Tamriel is of course just one continental system on the planet Nirn. How many others are out there is a matter of conjecture, for the oceans of Mundus are as dangerous to travel as the pathways of Oblivion. The following have had some influence on Tamriel, but perhaps other lands, far away, also exist, waiting inclusion in some future edition of this Guide.
Virtually nothing is known of the elven homeland. Its location, its environment, its politics, its religion, even its current existence are the stuff of conjecture. Translation from the ancient tapestries and texts in the Crystal Tower of Summerset have yielded only the barest of sketches of a beautiful but very strange land. In no representation of Aldmeris are there any trees or life but the Aldmer themselves. It appears always as an endless city, built upon itself over and over again, until no nature remains at all. The highest towers are reserved for interring the dead, a tradition continued on the Crystal Tower itself.
What had happened in Aldmeris since the elves who settled in Tamriel left is perhaps the oldest of all mysteries. For countless centuries, adventurers have sought "Lost Aldmeris," only to return disappointed, if they return at all. Some say that Aldmeris was sunk into the sea by the angry gods of the Aldmer. Others claim that the elven homeland has left Mundus, and will only return when the races of mer are united as one.
The Coral Kingdom has been a powerful antagonistic force against the Summerset Isle since before recorded time. As mentioned in an earlier section, the Sload may have at one time even called Summerset part of Thras home. For millennia, the hulking, slug-like creatures, notorious for the necromantic mastery terrorized the Altmer, conjuring sea monsters along the coasts and laying siege to Skywatch. For naughty High Elf children, a mother's warning that the Sload will get them is enough to give nightmares for days. Yet, for all the horror and devastation that has come out of Thras, we know relatively little about the land itself.
The first maps we have from cartographers who sailed to Thras and returned to tell the tale show a group of sixteen islands, in a semicircle like a partially a submerged coral atoll. Over the centuries other maps have been charted by spies and the number and size of islands has varied, suggesting that the amphibious Sload have a volatile kingdom which fluctuates in land mass, either by the tides or some other, less natural means. The largest of the islands (called Agonio on the most recent maps) seems the most stable, though later maps show it considerably larger than earlier ones.
The true and permanent aspect of Thras, however, is not something mapmakers would know, merely by looking at the land above the surface. Many an Altmer has been captured by the Sload, and a few have escaped to tell of the brackish lagoon in the center of the island chain. There the buoyant creatures may move about with relative quickness and grace through an intricate network of coral formations and ancient shipwrecks.
The reach of Thras has been felt far beyond its own land. The Thrassian Plague which decimated Tamriel's population in the year 2260 of the First Era was their most egregious attack against the mainland, but other, subtler predations have also been recorded. When the Redguard came to Tamriel in 1E 808, they brought with them a tradition of burying their criminals on islands of their shore, to prevent their evil spirits from disturbing the living. The Sload took advantage of these graveyards off the coast, finding them suitable laboratories for their necromancy. The Redguards pushed back against the invaders, but reports of Sload living near settled lands from Stros M'kai to Abibon-Gora have surfaced well into the Third Era.
In the past thirty years, things have been quiet in the western seas, and the hero of the Sload, the so-called King of Worms, Mannimarco has likewise ceased to trouble Tamriel. It may be that they slank back into their dark seas together. That is the more hopeful assumption.
Among the original homelands of the people of Tamriel, we know far more about Yokuda than we do about the others, Aldmeris and Atmora. The Yokudans came to the shores of Volenfell (now Hammerfell) in the First Era, when chroniclers had begun to be more meticulous and less fanciful in the details. They also brought with them memory stones and a rich heritage they were proud to share in epic tales.
The continent of Yokuda is no more, but it was once a place where rocky, barren hills were matched by the fecund combination of sophisticated agriculture, politics, and warfare. It was a harsh environment, training the Yokudans well for their lives in Tamriel. The Yokuda civil wars of the 4th and 8th centuries prepared them for their future conflicts, and the unwelcoming desert of Volenfell only yielded fruit and grain because of the experience the Yokudans had in their even more arid homeland.
It debated to this day what the nature of the disaster was that destroyed Yokuda. Tremors of the earth were not uncommon in the continent's history, and many argue that it was simply a natural catastrophic series of quakes at the foundation of the land. Others suggest that it may have had human origins: during the last civil war, a renegade band of Ansei called the Hiradirge were said to be masters of stone magic. When they were defeated in battle in 1E 792, the argument goes, they had their revenge on the entire land, destroying what they would never rule.
It was once belived that the Maormer of Pyandonea were originally exiles from the Summerset Isle, but while it is likely they came from similar Aldmeri ancestors, they certainly did not come from Summerset. Translations of tapestries in the Crystal Tower tell the tale of a far older enmity. The Maormer were likely separated from the ancient Aldmer not in Summerset, but in their original homeland of Aldmeris.
