|“||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 (Fathirland) to the early 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.
Skyrim is home to the descendants of the Wandering Ehlnofey, that remained on Tamriel following the events of the Dawn Era, among them the Giants and Rieklings.
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. They were brought to the province by their leader, the prophet Druage whom they imortalized 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.
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, hidding 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, hold of Drakefell, 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 Frosselvirk.
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. In the following years the settlement grew and Bjarfrud declared himself Jarl of Falkreath, talking the surrounding areas into his new hold.
In 1E 113 Falkreath and Hvitstad go to war over claims to the town of Blekforstun, ended with Jarl Gjalund being killed in battle by Jarl Bjarfrud. With the war won by Bjarfrud, Blekforstun became a part of Falkreath Hold. Ivar Gjalundson took the throne of Hvitstrad.
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 perhaps the biggest lake in Skyrim and and has a wide variety of fish and other aquatic creatures. 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, 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 Atmoran Holds of Skyrim, previously known as the Sacred Holds of Skyrim and the Skyrim Colonies, is 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 avaliable 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 Wulfharth 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. Wulfharth 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 time 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 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.
- Thane: Ruler of a fortified settlements or fortresses in a hold. An appointed position by the Jarl, reserved for worthy warriors and commanders.
- Chief: Ruler of a town. A hereditary position following adult primogeniture, though can be passed through elective succession at the town court's discretion.
- Elder: Ruler of a village. A position following elective seniority between the most prominent clans in the village.
Each noble in Skyrim possesses in his court. His court is made up of his councilors, advisors and bodyguard. The most important courtiers are:
- Steward: Helps the ruler with administrating his hold as well as dealing with money and trade in the region.
- Lawspeaker: Helps the ruler in masters is diplomacy, serving as a diplomat as well as helping him in making or changing laws in his hold.
- Marshal: Helps the ruler in matters of war, advising him with his army and navy.
- Housecarl: Serves as the ruler's personal elite bodyguards and companions.
- Court Wizard: Helps the ruler in matters of the arcane and serves as his personal mage, enchanter, etc.
- Court Priest: Helps the ruler in matters of religion, serving as the ruler's intermediary in dealings with the religious cults.
The Skalds are a faction of bards, poet, scholars and public speakers based in the city of Haafingar. They also have outposts in other prominent cities across Skyrim and are generally found in any inn or tavern in the smaller settlements. Their members are greatly respected in Skyrim.
Due to the Dragon Cult's monopoly on scripture during their reign, the Atmorans have always relied on skalds to keep their history and traditions alive. The crucial role of these individuals culminated in them sparking the rebellion that led to the Dragon War and the end of the reign of the dragons.
After the Dragon War, the Skalds Guild was founded in Haafingar and started a cultural revolution in Atmoran society. All the myths and histories previously preserved only through oral traditions were written down in a massive collection of poems known as the Poetic Edda and shared with many more people across the country, improving the literacy rate in the populace and strengthening their cultural identity.
Like the companions, the Skalds Guild has a very decentralized hierarchy. Nonetheless, there are titles:
- Head-Master: Leader of the guild.
- Word-Keeper: Experts in a chosen field.
- Well-Versed: Teachers and scholars.
- Free-Singer: Full members from the guild.
- Lute-Tamer: Apprentices with the guild.
- New-Song: New associates with the guild.
The Head-Master is in charge of preserving the knowledge of history and myths in Skyrim and overseeing the teaching of new members in Haafingar. Word-Keepers are experts in a particular subject that are in charge of keeping that knowledge preserved, it is them that choose a new Head-Master. Well-Versed are the teachers and scholars that pass on knowledge to the next generation. Free-Singers are fully fledged skalds and make up the majority of the members roaming around Skyrim. Lute-Tamers are apprentices to the elder members. New-Songs are associates that have only recently joined the guild and know little to nothing of the skald's arts.
Current members in 1E 139:
- Bragi the Old: Head-Master
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 Frysemere and Hárgrind; the villages of Heljarchen, Ustengrav and Silfrisin; and the fortified settlements of Solstkor 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. The village of Falkreath attracted many new settlers due to the largely untapped Pine Forest and it quickly grew into a sizable town. Bjarlfrud allied himself with the native Nedic tribe, the men-of-kreath, and they helped quickly grow the hold's population. Initially a vassal of Hvistrad, Thane Bjarfrud declared himself independent once he had a large enough population to back him. 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. 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 villages of Vindborg and Forsdalrborg; and the fortified settlements of Merkiþoka and Pfundskygge. 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 Volskygge and Folgunthur; the villages of Djúprskog, Istvatrborg and Hjaalmark; and the fortified settlements of Harmugstahl, Snærhaukr and Virk Hraggstad. The hold's flag depicts a pyre representing the spark that started the Dragon War.
Clan Fairhair (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 mythical High King Yngvi of Atmora, the first to hold that title in the motherland. 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 Fairhair was the founder of the Jarldom, having held the Thanedom since ME 20.
- Jarl Eysteinn Fairhair (1E 5 - 1E 11)
- Jarl Gudrød 'the Hunter' Fairhair (1E 11 - 1E 42)
- Jarl Halfdan 'Black-Flame' Fairhair (1E 42 - 1E 75)
- Jarl Haakon Fairhair (1E 75 - 1E 123)
- Jarl Erik Fairhair (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 Volunruud and Korvanjund; the villages of Kallstein, Roriksgard, H'roldan, Steinfell and Bromjunaar; and the fortified settlements of Nørrin Korvard, Vestlig Korvard and Valtheim Korar. The hold's flag depicts a dragon skull stabbed with Jeek's greatsword, the Fireblade.
Clan River-Drake (Fljótdrake) 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 River-Drake 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 River-Drake (ME 30 - ME 10)
- Jarl Randver River-Drake (1E 4 - 1E 35)
- Jarl Ragnar River-Drake (1E 35 - 1E 80)
- Jarl Gjalund River-Drake (1E 80 - 1E 114)
- Jarl Ivar River-Drake (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. It is made up of the Eastmarch region and the island of Bleakrock. The region is home to the Kyneslundr, the famous forest of the Hawk Cult. Other than the capital city, it contains: the towns of Þokavarda and Yorgrim; the villages of Bjargveltask, Blekstein, 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 - )
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 is the smallest of the Old Holds, as half of it's region is still under the control of Mereth. 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 Hillgrundsgard, Skyskyldr and Angarvunde; and the fortified settlements of Nilheim and Taarengrav. The hold's flag depicts the elven sun, the symbol of Mereth, with an armed bow aimed directly at it, alluding to the the hold's uneasy border with 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 Frøsselvirk and Snærgríma; the villages of Steinliðr, Olenveld and Yngvild; and the fortified settlement of Isborg. 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 viceroys 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 Skjöldr 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. Other than the capital town of Hirstaang, it contains: the villages of Felsaad, Moesring and Kolbjorn; and the fortified settlements of Isinfier and Snærklæða.
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 - )
- Main article: Kingdom of Mereth
- Ilinhame: The current capital city of Mereth. It was founded circa ME 900 when the Falmer expanded into the Rift during the reign of King Altar. It rests on an island in the middle of Lake Honnith.
- Gondorin: A fortress town built a distance northeast of Ilinhame. It was built after the Falmer-Atmoran War to protect the city of Ilinhame from an Atmoran invasion. It serves as one of the three fortresses still guarding the last Falmer sanctuary.
- Erindar: A fortress town built a distance southwest of Ilinhame. It was built after the Falmer-Atmoran War to protect the city of Ilinhame from an Atmoran invasion. It serves as one of the three fortresses still guarding the last Falmer sanctuary.
- Vetudar: A fortress town built a distance west of Ilinhame. It was built after the Falmer-Atmoran War to protect the city of Ilinhame from an Atmoran invasion. It serves as one of the three fortresses still guarding the last Falmer sanctuary.
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 exchance 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.
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 Jerall Mountains.
- 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 Old Gods. The Old Gods are a collection of deities made up of both Aedra and Daedric Princes. They include:
- Bridea: The Glister Witch, goddess of energy and life. Foe of Daighsenn.
- Claivich: Child-god of the Morningstar and granter of wishes.
- Daighsenn: Harvester of Souls, the god of death. Foe of Bridea.
- Druaga: Mother of the Reachmen, goddess of fertility. Said to have given the Druadach Mountains to the Reachmen.
- Dui Bla: Passion Dancer, goddess of beauty. Import from the Atmoran faith, their version of Dibella.
- Hirsian: Father of Manbeasts, god of hunting.
- Iffre: The Storyteller, god of nature.
- Mailach: Keeper of the Sworn Oath and Father of Orcs, god of war. Import from the Orcish faith, their version of Malacath.
- Maira: Mother Mild, goddess of marriage. Import from the Atmoran faith, their version of Mara.
- Namiira: Lady of Decay, goddess of darkness and cannibalism.
- Periathe: Taskmaster, god of diseases and afflictions.
- Sheor: The Bad Man, god of strife.
- Cuthach Bail: a notable village located deep in the Druadach Mountains, close to a ruined Atmoran temple.
- Druadach Duibh: a large village located near the north of the Reachmen's territory.
- Karthspiorad: a notable village located on an island in the middle of the Karth River.
- Nathairgaoth: a notable village located on the eastern half of the Druadach Mountains.
- 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.
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, 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 Skyrim around ME 900, there they began building their strongholds in the mountains. In the Druadach Mountains they encountered the local tribal Nedic people known as the Reachmen. Their two cultures were very similar so they were able to coexist in the same territory, though not always peacefully. This cohabitation made the Reachmen adopt worship of Malacath into their pantheon and some cross-breeding to occur.
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.
- Mor Khazgur: a large stronghold located in the northern part of the Druadach Mountains.
- Marzgior: a stronghold located in the western part of the Eastmarch's mountains, in the middle of Atmoran territory.
- Crun Beshkar: the stronghold of the Oshcrun Tribe, located in the Druadach Mountains in western Skyrim.
- Akul Khazak: a stronghold located on Mount Sheave in Saarthal Hold.