With the latest DLC release of Harrowstorm and the Greymoor Chapter release upcoming I wanted to present a lore primer on what we know from the released content of The Dark Heart of Skyrim. This document will cover the Harrowstorm DLC, the influencer maps, and previously released lore. It will not include the prologue quest only because it is not yet on Live. I tried to keep speculation down as much as possible to just display the facts.
Icereach is an island in the Sea of Ghosts. This island has been fought over for several centuries and even has a Nord Fort built in the past to combat Orcish Corsairs. In 2E577 the Icereach Coven was driven to this island by the Nords of Skyrim. 5 years later in 2E582 a large Storm appears over the area prompting Jorunn the Skald-King to send a party led by Lyris Titanborn to the island to find out what is going on.
History of the Icereach Coven:
In Eastmarch there used to be a clan of witch-hunters called the Direfrost. The Direfrost clan where kind and gentle except when it came to Witches which they considered it their sacred duty to hunt down. One witch that they hunted was Drodda of Icereach who was a known worshiper of Molag Bal who had at least 107 known victims. Drodda seeking revenge over an Eastmarch Coven being decimated by the Direfrost clan snuck into Direfrost Keep disguised as an elderly widow while the Clan had a feast that they had invited commoners to join in on. Once inside Drodda attacked indiscriminately killing all with piercing ice. Years later in 2E582 Eboric Direfrost entered Direfrost Keep wishing to learn of his families history. Making it to the summit of the keep he encountered Drodda who froze him in place. Soon after the Vestige entered Direfrost Keep and made his way to the summit while learning of the history of the keep and fate of Eboric. At the summit of the keep the Vestiage confronted Drodda who attempted to summon a powerful storm. After defeating Drodda Eboric was freed from his frozen prison and expressed that he wished to restore the keep but would forsaken his ancestors wishes to hunt witches. While exploring the ruins of the keep the vestige also finds a prophecy laid out by Nocturnal during an interrogation of another witch. "Your judgement will first be rendered in the form of an Ice Queen who comes in the guise of a pauper. Your blood shall be frozen. Your torment long and painful. And when your savior comes to release you, know that your true suffering has only just begun. There will be a reckoning between past and present, and the name Direfrost will lie in tatters before the end. A new Ice Queen will bring unto Direfrost all the anguish of Oblivion, and you shall know true suffering." The last of this prophecy has yet to pass.
Besides this event the Icereach Coven is more commonly known as advisers to the Longhouse Emperors. The Longhouse Emperors where Reachmen that had ruled Cyrodiil from 2E530's to 2E577. During the reign of Emperor Leovic, the last of the longhouse emperors, the Icereach Coven acted as advisers to the Empire. Duirng this time Leovic's advisers encouraged him to make it lawful to practice Daedric Worship in the empire in 2E576. This was the final straw that led Varen Aquilarios, a Colovian lord and once strong supporter of Leovic, to revolt against the Longhouse Empeorers. During Varen's Rebellion Leovic bolstered his forces with Reachmen and Daedric Magic but eventually Varen took control of the Imperial City and struck down Leovic in the throne room of the White Gold Tower. After the defeat of Leovic the Icereach Coven was driven North into Skyrim by the Second Legion. After passing the Jerall Mountains into Falkreath the second legion engaged the Coven. The Icereach Coven's leader Mother Ciannait had her coven take refuge among the grave west of Falkreath where they raised many undead and empowered them with magic. The second legion experience major casualties before having to withdraw back to Cyrodiil. After withdrawing the Nords of Skyrim engaged the Coven and was successful in driving them all the way to the Sea of Ghosts where they now inhabit the island of Icereach.
Events of Icereach:
In the Sea of Ghosts in 2E582 a large storm began that started to kill many sailors. Jarunn the Skald-King sent an expedition to the island headed by Lyris Titanborn to discover what was causing the storm and to stop it. After landing on the island almost all of the Nord landing party was wiped out by the Reachmen. Soon after the Vestige arrives to find a few survivors. After being advised of the situation the Vestige begins to fight their way through the fort until finding and teaming up with Lyris Titanborn. Together they start to fight the Icereach Coven and stop the ritual that is underway.While fighting against the Icereach Coven one of the sisters let's it slip that they are taking orders from someone else by saying "When our ally spreads his wings over the world, you'll lose so much more than your heads". The vestige then found a letter stating that the coven had an arrangement with a mysterious patron signing R to create the storm in exchange for some unknown bargain that should restore something that was lost to the coven. After fighting through more reachmen the Vestige and Lyris finally confront 4 of the Icereach sisters including Mother Cinnait. After the fight Lyris reveals that she had found a scrolls inscribed with only part of the ritual and mentions it is only the beginning. Lyris heads back to Windhelm to report to Jorunn have the mages of Windhelm decipher the scrolls.
Unhallowed Grave Introduction:
Unhallowed Grave is an ancient Yokudan ruin that the Pyrewatch watch over. The Pyrewatch is a group of Redguards tasked with ensuring nothing enters or exits the Unhallowed Grave. In the first Era after the Grey Host was defeated their remains where interred along with other forgotten evils. After Interring the remains the location was stricken from maps to ensure the evil contained within is not disturbed. In 2E582 the Dragurkin, a group of mercenaries, break into the Unhallowed Grave.
