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"We know that there are multiple realms in Akavir, and that the raiders of the First Era (who later gave the Empire its Potentates) were from Tsaesci, while the forces of the recent invasion were from Kamal. However, we know virtually nothing about either realm"
Yngmaer Raven-Quill[src]

Akaviri warriors, as depicted on Alduin's Wall.

The Akaviri Invasions are a series of attempted full-scale invasions of Tamriel by various peoples from the continent of Akavir. While some make the claim that there have been at least three or more like incursions by the people of Akavir,[1] most seem to agree that there have been two particularly widespread assaults upon the Tamrielic mainland.[Note 1] Not included amongst these invasions is Uriel Septim V's failed conquest of the Akaviri homeland in the year 3E 290.[2]

It cannot be said with certainty whether the invasions were due to a specific interest in Tamriel, or were simply the result of Imperial ambitions amongst the Akaviri. There are some who theorize the invasions may have something to do with Tamriel's anticipated role in the coming "Last War." Allegedly, the God and ruler of the Ka Po' Tun, Tosh Raka, has vowed to invade Tamriel as well after he has vanquished the Tsaesci Kingdom.[1]

The First Invasion[edit | edit source]

The first, and perhaps most devastating,[3] of the Akaviri Invasions occurred in the year 1E 2703 and played a large role in the foundation of the Reman Empire.[4] This invasion was carried out almost exclusively by the serpentine people of Tsaesci.[1][5]

The Akaviri made their first appearances in Tamriel as early as 1E 800,[6] with reports of ships manned by bizarre beasts,[7] pirating and raiding islands in and around the Iliac Bay region.[6] As it is understood, these raids played an important role in the coming invasion, scouting out the land for possible future incursions.[7]

The Tsaesci invasion was seemingly preceded by a severe increase in Akaviri piracy, with the people of Wayrest forced to take refuge behind the city walls in 1E 2702 due to the presence of a large Akaviri raiding party.[6] The following year, the main Akaviri force landed in northern Skyrim, and quickly cut through the armies of the Nords,[8] spreading their invasion to every region of the north.[4] While the Akaviri continued their conquest relatively unchallenged, in Cyrodiil the ambitious Colovian General, Reman, had managed to rally the armies of Colovia and Nibenay under his banner for the purpose of defending Tamriel from the Akaviri threat. Reman used his forces to engage the Akaviri in northern Tamriel,[4] constructing an expansive network of fortifications throughout Skyrim.[9] Joining Reman's coalition were the forces of Morrowind, whose lands were also under direct threat from the Akaviri horde.[10] Likewise, the Kingdom of Daggerfall played a very important role in the defense of High Rock.[3]

Reman's war culminated at the Battle of Pale Pass, where the Akaviri invaders would finally be defeated. Prior to the battle, Reman was aware that the Akaviri army was preparing to cross the Jeralls into Cyrodiil.[11] It was rumored that the Akaviri command was held up in a hidden outpost within the Pale Pass, which Reman intended to cut off from the army.[12] Unbeknownst to Reman, a large avalanche had trapped the Akaviri commanders within the fort, leaving the main force isolated within the pass and without leadership.[11] As Reman prepared his assault, so too did Vivec, one of the God-Kings of Morrowind, move in with his army, cutting the Akaviri off from the north.[12] After a brief battle the Akaviri army surrendered before Reman en masse. As legend holds it, the Akaviri horde, upon hearing Reman's voice, fell to their knees and swore their lives to him, proclaiming him Dragonborn, the chosen one after whom they had sought.[8][13][14] Impressed by their weaponry and prowess in battle, Reman was more than happy to accept the Akaviri into his ranks.[7] The Akaviri would become the nucleus of Reman's army, and as a whole would contribute heavily to the rise of Reman Dynasty.[4]

In Breton legend, the hero Lyrisius, an esteemed champion of Boethiah, is often pointed to as having destroyed the Akaviri Horde in High Rock with the help of a dragon. The authenticity of this legend, however, is questionable.[15]

The Second Invasion[edit | edit source]

The Second Akaviri Invasion occurred abruptly in the year 2E 572.[16] This invasion was undertaken primarily by the Kamali demons of Akavir, and led by their king Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal.[1][5] Some accounts bring the implication there may have been a contingent of Tsaesci present as well.[Note 2]

While the course the invasion followed is relatively well-known, albeit slightly confused, the circumstances leading up to the attack are not so clear. All that is known is that on the 7th of Sun's Height, 2E 572, a fleet of Akaviri ships was sighted entering the mouth of the White River, dropping anchor off the coast. There they sat for nearly a month before assaulting the beaches of Windhelm on the 2nd of Last Seed.[17] For unknown reasons, the Akaviri had bypassed the Telvanni Isles, Vvardenfell, and Solstheim before finally reaching their objective.[5] Reports of Akaviri movements through Morrowind place the first landings as early as the 29th of Sun's Height.[17] The invasion itself came as a complete surprise,[5] with Windhelm falling only after five days of siege. The city itself was brutally sacked,[16][18] with the assault resulting in the deaths of the reigning Queen in East-Skyrim, Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, and her heir Nurnhilde.[5][16][17]

