Lore: Warp in the West
This article is about the event. For the book, see The Warp in the West.
The Warp in the West (also known as the Miracle of Peace, or the Second Numidian Effect) was a phenomenon which took place between the 9th and 11th of Frostfall in 3E 417, when events stemming from the death of King Lysandus of Daggerfall set in motion an upheaval in Hammerfell and High Rock. This event is sometimes called a Dragon Break and compared to the Middle Dawn of the First Era, though its effects were localized to the Iliac Bay region.
An unknown Hero, believed to have been an agent of the Blades, gained control of a mighty artifact known as the Totem of Tiber Septim. The Totem allowed its bearer to control Numidium, the ancient weapon once used by Tiber Septim to conquer Tamriel. The agent was unable to personally use the Totem, but several major factions around the Iliac Bay engaged in a bidding war, each attempting to acquire the artifact. In the end, Sentinel, Wayrest, Daggerfall, Orsinium, and the Emperor all gained control of Numidium and used it to consolidate their political powers, somehow at the same exact time. On the 9th of Frostfall, there were forty-four city-states in the Iliac Bay; on the 11th, after a number of mysterious cataclysms and anomalies, there were only four—Sentinel, Wayrest, Daggerfall, and Orsinium—all swearing loyalty to the Emperor.
Other instances of the Totem's usage had less overt ramifications. Mannimarco, the King of Worms, used the Totem to fuel his apotheosis and become a god. The Underking is believed to have reclaimed his missing "heart" from Numidium, giving him the death he had sought for so long and also creating an anti-magic zone several miles wide around the area. While unconfirmed, there are rumors that the agent of the Blades was killed while attempting to activate Numidium.
Numidium was a colossal automaton created by the Dwemer and later used by Emperor Tiber Septim in his conquest of Tamriel. In order for Numidium to function the Emperor's Battlemage, Zurin Arctus created two legendary artifacts. One was the Totem of Tiber Septim, which allowed its bearer to control Numidium; the second was the Mantella, a huge gem containing the "heart", or life force, of a powerful individual, and used to power the golem.
According to legend (though some sources dispute this version), Arctus used his own heart to power the Mantella, but objected to Numidium's further use after Tamriel was united. The Battlemage attempted to reclaim his heart; both he and Numidium were destroyed in the process, and the Totem and Mantella were lost. Unable to truly die without his heart, Arctus became the creature known as the Underking.
Over the next four centuries, the Blades were tasked with finding and reassembling the remains of Numidium. By 3E 401, the Totem of Tiber Septim was known to have been found, and in the possession of Lord Woodborne of Wayrest. sometime that year, the location of the final missing piece, the Mantella, was divined.
In 3E 403, King Lysandus of Daggerfall was assassinated, though this fact was not immediately known. In 3E 405, Emperor Uriel Septim VII sent an agent of the Blades to investigate, who revealed that Lord Woodborne killed the king in a scheme to seize power. The agent then recovered the Totem from Woodborne's co-conspirator, Lysandus' son Gothryd, the new King of Daggerfall.
First is One Who Killed, But Did Not Kill Another
Second is One Who Is Two Devoured By Its Young
Third is One Who Made One Slave and Many Free
Fourth and Fifth are Two Who Compete for Mud
Sixth is One Who Brings a Home to the Homeless
Seventh is One Who Lords All, But Does Not Lord At All"
— Nulfaga the sorceress
Zurin Arctus placed a seal upon the Totem of Tiber Septim during its creation, only those of royal lineage or with a special supernatural affinity would be deemed worthy of wielding its power; all others would be killed if they attempted to activate Numidium. Ultimately, seven "worthy" factions emerged as potential claimants for the artifact. They were:
- Sentinel, Wayrest, and Daggerfall, represented by Queen Akorithi, King Eadwyre and Queen Barenziah, and King Gothryd, respectively. These three kingdoms wanted to destroy their enemies (namely, the other two kingdoms), and become the dominant power in the Iliac Bay.
- Mannimarco, the King of Worms desired the Totem not for Numidium's might but for the Mantella itself, intending to use its power to transform himself into a god.
- The Underking wanted to reclaim his heart, as he had failed to do centuries before, and finally be able to rest in death.
- The Warlord Gortwog gro-Nagorm wished to recreate the Orcish homeland of Orsinium, and to see his people treated as equals with the other races of the Empire.
- Emperor Uriel VII and the Blades, through his agent Lady Brisienna, planned to use Numidium to pacify the rebellious kingdoms of the Iliac Bay and restore Imperial order over High Rock and Hammerfell.
A worthy individual was chosen by the mysterious agent of the Blades, who shortly thereafter was able to recover the Mantella from its resting place in Aetherius. With everything in place, the bearer of the Totem of Tiber Septim activated Numidium.
