|“||Skyrim is the northern province of Tamriel, a land of breathtaking beauty and lethal winters.||”|
— Description of Skyrim
Skyrim, known as Mereth to the elves, Keizaal to the dragons and Fatherland to the Atmorans, is the northernmost province of Tamriel. It is bordered by Dwemereth to the east, Cyrodiil to the south, Hegathe to the southwest and Malabal to the west. To the north of the province is the Sea of Ghosts, which houses the islands of Solstheim and Roscrea to the northeast and the continent of Atmora to the far north. A cold and mountainous region which has been home to many races since the Dawn Era, mainly elves and humans.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Countries
- 3.1 Skyrim
- 3.2 Dwemer Freehold
- 3.3 Reachmen Tribes
- 3.4 Orc Tribes
- 3.5 Former Counties
Skyrim became home to the descendants of the Wandering Ehlnofey, that remained on Tamriel following the events of the Dawn Era, among them the Giants, Frost Giants and Rieklings as well as the Faerie spirits, like Spriggans.
Aldmer expanding from the Summerset Isles settle in Skyrim. The first settlers created vast underground cities to escape from the coldness of the province. They became known by the Giants as Dwarves, while they call themselves the Dwemer. The Dwemer didn't have a unified government, but collectively they were known as the Dwemer Freehold.
The second set of settlers, thought they claim to be the original inhabitants, were the Nedic tribes known as the Children-of-Druaga, the Men-of-Kreath and the Rontha. The Children-of-Druaga were brought to the province by their leader, the prophet Druaga whom they immortalized as their patron goddess. They settled on the Druadach Mountians, named after their goddess, which would become more commonly known as the Reach. Due to this they became known as the Reachmen. The Men-of-Kreath settled in the southern lands of Skyrim, living as hunters in the vast forests of the region of Falkreath. The Rontha were a nomadic tribe, that migrate throughout southern Skyrim in the plains and forests.
Then came the race of twisted elves known as the Orsimer. They were previously Aldmer followers of the god Trinimac, but when their god was transformed into the Daedric Prince Malacath by the Daedric Prince Boethiah they were also transformed. These elves became shunned from elven society as beasts an so they were forced to live in the wilderness of Tamriel. In Skyrim they settled into tribal strongholds in the mountains.
At the end parts of the Middle Merethic Era, another race of elves created numerous cities across the surface of Skyrim, starting with the city of Altanium on the shores of the Ilinalta in Falkreath. Initially stuck to the warmer regions of Skyrim, they used powerful magic to transform their bodies to better withstand the cold climate and thus were able to expand their kingdom. They eventually became known as the Falmer. They named the province Mereth and their kingdom stretched from forests of Falkreath and the Rift, to the plains Whiterun, to the lands of Eastmarch and to the island of Sosltheim.
Atmorans rediscovered the continent of Tamriel and begin to raid the coastal Falmer settlements for decades. Years after the initial Atmoran raids, groups of them begin to settle on the northern coast of Mereth.
Around 320 years prior to the end of the Merethic Era: Ysgramor was fleeing from civil war that had broken out on his homeland, the continent of Atmora. He and his two sons, Yngol and Ylgar, arrived at Hsaarik Head, located on the Broken Cape. Ysgramor sought no violence; he was a peaceful settler, and wanted to explore new lands. Many Atmoran settlers followed Ysgramor's example, and came to Mereth to escape the civil war. Soon, the human population of Tamriel was large enough that they began to build cities, and thus Saarthal was made.
The Atmorans discovered the powerful artifact, the Eye of Magnus and brought it to Saarthal. The Falmer, afraid of what the Atmorans would do with the Eye of Magnus and the large population boom of the humans, decided to attack the city. Almost all of the humans were slain in a single night; only Ysgramor and his sons are known to have escaped. They took the last longboat and sailed back to Atmora. This night later became known as the Night of Tears.
After Ysgramor reached Atmora, he had found that the civil war had ended. He told stories of the treacherous elves and all the brothers and sisters who had fallen in their raid upon Saarthal. Soon enough, there was a whole army ready to fight and avenge the victims of the elves. This army became known as the Five Hundred Companions. Thus began a period of time known as The Return.
On the day known as the Day of Final Passage, Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions set sail for Mereth from the massive shipyards of Jylkurfyk. Ysgramor himself commanded a longboat by the name of Ylgermet and served as the Harbinger of the Companions. Both of his sons had earned their places as renowned warriors and had taken two longboats under their command as well, Harakk and Darumzu.
However, during their voyage to Hsaarik, the fleet was hit by the Storm of Separation. Both of his sons were separated from the rest of the fleet, and only the youngest, Ylgar, sailed out of it alive. It is said that Ysgramor was enraged by this. He went out in the storm alone to seek Yngol, but failed. By the time Ysgramor found the shipwreck of Harakk, Yngol and his crew were already slain by the sea-ghosts. Ysgramor is said to have hunted and burned them in their honor afterwards. Ysgramor buried his son by the Atmoran traditions and dug him a barrow. It became known as Yngol's Barrow
After the Five Hundred had reached Hsaarik Head, they sought to reclaim Saarthal from elvenkind. Many of their shield-brothers fell, but the army kept the name in honor of the fallen warriors. After reclaiming Saarthal, the Circle of Captains was assembled, where it was decided that every captain and his crew should make their own paths and separate. Thus began the great expansion of Men on Tamriel and genocidal slaughter of elves. Five Hundred were known to have spread from mountainous Mereth to far southern marshes of Argonia and even to the isle of Solstheim.
Ysgramor and his crew, with the help of the Kaal Kaaz and the Sadon Reyth, fought elves in the area later named Østmark. Ysgramor stumbled on his recently dead son's grave, and, in grief, decided to build a great city named Vindhelm where the nearby river met the sea. It was to serve as a monument for mankind. The city was built by elven captives in Atmoran fashion. It was made as an impenetrable fortress. Ysgramor commanded that a great bridge to be built over the Yorgrim River, so no elf could attempt to sneak over and avenge his kin. A great palace was built that served as a seat of kings for many generations after Ysgramor himself.
Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions not only fought the Falmer, but also the Giants. After many hundreds slain in battle, the Giant of Legend, Sinmur, was cornered in his own barrow and fought Ysgramor to the death. However, the Giant was no match for Ysgramor's mighty axe, Wuuthrad. The axe was driven into Sinmur's skull after he was brought to his knees by Ysgramor. With the death of Sinmur, the Giants were never as mighty a threat and so the war ended.
Only a third of the Falmer population managed to survive. Most of them made, in their desperation, took an offer of aid from the Dwemer. That offer proved poisoned as they were betrayed by the Dwemer, who blinded and enslaved them. A third refused the offer and instead headed to the Rift, where their last city remained, the only known safe place for their kind. The Dwemer were left mostly alone by the Atmorans, as their underground city-states proved too difficult to conquer.
Many heroes grew to prominence during the Return, among them: Harrald Hairy-Breeks, who was said to be the god Ysmir himself; Ahzidal the Embittered Destroyer, who later became a Dragon Priest; Finna Sword-Thrower, who killed the Snow Prince; Rikvard Snow-Strider, who saved Ysgramor's crew from an ambush; and Bjorn the Iron Bear, first mate of Ysgramor.
After the war against the Snow Elves, the Five Hundred Companions broke into separate groups to find their own way in the newly conquered land. The crew of Jorrvaskr, led by Jeek of the River, journeyed around Mereth until they came upon a mysterious yet wondrous sight; "a monument of a bird, whose eyes and beak were opened in flame." This monument, that would soon later known be known as the Skyforge, was older than the Snow Elves themselves. It was thought to be from the time before the war of the gods and still retained some of their power. Jeek ordered the construction of a mead hall beside the Skyforge, using their ship as materials. The hall kept the ship's name. A settlement later grew around the mead hall named Drakefjell, ruled by Jeek's descendants.
Other crews followed Jeek's example and established mead halls across Mereth which later grew into settlements like what had happened with Drakefjell. Among these: Brakkstein, Ylgermet, Vedrfolnir, Grafvitnir, Nidhoggr and Ratatoskr.
Following the end of the Atmoran-Falmer War, numerous other migrant fleets arrived in Mereth from Atmora. The Atmoran colonies organized into four holds, later known as the Old Holds: Østmark, Blekva, Saarthal and Reftva; ruled by Jarls that were descendants from the captains that led the crews in the Five Hundred Companions. To the Atmorans the province became known as Skyrim. Numerous other cities were founded during this time, among them: Dagastar, Nimalten and Bromjunaar.
After the death of Ysgramor, the Five Hundred Companions reorganized themselves into the Companions, mercenaries that served under whatever Atmoran settlement paid them for their services.
With the decreasing food supplies in Atmora and the growing population of the Atmoran colonies, the Dragon Cult and their masters moved to Skyrim and took the city of Bromjunaar as their seat, making it the capital of Atmora and Skyrim. From there they ruled the Atmorans with an iron fist.
About 20 years before the end of the Merethic Era: after centuries of being subservient to the Dragon Cult and their masters, the Atmorans rebelled against their great cruelty. Thus the Dragon War began. At first, mankind was woefully outmatched and was easily defeated by the Dragons and their Voice. Kyne intervened and sent Paarthurnax to assist mankind. Paarthurnax, originally the first lieutenant and brother of Alduin, betrayed his kin and taught the power of the Voice to mankind, creating the first Tongues. Several other Dragons sided with Paarthurnax against Alduin. A Dragon Priest named Miraak attempted to overthrow the Dragons alone, refusing to help the Tongues in their war. His rebellion was unsuccessful and he was defeated by another Dragon Priest named Vahlok who was then made his jailor, restraining him to Solstheim. Because of his betrayal, the dragons razed his temple on Solstheim.Mankind created a shout, known as Dragonrend, built on the hatred of the Dragons' tyranny and oppression. It forces the concept of mortality onto the Dragons, something that is impossible for it to understand, and temporarily forces it to land. The war reached its climax when the Atmoran heroes: Hakon One-Eye, Felldir the Old and Gormlaith Golden-Hilt; fought Alduin at a battle at the summit of the Throat of the World. After Gormlaith was killed and Hakon severely wounded, Felldir used an Elder Scroll to banish Alduin from the flow of time, creating the Time Wound. This event marks the start of the 1st Era to the Atmorans.
By 1E 3, the Dragon Priests were overthrown and the survivors of the Dragon Cult scattered, hiding in various places throughout Skyrim. They entombed the remains of the Dragons that died during the war within Dragon mounds, with the belief that Alduin would one day return and resurrect the faithful. However, other sects within the cult believed only those who ascended to the priesthood would be granted a second life. The remaining Dragons were forced to seclude themselves in the mountains of northern Tamriel to escape being hunted down.
In 1E 10, Atmora became ruled by the many kings that once pledged allegiance to the dragons in a Confederation ruled by a council of kings called the Moot. The Atmoran Confederation moved the capital back to the motherland and left Bromjunaar abandoned. They granted the Skyrim colonies high autonomy, which acted more as tributaries to the Confederation. This autonomy, however, would cause much in-fighting among the holds in the coming decades. The newly established hold of Hvitstrad began to grow in power as it held the most amount of fertile land in Skyrim. It used this power to conquer lands from Reftva, which it held for many decades before it was reclaimed. Nonetheless, it remained a major power in the region.
In 1E 88 the mage called Shalidor founded the College (Kollegium) and began training others int he art of magic. As the college took more students and grew in size, a settlement began forming around the school called Frøsseltun.
In 1E 95 Hvitstrad Hold began to expand into the Reach, taking lands from the local Reachmen. Under Jarl Gjalund they conquered the large Reachmen settlement of H'roldan and worked on colonizing the area.
In 1E 97 the Companion Bjarfrud Skoralmor founded the village of Falkreath in the forested area south of Hvitstrad after allying with the local Men-of-Kreath tribes. In the following years the settlement grew and Bjarfrud declared himself Jarl of Falkreath, talking the surrounding areas into his new hold. He married a prominent chieftess of the Nedes and brought them under his rule.
In 1E 113 Falkreath and Hvitstad go to war over claims to the town of Blekforstun, starting the War of the Pines which ended not long after Jarl Gjalund was killed in battle by Jarl Bjarfrud, with peace being declared in 1E 115. With the war won by Bjarfrud, Blekforstun became a part of Falkreath Hold. Ivar Gjalundson took the throne of Hvitstrad. Twin brother of Jarl Bjarfrud, Thane Arnvid the Unbound, was also killed in the war.
In 1E 139, the Dwemer King Tzovnak of Kagrenzel schemed to start a war between the Atmorans and the Falmer. His agents faked an attack by the Falmer into the Atmoran hold of Østmark and an infiltrated spy riled up the local Jarl Harald Word-Bringer into declaring war against the Falmer, beginning the Second Atmoran-Falmer War. The Atmorans gathered together the largest army since the Dragon War and invaded the Falmeri Kingdom from the north and the west. The two large armies scoured the land, destroying every Falmer settlement they came across. The Falmer evacuate their countryside, bringing their people into the capital city of Ilinhame. Several notable battles took place as the elves were repeated defeated: the Battle of Gondorin, the Battle of Erindar, the Battle of the Lake, the Battle of Vetudar, the Battle of Nennas and the Battle of the Autumn Field. Eventually, in 1E 140, Ilinhame was assaulted and the city too fell to them. The city was left in ruins, destroying the Falmeri Kingdom and what remained of Falmeri society. The Falmer, however, didn't all perish as the Dwemer had saved many of her people from slaughter with their airships. However, the Snow Elves were betrayed upon being taken in as refugees. They were betrayed, poisoned, blinded, and enslaved by the Dwemer.
Skyrim is the most rugged region on Tamriel; not only containing five of the highest peaks on the continent, but also very snowy and cold. Much of Skyrim is vertical; mountains, cliffs, and deep valleys. The vast majority of settlements cling to these valleys. The northern half of Skyrim is a cold tundra and covered in snow year around. However, the southern regions of the province are relatively mild in the summer.
The province is separated in nine geographic regions: Eastmarch, Falkreath, Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, The Pale, The Reach, The Rift, Whiterun and Winterhold. It has two islands to the northeast: Bleakrock Isle and Olenveld; and one to the north: Wyrmstooth (Ormstǫnn).
Eastmarch is located in the center-east part of the province, bordering the Velothi Mountains that separate Skyrim from the province of Dwemereth in the area called Icewind Peaks. The northern part of the region features snowy tundras and mountains that are covered in snow for most of the year and this area is called Giant's Run. The southern part is home to expansive hot springs that keep it relatively warm with their volcanic activity even in the winter months in the area called Frostwater Tundra. Because of these springs the overall climate of Eastmarch is relatively temperate. Darkwater River winds north from Lake Geir into Frostwater Tundra, where it meets the White River which then drains into the Sea of Ghosts. River Yorgrim also joins with the White River before it ends at the Sea of Ghosts. It drains Lake Yorgrim, which lies west in the Pale. Atmoran myths say the hot springs of the region resulted from an intense battle between the hero Wuunding and a mighty Daedra during the Late Merethic Era.
Falkreath is the second southernmost region in Skyrim, after The Rift, and the borders Cyrodiil and Hegathe, separated from Skyrim by the Jerall Mountains and the Dragontail Mountains respectively. Home of Skyrim's famous Pine Forest, Falkreath is covered in a fine mist that makes the land seem without season. The mountains rising above Falkreath are well above the snow line, striking a stark comparison to the rest of the region. The most distinguishing geographic feature is Lake Ilinalta, which covers a large portion of the central region and acts as the source for the White River. Lake Ilinalta is the biggest lake in Skyrim and and has a wide variety of fish and other aquatic creatures. North of the lake are the Brittleshin Mountains that separate the region from Whiterun. Eastern Falkreath is more mountainous than the other parts of the region, due to its proximity to the Throat of the World and the Jerall Mountains. The region has a clear border between the evergreens of the forest to a thicket of snow covering the valley. Most of western Falkreath is uncharted forested territory.
Haafingar is a relatively small, mountainous, coastal region in northwestern Skyrim. The region borders the province of Malabal to the west, across the many mountains that dot the landscape. The most iconic feature of the region is a large rock outcropping towering high above the end of the Karth River and the massive Karth delta. The mountain ranges are filled with caves and ruins where bandits and creatures make their homes. The mountains of Haafingar are only the tapered end of the Druadach Mountains, an enormous range of jagged mountain peaks to the south which rise up among the clouds of the Reach. Some lower lying areas including near the Karth River are mostly comprised of forests and hills.
Hjaalmarch is a lowland coastal region in northern Skyrim. Roughly half the region is constituted by the Drajkmyr marsh, which allows for farming even this far north. The region is veined with waterways that empty into the Sea of Ghosts, and the southern and eastern mountains near its borders further isolate the area. It is home to the Karth delta, also called the Mouths of the Karth, where the mighty Karth River and the smaller River Hjaal empty into the Sea of Ghosts through a variety of intricate channels. The Deathbell flower is known to be abundant throughout the swamps. Combined with the fog that surrounds the marshes and the creatures that stalk the land, Hjaalmarch is considered one of the more mysterious regions in Skyrim.
The Pale is a northern boot-shaped region of Skyrim. The region is a barren realm covered by vast fields of ice and snow, some scattered mountains, and some pine forests. It stretches from the center of Skyrim all the way to its northern coast. Lake Yorgrim marks the eastern corner and is where the River Yorgrim flows from. The region's distinctive boot shape is due to it curving around the mountain range which forms its border with Winterhold. The Pale is sparsely populated, with safe places for travelers few and far between. The snowy terrain that makes up most of the region is unsuitable for farming; however, the far southern edge, where not mountainous, is more hospitable.
The Reach is a geographic region that extends into Malabal and Hegathe. It is the southwestern hold of Skyrim. It is made up of the Druadach Mountains, which transition into the Jerall Mountains near the hold's southeast corner. The Karth River begins in the southern region and drains the mountains, running like a deep gouge through the middle of the hold. The peaks of the Druadach range lie to the west of it, and high bluffs typically rise on the east leading to grassland and tundra. The region is rich in valuable ores, especially silver.
The Rift is the southeastern region of Skyrim and is a temperate region northwest of the intersection between the Velothi Mountains and the Jerall Mountains. It is home to the expansive Fall Forest, the Vernim Woods, on the shores of Lake Honnith, which is drained by the Treva River and Lake Geir. The relatively mild climate allows for thriving agriculture. The lower half of the region is called Stony Basin and is a sprawling sea of bright trees and mildly cool temperatures. The Ragged Hills is much more mountainous and much colder as it is located at the base of the Throat of the World. Dead in the center of the Hills is Lake Geir, which serves as the primary source of food for the surrounding settlements in the area. The Smokefrost Peaks is the warmest region in the Rift. This has to do with its proximity to the volcanic mountain of Trolhetta and the Velothi Mountains.
Whiterun is the largest of the nine regions and is located in the center of mainland Skyrim. It borders six of the other eight regions, the exceptions being Winterhold and Haafingar. It features a wide variety of geographical features, including rolling plains, green hills and snow-capped mountains. The region is also known for having a large number of Giant camps. The White River divides the region. Sparse fertile plains extend from west of the river to the western border, which is situated on ideal farmland. Much of the area near the southern border and east of the river is mountainous.
Winterhold is the northernmost region in Skyrim, and has weather to match. It is a vastly cold region, most of the hold is covered in snowy tundra plains and high mountain ranges. Along the cost is a polar environment of glaciers and icebergs. The mountain range marks the border between Winterhold and the Pale, and some of the northern border to Eastmarch. Between the mountains and the sea to the east lies an ice plain, where the elements are at their harshest, and life at its most scarce. Rock and ice shelves form the barrier between Winterhold and the Sea of Ghosts to the north and east, dotted occasionally with shingle beaches.
The Holds of Skyrim, previously known as the Skyrim Colonies, are a group of jarldoms governed independently from one another that serve as tributaries to the Atmoran Confederation.
Atmora was always a harsh and cold continent, its tundra climate made it nearly impossible to farm so the only available food to the natives were the local fauna. This made food the most valuable resource in Atmora, which caused many wars among the local chiefs over hunting and fishing grounds. This scarcity eventually forced the Atmorans to search elsewhere to obtain food and led directly to the Atmorans rediscovering the continent of Tamriel.
For the first few decades after the discovery of Mereth the Atmorans merely came to raid the elven settlements and return to their motherland with captured supplies and treasures. To help with these raiding expeditions the Atmorans settled the island of Roscrea. This settlement eventually led to Atmorans moving further south and begin settling Tamriel. However, these first colonies were small and short lived.
The first major colony was Saarthal, founded by Ysgramor Word-Bringer in the Winterhold region of Mereth in ME 320. Ysgramor wanted to escape the constant fighting between the kings of Atmora, for the few resources of their land, and build a better life for his kinsmen. More humans came to the new colony to escape the wars and it rapidly grew into a prominent city. Years after it was founded, the local Falmer attacked the city unexpectedly and slaughtered the human citizens in the event known as the Night of Tears.
After the Return and the conclusion of the Atmoran-Falmer War, the city of Vindhelm was built by Ysgramor in the region of Eastmarch. The colony of Saarthal was rebuilt and it came under the rule of Clan Sea-King, relatives of the King of Jylkurfyk. On the northern coast of Mereth, the colony of Dagastar was built by Clan Shield-Bearer. Soon afterwards, on the shores of Lake Geir, the colony of Nimalten was constructed by Clan Spear-Shaker. These four colonies became the first holds in Skyrim, respectively: Østmark, Saarthal Hold, Blekva and Reftva; and collectively known as the Old Holds. The Five Hundred Companions also founded numerous other smaller settlements, like: Blekforstun, Drakefell, Frysemere, Lokgevul, Shorstein, Snærgríma, Volskygge and Yorgrim.
After the creation of the Old Holds, the Atmorans invaded the Falmer controlled island of Solstheim to the northeast of Skyrim and conquered it. During the final battle against the elves, their Snow Prince was killed by a young Atmoran shield-maiden after he slew her mother. There they founded the colony of Skaal.
Reign of the Dragons
With the population boom of the Skyrim Colonies and the decline in both resources and subjects on the Atmoran continent, the ruling dragons and their cult decided to move to Skyrim. They built a new settlement, a city that rivaled Vindhelm in size and splender, Bromjunaar, and made it their new capital. From then on Atmora was ruled from Skyrim by the Dragon Priests. They oversaw the creations of numerous new settlements across Skyrim, among them: Folgunthur, Ustengrav, Djuprskog, Volunruud, Korvanjund, Forsdalrborg, Vindborg, Skyskyldr, Angarvunde, Forelhost, Silfrisin, Snaergrima and Frysemere.
Rule under the Dragon Priests was always harsh, they acted in their own interests and those of their masters without any concern for the interests of the people they ruled. However, the growing population in Skyrim was becoming restless. Unlike in Atmora, where the small population was easy to control through fear, the colonists vastly outnumbered the priests and the dragons and with the help of the spreading dissent by the skalds, a rebellion was sparked in ME 100 in the town of Haafingar.
Despite vastly outnumbering their oppresors, the Atmorans lacked the power to defeat them in battle. With the power of their voice, the dragons and their priests slaughtered the rebels. It appeared as if the rebellion would be shortlived. Unexpectedly, divine intervention turned the tide of the war. Firstly, a hero named Mikkel appeared to lead the rebels into a more cohesive army. Secondly, the goddess Kyne was able to convert one of the dragons to the side of the humans. The dragon, one of Alduin's lieutenants named Paarthurnax, taught the humans how to use the power of the voice (Thu'um). This created the first Tongues, Atmoran warriors who wielded the power of the storm voice in battle. Mikkel the Voiceless led the Tongues against the dragons, liberating his kinsmen from their oppressors.
The war culminated in a final battle between Alduin and three Tongues: Hakon One-Eye, Felldir the Old and Gormlaith Golden-Hilt. Gormlaith was slain, but the other two were able to defeat Alduin and end the reign of the dragons over mankind. After their leader's defeat, the remaining dragons and priests were hunted down by the Atmorans. The only ones that survived were those that hid away in the mountains of Skyrim.
After the fall of the Dragon Cult, many tried to fill the power vacuum left by their destruction. In the following decades, the Atmoran kings warred against one another in an attempt to take their place. Ultimately, none succeeded and a peace treaty was signed. This peace treated saw the creation of the Atmoran Confederation to rule over the continent. The confederation was led by a council of kings known as the Moot and Jylkurfyk was made the capital of the new country. The Skyrim Holds became tributaries of the confederation, supplying Atmora with the precious resources that it's population needed to survive it's harsh climate.
In Skyrim, the settlements previously ruled directly by the Dragon Priests reorganized themselves into the holds of Hvitstrad and Haafingar, ruled from Drakefell and Haafingar respectively. Hvitstrad came into the possession of the fertile plains of Whiterun and with them became a major power in the region, having control of much of the farms that supplied the Atmorans with food. This allowed the new hold to rapidly expand and conquer lands from the nearby Old Holds. They also began expanding into the Reach under Jarl Gjalund, an area left relatively unexplored during the reign of the Dragon Priests.
Years later, a new hold was formed in Falkreath by Bjarfrud Skoralmor and it too began to expand, coming into conflict with Hvitstrad. Jarl Bjarfrud was originally from Blekforstun and claim the town as his birthright, a town that was under the rule of Jarl Gjalund. A war broke out and they fought until Gjalund was slain in battle and the settlement came under the rule of Falkreath.
The dragon priests had been tyrants, but they kept the Holds in check. The Atmoran Confederation allowed them too much autonomy and so the Jarls began to dispute against one another. Without a strong hand to stop them, they declared wars among each other over territory and other claims. There was rarely a decade when there wasn't at least one war taking place in Skyrim. Kinsmen were killing one another and the Confederation was doing nothing about it.
The Atmorans declared war on the Snow Elves in the year 1E 139, led by Jarl Harald Word-Bringer, kin of Ysgramor. The largest Atmoran army since the Dragon War invaded the Kingdom of Mereth and vanquished their ancient foe forever more. The Snow Elf cities were razed to the ground, though several of them would later be rebuilt as new Atmoran settlements. During the war, it was said that Ysmir appeared once more as the hero Hans the Fox that fought with the Companions. The lands of Mereth were absorbed into the Hold of Reftva. At the conclusion of the war, Jarl Harald declared himself High King and claimed sovereignty over all of Skyrim. The other Jarls, however, did not all recognize his claim and war soon loomed over the province once more.
The rulers of each settlement or territory in Skyrim hold a specific title.
- Jarl: Ruler of a hold (a jarldom) and has their seat at the hold's capital, usually a city. A hereditary position following adult primogeniture, with children not being able to inherit. Only noble title in Atmoran society.
- Thane: Ruler of a fortified settlements or fortresses-villas in a hold. An appointed position by the Jarl, reserved for worthy individuals that have proven their valor and honor in service to the Jarl or the people of the hold.
- High Chief: Ruler of a town. Usually a hereditary position following adult primogeniture, though can be passed through elective succession at the town people's discretion.
- Chief: Ruler of a village. Usually a hereditary position following adult primogeniture, though can be passed through elective succession at the village people's discretion.
Each noble in Skyrim possesses in his court or Hird. His court is made up of his councilors, advisors and bodyguard who collectively are known as courtiers or Hirdmenn. The most important courtiers are:
- Bannerman: Serves as second-in-command of the guards as well as commander of the hold levies.
- Drottseti: Serves the ruler as a seneshal, overseeing the ruler's court, servants and thralls.
- Gothi: Serves the ruler as court priest, helping in matters of religion and acting as personal wise-man.
- Housecarl: Serves as the ruler's personal bodyguards and men-at-arms.
- Lawspeaker: Helps the ruler in masters is diplomacy and law, acting as both chancellor and high judge.
- Steward: Helps the ruler with administrating his hold as well as dealing with money and trade in the region.
- Swordthane: Serves as the commander of a Jarl's guards and military advisor, holds noble rank equal to a Thane but is unlanded.
- Thuler: Serves the ruler as court wizard, helping the ruler in matters of the arcane and his personal sage.
Blekva is one of the Old Holds, being founded right after the Return with the founding of the city of Dagastar. The hold is contained primarily in the Pale region, though it also controls the eastern part of Hjaalmarch. The capital of Dagastar is a major trading port in Skyrim, as it's position puts it right in the middle of the province's coastline. Other than the capital city, it contains: the towns of Heljarchen and Vindførtun; the villages of Frysemere, Ustengrav and Silfrisin; and the fortified settlements of Kjenstag and Virk Dunstad. The hold's flag depicts the dawning sun in an orange sky.
Clan Shield-Bearer (Skjoldbeirir) has ruled the hold for centuries. They are descendant from the original crew of the Nidhoggr that came during the Return. They are named after their clan's treasure, the Dawnshield (Dagaskjold) that they claimed from the Snow Elves during the Return. After the death of Jarl Egil the Crow the hold was inherited by his eldest son Óttarr, but most saw Áli as the more deserving ruler. Eventually Áli managed to get the support to challenge his brother's right to rule and killed him. Ótarr's widow and infant son, Aðils, managed to escape capture by the new Jarl. Aðils grew up seeking nothing but vengeance on his uncle. At the age of 16 he rallied a band of loyal men and led a rebellion against Jarl Áli Battle-Boar. The rebellion ended when Aðils slew his uncle and reclaimed his throne, thus gaining the name Aðils the Great.
- Jarl Egil 'the Crow' Shield-Bearer (ME 30 - 1E 28)
- Jarl Óttarr Shield-Bearer (1E 28 - 1E 38)
- Jarl Áli 'Battle-Boar' Shield-Bearer (1E 38 - 1E 52)
- Jarl Aðils 'the Great' Shield-Bearer (1E 52 - 1E 121)
- Jarl Skuld Shield-Bearer (1E 121 - )
Falkreath Hold is the newest hold in Skyrim, founded in 1E 97 by the famous warrior Bjarfrud Skjoralmor. He allied with the local Men-of-Kreath tribes and founded the village of Falkreath. Over the years it grew into a prominent town. Bjarlfrud married a powerful Men-of-Kreath Chieftess and was able to bring the surrounding tribes under his control. Initially a vassal of Hvistrad, Thane Bjarfrud declared himself independent once he was powerful enough to challenge the Jarl of Drakefell. He declare himself Jarl of Falkreath and took the nearby villages under his controls. This brought him into conflict with Hvitstrad and a war broke out, the War of the Pines. It ended in 1E 114 with Jarl Gjalund of Hvitstrad getting killed by Bjarfrud and Falkreath Hold becoming independent. Other than the capital city, it contains: the town of Blekforstun; the village of Galvinborg; the Nedic settlements of Ceò-Meirghe, Coille-Dharaich, Sìor-Ghorm, and Tosg-Sgàinte. and the fortified settlements of Virk Sungard and Skykovard. The hold's flag depicts the Pine Forest.
Clan Skjoralmor rules the hold from their seat at Falkreath. The clan claims descent from Captain Heimir of the Eikthyrnir, founder of the settlement of Blekforstun, and a member of Atmoran royalty. It was Captain Heimir of the Harp that led the siege and destruction of the Snow Elf capital of Altanium on the shores of Lake Ilinalta. Heimir of the Harp, who later became a High Priest of Stuhn, is credited for introducing into the Bear Cult of Stuhn the job of storing and loaning gold, creating the first proto-banks in the Temples of Stuhn.
- Jarl Bjarfrud Skjoralmor (1E 97 - )
Haafingar Hold is one of the northern most holds, created after the Dragon War from the power vacuum left from the destruction of the Dragon Cult. The capital, the city of Haafingar is famous for being the starting point of the rebellion that led to the Dragon War. The hold makes up both the region of Haafingar and the western part of Hjaalmarch. Other than the capital city, it contains: the towns of Hjaalmark and Volskygge; the villages of Djúprskog, Drakebru, Kilkreath and Kyneskjold; and the fortified settlements of Brandoddr Kor, Harmugstahl, and Virk Silfrsnær. The hold's flag depicts a pyre representing the spark that started the Dragon War.
Clan Bjarthar has ruled the hold since it was created after the Dragon War. They claim descent from Olaf Wood-Shaver of the original crew of the Grafvitnir in the Five Hundred Companions and himself a descendant of a mythical High King Yngvi of Atmora, one of the many men who tried to fight the Dragon Cult in Atmora but failed. The clan holds the legendary Bloodaxe, the weapon that is said to have claimed the life of the Snow Elf King during the Return. Thane Eysteinn Bjarthar was the founder of the Jarldom, having held the Thanedom since ME 20.
- Jarl Eysteinn Bjarthar (1E 5 - 1E 11)
- Jarl Gudrød 'the Hunter' Bjarthar (1E 11 - 1E 42)
- Jarl Halfdan 'Black-Flame' Bjarthar (1E 42 - 1E 75)
- Jarl Haakon Bjarthar (1E 75 - 1E 123)
- Jarl Erik Bjarthar (1E 123 - )
Hvitstrad is the central and the largest hold, created after the Dragon War from the power vacuum left from the destruction of the Dragon Cult. Despite this, the capital of the hold is one of the oldest settlements in Skyrim, founded by Captain Jeek of the River during the Return. Despite its age, the hold's control of most of the farmland in Skyrim gave it significant power over the other holds. With this power it was able to expand quickly and hold its own against the Old Holds. Other than the capital city, it contains: the towns of Korvanjund and Roriksgard; the villages of Bromjunaar, H'roldan, Kallsten, Steinfell and Volunruud ; and the fortified settlements of Hvitkorvard, Valtheim Korar and Virk Thundheid. The hold's flag depicts a dragon skull stabbed with Jeek's greatsword, the Fireblade.
Clan Ilddrake is descended from Jeek of the River, Captain of Jorrvaskr, during the Return and have ruled the settlement of Drakefell, which grew around Jorrvaskr and later the Cloud Keep. The clan holds two ancestral weapons, both once belonging to Captain Jeek, the War-axe known as Foecrusher and the Greatsword known as the Fireblade. Thane Valdar was the most infamous of the Ilddrake rulers, having sided with the Dragon Priests during the Dragon War and led the invasion of Østmark. The Jarldom was founded by Valdar's son, Randver and was at its greatest extend during the reign of Jarl Gjalund.
- Thane Valdar Ilddrake (ME 30 - ME 10)
- Jarl Randver Ilddrake (1E 4 - 1E 35)
- Jarl Ragnar Ilddrake (1E 35 - 1E 80)
- Jarl Gjalund Ilddrake (1E 80 - 1E 114)
- Jarl Ivar Ilddrake (1E 114 - )
Østmark is one of the Old Holds, being founded right after the Return with the founding of the city of Vindhelm by Ysgramor the Harbinger-of-us-All. It is made up of the Eastmarch region and the island of Bleakrock. The region is home to the Kyneslundr, the famous grove of the Hawk Cult. Other than the capital city, it contains: the towns of Þokavard and Yorgrim; the villages of Bjargveltask, Bleksteney, Hamarrheim and Wittestadr; and the fortified settlements of Morvunskar and Virk Amol. The hold's flag depicts Ysgramor's two headed dragon sigil and his legendary battleaxe, Wuuthrad.
It is ruled by Clan Word-Bringer.
- Jarl Sigi 'the Outlaw' Word-Bringer (ME 20 - ME 10)
- Jarl Rerir 'the Avenger' Word-Bringer (ME 10 - 1E 43)
- Jarl Vǫlsung 'the Ill-Fated' Word-Bringer (1E 43 - 1E 51)
- Jarl Sigmund Word-Bringer (1E 51 - 1E 88)
- Jarl Sigurðr 'the Farmer' Word-Bringer (1E 88 - 1E 139)
- Jarl Harald Word-Bringer (1E 139 - )
Reftva is one of the Old Holds, being founded by the crew of the Brakkeld, which later grew into the town of Shorstein. However, the capital of the hold was later moved to the city of Nilmaten when it outgrew Shorstein. Reftva was the smallest of the Old Holds as half of it's region was still under the control of the elven Kingdom of Mereth. After the destruction of the Snow Elf kingdom in 1E 140 it greatly expanded its control of the Rift. Before the founding of Falkreath Hold, Reftva was the main source of timber for Skyrim, as well as warmer lands for farming. Other than the capital city, it contains: the town of Shorstein; the villages of Angarvunde, Hillgrundsgard and Reftun; and the fortified settlements of Honnith Kor and Taarengrav. The Rontha Tribe of Nedes have two settlements within the hold, one in the Vernim Woods and the other at the base of Mount Trolhetta. They maintain friendly relations with the Atmorans. The hold's flag depicts the elven sun, the symbol of Mereth, with an armed bow aimed directly at it, depicting their conquest of the last bastion of the Snow Elves.
Clan Spear-Shaker (Geirskaka) claims descendant from Vikord One-Ear, the second captain of the Brakkeld and the founder of the mead hall bearing the ship's name, Brakkstein. Originally from Shorstein, the family later moved to the growing city of Nilmaten on the shores of the Lake Geir, named after the clan. Due to their landlocked hold, the clan has produced many famous hunters through the years. Among them Jarl Heimir the Brave who killed the vicious giant Aspilian.
- Jarl Jǫrmunrekr Spear-Shaker (ME 40 - 1E 1)
- Jarl Þjoðrekr 'the Great' Spear-Shaker (1E 1 - 1E 52)
- Jarl Studas Spear-Shaker (1E 52 - 1E 88)
- Jarl Heimir 'the Brave' Spear-Shaker (1E 88 - 1E 123)
- Jarl Hildr Spear-Shaker (1E 123 - )
Saarthal Hold is one of the Old Holds, being founded after the Return. It is considered the oldest hold, since it holds the first Atmoran colony of Saarthal. The hold is located in the barren tundra of Winterhold. Due to this it cannot produce it's own food and relies on raids and trade, making it very dependent on other regions. Recently, the hold has become home to the famous magic College created by Shalidor. Other than the capital city, it contains: the towns of Frøsseltun and Snærgríma; the villages of Anthor and Olenveld; and the fortified settlements of Isborg and Rimausa Kor. The hold's flag depicts a sacred artifact of the city of Saarthal.
Clan Sea-King (Sjørrik) was founded by Captain Seskef of the Vedrfolnir crew. He is credited for having rebuilt Saarthal after the return and was also a member of Clan Adogit, the rulers of Jylkurfyk. Due to this close relation to the royalty of the continent of Atmora, Saarthal is the only hold actively involved in the politics of the Atmoran Confederation. Thus the Jarls of Saarthal act as de-facto overseers of Skyrim for the Confederation. Jarl Annarr died in battle during the Dragon War, being one of the main leaders of the revolt.
- Jarl Annarr Sea-King (ME 50 - ME 10)
- Jarl Heremód Sea-King (ME 10 - 1E 35)
- Jarl Skjǫldr Sea-King (1E 35 - 1E 70)
- Jarl Fróði Sea-King (1E 70 - 1E 108)
- Jarl Arngrim Sea-King (1E 108 - )
Solstheim is the most isolated hold in Skyrim, being located on the island of Solstheim to the northeast of the continent. It was founded sometime after the Return, following the capture of the island from the Snow Elves and the death of the Snow Prince at the hands of Finna Sword-Thrower. The hold was home to the rebellious Dragon Priest Miraak, who tried to overthrow the dragons during the early Dragon War. During the war, the hold sided his the Dragons under the leadership of Vahlok the Jailor. Their isolation from the rest of Skyrim has led heretical religious cults to settle on the island, most notably the Cult of the All-Maker. The people of the island developed a unique culture, called the Skaals. Other than the capital town of Hirstaang, it contains: the villages of Felsaad, Moesring and Kolbjorn; and the fortified settlements of Isinfier and Snærklæða. The hold's flag depicts keys and locks, representing their most beloved ruler Vahlok the Jailor and the two Dragon Priests that he watched over, Miraak and Ahzidal.
Clan Bloodskal (Hlarskal) is descendant from the crew of the Ratatoskr, but the clan was only recently founded by Svafrlami the Bloodskal. Svafrlami forged the legendary blade the Bloodskal and took the sword's name as his own. Since then the sword has been passed down through the family. Svafrlami was the first Jarl of Solstheim, having taken control of the island following the death of the Dragon Priest Vahlok the Jailor. The Atmorans of Solstheim are considered a bit more savage than their continental cousins and because they sided with the Dragon Priests during the war, they are treated by the mainlanders with a bit of disdain.
- Jarl Svafrlami Bloodskal (1E 7 - 1E 10)
- Jarl Sinfjǫtli Bloodskal (1E 10 - 1E 32)
- Jarl Pálnir Bloodskal (1E 32 - 1E 74)
- Jarl Tóki Bloodskal (1E 74 - 1E 104)
- Jarl Ingjaldr Bloodskal (1E 104 - )
The Dwemer Freehold is a collection of Dwemer city-states that act independently from one another, but formed an alliance between themselves for trade, security and the spread of knowledge. Each city-state has their own ruler, while the Freehold has no central power controlling it. Should a decision be required that affects all of the Freehold the city-state rulers will convene a council in Fal'Zhardum Din, thus the city is considered the de-facto capital of the Freehold. The Freehold is a part of the greater Dwemer country of Dwemereth, but 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.
Around 1100 before the 1st Era the Dwemer first settled the lands of Skyrim, building their first cities in the east under the Velothi Mountains: Mzulft and Kagrenzel. The native population were vastly inferior in terms of technology, only tribal humanoids that were no threat to them. Still, the main obstacle in Skyrim was the harsh cold weather that made most of the province inhospitable to the Dwemer. As such they had to keep their expansion solely underground. Only some of their towers above-ground gave away their presence. By the end of the Merethic Era they had cities in all of Skyrim's mountain ranges, including their largest city-state yet: Fal'Zhardum Din. A vast underground cavern metropolis that connected four other city-states in the southern Pale.
In ME 800 another race of elves came to the province, a highly religious cult of Auri-El that was forced to leave the homeland in the Summerset Isles to escape persecution. Due to their religious nature, the Dwemer didn't get along with these new elves - who later became known as the Falmer - but tolerated them enough to let them settle on the surface of Skyrim and trade with them. In the following centuries the Falmer controlled much of the surface of Skyrim and maintained a neutral relationship with the Dwemer.
In ME 320 a race of humans named Atmorans settled in Skyrim. Previously they had conducted raids on Falmer settlements, but this new colony was staying peaceful. That was until the Falmer unexpectedly attacked the human city and slaughtered the civilians. There were survivors, however, and they returned with a vengeful army that attacked the Falmer and relentlessly fought against them for years. Ultimately the Falmer lost and their population was decimated, only a third revived. The Dwemer offered these survivors a bargain: a chance for safe haven in their underground cities. This bargain wasn't out of the goodness of their hearts, in exchange for safe haven the Falmer would need to agree to become the servants of the Dwemer. The Dwemer needed the Falmer for work that their animunculi could not perform: those of magical nature and those that required more delicate hands. In their desperation, many of the Falmer agreed to this deal. When they headed to the Freehold, however, they were betrayed. The Dwemer forced the Falmer to take an alchemical concoction that permanently blinded them and they were subsequently enslaved by their elven cousins.
Not all of the Falmer had been driven from the surface, a small kingdom had survived in the southern Rift region. That was until the year 1E 139 when it was attacked by the Atmorans and destroyed. In truth, the war had been instigated by the Dwemer King Tzovnak of Kagrenzel, who planned to use the war to get more slaves. His plan succeeded and through manipulating the Falmeri Queen he was able to freely evacuate Falmer refugees from the city of Ilinhame with his airships. Like before, he betrayed the refugees and made them into slaves, while blinding them with the mushroom concoction.
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 Falmer survivors that they betrayed and forced into servitude.
The Dwemer Freehold 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. Despite this autonomy, there are instances of conflict between the city-states that needs to be resolved. In most cases the Kings meet in the city of Fal'Zhardum Din and convene a council to sort out the problem. In rare cases the city-states to end up going to war with one another. 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.
- Fal'Zhardum Din: the de-facto capital of the Dwemer Freehold, a huge city in a massive underground cavern found underneath Skyrim. The cavern encompasses the area between three Dwemer cities―Alftand, Mzinchaleft, and Raldbthar―and connects them.
- Alftand: a town located in the Winterhold tundra. Its most notable features are an Animunculory and the Cathedral. It is connected to Fal'Zhardum Din.
- Angthchin: a small research outpost located in the Druadach Mountains.
- Arkngthamz: a large village located in the Druadach Mountains and led by the Kragen Clan of Dwemer.
- Avanchnzel: a town located in the Rift. Its most notable features are an Animoncultory and a Boilery.
- Bthardamz: a large city located in Druadach Mountains. Its most notable features are a Workshop, a Study and an Arcanex.
- Fahlbtharz: a town located on the island of Solstheim. Its most notable features are a Boilery and the Grand Hall.
- Irkngthand: a town located in the Pale. Its most notable features are an Arcanex, Slave Pens and the Sanctuary.
- Kagrenzel: a village located in the Velothi Mountains.
- Kagrumez: a settlement located on the island of Solstheim. Its purpose is for the entertainment of the Dwemer people with the Kagrumez Trials.
- Mzinchaleft: a town located in the Pale. It is connected to Fal'Zhardum Din and houses many of city's Falmer slaves.
- Mzulft: a town in the Velothi Mountains. Its most notable feature is the Oculory.
- Nchardak: a city on the island of Solstheim. It is called the City of a Hundred Towers. Its most notable features are the Great Chamber, Workshops and an Aqueduct.
- Nchuand-Zel: a large city in the Druadach Mountains. Its most notable features are an Armory and the Control Room.
- Raldbthar: a town located in the Pale. Its most notable feature is the Deep Market.
- Rkund: a village in the Jerall Mountains.
- Zinchirkng: a large town located on the island of Wyrmstooth.
The Reachmen are a race of Nedic humans that descent from the Wandering Ehlnofey that remained on Tamriel. They have been living in the Reach since the Mid-Merethic Era. They have no central government and are split into tribes spread throughout the Druadach Mountains.
Reachmen oral tradition states that they have been living in the Druadach Mountains since the dawn of time. However, this is unlikely. Earliest evidence show that the Nedic people of the Reach weren't indigenous to the area, unlike the Giants, and in fact came from the heartlands. The ancestors of the Reachmen were likely a tribe that lived in what would later be Cyrodiil, but were driven out of the province by the other Nedic tribes or the expanding elven colonists. Whatever the case, the first records of them being in Druadach Mountains date sometime to ME 1000 in the Middle Merethic Era. In their legends, it is said that the Reachmen were the children of the goddess Druaga. It is likely that Druaga was the woman that led them to the Druadach Mountains from their original home and thus they named them after her.
When the Dwemer arrived in the area and began constructing their underground cities in the Druadach Mountains, the Reachmen tried to fight them. Unfortunately, this proved pointless as the Dwemer were much more advanced and used their machines to slaughter any Reachmen that dared to attack them. Over the next few centuries, their relationship with the Dwemer didn't improve. The elves began to require laborers so they started to abduct and enslave the native Reachmen population. Due to their inferior strength, the Reachmen couldn't resist them.
Sometime after the Dwemeri expansion into the Reach, another race of elves came into the Druadach Mountains: the Orsimer. These Orcs, however, were very similar to the Reachmen. They were a tribal people that valued physical strength and worshipped a Daedric Prince. These cultural similarities allowed the Reachmen and the Orcs to coexist somewhat and there were even cases of Orcs intermarrying into the Reachmen tribes. This cohabitation wasn't peaceful. The two peoples often fought over territory, resources and personal grudges. Still, the Reachmen began to absorb part of the Orc culture, even going as far as adding the Orc god to their religion.
Near the end of the Merethic Era, another race came to the province, though this time it was a race of humans called the Atmorans. These tall humans came from a continent to the north and settled in Skyrim after a war with the Falmer, claiming nearly all of the elves' former lands. As they expanded, the Atmorans also began encroaching into Reachmen territory. In the 1st Era they started taking Reachmen lands and making colonies of their own in the mountains. This also began a mixture of blood and culture.
Reachmen society is very primitive compared to their neighbours: the Dwemer and the Atmorans. 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 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 a lot higher than Atmoran society. 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 Great Spirits. They also believe that existence of only two realms: the realm of flesh (Mundus) and the realm of spirits (Oblivion/Aetherius). The Great Spirits are a collection of deities made up of both Aedra and Daedric Princes. Over the years their pantheon grew as they mingled with the Orcs and Atmorans and imported some of their gods into the Great Spirits. The Great Spirits are:
- Daighbail: Father of Torment. The spirit of torment and trouble, he teaches Reachmen to endure their struggles. The Reachfolk see him as one who enjoys playing tricks and setting traps to ensnare or test mortals. Reachmen version of Molag Bal.
- Druaga: Mother of the Reachmen, spirit of fertility. Said to have given the Druadach Mountains to the Reachmen. A deified cultural hero.
- Duibla: Passion Dancer, spirit of beauty. Import from the Atmoran faith, their version of Dibella.
- Ghrian: The Shaman, spirit of magic. Reachmen version of Magnus.
- Hirsian: The Hunt-Father and Lord of the Arena. He is one of the most prominent spirits, having become the sovereign of the realm of flesh after its creation by Lorkh's sacrifice. Reachmen version of Hircine. He has many aspects, each of which is revered in their own right:
- Alrabeg the Hunter: Aspect of Guile. The human aspect of Hirsian. Worshippers invoke Alrabeg's name when praying for a bountiful hunt.
- Gulibeg the Quick Fox: Aspect of Cunning. He is depicted as a trickster. He is seen as the shadow of Lorkh that survived within Hirsian. He rewards those that are clever by teaching them tricks and secrets. He is associated with the Atmoran God Shor.
- Hrokkibeg the Mighty Bear: Aspect of Strength. He comes to Nirn seeking solitude, peace from labors, and renewal of the Burning Spirit Within. He may bless those that make offerings of mead with the power of the Bear-Heart.
- Storihbeg the Manbeast: Aspect of Speed. Known by many names: Skinchanger, King of Wolves, Wolf that Carved the Sky, Wolf with the Daedric Howl. He is the aspect of Hirsian that introduced the gift of skinshifting to mortals to remind them that they are predators, not prey.
- Uricanbeg the Great Dark Stag: Aspect of Mortality. He culls the herd of the weak and comes to mate with hinds and mortal women. He drum the Blood Summons to lead those into the Hunting Grounds where they meet their end.
- Lorkh: The Spirit of Man. He is the spirit that sacrified himself to create the Realm of Flesh. He is well revered, but his name is never spoken in prayers. Reachmen version of Lorkhan.
- Mailach: The Lord of Bone and Ash. Originally imported from the Orcish faith after intermingling between both cultures, the Reachmen came to believe that they are Mailach's true chosen people and that he created Orcs, Ogres, and Trolls to test them. Reachmen version of Malacath.
- Maira: Mother Mild, spirit of marriage. Import from the Atmoran faith, their version of Mara.
- Namiira: The Spirit Queen and Goddess of Death. The spirit of darkness and endings, but also a spirit of rebirth. She is considered to be a powerful force in the natural world. Reachmen version of Namira.
- Noíche: Mistress of Shadows. She is ever watchful, watching since the beginning. She is the spirit of the night. The Reachmen give her offerings in the hope that she'll send her crows to watch over them. Reachmen version of Nocturnal.
- Periathe: Master of Tasks and Lord of Order. Maintaining a balance as a force of nature. His blights lead to survivors being healthier. This keeps the dangers of overpopulation in check, and allows a new generation building immunities. Associated with the elven Auri-El and the Atmoran Alduin. Their version of Peryite.
- Tinescuab: The Brush-Fire, Lord of Ambition and Lord of Destruction. The spirit of ambition and destruction. Reachmen version of Mehrunes Dagon
- Caillte Alvuire: a large village located in the Lost Valley, controlled by the Ghostsong Clan.
- Cethair Blaoscach: A notable village built within old Atmoran ruins, controlled by Shadowbloom Clan.
- Druadach Duibh: a large village located near the north of the Reachmen's territory, controlled by the Black-Moon Clan.
- Karthspiorad: a notable village located to the east of the island-spire in the middle of the Karth River, controlled by the Cinder-Heart Clan.
- Karthwasten: a promiment village located at the northeastern part of the Reach in a crossing of the Karth River, controlled by the Crow-Eye Clan.
- Pargain Cnossach: a notable village located deep in the Druadach Mountains close to a ruined Atmoran temple, controlled by the Grimfang Clan.
- H'roldan: a large village located in the southern tip of the Reachmen's territory, conquered in 1E 90 by the Atmoran Jarl Gjalund of Hvitstrad, formerly controlled by River-Elk Clan.
The Orcish Tribes are a collection of tribal strongholds located in the various mountains across Skyrim. 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, all of them followers of the Aedra Trinimac. Trinimac was the Warrior-God of the Aldmer, the hero that killed the treacherous Lorkhan by ripping out his heart and granting it to Auri-El to end the Ehlnofey Wars in the Dawn Era. During the Merethic Era, Trinimac was one of three Aedra said to still remain with the Aldmer to guide them. These three hero-gods were Trinimac the Warrior, Phynaster the Thief and Syrabane the Mage. Trinimac's Order of Paragons were a military order that kept the peace in Aldmer society.
After the Aldmer had abandoned their lost home of Aldmeris and migrated to the Summerset Isles, various dissident movements began to spread on the isles. One of these was started by a man called Veloth who spread worship of the Daedra Boethiah, Azura and Mephala among his followers. Trinimac's Paragons tried to quell Veloth's cult, but with the help of his Daedric patrons, Veloth was able to escape the Isles and fled to mainland Tamriel. Trinimac and his Order pursued them. Roughly 900 before the 1st Era, Trinimac confronted Boethiah in the eastern plains of Skyrim. He lost their fight, most claim through trickery, and Boethiah consumed the Aedra. She devoured Trinimac, corrupting his body and spirit, and from his own remains he emerged as the Daedric Prince Malacath. Due to this transformation, all of Trinimac's followers were transformed as well. Their golden skin turned green, their teeth grew into tusks and horns protruded from their heads. These cursed folk became known as Orsimer.
The Paragons that had followed Trinimac to Skyrim remained in the province, choosing to exile themselves there instead of returning home to the Summerset Isles. Many saw this as their punishment for failing to stop Veloth's exodus, while others were just too ashamed of what they had become and knew they would not be accepted back. They were influenced by their military background into a strict hierarchy, and congregated in strongholds which they used to dominate the surrounding area. Over the centuries, with the arrival of the Falmer who took control of the plains of the province and built cities, the Orsimer were driven to the mountains. Their former military order's hierarchy transforming into a patriarchal tribal structure that valued strength above all, something that was further emphasized by Malacath guided the Orsimer with the creation of the "Code of Malacath". These tribal Orsimer retained some of their previous skill, but were molded by their new habitat. They remained renown warriors, but without the finess of the Aldmer and instead relying more on the brutality of their new bodies. With their homes in the mountains, they had an abundance of ore to use for crafting weapons and armor. They remained skilled craftsmen, making armor that was practical and bulky to defend their smaller numbers against the many foes that awaited them.
Orcish society is dominated by a tribal culture centered around strongholds that they call their homes. Their strongholds are governed by a rigid class system. Every orc has a specific job and is obligated to perform it. They are either laborers, craftsmen, hunters, warriors, or shamans. Every man and woman in the tribe is trained from birth to defend it.
The strongholds are led by a chieftain who rules by the grace of Malacath and is advised by a wise woman, a position granted to the eldest shaman - most times the mother of the chieftain. Succession is determined by strength, though it most often follows hereditary. To become chieftain one must kill the previous chief in a formal challenge. Only chieftains are allowed to have wives, and due to this, they have several. This method ensures that the strongest Orc becomes chief, contributing his genes to the next generation of Orcs who, in theory, should be stronger than the last. A chieftain usually has a Hearth-Wife, a Hunts-Wife, and a Forge-Wife. The Hearth-Wife takes care of the longhouse and the chief's household. The Hunts-Wife leads the tribe's hunters and helps to keep the stronghold fed. The Forge-Wife is in charge of the tribe's craftsmen and laborers, making sure that the tribe is well equipped to defend itself. More powerful chieftains might also have Shield-Wives, who are warriors and serve as his personal bodyguards.
Orcs follow their own law called the Code of Malacath, a set of rules set out by the Orc-Father. It contains many simple precepts, which are mostly tacit and include prohibitions on theft, murder, and assault, though ample exceptions are made to these rules. The Code of Mauloch More explicitly, the Code encourages respect for forging and blacksmithing, requiring vengeance for insulted honor, and recognizing that death in combat is pleasing to Malacath. Orcs believe if something is not worth fighting for, it is beneath the Code. 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. Disputes are settled through short, violent fights. Orcs who displease the chief are exiled from the stronghold, being forced to live along the wilds with their best hope being joining another tribe. The will of Malacath is clarified by the stronghold's resident wise woman.
Outsiders to the stronghold are viewed as untrustworthy and are turned away if they are not attacked for their belongings. However, it is possible for an outsider to gain the tribe's trust by becoming Blood-kin, through completing tasks for the tribe's benefit. Should the Chief accept them, Blood-king could be accepted as members of the tribe. It is not impossible for non-Orcs to become Blood-kin, but it is very rare as Orcs do not view other races favorably.
- Crun Kala: the stronghold of the Oshcrun Tribe, located in the Druadach Mountains in western Skyrim.
- Marzgior: a stronghold located in the western part of the Eastmarch's mountains, in the middle of Atmoran territory.
- Mor Khazgur: a large stronghold located in the northern part of the Druadach Mountains.