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gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

The Ebon Heart of Morrowind: A History
by Qualia Tarvix

Although its early history is murky, mired in myth and native superstition, Imperial palaeognosticators date the founding of Ebonheart to very early in the First Era. Atop its rocky outcrop, commanding views over the surrounding land, it would have offered a natural defensive position then just as it does today.

Of its early inhabitants we know little. The city is first recorded as Khalaan, literally “Heart of Ebony”, a probable reference to the missing god Shezarr who, unusually, was widely worshipped by the elves of this region. The ancient Nordic sagas mention a great temple or monastery dedicated to Shezarr somewhere directly south of Red Mountain and north of Mournhold, which I conjecturally associate with Khalaan- on the basis of admittedly scant evidence.

The debate raged for many centuries over which city was founded first- Ebonheart or Mournhold. The geography of Veloth’s pilgrimage suggests it is the former that deserves the honor, although significant geological upheaval has occurred since this time which further muddies the metaphorical waters. Either way the two cities were equal rivals for a considerable period, a state of affairs that only came to an end with the emergence of the Tribunal faith and the adoption of Mournhold as the seat of the goddess Almalexia. The conjectured temple of Shezarr may also have vanished around this time, as there are vague references to a “massacre of monks” and a “razing of egregious sanctuaries”. Unfortunately any religious purge was accompanied by an equally thorough cleansing of the historical record- I have seen clear evidence of ancient vandalism in documents describing these events.

Following a period of Nordic rule the city fell into the hands of the House Raathim, a once-powerful Dark Elf aristocratic family. They ruled the city for generations, perhaps growing powerful enough to rival the mighty philosopher-princes of House Indoril and the muck-magnates of House Hlaalu. The city continued to vie with Almalexia for local dominance, and even petitioned Sotha Sil to make his home in the city in order that they might compete with their neighbor on equal terms. The annals record that the god-sorcerer’s only response was to silence Ebonheart entirely for a generation, so that no sound could be heard or uttered within its administrative boundaries. The city’s inhabitants learned to communicate with looks and secret hand signals, which ultimately aided them in their covert struggles against their neighbours. The silent language of Ebonheart is still used to this day by Dark Elf agents and con artists.

Despite these upsets the Raathim period was relatively stable, although it was disrupted by the campaign of Tiber Septim. Ebonheart surrendered to Imperial forces but was tragically burned to the ground by religious fanatics. With the signing of the armistice the ruling Raathim were released from captivity and restored to their position, and began a rebuilding program. History reports that the reigning lord of the time, Theranis Raathim, made such an impression on the Emperor with his prowess in friendly melee tournaments that Septim decided to make Ebonheart his new capital in the province. The city was rebuilt in the Colovian style and a great citadel was constructed, to control the route between Vivec and Almalexia’s cities.

Thus was a new golden age ushered in. The city of Ebonheart became a model of Imperial civil government and town planning. Additional settlements including Firewatch and Helnim were constructed in imitation of Ebonheart’s majesty. The Raathim line even gave rise to an Empress, the great Katariah who re-established trade links with far Yokuda. Although the city was never able to supplant Almalexia as was originally intended, it grew into one of the wealthiest and most peaceful settlements in all Morrowind. For a time its inhabitants proudly declared Ebonheart to be “The Empire’s Second City”. While those heady days are gone, and a “new” Ebonheart has been constructed on Vvardenfell, the city today still stands as a comforting beacon of civilization in a strange and sometimes hostile land.

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Last edited by gro-Dhal on Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:51 pm; edited 3 times in total
Post Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:59 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Reading it through once, I didn't notice any technical errors. I like how it is written; it certainly gives the impression of being told from the Imperial perspective to an extent that Dunmer readers might be left scratching their heads.

I think the supposed ravaging of the temple of Shezarr could use an alternate history from the Dunmer, perhaps even theological, perspective. To my knowledge Lorkhan did not really lose acceptance with the ascension of the Tribunal. If anything, he may have gained a degree of acceptance. A more nuanced account from a better informed -- though perhaps even more biased -- perspective could have some value.
Post Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:51 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

This is some good stuff, gro-Dhal. I definitely think it would be worthwhile to continue it.

gro-Dhal wrote:
Indeed there is some evidence in the Nordic sagas of a great temple or monastery dedicated to Shezarr somewhere directly south of Red Mountain and north of Mournhold, which I conjecturally associate with Khalaan- on the basis of admittedly scant evidence.


This sentence was kind of confusing to read the first time through because of its length and number of phrases.

gro-Dhal wrote:
although significant geological upheaval has occurred since this time, which further muddies the metaphorical waters.


comma needed.

gro-Dhal wrote:
Either way, the two cities


And here too, I think.

gro-Dhal wrote:
Unfortunately, any religious purge


comma here too.

gro-Dhal wrote:
Following a period of Nordic rule, the city fell into the hands of the House Raathim, a once-powerful Dark Elf aristocratic family.


I think there needs to be a comma here, but maybe I'm being overzealous?

gro-Dhal wrote:
They ruled the city for generations, perhaps growing powerful enough to rival the powerful philosopher-princes of House Indoril and the muck-magnates of House Hlaalu.


Rule should be changed to ruled. Also, you used the word "powerful" twice in the same sentence. I'd advise finding an appropriate synonym for one of them.

gro-Dhal wrote:
The city continued to vie with Almalexia for local dominance, and even petitioned Sotha Sil to make his home in the city in order that they might compete with their neighbour on equal terms.


Something about "in order that they might" sounds odd to me. It's kind of a wordy way to link the two ideas. Perhaps replacing it with "so that" would work. Also, if we're still going by Americanized spellings, "neighbour" should be "neighbor."

gro-Dhal wrote:
Additional settlements including Firewatch and Helnim were constructed in imitation of Ebonheart’s majesty.


You might want to remove the reference to Helnim here. That city could get massively downsized in the future.


gro-Dhal wrote:
The Raathim line even gave rise to an Empress, the great Katariah who re-established trade links with far Yokuda.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that Yokuda was completely destroyed by the Redguard's nuclear sword technique. How do you re-establish trade links with a sunken continent?

gro-Dhal wrote:
While those heady days are gone, and a “new” Ebonheart has been constructed in Vvardenfell, the city today still stands as a comforting beacon of civilisation in a strange and sometimes hostile land.


It should be "on Vvardenfell" instead of "in Vvardenfell." Also, the American spelling for civilization uses a z.

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Post Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:25 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I think most of those commas are optional; a question of clarity as opposed to good flow. If any text gets sprinkled with commas, though, it would probably be an Imperial chronicle.

Yokuda apparently was not completely sunk. The reference to trade with Yokuda is Bethesda's, I think. The sword meeting between Vivec and Cyrus also takes place on Yokuda, well after it was sunk.
Post Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Oh, this is marvelous. Khalaan is such great native name for Ebonheart. You really brought nice sense to the Ebonheart's heathen pre-Tribunal religion (what with S'ephen and stuff) with Shezarr worship.

Also, the subtle nod to the Last Year of the First Era with Sotha Sil is so mighty cool. The anecdote about him is golden.

Love this.

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Post Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:29 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Made some of Yeti's changes and I think it's done.

Gnomey: I wanted to hint at a Psijic-like philosophical order that was a power player in Chimer culture, and was purged due to some dispute with the Tribunal.

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Post Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:35 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ashstaar
Developer
02 Jun 2005



Yeah, this is nice. A lot of good writing going on around here these days.
Post Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:03 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
immortal_pigs
Developer
15 May 2008

Location: Utrecht

I enjoyed reading this.

"philosopher-princes" is a cool concept, and the paragraph on Sotha Sil's curse of silence is gold.

For some reason this text makes me think of Old Ebonheart as Carthage (burned to the ground and rebuilt, an empress, Phoenicians = Nords, Shezarr = Baal).

"Massacre of Monks" makes me think of Star Wars with Anakin/Vader murdering the jedi's.

cool stuff Smile

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