Moraelyn Ra'Athim and Edward from “King Edward” :)
I think mentioned facts from this book let me suggest that described events took place before Battle of Red Mountain )
Joke from the best chat xD
(Not entirely happy with the result, but I think this is it.) The comic is from Lena’s The Fountain of Forgetfulness.
Happy New Year everyone! ^^ See you next year!
“I have seen how you lust after the power and prestige that only I have as the Guildmaster here in Vvardenfell. If you truly think that you can take my place, meet me in the Arena for a duel to the death.”
–Trebonius Artorius sadly proving that the candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.
What’s with some of the guildmasters wanting to kill you? You would think from an infrastructure point of you it would be a terrible idea because if the guild master dies then the new guild master won’t get any tips or knowledge or have the experience the old one has?
A reckoning is not to be postponed indefinitely.
I would say that one of the big themes of Morrowind is that every part of the society depicted in it is breaking down. Newer institutions, powers, and ideas should have risen thousands of years earlier, but Morrowind never had to adapt its society for the times. The Tribunal has caused thousands of years of stagnation to remain, unchallenged. Morrowind and the future games only address this directly a few times, but I think stagnation and corruption are strong themes that can’t be avoided. As one of the most clear cut examples of this, here is where House Dres stood during TES III: Morrowind:
“House Dres is an agrarian agricultural society, and its large saltrice plantations rely completely on slave labor for their economic viability. Always firm Temple supporters, House Dres is hostile to Imperial law and culture, and in particular opposed to any attempts to limit the institution of slavery.“
And here is House Dres ~six years later…
“They say that slavery has been abolished in Morrowind. House Dres and Hlaalu have renounced the slave trade, and freed the beastfolk from servitude.”
It’s almost like the system was only still functioning because there were literal GODS keeping it that way. The moment those gods are gone, Dres knows the game is up and accepts an alliance with Hlaalu, most likely in return for some of the spoils from Indoril. Hlaalu made quick work to overturn slavery as a system, because they were not financially reliant on it. Unfortunately for Hlaalu, there was no being prepared for the crises that were coming their way.
So that raises the question, why do the leaders of Imperial factions fall into this system? And that’s a mixed answer. For Trebonius, he’s an embarrassment that has failed upwards. As you may have seen earlier, he was assigned to Morrowind to get him out of the way to an area the Guild wasn’t too interested in. While the initial post depicts the “kill Trebonius” path to the Mages Guild. By confronting him early, you give him one last throw of the dice to prevent the inevitable, which he will gladly seize. Do you know what happens if you decide to not confront him, and just do a good job as a member of the guild? Ocato simply sends a letter to him, essentially firing him now that a more qualified candidate was right there.
Another clear example is Sjoring Hard-Heart, who is besmirching the good name of his brother, Radd Hard-Heart. Sjoring has become completely corrupted by Morrowind’s system, turning an Imperial institution into a puppet for the Camonna Tong. He has become so corrupted that your only option is to kill him, no matter what approach you take. He will betray you, like he betrayed the ideals of his guild. If you don’t take a path that openly has you try to kill him, he will eventually just try to off you himself.
Varus Vantinius is the one who doesn’t fall into this scheme easily. He tells you that there can only be one person with his title in Vvardenfell, so you have to have a duel to the death… this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Keep in mind that this is a very speculative answer for his logic. There’s a reason that the Klingon Promotion system isn’t that popular, and when it is actually used is usually a sign of extreme instability and chaos rising. So why does he insist on it? Maybe he was passed up for a genuine promotion (as Vvardenfell isn’t exactly well managed, and the blame for that could easily be assigned to him). With you reaching the point where you could take his rank, he might have been left with forced retirement, transfer to an incredibly undesirable command (like Solstheim), or being to step down to a lower position as your subordinate… so instead of accepting those embarrassing ends to his military career, he instead makes you gather powerful artifacts for the “Legion” but really his own use, and then promptly challenges you to a fight to the death while using them against you. It would have worked to, if his plan didn’t rely on him having a realistic chance of actually beating you.
Now let’s look at the traditional factions of Morrowind. Redoran is currently on the path to total irrelevancy. Telvanni spends most of its time murdering itself. The Temple is losing ground to the Imperial Cult. Hlaalu has become extremely powerful by simply accepting the times.
Let’s take a closer look on Redoran. They hold the worst and least amount of land in Vvardenfell, they are currently being out-competed and dominated by Hlaalu, the Foresters, and the Thieves Guild, and they are also under attack by House Dagoth. A good leader would have trouble handling this situation… too bad they’re stuck with Venim who is busy getting into scandals and taking part in infighting to face any of the challenges that are crushing his House. Of course this absolute failure of a leader is going to challenge you to a fight to the death, instead of accepting your help.
Now let’s look at House Telvanni. House Telvanni doesn’t really exist as a unified entity. House Telvanni’s strength comes entirely from the sheer magical power of its most powerful members… which they can’t utilize in any unified way. If Telvanni was even slightly united in purpose, they could steamroll over the other houses, but they simply don’t think that way. Telvanni has managed to thrive thanks to its relative isolation from any actual power, the other Houses beyond Hlaalu don’t count as they were all so poorly managed to not matter. But a real crisis WAS on the horizon. Telvanni’s agents were seizing land without the proper permits, putting them on a path to an inevitable confrontation with Hlaalu and their Imperial allies. House Dagoth would eventually begin its war in earnest, and House Telvanni was not prepared for a real war. Of course neither of these were the crisis that came to head, instead it was the Red Year that showed the consequences for Telvanni’s lack of unity. While already weakened in the face of the Red Year, the An-Xileel invasion of Morrowind truly crushed Telvanni when a million-strong force of Argonians ran unchallenged through Telvanni’s surviving holdings.
So of course Gothren chooses to fight you. At no point in his life did he need to adapt his ways. And his legacy can be found in the ashes of Telvanni.
Last we’ll look at the Tribunal Temple and how it is losing ground to the foreign Imperial Cult. Isn’t it odd that the Imperial Cult is gaining a major foothold against the local temple? Well, not really. The Temple, as it was, was unsustainable. It was propped up by its living gods, but without their active support, it was completely failing to address its problems. And this was becoming clear to the population of Morrowind. The Temple was not going to be useful to you any longer. So naturally, people started gravitating to the Imperial factions, such as the Imperial Cult. Even if the crisis with House Dagoth didn’t come to head I believe this would have happened, however. The simple fact is, the Imperial Cult was easier.
To become a full member of the Imperial Cult, you must donate 50 gold to the Cult, a fee which can be waived by the person signing you up, if they wish.
To become a full member of the Tribunal Temple, you must…
- Talk to any quest giver to learn about the Pilgrimages of the Seven Graces and receive the book The Pilgrim’s Path. Then do the following, in any order:
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Humility, at the Fields of Kummu, and offer a portion of muck.
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Daring, at the Vivec Temple, and offer a Rising Force Potion.
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Generosity, at the Palace of Vivec, and offer 100 gold.
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Courtesy, at The Puzzle Canal. Nearly drown yourself in the Puzzle Canal, Central, to open the way to the shrine. Then give a Silver Longsword to the Dremora Krazzt.
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Justice, at the Gnisis Temple, and offer Potion of Cure Common Disease.
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Valor, at the Koal Cave, and offer some Dreugh Wax.
- Complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Pride, at the Ghostgate, and offer a soul gem.
With that said, that’s where we’ll live this off for now. There’s plenty more that can be said on this topic, of course. Like I said, corruption and stagnation are themes you can explore heavily in Morrowind.
Very comprehensive essay! One thing I think is interesting, in the light of all this, is the way house dynamics switch around in the ~200 year period between Morrowind and Skyrim. Like you mentioned, in Morrowind circa 3E 427, Redoran–the most tradition-bound house of the three the players are allowed to join–is fading in power, which Hlaalu–the most progressive–is up and coming. But after the Oblivion Gates, the Red Year, and the subsequent Imperial desertion of Morrowind, the positions reverse, with Hlaalu getting gutted and torn apart while Redoran rises to new prominence on Solstheim. So while the two most traditional houses, Indoril and Dres, get destroyed and reformed respectively, there’s still a return to traditionalism in another traditional house becoming the new leading power, while the most progressive house disappears.
I’m glad you enjoyed it. However, I’m not so sure things played out exactly how it was presented to us by Redoran.
From what we were told by Ocato himself, the Empire did not abandon the provinces when you requested aid for Bruma:
“This is terrible news. Under normal circumstances, I would dispatch a legion or two to Bruma immediately. But the circumstances are not normal, are they? I’ve been pleading for troops for Cyrodiil for weeks, but the generals assure me that the entire Imperial Army is already fully committed. Besides… I’d have a full-scale political crisis on my hands if I tried to pull any troops out of the provinces. I’m sorry, but the cities of Cyrodiil will have to fend for themselves for the time being.”
