Athetone (meaning High Mountains in Aldmeris), known as Galen to the local Nedes and Hárstein to the Atmorans, is the northwestern most province of Tamriel. It is bordered by Skyrim to the east and Hegathe to the south. To the north of the province is the Sea of Ghosts, to the west is the Eltheric Ocean and to the south is the Iliac Bay. A cold and mountainous region which has been home to many races since the Dawn Era.
With its fertile soils and temperate weather, High Rock has attracted many cultures throughout history. The Aedra were the first of these. The Adamantine Tower, on a small island in the eastern Iliac Bay, is widely considered to be the oldest structure in Tamriel. According to ancient tales, it was crafted in the Dawn Era by the Aedra as a location for meeting and deciding what would be the fate of Nirn. Despite being heavily immersed in myth, it is true that when the first Aldmer came to the region, the Tower was already standing.
The Wandering Ehlnofey that remained in High Rock after the Dawn Era ended evolved into the Faerie races (Nymphs, Pixies, Nereid). These are the native inhabitants of the province. They lived among nature, never developing large communities or larger societies.
Topal the Pilot was the first Aldmer to venture from the Summerset Isles to map the coasts of the continent of Tamriel, but he was not the last. A few years after him was the explorer Elthero, who headed north and mapped the western coast of the continent that led to the vast ocean which subsequently received his name (Eltheric Ocean). He traveled all the way into the bay that would later be named the Iliac Bay after his daughter, Iliasse. Despite being discovered by the Aldmer early in the Middle Merethic Era, it wasn't until centuries later that the first elven colonists settled on the province.
These elven colonists were the Direnni Aldmer, a family of farmers that grew to prominence on the lands around the River Diren. Unlike the other elven families, where only the immediate kin maintained close relations, the Direnni kept a tight community even with the most distant cousins. This community helped them found the town of Tyrigel and evolve into a prominent merchant family on the island of Alinor. Wanting to expand her family's business, the Direnni matriarch Cygnus the Swan of Tyrigel bought the right to settle on the uninhabited lands of the Iliac Bay from the King of Alinor. She led most of her kin to these lands in the hopes of increasing the family's power outside the highly competitive elven homeland and under the thumb of the elven monarchy. Cygnus knew the perfect place to settle as soon as she laid eyes upon the Adamantine Tower from the bay. The Direnni settled on the island of Balfiera (meaning Stone Island in Aldmeris) and made the Adamantine Tower, which they called Ada-Mantia, their new home.
When exploring the inner lands of the peninsula of High Rock, called Ath-Bal by the Direnni, the elves found that they were not the first to colonize of the province. Living on Ath-Bal were numerous tribes of Nedic humans. On most of the peninsula were the five tribes which were collectively known as the Men-of-Galen (Coriossolit, Namnitôn, Oestrymn, Redoones, Vindos) and on the eastern mountains were the Children-of-Druaga (later called the Reachmen). It is unknown when these humans first came to the province, but Elthero never mentioned them in his travel logs. It is estimated that they arrived sometime prior to ME 1000.
The Direnni found themselves heavily outnumbered by the humans, who were not too keen on giving up lands to the elves. To expand their holdings, the elves had to make alliances with some of the tribes in order to defeat others. They capitalized on the infighting between the Men-of-Galen and in a few decades conquered most of the land surrounding the Iliac coast. Unlike the Ayleids in the Heartlands, the Direnni didn't enslave the locals. Instead they turned the humans into serfs and civilized them, slowly integrating them into a feudal culture.
When they were forging alliances with the Nedic tribes, the Direnni took relatives of chiefs as their concubines. These concubines bore them half-breed children that became known as the Beratu (meaning half in Aldmeris). Even after most of their conquering was done and their alliances were no longer necessary, the Direnni continued to claim concubines from their new serfs. It became a competition among the Direnni cousins to claim the most beautiful human concubines and having a large harem of human women was seen as a status symbol in the family. Naturally these practices led to the production of countless Beratu. These Beratu were never accepted as true Direnni, instead they were treated as second class citizens that made up the bulk of the Direnni's skilled labor (soldiers, merchants, artisans, etc.). The Beratu were only allowed to marry other humans, so over generations they became more and more human, though their elven blood was still distinct.
More elves came to Athetone centuries later, the underground living Dwemer. They built three colonies under the mountains at the eastern part of the province. They kept to themselves to the most part, though they attacked the locals occasionally to claim slaves.
Around ME 900, another race began to colonize Athetone. These were the corrupted followers of Trinimac, the Orsimer. They settled on the mountainous regions of eastern Athetone, coexisting with the local Reachmen. Since the Direnni had little control over that region, they had little interaction with the Orsimer save for fighting off their raids when they sometimes ventured towards the Bay.
Sometime before ME 300, another race was drawn to the shores of Athetone. Though this time not to settle, but to raid. Atmoran humans came in longships and raided elven and orcish settlements on the northern coasts of Athetone. These raiders came once a year, never venturing too far from the coast in their attacks. These humans had initially come from across the Sea of Ghosts to the north, but after the Falmer-Atmoran war that took place in Skyrim the humans took over that province and used it as a launching point for more raids into elven occupied Athetone and even as far as the Iliac Bay.
