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Alessian Empire

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"So long as the Blood of the Dragon runs strong in her rulers, the glory of the Empire shall extend in unbroken years. But should the dragonfires fail, and should no heir of our joined blood wear the Amulet of Kings, then shall the Empire descend into darkness, and the Demon Lords of Misrule shall govern the land."
From the liturgy of the Re-Kindling of the Dragonfires[src]

The Alessian Empire of Cyrodiil,[1] sometimes referred to as the first Empire of Cyrodiil,[2][3] or simply the First Empire,[4][OOG 1] was founded by Saint Alessia in the year 1E 243 after the Alessian Slave Rebellion and the overthrowing of Ayleid rule over the land. It was the first established human Empire within the province of Cyrodiil.[1] The Empire fell after the ten year War of Righteousness, which began in the year 1E 2321, and ended in 1E 2331.[5][6]

HistoryEdit

Alessia's ReignEdit

Alessia Statue

Saint Alessia

The formation of the Alessian Empire was a direct result of the slave rebellion of 1E 242, brought about by centuries of cruel treatment and abuse by Daedra-inspired Ayleid slave masters.[7][8] After the rebellion overthrew the Ayleid Hegemonies and seized White-Gold Tower in 1E 243, the Slave-Queen Alessia proclaimed herself the first Empress of Cyrodiil,[9] with the promised covenant between Men and the Dragon god, Akatosh. The covenant proclaimed that so long as Alessia's descendents held the throne of Cyrodiil, and the Dragonfires remained lit, Tamriel would be safe from Daedric incursion.[10] A loose alliance was formed between Nibenay and Colovia, outlining the extent of what would be the immediate Alessian Empire.[11]

As the High Priestess of Akatosh, Alessia became the leading religious authority within Cyrodiil, and was forced to decide on what faith the Empire would maintain. In order to please both the Nords of Skyrim, who were insurmountable in helping her cause, those Ayleids who stood with Alessia's rebellion, and the freed slaves who still kept elvish faith, Alessia merged portions of the Nordic Pantheon, and the Elven one, into a single religion, known wholly as the Eight Divines,[9] with Akatosh as its chief.[12] It is stated that, in this early stage of the religion, Shezarr was reassigned to a role as the "spirit behind all human undertaking."[9]

Under Alessia's Empire, Ayleid nobles were allowed to keep their lordships as long as they submitted to the laws of the Empire and the Eight Divines religion, slavery was outlawed entirely.[2][13] However, many Ayleids had already been driven out of the Empire during the rebellion.[14][OOG 2]

Belharza the Emperor - concept-art by Michael Kirkbride

Belharza wearing the Amulet of Kings

On Alessia's death bed in 1E 266,[6] she was visited by the long dead hero of the Slave Rebellion, Pelinal Whitestrake,[15] as well as either Shezarr or Akatosh (or both), who gifted her with the Amulet of Kings and placed her soul within the Red Diamond,[10][OOG 1][OOG 3] where the souls of her future descendents would be placed as well.[16] She is succeeded by her alleged Minotaur son, Belharza the Man-Bull, in which was fathered by Alessia's demi-god lover Morihaus.[15][17][OOG 4] His reign was said to be plagued by elvish devils.[6]

The Alessian ReformEdit

With the growing resentment of Ayleid nobility, a great religious and cultural movement, known as the Alessian Reform, began to spread throughout the human population of the Empire.[13][14] The religious faction, known as the Alessian Order, began in the jungles of the Colovian coastline, with the Imga prophet Marukh, who was said to have conversed with the spirit of Saint Alessia, on the questionable validity of Elven rulership, and sentiments that seemed to hint at the existence of only one true God.[5] Marukh recorded Alessia's words with his own blood to create what were referred to as the Seventy-Seven Inflexible Doctrines.[18] Throughout the early 4th Century of the First Era, many Ayleid cities within the Empire were sacked by Alessian sympathizers, sending the elves of Cyrodiil into a great panic.[13] This rise in anti-Aldmeri sentiment in Cyrodiil, however, did not deter the Camoran Dynasty of Valenwood from opening up trade agreements with the Empire in 1E 340.[14] Hatred of Elves was further escalated in 1E 358, when news began to spread that the Nordic Empire was losing more and more of Greater Bretony to the Direnni Hegemony, resulting with the Alessian Emperor, Ami-El, sending armies to aid the Nords in their fight.[OOG 5]

In 1E 361, the Alessian Order successfully orchestrated a coup, taking control of the Alessian Empire and establishing the Seventy-Seven Doctrines, now referred to as the Alessian Doctrines, as its own theocratic constitution for the Empire, with the belief that religous and political matters were one in the same. The Doctrines were extremely harsh in regards to the Elven population, completely outlawing their ability to hold any noble titles. Pograms began to sprout out in a few Ayleid cities, convincing many Ayleids to leave Cyrodiil for other lands, while others decided to leave after being sent ultimatums from the Emperor. Most of the remaining Ayleids were absorbed into the elven populations of the lands that their exoduses led them to.[2][13][19] In the West, the Colovians were in a secure enough position, socially and geographically, that they were able to resist the influences of the growing Alessian Reform. Isolating itself from the new Alessian hegemony, the Colovians instead created their own autonomous union, referred to as the Colovian Estates.[5]

In order to spread their beliefs across Tamriel, the Alessian's incorporated the varying traditional pantheons of other religions into the Alessian canon, though, instead of recognizing them as deities, they were reappropriated as greater spirits or saints. With this inclusion, the Alessian Order quickly became the leading religious authority within Tamriel.[5] The Doctrines were quickly accepted by the Nordic High King, Borgas, who is believed to have enforced them within the Nordic Empire.[20] With the Alessians now in full control, hostilities began to rise between the Empire and the Camoran Dynasty, resulting with the annulment of the trade treaty made only a few years prior. In response, High King Borgas traveled to Cyrodiil, in 1E 369 to propose a coalition between the Nordic and Alessian Empires to war against the Bosmer of Valenwood. To prevent this from happening, a Wild Hunt was initiated, which succeeded in its main goal of assassinating High King Borgas. After Borgas' death, the Moot failed to elect a successor to the throne, throwing Skyrim into the, 50 year, War of Succession, and extinguishing the Nordic Empire.[14] The War of Succession ended in the year 1E 420, after Jarl Olaf One-Eye of Whiterun reunited Skyrim under his rule with the Pact of Chieftains.[21][22] Sometime around the later reign of Olaf, or the early reign of his successor Kjoric the White,[23] the Kingdom of Skyrim fell under the vassalage of the Alessian Empire.[19]

Goreius' ReignEdit

Rislav's RebellionEdit

By the beginning of Emperor Goreius' reign 1E 461, the Alessian Empire had grown so influential that, despite the Order's xenophobia, the leaders of Anequina, the Direnni Hegemony, and Resdayn, all attended his coronation. However, the majority of the Colovian Estates were still independent from the Empire's rule. In 1E 472, a powerful alliance was formed between the two bickering Kingdoms of Kvatch and Skingrad, after Rislav Larich of Skingrad was married to Belene of Kvatch. However, in the year 1E 478, a great plague swept across the Colovian West, killing the majority of Skingrad's royal family. Dorald Larich, a very devout Alessian priest of the Imperial City, was the immediate heir of the Kingdom of Skingrad, and, with the belief that to resist the Emperor was to resist the god, his first edict was the cession of Skingrad to the Alessian Empire, shocking the entirety of Colovia. Angered by this action, Rislav Larich made haste to Skingrad with a small group of warriors, and without contention from the guards, Rislav murdered his older brother and usurped the Kingdom of Skingrad. Around this time, High King Kjoric the White of Skyrim attempted to secede from the Alessian Empire but was instead killed by the armies of Emperor Gorieus at the Battle of Sungard. While the Pact of Chieftans tried to elect a new leader, the Alessian Empire began invading Skyrim's southern territories. News quickly reached the Emperor that Rislav had taken control of Skingrad. In response, Gorieus marched westward to Skingrad, bringing an exceedingly massive army, with the intention of intimidating Rislav into submission and demonstrating to the Colovian Kings the true power of the Alessian Empire. However, instead of submitting to the Empire, Rislav triggered a surprise attack on the Alessian army before quickly retreating into the Colovian Highlands with his own. Gorieus, falling right into Rislav's trap, pursued this army throughout the Highlands only to have his men slowly picked off by Skingrad troops. When it became apparent that the Alessian army was exhausted, demoralized, and suffering heavy casualties, Gorieus' army was led into an ambush by the armies of Kvatch. Unable to continue fighting, the Alessians retreated to the Imperial Reserve, than back to Nibenay.[19]

