The Auroran Crisis was a significant conflict that occurred at about the same time as the Oblivion Crisis. It was fought primarily between the Knights of the Nine and the Auroran Forces of Umaril. The Crisis was the work of the ancient Ayleid Sorcerer-King Umaril the Unfeathered, who, after centuries of imprisonment, was released from the Waters of Oblivion to wreak his unholy vengeance on the gods that had masterminded his first downfall at the hands of the Divine Crusader, Pelinal Whitestrake.
Using his servants, the Daedric warriors of Meridia known as Aurorans, Umaril launched an all out attack on the established Church of the Nine Divines in Cyrodiil. The Aurorans' attacks consisted of entering one of Cyrodiil's Great Chapels, killing the staff, and desecrating the altars with bloody runes written in Ayleidoon. This began at Anvil.
The Attack on Chapel Anvil drew attention from all around Cyrodiil, and eventually drew the Hero of Kvatch, Champion of Cyrodiil and hero of the Oblivion Crisis. Guided by the words of a mysterious Prophet, the Hero set out on a quest to recover the lost Crusader's Relics of Pelinal Whitestrake. During the course of this quest, the Hero would revive a knightly order dedicated to the Nine Divines, the Knights of the Nine. These Knights, led by the new Divine Crusader, were eventually able to defeat Umaril once and for all.
In the First Era of Tamriel, Umaril the Unfeathered was one of the Ayleid Sorceror-Kings of ancient Cyrodiil. During this time, the Ayleids' human slaves rebelled, led by the legendary Slave-Queen, Alessia. Alessia's Rebellion pitted the humans against their cruel Ayleid masters in a bloody conflict that would span many years. Into this fray came Pelinal Whitestrake, who pledged himself to Alessia's cause and, wielding armor and weapons crafted by the gods themselves, led the humans to victory after victory against the Ayleids.
When it was apparent that Pelinal was a truly worthy foe, Umaril called him out to fight. Pelinal answered the call, and the rebels converged on White-Gold Tower, capital of the Ayleid kingdom. During the great Siege of White Gold Tower, Pelinal entered the throne room and challenged Umaril. There they fought, and Pelinal succeeded in defeating the great king, denting his helm into ugliness and cutting off his unfeathered wings. In a rage, the other Ayleid kings fell upon Pelinal and cut him into eighths before being killed themselves. Pelinal's head was still alive when it was found, and he foretold the return of Umaril, for though the Crusader's Relics had defeated Umaril's physical form, his Daedric spirit lived on, sustained by the power of the Daedric Prince Meridia. With that, Pelinal died; Alessia's rebellion was successful, and the world forgot the Whitestrake's final prophecy.
Knights of the NineEdit
The Crusader's Relics were not forgotten. Pelinal's armor and weapons that had been made by the Eight Divines were scattered and lost until the early Third Era. In the year 3E 111, Sir Amiel Lannus, a follower of the Nine Divines, formed a group of holy knights dedicated to recovering and preserving the Crusader's Relics. They fashioned themselves the Knights of the Nine, and together succeeded in reuniting the lost Relics.
After the slaying of the Wyrm of Elynglenn and recovering the Cuirass of the Crusader, Sir Amiel and his Knights rose to fame. The greatest knights of the time were lining up to join. One of the more prominent members to join was Sir Berich Vlindrel, scion of one of the great noble families of Colovia. After he joined it was clear that the Knights were by far the most prestigious of all knightly orders in the day.
Their twilight was to be the War of the Red Diamond. Many of the nine Knights that had joined the order came from distinct families from either side of the civil war, and it was Sir Berich that first left, taking the Sword and Greaves of the Crusader with him. In his flight, he killed fellow Knight Sir Caius, who tried to stop him leaving. After that, the order fractured. The Knights scattered, either seeking more Relics or entering war with them. In time, the Relics were lost again, and Sir Amiel was left alone in the Priory of the Nine, the last remaining Knight.
At some point, Amiel discovered the location of the Helm of the Crusader, hidden in the ruin of Vanua, which itself held the Shrine of the Crusader, where Pelinal's head had given its prophecy and died. In 3E 153, Sir Amiel entered the Shrine and attempted to recover the Helm, and there died. 22 years prior, Sir Berich had a decree passed that officially dissolved the Knights of the Nine, and they faded into history.
It would be many years before talk of Pelinal Whitestrake, Umaril the Unfeathered, the Crusader's Relics, or the Knights of the Nine would surface again. As chance would have it, all returned shortly after the end of the Oblivion Crisis. Even as Tamriel celebrated the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon and his Daedric Forces of Destruction, another threat brewed behind the scenes that had remained dormant for centuries.
It is unknown when exactly Umaril returned. It is possible that the opening of the Oblivion Gates gave him the ability to re-enter the mortal plane. But his spirit, which had been rejuvenating in the Waters of Oblivion since his death, was imbued in a physical body once more, in the manner that a Daedra is reborn. Umaril set up a base in the ruins of the western-most Ayleid outpost, Garlas Malatar, and summoned to him Aurorans, the Daedric warriors of his mistress Meridia. Now, returned and possessing both power and soldiers, Umaril the Unfeathered had one thing on his agenda: the destruction of the gods that had caused his first defeat. He set his sights on the Church of the Nine Divines.
The first attack was swift, and foreseen by no one. An assault was carried out on the Great Chapel of Dibella in the city of Anvil. Aurorans entered the chapel undetected, and killed its staff, and desecrated it. Blood was splattered everywhere, pews and altars knocked about, and around the main altar were set bloody runes in the Ayleidoon:
The chapel was discovered desecrated, and panic swept across Cyrodiil. Shortly after the event, a mysterious Prophet appeared in Anvil with no explanation. Across the street from the chapel he began to preach daily to the citizens. Claiming to be a holy man of the Nine Divines, he foretold the return of Umaril and the downfall of the gods unless a hero stepped forward to answer the Divines' call for a champion. Some took the Prophet for a fake, others simply dismissed him, and still others were wary of what he said and took heed of the unholy doom. In time, word of him and the Anvil chapel attack would reach the ears of none other than the Hero of Kvatch.
The Pilgrim's WayEdit
The Hero arrived in Anvil, seeking after the rumors about the chapel attack. There the Hero beheld the desecrated chapel, and afterwards went to listen to the Prophet. The Hero approached the Prophet and questioned him about the attack. The Prophet told the Hero all that he knew about the return of Umaril and the need for a new Divine Crusader. When the Hero denounced all his claims to fame, and swore to walk humbly in the eyes of the Nine, The Prophet told him to walk the Pilgrim's Way, an ancient rite that would determine whether or not the Hero was a worthy knight. The Hero walked the Pilgrim's Way, visiting each of the Wayshrines to the Nine in the wilderness of Cyrodiil. Following a map given by the Prophet, the Hero managed to complete the pilgrimage, and was then given a vision.
Pelinal Whitestrake, the Divine Crusader of legend, came to the Hero on a cloudy plane above Cyrodiil, and spoke on Umaril's return. Pelinal gave the Hero the location of the Helm of the Crusader, and also gave his blessing. After the vision, the Hero proceeded to Vanua, which held the Shrine of the Crusader, which itself held the ancient Helm.
The Hero fought to the Shrine, and there found the remains of Sir Amiel. From Sir Amiel's Journal, the Hero learned that the Cuirass of the Crusader was in the Priory of the Nine in the West Weald. After recovering the Helm, the Hero left Vanua, and proceeded west, to the long-forgotten home of the Knights of the Nine.