The script also includes notes for this segment:
disgust at the pig-headed military types he is forced to deal with; admitting that in fact, it isn’t really the generals fault
He doesn’t have a reason to lie to you, you are an Imperial operative in the thick of the invasion, and are requesting military aid to prevent the fall of a major city. Not being honest with you will hurt the Empire’s cause. Now let’s look at what Redoran claims happened in Morrowind. Starting with Adril Arano:
“Traitors. The lot of them. Their collaboration with the Empire may have given them unrivaled political and economic strength, but their hearts weren’t with the Dunmer people. Hlaalu deserved every bit of the hatred they received once the Empire released its grasp on Morrowind. Having past ties to the Empire immediately turned them into the scapegoat for the Dunmer people’s suffering. They had welcomed the Empire with open arms, and benefited from it. When everything was said and done, they were no longer recognized as a Great House and were dismissed from the Council.”
How hateful, yet vague. What about what he thinks about the Empire?
“During the Oblivion Crisis, gates to the plane of Oblivion opened all over Morrowind. The Empire pulled most of its forces out of Morrowind to deal with the gates in their own homeland, leaving us virtually defenseless. We had no standing army at the time, just uncoordinated pockets of resistance. House Redoran took charge and was slowly able to build an army. It took years, but it became a force to be reckoned with. When the Argonians invaded years later, House Redoran’s army was able to prevent them from sweeping across all of Morrowind. It would be fair to say that House Redoran literally saved the Dunmer people from destruction.”
What?!? That’s not true, I was in Cyrodiil at the time, Ocato did NOT lie. There was no recall. As for not having an army? The Houses absolutely had military forces. Morrowind’s Great Houses were not disarmed, and one of the details of the Armistice that was explicitly mentioned by A Short History of Morrowind was that the armed forces in the province would be a mixture of House and Legion guards. We can prove that this was also true because House guards were a common sight in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. So we’re being lied to here. The Redoran account of history is provably wrong.
So what did happen in the Fourth Era? Well, that’s harder to say. The truth is in Morrowind, but we can barely see it from the Solstheim’s shores. Let us look at the information we can grab from the outskirts. So Redoran tells us that Hlaalu is no longer a part of the Council. That’d be an absurdly big lie to keep under wraps, and the Redoran agent who talks to us about this says they were scapegoats. I believe him about that. What we can also determine is that Hlaalu is definitely not dead. During the Dragonborn expansion, you can choose to get involved with a conflict between Redoran and Hlaalu forces, with you preventing Hlaalu from seizing control of Solstheim at the last moment. I don’t know about you, but them being prepared to openly seize Raven Rock suggests to me that things are not going great on the Mainland. Solstheim would be a pretty useful base of operations for a civil war. Hard to invade, has access to foreign supply lines, and allows you to strike at coastal locations yourself. I don’t just think Hlaalu is alive, I think Hlaalu might be preparing to openly go to war with Redoran.
Look at the Dunmer refugees in Windhelm. We hear about ongoing colonization efforts in Morrowind. A lot of the Dunmer have very little keeping them in Windhelm, so why are they staying? I believe they might still be refugees. Consider one of the more prominent Dunmer residents of Windhelm, Belyn Hlaalu. The same House that is outright despised just across the border. He certainly can’t head back home. It could be that some of the refugees in Skyrim had political ties to Hlaalu, and cannot go back home still.
Some other things of note, Redoran claims that the Argonians mainly fought in Southern Morrowind, but House Telvanni’s holdings were sacked. The Telvanni Peninsula is the eastern peninsula of Morrowind, with major holdings close to the most northern point. While the letter cited earlier in this could very well be exaggerating, I don’t think we can entirely discount a “thousand-thousand” Argonians as not being a significant part of the war.
Another point of interest is this conversation in Skyrim’s Thieves Guild, mentioning the situation across the border:
Delvin: “Puttin’ together another shipment from Morrowind, Vekel. Lookin’ for anythin’ special?”
Vekel the Man: “Well, if some Moon Sugar should fall into your lap…”
Delvin: “Maybe. That stuff’s gettin’ tough to bring across the border with all the Argonian patrols.”
The Thieves Guild is having difficulty with the Morrowind-Skyrim border due to ARGONIAN patrols. Delvin doesn’t have much reason to lie to a fellow guild member about the situation on the ground in Morrowind. Or how about this note from the History of Raven Rock:
More than 100 years after the Argonian forces were “stopped” by Redoran, they launched a raid on somewhere as remote as Solstheim? We also know that Redoran moved the capital from Mournhold to Blacklight, just about as far from the Argonian border as they possibly could. While this is speculative in nature, I believe the evidence suggests that Redoran didn’t actually deal with the Argonian forces to any meaningful degree. It seems to me more likely that Redoran was lucky and the Argonian forces focused on other targets. I also want to briefly mention that Keerava is said to have a family with a farm in Morrowind. While that is definitely not enough to draw any true conclusion from, it suggests to me that the Dunmer were either very forgiving of the Argonians after the war, or that parts of Morrowind are actually parts of Argonia now.
Here is an old developer map of Morrowind, showing political affiliations of each major location:
Orange represents Redoran on this map, with the heart of their territory being the northwestern territory of Morrowind. So we know that Vvardenfell was completely wrecked during the Red Year. Additionally, no one denies that the Argonians heavily attacked the southern territories… which just happens to be the power base of Hlaalu, Dres, and Indoril… We also have reason to believe that the Telvanni holdings were HEAVILY hit by the war. Meaning we have reason to believe that literally every other major faction based in Morrowind took the brunt of the fighting, while Redoran more or less got to sit out the wrath of the Argonians.
So here is what I believe really happened. Keep in mind this is my own opinion on the subject, and the actual situation has heavy degrees of ambiguity. That ambiguity was almost definitely intentional, so Bethesda can avoid writing themselves into any wall.
The Oblivion Crisis happens. The Legion, Hlaalu, and Dres are at the center of the effort to protect Morrowind. That’s not to say the other Houses did not contribute to the fighting, but it makes sense for the Legion-Hlaalu-Dres alliance to take on the brunt of it. The Legion forces are either completely destroyed during the conflict, or are left in such a poor state by the end of the crisis that they might as well have been. The Red Year occurs, destroying every major holding that survived the Crisis. Hlaalu, Telvanni, Indoril, and the Legion take heavier losses than Redoran, who had already lost their largest holding (of their already comparatively small slice of land) in Vvardenfell during the Crisis.
The Argonian Invasion occurs, sweeping through the exhausted remnants of the Legion-Hlaalu-Dres alliance without slowing. The already extremely weak Indoril unsurprisingly doesn’t put up a fight. When they reach the Inner Sea, the bulk of the Argonian forces attack the east, Telvanni, not the west, Redoran. The Telvanni are completely devastated by the Argonian forces. Redoran has comparatively lucked out by not being a primary target, giving them time to mobilize a response. However, a considerable portion of territory remains in Argonian hands, and smaller scale fighting never stops.
Still, Redoran is the “winner” for the Dunmer side, and they take the spoils of war… that mainly being holdings from other Dunmer. Redoran seizes all of the surviving Hlaalu holdings, and remove them from the Council in place of a puppet. Dres, who was on the front of the war and had no way of protesting, abandons their alliance with Hlaalu. Indoril supports these actions, potentially for the return of the holdings Dres and Hlaalu took from them. Telvanni was too devastated to respond, not that they were likely to support Hlaalu.
The Empire, not wanting to galvanize an already very bad situation, does not send a military expedition. They instead “release control” of the province for now, as long as elements like the East Empire Company are left to their own devices. Redoran rewrites history to make them the big heroes in all of this, when they essentially did nothing.
Still, when the Empire retakes Riften from the rebellion in Skyrim, the legion forces cannot help excitedly voicing a certain thought:
“Now that the Empire’s arrived in Riften, we’ve finally established a launching point into Morrowind… just in case.”
After all, a reckoning is not to be postponed indefinitely.
Almalexia and “yokudan hyenas”
“I am a runaway slave, an elf, and I live in a strange house. Does none of this bother you?” - Fenris.
The idea came up quite suddenly and was too bright to miss.
Some joke about this marvelous woman :)
Да кому нужен этот перевод.
Я никогда не пожалею об этом вопросе XD
New dawn (or with the alt title: A House no longer Unmourned)
I just needed to do something personal after I finished the ongoing commission (which I will probably upload tomorrow).
Illustration to fanfic https://ficbook.net/readfic/9835952
Drawn for the Fandom Kombat 2020
What if Dagoth Ur’s golden mask separated apart.
A kissable face!! 😳❤
It’s just that the Dwemer make moonshine. For wiping their machines, of course %)
It’s not the weirdest crossover
Nanny Ogg :)
Best witch ever X)
NerevAr or NErevar? X)
Here’s Lorkhan, lord Voryn Dagoth with the tonal instruments of Kagrenac and lord Indoril Nerevar - all connected with the Heart of Lorkhan, the Drum of Doom.
Drafts to new strip :)
Almalexia has no tatoos on her face in TESO, so I decided that it might appear later… Oh, she is a goddess. She does, that she wants X)