The Grey Host was an army of batmen and wolves led by King Styriche of Verkarth, a city located in the Sunforge region of Hammerfell southwest of Craglorn. King Styriche with his Generals Fangaril and Zayzahad came into conflict with the Cyrodiilic Empire of the first Era as well as the Reguards of Bankorai. While it is unknown how he came into conflict with the Cyrodiilic Empire it can be inferred that he attempted to invade Cyrodiil in some capacity. When encountering his generals at Dark Anchors Molag Bal will say "From deep beneath Cyrodiil, I summon Fangaril!" when these dark generals are summoned. It appears after coming into conflict with Cyrodiil King Styriche turned instead to attempt to invade Bangkorai where he seiged Evermore. During the Seige of Evermore the inhabitants where almost overrun if not for the bravery of Saint Pelin. During the fighting Saint Pelin saw that there might not be enough time for reinforcements to arrive so he threw himself to the hordes of the Grey Host in order to buy his city time with his sacrifice. Reinforcements did arrive with Empress Hestra of the Cyrodiilic Empire on her Flame Atronach Bear, Fiery Ursula. Hestra had pursued the Grey Host to Bankorai and defeated and killed as many of them as she could including their King. This led the foundation for her to bring Hammerfell and High Rock into her Empire. Once the Grey Host was destroyed their bodies where burnt to ash and interred into the Unhallowed Grave.
Events of Unhallowed grave:
In 2E582 a group of mercenaries called Draugrkin, composed of Necromancers and Cutthroats who deal in magic trinkets, are hire to discover the location of he Unhallowed Grave and recover the Urns containing the remains of the Grey Host. Once the Dragugrkin, led by Kjalnar Tombskald, entered the Unhallowed Grave they encountered Shelaria, a member of the Pyrewatch, who fails to prevent them from advancing in the ruins. The Draugrkin stole an enchanted lantern, Tu'whacca's Gaze, that allowed them to bypass the traps laid to prevent anything from entering or exiting the ruins. Shelaria wounded from her encounter soon found herself being healed by Fennorian, a vampire and Arcane researcher who has encountered the Draugrkin before and is hoping to find how they are always one step ahead of him in their research of magical artifacts. Soon after Fennorian heals Shelaria the Vestige arrives and together the party begins the long trek through the ruins. After fighting through the Draugrkin and the many undead of the Unhallowed Grave the party confront Kjalnar. During the confrontation Kjalnar summons Tzirzhalir a giant bone colosseus more ancient than the Grey Host. After defeating Tzirzhalir and Kjalnar the Vestige learns the Draugrkin where successful in retrieving some of the Grey Host urns for their mysterious employer.
Promotional Influencer Maps:
A set of 4 maps and a letter where sent to several prominent members of the ESO community last December. The letter is from Sai Sahan who sends the Vestiage a Journal that he received from an old friend. There are 4 maps that I label as the Skull, Tree, Urn, and Totem maps. Each of these maps have symbols and Daedric writing on them. Some small parts have not yet been translated and others might be slightly mistranslated. Letters in parentheses are letters that don't appear but are assumed. Y is a letter that is often left out of Daedric writing.
*The first map, Skull, prominently displays a Skull symbol with a small sapling image as well. The Lines of Daedric translate as follows. "Let Let Let Let", "Death for the living and life for the dead", and "Ma(y) the(y) reap a grea(t) harvest of"
*The second map, Tree, has a large tree as the main drawing in the upper right of the map. Only two of the Deadric lines have been translated. "Let it (blank) World" and "Her Sai Means deat(h) to m(o)rt(a)l tongues"
*The third map, Urn, has a prominantly displayed Urn. The symbol on the Urn is the Grey Host symbol which is the combination of a Wolf and Bat representing the Werewolves and Vampires of the Grey Host. There is also a Icereach banner displayed who's symbol looks similar to a hurricane. The Daedric translates to the following "Let Let Let", "Like all urns it bears the dead", and "Death is naught but a fitful sleep".
*The last map, Totem, shows what appears to be a reachmen totem. The Daedric translates to "Led them from boughs both gnarled and black ma(y) the(y) reap a grea(t) harvest", "Let it (blank) in the world", and "World (blank) Terror"
*Each of the 4 maps also include a map with mountain ranges, the Grey Host symbol, Icereach coven symbol, and an unknown symbol. Together when overlayed the 4 maps display a location that has the Grey Host Urn as a central point surrounded by 4 Icereach Coven symbols either representing the Coven or the storms. The Upside down triangle symbol has yet to be identified. If overlayed with a map of Skyrim the Grey Host urn matches almost perfectly with the keep Greymoor as found in Skyrim.
The obvious link between Icereach and Unhallowed Grave is the mysterious Patron that is enlisting the help of both. This Patron goes only by the Letter R in letters that can be found. The second thread that links the two together is Empress Hestra of the first Era. Empress Hestra is known for many achievements include building a road system that was used even into the Reman Dynasty, Annexing High Rock into the empire, Captured and beheading the famous pirate Red Bramman, defeating Faolan, aka Red Eagle, the king of the reachmen, and Defeating the Grey Host. While it is not immediately stated one of the goals of some reachmen are to resurrect Red Eagle so he may lead them once again. His tomb is located in the Western Reach and is hinted at being awoken in the second Era. It is also speculated that the 4th quarter DLC may be the Western Reach. Hestra having defeated both the Grey Host and Red Eagle may hint there is more at play than we immediately realize.
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