The Relic Quest BeginsEdit
In the Priory, the Hero was able to use Amiel's ring to enter the basement and the undercroft. There, the spirits of the original Knights of the Nine appeared and attacked the Hero one by one. The Hero proved his worth as a knight, defeating them all and gaining access to the Cuirass. Once it was recovered, the ghostly Knights told the tale of their downfall, and from four of them the Hero learned the location of four of the missing Relics.
Leaving the Priory, the Hero went to each of the locations the Knights had described. At the Shrine and Grove of Kynareth, the Hero recovered the Boots of the Crusader. In Leyawiin, using the Boots, the Hero passed Zenithar's Test of Faith and recovered the Mace of the Crusader. But his actions were not unnoticed. Whether Umaril knew of the Hero's quest, or was merely putting his plan into action, is unknown. But two chapels next came under attack. The Great Chapel of Mara in Bravil was assaulted and desecrated, while the Chapel of Zenithar was attacked even as the Hero emerged with the holy Mace. Leyawiin's chapel escaped undesecration due to the vigilance of the Hero and a knight named Carodus Oholin. After the battle, Oholin, having heard rumors of the Hero's quest, asked to join him, and to become a Knight of the Nine. The Hero accepted Oholin's request.
The Hero went on to the Great Chapel of Stendarr in Chorrol, where the Gauntlets of the Crusader had lain unmmovable for years due to Sir Casimir's murder while wearing them. The Hero repealed Casimir's actions by selflessly taking on the curse that had been placed on Casimir's family. With this act of mercy, the Hero was able to pick up the Gauntlets. Some time later, the Hero succeeded in recovering the Shield of the Crusader from the ruins of Fort Bulwark. There, he also rescued Sir Thedret, a fellow knight, who had been imprisoned and tortured by a group of rogue Conjurers seeking the Shield. Thedret immediately pledged himself to the Hero's cause. Now, with all four known Relics, the Hero returned to the Priory to seek more information on the other two.
The Knights RestoredEdit
At the Priory, the Hero was greeted by a host of individuals. There was Avita Vesnia, a priestess of Kynareth; Carodus Oholin; Areldur, a priest of Stendarr; two brothers, Gukimir and Geimund; and Sir Thedret, who acted as the Hero's second-in-command. All sought to become Knights of the Nine. The Hero was suddenly at the head of a restored order. The prospective Knights, in the Hero's absence, had restored the Priory to its former glory. Once more, there were true defenders of the Faith.
Yet there was another in the Priory; Lathon, the squire of a knight named Sir Roderic, whom the Hero had met while on Pilgrimage, arrived to inform the Hero of Roderic's fate. After completing his Pilgrimage, Roderic had received a vision from none other than Sir Berich, the one former Knight who did not stand with the other ghosts in the Priory's undercroft. Berich had been overtaken by the evil that had ensnared him when he killed Sir Caius with the Sword of the Crusader. Roderic and Lathon had traveled to Underpall Cave to put Berich's ghost to rest, but it was to no avail. Upon reaching the bottom of the cave, they were confronted by the Wraith of Lord Vlindrel—Sir Berich. Roderic instructed Lathon to flee while he faced the Wraith. Lathon escaped, and went to the Priory. Lathon then gave the Hero the Greaves of the Crusader, which he and Sir Roderic had recovered from Lord Vlindrel's tomb. The last Relic, the Sword of the Crusader, was possessed by none other than the Wraith. Lathon then asked to become a Knight of the Nine, to avenge his fallen lord. The Hero accepted, and together they journeyed to Underpall Cave.
In the depths, they found the body of Sir Roderic alongside Berich Vlindrel's tomb. On the shores of a great underground lake, they fought the great Wraith, and succeeded in avenging Sir Roderic and recovering the Sword of the Crusader. Lathon returned to the Priory to deliver the news to the other Knights, while the Hero traveled to Cheydinal to reconsecrate the Sword, which had been dragged into evil with Sir Berich. Umaril, who had remained dormant for some time, chose this moment to strike out. The Hero was forced to fight through Aurorans to reach the chapel's main altar, where the Sword was reconsecrated by the power of Arkay. All eight of the Relics had been recovered. Now the reborn Knights of the Nine were ready to attack Umaril.
Umaril the UnfeatheredEdit
At the Priory, the Hero was surprised to see the mysterious Prophet who had begun the Hero's journey. The Prophet commended the Hero on the recovery of the Relics, and said that Umaril was based in Garlas Malatar and there he had to be defeated. The Prophet then told the Hero of Umaril's Daedric nature, and that the power of the eight Relics alone would not defeat him. Since the Unfeathered's first defeat, the Eight Divines had become Nine, and the Prophet bestowed upon the Hero the final Crusader's Relic: The Blessing of Talos. Now, with the Prophet's blessing, the Knights of the Nine left for Garlas Malatar and the final battle with the Aurorans.
At Garlas Malatar, they attacked on the Hero's orders. Storming the fortress, they fought off the Aurorans stationed there. They made their way past the first level relatively easily. It was on the second level that they met powerful resistance. A Dark Orb there allowed the Aurorans to return to life after being killed. The task fell to the Hero to destroy the Orb before all the Knights were killed. When the Orb shattered, all time fell still, and friend and foe alike vanished. The Hero was left alone in Garlas Malatar, and proceeded to the final level and the battle with Umaril.
In the throne chamber, the Hero came face to face with his foe. In a blaze of light, Umaril appeared, and the two fought. Umaril was a powerful opponent, but the Crusader's Relics, designed to weaken Umaril, gave the Hero a greater power. Umaril died under the Hero's blade. But the fight was not over; the Hero invoked the Blessing of Talos and, doing what Pelinal Whitestrake could not, followed Umaril into the spirit plane. There, the Hero dueled Umaril's Daedric spirit, which was immune to the Relics as a whole, but not immune to the weapons. In the cloudy plane high above Cyrodiil, the Hero slew Umaril's spirit, killing him once and for all. With Umaril's death, the attack on the church, the Auroran Crisis, ended.
The Hero awoke in the Priory undercroft, surrounded by the ghostly Knights of the Nine. Sir Amiel praised the Hero's victory, and the Knights vanished, departing at last to Aetherius. All but Sir Berich, who had been redeemed when the Hero defeated his Wraith form, and now stayed to thank the Hero before departing with his comrades.
In the Priory, the Hero was greeted by Sir Thedret, who told that the Knights had found him dead beside Umaril's corpse. Thedret hurried outside to address the other Knights, informing them of the homecoming of the Lord Crusader, the Hero's new title. Word of the Knights' deeds spread across Cyrodiil. The Crisis was over, the Auroran threat beaten back, and the Knights of the Nine restored.
The Crisis, which was mainly the work of Umaril and his Aurorans, was truly Umaril's plan of wiping out the gods that had engineered his first downfall. Using the Aurorans, Umaril planned to attack all the Great Chapels of the Nine Divines in Cyrodiil before launching an invasion on Cyrodiil and most likely all of Tamriel. Only four of the nine chapels were attacked, though. Umaril also seemed concerned about the recovery of the Crusader's Relics, as two of the four attacks occurred as an obstacle to the Hero.
The task of fighting Umaril fell to the Knights of the Nine. The plan of the Hero, the Knights, and the Prophet was to gather the Relics, then strike out at Umaril. In this way, the war was mostly contained in the battle at Garlas Malatar, as opposed to in the chapels.
- The Crisis is the questline for the Knights of the Nine official add-on.
- Following the questline, the player gets to keep the Crusader's armor and weapons. These are arguably among the best in the game, as the armor stand in the Priory's undercroft acts as a recharger, repairer, and re-leveler, re-setting the Relics to the player's current level even if they continue to level up after acquiring them.
- Following the final quest, characters will recognize the Hero as the Divine Crusader, and will reference the Knights of the Nine.