The 9th of Frostfall
— The Warp in the West — The Report of High Rock Agent 'Graylady'
What occurred that day is unclear. Reports by the Blades are contradictory and paradoxical, as most agents were lost during the chaos. Their investigations concluded there was no plausible historical account of what exactly happened, only that a "miracle" occurred. Incredibly, in the first of many reported distortions of time, it appears that each of the seven powers took ownership of the Totem—simultaneously—and each of them achieved their goals to some degree. In fact, it seems these seven and their armies were aware of where (and when) they really were and what had actually transpired during the Warp, though few explanations proved forthcoming.
The incident began on the 9th of Frostfall 3E 417 and lasted through the 11th. To some observers the days merged into one, with no explanation for the missing time; other events progressed much further than those three days could account for.
Natural disasters ravaged the region, from earthquakes and freak sandstorms in the Alik'r to fires and tsunamis along the Bjoulsae River. Orsinium and Wayrest reportedly clashed in what had been the Principality of Gavaudon, in one of a reported seven titanic battles waged simultaneously around the Iliac Bay that day. Another such battle was a three-way clash between Daggerfall, Wayrest, and Orsinium in Daenia and the Ilessan Hills. The resulting firestorm set the forests ablaze in Ykalon and Phrygias, and the area surrounding the battlefield was said to have been "decimated".
Some days after the Warp, an Imperial ambassador (and Blades agent) to the Court of Wayrest pressed the royal couple for information; Queen Barenziah simply replied, "We do not know." The ambassador was later able to learn from King Eadwyre that a "powerful, ancient weapon" was going to be activated, and had attempted to buy it from a young adventurer before their enemies could use it against Wayrest. On the morning of the 9th, Wayrest was suddenly under attack; and simply reacted by sending its armies as well. How those armies were able to traverse the distance to the battlefields so quickly is still unexplained.
Before the events of the 9th of Frostfall, the Iliac Bay region was comprised of forty-four independent regions. On the 11th, there were four—Daggerfall, Sentinel, Wayrest, and Orsinium—their new borders demarcated by a blackened, desolate no-man's land. The Blades reported "other strange events" also occurred as well, which somehow prevented the warring kingdoms from breaking away from the Empire (and possibly more). The fighting continued for months afterward, but those clashes were nothing compared to the raw power unleashed during the Warp in the West.
The "Miracle of Peace"
— The Warp in the West — Ulvius Tero
In the years that followed, the Warp in the West gained another sobriquet, the Miracle of Peace. Despite the indescribable death and destruction that took place, the end result was a stable, relatively peaceful Iliac Bay loyal to the Empire and more unified than at any point in modern history. By 3E 433, the rulers of the four kingdoms were deemed to be "ordained by the Nine", and most Bretons had come to believe the ancient Gods of High Rock (Stendarr, Mara, and Akatosh) had scoured the land and made it whole once again. It should be noted that the Blades strongly doubted this "miracle" was of divine origin.
Sentinel grew to encompass the entire northern coast of Hammerfell, from Abibon-Gora in the west to Satakalaam in the east. After the death of Queen Akorithi, her son Lhotun took the throne; his rule was marked by reverence for the kingdom's Yokudan past but respect for modern Imperial ways.
King Gortwog proved to be a political and diplomatic genius, and Nova Orsinium gained recognition by the Empire, though was still considered a part of High Rock at the time. Within ten years of the Miracle of Peace, Orcish citizens were found in all walks of life, even in far-flung corners of the Empire.
The appearance of the Necromancer's Moon in the years following the Miracle of Peace was believed by Mannimarco's followers to be the physical embodiment of his apotheosis, though his reappearance as a mortal in 3E 433 suggests this may not have gone quite as he planned.
Numidium appears to have vanished from Tamriel during the Miracle of Peace, and the Underking has also not been seen since. It is rumored that they were both annihilated when the Underking reclaimed his heart, and that an anti-magic area was created in the area as a result, though its exact location is not known. The mysterious agent who found the Totem of Tiber Septim also disappeared in the chaos. The Scenarist Guild claims the agent attempted to personally activate Numidium and was killed in the process, though as with most of the events of the Warp in the West, there is no further evidence to indicate what actually happened that day.
- The events of the Warp in the West correspond to the seven possible outcomes of the main quest in TES II: Daggerfall.
- Mannimarco later appears in TES IV: Oblivion as an Altmer lich.
- The Warp in the West — Accounts of the event by agents of the Blades.
- Where Were You When the Dragon Broke?— Four accounts of the Middle Dawn, with references to the Warp in the West.
- The Warp in the West — Ulvius Tero
- Lives of the Emperors — Niso
- Events of Daggerfall
- Where Were You ... Dragon Broke — Various
- "Who Gets the Totem" — Letter from the Underking
- The Daggerfall Chronicles Narrative
- "Mantella Revealed" — Letter 3
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Sons and Daughter of the Direnni West: High Rock — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Ra Gada: Hammerfell — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Orsinium — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Events of Morrowind
- Necromancer's Moon
- Events of Oblivion