Recently Fudgemuppet released a video discussing an alternate timeline in which Dagoth Ur never reawakens under Red Mountain. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it because it's an awesome and well thought out video.
But I think you could reasonably make the argument that if Dagoth Ur never reawakens, eventually the stage is set for none other than Ulfric Stormcloak to become Emperor of Cyrodill, possibly starting a new empire in the process.
(This is a lot of conjecture on my part, purely for fun and because the lockdown has given me plenty of time to waste daydreaming about alternate timelines in video games.)
So to quickly summarize the relevant parts of Fudgemuppet's video, without Dagoth Ur awakening, the Tribunal of Morrowind–Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil–never lose their power and never capitulate to Tiber Septim, who therefore never receives the Brass God Numidium.
In the original timeline, Tiber Septim uses the Numidium to conquer the Aldmeri Dominion, bringing the Summerset Isles, Valenwood and Elsweyr into the Imperial fold. After the conquest, the Numidium is used to establish order in the Empire by crushing disloyal nobles.
Without the Numidium then, the Empire has two huge problems: the Aldmeri Dominion is never truly defeated, and the disloyal nobles are never crushed. Even if the Empire is able to conquer Valenwood and Elsweyr, it seems unlikely that they could be held indefinitely before the Summerset Isles sail east to liberate them.
Without the relative peace of a unified empire, the Empire–now only consisting of Cyrodill, High Rock, Skyrim and Hammerfell–becomes a much more militarized society not unlike the Roman Empire from whom they take inspiration. For now they are held together by the influence and legitimacy of the Septim dynasty, but in the furthest edges of the Empire local, ambitious nobles are already blossoming into future warlords (again not unlike a certain famous Roman).
Things proceed much as they do in the original timeline until the reign of Emperor Pelagius III, otherwise known as Pelagius the Mad. In the original timeline, Pelagiis is married to a Dunmer named Katariah, whose political acumen was enough to compensate for Pelagius' instability, but if Morrowind never joins the Empire, there is no Katariah. Pelagius' madness only gets worse, creating further instability in the Empire.
Fudgemuppet in their video compare Pelagius to the Roman Emperor Nero, and after Nero dies in our own history Rome was thrown into a Civil War known as the "Year of the Four Emperors", eventually resulting in a new Roman dynasty under a new family. With the Empire already less secure, being more politically divided and constantly in conflict with the Dominion, I think the same thing would happen. A Civil War breaks out and a warlord, a Titus Mede-like figure, takes the throne.
In our own history, the dynasty following Nero was relatively short-lived, and several dynasties with varying levels of success rose and fell until eventually Rome was split into the Western and Eastern (later Byzantine) Roman Empires.
Now if any Crisis would be likely to split the Cyrodillic Empire in half, it'd be the Oblivion Crisis. Without political unity, without Martin Septim, and with the empire still fighting the dominion, the Empire cracks under pressure and splits (we'll just assume the Champion of Cyrodill is still born and somehow defeats Dagon on their own). In this scenario, High Rock, Skyrim and the eastern half of Cyrodill become the Northern Empire, while Hammerfell, the western half of Cyrodill and possibly Valenwood and Elsweyr (depending on who controls them at the time) become the Southern Empire, which then is almost immediately absorbed by the Goths, I mean, the Aldmeri Dominion.
Fast-forward a few decades, and a young, charismatic Warlord by the name of Ulfric Stormcloak comes into the picture. Like the real-life Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Ulfric dreams of reuniting the Empire. By force of arms and a winning personality, Ulfric becomes Emperor of the Northern Empire and sets his sights on the White Gold Tower in the South, beginning a long campaign of liberation and conquest. The "human" territories such as Hammerfell and Cyrodill are the easiest to retake, but the further south he pushes, the more resistance he faces from the Aldmeri Dominion.
And now, oddly enough, the story looks a lot like the plot of Skyrim, but now Ulfric is emperor instead of Titus Mede and there is no civil war in Skyrim. The war with the Dominion is on the horizon, and now a more-or-less united Empire stands to win.
Source: Original link
© Post "The Emperor Ulfric: A Response to Fudgemuppet" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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