|Appears in||Arena, ESO|
Sunhold is one of the eight major cities in the province of the Summerset Isles, found on the south-central coast of Summerset Isle. The city is one of the largest in the province, known for its narrow winding alleyways and tall impenetrable sea walls that has dealt with centuries of constant assault by the Maormer. But it is also widely-known for containing one of the largest harbors, which is considered the heart of shipping in the province. It also holds the largest naval fleet in Summerset. Sunhold is also famed for its legendary lineage of gryphons that represent the city's burning symbol of defiance.
Layout & Geography
Sunhold is found behind the southern mountains of Summerset Isle, buried deep in the forests on the coast. The city is amply described as a fortress, which is attested by its history of conflict and its overall layout. The main gate is found on the eastern side of the city, which is a large open park surrounded by a natural barrier of mountains. The city itself is known for its narrow alleys, labyrinthine streets, and intertwining bridges that travel northwest to the highest part of Sunhold. The harbor district makes up the city's southern section and spreads across the bay and the mountain ridge. The port is riddled with warehouses for shipwrights and fishmongers that sell their seafood across the city. While seafood is one of Sunhold's main source of trade, a niche craft called sunglass smithing is passionately guarded by the city's artisans and is not taught leniently. Sunhold is considered the sister city of Alinor and according to scholars, if the mountain did not separate the twin cities then they would have inevitably merged into a massive metropolis that has not been seen since Aldmeris. Sunhold is neighbored by several settlements, including Archen Grangrove to the east, Glenview to the west, and Holly Falls to the north.
Sunhold's early history dates back to an ancient clan of Altmer that lived in the area. The tribesmen, Ulorome discovered a lowly egg in an abandoned nest of gryphons and took it back to the tribe for a hearty feast. The tribe reveled around the egg with ancient songs of hearth and family, which in turn gave it life and birthed a fledgling gryphon named Cel-hinwe. Ever since then, Ulorome's lineage ruled over modern-day Sunhold as kinlords and Cel-hinwe's progeny became the city's legendary dynasty of warrior gryphons, intertwined with the city's leaders, to the point where one cannot exist without the other. The city evolved into a sprawling fortress and a bustling metropolis that has long since been sought after by King Orgnum of Pyandonea. Thus began a long-lasting tradition of the Maormer attacking Sunhold. One such incident involved Nurarion the Perfect, brother to the King of Sunhold in the Merethic Era, who used his voice of unrelenting destruction to thwart Orgnum's sea storms. But his voice was too powerful for his country to withstand, and so he was forced into exile, which eventually brought him to the mythic-hero, Khunzar-ri.
By the mid-Second Era, the city of Sunhold was ruled by Kinlady Helenaere and like many others before her, had defended the city from the imposing Sea Elves. One such occasion, Admiral Viscarne of the Storm Sharks sailed into the city's harbor only to find Sunhold completely devoid of people and ships, however at the city palace, as the Kinlady mounted on her gryphon-companion, Sunnawel, an army of gold crashed onto the Maormer fleet and razed their ships, driving them out of Sunhold. When the First Aldmeri Dominion was founded in 2E 580, Sunhold was used as the base of the Dominion's naval fleet but as the Alliance War took most of the alliance's attention and resources, it left the city undefended. This, in turn, led to the taking of Sunhold. In 2E 582, the Admiral returns to the city and swiftly took control of Sunhold, imprisoning citizens, burning down homes, and capturing Sunnawel. The Kinlady was left defenseless and resorted to help from newcomers to retake her city. The endeavor was successful and Viscarne was slain at the height of Sunhold city.
During the Imperial Simulacrum in the late-Third Era, the city-state of Sunhold was an active settlement. It was ruled by King Sauriil and had a rivalry with Shimmerene. The city was subsequently sacked in the midst of the Oblivion Crisis in 3E 433 and any refugee that survived the assault or the untamed seas fled to the Crystal Tower, which had fallen to the daedric horde sometime later. Among these survivors was Lathenil of Sunhold, who documented the Thalmor's rise to power and the events that transpired following the crisis. The information was later published and given the name, the Rising Threat.
- The city is spelled "Sunhhold" on the Elder Scrolls Anthology map, though this is likely a misspelling.
- 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, Sunhold's gladiatorial team would have been called "the Griffins".[UOL 1] This likely served as the inspiration for Sunhold having a gryphon mascot and long-standing history with the creatures.
- Ilmindil the Incendiary was an ancient vampire and master pyromancer that served in the Undaunted, in the midst of the Second Era. He was known by many names, the "Master of the Whiteflame" and the "Bearer of the Burning Heart"; among these titles, he also claimed to be an ancient kinlord of Sunhold.
- The Flight of Gryphons — An essay on the relationship between Sunhold and its gryphons
- Map of Summurset Isle — The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- Our Blessed Isles: A Guide — Runilstir the Surveyor
- Kinlady Helenaere's dialogue in ESO: Summerset
- The Flight of Gryphons
- Sunglass Fishhook contraband in ESO: Summerset
- The King of Vipers, Canto 17
- Moon-Singer Feziya-ko's dialogue in ESO
- Sunhold loading screen in ESO: Summerset
- Sunhold Sundered quest in ESO: Summerset
- Sunhold location and rumors in Arena
- Rising Threat, Vol. I — Lathenil of Sunhold
- Map of Tamriel — The Elder Scrolls Anthology
- Ilmindil the Incendiary's dialouge in ESO
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.