They call Skyrim the Throat of the World, because it is where the sky exhaled on the land and formed them.
Unknown; Children of the Sky
Alright, so, what with it being the Holidays and all, I was gearing up to write about some Holiday type things, unsurprisingly. But that just irked me a bit, mostly because doing so would be akin to littering over the internet, since that's just about all anybody feels like writing about this time of year (even FOX news has gotten in on the Christmasy Cheer, in their own special way), that is, unless they're writing about their 'TOP 5 FAVORITE FILMS FROM 2011!' Which all just happen to be the same five films that were advertised most on their site this year (isn't it just a Christmas miracle). And this is why I need to write this essay- this same annoying, little rant has been playing over and over in my head for almost a week now, bumming me out, with me trying to somehow find the motivation to write about Christmas, or Santa, hell, at one point I considered writing about the history of the Coca-cola company, since they invented the whole damn thing themselves. Until it hit me: there's only one thing everybody's really looking forward to this year during the Holidays, and that's getting a whole week to do nothing but play SKYRIM! Probably one of the most epic games ever created, the fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls series has turned more Average Joes into video-game addicted fantasy junkies than just about any other game I can think of, and yes, that's including WoW (bunch of money hocking dorks if you ask me [and Chuck Norris? Really? Ridiculous]).
|I have a new hero now Mr.Norris.|
The game has received inconceivable amounts of praise, not just because of the narcotic-like obsession the game seems to inspire in those who play it, but because what Bethesda Game Softworks seems to have created here is, quite literally, an actual WORLD, chock full of depth, layers, oh yea, and FUCKING DRAGONS. But more importantly, books. Books, and books, and even more books, books as far as the eye can see, and more informative to the player than a coughing, obese, foot-stomping knight in clanky armor is to a blind person. I’m talking books about myths, books about romance, books about tragedy, books about freaking books! There are plays, novels, fairy tales, and best of all, books about history, which are so detailed, and actually seriously interesting, that I can use them (and a bit of info collected from the Elder Scrolls Wiki pages) to make an actual essay on the History of the Nordic lands known as Skyrim. So next time your wife, or girlfriend, or family, or friends ask you what’s the big deal about this dumb video-game you’ve been doing nothing but playing for the last two months, you can show them this essay, preferably with a victorious middle finger raised high, or at least a not-too-douchebaggy ‘Screw You,’ before you get back to leveling up your bow wielding Argonian assassin in the GREATEST GAME EVER CREATED.
|That's a dragon tail by the way, not tentacle porn.|
Now while Skyrim, like all of Tamriel, is heavily populated and dominated by humans, it was not always this way. In fact, for most of the First Era, the land belonged predominately to the Mer races, specifically the Snow Elves, or the Falmer, and the Dwermer, whose technological advancements placed them ages ahead of any other race known to exist in Skyrim, possibly even Tamriel as a whole, to the current date (until they all vanished one day or whatever). What changed? Well the ancient human land of Atmora’s what changed hombre, a huge civil war broke out, with the entire society of man basically losing their shit (not for the last time either), making everybody a bit uncomfortable, including one very important man, Ysgramor. Now Ysgramor was a fighter, true, but that didn’t mean he loved fighting so much that he was ready to lose his head with the rest of the idiots who’d started the war in the first place. So when he, along with a number of other people, heard news of a new and unexplored continent far, far away from the all the hulluhbaloo going on in Atmora, he took his chance, grabbed a vessel, some other family and friends to keep him company, and set out to the vast unknown. In a shitty prehistoric-age floating thing (I’m not sure it even deserves to be called a boat it’s so sad). Over a large body of water called the motherfucking SEA OF GHOSTS.
