Solstheim is an island located northeast of Skyrim and northwest of Vvardenfell. It is the setting for the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim add-on Dragonborn, and the The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind add-on Bloodmoon. It is home to the Skaal, but also Dunmer refugees from Morrowind since the early Fourth Era following the Red Year. Solstheim was controlled by the East Empire Company but politically a part of Skyrim until 4E 16, when the High King of Skyrim gave the island to the province of Morrowind.
According to Skaal legend, the island of Solstheim was created sometime in the Merethic Era, when a Dragon Priest, who was known in those days as The Guardian discovered that another dragon priest, then known as The Traitor, was seduced by a dark spirit named Herma-Mora and secretly plotted against his dragon-worshiping overlords, he proceeded to confront him. The two fought against each other for days in the northern regions of Skyrim. The battle was said to be so destructive that a piece of land was torn apart from the mainland of Skyrim. Thus, Solstheim was created.
Towards the end of the Merethic Era, the Snow Elves had been hunted down to near extinction by the invading armies of Ysgramor. Mereth had already been purged of Snow Elves, so the ancient Nords turned their attention to Solstheim where a great number of skirmishes were said to have taken place. The Battle of the Moesring is considered to be the final stand between the Nord and Snow Elf armies. Initially, the ancient Nords cut great swaths through the enemy ranks with their superior weapons, and it was said that the slopes of the Moesring "ran red with Elf blood." The Snow Elf armies were led by the Snow Prince, a powerful warrior, and as he killed a Nord woman named Jofrior in front of her twelve-year-old daughter Finna. In rage, Finna threw her mother's sword at the Prince which struck him in the chest and killed him.
His death shattered the spirit of the remaining Snow Elf warriors. Many fled, and those that remained on the battlefield were killed. News of his death spread across the land, reaching even the isolated and scattered tribes of Snow Elves across Skyrim.
In 3E 427, the town of Raven Rock was founded by the East Empire Company, due to the rich source of ebony found on the southern part of Solstheim. It took several months to build up the town, and the mine eventually started to provide plentiful sources of ore. There was almost no Imperial presence except for Fort Frostmoth, Raven Rock, and the mine, which over the years had become an important source of Ebony for the Empire.
During the events recounted in The Infernal City, in 4E 49, the Dunmer population of Vvardenfell and Morrowind were forced to flee to Solstheim after the Argonian political faction known as the An-Xileel invaded their homeland, sometime in 3E 433 during the Oblivion Crisis.[OOG 2]
In 4E 5, the Red Mountain erupted, which caused severe damage to the landscape; and a great number of people lost their lives while many cities were completely destroyed. These events took place from 4E 5 to 4E 6.
On the 30th of Rain's Hand in 4E 10, some miners who were digging in Raven Rock Mine broke through a wall which lead to some Nordic ruins, which were later revealed to be Bloodskal Barrow. The East Empire Trading Company assigned a professional explorer, Gratian Caerellius, and his aid, Millius, to explore the ruins. The two men went into the tomb, but their adventure eventually came to a close when they discovered a mysterious puzzle and a blade, known as the Bloodskal Blade. As the two men attempted to figure out the puzzle, they were set upon by Draugr and Millius was killed. Caerellius continued on, but eventually collapsed due to his serious injuries. Just before he died he wrote these last words in his journal: "Last entry-I've lost track of time and my strength is fading. I can't even stand anymore. My wounds refuse to heal. I'm afraid this tomb will become my resting place. If anyone finds this journal, please send these notes to my superiors at the East Empire Company and tell my wife that I love her. May Arkay guide me to my final rest." When the East Empire Company discovered Caerellius' death it was announced that a cave-in had caused the "accident." The company then closed off that section of the mine to avoid any further expenses or inquiry.
In 4E 170, the Ebony deposits in Raven Rock Mine dried up and the East Empire Company ceased its operations on Solstheim. This disrupted the economy and caused a mass exodus of the non-Dunmer inhabitants. The population was cut in half which transformed Raven Rock into a primarily Dunmer settlement.
The geography of the island in the Fourth Era bears similar traits to both Vvardenfell and Skyrim. In the north the high cliffs of glaciers and crevasses lead further south to the Moesring Mountains which are covered by snow and ice, the whole area is dominated by an arctic climate similar to that found in Winterhold and the northern parts of Skyrim. The south half of the island is reminiscent of the Dunmer homeland, it features a jagged and nearly life-barren landscape, with scattered burnt trees, the whole area is covered with ashes spewed from the Red Mountain.
Solstheim is divided into the four regions: Felsaad Coast, Hirstaang Forest, Isinfier Plains and Moesring Mountains. A small village named Sathil was built in the early Fourth Era by House Sathil.[OOG 4]
There is a huge variety of wildlife on Solstheim, being both docile and hostile. Netches can be commonly found on the shores in the southern regions of the island, along with Ash Hoppers, Burnt Spriggans and Ash Spawn which can be found on the jagged landscape until it reaches the northern climate in the center of the island. A Silt Strider can also be found near Tel Mithryn, tamed by the Dunmer Revus Sarvani. There is also the Felsaad Tern which is a bird native to Solstheim and can be found in the Felsaad Coast.
Pearl Oysters can be found abundantly along the sandy shores all over Solstheim.
The Riekling is a common hostile creature in the northern regions of the island, and the Rieklings is known for taming the Bristlebacks which can be found throughout the island. The arctic climate is home to creatures like Werebears, deer, bears, snow foxes and Spriggans. Ensleth Valley has a good hunting: elk, deer and muskrey are among the animals that can be found in the valley.
According to literature, the first inhabitants of Solstheim were of Atmoran descent, also known as Nords. They had strong ties to the Ancient Dragon Cult. There is also a small tribe of Skaal people inhabiting a village in the east; they are a separate branch of Nords with different beliefs and customs. The East Empire Company brought Imperial workers to the islands, until the ebony mines ran dry in 4E 16. The Island was offered to the Dunmer people by the High King of Skyrim. Since then, they have inhabited Solstheim's southern and south-eastern areas.
It is unclear how much control Skyrim had over Solstheim, it seems to have had different governing entities during different time periods, as there are several Nordic Tombs and Dwemer Ruins scattered across the island. Moreover, the Skaal seem to have never been affiliated to any governmental society, other than their own traditions. In 4E 16, the island was handed over to the Dunmer of Morrowind. From then on, Solstheim was under the jurisdiction of House Redoran, one of the Great Houses of Morrowind.
At the time of the Dragonborn visit, the official military in Solstheim is the Redoran Guard. The guards duty is to protect House Redoran and the people of Raven Rock from any dangers that threatens their society. They often have to deal with the Ash Spawn, who regularly attack Raven Rock.
At the time of the events that unfold during The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon, the Daedric Prince Hircine was known to have significant influence over the island and its people. Hircine was able to physically manifest for a hunt on Solstheim with his Werewolf minions, at the end of every era, similar to the Greymarch. The Skaal call this destructive event the Bloodmoon Prophecy, for as Hircine arrives, the moons turns red as blood. This indicates that the Bloodmoon Prophecy will occur at the end of the Fourth Era. His Werebear minions can also be found on Solstheim, this is the only known place where they can be encountered.
The Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora is also known to have a mysterious influence on the island and its inhabitants. There is some architecture on both the Temple of Miraak and the All-Maker Stones which resembles the architecture found in the realm of Apocrypha. Several Black Books that lead to Hermaeus' Realm can be found on the island in various locations. The Dragonborn might encounter a Madman who is heavily influenced by Hermaeus Mora.
- In An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City the island is referred as Soulstheim. It is probably an error of the author, since he uses the habitual name Solstheim for An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Mentioned only)
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City (Mentioned only)
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Mentioned only)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Guardian and the Traitor
- ↑ Fall of the Snow Prince
- ↑ Journal of Mirtil Angoth
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 History of Raven Rock, Vol. I
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- ↑ Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Loading Screens (Dragonborn)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Gratian's Journal
- ↑ Dialogue with Crescius Caerellius