Orgnum, their leader and self-styled "King," according to the legend was a phenomenally wealthy Aldmer nobleman, who used his finances to launch a rebellion against the powers of the land. He and his followers were banished for this to a place separated from Aldmeris by an impenetrable mist, Pyandonea, "The Veil of Mist". This boundary proved so effective that the followers of Orgnum never again disturbed their former countrymen. The new Aldmeri homeland of Summerset, however, was not so lucky.
For much of Summerset's history, the Maormer have launched attacks against their sister child of Aldmeris. Every one of these battles have been led by Orgnum himself who it seems is not only immortal but grows more youthful by the century. No historian, to the knowledge of the staff of the Imperial Geographic Society, has counted the number of wars and number of strategies employed against Summerset, but somehow each has proved, no matter how ingenious, an ultimate failure.
One attack in particular is worthy of mention as it gives us our only glimpse into the actual landscape of Pyandonea. In the year 2E 486, a small Maormeri fleet was sighted off the coast of Alinor, and King Hidellith ordered his navy to give chase. The navy followed the ships through uncharted waters, into an ambush in Pyandonea itself. Most of the Alinori navy was destroyed, but a single warship returned to Summerset to describe the land as a "sea jungle". Massive plateaus spilling over with vegetation form mazes around valleys of ocean. Waving tendrils of kelp trap all but the Maormer's own ships, and provide a well-camouflaged home for the sea serpents that are Orgnum's guards and occasional mounts. Mist storms spill over the land, further disorienting one's views. That even one ship survived the visit is a testament to the maritime genius of the Altmer.
The last documented appearance of the Maormer was in 3E 110 in the War of the Isle. The storm brewed by the Psijic of Artaeum, it was said, so annihilated Orgnum's fleet that he was never again able to muster together enough of a force to dare another battle. The mists to the south reveal nothing to corroborate or refute this belief, but one can hope.
Thras and Pyandonea have been implacable enemies of Summerset and parts of western Tamriel for thousands of years, but the deadliest adversary - and most influential alien culture since the coming of the Aldmer and Atmorans - has been Akavir. The mysterious land to the east of Tamriel has been our opponent numerous times, and still we know little about them.
The first appearance in history was as pirates, which we may now assume were also scouts for the eventual invasions. Ships manned by bizarre beastfolk bewildered and horrified the earliest inhabitants of Tamriel. Contemporary scholars find references to pirates with rat-like features, and still others who appeared canine, suggesting Akaviri cultures yet undiscovered and perhaps extinct. Then, of course, there are the dragons, Akavir's most deadly and beautiful former native child. The very name "Akavir," in fact, means "Dragon Land."
In the 2703rd year of the First Era, Tamriel first faced an organized armada of Tsaesci, the so-called "Akaviri Snakemen", and met the challenge with a resounding victory in the Pale Pass of Skyrim. The Emperor Reman was so impressed by the exotic weaponry and battle prowess of his defeated foe that he and his heirs allowed them to rise from prisoners to advisors of the second Empire of Tamriel. Eventually, they became, on the death of Emperor Reman III in the year 2920, the Potentates of Tamriel, and the defeated Akaviri ruled the land for over 400 years.
It is from this era that we know most of what we do know of the land of Akavir. In addition to the Tsaesci, Akavir is said to be home to several other bestial and peculiar creatures: the monkeys of Tang Mo, the snow demons of Kamal, and the tiger dragons of Ka Po' Tun. It should be noted that these various races of Akaviri have never been sighted by modern scholars. While tales that survive for the Akaviri Potentate describe these races in detail, it is unknown how literally they should be taken, given the possible mistranslation of the complex Tsaesci language.
Tamriel met Akavir's aggression many centuries later when Emperor Uriel V, a military genus by any measure, was so ambitious as to attempt an invasion of Akavir based on the Tsaesci intelligence of the Second Era. This proved to be a catastrophe, cumulating with the loss of the Emperor and his entire army in Akavir at the Battle of Ionith in 3E 290.
While our battles with Akavir are likely far from over, their influence on Tamrielic culture has not been uniformly negative. The exotic weaponry and armor they used in the First Era has been adopted by warriors throughout the continent, and their dragon has been adopted as one of the most potent symbols of the Septim Empire.
For hundreds of years in the Merethic Era, raiders crossed the Sea of Ghosts to invade Tamriel from the frozen lands of Atmora, becoming after generations of living in our land the Nords, Cyrodiils, and the Bretons of today. The last invasion - if that is the word for two ships, largely laden with corpses, begging to make port - occurred in the 68th year of the First Era. The description of the land these raiders had left changes radically over the years, leaving many to believe that it was gradually dying, smothered by frost. Expeditions to Atmora in modern times describe a place of permanent winter, with little life and no sign of human habitation. Whatever population did not succeed in fleeing to Tamriel doubtless succumbed to the ever-worsening climate many centuries ago.
Even before the frost fall, Atmora was apparently not a temperate place. The early Nedic peoples who came from Atmora were hunters with no knowledge of agriculture. A land where every denizen was a predator doubtless insured that only the most brutal and savage survived. It is easy to see how these traits passed the raider men and down to the nature of the Arena of Tamriel.
|Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition|