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"Solitude, the seat of High King of Skyrim and the capital of Haafingar hold, has always welcomed the Empire with open arms. Much commerce flows along the rivers here, and you will find the folk of this hold to be among the most hospitable in Skyrim."
―Anonymous[src]

Solitude or Haafingar is one of the nine major cities in the province of Skyrim and is the capital of both the Haafingar region and the entirety of West Skyrim. Solitude has been known as a flourishing metropolis within the blessed arms of the Empires of Cyrodiil, having ties with the Septim Empire especially.

Description

Geography

Comparatively, Solitude is one of the biggest cities in the province of Skyrim and is built on a very peculiar landscape. Solitude was built on a rather large arch on top of the Karth River Estuary, where the river meets the Sea of Ghosts and the Drajkymr Marsh located in Hjaalmarch. The area where Solitude is not flat, rather on the edge of the Kilkreath Highlands in the Druadach Mountains. Lower Solitude consists of the port and the main headquarters of the East Empire Trading Company, the Third Empire's major trading company. The central warehouse is vast and can house several trading ships. The road to the northernmost point of Haafingar goes directly over the warehouse water entrance and underneath the grand arch of Solitude. The local stables of Solitude is located in between the ports and the road leading into the central city. Solitude's outer gate is heavily fortified with the Sky Tower being the first line of defense for the city.

Upper Solitude is divided into three separate districts, each with unique distinctions and serving different purposes. The Merchant's District in West Solitude is home to several local businesses as well as the main gate of Solitude. The Winking Skeever is one of the more successful inns located in Solitude, due to its convenient location being near the main gate and the town square. Southeast of the inn is the town square, where various smaller businesses gather to sell their daily catch of fish or their signature wines. The Radiant Raiment specializes in selling the most exquisite clothing for nobles of the Third Empire and the Kingdom of Solitude. The area called Castle Dour is where the military forces of Solitude reside as well as the Temple of the Divines. The Imperial Legion of Skyrim is currently stationed in Castle Dour. The Temple of the Divines in Solitude is perhaps the biggest temple of the divines in Skyrim, with shrines dedicated to each of the Nine Divines.

Traditions

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  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the New Life Festival on the 1st of Morning Star. It is a day of celebration where the drinks are free and people party in the streets all day. It truly is, a day of merriment.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the South Wind's Prayer on the 15th of Morning Star. It is a day to pray to the Gods for a bountiful harvest, and it is for citizens who cannot afford to heal from the local temple to get healed from an ailment.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate Heart's Day on the 16th of Sun's Dawn. It is in honor of a legend passed down from generation to generation about a couple named Polydor and Eloisa. Every Inn in Tamriel become free for visitors arriving into town.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the First Planting on the 7th of First Seed. It is the day that begins the harvest, where neighbors reconcile their difference, bad habits are dropped, and the clerics heal people for free.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the Second Planting on the 7th of Second Seed. The holiday is ideally the same holiday as First Planting, to improve one’s soul, and to improve relationships with others.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the Mid Year Celebration on the 16th of Mid Year. A day to distract everyone from the increased taxes. It is a day celebrating the halfway mark in the year, where many warriors feel blessed and venture to dungeons they normally cannot defeat.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the Merchant's Festival on the 10th of Sun's Height. It is a day that benefits the consumer in the market. Traders and Gypsies drop the prices on their stock. The only place that does not celebrate it is the Mages Guild. This is the same day as the Summoning of Boethiah.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate Sun's Rest on the 20th of Sun's Height. It is a day when the workers of Tamriel take a day to relax, businesses across town are closed in observance of this day. Some people have to have to leave the province to actually buy something.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate Harvest's End on the 27th of Last Seed. It is the final day of the harvest, and it is where the people eat the crops they have grown since the First Planting. Travelers are given the option to join a farmer’s family for a feast.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate Tales and Tallows on the 3rd of Hearthfire. It is the day of superstition where the elderly do not speak for an entire day, in fear of evil spirits entering their body. The Mages of Tamriel favor this day since it is a day to study the oldest forms of magic.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the Witches' Festival on the 13th of Frostfall. A day where the creepy ghouls and creatures of the night gather to terrorize the denizens of Tamriel. Many have not dared to wander the streets at night, in fear of being nabbed by a creature.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the Warriors Festival on the 20th of Sun's Dusk. It is a day where many warriors gather to practice their fighting prowess. Travelers by weapons in stores since their price's drop by half. Young children foolishly buy weapons, only to stab themselves by mistake.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the North Wind's Prayer on the 15th of Evening Star. It serves as a thanksgiving to the Gods for the year's harvest. It is a day when the local temples heal and bless anyone for a lower price.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Solitude celebrate the Old Life Festival on the 31st of Evening Star. It is a day of rest, where many leave the events of the passing year behind and to reflect their past. They rest for the New Life Festival.[OOG 1]
  • Every year, the city of Solitude hosts the Tournament of Stamina, a fighting competition where warriors from all over the region come to prove themselves in front of the denizens of Solitude. Prince Bathorgh was the Grand Champion of the Tournament in the early years of Potema Septim's reign.[2]

Cuisine

  • Spiced Wine - This brand of spiced wine has been a specialty found only in the city of Solitude. Created by the San Family of Nords, Spiced Wine consists of several different spices ranging from cinnamon, punch, or nutmeg.

History

First Era

Olaf the Betrayer & Svaknir's Vendetta

Sometime during the War of Succession, Olaf One-Eye fought the dragon named Numinex and defeated him on the summit of Mount Anthor. Olaf was able to end the War by becoming the High King and conquering the other cities to quell the conflict and establish his reign. Solitude was the last city to fall from Olaf's Armada, the details of this siege of Solitude is currently left unknown, but left a terrible taste for the Bards College and the Kingdom of Solitude. Svaknir was a notable bard from Solitude who wrote a rather scathing poem about the rise of Olaf One-Eye, which led this his ultimate demise and vendetta with the High King. The aftermath of the battle created a tradition in Solitude called the Burning of King Olaf, which occurs on every 14th of Hearthfire. The tradition has been going on for years and into the fourth era.[1][3][4]

Second Era

The Kingdom of Western Skyrim & King Svartr

During the reign of the Akaviri Potentate, the city of Solitude was under the rule of Jarl Svartr who was well-respected among the other Jarls of Skyrim. When High King Logrolf was assassinated, many people felt that Freydis, the daughter of Logrolf should become the High Queen of Skyrim and the Crown of Verity chose her. However, Svartr claimed that Freydis was an illegitimate heir to the throne and that a Moot was needed to choose the proper leader. The Crown of Verity has always been the deciding factor for the High King, ever since the reign of Olaf One-Eye and the aftermath of the War of Succession. The Moot chose Svartr to be the next High King, and soon, controversy arose on who should be the next leader. This event led to Skyrim becoming divided, splitting into two separate kingdoms under the two chosen leaders. The Nords of West Skyrim followed Svartr and formed the Western Kingdom of Skyrim. Svartr's rule would bring about trouble; one such instance was with the rising power of Yashnag's Chiefdom, found in Western Falkreath. It was quelled by Hakkvild Yashnag-Slayer, who drove them back into Wrothgar. Svartr's dynasty ruled from the city of Solitude, which is considered the Capital of Western Skyrim.[5][6]

Third Era

Main article: Solitude (Arena)

Enter Potema Septim; the Wolf-Queen

During the reign of Uriel Septim II, the city of Solitude was under the rule of King Mantiarco and Queen Amodetha, both of whom had a child named Prince Bathorgh. Amodetha had passed away and relations between the Kingdom of Solitude, and the Septim Empire began to wane, especially with Uriel II's loan from Mantiarco, to quell a rebellion in the city of Torval. To compensate, Uriel II forced Potema Septim, a young Septim at the age of fourteen, to be wedded to Mantiarco, much to the dismay of Potema. When Potema became the Queen of Solitude, she had a lot of opposition from the Old Nordic Houses and had a disdained relation with Prince Bathorgh. Regardless, Potema made valuable allies including Lord Vhokken and further instated her rule over Solitude.[7][8][2]

At the age of fourteen, Potema gave birth to Uriel Septim III, who was named after her late grandfather. Shortly after Uriel's birth, Bathorgh had completed the Tournament of Stamina and was awaiting the ceremony to crown him the victor. However, it was revealed earlier that Bathorgh was not a descendant of Mantiarco. Amodetha had an affair with Lord Thone, an affair which ultimately led to his death and Bathorgh's banishment from Solitude. Uriel II had passed away sometime after Potema's wedding, bringing Potema's father, Pelagius Septim II into power as the Emperor of Tamriel. He would pass away, possibly via poison, and Antiochus Septim, Potema's brother, ascended to the throne. Mantiarco would eventually pass away from old age.[7][9]

Potema's feud with Antiochus & War of the Isle

Potema was given an amulet from her mother, Queen Quintilla of Camlorn which has a soul gem infused with the spirit of a demon werewolf. Potema took it and wore it, giving her the ability to charm those who she speaks to. Potema entered Antiochus' bedchamber in the Blue Palace where he had just fornicated with an Argonian wench. Potema planned to blackmail Antiochus with a letter saying that Antiochus knew his father was not Pelagius II, but a steward, claiming that he is a false heir to the throne. Potema would reveal the letter to the public if Antiochus did not step down as the Emperor. However, Antiochus was more clever than Potema anticipated and instead showed a practice sheet where Potema tried to mimic Antiochus' handwriting. Potema's attempt in blackmailing Antiochus had failed, but she was determined in becoming the Empress of the Empire.[7][9]

With the death of Mantiarco, Uriel III assumed the throne of Solitude and had done so, since the nine years of Mantiarco's death. Potema has ruled as Uriel's regent and has guided him through his reign as the King of Solitude. Potema's influence has spread beyond the Kingdom of Solitude, by befriending the Kings of Skyrim and even the Kingdoms of High Rock and Morrowind, with essential friendships with Ebonheart and Farrun. With the power of her amulet, she was able to start a war between King Orgnum of Pyandonea and the Psijic Order of Artaeum under Celarus. This conflict was known as the War of the Isle and it crippled the Pyandonean Armada. In 3E 112, Emperor Antiochus passed away through unknown circumstances, coincidentally, when Potema and Uriel III visited the Imperial City Palace and Emperor Antiochus.[7][10][11]

War of the Red Diamond; Kintyra Septim II

With Emperor Antiochus' demise, Kintyra Septim II, Antiochus' daughter, would rise to power and become the Empress of Tamriel, much to the dismay of Potema. Potema traveled to Kintyra's Coronation and gave a very infamous speech. In her speech, she praised the late emperor but denounced the Elder Council and named Kintyra II, a bastard and an illegitimate heir to the throne. She was later banned from the Imperial City and mustered a rebellion from the Kingdom of Solitude and the other kingdoms of the Empire she had allied with throughout the years. This conflict would be called the War of the Red Diamond, the early stages of the war had occurred all throughout the Northern Empire, in places throughout Skyrim, High Rock, and Northern Cyrodiil. Kintyra II would get a distress signal from Mentin, the Duke of Glenpoint, and personal go there to discuss the issue, a decision she would soon regret.[7][11][12]

Kintyra II traveled beyond the Imperial Province and into the Dragontail Mountains and eventually the Barony of Dwynnen, to reach the March of Glenpoint, located northeast of Daggerfall and north of Reich Gradkeep. Through the perilous blizzards of the north, Kintyra II reached Castle Glenpoint on the 23rd of Frostfall. Unfortunately, Kintyra II's militia was ambushed by Potema's group, and Kintyra II was imprisoned inside Castle Glenpoint. Duke Mentin was working with Potema and used the distress call as a way to bait her into Potema's grasp. Kintyra II would be executed within Castle Glenpoint, causing Cephorus Septim to be crowned the next emperor. The war continued. The tides had turned, and the battlefront pushed towards the Kingdom of Solitude and Skyrim. Each and ever ally that Potema had mustered began to leave this dying cause, leaving Potema's forces to dwindle.[7][12][13]

The Fall of Potema; Enter Pelagius the Mad

The final battles during the War of the Red Diamond were the start of Potema's demise. The Battle of Falconstar was one of the few battles that Potema won. Potema and Lord Vhokken were able to subdue Magnus Septim's army, who were positioned in Kogmenthist Castle and secure that area of the war. However, the Battle of Ichidag was a failure for Solitude, Uriel III's forces were defeated in the Hammerfell countryside and was taken to the city of Gilane, to be put on trial by the Court of Gilane. However, a riot manifested in Gilane, where the main objective was to kill Uriel III. Uriel was killed amidst the mob, in a burning fire. After the victory over Falconstar, Potema received the news prior and did not think of it. Retreating into Solitude, Potema had practically lost all of her allies, resorting to using Necromancy to have warriors on her side. She had become an old withered witch who had nothing but a ruined keep, and the amulet her mother Quintilla gave her.[7][13]

The Siege of Solitude had left the Kingdom of Solitude ransacked and desolate. Cephorus and Magnus' armies were besieging the city, and the War of the Red Diamond was soon coming to an end. Inner Solitude, towards Castle Solitude has become a battlefield while the Well's District of Solitude is slowly redeveloping. Pelagius Septim III was wandering the streets of Solitude and arrived into the Solitude Mages Guild. There, an old lady approaches Pelagius III, complementing his young looks and giving him a strange amulet. Pelagius III gladly took the amulet and wore around his neck, while the old lady vanished into the alley. The old lady was Potema Septim, and she returned to her quarters where she died with a toothless grin on her face. Solitude was captured, and the War had finally ended. Pelagius III would assume the throne as the King of Solitude.[13]

The Story of Pelagius Septim III

Born in the city of Wayrest in 3E 119, Thoriz Pelagius Septim was pampered by his family, being the son of Magnus Septim, who was considered Antiochus Septim's favorite brother. His first ten years of his life has been chaos since Antiochus had passed, Kintyra II assumed the throne and the War of the Red Diamond ravaged the Empire. His first battle was the Siege of Solitude, and it was there he acquired an estranged amulet from an old woman. After the siege, Pelagius III assumed the throne as the King of Solitude. Magnus and Cephorus I fought Uriel III and Potema at Wayrest, having his family be relocated to the Isle of Balfiera where his mother, Utheilla Direnni was from. Pelagius III's earliest reign as the King of Solitude, was when his mind began to deteriorate, revealing forms of madness. He would have visitors from as far as Ebonheart to even Firsthold. Diplomats commented on his personality and his general being by mentioning his "a hale and hearty soul," and "a hand grip like a skeleton."[14]

Stories of Pelagius the Mad & his downfall

As time went on, Pelagius III's madness began to show indeed when he would lock the princes and princesses of Silvenar in their rooms and shove a declaration of war under their door. He would also tear off his clothes in public gatherings like festivals and say jarring speeches. By order of Magnus Septim, Pelagius III married Katariah Ra'athim, a beautiful Dark Elf from the city of Ebonheart. The reason for this marriage was to establish relationships with Ebonheart, who had a very well-known allegiance with Potema Septim during the War. Katariah was a shrewd politician and governed Pelagius III's kingdom while her husband was going insane. When Cephorus died, Magnus Septim became the Emperor, but was very old and eventually passed away, leaving the throne to Pelagius III and Katariah. Pelagius' sister, Jolethe Direnni became the Queen of Solitude and managed to keep a healthy kingdom within Skyrim. By the time Pelagius III was Emperor for a couple of years, he had a wide variety of stories describing his madness. One such example is that when Pelagius III gained the crown, he fainted on throne, and Katariah had to hold him up, so people did not know he fainted.[14]

Pelagius III's madness, made him infamous throughout the Septim Empire, giving him the name, "Pelagius the Mad." He was taken to several different asylums throughout the Empire, ranging from one in Valenwood to another one in Torval. While in the Imperial Palace, Pelagius III would sometimes attack visitors and he would have a crazed-obsession with cleanliness. Katariah ruled in his place and proved to be an exceptional leader, easily one of the greatest ones to grace the Empire. Rumor has it that Katariah had an affair with her consort, Gallivere Lariat, who hailed from the city of Shornhelm. But alas, Cassynder Septim, the child of Pelagius III and Katariah assumed the Ruby Throne. Pelagius III passed away in a Temple of Kynareth on the Isle of Betony.[14]

Solitude during the Imperial Simulacrum

Sometime during the Imperial Simulacrum, the provinces of Valenwood and Elsweyr waged war against each other and it was called the Five Year War, which started when the Khajiit traders being ambushed by several Bosmeri warriors. The war was fought in between the regions of Reaper's March and the Malabal Tor, more specifically in the Xylo River. At the Battle of Zelinin, the Khajiit utilized Nords from Solitude to give them authentic Heavy Armor from Skyrim, which proved to be useless. The Khajiit were unable to move as much as Medium Armor, and the Bosmeri Army massacred them. After that tragedy, the Solitude diplomats were forced out of Elsweyr, and the Khajiit went back to Medium Armor, which led to their victory in the war.[15]

During the Imperial Simulacrum from 3E 389 to 3E 399, Emperor Uriel Septim VII was imprisoned along with Talin Warhaft in the Deadlands by Jagar Tharn. Tharn planned for months to capture the throne, and he was able to achieve so in the span of ten years. Tharn had a powerful weapon called the Staff of Chaos, and he split it into nine pieces and scattered them across Tamriel, the staff was the only thing keeping Uriel Septim and Warhaft in Oblivion. A warrior escaped his clutches and traveled all corners of Tamriel to retrieve the missing pieces. The hero was known as the Eternal Champion, and he assembled the staff and defeated Jagar Tharn at the Imperial Palace. The Eternal Champion had at one point visited the city of Solitude in their quest to recover the pieces. The city of Solitude was under the rule of Queen Hania.[16]

