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Spirit of Aydolan, one of the most famous Vateshrans
Vateshran Barth
"Song-keepers. Glory-tongues. They remember the people of the clan. Every leader that falls, every warrior that bleeds—the vateshran knows them all. Each who survive the Rites earns a vateshran song that will last forever."Rites Matron

Vateshrans are a Reachfolk class of lorekeepers and storytellers.[1] They keep the history of the clans of the Reach.[2][3] Some of the Vateshrans are focused primarily on the history of a singular clan,[4] while others mainly travel across the Reach to share and learn stories of other clans.[5] They are also responsible for the ritualistic commemoration of the dead ancestors of their clan through music and song.[6] Vateshrans are people of great importance and are widely respected by the Reachfolk clans,[7] as they are responsible for passing down the ancient traditions.[8][9]

Lorekeepers of the Reach[edit]

"The history of the Reach, its people, its relics … I know them all. Because if I didn't, they'd be lost."
—Vateshran Barth
Sacred Cave in Red Eagle Redoubt
Vateshran Hollows

Although vateshrans primarily commemorate their ancestors and record the history of the clans through the song they occasionally keep written records. Verses of the song of the Red Eagle were carved into stone pillars in the sacred cave in Red Eagle Redoubt,[10] and guarded by the vateshrans.[11] Written works of the legendary Vateshran Tosmorn were a source of inspiration for the generations of Reachfolk vateshrans, bards and storytellers of Tamriel.[12] The tales of vateshrans are occasionally called sagas.[13] They are usually performed in the form of recital. Vateshrans may request the payment for their performances.[14]

Although vateshrans are responsible for the keeping and performing of the songs, they typically do not associate themselves with bards, which they hold in low regard.[5] Works of vateshrans are occasionally transcribed by scholars.[15]

Reachfolk typically share their oral stories around roaring fires, infusing their narratives with intense emotion and captivating presentation.[16][17] This storytelling tradition encompasses a rich poetry heritage, featuring epic poems adorned with invocations and exploring themes of both grandeur and tragedy.[12][18]

Spiritblood Champions who successfully pass the trials in the Vateshran Hollows earn a vateshran song that will last forever.[6]

Certain stories, such as The Hunter and the Bleeding Tree predate even the most ancient vateshrans. They were passed down from clan to clan over generations and often there are many variations of the same song.[19]

Vateshrans often carry shillelaghs, wooden sticks covered in knobs that serve as walking sticks.[2][20]

Known Vateshrans[edit]

Vateshran Ovra
Vateshran Calbokh
  • Aydolan — The first and the most famous vateshran of the Spiritblood Clan. He was active in ancient times, long before 1E 2502 and created set of trials in Vateshran Hollows.[4] He passed those trials himself and earned the title of Spiritblood Champion.[UOL 1] After his death he remained on Nirn to guide generations of Reachfolk until his spirit was destroyed in 2E 582.[21]
  • Ovra — Keeper of the tale of meeting between Rada al-Saran and Red Eagle. She was active in 2E 582 and aided Sai Sahan in his quest to recover the lost art of Shehai by allowing him to access and read the ancient inscriptions in the sacred cave of Red Eagle.[11][10]
  • Barth — Traveling vateshran focused on preserving stories all around the Reach. Vateshran Barth was an author of The Battle of Karthspire Lea.[15] He was active 2E 582 and helped to resolve conflict between Eagleseers and Six-Fords.[5]
  • Tosmorn — Legendary vateshran from times when Reachfolk culture was at its apex. His existence is uncertain. He penned several epic poems and tragedies. His works inspired generations of the Reachfolk vateshrans, bards and storytellers of Tamriel.[12]
  • Calbokh — Traveling vateshran focused on preserving stories all around the Reach. Vateshran Calbokh was knowledgeable about the tales of King Faolan, Chieftain Fiasof and Emperor Leovic. He was active in 2E 582.[14]
  • Eoinola — Vateshran devoted to the tales of Lorkh and the creation.[22][23]
  • Allaghach — Vateshran devoted to the tales from the Dawn of Karth.[24]

Known Vateshran Songs[edit]

Vateshran Calbokh's songs[edit]