By the early 1st Era, most of the Men-of-Galen had become Beratu, called Bretons in the Galennic language, after hundreds of years of interbreeding. They adopted the elven gods as their own and many of them spoke the elven language. Some Nedes still maintained their worship of the Faire, namely the Druids of Galen and the Wyrd Witches. They were deeply integrated into elven society. Only a minority of the tribesmen remained in small enclaves in the wilderness, away from the elven settlements.
Athetone is made up of three main geographical regions: Greater Bretony, the Western Reach and the Dellese Islands. Greater Bretony is split into three regions: Glenumbra, Stormhaven and Riverspire. The Western Reach is split between two regions: Ephesus and Mournoth.
Glenumbra is one of the three regions that make up Greater Bretony and is the westernmost region of Athetone. It encompasses most of the large peninsula separating the Iliac Bay from the Eltheric Ocean. It borders Stormhaven to the east and Rivenspire to the northeast. It is a forest-dense region with plenty of rivers and lakes. It is the largest region in Athetone.
Stormhaven is one of the three regions that make up Greater Bretony and is the central region of Athetone, situated at the mouth of the Bjoulsae River. It borders Glenumbra to the west, Rivenspire to the north, and Ephesus to the east. The southern part of the region consists of sparsely forested green hills, the grassy and windy lowlands. The northern part of the region is dominated by the Wrothgarian Mountains.
Rivenspire is one of the three regions that make up Greater Bretony and is the center-north area of Athetone. It is a peninsula that separates the northern bay from the Eltheric Ocean. It borders Glenumbra to the southwest and Stormhaven to the south. It is a gloomy region, with jagged rock formations rising out of the bleak desolate lowlands, including the Kurallian Mountains that feed the Galen River.
Ephesus is one of the two regions that make up the Western Reach and is the south-easternmost region of Athetone. This region is the beginning of the greater Athetone peninsula that makes up most of the province. The region borders Mournoth to the north and Bangkorai in Hegathe to the south. The region is made up of forested green hills to the west, the open hills to the east and the desolate lowlands of the Black Wastes to the north.
Mournoth is one of the two regions that make up the Western Reach and is the north-easternmost region of Athetone. This region is the only region of the province that's technically not a peninsula. The region borders Ephesus to the south and the Reach in Skyrim to the east and Haafingar in Skyrim to the northeast. The eastern part of the region is comprised primarily of the Druadach Mountains, from where the Druad River flows. The western part of the region is comprised primarily of tundra grasslands.
The Dellese Islands are the collection of islands that are situated in the Iliac Bay, these include: the Isle of Betony, the Isle of Dourstone, the Isle of Balfiera and the surrounding Starfall Isles; and the Jeweled Isles close to the mouth of the Bjoulsae River.
The Grand Duchy of Direnneth is an elven nation founded by the Direnni family, from which it earns its name. It is a vassal of the Kingdom of Alinor, though due to the distance it has significant autonomy to due as it pleases within the region, just as long as it continues to pay tribute to the Aldmer King. The nation is centered around the Iliac Bay and thus has control of areas in both western Athetone and northern Hegathe.
After the elven explorer Elthero had returned from his voyage north and brought news of the lands of the Iliac Bay, the young Aldmer named Cygnus began to dream about this foreign land. Her dreams came to fruition around ME 1100 when she became the matriarch of the Direnni family. Seeing opportunity in this uninhabited land, she used her family's wealth to purchase the rights to settle in the Iliac Bay from the King of Alinor. By then she had earned the respect of her family and had been known throughout the Summerset Isles as "the Swan of Tyrigel". She was able to convince her family to come with her on this endeavor with promises of increasing the family's power outside the highly competitive elven homeland and out from under the thumb of the elven monarchy. Cygnus knew the perfect place to settle as soon as she laid eyes upon the Adamantine Tower from the bay. The Direnni settled on the island of Balfiera (meaning Stone Island in Aldmeris) and made the Adamantine Tower their new home, which they called Ada-Mantia.
Cygnus was given the title of Kinlady of Balfiera. It took the elves almost a century to finish building their capital city on the island. Only then did they begin to explore the surrounding area, though by then they had already surveyed the other nearby islands for resources to build the city of Balfiera. The Direnni explored the wilds near their new home and encountered the native inhabitants of Athetone, the Faerie races that had been living there since the Dawn Era, but it wasn't only them that they found. They found Nedic humans that Elthero had never mentioned on the reports of his voyage to this northern land. The elves clashed with the Nedes many times during Cygnus' early reign. Despite this, the Kinlady oversaw the establishment of numerous new elven settlements along coast of the Iliac Bay. Near the end of her reign, these settlements had grown into towns of their own and she was thus named High Kinlady of the Iliac Bay by the King of Alinor to oversee this new colonies.
Cygnus was followed by her eldest daughter, Atratusse Direnni. Atratusse's reign was marked with aggressive expansion into the Athetone peninsula. The Direnni had found themselves heavily outnumbered by the humans, who were not too keen on giving up lands to the elves. To expand their holdings, the elves had to make alliances with some of the tribes in order to defeat others. They capitalized on the in-fighting among the different tribes and by the end of her reign had claimed most of the peninsula for themselves. It was also under Atratusse's reign that the Direnni began to take Nedic concubines from the tribes that they allied with. Her armies were led by her closest confidant, her twin brother, Melanya. The source of her nickname the Black Swan has many possible origins: her cruelty, her warmongering or even a rumor that surfaced about her relationship with her twin brother.
Atratusse's eldest child, her daughter, followed her. This cemented the Direnni succession as agnatic primogeniture. High Kinlady Sumneresse continued her mother's edicts of expanding throughout Athetone. She oversaw the construction of many new settlements on the peninsula and further contact with the Nedic tribes. She began to integrate the allied Nedic tribes into her cities to use as serfs and used the half-breeds produced by the human concubines as a more qualified workforce. Her younger brothers started a competition among the Direnni over who had the best concubines.
Sumneresse's heir was her son Oloro. He was born mute, but that didn't stop him from being a renown ruler. He was a capable diplomat and merchant and was able to greatly improve the coffers of the Direnni family. With this increased wealth, he negotiated with the King of Alinor for more freedoms for his lands: the ability to make and follow their own laws, mint their own coinage, train their own navy and army, as well as having every settlement in the region pay taxes directly to Oloro instead of the King. Oloro was thus granted the freedom to rule his family's lands as if it was a seperate country from the Aldmer homeland. All he needed to do was pay a hefty tribute to the elven kingdom and submit to the King's demands whenever he made them. With this Oloro was the most powerful Aldmer High Kinlord, enough so that he dubbed himself with a new title to reflect this increased political power. He became the Duke of Direnneth. Duke Oloro created the coins still used by Direnneth the cygnet, named after his great-grandmother.
Duke Oloro sadly died without any children, so he was succeeded by his next of kin, his sister Cygnus II. She continued his efforts of expanding the Direnni's control of the region and expanded greatly in northern Hegathe. She brought many more Nedic tribes into the fold and passed laws that turned the Beratu (the half-breed children of elves and Nedes) into a valuable workforce for the military and economy of Direnneth. She greatly increased the Direnni's control over the Nedes and integrated the savage tribes into the Direnni's feudal culture. She also adopted the new title of Grand Duchess and made other branch families of the Direnni into local barons and counts to more effectively control the region.
Cygnus II's reforms gave a lot more power to the branch families of the Direnni, which made it harder for her son and heir to keep a tight grip on his many vassals. It also didn't help that Grand Duke Buccinar was not interested in ruling a country. He was much more interested in the arts. In his youth he became a famous minstrel with numerous concubines and lovers throughout Direnneth and beyond. As such, he was wholy ill-suited to being the ruler of the Direnni nation and left all of the day-to-day administration with his kinsmen. His most notable achievement as Grand Duke was simply being the one that saw the Direnni go into the 1st Era.
The miss-rule of Buccinar came to an end in 1E 40, when the old duke died and his son Columbor took over the Grand Duchy. Columbor had already assumed the responsibility of ruling the country a few decades prior as Lord Regent to his lecherous father so his transition to Grand Duke was only a formal one. He had already been treated as the de-facto ruler of the country by everyone. Luckily, Columbor was an apt ruler that brought back the glory days of Duke Oloro and Grand Duchess Cygnus II to Direnneth. However, by then the damage had already been done. Buccinar had conceeded too much power to his vassals, who were now more powerful within their own territory than the Grand Duke. These feudal lords only paid lip-service to Columbor, but acted as their own rulers as much as they could. Columbor spent his reign trying to increase his authority over these local lords and barons, but it was difficult to undo over two centuries of decentralization.
The Direnni were very different from other elven families. Unlike them, where only the immediate kin maintained close relations, the Direnni kept a tight community even with the most distant cousins. This remained true for several centuries after Cygnus moved her kinsmen to the Iliac Bay, however, that has since passed. By the Late Merethic Era the Direnni had become as divided, if not more, as the other Aldmer families. The Direnni family had grow too large to maintain the close-nit community that it once had in its hometown of Tyrigel. There were numerous branches that developed in Athetone that began vying for power and control over their own serfs and territory. They began to compete with one another in various political games, including the gathering of human concubines and the acquisition of noble titles. Some of these branch families of the Direnni are more ambitious than others, who have no problem being under the rule of the main branch.
These feudal Direnni lords aren't the only elves in Direnneth. The promise of a better life away from the more controlling thumb of the Aldmeri monarchy and strict society of the Summerset Isles brought many elves to this foreign land. Like the Beratu (Half-Breed in Aldmeris), they make up the skilled labor and merchant class of the country. These elves aren't allowed to take concubines like their Direnni rulers. Many of these elves marry into the Direnni family to elevate their status in Direnneth society, as Direnni only marry other elves be them distant cousins or not.
The practice of concubines among the Direnni led to the production of countless Beratu. These Beratu were never accepted as true Direnni, instead they were treated as second class citizens that made up the bulk of the Direnni's skilled labor (soldiers, merchants, artisans, etc.). The Beratu were only allowed to marry other humans, so over generations they became more and more human, though their elven blood was still distinct.
The Nedic humans are the lowest in Direnni society, being nothing more than serfs that are property of their Direnni lord. They make up over a third of the population of the country and are the only reason the country is even able to function. They are the peasants, farmers, miners, fishers, hunters, woodcutters, etc. They are the backbone of the Direnni society that extract the natural resources of the land so that the elves and Beratu can turn it into commodities and the Direnni can profit from it.
By the 1st Era, the Nedes and the Beratu had intermarried so much that they became one and the same. In the human tongue, they became known as Bretons. The more elven blood a Breton has, the higher his standing in society.
The Direnni follow the religion of the Aldmeri Pantheon that worships the Aedra, the ancestors of the elves and creators of the mortal world. The elves believe that they were once immortal, but that their immortality was stolen from them by Lorkhan the vile trickster. It is the goal of every pious elf to one die achieve immortality and take their place in Aetherius beside their Aedric forefathers.
- Auri-El: The king of the Aedra, ancestor to the Aldmer, founder of the first Aldmer Kingdom and the God of Time. It was he that united the Aedra against Lorkhan and his evil followers to bring the trickster to justice for his crimes.
- Jephre: The God of the Forest, first of the Earth Bones and keeper of the natural order of things. He is associated with the Faerie that are native to the province of Athetone.
- Magnus: Architect of Mundus, the Truth-seer and the God of Sorcery. He is not one of the Aedra, but his power is greatly respected by the Aldmer and thus he is revered alongside his children, the Magna-Ge as the Sun and Stars respectively.
- Mara: Auri-El's concubine and Goddess of Fertility and Love. It is said that she was originally on the side of Lorkhan during the War in the Dawn, though after Trinimac killed the trickster she joined up with Auri-El.
- Phynaster: A hero of the Aldmer and God of Cunning. He is the patron to adventurers. According to legend, it was Phynaster who taught the Aldmer how to naturally live for hundreds of year by "taking shorter walking strides".
- Syrabane: The Warlock and God of Magic. Like Trinimac, he was said to have aided the Aldmer in finding their way to the Summerset Isles. There are rumors that he still lives among the Aldmer, deep within the Crystal Tower deeply enthralled in his research of magic.
- Trinimac: Champion of Auri-El, vanquisher of Lorkhan and the God of War. A dead god, he was slain by the Daedric Prince Boethiah and his followers were turned into the twisted Pariah Folk (Orsimer). Trinimac's remains were perverted into the Daedric Prince Malacath.
- Xarxes: Scribe of Auri-El, the One Who Watches, keeper of Aldmer accomplishments since the beginning of time and keeper of merish genealogies, and as such is a keeper of status and social stability for the Aldmer.
- Xen: The Craftsman and the God of Trade. He is an important diety that the commonfolk admire as he is the patron to all workers, artisans and merchants. He is credited for introducing trade and currency to elven society.
The Nedic humans initially worshiped the spirits known as the Earth Bones or Ehlnofey as well as their descendants the Faerie that maintain the balance of nature in the world. However, as they were integrated into Direnni society they began to worship the elven Aedric gods as their own. The Beratu similarly worship the Aedra.
The rulers of each settlement or territory in Direnneth holds a specific title. They used to have the same noble system as the Summerset Isles, but over the centuries Direnneth has developed their own noble structure.
- Grand Duke: The ruler of Direnneth. Has his seat on Balfiera, in Ada-Mantia. A hereditary position following agnatic primogeniture.
- Duke: The ruler of a whole province. There have only been two Dukes, one of Athetone and another of Hegathe. The title was first granted to someone by Grand Duke Buccinar to relegate his duties to local Counts. The title is granted by the Grand Duke, it can't be inherited.
- Count: Ruler of a city and its county. There are as many counts as there are cities in Direnneth. It is a hereditary position following agnatic primogeniture.
- Baron: Ruler of a town and its barony. There are as many barons as there are towns in Direnneth. A hereditary position following agnatic primogeniture.
- Lord: Ruler of a village and its lordship. There are as many lords as there are villages in Direnneth. A hereditary position following agnatic primogeniture.