|Watch out, the water's so cold it's... chilling!|
Seriously, that war better have been some World War 3 type shit, because I’m having a little trouble looking up to the guy even now, before the whole- oh, almost got ahead of myself there for a second. No, by some miracle they made it to Tamriel (I don’t care if this IS a fantasy universe where you can fight a dragon with lighting spells, that’s a goddamn miracle in my book), and it was Ysgramor who was first to set foot on the strange new land, which would come to be known as Hssarik Head, Skyrim’s northern coastal tip. This however is somewhat of a heated topic, as debated in the informative book, Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation: A Social History of Cyrodiil, where the author (Unknown) contends that humans had actually been migrating to Tamriel for quite some time before the civil war in Atmora even broke out, and that humans had settled as far and as wide as what would come to be known as Cyrodiil. This would also explain the Breton race, who could be early Nordic humans who had come to such peaceful relations with the Mer races of High Rock, that they began to mate. This is unconfirmed however, and whether out of classic Nordic patriotism, or real historic fact, the story of Ysgramor is generally accepted as the truth to most of Tamriel. At the time however, they named the land Mereth, after all the elves they saw running around the woods, kinda like if we had named America after the Native Americans- wait… Anyway, things were going swimmingly between the two races, the Nords and the Snow Elves, in a ‘I’m just going to ignore you and pretend you don’t exist,’ kind of way, which is the same attitude many people hold in our world today, mostly in work offices, and public schools.
|In my day we didn't need cubicles to blatantly ignore those around us.|
Sadly, when the Snow Elves did manage to make the time to actually pay attention to their new human counterparts, residing in the first human colony/city known as Saarthal, they began to see that the people were mating and populating like a family of rabbits with Barry Manilow playing, and were starting to expand and eat up all the good grub nature had to offer. Unlike rabbits though, the Snow Elves couldn’t just stab every human that ran across their path, no, that could start some sort of war. See, the Snow Elves didn’t actually have any problem with just up and stabbing a Nord bitch, they actually believed that the humans were as ignorant and unimportant as any rabbit; they just didn’t want to start any unnecessary shit that could get themselves hurt. The irony being that because of their unwillingness to get involved at all with the Nords, they never learned that they were actually, you know, intelligent beings who get a bit more than pissed when you just start massacring them, which is exactly what the Snow Elves did, on a night that is known in history as the Night of Tears, where an army of Snow Elves just showed up in Saarthal one day when everybody was sleeping, minding their own business and shit, and the Snow Elves let loose, killing every single person there except for Ysgramor and his two sons, who managed to escape, but not before swearing eternal vengeance on the Falmer for what they did. Back in Atmora however, things had cooled down, and were actually really chill and peaceful, and were looking pretty good for everybody involved- until Ysgramor shows up again, and starts stirring up some more bullshit about how the Snow Elves must pay, painting them as complete monsters, and tools of the Deadra (a bit understandable, not that it makes what happened any more excusable).
|Ysgramor would commonly wear fake ears as part of his racist elf impression. Much like black-face.|
After every great warrior in Atmora had heard Ysgramor’s story, it’d have actually taken more just to keep them from going all the way over to Tamriel to kick the human-murdering asses of every single elf in the joint, which Ysgramor used to his advantage, leading an unheard of armada of 500 warriors to battle. These men and women would become known as the 500 companions, and Ysgramor would go on to be known as their leader, or the first Harbinger, and would become legendary for the creation of this guild of fighters, as well as for creating the Ysgramor dynasty, and wielding the great two-handed war axe Wuuthrad. Needless to say, the humans decimated the Snow Elves, and even after their defeat, and humans had resumed their conquest of land, they were still hunted down and killed by the ancient Nords, who eventually forced them underground, and destroyed almost every piece of ancient Falmer culture in existence. This is not the end of the story for the Falmer though, as Ursa Uthrax reveals in her rare text, The Falmer: A Study, wherein Uthrax tells the tragic history of the Snow Elves after their exile underground. Apparently, they were taken in by the feared and revered Dwemer, who had existed below Skyrim for many, many years, by choice, but had created magnificent cities and works of beauty in their time. Because of this, the Snow Elves saw the Dwemer as their saviors, and praised them constantly, though the Dwemer were actually just using the Falmer, and fed the Snow Elves toxic fungi found in the caves, which rendered them, blind, weak, and absolutely helpless. The Dwemers treachery continued, as they soon made forced the sightless elves into slavery, keeping them on the same strict diet of toxic fungi, ensuring that the pathetic state they existed in would pass onto to their future generations, creating an endless and steady supply of menial workers that the Dwemer could use, abuse, and kill as they saw fit.