Tale of Gods and Sorrow
The wind in the breast of Chieftain Fiasof was the hunting-horn's call. His pealing tenor was the baying pack of scenting-hounds.
His stride was the river, cutting through mountain pass and glen. His bow called the rain-death on all in his aim.
Hircine, the lord of hunts, watched Fiasof. He did with joy, at first, then anger. There was no struggle in Fiasof's chase, too skilled was he for prey.
It was mockery to Hircine, and it would not be abided. And so the great spirit made Fiasof new game.
Hircine bade Fiasof slay a herd of deer, white as snow in hide. They were no challenge to the arrow-rain, and soon had red coats.
But Fiasof went to dress the game and saw his prey as they were: his tribe, changed by Hircine as punishment of pride.
Fiasof broke his bow over knee. He bowed to Hircine, asking for the great spirit's forgiveness.
And Hircine, in his wisdom, gave it.
Tale of Battle
Faolan, the Red Eagle, last drew his blade at sunset. Naked was his breast and arm and head. The light of his eyes dimmed, the hagraven's due.
But the blade burned bright, as did the fury left to him. And he faced the legions that bid him kneel.
No ring or steel could turn his blade. Men were hewn through as reeds in wind. Red Eagle's flesh wept blood, blackened and thick with sorcery.
Blade and arrow found him, time and again. Faolan did not fight to win. His aim was punishment.
The sun rose over the field of dead. Red Eagle stood, though no life was left to him.
The tomb was opened and the eagle flew no longer.
Tale of History
Leovic, Moricar's son, ruled from sea to sea. Spirits made the man for Reach-hearths and tents.
He strove to show the world Reach spirit, the one that bade them kneel. But though they named him emperor, their hearts were never his.
The city Anvil was fat and still, and could learn of Reachman's ways. Four times Leovic traveled there, arms bare and head crowned, to show the people their errors.
The fools did feast him lavishly, they sought finery for his naked breast.
Leovic would cast aside the wine-cup, upend the feast-table. He tore the silk and the damask he trampled in wrath.
He bade the court forgo its decadence, for then it might know strength and pride it lost before it fell.
And so Leovic left the city of Anvil in disgust, and darkened its doorway no longer.

Vateshran Barth's songs[edit]

It was not so much a battle as it was a sea of blood. The Six-Ford and Eagleseers did not fight, they merely bled. It is said that the grass of the lea was stained so thoroughly with red, it appeared black from a distance.
There was no clear victor. Unusual, for a conflict between the Reachfolk. Many battles have been fought with the kind of rage and intensity that this one was fought, but historically, one force always yields. It is the nature of combat. One party, no matter how enraged, weakens under pressure. Such was not the case with this battle. Neither side waned. They flung themselves at one another, ceaselessly crashing against each other like waves against a cliffside.
The men and women of each clan seemed to fight as if they intended to die. There was no thought of victory, only carnage.
The leader of the Eagleseers, Maddorfa, took a mortal wound very early in the battle. A spear lodged itself in his leg, rendering him unable to walk. He insisted those close to him bind him to a nearby pillar so that he need not stand in order to continue fighting. The battle became something darker than winning or losing. It was rage unhindered, unchecked, and about killing as many of the enemy as possible.
Few Reachfolk walked away from Karthspire Lea that day.

Vateshran Tosmorn's songs[edit]


My daughter Isolen was the fair wind
With hounds baying at her heels
She coursed through hill and dale
Both hart and hind would fall
When her bow-string sang
The air hangs heavy in the glen now
The brook in the copse runs silent
The birds refuse to sing
For Isolen hunts no more


Isolen was my love, old Glynin
Once, the trees of these hills
Were young and green
Isolen and I walked among them
Alone in the wild and the mist
Of the deep ravines
We shared words of promise
And made rings of birch-twigs
My heart lies below in the cairn-stones
I will embrace no other no more


Vartorn, blood of my foe
The lowly worm, Witch Devera
I will not mourn with one such as you
Go now from the holdings of my clan
Go back to the pits and the dark
Of your mother's forsaken halls
My hand is heavy from grief
But my flint's edge will draw your blood


It is the hour of Isolen's death
The words you speak to me
Are as black as my love's shroud
I long for the comfort of the fire
The mist has chilled my bones
My hands are raw from picking stones
For my dead love's cairn
I seek no embrace of you, Glynin
I know your hatred of my kin
I wish you knew my love of yours


The blade is all I will give you, Devera-spawn
You must know Isolen was my kindness
With her gone, all I have
Is rage and fear and sorrow
I gave you a warning, made in good faith
Look now, the flint I draw
Seeks the warmth of your flesh and blood
Will you give it shelter?


Glynin, the clans will learn of this deed
I am felled!
From the wound pours blood that stains the ground
As this act stains your soul
My spirit is ready to walk beside my dear Isolen
In a glade where you cannot follow
Free from cold mists, free from your cruel self
As I pass on, tell Devera
A mother must weep for her slain son