War with the DirenniEdit

Rislav's success in his rebellion convinced the rest of the Colovian Estates to join Kvatch and Skingrad in their resistance against the Empire. It also inspired the leaders of Clan Direnni to begin outlawing the growing Alessian Reform within the Direnni Hegemony.[19] In 1E 479, the hegemony began scourging those Bretons caught following the Alessian faith, in which the Alessians swiftly responded to with an invasion of Craglorn.[2] Full on warfare, between the Alessian Empire and Direnni Hegemony, broke out in 1E 480 with the Direnni winning many strategic victories in Alessian held territories.[19][24] A delicate alliance was formed between Kjoric the White's son, now High King, Hoag Merkiller of Skyrim, and the Direnni Hegemony, over their mutual hatred of the Alessians.[19] The Alessian army eventually broke through the Direnni's defenses, pushing deep into Glenumbra. In 1E 482, a plan was made by the Direnni and their Ayleid allies, to lure the advancing Alessian Army into Glenumbra Moors and ambush them there.[2] Despite the Alessians truly expecting a counter-offensive,[25] their army was still routed in the costly Battle of Glenumbra Moors. While the Direnni were still capable of driving the remnants of the Alessian Army back out of High Rock,[2] the battle so horribly diminished the Direnni's military power that they were no longer able to control the emerging power of the Bretons, causing the complete collapse of their empire by the year 1E 500.[26] Upon the death of Hoag Merkiller in the battle, the legendary Ysmir Wulfharth was elected to the throne of Skyrim, in which his first edicts were a fiery reinstatement of the Nordic traditional pantheon. Wulfharth outlawed the Alessian Reform within Skyrim, putting all its priests to the stake and razing their monastic complexes, finally removing the shadow High King Borgas cast upon Skyrim.[20] The defeat at Glenumbra Moors would be remembered for millenia as one of the greatest follies of the Alessian Order.[9] The Alessian Empire, in its severely weakened state, was no longer able to assert its influence over rival nations, and would never fully recover.

Hestra's ReignEdit

After the Empire's sharp decline in power, it would not be until the start of Empress Hestra's reign over Cyrodiil, that the Empire would truly begin to recover from its past follies. Hestra was said to have soothed the long lasting tensions between the Alessian Empire and the Colovian West, possibly even admitting it into the Empire.[14] In 1E 1029, Hestra led a campaign against the dreaded Vampire-King, Styriche of Verkarth City, deposing him and pushing his army west. When Styriche's retreat was halted by the defenders of Bangkorai, Hestra's army eliminated what remained of his Gray Host, and peacefully incorporated High Rock into the Alessian Empire.[27] Around the year 1E 1030, Hestra's legions invaded the ten Reachmen kingdoms of the Reach, with the intentions of annexing them into the Empire. The Empire made great progress at the beginning of the incursion, quickly conquering the entire Reach. However, given two years, the Red Eagle's insurrection was able to completely remove Imperial influence from the Reach. Hestra responded to this with a full fledged invasion of the Reach, swiftly reconquering the territory and killing the Red Eagle.[28] Hestra is also credited with commencing a staunch war on piracy in 1E 1033, most notably on the various pirates using Black Marsh as a launching point for raids on Southern Tamriel. Hestra's Navy was successful in capturing the infamous Pirate-King, "Red" Bramman, providing the first reliable accounts of the interior territories of the mysterious Black Marsh.[4] Hestra was also known to have greatly improved the road system of the Alessian Empire, and possibly creating the Hestra Rune Stones.[29] Around this time, the Alessians began launching short-lived invasions of the northern territories of Valenwood and possibly the sixteen Khajiit states of Elsweyr.[14][1][30]

The Dragon BreakEdit

While Hestra's reign made it appear as though the Alessian Empire was recovering from its decline under the rule of Emperor Gorieus, this prosperity was, unfortunately, not to last. In the year 1E 1188,[31] a man by the name of Fervidius Tharn was believed to have been appointed as the Arch-Prelate of the Alessian Order. A rank, that, at the time, rivaled the power of even the Emperor. During his papacy, a threatening ideological schism began to form within the ranks of the Alessian priesthood, surreptitiously wearing away at the doctrinal foundations of the Order. This antithetical movement to the orthodox Alessian Reform, referred to themselves as the Marukhati Selectives.[OOG 1] The Marukhati Selectives were extremely fanatical in their dogma, most notably in their vehement belief that the humanadic Akatosh, the Alessian's Supreme-Spirit, was incapable of being the same god as the Elven, Auriel. When it became apparent to the Selectives that they could not prove their thesis through conventional means, they decided to force the universe into accepting it.[OOG 6] While Arch-Prelate Tharn is said to have frequently attempted to halt the Selectives' plans,[OOG 1] some primary sources seem to imply that these actions may have been done purely to cover the fact that he was secretly the master of the Selectives.[32] In the year 1E 1200, seemingly left with no other choice, the Marukhati Selectives purposefully initiated a Dragon Break, later known as the Middle Dawn,[32][16][OOG 6] with the intention of using the Hurling Disk to manipulate the universe to their liking.[33][OOG 7] The Middle Dawn would last for what is normally reported to be 1008, timeless, years, finally ending in 1E 2208. Throughout the Break, all sorts of strange happenings occurred. While, most people were incapable of recalling the events that entailed, the Emperor souls held within the Red Diamond revealed varying accounts of what took place. The Emperor, Shor-El, claimed that the entirety of Cyrodiil morphed into an egg, while Empress Hestra stated that the Alessian Empire spread its reaches across the stars; most other accounts from the Red Diamond are reportedly spoken in an incomprehensible language that is only spoken 'sideways'. Whether or not the Selectives were successful in their goal is unknown.[16][OOG 6] However, if one thing is certain, it is that the Dragon Break crushed a good amount of trust the people held in the Alessian Empire.[9]

Dissolution of the Alessian EmpireEdit

As if the Dragon Break weren't enough, in the year 1E 2200, the Thrassian Plague ravaged Tamriel, eventually killing off, what is normally believed to be, around half of the continent's population.[34] In the year 1E 2260,[35] The Alessian Emperor, at the time, assembled the greatest ever coalition of fleets from across Tamriel, known as the All Flags Navy, to invade the source of the plague, the Sload homeland of Thras.[36] The fleet was led by Baron-Admiral Bendu Olo, King of Anvil, who was also credited with adding the fleets of Hammerfell into the great armada.[34][37] With Bendu's success over the Sload, the glory of the Colovian West quickly spread across Tamriel, overshadowing that of the traditionally richer and Imperial-tied, Nibenay, causing tensions to slowly arise.[5] In the year 1E 2305, the apparent excesses of the Alessian Order led to the secession of the Kingdom of High Rock from the Empire. While the Alessians attempted to reestablish control of the region through conquest, and managed to swiftly pass through Hammerfell, their forces failed, being routed at Bangkorai.[27]

The War of RighteousnessEdit

Though the Alessian Reform was at first the driving force of the Empire, by the the twenty-fourth century of the First Era it was noticeably becoming a cancerous blight on the Empire's competency. The Alessian Empire's fate was truly sealed once the Alessian Order's influence spread to nearly every Tamrielic religion. Because of this, the Alessian priesthood was spread to thin and infighting quickly began amongst the varying sects of the Order.[5] With the flourishing Colovian West seceding from the Empire in the year 1E 2321, it was too late for the Empire to heal its wounds, and its lack of land and money quickly erupted the Alessian Empire into the War of Righteousness,[5][6] which would spread as far as the Iliac Bay, nearly halving its population.[38] Within its ten year span, the conflict quickly evolved into an all out evangelical war between the myriad sects of the now splintered Alessian faith,[5] with the purging of most Alessian texts and monastic complexes.[6] The war would cause the complete dissolution of the Alessian Empire in 1E 2331, and reverted Nibenay back into a mercantile-magocracy form of government. With Nibenay's ministries being far too alien for the Colovian culture, the lands remained split for around 400 years, until the rising of the Reman Empire.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Eras
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 A Life of Strife and Struggle
  3. The Onus of the Oghma
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Black Marsh
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Cleansing of the Fane
  7. Daedra Worship: The Ayleids
  8. The Adabal-a
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Shezarr and the Divines
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Amulet of Kings
  11. Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Cyrodiil
  12. Varieties of Faith in the Empire
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 The Last King of the Ayleids
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Valenwood
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Song of Pelinal, Book VIII
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Where were you when the Dragon Broke?
  17. The Library of Dusk: Rare Books
  18. The Illusion of Death
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 Rislav the Righteous
  20. 20.0 20.1 Five Songs of King Wulfharth
  21. Olaf and the Dragon
  22. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
  23. The Crown of Freydis
  24. The Final Lesson
  25. Glenumbra: Alessian Orders
  26. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: High Rock
  27. 27.0 27.1 Bangkorai, Shield of High Rock
  28. The Legend of Red Eagle
  29. Mage Scholar lectures: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  30. The (Improved) Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Elsweyr
  31. House Tharn of Nibenay
  32. 32.0 32.1 Vindication for the Dragon Break
  33. On the Detachment of the Sheath
  34. 34.0 34.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Wild Regions
  35. The Royal House of King Eamond
  36. Journal of Tsona-Ei, Part One
  37. Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Hammerfell
  38. A History of Daggerfall
Notice: The following are out-of-game references. They are not found in any in-game books, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Loremaster’s Archive – The Slave Rebellion
  2. Elder Scrolls Online Lore Answers
  3. Archived Thread: Amulet, Amulet, Who Put Her into the Amulet? - MK Jun 23 2006, 05:54 AM
  4. Michael Kirkbride - Merry Eyesore the Elk: Belharza, the second emperor of the Alessian Empire
  5. Others: Pete Hines, Christiane Meister, Shane Liesegang, and unknown; Matt Grandstaff (Gstaff) - The existence and nature of Emperor Ami-el (12/23/13)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Where were you when the Dragon Broke? (Kirkbride)
  7. Vehk's Book of Hours, concerning the Dragon Break

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