Five Hundred Companions, often simply called the Five Hundred or Companions, were a group of Atmoran warriors led by the legendary Ysgramor in the late Merethic Era. The Five Hundred Companions were an army who played a vital role during events of the time period known as the Return. They were fierce warriors who came from Atmora. Their goal was to avenge the brothers and sisters who fell victims of elves during their raid known as Night of Tears.
During the Merethic Era, a group of Atmorans, led by Ysgramor, left their homeland called Atmora and sailed to Tamriel due to the presence of a civil war in Atmora. They sailed south and eventually landed at Hsaarik Head at the northern tip of Broken Cape. They moved inland and soon built the legendary city Saarthal. They befriended the local Snow Elves, and made peace and prosperity with them. At some point, the Snow Elves launched an assault upon Saarthal, in which they sacked it and killed everyone there, with the exception of Ysgramor and his two sons, Yngol and Ylgar, who survived and returned to Atmora. Different reports stated different theories as to why the Snow Elves broke the peace with the Atmorans. Some reports suggest that the initial attack on Saarthal was very focused, and did not appear to correlate to any locations that were established as points of defense or importance. Not only did the Snow Elves know the apparent layout of the city, but their assault appeared to be based on a specific directive and perhaps a singular goal. One theory was that the Snow Elves' motive was to exterminate all of the Atmorans in Skyrim, as the rate at which the Atmoran's population was growing was increasing. To the Snow Elves, this would be a potential threat to their existence in Skyrim. Another theory was that the Atmorans discovered a powerful artifacts deep below Saarthal, called the Eye of Magnus, and the Snow Elves coveted it for themselves, so they sacked Saarthal.
The Return to AtmoraEdit
Ysgramor and his two sons, Yngol and Ylgar returned to Atmora, and after they returned, they told stories of Elven treachery and murders in Saarthal. This inspired men and women of Atmora to raise an army and avenge the fallen, claiming Mereth for themselves.
On the Day of Final Passage the Five Hundred set sail for Mereth using longboats that had been made in their massive shipyards of Jylkurfyk. Due to a massive storm, known as the Storm of Separation, Yngol and his crew were the first of the dead.
Return to SkyrimEdit
After arriving at Hsaarik Head, the warriors sought to reclaim and avenge the Saarthal and so they did. Many shields were broken during the battles, but in honor of the fallen Shield-Brothers, the faction kept its name—The Five Hundred Companions.
After reclaiming Saarthal, the Five Hundred formed the Circle of Captains. It was decided that each Captain should take his own boat and crew make its own way, seeking their fates throughout the world. This began a long period of the slaughter of elves and the grand expansion of Men on Tamriel. It is known that Companions spread all over Tamriel, from the valleys of Skyrim to the swamps of Black Marsh.
The Expansion and Elven slaughter by the Five Hundred ended with the final breath of Ysgramor. It is said to have been seen all over Tamriel as a huge dark storm, and left even the fiercest warriors grieving. Most of the warriors laid down their mighty axes, never to pick them up again. Thus ended the period known as The Return.
- Main article: The Companions
After the events of the Return, the remaining Companions lost their grip over Tamriel and most became simple settlers and farmers of the land. Therefore, only remnants of the once great army were present in Skyrim.
The Companions had still survived until the Fourth Era. During that time the organization had given up its original name and had become known simply as The Companions. Traditions and goals had changed over time as well. For example, no longer were Companion groups under the control of Captains since sailing and settlement were no longer driving racial concerns. Some of them had also embraced lycanthropy, bestowed upon them by Hircine.  Another significant difference was in the motives of the companions: by the Fourth Era the Companions had become more of a mercenary group who hunted beasts and criminals, but not mer.
Five Hundred Companions were a group who considered that every man should be able to make his own path without guidance of others. There were no rules that bound someone under rule of another. Companions were free to come and go as they wish. The only thing that bound him to his Shield-Brothers and Sisters was his honor. As a result there were not so many ranks within the army.
- Main article: Harbinger
The Harbinger was considered to be the main commander of the army. During the time of The Return this role was taken by Ysgramor. Companions followed his commands and listened to his advice but he did not command the army with an iron fist, and men followed him by their own free will.
The Harbingers's role shrank significantly after the assembly of the Circle of Captains. No other Harbingers were considered rulers among the Companions after the death of Ysgramor.
- Main article: Captain (Lore)
Captains were commanders of longboats and their crews. After the reclaiming of Saarthal and of Skyrim and the destruction of the Snow Elves, the Circle of Captains was assembled to decide what the Five Hundred should do next. It was decided that every crew and its captain should make their own way and split up. Like the Harbinger, a captain did not have an iron-fisted rule over his men and they followed him freely.
As more and more Atmorans migrated from Atmora to Skyrim, Companions settled, sailing decreased in importance and so longboats were no longer needed. Thus the rank of Captain was lost. However the rank of Harbinger and the tradition of the Circle remained.
Shield-Brothers and SistersEdit
- Main article: Shield-Brothers
Shield-Brothers or Sisters weren't actually a rank in the Five Hundred Companions. However, it was a common phrase to add to one's name. It meant that that they would watch each other's back in battle and won't hesitate to fight for each other.
This phrase is still commonly used among Nords as a sign of trust among warriors.
- Main article: Shield-Brothers
Similar to the quartermaster and blacksmith, the huntmaster was a revered hunter who would lead younger Shield-Brothers on game hunts to hone their skills. The official title and role, however, disappeared by the end of the Second Era.
- Ysgramor, Harbinger of the Five Hundred, Captain of Ylgermet
Crew of the Jorrvaskr:
- Brunl (Who Fought with his Off-Hand) 
- Jander the Tiny 
- Kluwe (aka Loate) 
- Meksim the Walker 
- Tysnal (Who Was Twice-Named) 
- Terr 
- Vust the Smiler 
Crew of the Krillot Lok:
Crew of the Fallowfire:
- Gurilda Sharktooth (Captain) 
- Bergitte the Toothless 
- Kajord Eagle-Eye 
- Vikord One-Ear 
- Bron Darkhammer- Served as Guardians of Sinmur's burial ground in Shor's Stone Mine. 
- Jalarma Fireheart 
- This list is incomplete; help us expand it.
- The names of the Five Hundred Companions are still recited every Thirteenth of Sun's Dawn at the Feast of the Dead in Windhelm.
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
- Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- Songs of the Return, Vol 7
- Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- Songs of the Return, Vol 24
- Songs of the Return, Vol 56
- Night of Tears
- Yngol and the Sea-Ghosts
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Songs of the Return
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
- ↑ Before the Ages of Man
- ↑ Ahzidal's Descent
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Night of Tears
- ↑ Imperial Report on Saarthal
- ↑ Great Harbingers
- ↑ Dialogue with Kodlak Whitemane
- ↑ Observations of the The Companions structure, goals and operations
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Songs of the Return, Vol 7
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 5
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Songs of the Return, Vol 56
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Songs of the Return, Vol 24
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Songs of the Return, Vol 49
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 The Elder Scrolls Online gameplay Quests.