The province of Morrowind, formerly known as Resdayn, is in the northeastern corner of Tamriel. It's divided into two main parts: the mainland of the same name, and the island of Vvardenfell, separated by the Inner Sea. Solstheim is also considered to be part of the province. It is the homeland of the Dunmer, also known as Dark Elves. Although the Tribunal are a great influence in politics, Morrowind is ruled by King Hlaalu Helseth from the city of Blacklight. Morrowind serves as the setting for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
There is a central governing hand that is known as either the King or Queen of Morrowind which was put in place by Tiber Septim for his Empire, the current ruler of Morrowind is King Helseth Hlaalu. The province is also controlled by five clans, known as the Great Houses, which are all part of the Grand Council which is under the command of the King of Morrowind, and indirectly by the Tribunal. They entirely control the politics and trade in Morrowind. In the past there were six houses. Each major clan is allied with numerous sub-clans, the alignment of which is more or less permanent, although it is not unheard of for a subclan to switch allegiances. In former times, the clans carried out their feuding with open warfare. This was forbidden under the Tribunal, but the clans still engage in bloody infighting through the unique institution of the Morag Tong, the sanctioned guild of assassins. Clans routinely hire the Morag Tong to eliminate their enemies, and the assassins of the Morag Tong may kill their assigned "marks" with impunity, as long as they conform to the obscure (but strict) rules of their guild. Such an arrangement strikes the citizen of the Empire as an outlandish barbarism, but, as with much in benighted Morrowind, seems well-suited to the savage temperament of the Dunmer.
House Indoril claims kinship with all three of the legendary Tribunes, which doubtless accounts for Indoril's preeminence among the five clans. Indoril's capital is Mournhold, also the capital of Morrowind itself, and the Temple priesthood (which is one and the same as the bureaucracy of civil government) is dominated by the Indoril and their subclans.
House Hlaalu is the smallest and weakest of the five clans, clinging to Great House status in their ancient capital of Narsis, but have since been thrown off the Grand Council, their seat taken by House Sadras. Traditional enemies of the Indoril, who have controlled the levers of government for 3,000 years, the continued resilience of the Hlaalu must inspire a certain respect. Merchants and traders in a land that despises outsiders, the Hlaalu nevertheless maintain a limited commerce with the Empire, trading stout Imperial broadcloth and Cyrodilic brandy for the elegant trinkets produced by the admittedly skilled craftsmen of Morrowind.
House Sadras is a Great Dunmer House that rose to prominence during the Fourth Era. Having past ties to the Empire immediately turned House Hlaalu into the scapegoat for the Dunmer people's suffering. This led to House Hlaalu no longer being recognized as a Great House and were dismissed from the Council. Therefore House Sadras joined the ruling Council of Morrowind, along with House Telvanni, Dres, Indoril and Redoran.
House Redoran guards the western flank of Morrowind, and are known as the best warriors among the Dunmer. Each warrior of the house is sworn to a strict code of honor as to maintain the Redoran's warrior reputation. Redoran towns and strongholds generally have distinctive buildings made from the shells of large crab-like giants.
House Telvanni is the most xenophobic of a xenophobic race, shunning all contact with outsiders, preferring to tend their herds of giant insects amid the rocky hills and islands of the extreme northeast. Telvanni Bug-Musk is a highly prized perfume among the Dunmer, and their riding-insects command the highest prices in the markets of Almalexia and Narsis. House Telvanni is controlled by a high council of wizard-lords. Each Lord has domain over his or her own stronghold, which is usually the center of a small town of which they also rule. Wizard-Lords are often extremely powerful Dunmer wizards, often reigning for hundreds, or even thousands of years. Telvanni towns are often distinguished by their towers which are entirely organic structures that are literally grown as plants. These towers often house the wizard-lords and their subjects who live nearby. The other Dunmer clans give the Telvanni the worst reputation, mostly because they choose to stay out of struggles among houses and remain isolated, only caring for their own.
House Dres rules the southern sweep of Morrowind, where the fertile Deshaan Plains merges with the swamps of Black Marsh. The Dres are the great slave-traders and plantation owners of Morrowind. Thousands of wretched captives, mainly Argonians but including not a few Khajiits and even Imperial citizens, pass through the infamous slave-pens of Tear, the Dres capital, from whence most find an early death on the plantations which surround that ill-omened city.
It is argued by Historians and Scholars, that aside from Cyrodiil, the Dunmer nation of Resdayn, was the most powerful province in terms of military might, yet political division has always prevented this from being utilized effectively. Only during invasion has Morrowind stood united, and even when the Empire threatened it with war, it was divided as to how to conduct its defense and united as one force.
While it was under Imperial rule, Morrowind was under the protection of the Imperial Legion. The Legion works for the Imperial government, with support from the Emperor. In peacetime, the legionnaires serve as guards; in war, they have also been used as an invasion force. In war, the Imperial Legion is a feared and unstoppable force. Their huge numbers and strict discipline cause even the most battle-hardened army to question their tactics. With wide ranks of hundreds of disciplined soldiers, the Imperial Legion is a force not to be trifled with.
During the Oblivion Crisis, the Empire withdrew most of its armies from Morrowind to defend Cyrodiil. It fell to House Redoran to organise the Dunmer into an effective fighting force against the Daedra. House Redoran had a very effective army by the end of the crisis, and when the Argonians invaded, were able to hold their own. While the southern half of Morrowind was ravaged, House Redoran led the Dunmer in the defense of the northern half and was able to hold the invaders. This gained the Redoran much respect from their people, and from then onward they became the most powerful and respected Great House in Morrowind and has the most effective army in Morrowind.
Dunmer warriors favored a wonderfully light armor made from the carapace of insects, covered over with a finely-woven cloak of spider silk, wrapped several times around the torso. A turban protects the head and face from the ubiquitous ash, with goggles of transparent resin; loose trousers and high boots completes the dress. While this makes for an outlandish appearance, the traveler will understand the utility of these garments the first time one is caught out of doors in one of the frequent ash storms without such protection.
House Redoran warriors wear a unique heavy plate called Bonemold Armor. It's fashioned from actual bone that's been reinforced with a resin-like material and then shaped to form the armored plating. Although it may appear brittle, it is said to be comparable to iron or steel armors.
The first known civilization to inhabit Morrowind were the Dwemer (during this time the province was known as Dwemereth). Sometimes called "Dwarves" by the ignorant peoples of Tamriel, the Dwemer were the remnants of the early Aldmer who had settled the coasts, and developed a highly sophisticated and technological culture deep within the mountainous regions of Morrowind, near Spoons, where the Ghostgate currently resides.
The rule of the Dwemer in Morrowind was contested by another group of Mer, the Chimer. The Chimer were, like the Dwemer, descendants of the Aldmer, and had followed their prophet Veloth across Cyrodiil from the Summerset Isles for their exodus; and the following of Veloth's Daedric teachings. Soon they abandoned nomadic life and turned to settlement-based areas. During and after the slave revolt of the Nords, they set up Chimer Strongholds across the Morrowind Frontiers to control and protect the Dwemer Borders from Tribal Nord attacks, and skirmishes made by other Chimer as well. It also has a bad history for the slavery that happened concerning the Argonians and the Khajiit.
For much time after that, Dunmer inhabited the mainland of Morrowind and occupied Vvardenfell until the recent eruption of Red Mountain, where they were forced from their home after the Argonians saw an opportunity to attack the land and claim it for themselves. Most of Morrowind was destroyed but, despite this, many Dunmer have returned to start rebuilding their land and empire. More information is held in Morrowind's end in the Fourth Era below.
Protecting territories and the forming of the Great HousesEdit
Disputes over territory marked the early interactions between the two groups of Mer. These battles were fueled by the conflicting religious beliefs of the two cultures. While the Dwemer were an agnostic people, preferring reason to faith, the Chimer were staunch Daedra-worshipers, and considered the Dwemer's lack of belief an affront to their gods.
It was not until Nordic invasions of the 1st Era that the two groups of Mer were able to achieve peace. An alliance led by Indoril Nerevar Moon-and-Star of the Chimer and King Dumac of the Dwemer was successful in routing the Nords from the land, lastly at Red Mountain, whereafter the land-place of Hammerfell was established by the throw of Volendrung and also creating the First Council. This led to the making of the Great Houses, but ultimately made more confliction against Morrowind's Regions in their entirety.
The cultural differences between the two groups were too great to allow for a lasting peace. The War of the First Council culminated at the Dwemer fortress of Red Mountain, although accounts of the final hours of the war varied.
The Battle at Red Mountain and Azura's CurseEdit
It is supposed that Nerevar was slain during or shortly after the battle, although it was during the summoning of Azura by Neravar's Tribunal, which included Veloth (who was not officially in it, but aided in Azura's summoning), Vivec the Poet, Sotha Sil, and Almalexia. Dumac and all of his Dwemeri brethren were killed, but the exact manner of their extinction is still debated. Nor did the Chimer leave the battle of Red Mountain unchanged as stated in the Dunmer page. Azura laid her curse upon the already-exiled Chimer. The supposed murder of Indoril Nerevar Moon-and-Star by the summoning ritual made by the Tribunal, Azura appeared, with Indoril dead, and her words hissed: "May the eyes of the Changed Ones be turned as red as this volcanic ash, and may their skin be as blackened as their hearts. The accursed drawn, blood from the master spilled, and a curse shown in the race of these folk, forever-more." This led to the hiding of Vivec in the Ministry of Truth and the recession of the cultures of the now accursed Chimer. Azura withdrew from the mountain, and there upon the now-Dunmer lay with ashen souls, and would reflect change in the Eras to come.
Perhaps the most important consequences of the battle were the changes effected in Nerevar's closest advisers. His trusted Tribunal - Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec - were found to have attained great, even god-like, power. His general, Dagoth Ur, originally thought to be killed at Red Mountain, was later found to have attained similar degree of power. These four former mortal individuals were to become seen as symbols, champions, gods, and villains, sometimes revered and sometimes despised. The four, until recent years, exercised great influence over the development of the nation of Morrowind.
While most of the local governance of the province continued through the Great Houses, the Tribunal ruled the land indirectly through their Temple, and inspired the Dunmer with their statues as Living Gods. The Daedra worship that the Chimer espoused was considered nothing more than a prelude to the new spiritual awakening of the land. Their powers were tested as they joined with the Reman Dynasty to defend the land from the Akaviri.
A New Era and a New ThreatEdit
Though victorious, Morrowind's relationship with the Cyrodilic Empire did not remain cordial, and after steadily growing mistrust, The Four Score War erupted in the 2840th year of the 1st Era. The Tribunal in particular, demonstrated enormous power and leadership in battle after battle, yet neither side advanced for almost eighty years. In the end, it was the diplomatic skills of the Three that ended the war. Whatever the extent of the Tribunal's power, and how much fancy has been woven into their legend, there can be no doubt of their diplomatic prowess. While other provinces flailed in the chaos of the Second Era, the Tribunal kept the disparate Houses of Morrowind in check, and repelled yet another invasion from Akavir.
The Tribunal's diplomatic skills were put to the test yet again at the end of the Second Era, when they were faced with the external threat of Tiber Septim's rising Empire, as well as the internal threat posed when Dagoth Ur, after long slumbering, arose to take back his fortress of Red Mountain. Septim, not eager to fight three Living Gods and also worried about Dagoth Ur's return, agreed to a treaty, as described in the history section of this book. The treaty gave Morrowind autonomy and gave the Septim Empire the means to conquer the rest of Tamriel: an equitable solution for both parties involved.
A further concession was given to Septim's demand for a central authority in Morrowind: a ruler who could be his hand in the domain. Barenziah, daughter of the ruling family of Mournhold, was the first to be given the title of Queen of Morrowind. The title was largely ceremonial, but the young Queen and her consort, Tiber Septim's general Symmachus, proved to be extremely popular with the Dunmer people.
Morrowind's destruction during the Fourth EraEdit
The Arnesian War was one of the many during the troubled time of the Imperial Simulacrum of Jagar Tharn. What started as a simple slave revolt in the House Dres lands of the south built on itself until the swampy plains erupted with blood and fire, pitting Morrowind against Black Marsh. During the chaos, Symmachus was slain, and Barenziah, rightly fearing for her life, fled across the Empire to the High Rock kingdom of Wayrest. The Queen abdicated her throne, leaving it to her uncle Athyn Llethan, a House Hlaalu noble.
The uneasy truce between Temple, King, and House was beginning to crumble. Dagoth Ur was ascending, the Tribunal was collapsing, but, according to current popular rumor, a miracle occurred. Indoril Nerevar was reborn and returned to Morrowind to set things to right, but it was only supposed, just as much as the Nerevarine traveled to Akavir. No one really knew what happened. By the time the Ministry of Truth collapsed in the Fourth Era, Morrowind was open for sacking. The Argonians saw the opportunity and took over some parts of southern Morrowind, but House Redoran held them back and stopped their invasion in central Morrowind. Years after, some of the Dunmer began returning to rebuild their homeland.
Located in the north-east of Tamriel, Morrowind is a largely alien and inhospitable place were the sky is darkened regularly by furious ash storms belched forth from the mighty Red Mountain, the largest volcano in Tamriel. The familiar flora and fauna of Tamriel is exchanged for bizarre and twisted forms that can survive the regular ashfall. In the ash lands, cloaked and masked Dunmer tend herds of giant insects and Netch. And you can also see Dunmer riding 20-foot insects. Much of the landscape is as twisted and mountainous as its neighbor Skyrim, but it is a hot, desolate land, even far from Vvardenfell where the Red Mountain is located. Previously named Resdayn,Veloth, Dwemereth, and Dunmereth, for the last two Eras, it has been called "Morrowind".
Major Cities of MorrowindEdit
Named for one of the Tribunal gods, Vivec lies on the southern coast of the island of Vvanderfell and projects well into the sea. The city of Vivec lies firmly in the jurisdiction of the Tribunal Temple. Ordinators serve as both the temple guard and city police, and operate in dual capacity. In one sense, the Ordinators are tasked with keeping the peace and maintaining law. In the other sense, they are theocratic police, and are charged with identifying, arresting, detaining, and processing dissidents of the Temple.
The city of Mournhold, sometimes called the City of Gems, is home to King Helseth Hlaalu, the ruler of Morrowind, and the god Almalexia, a member of the Tribunal, as well as birthplace of Queen Barenziah. It's referred to as "The city of light and magic" by the local people. In The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, it is stated that Mournhold was sacked by Argonians some time during the 4th Era, but is in the process of rebuilding.
Balmora is located in the southern part of Vvardenfell and is the district seat of House Hlaalu, one of the Dunmer Great Houses, and the largest settlement on Vvardenfell after Vivec City. The Hlaalu Council Manor, the location of House Hlaalu's bureaucracy and leadership, was located within the city of Balmora. Imperial-constructed roads led south to Pelagiad, Seyda Neen, Ebonheart, and Vivec City, and led north to Hla Oad, Caldera, and Ald'ruhn.
The town is composed of several islands, surrounded by walls and connected by small bridges. There is also a port, offering ship transfer to various coastal towns on Vvardenfell. Ebonheart is the seat of Imperial rule on the island of Vvardenfell, the regional headquarters of the East Empire Company, the Imperial Legion, and the home of Castle Ebonheart, wherein the Duke of Vvardenfell, Vedam Dren resides. It is named after the city of Old Ebonheart on the mainland of Morrowind, across the Inner Sea. The castle is very well protected from attack, since it resides on hills surrounded by water.
The coastal city Sadrith Mora is located on an island on the eastern side of Vvardenfell. It is ruled by House Telvanni, and home to Neloth, a Dunmer mage of the Master rank in House Telvanni. Sadrith Mora has the Imperial Fort, Wolverine Hall, which includes a Fighters Guild, a Mages Guild, and an Imperial Shrine. Stalls, shops, and homes line the curving main pathway that runs around the base of the central hill on which Master Neloth's tower, Tel Naga, is built.
Ald'ruhn is a major city located in the region known as Vvardenfell, in the home of the Dunmer race, Morrowind. Ald'ruhn is the district seat of House Redoran, one of the Dunmer great houses, and a large settlement. The Redoran Council Chambers are located inside the shell of an ancient, extinct giant crab. Imperial-constructed roads lead north to the villages of Maar Gan and Gnisis, and lead south to the major city of Balmora, Ald'ruhn is one of the largest settlements in Vvardenfell.
Blacklight is a city located on the north-western coast of Morrowind, near the border of Skyrim. Following the Red Year and the sack of Almalexia by the Argonians, it became the capital of Morrowind and home to House Redoran. Many citizens of Blacklight moved to parts of Skyrim, most notably Windhelm, and also a large proportion moved to Solstheim. A Temple of Azura is known to exist, where Neria Relethyl resides.
Necrom, also known as "The City of the Dead", is in the east of Morrowind. Necrom perpetuates a religious tradition that predates the Tribunal cult. From across Morrowind, Dark Elves of every clan bring their dead in solemn processions that can last for months. From the mainland, Necrom, with its lofty walls and white towers, appears to be an immense necropolis, an impression that is strengthened by the constant traffic of corpses across the causeway into the city, a traffic which never ceases, day or night.
Narsis, is situated in the south of Morrowind, is the capital city of the Great House Hlaalu. In the Fourth Era it was sacked by the Argonians of Black Marsh, thusly why House Hlaalu has lost great influence in Morrowind.
Tear is the southern most city of the province of Morrowind. It is the capital of House Dres, and, as such, had a large population of slaves. And as such, the Argonians destroyed the city, to take revenge on years of slavery by the Dunmer.
Port Telvannis is the capital of House Telvanni and a harbor on the Telvanni Isles in the Padomaic Ocean, it is located on the far north east of Morrowind on an island.
The island of Solstheim was a gift from the High King of Skyrim. It has an ashen landscape in the south where Raven Rock is, but the north of the island is covered in icy glaciers home to the Skaal at Skaal Village. Solstheim is ruled by House Redoran, the Redoran Guard wears a large armor set called Bonemold Armor. Solstheim is seen in The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon and the The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn.
Morrowind was formerly an agrarian aristocracy, mostly free farmers and herders and fishermen ruled by Great Houses and their noble councils. But since the Imperial occupation, and especially on Vvardenfell, the Dunmer have developed a mercantile economy on the model of the Empire, ruled by the Emperor, law, and legions, but driven by trade in crafts and goods. Morrowind's production is based on the mining of Kwama Eggs, Ebony, and Raw Glass. Morrowind is considered to have vast supplies of these rare resources beneath Red Mountain, yet these had been barely tapped until the recent defeat of Dagoth Ur, which opened Red Mountain up to expansion in the mining industry.
The grey-skinned red-eyed Dark Elves seem admirably suited to their strange, ash-blighted region. They are known as the Dunmer in the Elven tongue, and now populate the great stretch of northeastern Tamriel between the Velothi Mountains and the sea, and between the southern edge of the Deshaan Plains and the northern coast. But from whence these unusual people came, what was their race and lineage, or where their original home, ere they spread themselves over Morrowind and the Deshaan, are questions easier asked than answered. The Dark Elves must have split from the original trunk of the Elven race many long eons ago, for although unquestionably kin to the other Elves of Tamriel, the Dark Elves differ in many ways, not least in their striking appearance. His ash-grey skin and glowing red eyes makes a Dark Elf instantly recognizable, although few have seen one, as they rarely leave their homeland. Like all elves, they tend to be tall and gaunt, but the Dark Elves take the Elvish haughtiness to an extreme, viewing humans as no better than beasts, fit only to serve as slaves on the plantations of Tear.
They consider themselves superior even to other Elves, who in their estimation are effete and decadent specimens of the pure Elven race. The earliest human records bearing on the subject (which must remain our best source until the archives of the Altmer are opened to Imperial scholars) are the chronicles of the Nords. The Nords gave to the region the name of Dunmereth from being the land of the Dunmer; but in earlier ages it was called by themselves Resdayn; and Imperial Librarian Elba Laskee traces the foundation of the Dark Elven nation back to above 3,500 years from the present time. Morrowind was not given its modern name until after the first eruption of Vvardenfell.
The Tribunal templeEdit
The strange heathen religion of the House Dark Elves deserves special note. They worship three gods known as "the Tribunal", and believe these gods walk the earth and rule Morrowind directly. To an outsider, the priesthood of the Tribunal seems to be the true power in Morrowind. Each Tribune, who go by the names of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec, has an eponymous city dedicated to its worship, and a palace/temple within each city where the god supposedly resides. The priests of the Tribunal Temple are omnipotent in Morrowind; strange processions of fantastically garbed priests roam the land, selecting new candidates to serve the Tribunal, who are seized without resistance and never seen again.
Only the highest of the Tribunal priests, or persons of spiritual greatness chosen by a Tribunal themselves, come into contact with these revered figures. Tribunal temples are in every native Morrowind city, generally in circular shaped buildings, and the Tribunal religion is often referred to as just the Temple. The Temple is spread to all Great Houses and is the religion practiced by all native Dunmer, excluding the Ashlanders which the Temple looks down upon.
Worshipers must go on a quest to many pilgrimages to become full, respected members of the Temple, many of these involving offerings to shrines. The Tribunal and the Dunmer saints of the religion are worshiped at three-sided shrines which offer healing and blessings to the followers with the proper offerings as necessary. The Temple has strict rules and is a formidable power in Morrowind, and it is dangerous to attack it in anyway, verbally or physically. The Temple makes strong campaigns against Vampires, Daedra worship, and Necromancy, and is at all times trying to diminish their numbers.
Each god is a distinct figure to temple members. Vivec the Poet is known for his generosity and skill in battle, and a patron for rogues and artists. Almalexia is known for her kindness and healing nature. Sotha Sil is best known for his skill in wizardry and mechanics. A book series has been written about the events of these gods and is called 2920, The Last Year of the First Era and also a book in a religious series entitled 36 Lessons of Vivec. The Tribunal has allied with three Daedra lords (Azura, Mephala, and Boethiah) who are referred to as the "anticipations".
Daedra worship, or the Daedra cult, is thought of as the antithesis of the Tribunal. The religion is comprised of members who serve and worship divine figures known as "Daedric Princes" or "Daedra Lords". Outsiders, particularly Tribunal or Nine Divine worshippers, generally view Daedra cultists as barbaric and sinister, which is in part justified by many hostile groups. People of all races are known to worship Daedra.
Hostility from human Daedra worshippers is directly related to the cruel nature of the Daedra Lords. Recognizable Daedra Lords include: Mephala, Azura, Boethiah, Clavicus Vile, Nocturnal, Vaermina, Sheogorath, Mehrunes Dagon, Malacath, and Molag Bal. Daedric Lords in Morrowind are worshiped at giant, easily recognizable citadels that are dedicated to specific Lords. A Daedroth is a demon-like creature that serves a Daedra Lord; they come in many forms and are immortal, to a degree.
The Ashlanders' beliefs are very different from other religions in Morrowind. They believe in an ancient prophecy involving the Nerevarine, that is meant to save the native Dunmer from outlanders, or the Empire. The Temple believes them to be savages and kill anyone who would claim to be part of the prophecy.
Three major cultural groupings have settled Morrowind, Great House group, the Ashlanders, and the Imperials. The smallest settlements are the Ashlander nomadic camps, compromised of small, portable huts. Recent Imperial colonies like Pelagiad display the same half timbered homes and stone castles as might be found in Daggerfall or any other Western province. But the dominant culture is the Dunmer Great House culture.
On the Isle of Vvardenfell, which was only recently opened to settlement and trade, most of the island's population is confined to the relatively hospitable west and southwest coast, centered on the ancient city of Vivec and the old Great House district centers at Balmora, Ald'ruhn, and Sadrith Mora. The rest of the island is covered by hostile desert wastes, arid grasslands, and volcanic badlands, and thinly populated by the nomadic Ashlander tribes.
On the Mainland, the Population is more evenly spread across the Province, with major cities such as Mournhold, Tear, Narsis, Necrom, Port Telvannis, Blacklight and Silgrad Tower holding very large portions of the Province's residents.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition/Morrowind
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind