|“||In the time before man, they were known as the Snow Elves - the Falmer. They lived in the sunlight and had a prosperous society in their kingdom of Mereth.||”|
The Falmer (), known as Snow Elves to the humans, are a race of elves that made their home in northern Tamriel. During the Merethic Era, they were the main inhabitants of Skyrim, calling it Mereth, and had a very advanced society. That all changed after the Falmer-Atmoran War which left the elves with only one remaining city and most of their people dead. Those that remained retreated to the sanctuary city of Ilinhame or looked to the Dwemer for aid. There they lived in peace until the Atmorans attacked once more in the 1st Era.
In the Middle Merethic Era, around 900 years before the 1st Era, a group of religious Aldmer left the Summerset Isles looking for a new home. This exodus was nothing new, numerous other groups of Aldmer had departed from the strict society of the islands to seek a better life. This particular group belonged to the Chantry of Auriel, but, unlike most Aldmer, saw Auriel as the only true god worthy of their worship. This didn't comply with the dogmas of the Aldmeri faith and they suffered persecution on the islands. They chose exodus instead of giving up their faith.
Initially they escaped to the heartlands of Cyrodiil, where the Ayleid city-states dominated. They saw it as the perfect place to live, as the Ayleids were very religiously liberal. However, they proved too liberal for the Chantry of Auriel as the Ayleids worshiped not only the Aedric gods of the Aldmer, but also the Daedric Princes of Oblivion. This brought the Chantry into conflict with the Ayleids and they were forced to flee Cyrodiil. This time they fled to a more remote province, one sparely populated with only a handful of underground Dwemer city-states. They headed north and called this new land Mereth.
The Chantry of Auriel was led by Altar Hilyanar into the forest region of Falkreath in Mereth roughly 800 years before the 1st Era. The rest of the province proved too harsh and inhospitable to them, so they decided to settle in Falkreath by a large lake. Altar founded the city of Altanium and named the body of water Lake Alta (Ilin Alta in the elven tongue). Altar was declared the first King of Mereth after the completion of the city and the elves began expanding across the province.
They settled in the central plains, finding a strange monument on a large mountainous hill. They were unsure who had made it and eventually saw it as a ancient structure from the Early Merethic, possibly built by the Ehlnofey that once lived there. The lands near that monument were fertile and plain, allowing the elves to grow plenty of food in the summer months. This led to a rapid population increase within a few generations and they needed to keep expanding their realm.
Eventually they were forced to expand into the inhospitable regions. The biggest obstacle to living there were the cold climate and the extremely harsh winters. The Dwemer had solved the problem by building their cities underground, but their above-ground cousins didn't have that option. Instead they turned to magic to boost their resistance to the cold. Within a few years they grew accustomed to the land, but were permanently changed. The residents of Mereth had their skin, eyes and hair turn as white as the land they lived on. They became known as the Falmer, the Snow Elves.
The Falmer were never the only residents of Mereth, there were local wildlife as well as other intelligent tribal natives like the Giants, the Orsimer tribes and the Nedic tribes of the Druadach Mountains. For the most part, the Falmer maintained a neutral relationship with these other natives, choosing to ignore them and their territory rather than fight them over it. The most they did was defend themselves from attacks by the giants or the Orsimer. The only friendly relationship they had in the province was with the Dwemer Freehold, with which they often traded.
Their first real enemy came around 500 years before the 1st Era, when strange ships began to appear on the northern shores of the province. These ships brought with them a race of men, similar in appearance to the Nedes, but much larger and more aggressive. These men called themselves Atmorans and they began to launch many raids against the Falmer settlements in coming years. They even took the rivers inland to raid further into the elven territory. The Falmer defended themselves as best they could, protecting their citizens against the Atmoran raiders.
Eventually the raids began to subside, but they gave way to Atmoran colonies on the northern coast of Mereth. These settlements were rather short lived, until 300 years before the 1st Era. It was then that an Atmoran named Ysgramor founded the settlement of Saarthal in the tundra of Winterhold. Despite the years of raids from the Atmorans, the Falmer chose to ignore these colonies as they weren't being aggressive towards them. Though the growing population of the humans caused a lot of unease among the nearby Falmer settlements. This uneasy peace was ended abruptly by one event. The Atmorans in Saarthal discovered a powerful Aedric artifact known as the Eye of Magnus. Afraid of what the Atmorans would do with the artifact, the King ordered his troops to attack the settlement and capture it. At night, the Falmer soldiers attacked the unsuspecting colony and slaughtered the populace. The terrible event became known as the Night of Tears. After the massacre, the Falmer took control of the former Atmoran colony to keep the Eye of Magnus safe. Unknown to the Falmer, however, three people managed to escape the massacre in Saarthal: Ysgramor and two of his sons. This would ultimately prove the elves' downfall.
A few years after the Night of Tears, the Atmorans returned. A fleet of longships landed on the shores of Mereth, carrying with them an army of five hundred bloodthirsty Atmoran warriors led by Ysgramor himself. These warriors attacked Saarthal, killing the Falmer now holding the city and taking it back for themselves. Though, they were not satisfied with just reclaiming their colony. The Atmorans invaded Falmer-controlled Mereth and began to raze their settlements to the ground, carving a path of destruction through the Falmer lands and starting the Falmer-Atmoran War.
The war lasted for years, with the Falmer desperately trying to defend their people from the savage Atmorans, but to no avail. The Atmorans were too powerful to defeat in battle. Eventually, in even the capital city of Altanium itself was attacked. The battle of Altanium resulted in the death of the Falmer King and his family, with the exception of one son that was ruling over the island of Solstheim at the time. However, the Snow Prince too would fall at the hands of the Atmorans years later when they took the island. With their rulers dead and their settlements falling one after the other, the Falmer scattered to the corners of Mereth to try to survive. A small number of them managed to take shelter in the Chantry's Sanctum in the northwestern mountains, most made a terrible bargain with the Dwemer and were blinded in exchange for shelter, while the rest headed to the sanctuary city of Ilinhame in the Rift.
The Falmer were broken, their royal family dead and more than two thirds of their population was slaughtered during the Falmer-Atmoran War. Most of the survivors were forced into slavery by the Dwemer in exchange for salvation, but were betrayed and blinded during the process. A third of the survivors still live freely in their last remaining lands in the sanctuary city of Ilinhame in the southern Rift. They were forced to built fortresses around the lake to protect themselves from continued Atmoran raids.
The humans began to settle down in former Falmer lands and their attacks decreased, as they became more preoccupied with living their lives instead of killing the Falmer. However, the Atmoran attacks never stopped so the Falmer in Ilinhame live in constant fear from the ruthless barbarians that committed genocide against their people.
Since the royal family was wiped out during the war, the Chantry of Auriel took over the government of Mereth. They placed a vaguely related family on the throne as figure-heads while they held all the power in what remained of the elven country.
The Falmer look very similar to their Aldmer ancestors, though with the noticible differences in their skin, hair and eye colors. In order to adapt to their new home of Mereth, the Falmer had to change their bodies with magic. This allowed them to resist the cold winters of the northern province, but changed them into looking as pale as the snow of their home. Falmer skin tones are all extremely pale, ranging from milky white to a light blue color. Their hair colors are equally fair. From birth their hair color is white, ranging from a silvery hue to frosted silk. Falmer eye colors range from ivory to clear blues. The height of the Falmer is very similar to the Aldmer, being around the average 1.9 meters. The Falmer, like other elves have an average lifespan of 300 years. However, due to their magical prowess many of them are able to extend this to live for several more centuries.
- Light Armor
- Blood of Mereth: Grants 75% resistance to cold and frost magic
- King Altar's Boon: Increased Magicka Pool and regeneration
- Auriel's Light: AOE spell that heals the caster and all allies within a 20 meter radius over time as well as boosting the caster's restoration skill, for 60 seconds, activated once a day. (Equivalent to the ESO Practiced Incantation)
A deeply religious people, the Falmer believed that the key to ascending to divinity alongside Auriel in Aetherius was to live a pious life. They devoted themselves fully to Auriel. A Falmer prays daily to Auriel in their personal shrine to him, which every Falmer has in their home, and attends mass at the chantry every week. Because of this the Chantry of Auriel was a big part of everyday life. The clergy is considered the top of Falmer society. Not even the monarch is above the Chantry. The Chantry is led by an Arch-Curate and under him serve the priests known as Prelates, seperated into the Prelate Superiors and Prelate Inferiors. Prelate Superiors are responsible for watching over the various Wayshrines that connect the Falmer settlements, keeping with them the Paragon Stone that activates their shrine. Prelate Inferiors are still high ranking members of the order, but are allocated to taking care of temples. Under them are the Curates, whom are priests of the Chantry, and under them are the Apostles, whom are the initiates to the Chantry.
The Falmer always tried to live peacefully in Mereth, seeking to coexist with the local wildlife and native tribes as peacefully as possible. Before the Night of Tears they never committed any acts of outward aggression, only acting in self-defense should a native tribe threaten their territory. The Falmer King justified the attack on Saarthal using this logic, claiming that the Atmorans were a threat to Mereth after they discovered the Eye of Magnus. War was seen as unpious due to the hatred that it created in the hearts of the elves. Due to this only the most devoted among the Falmer are allowed to join military life. The military order of the Chantry known as the Paladins of Auriel. The Paladins in turn are led by an Arch-Paladin, a warrior chosen by the Arch-Curate of the Chantry to lead his forces. Prior to the Atmoran-Falmer War, it was the King of Mereth that appointed the Arch-Paladin. Under the Arch-Paladin are his Knight-Paladins, commanders within the order that lead troops. The elites are the High Paladins, expert warriors that fight in the front lines. Under them are the Paladins themselves, whom have already completed their training. Each paladin is individually chosen to join the order and devotes their life to protecting the Falmer people. These Chosen are recruited fairly young and undergo training at the Order's headquarters to become full paladins.
The Falmer are a very religious people, deeply devoted to Auriel, God of the Sun. The Falmer's Auriel is very similar to the Aldmer's Auri-El. He is the soul of Anuiel, who in turn is the soul of Anu, the Everything. The key difference in their faith is that the Falmer believe exclusively on the divinity of Auriel, while other Aldmer deities like Trinimac, Syrabane, Jephre and Phynaster are merely worshiped as saints, great heroes or servants of Auriel. They are revered and honored, but not worshiped to the same degree as Auriel. It was because of these beliefs that the ancestors of the Falmer were forced to leave the Summerset Isles. To the Falmer, Auriel is symbolized by the sun and seen as the source of all life. Due to this they do not believe in Magnus and consider him a false diety.
The most holy day of the Falmer is the Day of Ascendancy, which is said to be the day that Auriel ascended to Aetherius at the start of the Merethic Era after Lorkhan was defeated and the Aedric War ended. It is celebrated once a year by the Falmer as a grand holiday.