook warn other Argonians to stay clear of Dark Elf enclaves that are operated by House Dres. Prior to 2E 572, future champions of the Ebonheart Pact, Keshu the Black Fin and Jorunn the Skald-King had attacked the Dres enclave in Stormhold when one of the slavers captured Keshu's friend. At this point in time, Jorunn was not the High King of Skyrim, and was instead traveling as a member of the Pack of Bards. Jorunn had made many stops, such as Stormhold, where he would meet Keshu. Sometime later, Keshu established a small army known as the Black Fin's Legion on the outskirts of Stormhold, waging war against the slavers that operated in Stormhold. Keshu's Black Fin Legion would later partake in the Second Akaviri Invasion and become part of the Ebonheart Pact.
Stormhold's Argonians would play a pivotal role in the Second Akaviri Invasion, more so than the Black Fin's Legion that joined per the request of Jorunn the Skald-King. The Dark Elves of Morrowind and the Black Marsh borderlands were called to arms by Almalexia, one of the three Living-Gods of Morrowind. After escaping into the wilds of Thornmarsh, the Argonian slave, Heita-Meen had received a vision from an Archein village that showed her the battle against the Akaviri in Stonefalls. When she returned to Thorn, Heita-Meen had liberated the Argonians and established an army, taking in the Archeins that served Councilman Glathis Dres. Heita-Meen's army advanced into Stormhold where she met the Argonian mage, Walks-in-Ash. The mage was able to convince the Stormhold Shellbacks to join Heita-Meen's ranks. While the Nords and Dark Elves were losing against the Kamali, the Argonian army had intervened and the Akaviri were defeated. Out of the conflict, the three races formed the Ebonheart Pact, an alliance created as a means of survival. In the end, Stormhold was announced as the capital of Black Marsh, and Heita-Meen would become one of the three vicecanons of Stormhold.
In the upheavals of the Second Era, Stormhold had been enveloped in criminal activity such as thuggery. The Dark Elven chains of bondage and the presence of Imperial warlords had threatened to wipe out the primitive Argonian civilization, but with the introduction of the Vicecanon system of leadership, the Argonians in Stormhold were a growing force and their livelihood would not be threatened to such an extreme again. During the Interregnum in 2E 582, the city-state of Stormhold was ruled by the triumvirate of Vicecanons. Heita-Meen of Black Marsh, Servyna of Morrowind, and Hrondar from Skyrim. Racial tension in Stormhold was delicate as there was a sudden string of murders, all of whom were Dark Elves. Vicecanon Hrondar had called upon the help of an Agent of the Pact to uncover the mystery. The families of the victims had blamed the Shadowscales. When one of the supposed dead was found alive, it was revealed that the Shadowscales were also looking into the situation and that they were framed. The truth was that there was a plot orchestrated by the Aldmeri Dominion, utilizing Skin-Stealing, which is used as a disguise to resemble the victim. At one point, the Skin-Stealers had kidnapped Vicecanon Hrondar, and a Dominion operative assumed his identity. The Agent of the Pact was able to uncover the plot in Stormhold and expose their actions. The Ebonheart Pact would wage war against the Dominion across Shadowfen, beginning at Ten-Maur-Wolk.
During the Imperial Simulacrum in the late Third Era, the city-state of Stormhold was ruled by Queen Aphiana. It had a rivalry with Helstrom. After acquiring the sixth piece of the Staff of Chaos in High Rock, the Eternal Champion was guided to find the seventh piece in Black Marsh. The Eternal Champion was brought to Idolan Lancaster, the High Priest of the Conclave of Baal. One of their junior members had cast a spell attempting to destroy the Vaults of Gemin. Lancaster had asked the champion to find a tablet, in exchange for the location of Murkwood. After delving through the ruins, the Eternal Champion had left for Murkwood and found the seventh piece. They would make their way to Morrowind and Dagoth-Ur.
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.
The city was overrun by the undead army of Umbriel circa 4E 40, despite not being beneath Umbriel's shadow. This destruction was considered light compared to locations that fell within the floating city's path.
Stormhold Henchman in Legends
- 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]
- Map of Black Marsh — The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- Silyanorn Ruins loading screen in ESO
- The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Black Marsh — Flaccus Terentius, 2E 581
- Stormhold, City of Shadowfen — Cirantille
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The War with the Trees: Argonia and the Black Marsh — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Aide Diina's dialogue from ESO
- The Blackwater War, Volume 6 — Valenca Arvina, Historian-in-Residence at Gwylim University
- The Blackwater War, Volume 7 — Valenca Arvina, Historian-in-Residence at Gwylim University
- Aide Kjarc's dialogue from ESO
- Keshu: Travels Beyond the Village, Part 1 — Peek-Ereel, Friend and Confidant to Keshu the Black Fin
- Keshu: Travels Beyond the Village, Part 2 — Peek-Ereel, Friend and Confidant to Keshu the Black Fin
- Jorunn the Skald-King — Helgreir Lute-Voice, Bard of Windhelm
- Keshu: The Black Fin Goes to War, Part 1 — Peek-Ereel, Friend and Confidant to Keshu the Black Fin
- Keshu: The Black Fin Goes to War, Part 2 — Peek-Ereel, Friend and Confidant to Keshu the Black Fin
- From Argonian to Saxhleel — Vicecanon Heita-Meen
- Stormhold location in ESO
- Three Tender Souls quest in ESO
- Getting to the Truth quest in ESO
- Stormhold location and rumors in Arena
- Murkwood quest in Arena
- Main Quest of the Elder Scrolls Travels: Stormhold
- 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.