The Rise of the Horme

Even after the Siege of Solitude, Potema Septim influenced the Skyrim underground, in the form of a faction known as the Horme. The Horme is a terrorist organization that believed that Potema and Uriel III were the direct descendants of Tiber Septim. Because of what they considered an atrocity, the death of Potema, the Horme committed acts that have an Imperial interest. The cities of Southern Skyrim such as Whiterun and Hrothgar, have suffered terrorist attacks by the Horme, among other things like blizzards and ravaging Frost Trolls. This was the last time; the Horme has been mention, the only similar faction was the Witches Coven of Wolfskull Cave in the fourth era who tried to resurrect Potema through powerful magic.[17]

The Reign of King Thian; A New Alliance

In the waning years of the third era, near the Oblivion Crisis, the city of Solitude was under the control of King Thian and through his reign, Solitude became an incredibly powerful kingdom, way more than it was before. Thian had the ambition to control the northern coast of Skyrim and to expand his territory to the island fiefdoms of the Sea of Ghosts. Thian would marry Queen Macalla, from the Kingdom of Dawnstar, to further establish the relations on Northern Skyrim. Through the Thian and Macalla Alliance, Solitude garnered control over the Imperial fiefs like the Isle of Roscrea and other territories that Uriel Septim V captured, before his conquest of Akavir. Thian would fund expeditionary journies throughout the Sea of Ghosts to find more islands and to finding more settlements.[17]

Fourth Era

Main article: Solitude (Skyrim)

Torygg of Solitude & the Ulfric Situation

During the Great War from 4E 171 to 4E 175, the High King of Skyrim was Istlod, who ruled from the city of Solitude rather than the city of Winterhold, which is where the High King commonly resides.[citation needed] With the Great Collapse, the capital of Skyrim was moved to Solitude, and the High King has ruled there ever since.[citation needed] Istlod managed to keep the province thriving when the Third Empire suffered from the Third Aldmeri Dominion. Istlod eventually passed away, causing a Moot to choose the next successor, that successor came in the form of his son, Torygg. Torygg married Elisif the Fair and ruled the province for several years until 4E 201.[18]

Despite the declining power the Empire had after the Great War, Torygg was a supporter of the Empire and served them well in their time of rebuilding, but many Nords of Skyrim would soon stray from the Empire, planning to create something of their own. Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak of Windhelm was heavily against the White-Gold Concordat, which banned the worship of Talos, who is considered a hero among the Nords of Skyrim. In the Moot that made Torygg the High King, Ulfric spoke about Skyrim's independence, in terms just shy of treason.[18] Regardless of this, Torygg had high-respect towards Ulfric but feared taking on the Dominion on their own.[18] In 4E 201, Ulfric traveled to Solitude to gain an audience with Torygg. There is an old Nordic tradition called the Traditional Nordic Duel, where a duel is fought to determine the High King.[19][20] It is never specified wether these duels are lethal or not, though in a previous duel, the bested survived.[21] Whatever the case, Ulfric challenged Torygg to this duel and as high king, Torygg could not refuse, as it would cause for a new Moot to meet.[18] The duel ended swiftly as Ulfric killed Torygg, by some accounts with the Thu'um,[22][18][23][24][25] by Ulfric's account, with his sword after he had shouted Torygg to the ground.[26] Following the death of Torygg, Ulfric fled to Windhelm, and the Skyrim Civil War worsened.[27]

Echoes of the Wolf; Potema's Awakening

During the Skyrim Civil War in 4E 201, several shady figures have begun to spring up in the city of Solitude, and one such group was a Necromancy coven located out in Wolfskull Cave, near the township of Dragon Bridge. Varnius Junius was a member of the Dragon Bridge community and traveled to gain an audience with Jarl Elisif the Fair and her Thane, Falk Firebeard. Firebeard sent an estranged warrior to investigate the weird occurrences out of the cave. It was there the warrior defeated the witches coven and banished the soul of Potema Septim into the Void, or so it would seem. Sometime later, Firebeard sent a letter to the warrior, to investigate the Solitude Catacombs about the appearance of Potema Septim. Deep in the chambers, the warrior encountered the apparition of Potema Septim, defeating her and officially sending her back to the Void, completely obliterating the threat. The warrior was said to be named the Thane of Solitude, under Elisif the Fair.[28][29]

Gallery

Trivia

  • When Arena was going to be a Tournament based game where each city had their own gladiatorial team. Solitude's team was known as the Ravagers.[OOG 2]

By game

Appearances

References

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. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Holidays in Arena
  2. Go Blades!