- High Kinlady Cygnus "the Swan of Tyrigel" Direnni (ME 1100 - ME 900)
- High Kinlady Atratusse "the Black Swan" Direnni (ME 900 - ME 700)
- High Kinlady Sumneresse Direnni (ME 700 - ME 500)
- Duke Oloro "the Mute" Direnni (ME 500 - ME 300)
- Grand Duchess Cygnus II Direnni (ME 300 - ME 200)
- Grand Duke Buccinar "the Trumpeter" Direnni (ME 200 - 1E 40)
- Grand Duke Columbor Direnni (1E 40 - )
Each noble in Direnneth possesses in his court. His court is made up of his councilors, advisors and bodyguard. The most important courtiers are:
- Castellan: Helps the ruler with administrating his hold as well as dealing with money and trade in the region.
- Master-of-Laws: Helps the ruler in masters is diplomacy, serving as a diplomat as well as helping him in making or changing laws in his hold.
- Master-of-Arms: Helps the ruler in matters of war, advising him with his army and navy.
- Knights: Serves as the ruler's personal elite bodyguards.
- Magister: Helps the ruler in matters of the arcane and serves as his personal mage, enchanter, etc.
- Court Chaplain: Helps the ruler in matters of religion and faith.
- Balfiera: The island capital of the Grand Duchy of Direnneth, located in the Iliac Bay. It is home to the main branch of the Direnni family and is most prominently known for the Adamantine Tower which looms over the whole island.
- Bellabek: An elven port town located near the mouth of the Bjousae river.
- Bjousae: An elven logging town on the shores of the river of the same name. It is significantly fortified to protect itself from Reachmen and Orcish raids, as well as the river from piracy.
- Dwynnarth: The second oldest elven city on Athetone, founded in ME 1100 during the Direnni's first expeditions into the Athetone peninsula. It's main export is lumber from the nearby forests.
- Enduum: An elven town that sits on the coastal strait between the Athetone peninsula and a large uninhabited island to the west in the Eltheric Ocean. It protects the trade in the area from piracy and Atmoran raiders, as well as keeping local tribes in check.
- Erokii: An elven mining town near the Galen River. It oversees all mining operations in the northern face of the Kurallian Mountains.
- Moriseli: A port city founded on the island of the same name, it guards the entrance to the Iliac Bay and serves as a stopping point for all ships headed into the bay.
- Par Molag: An elven coastal settlement on the Eltheric Ocean that specializes in fishing and being a pit-stop for ships coming from the northern most settlements.
- Silumm: An elven city on the shores of the Eltheric Ocean. It has a large population of humans that emigrated from the nearby villages. It and the surrounding villages sit on valuable farming lands and the city exports much of the food to the rest of the country.
- Umbraviren: An elven city founded shortly after Dwynnarth in the Middle Merethic Era, located beside the Greywind River. It serves as a exporter of valuable minerals from the nearby mountains further inland.
- Vaewend Ede: The northern most elven settlement on Athetone. It is a relatively new town that serves as a fortress to protect from Atmoran raiders.
Numerous Breton settlements owe allegiance to the Direnni and are counter as a part of their realm. These settlements are vassals of a nearby elven ruler and are administered by Breton Castellans and Knights.
The Dwemer Colonies are a collection of Dwemer city-states that act independently from one another, but all owe alliagiance to the dwemer country of Dwemereth. They are the newest of the underground dwarven cities and farthest away from the homelands to the east. While each colony independent from one another, they are in an alliance between themselves for trade, security and the spread of knowledge. Each colony has their own ruler. Due to their distance to Dwemereth, the colonies have very high autonomy.
The first exodus from the Summerset Isles were the ancestors of the Dwemer, elves that shunned both the Aedra and Daedra in favor of themselves. In the early parts of the Middle Merethic Era, these cynical elves left the elven lands and headed to the furthest reaches of Tamriel. The land they settled was named Dwemereth. There they built numerous city-states where no one could hold back their research into the secrets of Mundus. To compensate for their initially low numbers, the Dwemer built machines called animunculi that served as their soldiers and work force. With the aid of these machines, they quickly expanded their territory throughout the Merethic Era.
The Dwemer arrived in Athetone around ME 1000, expanding via the Druadach Mountains of Skyrim. They built colonies in eastern Athetone's mountains, expanding throughout the region of Mournoth. They shared that land with the Nedic tribes collectively known as the Reachmen. The Dwemer used these locals as a source of slaves and workers, capturing them from their primitive settlements and bringing them to their underground cities to help with labor for the construct of the animunculi factories of Athetone. After the automatons became more prevalent, the amount of slaves taken reduced, but never diminished to zero. As such, the locals quite despise the Dwemer. The Dwemer became aware of the Direnni elves of the Iliac Bay quite early, a few decades after coming to the province, and traded with them to a degree.
When the Orsimer came to province around ME 900, they settled in the region of Mournoth where the Dwemer were already present. This mearnt that there was quite a bit of contact between both groups of elves, though never friendly contact. Orcs raided their cities several times over the years and Dwemer answered in kind, attacking their strongholds and taking slaves for menial labor.
The Dwemer are very different from other elves. Unlike their cousins, they are extremely rational and pragmatic. Because of this they almost always act in their own self-interest and to other races seem to have little moral integrity, doing things that seem 'dishonourable' or 'evil'. Thus the Dwemer hold little empathy or compassion to other races and even among themselves. They shun both the Aedra and Daedra, not holding any religious beliefs. Instead the main goal of the Dwemer people has been the pursuit of knowledge to understand the mysteries of Mundus and attain power to rival that of the gods themselves.
Their society is heavily influenced by their technological advantages and this pursuit of knowledge. Most Dwemer work as scientists, engineers, researchers, philosophers and scholars. They see professions like farmers, miners, hunters and soldiers as inferior and below their intelligence. The Dwemer leave all manual labour and 'hard work' to their creations: the animunculi. Other menial jobs are left to their slaves, most notably the Nedes and Orcs captured around Mournoth.
The Dwemer colonies is made up of independent self-governing city-states ruled by Kings, though these kings are often elected by a noble oligarchy and not passed down through primogeniture inheritance. Due to their distance from the Dwemer homeland, these rulers always act in their own interests. This causes some conflict between the colonies, which can develop into wars. However, most Dwemer prefer a more subtle approach than direct battle, using intrigue and subterfuge to sabotage their political opponents and get what they desire.
- Nyzchaleft: A dwarven colony in the Western Reach known for its Centurion factory.
- Rkindaleft: A dwarven colony in the Western Reach that has a large population of Orcish slaves.
- Zthenganaz: A dwarven colony in the western Mournoth plains.
The Nedes are a race of humans that descent from the Wandering Ehlnofey that remained on Tamriel. Numerous different tribes of Nedes live in the province known to them as Galen. These tribes can be grouped together in two cultural groups: the Men-of-Galen and the Children-of-Druaga (Reachmen). They have been living in the province since the Middle Merethic Era. They have no central government and are split into tribes spread throughout the wilds of the province, though many of these tribes have become subservient to the Direnni elves. The Men-of-Galen, due to centuries of inbreeding with elves and half-breeds, have all obtained elven blood in them and become known as the Bretons.
Nedic oral traditions state that they have always been native to Galen, though the elves dispute this. They claim the Men-of-Galen must have immigrated from another province, possibly the Deathlands or the Heartlands where more Nedic tribes can be found. Whatever the case, the Men-of-Galen were already living in Galen for generations before the Direnni first arrived in the Iliac Bay. It is unclear which cultural group came to Galen first, the Children-of-Druaga or the Men-of-Galen. Both claim to be the original and are so different from one another that they couldn't have splintered from a single united people. Direnni scholars believe that both groups came to the province independently from one another at around the same time circa ME 1000. They seem to have prospered in the province due to sticking to their own territories. The Children-of-Druaga rarely leave their mountain homes to the east, known as the Druadach Mountains or the Reach. As such they are colloquially called the Reachmen. The Men-of-Galen, however, expanded throughout all of the Galennic peninsula in the centuries following their arrival.
When the Direnni first made contact with the Nedes, during their expeditions into the Galenic peninsula around the Iliac, they encountered what are called the Five Tribes of Galen: Coriossolit, Namnitôn, Oestrymn, Redoones, Vindos.
Of these, the most powerful were the Coriossolit tribes. The Coriossolites expanded to control most of Stormhaven prior to Direnni arrival. They hold that their founder was Chief Solit the Watcher and their tribe's name means Solit's army in Galennic. Alet was their ancestral home and from there branches of the tribe expanded throughout the region of Stormhaven. While the various tribal villages weren't united under one chieftain, the Chieftain of Alet was always the most powerful and respected among his kin. When the Direnni encountered them they remained peaceful to the newcomers, but showed no sights of weakness. When the elves saw Stormhaven's riches they tried to obtain it by trade, but the Coriossolites wouldn't give them their gold. Negotiations broke down between them and the Chieftain of Segisama blockaded the Bjoulsae river, not letting any elven ships through. A war began between them and while the Nedes were more numerous, the elves were able to convince some chieftains to join their side and fight their cousins. The war ended when Alet was burned to the ground and the most respected chieftain was killed. The others were either already allied to the Direnni or bent the knee then.
The Namnitôn were one of the smaller tribes of Galen. They were overshadowed by their larger neighbors, the Vindos. They lived in the region of Rivenspire. The tribe was actually made up of two tribes: the Namnitôn proper and their cousins the Samnitôn. The Samnitôn lived on the mouth of the Galen River while the Namnitôn lived closer to the Kurallian Mountains. They maintained a symbiotic relationship, with the Namnitôn trading iron and tin and the Samnitôn providing food. They only encountered the Direnni in the Late Merethic Era, when High Kinlady Sumneresse began to expand her holdings in the north of Galen. The Samnitôn encountered them first and tried to fight off the elves, already being aware of the death they brought to other tribes. For this, the Samnitôn were wiped out entirely. Fearing that they would meet a similar fate, the Namnitôn bowed to the Direnni without a fight.
The largest of the tribes by far were the Oestrymn. They controlled the entire peninsula of Glenumbra. Their numbers were so vast that the elves didn't even try to go to war with them and instead slowly integrated the villages into their territory through generations of alliances and concubines. As such their numbers were never diminished and they make up the vast majority of Nedes in Direnneth. Their villages were also allowed to exist unmolested by the elves.
The tribe that caused the most problems for the Direnni was the Redoones, who were a more nomadic tribe of horse-riders that were spread out across most of the peninsula. This tribe was very aggressive and survived by attacking its neighbors. The Direnni were able to ally with some of the other tribes because of the common threat the Redoones posed. As such the war against them was brutal, more so than the one against the Coriossolites. In the end only a single Redoones village remained: Condate. After they had been subdued, the Redoones became an integral part of the Direnni military as their skill with horses made them excellent cavalry.
The prominent Vindo tribe's sea-fearing traders first encountered the Direnni not long after their arrival in the Iliac Bay, as the Vindo commonly passed through the area to trade with the Coriossolites and the Oestrymn. They began to trade with the elves as well and developed a friendly relationship with them. When the Direnni began to expand towards their homeland of Rivenspire, the Vindo got a little fearful of their fate and some tribes tried to resist the elves, they didn't survive. Those that accepted elven rule were absorbed into their society to improve the elven trade network throughout the province and provide them with knowledge of the land and sea.
The only tribe that were not subdued by the Direnni were the Children-of-Druaga. Their mountain home to the east was too far away for the Direnni to control from the Iliac Bay and their wild nature made them impossible to integrate into their feudal society. Every time they tried the Reachmen preferred to abandon their homes and burn them to the ground, retreating further up the mountain. The Reachmen rallied then raided any settlement the elves tried to build in their homeland for years until the Direnni decided to abandon it. They then returned to the area when the elves had long left. This cycle continued well into the 1st Era.
Over the many years of the Merethic Era, the Nedic tribes of the Men-of-Galen were integrated into Direnneth until they were all vassals and serfs of the elves. They began to adopt their language, their culture, their gods and even intermarry with their Beratu half-breeds. By the 1st Era, almost all Nedic tribes had at least one drop of elven blood in them. As such to the Direnni, all the Men-of-Galen were Beratu. The word was hard to say in the Galennic language so it evolved into the word "Breton".
Nedic society is very primitive compared to their elven neighbors. They cannot work metal, so their weapons are made of bones, stones and wood. Their armor is likewise made of furs, hides and bones. Their settlements are usually made of wood, with their tents being built with furs and hides for warmth. They are able to make simple fortifications with wood: making make-shift watchtowers and palisades. Their villages range from a few dozen upwards to a thousand inhabitants, never reaching higher than that.
The Men-of-Galen, due to their integration into Direnni culture, have significantly civilized themselves by the time of the 1st Era. From the elves they learned numerous crafts, like blacksmithing, minting, agriculture, writing, and others. They even adopted the elven gods as their own, setting side their nature spirits and Faerie that they once worshiped. Though some cults, like the Druids of Galen and the Wyrd Witches, still maintain their old traditions. Their villages, once numerous and scattered, have consolidated into larger towns with proper stone structures influenced by elven constructions and ruled by elven lords. The Men-of-Galen are the labor and serf caste of elven society, while the Beratu (Nede-Aldmer half-breeds) served as the caste of skilled artisans, merchants and soldiers. By the 1st Era, most Galennic Nedes have some semblance of elven blood in them and have been dubbed the Bretons, the Galennic word for Beratu.
The Bretons are as civilized as their elven masters, but their tribal roots have made them very family oriented. Paralleling their Direnni masters, the Bretons organize themselves into large families that help each other to prosper over the generations. Similarly to how the Direnni once were before the competition between the branch families drove them apart. The more elven blood a Breton possesses, the higher his standing in elven culture will be. Breton farmers, fisher, miller or miners have very little elven blood, while Breton merchants, scholars, mages or knights have plenty and could even be the direct children of a Direnni lord.
The Reachmen people have changed from their Nedic roots, having started to intermingle with the local Orcs, Dwemer and Atmorans. While their people as a whole aren't all hybrids of humans and elves, the presence of half-elves and elf-blooded people in their population is significant. The Reachmen don't look down on these elf-blooded members of their people. Orc-blooded Reachmen, for example, are treated with respect as exceptional warriors. The Reachmen worship a pantheon that they call the Old Gods. The Old Gods are a collection of deities made up of both Aedra and Daedric Princes.
- Artus: A Breton village formerly of the Oestrymn tribe on the Glenumbra peninsula.
- Canalch: A Breton village formerly of the Coriossolit tribe built on the largest of the Jeweled Islands.
- Condate: The Breton village formerly of the Redoones tribe. Located in northern Glenumbra. It has large pastures for horses and produces the best horsemen in Galen. It owes allegiance to the Direnni.
- Corsoeut: A Breton village formerly of the Coriossolit tribe built close to the shores of the Iliac Bay. It is known for minting Direnni coins with its nearby mineral deposits.
- Dariorit: A Breton coastal village formerly of the Vindo tribe. It serves as a port for Direnni interests in northern Rivernspire.
- Fuarspiris: A Reachmen village in the central parts of the Druadach Mountains.
- Fuildsliasaid: A Reachmen village in the southern parts of the Druadach Mountains.
- Gesocribate: A Breton village formerly of the Oestrymn tribe on the Glenumbra peninsula.
- Lexovi: A Breton port formerly of the Oestrymn tribe on the Glenumbra peninsula.
- Naoned: A Breton village formerly of the Namnitôn tribe located in Kurallian Mountains. Known for its exports in iron and tin.
- Occismor: A large Breton town formerly of the Oestrymn tribe on the Glenumbra peninsula.
- Reginca: A Breton village formerly of the Coriossolit tribe built on the river of the same name, that connects to the Bjoulsae River and starts in the Viridian Forest.
- Tolente: A Breton village formerly of the Oestrymn tribe built on the Glenumbra peninsula.
- Ushant: A Breton village formerly of the Oestrymn tribe built on the island of the same name in the Eltheric Ocean.
- Vorgani: A Breton village formerly of the Oestrymn tribe built on the Glenumbra peninsula.
- Alet: A Galennic village of the Coriossolit tribe. It was formerly the largest village of the tribe, but was razed to the ground by the Direnni during a war in the Merethic Era. The elven town of Bellabek is built close to the site of this ruined village.
- Brandu: A Galennic village of the Samnitôn tribe on the mouth of the Galen River. Once called the Port of Two Crows. It was destroyed by the Direnni.
- Corbilo: A Galennic village of the Samnitôn tribe on the Galen River. It was destroyed by the Direnni.
- Locmariaquer: A Galennic village of the Vindo tribe that tried to resist elven expansion. They were wiped out by the Direnni.
- Segisama: A Galennic village of the Coriossolit tribe. It was once a powerful stronghold that controlled the mouth of the Bjoulsae river. It was destroyed by the Direnni when they began to expand further up river.
The Orcish Tribes are a collection of tribal strongholds located in the eastern mountainous region of Athetone. Each stronghold has a relatively small population compared to the settlements of the other races, since the Orcs' patriarchal society is very competitive. Orcs there live according to the Code of Malacath and the rule of their chieftains.
The Orsimer were original Aldmer, members of the Chantry of Trinimac. Trinimac was the Warrior-God of the Aldmer, the hero that killed the treacherous Lorkhan by ripping out his heart. He was one of the three hero-gods of the Aldmer as Trinimac the Warrior, the other two being: Phynaster the Thief and Syrabane the Mage.
In the Middle Merethic Era, roughly 1000 years before the 1st Era, Trinimac and his followers attempted to halt the movement of the prophet Veloth and the Chimer, elves who began to worship the Daedric Princes: Azura, Boethiah and Mephala. Boethiah intercepted Trinimac and managed to trick him. She devoured Trinimac, corrupting his body and spirit, and he emerged from his own remains as the Daedric Prince Malacath. As a result, his followers were transformed as well. Their golden skin turned green, their teeth grew into tusks and horns protruded from their heads. These changed Aldmer became known as the Pariah Folk, the Orsimer. Unable to accept their transformed cousins into their society, the Aldmer cast them out into the wilderness. The early Orcish people migrated across Tamriel, taking up residence in the woods and mountains of the continent. They developed a tribal and independent lifestyle. Instead of claiming one area, they would instead settle in multiple provinces that suited their lives and needs, forming small, tightly knit villages.
The Orcs first arrived in Athetone around ME 900, there they began building their strongholds in the Druadach mountains. They had already been living in the neighboring province of Skyrim for decades and were slowly migrating into Athetone.
Strongholds are governed by a rigid class system. Every Orc has a specific job and is obligated to perform it. Every man, woman, and child in the fort is also trained from birth to defend it. The Strongholds are led by a chief, who killed the previous chief to prove his strength. Only the chiefs are allowed to have wives, and due to this, they often have several. This method is to ensure that the strongest Orc becomes chief, contributing his genes to the next generation of Orcs who, in theory, should be stronger than the last. Orcs in strongholds follow their own law called the Code of Malacath. The will of Malacath is clarified by the stronghold's resident wise woman. The rules of the Code are simple: do not steal, do not kill, do not attack without reason, fight with honor, and protect your tribe. They do not have jails; instead, offenders are forced to pay a "blood price," in which the criminal bleeds until the victim is satisfied. In cases where the victim was murdered, the chief is consulted to convey an appropriate sentence.
Individuals that aren't Orcs are normally viewed as untrustworthy and are turned away from the strongholds. However, it is possible for an outsider to gain entrance by becoming 'blood kin'. This is done by performing a specific task to gain the trust of the Stronghold. This task is normally very dangerous.
- Asht Shakamub: A stronghold in the western plains of Mournoth.
- Jur Glushun: A stronghold high in the mountains near the border with Haafingar, Skyrim.
- Nagri Urgalick: A stronghold found near the coast in northern Mournoth.