Once this was a quiet wood
Now it echoes with dirges
I can hear the sound of mattocks
Raking earth away to make
A home for our solemn dead
The battle is over and won
The Horn-Stride clan is gone
Banished to the dark below the crag
We have sung our victory
We have shouted our strength
We have whispered our sorrow
Now the bodies of my clan
Are planted in the soil here
What will grow from them?
Nothing but tales of glory
The earth will remain barren
We will keep it so
And when we clear flower and grass
We will recount the names of those
That died for the sake of our clan
Chief Rowolan lies dead
Arrow-blinded, breath stilled within
His sons and daughters all around him
As leaves around a mighty oak
The massive bough is now fallen
The leaves are fallen with him
So ends the line of Rowolan
His was the blood of Dearola
Daughter of Hircine
The Horn-Stride was beaten back
But our heart was cut from us
We smile to one another in victory
The season will pass on to winter
And by next spring we will be gone
As fog in the light of day
We must strike with speed
Before the strength leaves our clan
Others will learn of Rowolan's death
And the crows will gather
Before our bones are clean
We must strike at the City of Stone
And the king below the rock
I go now to the witchmen
In the copse of rotted yew
Their draughts are bitter
They rot us from inside
But we must take this poison, kin
To stand against Markarth's arrows
There will be no graves dug for us
For if we take the stone walls
We will not live to hold them
We seek no spoils from Markarth
Rowolan sought to kill a king
And free a people
His cause is ours
We will burn our blood with witchman's fire
And overrun the city
We will storm the keep below the stone
And dash the crown upon the floor
We will rake the throat of the king
With sharpened flint and hunter's claws
We will die, but will not care
Rowolan's dream will be done
The clan I love is doomed
This season or the next
It ought not die alone
The weeping ones bear him up the crag
Red Eagle, so called at birth
In death, red from a hundred wounds
The light of the rising sun shows the world
The carpet of the dead
And the souls of a thousand are weighed against
A son of the Reach
The witch-men come with pots of ash and resin
To meet the weeping bearers
And Faolan is laid down
The chieftains weep to see him
Riven to nothing
The ashes are scattered to lay upon his frame
But it will not settle
It pools upon the stone below Faolan
On him it finds no purchase.
Hushed whispers bound across the hall
All heads lowered
The Hag comes now to claim her due
Her crow, in vanguard, laughs to see the witch-men
Their ash and resin useless
She takes the staff of yew and brings it down
Upon Faolan's breast
The ichor within bursts forth, a black blood
And she takes the fruit of her desire
Seeded in Faolan's chest
A hundred hands draw flint, nock arrows
All lose heart, the Hag's laugh festers at the soul
As death surrounds her
A thousand crows take flight beneath her cowl
And she is gone
She is beyond the spear, the sword, the bow
No witch-man would cross her
For Faolan bade her aid him in his fight
She claimed her due
The weepers carry Faolan down
Into the mountain's heart
He is laid bare for the last time
In sleepless rest, the stone is sealed
Wax is poured and flints are shattered
Here Faolan lies dead

Other Songs[edit]

Song of Red Eagle
Reach out, Red Eagle, your destiny awaits ...
Clear your mind, Red Eagle, don't surrender to the fates ...
Fill your heart with the thing that makes it roar ...
And let your spirit, your love, and your life, let it soar ...
Then it will come to you, your love, your life, your sword ...

Saga of the Cloud Ghosts[13]

Many years ago, she said, their scouts reported sightings of startlingly humanoid creatures coming and going from the caves below where the clan lived.

At first the clan thought these creatures to be Goblins, yet these Goblins were hairless, eyeless, and had dead-gray skin like that of a fish. These "fish-people," as the clan took to calling them, had never approached the camp and never attacked any Reachfolk. Yet the clan refused to take chances with such obvious abominations.

The clan-chief formed a war party and led it into the caves below, determined to force out these fish-people and secure her clan's territory. Yet the party encountered no resistance, even after they searched all the caves. They found no sign of any fish-people inside, despite their scout's report that a number entered the caves mere hours before the war party arrived.

Later that night, in the darkest hours before the morning, the first attack occurred. Several Reachfolk were silently murdered, their bodies left gruesomely displayed, while others disappeared entirely. Once again, the clan-chief gathered her best hunters and strode into the caves. She planned to root out the fish-people who had attacked her clan and destroy them. And once again, a full day's search revealed only empty caves.

That night, the clan remained on full alert, but no more attacks came. Each night for weeks after, the clan posted pickets. Yet no more attacks came, and there were no more sightings of the fish-people. More than a month passed before the clan-chief finally allowed her clan to resume their normal patrols, and that same night, the fish-people struck again. This time, they left the bodies of several elders strung up on the mountain, and worse still, several children vanished entirely, never to be seen again.

Enraged by yet another cowardly attack and an egregious assault on the most vulnerable members of her clan, the clan-chief flew into a righteous fury. She called forth her witches and shamans, and summoned additional magic support from neighboring clans. One by one, they sealed the caves below the clan's land. She had them collapse each wound in the mountain with rage, magic, and force of will, and when they were done, there was nothing but heavy piles of broken rock where the caves once stood.

The clan remained wary for many months after, but no more attacks came, and no more fish-people were ever seen. The clan's clan-chief was wise to seal the caves, yet the lack of vengeance forever gnawed at her and her clan. Who were those fish-people, they asked, and how were they able to hide unseen in the caves?


  • Vateshran's Rites are set of trials performed in the Vateshran Hollows created by Vateshran Aydolan. Despite the name the rites and trials performed there are not designed for Vateshrans but as a rite of passage for members of the Spiritblood Clan.[4]
  • The Infinite Archive's keepers held great reverence for the oral traditions of Bosmeri Spinners and Reachfolk Vateshrans, yet they refrained from storing these traditions directly. Instead, they were only documented in the archive when transcribed by external parties or presented as observational writings from scholars, or notes designed to aid performers in optimizing their acts. However, this indirect approach often led to a loss in the translation process, rendering these traditions more obscure in the eyes of Hermaeus Mora's archive.[25]


Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.

  1. ^ Developer comments on Vateshran Hollows (33:25) on ESO Dark Heart of Skyrim Year-End Preview: ESO Live Special