It is at this point that details on the invasion become slightly obscured, especially those surrounding the actions of the immediate heir and acting King, Jorunn. According to some sources, Jorunn was in Windhelm when the invasion began but managed to flee the city, heading south to Riften.[5] Others state that Jorunn had already been in Riften when the fighting started.[16] It has also been said that upon hearing of the invasion, Jorunn heroically came to the aid of Windhelm with his Pack of Bards, arriving just in time to see the city gates breached, and was unable to save the city.[16][19][20] Contrary to this claim, others sources state that Jorunn, rather than attack, remained in Riften while Windhelm was under siege, buying the time to rally his forces and fortify the city.[5][21]

When regarding certain aspects of the Second Akaviri Invasion, it becomes hard to discern the facts from myth. Regardless, most sources agree that, at some point, Jorunn found his forces accompanied by someone claiming to be the legendary Underking.[5] As it is told, Jorunn, in despair after having barely escaping Windhelm's destruction, retreated to High Hrothgar to plead the Greybeards for aid in defeating the Akaviri. The Greybeards responded by singing the ghost of the great Ysmir Kingmaker back into the world. Jorunn, now apparently referred to as the "Skald-King," with the help of the Underking, mustered a great army of Nords ready to destroy the invading Akaviri horde.[16][19] However, other legends state that the Underking instead walked Nirn at the summoning of the Dunmer living-god, Almalexia,[22] with the two vanquishing Ada'Soom at Red Mountain.[1]

With Windhelm in ruins, Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal moved his forces south into The Rift. However, instead of laying siege to Riften, as King Jorunn anticipated, he bypassed the city and began marching towards Morrowind, breaking through the defenses at Fort Virak.[21] Why Ada'Soom made this decision is not known,[5] though some theorize that he may have been deterred by Riften's impressive fortifications, or that he believed the Nords would not follow him outside Skyrim.[16] What is clear is that Ada'Soom intended to march on Mournhold, with Jorunn leaving their defensive posturing to pursue him.[16][19] The forces of Morrowind, led by Almalexia and her general Tanval Indoril, were unable to holdout against the Akaviri assault. Rather than continue fighting the Akaviri outright, the Dunmeri command instead ordered a fighting retreat through the Ashlands, in order to regroup at the defensive line in Stonefalls. As the Akaviri hit the Dunmer at Stonefalls, not far outside the city of Ebonheart,[23] the Nords swooped in with an attack on their rear line, in a surprise attack so well executed it has been theorized that there must have been some early coordination between the Nord and Dunmer forces.[5] However, Jorunn's army was weak and demoralized, suffering from their long trek through foreign territory.[24] Had it not been for the Underking's inspirational leadership, the attack may have failed.[21] Though the Akaviri were outmaneuvered and hard-pressed,[19] they still managed to hold against the onslaught, repeatedly pushing back the advancing Nordic and Dunmeri forces. The Akaviri's intent was to holdout on the beaches until their fleet arrived in which they would make a quick retreat.[5] The outcome of the battle hung in the balance, with the Akaviri fleet on the horizon. But as it seemed the Akaviri forces were about to escape, the surprise intervention of two legions of Argonian Shellbacks, provided the extra push to break the Akaviri lines.[5][16] At first, the Dunmeri forces dreaded the sight of the oncoming Argonians, perceiving them as a slave-revolt looking to take advantage of Morrowind's present vulnerability.[25] Some rumors even tell of Dunmer soldiers turning their blades against the Argonians, unwilling to accept the help of the slave-race.[21] Nevertheless, the Akaviri were broken, and their panicked forces either fell from the sword or drowned in the Inner Sea.[16] Legends state the sea was risen by Vivec to destroy all that remained of the Akaviri.[26] After the battle, it was decided that a defensive alliance must be formed between each of the armies in order to prevent another such invasion. In exchange for continued military aid, the Argonian slaves were granted temporary amnesty within the boundaries of the new founded Ebonheart Pact.[23][27][Note 3]

The reason Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal invaded Tamriel is still not fully known. Some reports from the few Akaviri soldiers captured during the invasion mention seeking an "Ordained Receptacle," but that is all.[5] Some years late, remnants of the Kamal invasion would usurp the Imperial throne from the heirs of the Warlord Attrebus. They would work with the Akaviri-Rimmen to reestablish the Empire, but their attempts would inevitably fail.[28]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Most sources refer to the Dir-Kamal Invasion as the "Second Akaviri Invasion," there are no known invasions to have occurred afterward.
  2. The text Against the Snakes casually refers to the Akaviri of the Second Invasion as "snakes" as opposed to demons. It also makes mention to a "tiger demon," which is seemingly a reference to Tosh Raka. Whether or not this is a mistake is unknown.
  3. When the freedom granted to Argonian slaves in the Ebonheart Pact ended is not yet known.

References[edit | edit source]

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