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Ysgramor was an Atmoran warrior and the leader of the Five Hundred Companions. He is one of the most legendary heroes of Men, who played a pivotal role in the ascendency of humans on the continent of Tamriel in the late Merethic Era, during the period known as The Return.
Ysgramor is also considered the first human historian, as he developed a runic transcription of Nordic speech based on Elvish principles. Ysgramor's lasting influence on human history across Tamriel earned him such sobriquets as the "First Man", the "Bringer of Words" and "Harbinger of Us All" in bardic tradition and the accounts of historians.
Ysgramor was fleeing from civil war that had broken out on his homeland, the continent of Atmora. He and his two sons, Yngol and Ylgar, arrived at Hsaarik Head, located on the Broken Cape. Ysgramor sought no violence; he was a peaceful settler, and wanted to explore new lands. The newfound continent of Tamriel was named Mereth by the Atmorans, after the strange inhabitants who called themselves "Mer".
Many Atmoran settlers followed Ysgramor's example, and came to Mereth to escape the civil war. Soon, the human population of Tamriel was large enough that they began to build cities, and thus Saarthal was made. However, due to the huge population boom of humans, the Mer felt endangered and decided to raid human settlements in order to decrease their population. Almost all of the men were slain in a single night; only Ysgramor and his sons are known to have escaped. They took the last longboat and sailed back to Atmora. This night later became known as the Night of Tears.
After Ysgramor reached Atmora, he had found that the civil war had ended. He told stories of the treacherous elves and all the brothers and sisters who had fallen in their raid upon Saarthal. Soon enough, there was a whole army ready to fight and avenge the victims of the elves. This army became known as the Five Hundred Companions. Thus began a period of time known as The Return.
On the day known as the Day of Final Passage, Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions set sail for Mereth from the massive shipyards of Jylkurfyk. Ysgramor himself commanded a longboat by the name of Ylgermet. Both of his sons had earned their places as renowned warriors and had taken two longboats under their command as well, Harakk and Darumzu.
However, during their voyage to Hsaarik, the fleet was hit by the Storm of Separation. Both of his sons were separated from the rest of the fleet, and only the youngest, Ylgar, sailed out of it alive. It is said that Ysgramor was enraged by this. He went out in the storm alone to seek Yngol, but failed. By the time Ysgramor found the shipwreck of Harakk, Yngol and his crew were already slain by the sea-ghosts. Ysgramor is said to have hunted and burned them in their honor afterwards. Ysgramor buried his son by the Atmoran traditions and dug him a barrow. The barrow became known by the name of Yngol Barrow, and played a role in further events.
After the Five Hundred had reached Hsaarik Head, they sought to reclaim Saarthal from elvenkind. Many of their shield-brothers fell, but the army kept the name in honor of the fallen warriors. After reclaiming Saarthal, the Circle of Captains was assembled, where it was decided that every captain and his crew should make their own paths and separate. Thus began the great expansion of Men on Tamriel and genocidal slaughter of elves. Five Hundred were known to have spread from mountainous Skyrim to far southern marshes of Black Marsh and even to the isle of Solstheim.
Ysgramor and his crew, with the help of Kaal Kaaz and Sadon Reyth, fought elves in the area later named Eastmarch. Ysgramor stumbled on his recently dead son's grave, and, in grief, decided to build a great city where the nearby river met the sea. It was to serve as a monument for mankind. The city was built by elven captives in Atmoran fashion. It was made as an impenetrable fortress. Ysgramor commanded that a great bridge to be built over the White River, so no elf could attempt to sneak over and avenge his kin. A great palace was built that served as a seat of kings for many generations after Ysgramor himself. It is said that deep under Windhelm, a huge crypt was built to be worthy for legendary Ysgramor himself.
Some time later Ysgramor and his companions went to war with the giants. In the end, their most challenging enemy was Sinmur, a giant who had already killed some of the companions such as Hakra. After going to his barrow, Ysgramor destroyed the giant's club with Wuuthrad and killed the giant.
News of Ysgramor's final breath went over Tamriel as a huge dark cloud. It is said that even the fiercest of warriors put down their mighty axes, and in grief swore never to pick them up again. The death of Ysgramor ended the period of the Return. Most of the Five Hundred settled. It is them, whom the most modern Tamrielic human races had evolved from.
Despite the crypt that had been already built for him in Windhelm, Ysgramor chose to be buried on the coast of the Sea of Ghosts, looking in the direction of his birthplace, Atmora. Ysgramor's Tomb was located north-west of Winterhold.
Due to the actions of Ysgramor, the race of Snow Elves were banished underground, only to emerge only thousands of years later as beastfolk known as Falmer. Some believe that the Falmer still hold a grudge against humanity and the day will come when they will attempt to reconquer land that once belonged to them.
In 4E 201, the Last Dragonborn met Ysgramor when they entered the Hall of Valor in search of help defeating Alduin as they delved into the realm of Sovngade in their pursuit of defeating the Dragon.
- Main article: Ysgramor Dynasty
Ysgramor had only two sons. His elder son, Yngol, was killed by Sea-Ghosts in the Storm of Separation and thus never settled in Mereth to have a family of his own. His youngest son, Ylgar, did survive the Nordic-Falmer War and had descendants of his own. It is said that all Nordic Kings are descended from Ysgramor as well.
- Ysgramor bears a striking resemblance to the historic Viking chieftain Ganger Hrólf, or Rollo. Like Rollo, Ysgramor was the leader of a large colonizing war band to southern lands, where he and his Five Hundred Companions became progenitors to the Nords, similar to how Rollo and his Viking warriors became forebears to the Normans in the north of France. The in-game statement that "all Nordic kings to this day are descended [from Ysgramor]" likewise is a historical reference to how Rollo became an ancestor to almost all European monarchies, due to the successful conquests that his mixed offspring, the Normans, undertook in England and southern Italy in particular.
- While Ysgramor has been mentioned in the Elder Scrolls games since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, his first in-game appearance is in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- Ysgramor's armor (the statue version) is very similar to the Nordic Carved Armor which appears in The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim
- Frontier, Conquest
- Before the Ages of Man
- Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- The Annotated Anuad
- Fall of the Snow Prince
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire
- Vernaccus and Bourlor
- Songs of the Return, Vol 56
- Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- Songs of the Return, Vol 7
- Scourge of the Gray Quarter
- Lost Legends
- A Dream of Sovngarde
- Dunmer of Skyrim
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Great Harbingers
- ↑ Before the Ages of Man
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- ↑ Frontier, Conquest
- ↑ Night of Tears (Book)
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Songs of the Return, Vol 56
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 7
- ↑ Fall of the Snow Prince
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 27
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Atmora
- ↑ Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- ↑ The Falmer: A Study
- ↑ Events of Online
- ↑ Events of Skyrim
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim