For PvP information about The Elder Scrolls Online, see Cyrodiil (Online) § Alliance War.
"The Imperial Throne sits empty. The Dragonfires cold; unlit. And from every corner, darkness grows. Now, ancient enemies band together. Unlikely alliances are forged. Old ambitions rekindled. And as enemies rise faster than allies, salvation cannot come from one hero alone, but from many."
―Intro of The Elder Scrolls: Online[src]

The Alliance War, also known as the Three Banners War,[1][2][3] was a war that occurred during the Second Era, which began in 2E 580 shortly after the First Aldmeri Dominion was formed after Queen Ayrenn returned to the Summerset Isles after decades of adventuring. The three alliances involved were the First Aldmeri Dominion, the Ebonheart Pact, and the Daggerfall Covenant, all of which were fighting to rule Tamriel.[4]

By gameEdit


In 2E 578Emperor Varen Aquilarios was convinced by Mannimarco that he knew a ritual which would allow him to become Dragonborn. Varen desired to further legitimize his claim to the Imperial throne by lighting the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One in the Imperial City, which can only be done by one of the Dragon Blood. Mannimarco and Varen were part of a group referred to as the Five Companions, which also included Sai Sahan, Lyris Titanborn and Abnur Tharn. Though the ritual turned out to be an elaborate trick setup by Mannimarco. He then incapacitated the others and declared he was a servant of Molag Bal, and the ritual was actually one that would weaken the barriers between Mundus and Coldharbour.

Clivia Tharn was soon after named the new Empress Regent of Tamriel and turned the Empire to Daedra worship[citation needed], in particular to Molag Bal. Her father Abnur Tharn was the High Chancellor of the Elder Council and Overlord of Nibenay, but Abnur despised Molag Bal and his minions, thus dividing the Tharn family in two. Clivia managed to convince Mannimarco to use his necromantic abilities to resurrect Imperial Soldiers to bolster the Empire's forces.[citation needed] When the alliances saw that the Empire was weak, they took advantage of its weakness in an attempt to expand their territory. Thus, the war began.

Imperial City CampaignEdit

Following the Planemeld, the bridges to the Imperial City were cut off, blocking Imperial forces from entering the city and fighting the Daedra.[5] Inside the city, the Legion that was garrisoned there, Legion Zero, swore oaths to Molag Bal and became mind shriven, helping his minions conquer the city.[6] The three Alliances aimed to conquer the Imperial City, so they fought amongst themselves and against Molag Bal's forces.[7]


In the end, the Vestige destroyed the Anchor above the Imperial City,[8] preserved the Sublime Brazier,[9] and caused harm to the Daedric and Legion Zero forces.[7] An unknown period of time afterwards, the city was liberated.

Known conflictsEdit


Ebonheart PactEdit

Online ebonheart crest

The Ebonheart Pact consists of three races: the Nords, Dunmer, and Argonians. It was originally founded during the Second Akaviri Invasion, and remained an alliance when Molag Bal and his Daedra forces invaded Tamriel. It is widely considered to be one of the most politically unstable alliances in Tamriel's history, as all three races have a history of wars and hardships with one another. The only motive that kept them together was their common goal of preserving their freedom and independence from the Dominion and the Covenant, as well as their hatred of the Akaviri and Molag Bal's forces. The capital of the Ebonheart Pact is Mournhold in Morrowind and is led by Jorunn the Skald-King.[UL 1] The Pact was formed out of necessity after the Second Akaviri Invasion, 5 years after the Covenant was formed.

In Cyrodiil, the Pact's home territory spans 6 Keeps (Kingscrest, Farragut, Arrius, Blue Road, Chalman and Drakelowe), 1 Outpost (Sejanus) and they control 2 Elder Scrolls (Chim and Ghartok). Their main supply line to Cyrodiil is through Morrowind and their forces there are commanded by Grand Warlord Zimmeron.

The Pact's motivations for fighting are to fight off all invaders and preserve the independence and freedom of their homelands.

Aldmeri DominionEdit

Aldmeri Dominion

The Aldmeri Dominion is made up of Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajiit. The faction was originally founded to overthrow the Empire and restore Elven rule to Tamriel. The three races in the faction consider themselves to be the most civilized and intelligent of all the races of Tamriel. They also believe that they could rule Tamriel better than any human could, and that they were chosen by the Divines to rule. The capital city of the Dominion is Elden Root in Valenwood and is led by Queen Ayrenn from the Summerset Isles.[UL 2] However, there is some internal conflict in the Dominion, which threatens to destabilize the entire alliance if not kept at bay. The Dominion was formed in 2E 580 by Queen Ayrenn after months of diplomacy between Summerset, Valenwood and Elsweyr.

In Cyrodiil, the Dominion's home territory spans 6 Castles (Bloodmayne, Black Boot, Faregyl, Alessia, Roebeck and Brindle), 1 Outpost (Nikel) and they control 2 Elder Scrolls (Mnem and Altadoon). Their main supply line to Cyrodiil is through Elsweyr and their forces there are commanded by Grand Warlord Sorcalin.

The Dominion's motivations for fighting are to restore Elven rule to Tamriel – the land which they settled long before men arrived from Atmora.

Daggerfall CovenantEdit


The Daggerfall Covenant is made of Bretons, Redguards, and Orsimer. Similar to the Ebonheart Pact, the three races in the Covenant had bad histories with one another. But due to trade disruptions against all three provinces, much poverty and suffering was caused. This in turn caused the three races to all unite as one faction in order to save their people. The Covenant's capital city is Wayrest in High Rock is led by King Emeric.[UL 3] The Covenant was formed in 2E 567 after the events of a brutal civil war in High Rock known as King Ranser's War.

The Covenant's home territory spans 6 Forts (Rayles, Warden, Glademist, Ash, Aleswell and Dragonclaw), 1 Outpost (Bleakers') and they own 2 Elder Scrolls (Ni-Mohk and Alma Ruma). Their main supply line to Cyrodiil is through Craglorn in Hammerfell and their forces there are commanded by Grand Warlord Dortene.

The Covenant's motivations for fighting are to restore the Empire and to end all the chaos and suffering going on in Tamriel caused due to the Empire's collapse.


  • The Ebonheart Pact controls the largest amount of territory, while the Aldmeri Dominion and the Daggerfall Covenant control the smallest, though their overall territory is roughly the same size.
  • The Alliance War is a central plot point of The Elder Scrolls Online.
  • The true outcome of the war and what happened to the three alliances is unknown.
    • While the Aldmeri Dominion existed in later centuries, the Dominion at the time of Tiber Septim was called the Second Aldmeri Dominion, indicating that it is a different alliance from the First Dominion at the time of the Alliance War.
  • The Imperial Legion refers to the Covenant, Dominion, and Pact as "Provincial Militia" out of contempt.[11]


Notice: The following are unlicensed references. They are not copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. Ebonheart Pact Guide
  2. Aldmeri Dominion Guide
  3. Daggerfall Covenant Guide

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