Elder Scrolls

Dragon Break

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"Every culture on Tamriel remembers the Dragon Break in some fashion; to most it is a spiritual anguish that they cannot account for. Several texts survive this timeless period, all (unsurprisingly) conflicting with each other regarding events, people, and regions: wars are mentioned in some that never happen in another, the sun changes color depending on the witness, and the gods either walk among the mortals or they don't. Even the 'one thousand and eight years,' a number (some say arbitrarily) chosen by the Elder Council, is an unreliable measure."
Where were you when the Dragon Broke? (Kirkbride)

A Dragon Break, sometimes referred to as an un-time,[1] is a temporal phenomenon that involves a splitting of the natural timeline which results in branching parallel realities where the same events occur differently, or not at all. At the end of a Dragon Break, the timeline usually reconnects making all possibilities and outcomes truth, though contradictory to each other. The "Dragon" that is mentioned is a reference to Akatosh, the God of Time.[2]

Dragon Breaks are utterly incomprehensible to all people they effect, other than extremely powerful individuals such as the Tribunal or the Shezarrines. After being effected by a break, some people have been known to forget the event ever even occurred, writing the matter off as nonsense. It is known that in some extreme cases of Dragon Breaks that the Elder Scrolls were unable to look back on the occurence,[OOG 1] and that during each un-time event, the Blue-Star Mnemoli has been recorded to appear in the sky.[1][OOG 2] It is also known that everytime the Brass-God, Numidium, is activated, a Dragon Break ensues.[2][3][OOG 3] Despite the extreme effects Dragon Breaks have had on history, some scholars have been known to dismiss the Dragon Break phenomenon as a falsehood.[4][OOG 4]

Known OccurrencesEdit

The Time-WoundEdit

Alduins Bane

Felldir uses an Elder Scroll to banish Alduin from Nirn.

The Time-Wound is often considered to be the oldest, and possibly smallest, Dragon Break to ever occur. Whether or not the Time-Wound actually was a Dragon Break could be disputed, but due to it being described as shattered time, it is normally speculated to have been a small Break, compared to the other Breaks.[5] The Time-Wound was formed in the later years of the Merethic Era during the legendary Dragon War. At the peak of the Throat of the World, the first of the Nordic Tongues attempted to slay the Dragon-God, Alduin, with the help of the mortal-made shout known as "Dragonrend". The three tongues were unable to defeat Alduin and instead turned to other means to end the World-Eater's reign of terror. The eldest of the three, Felldir the Old, had brought an Elder Scroll with him, and utilized its mysterious powers alongside the Thu'um to banish Alduin. The actions of Felldir created a small wound in time in the location where Alduin vanished, where it would remain until the present.[6][7] This event has effected the Throat of the World in such a way that it has been said that its peak is no longer fully present within the world.[OOG 5] It is possible that if the Time-Wound was a Dragon Break, it may have been responsible for the lack of knowledge regarding the period in which the Dragon War took place.

The Red MomentEdit


The Anumidium

The Red Moment was a Dragon Break that occurred sometime near the year 1E 700 during the Battle of Red Mountain. The Red Moment was the first Dragon Break to be caused by the activation of Anumidium, due to it being the first time the Numidium was ever activated. Evidence of the Break's existence can be seen in the multiple conflicting accounts of what actually happened during the time period in which the War of the First Council occurred. Most historical conflictions surrounding the event revolve around the people most directly involved in the War, such as Nerevar, the Tribunal, Voryn Dagoth, and Dumac Dwarfking. Notable examples of questionable events would be whether or not Dagoth Ur was loyal to the Chimer or the Nords during the battle; when, and by who was Dagoth Ur killed, was it the Tribunal or Nerevar, as well as whether or not he died at all? Who was it that really killed Dumac, was it Nerevar, Wulfharth, or Dagoth Ur. Was it Kagrenac or Dagoth Ur who used the tools to make the Dwemer vanish. Did Nerevar die of his wounds or was he murdered by the Tribunal, and whether or not Wulfharth, the Orsimer, or the Khajiit were actually present during the battle.[8][9][10][2][11][12] Due to the break, not one account of what happened at Red Mountain holds more truth than another.[OOG 6]

The first person to recognize that the Battle of Red Mountain was taking place during a Dragon Break was the Ash-King Wulfharth.[8][OOG 7]

The Middle DawnEdit

The Middle Dawn was the longest and most destructive Dragon Break in all of Nirnic history, lasting 1008 years from its beginning in 1E 1200 to its end in 1E 2208.[2] The Dragon Break began after a fanatical sect of the Alessian Order known as the Marukhati Selective attempted to remove specific aspects of Akatosh they did not approve of, most notably the god's connection to the Elven Time-God, Auriel. The Arch-Prelate of the Selective, Fervidius Tharn, and his subordinates, used the prophet Marukh's teachings to reach a state of "monothought" and channel the Aurbis directly. When they did this, a staff or tower appeared in front of them which they proceded to dance upon until it broke into eight pieces and spoke its protonymic, creating what would be known as the Middle Dawn.[13][OOG 1]

The Middle Dawn was a much more extreme occurrence than any other Dragon Break. According to some sources, the world slept through the disaster and had it not been for the Emperor-Oversoul that was held within the Amulet of Kings, the entire event may not have even been remembered, as even the Elder Scrolls were unable to look back at the time period in which the Middle Dawn took place. Most stories and texts that survived the Middle Dawn vary quite heavily on the events of what actually transpired during the Middle Dawn, normally conflicting on regards to certain people, regions, and wars. More unorthodox accounts claim that the sun may have changed color, that people birthed their own parents, that gods may have walked amongst mortals, that the Empire spread its reaches into the stars, and that Cyrodiil became an egg. The only consistent happening noted by folks across all of Tamriel, was the falling of eight stars, this being the only way most people could keep track of time. However, the Khajiit were said to have kept track of their days by looking upon the moons, which also kept a constant rate of movement. The province, Morrowind, was said to have been protected by the effects of the break by the Daedra and Tribunal.[2][OOG 1] Mnemoli was said to have burned so bright during the Middle Dawn, that she could be seen even in the daylight sky; this could possibly mean that Mnemoli was the reason for the reported changes in the sun's color.[1]

While some dispute the Middle Dawn's existence, crediting it as a result of the rise of eschatological Lorkhanic Cults during the Third Era that were obsessed with the concept of "Numidiumism",[4] the existence of multiple primary sources, predating the Third Era, that note the events surrounding the Dragon Break seem to prove otherwise, as well as the inability of the Elder Scrolls to look back to that time period.[2][13][14] Other debatable instances involving the Middle Dawn was whether or not it actually lasted the 1008 years that the Elder Council claims it did, a number some believe to be an arbitrary and unreliable, despite the fact that both the Khajiit method of tracking the movement of the moons and the Elder Council's method of tracking the stars both point to the duration being 1008 years.[OOG 1]

While it is normally accepted that the reason the Selectives created the break was to remove the aspects of Akatosh they viewed to not complement the newly-founded Cyrodiilic Pantheon, some people, most notably Mannimarco, believe that the Selectives may have had ulterior motives in creating the break. Mannimarco is quoted as saying "The Maruhkati Selectives showed us all the glories of the Dawn so that we might learn, simply: as above, so below", which seems to imply that the Marukhati Selectives were also attempting to help the people of Nirn realize something important about the universe. Whether or not the Selectives were successful in their main goals is unknown, as almost all records regarding their existence were destroyed in the War of Righteousness;[OOG 1] Some Thalmor members of the First Aldmeri Dominion claim that they were responsible for ending the Middle Dawn, whether or not this is true is not known.[15]

The Tiber WarsEdit


The Halls of Colossus.

When the Emperor Tiber Septim formed his peace treaty with Vivec during the ending years of the Second Era,[16] one of the conditions of the treaty was that the remains of the Numidium were to be put into the possession of the Empire. Tiber Septim gave his battlemage, Zurin Arctus, the task of studying the Numidium, learning whatever he could from the massive automaton. In doing so, Zurin discovered the reason why the Dwemer had built the construct in the first place and of the great power it potentially held as a weapon.[17] Tiber Septim tasked the Blades to annex and remove the population of a wide area of land near Rimmen and then begin to build a secret testing warehouse/laboratory. The massive warehouse, named the Halls of Colossus, was used by a group of battlemages led by Zurin Arctus to rebuild and test the Numidium.[OOG 3] Zurin crafted an item known as the Totem of Tiber Septim in order to control the Numidium,[18] and when the Numidium was first activated by utilizing the trapped soul of the Underking held in the Mantella,[17] it caused a Dragon Break that would result with the region becoming inhospitable, being heavily contaminated with what was only called "poisoned glow-rock". For many years the Khajiit native to this region despised the Empire for their actions there.[2][OOG 3] How long this break lasted is not known exactly, but it most likely lasted throughout the entire period Numidium was active, ending only when the Underking temporarily destroyed the Brass-God.[17] According to some sources, the second heaviest hit area by the Break was the Altmeri city of Alinor, which was sieged by Numidium resulting in the city surrendering within an hour of the attack but a battle that lasted from the Merethic Era to the Fifth Era due to the Numidiums time-wrecking capabilities.[OOG 8]

The Warp in the WestEdit

The Warp in the West, sometimes referred to as the Miracle of Peace, was the most recent and well known of the Dragon Breaks. The break's origins trace back to the events of 3E 405, when an unknown Blades agent acquired the Totem of Tiber Septim and was given the choice as to who the totem would be delivered to. After the Numidium was reunited with the Mantella and walked again,[19] a Dragon Break was created, centering around the Blades agent's choice and splitting the Iliac Bay region into six,[OOG 3] seven,[3] or eight seperate timelines,[OOG 9] all occurring simultaneously (the amount varies by source). While the actions of the Blades agent took place in 3E 405, the actual event apparently didn't occur until twelve years later in 3E 417, more specifically the 10th of Frostfall,[3][20] despite some claims that the Warp only lasted a day, other sources seem to imply that it may have subtly lasted much longer than it is said to have.[OOG 10] When the break began, six Numidiums were created as well as six Totems, each being gifted to different kingdoms or individuals;[OOG 3] each of the four great warring-kingdoms of the Iliac Bay, Sentinel, Wayrest, Daggerfall, and Orsinium were each gifted Totems and waged war on each other with their respective Numidiums creating battles of incomprehensibly epic proportions,[3] while the Empire also gained control of the Numidium, using it to fight the Bay-Kings. Both the Underking and the Worm-King Mannimarco gained possession of the Totem and Mantella; the Underking using them to grant himself death, and the King of Worms using it to make himself into a god; the Blades agent who the Warp was centered around was apparently killed by the Numidium.[21]


The Underking dies.

The Break ended after the six Numidiums were either killed by each other or the Underking, and resulted with the region being heavily transformed. The area which had once been made up of over fourty-four petty kingdoms, now encompassed only four equal-footed and well organized kingdoms, with Wayrest controlling the eastern coast of the Iliac Bay, Orsinium controlling the Wrothgarian Mountains, Sentinel controlling the Southern coast, and Daggerfall controlling the west. The Bay-Kingdoms remained part of the Empire, and stability was brought to the Iliac Bay.[3][21] While the King of Worms did temporarily become a god, this aspect of the Dragon Break was eventually fixed by the Jills of Akatosh and Mannimarco was made into a mortal again.[OOG 11] Some claim that the Warp in the West heralded the fall of the Empire,[OOG 10] and certain sources even seem to imply that in a separate timeline, the Empire may have fallen during the Warp.[4] It is known that the god Talos was formed after the Warp, most likely caused by the accession of the Underking.[Note 1]


  • When The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall was in development, Bethesda wanted to give the player the option for multiple endings. Rather than choose one specific ending as "canon", Bethesda canonized all the endings and made them all truth by introducing the concept of the Dragon Break.


  1. The god Talos is never actually mentioned until the game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Due to the Underking's heavy connection to Talos, it is normally assumed that his accession played a key role in Talos' apotheosis


Note: 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 1.4 Where were you when the Dragon Broke? (Kirkbride)
  2. Vehk's Book of Hours, concerning the Dragon Break
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Skeleton Man's Interview with Denizens of Tamriel
  4. Minutes of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society
  5. Nu-Mantia Intercept, Letter #8
  6. Conversation with MK 2013-10-16
  7. Michael Kirkbride - IRC Q&A Sessions
  8. Michael Kirkbride's Posts; Numidium's siege of Alinor
  9. Others: Pete Hines, Christiane Meister, Shane Liesegang, and unknown: Kier-jo
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Redguard Forum Madness
  11. Nu-Hatta of the Sphinxmoth Inquiry Tree

Start a Discussion Discussions about Dragon Break

  • Prequel is a Sequel

    11 messages
    • If you think about it, the back ground of the vestige is already known. He/She has all the back grounds possible, since, after you complete ...
    • ^^ this. The fact that your character "resets" and becomes a member of all the factions one by one can only be explained in one of two ways:...
  • Another Break?

    60 messages
    • The Dovahkiin probably doesn't even have to achieve anything, he/she is most likely part of Talos to begin with.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake wrote:King in the North wrote: wrote:a dragon break makes all things happen and not happen at the same ti...

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