|Say hello to the elves who make Santa's presents each year.|
As we know today though, the Dwemer eventually disappeared, all at once, leaving the Falmer to fend for themselves for generations, their subterranean environment and handicapped state morphing them into the twisted, goblin-like monsters that roam the caverns below still. The Nords continued on though, and it was the Thirteenth of Ysgramor’s dynasty, King Harald, who finally proclaimed Skyrim as its own independent nation, separating it from Atmora completely. This would lead to the great expansion, led by Vrage the Gifted, which would in turn aid in the construction of the great Empire of Man, not to say chicks weren’t involved as well. The decision of who would be Skyrim’s leader each time one died, caused a furious war at one time, but it was resolved quickly enough, sadly, not before it damaged the hold that Skyrim once had on the surrounding provinces of High Rock, Cyrodiil, and Morrowind. Just about every human in Tamriel now can surely trace their lineage back to the Nords, who continue to reside in Skyrim, the perilous, cold, tundra it makes up suiting the Nord’s, renowned for their hardy exteriors, and lust for battle and hardships.
|Ironically, their guards are too weak to take even a simple arrow to the knee.|
Even Tiber Septim, the human who reached Divine status, and conquered all of Tamriel under the Empire, was born from Nordic blood, but more importantly, a special line of blood, a special line of blood that made him an extraordinary person simply from the moment he was born. Septim was a Dragonborn, one of those born with both human and dragon blood, as well as the enchantments that go with it, which also imbued the man with the ability to wield the ancient Nordic power of the Thu’um, and the ability to capture the Souls of any Dragons he defeated(it also allowed him to wear the Amulet of Kings, which was later used to determine who would next hold the throne of the Empire, as only those with Tiber Septim’s blood could possibly wear it [that is until Martin Septim sacrificed himself to end the Oblivion Crisis at the end of the Third Era, effectively ending the Septim dynasty forever, though the Dragonborn bloodline still survived, hidden and unknown]). Now before we go any further, I feel it necessary to explain exactly what the Ancient Nordic power of the Thu’um is- yes, it is magic, but unlike the other forms of magic, which required the user to use their hands, or a scroll, or some other bullshit like that, the Thu’um empowered the wind, or voice of a person. Still not getting it? Okay let me draw it out for you: The Thu’um lets you destroy people by SHOUTING AT THEM. That’s the kind of shit that gives you automatic bad-ass status just by goddamn association, but it gets even better- Different types of Thu’um are cast by shouting different words, spoken in dragon tongue, which as the game makes sure you realize more than once, and for good reason, means that when two dragons are fighting, breathing fire, or ice or whatever at each other, what they’re actually doing is SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER. Admittedly, from a detached point of view, it does sound a bit crazy that what looks like an epic and fantastic battle could actually just be the product of a really shitty 10 year marriage held together by the kids, but then you have to remember the fact that bitches are burning motherfuckers alive by just shouting at them, and just give respect to the fact that that is fucking bone-shatteringly kick-ass.
|These two are gonna have great make up sex.|
Tiber Septim used the Thu’um more than once in his time, and the leader of the Stormcloak rebellion, Jarl Ulfrik Stormcloak, actually used it to kill the High King of Skyrim, inciting Skyrim’s current civil war. And here is where I’ll end this essay, as what happens next is different for everyone, everyone who chooses to get their shit together, buy Skyrim, insert it into their gaming platform device, and instantly grow two enormous brass balls for all to admire as you quest the hours away.