Elder Scrolls Lore Series: Ch.8 – Nords of Skyrim

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Skyrim

Behold the northern province of Skyrim, cold and rugged. Climb any one of it’s icy peaks and you’ll quickly realize why this Old Kingdom is considered the Throat of the World. Skyrim’s pine covered peaks holds four out of the five highest mountains in Tamriel, making it a land kissed by sky. To the uninformed outsider, Skyrim only conjures images of snow and mud, and while there is truth in this, it’s citizens know Skyrim as a land of breathtaking vistas, mighty rivers, and above all, a place of proving. It is a land where heroes are made, crafted in the harshness of the land’s embrace. To know Skyrim, is to know it’s people.

skyrim mountains

Appearance & Battle Prowess

A tall and sturdy race, well suited for the cold climates of the northern-most province; the Nords can tolerate the cold like no one else. If their fair-skin and yellow hair does not give them away, then their thick muscles and large frame surely will. The Nordic people have been taming Skyrim’s harsh interior for generations, and it shows. They are no strangers to hardship, whether it be farming the land, or defending it against the occasional sabercat, the Nords have been strengthened through their need for survival.

And they’ve done more than just survive. Throughout history the Nords have proven themselves to be some of the most skilled melee fighters in the realm. Violence is an accepted aspect of Nordic life. Their people face battle with a ferocity that shocks and even appalls their enemies. When he passes from this world, a Nord isn’t remembered for how he lived, but for how he died. Their tireless quest for honor and glory has made the Nords a force to be reckoned with. Make no mistake, this is a race of conquerors.

On the battlefield Nordic warriors are arguably the hardest fighters Tamriel has ever seen. When the ancient Nords attacked a city, they had no need  for siege engines or cavalry; the elite among them speak in the dragon’s tongue. Equipped with only their voice they could force down the doors of an enemy keep. A strong Nord can instill bravery in men with his battle-cry, or stop a charging warrior with his chilling roar. A Nord’s voice is his strongest weapon, and he attributes this gift, to the Aedra.

Elder Scrolls Nord Lore

Religion

Utop the Throat of the World, in an age long forgotten, the Sky Goddess Kyne breathed life into man. With her divine breathe the Nords found their strength. You may know Kyne by her Imperial name, Kynareth. Most Nords acknowledge the Divines as their gods, but unlike the rest of the Empire, the Nords see the Divines as notably more warlike. Just ask your nearest Nord what he thinks about life and death, and you’ll have a brief glance into their culture.

A Nord will tell you there exists a place so magnificent, so honored, that the entrance lies hidden from view. Sovngarde, it is called, built by the god Shor to honor those Nords who have proven their mettle in war. Nords who die with sword in hand are rewarded with a feast that never ends.Within this “Hall of Valor” time as we know it has no meaning. The concepts of life and death are left on the doorstep, and those within exist free of pain and suffering. A Nordic afterlife free of pain and suffering, it’s pretty ironic isn’t it, considering pain and suffering is the price of admittance. The path to Sovngarde is littered with the bodies of the fallen.

This belief system where only the strong prosper, in this life and the next, is the very thing that has made the Nords a damned near unstoppable force throughout Tamriel’s history.

sovngarde nord afterlife

A Brief History

The Histroy of the Nords is one of migration and retribution. Before they took the name “Nords”, this race men called themselves Atmorans, denizens of the continent known as Atmora. Long ago Atmora had erupted in a great civil war that left the continent drowning in blood. In the midst of this chaos, a visionary gathered all who would follow him and set sail to the south, in an effort to build a new life for his people. After a perilous journey across the Sea of Ghosts, their ships touched ground in modern day Skyrim. Finding the land already occupied by Mer who they called Snow Elves, the Atmorans named the land “Mereth”, in honor of them.

The Atmorans and the Snow Elves lived in relative peace for many years, which today would be unheard of for any place where elves and men reside. Until one fateful night, when the treacherous Snow Elves pillaged and slaughtered the Atmoran people. That night, an entire city burned, it’s people murdered without warning- without mercy. The Snow Elves, or Falmer as they called themselves, had come to a decision. Apparently the race of men were growing too quickly for their comfort. They did not wish to see man’s culture surpass their own. Feeling threatened, the Snow Elves turned to genocide, a sin they would one day pay greatly for. This atrocity would echo for generations to come, and even today, the Nords hold great resentment toward the elves of Tamriel.

According to legend, not every Atmoran was killed that tragic night. Out of the ashes came one visionary, and his two sons. They returned to Atmora and spread the news about what the honorless elves had done. 500 Companions heard these stories and joined Ysgramor in an event that would led to the birth of the Nordic race. The Return.

ysgramor five hundred companions

Settlement by settlement, city by city, Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions drove the elven betrayers out of Skyrim. Driving the Snow Elves to near extinction, Ysgramor cleared the way for his people to return to Tamriel. The Elves learned their most painful lesson, the race of man were here to stay.

At this time in the Nord’s early history, Dragons roamed the skies over Skyrim, and the Nords worshiped them. Their frail mortal voices were drowned out by the mighty thu’um of the dragon, and so it was only natural they these children of Akatosh should rule over them. Dragon priests possessed incredible power, both in their magical abilities, and in politics as religious leaders. They acted as intermediaries between the Nords and their serpentine “god-kings”, building great underground temples to appease their dragon masters.

The dragon priests in Tamriel became more tyrannical over time, and eventually Skyrim rebelled, leading to the legendary Dragon War. Man fought the great Dragons, and died by the thousands. It was clear the Nords were fighting a battle they could not win, yet when all hope seemed to be lost, some dragons turned against their own kind and taught the Nords powerful magic that allowed them to turn the tide of the war in their favor. After a long and bloody campaign, the rule of the dragons was ended, and those remaining fled to remote areas. The Nords, now free from both elves and beast, claimed Skyrim by right of conquest, and so the Jarls placed the Jagged Crown atop the head of their first King of Skyrim, Lord Harald- descendant of the now Nordic legend- Ysgramor

jagged crown jarl

Over a century later the Nords of Skyrim were ready to be led to glory by King Harald’s son, the ambitious Vrage the Gifted. King Vrage believed it was the destiny of his people to not only rule Skyrim, but beyond. His aggressive and bloody expansion is now known as the Skyrim Conquests. Within a span of fifty years, the descendants of Ysgramor ruled all of northern Tamriel, including most of present-day High Rock and the whole of Morrowind. Lands had been conquered before in Tamriel’s history, but never like this. The elves quickly learned how great the Nords had grown in such a short time, but by then it was too late. Land the Elves had fought over for millennia, now belonged to the upstart race of humans, who only centuries earlier, posed no real threat at all.

Needless to say the young headstrong Nords struck fear into the hearts of every Elf on Tamriel, so reluctantly the Elves set aside their differences and facedthe Nords just as they had- united. Just as the Elves were banding together in Morrowind, the last of Ysgramor’s line was breathing his last in Skyrim, leaving the Nords with a mighty Empire lacking an Emperor. Sadly the Jarls of Skyrim were unable to reach a decision on which of them were worthy of leadership, and without an Emperor their Empire soon fell to the Elves.

Now confined to Skyrim, the Nords mostly kept to themselves until late in the first Era, when Tamriel’s neighbors in Akavir landed on the icy shores of Skyrim, swords at the ready. With incredible discipline and combat precision, the likes of which the Nords had never seen, the mighty Akaviri Dragonguard cut through Skyrim with ease. Thoroughly impressed by the Akaviri invaders, the whole of Skyrim pledged themselves to one man. Reman Cyrodiil, the first Dragonborn in recorded history. The Second Empire of Man had dawned.

Centuries came and went and the Nords of Skyrim carried on, loyally serving their Akaviri Empire, upholding their kingdom and protecting their people, but even they could not stop the blade of a Morag Tong assassin. With their leader assassinated the Second Empire quickly crumbled. Without an Empire the Nords were free to engage their neighbors in glorious battle once again. Their expansion would be interrupted. When the Daedric Prince, Molag Bal sought to make Tamriel burn in the Second Era, the Nords entered one of the most unlikely alliances Tamriel had ever seen. A mortal’s need for survival has a way of transcending race, and so it was the Nords banded together with the Argonians of Black Marsh and the Dark Elves of Morrowind. In the effort of self-preservation the Nords formed the boisterous front line of the Ebonheart Pact, lending their skill as fierce warriors and expert weapon weapon masters. Once the threat to Tamriel was extinguished, Nords feel back into old traditions, and began their aggressive expansion once again, what they weren’t counting on was Tiber Septim and his newly formed Imperial Legions who sought to usher in the Third Era with an Empire of their own.akaviri warrior

After a few honorable confirmations with Tiber Septim’s Imperials, the Nords knew an Empire when they saw one. While most of Tamriel was dragged into the Empire, the Nords chose to join their fellow man willingly. After all, the human Imperial’s shared many of their qualities, having been cut from the same cloth. Many Nords soon dawned the uniform of the Imperial Legion, gladly serving under their Emperor.

Tiber Septim may have taken an Imperial name, but the Nords knew him by Talos, son of Atmora. Talos was Dragonborn, the likes of which the Nords had seen before. Dragon’s, and those claiming the power of Dragons, seemed to be destined to rule. Dominance is in a Dov’s very nature, and while Men hopelessly cling to their perpetually crumbling Empires, Tamriel’s “extinct” race was ready to take back their birthright. But that, is a story for another day…


2 Comments

  1. Bane June 8, 2013 11:12 pm 

    Amazing job guys! I could not think of better people to narrate this (besides morgan freeman) :)

  2. Fittest June 9, 2013 1:15 am 

    love your channel guys :) Great vids

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