Barenziah was a long-lived Dunmer woman with many skills including thievery, spellcasting, speechcraft, and negotiation.
Barenziah was born in 2E 893, the daughter of the Lord and Lady of Mournhold. She grew up in Skyrim, banished after Tiber Septim conquered Morrowind. She joined the Thieves' Guild in Riften and was taught the skills of thievery by a Khajiit named Therris.
Symmachus, a general in the Imperial Legion, who was said to have the friendship and the ear of Tiber Septim himself, captured her. Barenziah was then sent to the Imperial City to spend some time as part of the Emperor's household as the Queen of Morrowind.
Tiber Septim was fascinated with Barenziah's beauty. After Symmachus left to return to Morrowind, she had an affair with the Emperor, and became pregnant. Hearing of her pregnancy, Tiber Septim was furious. Avoiding any scandal, he ordered the pregnancy to be aborted, and then sent Barenziah to Morrowind. Once there, she married Symmachus. From their marriage, Helseth and Morgiah were born.
Beginning of the Chaos DecadeEdit
In 3E 376 Barenziah was seduced by a bard (and thief) known as Nightingale[source?]. In fact, Nightingale just wanted to retrieve the powerful artifact known as the Staff of Chaos, which was hidden in Old Mournhold, the ruins beneath Mournhold. Due to Nightingale's manipulation, Barenziah opened the way to Old Mournhold, allowing Nightingale to snatch the Staff of Chaos and disappear.
Symmachus sent a message to the Emperor Uriel Septim VII for help, but he was directed to seek aid from Jagar Tharn, the Imperial Battlemage. Symmachus was reluctant to turn to the battlemage because he suspected that Tharn was behind the theft of the Staff of Chaos.
It should be noted that during her time with the Nightingale, Barenziah may have become pregnant with a daughter. According to The Nightingales Vol. 2, Barenziah left the infant with a midwife to conceal her affair and possibly to avoid scandal. There is no information on the childhood of the girl, who "called herself" Dralsi. As an adult, she finally found her father, the elusive Nightingale, in Skyrim. Dralsi settled there and became a talented thief. She married and had a daughter of her own, Karliah.
Death of SymmachusEdit
It was then reported that Jagar Tharn and Ria Silmane had died and that the Emperor had suddenly raised taxes. The citizens of Morrowind revolted, and Symmachus did his best to suppress the rebellion. He sent Barenziah and their two children to the Imperial City to beg the Emperor for help.
According to the The Real Barenziah, Book V; not long after Barenziah left, Symmachus was killed when the Royal Guard deserted and joined the rebellion.
Bringing Down TharnEdit
Barenziah met with Emperor Uriel Septim VII, but she knew that this was not the real emperor. It was a magically disguised Jagar Tharn. She gained nothing from the audience and was then shocked by the news that Symmachus had been betrayed and murdered by the Royal Guard. Barenziah had no time to mourn. She needed all her strength and wit to face Jagar Tharn.
Barenziah knew that Tharn had split the Staff of Chaos into eight parts and hidden them in several obscure places. She used Tharn's diary to figure out where he'd hidden the pieces of the staff. After the last location was discovered, she and her children escaped the Imperial City with King Eadwyre of Wayrest. Afraid of public scandal, Tharn did nothing to prevent their escape. Barenziah later married King Eadwyre, becoming the queen of Wayrest. Eadwyre adopted her children Helseth and Morgiah.
Queen of WayrestEdit
During her time in Wayrest her biography was still banned. King Gortwog of Orsinium was gathering information on all High Rock's royal families and managed to get a copy of the biography. Unfortunately, Gortwog was not the only one looking for secrets. The necromancer, the King of Worms, was also interested in the book. One of his minions stole the book.
Afraid of creating a major issue in the Wayrest Court, Barenziah asked Uriel Septim VII's agent to retrieve the biography. For the agent's help, she offered him information on the Totem of Tiber Septim. The scandalous book was finally Barenziah's again, and the agent got the information for the Emperor.
Back to MorrowindEdit
Several years after the Second Numidium Effect, King Eadwyre passed away, leaving the throne of Wayrest to be fought over by his daughter, Elysana and his adopted son, Helseth. Elysana gained the crown and banished Helseth and Barenziah from Wayrest. They returned to Mournhold in Morrowind. Barenziah's daughter, Morgiah, had already married the King of Firsthold and was no longer living in Wayrest.
Sometime after the arrival of Barenziah and Helseth in Mournhold, Helseth's grand-uncle King Llethan, died. Helseth then took over the reign, and became the new King of Morrowind. Although there has never been any official inquiry or proof, many citizens who were loyal to the old king claim Helseth poisoned Llethan.
After the destruction of Dagoth Ur, the Nerevarine was attacked by a Dark Brotherhood assassin. The Nerevarine tracked the assassin to Mournhold and ultimately, King Helseth. The king was threatened by the power and influence of Morrowind's new hero. After a bit of manipulation, Helseth managed to get the Nerevarine on his side to face yet another threat, the mad goddess, Almalexia. It was during this time that Barenziah met the hero of Red Mountain, offering wise council and guidance to the Nerevarine.
It is not known how and when she died, but mentionings of her alive (as well as those of Helseth) cease after the catastrophic events following the fall of the Ministry of Truth: the Red Year and the Dunmer-Argonian war. It is possible that both were casualties of these events.
- Tiber Septim - (former lover) - First Emperor of Tamriel, deceased
- Symmachus - Husband, deceased
- Helseth Hlaalu - (Morrowind) - Son
- Morgiah - (Summerset Isles) - Daughter
- Dralsi Indoril - Daughter, deceased
- Athyn Llethan - Uncle
- Eadwyre - Husband (King of Wayrest), deceased
- Karliah - Granddaughter, a Nightingale (guardian of Nocturnal)
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Mentioned only)
- Biography of Barenziah, v 1
- Biography of Barenziah, v 2
- Biography of Barenziah, v 3
- The Real Barenziah, Book I
- The Real Barenziah, Book II
- The Real Barenziah, Book III
- The Real Barenziah, Book IV
- The Real Barenziah, Book V
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- A Short Life of Uriel Septim VII