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"To trade fairly and freely is to honor the Three."
―Motto of House Hlaalu[src]

House Hlaalu was one of the Great Houses of Morrowind. The patron Saint of House Hlaalu is Saint Veloth.[1] The symbol of House Hlaalu is a scale, which represents balance, trade, and compromise.[2] The House is led by traders and merchant princes,[3] and prefers to use Imperials and Redguards as mercenaries.[4] House Redoran considers the Hlaalu to be liars and untrustworthy.[5]

By gameEdit

TerritoryEdit

The capital of House Hlaalu is the city of Narsis. House Hlaalu territory focuses itself on central Morrowind.[6] On Vvardenfell, the territory of House Hlaalu was primarily in the west.[7]

PhilosophyEdit

House Hlaalu considers itself the most open and modern of the Dunmeri Great Houses, having openly embraced Imperial law and custom, which, for a long time, provided them with newfound power. House Hlaalu's strong economy enables them to hold influence over the Redoran and the Temple, due to them requiring coin for wars or donations. House Dres, like the Hlaalu, knows how to make money, but does not know how not to make enemies. House Hlaalu cares about reputation like they care about opportunity, balancing the two in order to get the best outcome.[8] House Hlaalu has experience with Kwama Egg mines, knowing its produce and how to make them profitable.[9]

Due to House Hlaalu not having large armies, or many holdings, the Hlaalu focus on diplomacy and negotiating. Their skill at talking also resulted in many becoming blackmailers and backstabbers. House Hlaalu always wants to live in peace with their neighbors, believing that peace is the only way to get sustainable growth. Whereas many in House Hlaalu are corrupt to some extent, the Hlaalu are not overly concerned about this, as they generally do not harm the House, and sometimes still serve the common good.[6]

The Hlaalu aim to strive for balance in their dealings. When one side gets a favor too large, the other side becomes unpredictable, and can cause strife. In order to get a fair deal, all parties involved must be rid of their greed, want, and strife. The weapon of House Hlaalu comes in the form of trade, and when supply and demand compliment each other, the Hlaalu are strong. As such, the House is willing to trade with anyone who would desire honest trade with the Hlaalu.[2] The Hlaalu are an agressive merchantile culture, influenced by Imperial values such as progress, tolerant polytheism, and free enterprise.[4] Through their support of the Empire and its principles, House Hlaalu saw itself favored by many Imperial factions, such as the Imperial Cult.[10]

Arms and armorEdit

For the House Hlaalu guards and marines, the Hlaalu make use of various materials. Armor generally makes use of guar hides, steel, or bonemold. Bows are made from imported ash or yew wood, quivers being made of guar leather.[11]

ArchitectureEdit

Hlaalu architecture is divided into three categories. The public buildings, private dwellings, and plantations. Public buildings are multi-storied, rectangular, and feature arched entranceways and decorated exteriors. Private dwellings are similar, though with less decorations. Plantations are similar to Temple compounds, having the plantation itself walled around, with a grand manor taking the spot of where normally a Temple would be.[12]

HistoryEdit

First EraEdit

Like the other Great Houses, House Hlaalu was involved in the conflict with the Dwemer and the Sixth House, known as the War of the First Council. Under the command of Lord Indoril Nerevar, the Great Houses united and achieved victory over their enemies.[13]

Second EraEdit

In 2E 559, House Hlaalu and House Dres waged a House War over a territorial dispute. House Hlaalu desired to expand its territory by creating a trading post near the border of Black Marsh. The Dres, however, were determined to prevent this from coming true. During construction, Dres Mercenaries engaged with the Hlaalu, and came close to coming out victorious, but House Hlaalu reinforcements were called upon via a portal, allowing the Hlaalu to find victory.[14]

Ebonheart PactEdit

House Hlaalu openly supported the Ebonheart Pact during the Alliance War, openly embracing their ancient enemies as friends. This decision was due to the Hlaalu using the opportunity to gain power in Deshaan. Both Narsis and Mournhold having been cities with great Hlaalu influence.[15] On Vvardenfell, House Hlaalu was attempting to gain full control over Balmora, and aimed to undermine the House Redoran trade routes.[16] Within the Gold Coast, House Hlaalu was in good relations with the Gold Coast Trading Company. The Company used this in order to sell items that had been stolen from the Imperial City after it had fallen.[17]

Llodos PlagueEdit

During the Alliance War, the Llodos Plague broke out in the Deshaan region of Morrowind. While at first the settlement of Serkamora was struck, the Maulborn, in command of the plague, chose to continue to Narsis.[18] The Hlaalu capital of Narsis was struck by the plague, resulting in many of its residents fleeing to Mournhold.[19] The nearby lake of Lake Hlaalu was also monitored and secured by the maulborn.[20] In order to provide aid to the sick in Narsis, House Hlaalu organized a caravan with supplies in Mournhold, however, this caravan was ambushed by House Dres mercenaries under the command of the Maulborn.[21] The Maulborn were eventually defeated by the Vestige.[22]

Tiber WarsEdit

During the Tiber Wars, House Hlaalu was the smallest and weakest of the Great Houses, barely holding their status in their ancient capital of Narsis. At the time, they were considered traditional enemies of Great House Indoril, who had controlled Morrowind's government for some 3000 years. House Hlaalu had limited trade with the Empire at the time.[23] When Tiber Septim's Imperial Legions invaded Morrowind, House Hlaalu was eager to propose accommodation. When eventually House Telvanni and Redoran followed suit, the Lord High Chancellor of the Grand Council, an Indoril, refused to accept the treaty. As such, he was assassinated, and a Hlaalu took his place. The Hlaalu used this opportunity to deal with old conflicts they had with House Indoril, and a number of local councils changed hands in coups. Hlaalu influence further increased as many of House Indoril's nobility chose to commit suicide rather than submit to the Empire, as a result of which, House Hlaalu took most of their power.[24]

Third EraEdit

From 3E 368 to 3E 389, Emperor Uriel Septim VII used the Hlaalu in Morrowind to support Imperial interests. Through House Hlaalu, Imperial culture spread into Morrowind, and the province started to develop its economy. Later on, Uriel would also use his power to draw power from the Great Houses to the court of King Hlaalu Helseth, in order to gain a stronger foothold in the province. He also took advantage of the weakening of the Tribunal Temple to promote the Imperial Cult, which later succeeded in becoming the dominant faith in the districts of House Hlaalu and Vvardenfell.[25]

From 3E 383 to 3E 433, many Dunmer migrated to Cheydinhal in Cyrodiil in order to escape persecution by the Tribunal Temple within Morrowind. One of these Dunmer was a Hlaalu named Andel Indarys, who migrated to Cheydinhal looking for opportunity. He succeeded by taking the position as Count of Cheydinhal.[26]

In 3E 414 Vvardenfell was opened up for settlement by the King of Morrowind. House Hlaalu, alongside Imperial colonists, started expanding and developing parts of the land, taking hold over areas of Vvardenfell. They expanded the council city of Balmora[27] and created the settlements of Pelagiad and Caldera.[28] Due to their cooperation with the Empire, House Hlaalu had a great political and economical standing in Morrowind, openly welcoming Imperial law, the Legions, Imperial bureacracy and freedom of trade and religion. The Hlaalu still honored the ancestors, Temple, and Great Houses, but also adapted to the progress in the rest of the Empire. In contrast to the other Houses, House Hlaalu did not dislike non-Dunmer. In contrast, House Hlaalu desired to live in prosperity with the other races, and share the development of the Empire.[12]

Vvardenfell CrisisEdit

Dagoth Ur, in Red Mountain, however, was planning to use his power to weaken both the Legions as well as the Hlaalu. In 3E 426 and 3E 427 the Sixth House started with assassinating prominent members of House Hlaalu and the Empire.[29] Dagoth Ur was eventually defeated by the Nerevarine.[30] At the same time, local unrest in Hlaalu Districts was decreased due to collaboration with the Legion, though a tax revolt did break out in Balmora.[31] House Hlaalu did not openly support the Nerevarine, but did not oppose him either, due to their virtue of freedom of religion, so long as public order was not threatened.[32]

At the time, the Camonna Tong held a great deal of power over House Hlaalu.[33] It was said that Orvas Dren and his Camonna Tong would try to push out the Empire the moment it showed signs of weakness, such as due to a recalling of the Legions.[34] The influence of the Camonna Tong, specifically, Orvas Dren became apparent when the Nerevarine desired to be named Hlaalu Hortator. Due to Velanda Omani and Nevena Ules being under the service of Orvas Dren, neither would name the Nerevarine Hortator until Orvas Dren did. Dren himself, having had xenophobic visions of Dagoth Ur, was hesitant to accept the Nerevarine as Hortator, and may have outright refused him.[35] Orvas, despite being the brother of Duke Vedam Dren, did consider having him killed due to interference in Camonna Tong business.[36] In contrast, House Hlaalu itself sought to damage the power that the Camonna Tong held over its policies, attempting to make Orvas give up his leading role in the Tong.[37] At the same time, attempts were made to blackmail Orvas through helping one of his slaves escape.[38] In contast to the Camonna Tong, the Hlaalu themselves were generally proud citizens of the Empire,[39] and friends of Imperial factions in the land.[40]

The Camonna Tong was not the only faction that the Hlaalu had a conflict with. House Redoran and the Hlaalu were at odds, due to the valuable ebony mines of Caldera, which the Hlaalu used to their advantage. The Hlaalu themselves did not own the charter to Caldera, which was instead owned by the Imperial Caldera Mining Company.[34] The Hlaalu actively tried to gain an advantage over the Redoran, sending out spies to learn their orders,[41] but also trying to cut off their guar hides from being sold in Vivec City.[42] The Hlaalu also considered shutting down the sole ebony mine held by the Redoran on Vvardenfell, due to the East Empire Company threatening to buy ebony from the Redoran due to the Hlaalu prices.[43] House Hlaalu also attempted to convince the Zainab Ashlanders to solely sell their ebony to the Hlaalu.[44] The House also watched for people who smuggled ebony.[45]

The Hlaalu also had problems with the Telvanni due to their illegal settlements outside of Telvanni territory.[46]

The corruption by the Councilors of House Hlaalu was prevelant among some of its members. Yngling Half-Troll abused the faith of the Tribunal Temple by using the funds meant for the restoration of the Hlaalu Temple for other affairs.[47] Likewise, Hlaalu Councillor Velanda Omani attempted to gain land through a forged land deed.[48] Odral Helvi, a House Hlaalu official working at Caldera, was also known for smuggling ebony from the Caldera ebony mines, though it is unknown if he was caught and trialed for this illegal act.[49] Odral was not the only corrupt member of House Hlaalu in Caldera, however. Cunius Pelelius, a lawman of House Hlaalu, had gotten into some trouble in terms of coin. As a result of this, he started stealing ebony from the ebony mines in order to pay for his debts.[50]

MournholdEdit

When Barenziah returned to Mournhold with her son, Hlaalu Helseth, the previous Hlaalu King, known as Athyn Llethan suddenly died. With Helseth being crowned shortly afterwards, much discussion arose. One of his first acts was the outlawing of slavery within Morrowind, which resulted in a bloody conflict, with the Hlaalu and Dres both releasing their slaves and forming an alliance against the Indoril.[51] His behavior resulted in many proclaiming Helseth to be a mere Imperial figurehead, however, some of his other actions did return more traditional ways. The Grand Council was reformed under Helseth's rule, and now included all the heads of the Great Houses.[52] Within Mournhold itself, some Hlaalu nobles disliked the notion of King Helseth being the ruler of Morrowind, and were attempting to overthrow him, though they ultimately failed in this attempt.[53]

Under Helseth's rule, the power of the Great Houses was changing. House Dres and Hlaalu increased in their power due to embracing the changes. In contrast, Indoril and Redoran were on the decline, being unable to change with the times.[52] Under the circumstances, Vivec stated that House Hlaalu represented the future of Morrowind, integrated into the culture of the Empire.[54]

Fourth EraEdit

Decline of House HlaaluEdit

The Red Year card art

An ash storm during the Red Year.

The aftermath of both the Oblivion Crisis and the Red Year had a devastating effect on the position of House Hlaalu. During the Oblivion Crisis, Morrowind's Legion garrisons were unable to properly defend Morrowind, which had been predicted by Duke Vedam Dren years before.[55] Even so, they were fully committed in the province to fight the Daedra threat.[56] Because of their low forces however, Morrowind was unable to properly defend itself against the Daedra horde until House Redoran took up arms and directed Morrowind's resistance against the Daedra.[57] Five years later Red Mountain erupted, which cut off what little remained of the Imperial garrisons at the border with Black Marsh.[58] After the eruption, the Argonians under the command of the An-Xileel invaded Morrowind, and House Redoran was called upon to stop them. The Argonians cut through southern Morrowind, and even continued to occupy some of the border regions as late as 4E 201,[59] but House Redoran managed to prevent them from cutting through the entire province.[57]

Because of how poorly the Empire had been able to protect Morrowind, many Dunmer took out their anger on the Hlaalu, due to the Hlaalu having the closest ties with the Empire. House Redoran claimed that the Empire had recalled its Legions to defend Cyrodiil, which left Morrowind defenseless. Regardless of the truth of the matter, House Hlaalu was turned into the scapegoat of the suffering of the Dunmer. They were no longer recognized as a Great House, and were removed from the Grand Council.[57] Their seat on the Grand Council was now filled by the new House Sadras.[60]

Over the years, House Hlaalu grew resentful of House Redoran, who they held responsible for their suffering. As such, they attempted both an assassination of the Redoran Councilor Lleril Morvayn and a coup on the settlement of Raven Rock on Solstheim in 4E 95, to show that the Redoran were not as powerful as they claimed to be. Both the assassination and the coup failed, however, being thwarted by the Redoran Guard stationed in the settlement.[61]

Years later, in 4E 201, House Hlaalu would attempt another assassination on the Councilor. Being led by Vendil Ulen, a descendant of the Vilur Ulen, who attempted the original coup and assassination in 4E 95.[62] Vendil took on a fake last name, becoming known as Vendil Severin instead, and lived with a fake family of other members of House Hlaalu, those being Tilisu Severin and Mirri Severin.[63] They arrived in Raven Rock in 4E 191, and were a great benefit to the settlement in the 10 years that they lived in the settlement, providing food, coin, supplies and even repairworks for the settlement.[57] Through usage of Morrowind's legal assassins guild, known as the Morag Tong, they attempted to kill Councilor Morvayn. Their attempts were stopped by the Last Dragonborn, however, who met the assassins and the Ulen family at Ashfallow Citadel, defeating them.[64] Because of this, though Tong assassins kept being sent out in attempts to get rid of the Dragonborn afterwards.[65]

GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit

  • In a quiz developed by the The Elder Scrolls Online team, House Hlaalu is described as "House Hlaalu members love to negotiate, make deals, and generate a profit, and most members are more than willing to compromise in order to resolve disputes. Still, House Hlaalu’s love of high culture and urban life comes with a (perhaps unfair) reputation that labels them as corrupt, greedy bureaucrats."[66]

AppearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Mottos of the Dunmeri Great Houses
  2. 2.0 2.1 House Hlaalu Philosophy of Trade
  3. "Great Houses" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Morrowind lore" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  5. The True Noble's Code
  6. 6.0 6.1 Understanding House Hlaalu
  7. Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  8. Grasping Fortune
  9. Kwama Mining for Fun and Profit
  10. For my Gods and Emperor
  11. Crafting Motif 51: Hlaalu Style
  12. 12.0 12.1 Great Houses of Morrowind
  13. War of the First Council
  14. War of Two Houses
  15. The Great Houses and Their Uses
  16. House Redoran Advisory
  17. Naryu's Journal, Gold Coast
  18. The Llodos Plague
  19. A Tally of Villagers
  20. Merdyndril's Orders
  21. Ithis Omalor's Orders
  22. Events of "The Seal of Three"
  23. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Morrowind
  24. 24.0 24.1 On Morrowind
  25. A Life of Uriel Septim VII
  26. Guide to Cheydinhal
  27. Guide to Vvardenfell
  28. A Short History of Morrowind
  29. Dagoth Ur's Plans
  30. Events of "The Citadels of the Sixth House"
  31. Yellow Book of 3E 426
  32. "Nerevarine" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  33. "Camonna Tong" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  34. 34.0 34.1 "latest rumors" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  35. Events of "Hlaalu Hortator"
  36. Dren's Note
  37. Events of "Dealing with Orvas Dren"
  38. Events of "Free Hides-His-Foot"
  39. "citizens of the Empire" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  40. Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  41. Events of "Disguise"
  42. Events of "Guar Hide Squeeze"
  43. Events of "Epony Trade"
  44. Events of "Ashlander Ebony"
  45. Events of "Velfred the Outlaw"
  46. "troubles for House Hlaalu" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  47. Events of "Yngling's Ledger"
  48. Events of "Land Deed"
  49. Events of "Shipment of Ebony"
  50. Events of "Donation from Cunius Pelelius"
  51. Overheard rumors in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  52. 52.0 52.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind
  53. Events of "Evidence of Conspiracy"
  54. Dialogue with Vivec during "Hortator and Nerevarine"
  55. Dialogue with Duke Vedam Dren
  56. Dialogue with Ocato during "Allies for Bruma"
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 Dialogue with Adril Arano during "Served Cold"
  58. Rising Threat, Vol. III
  59. Dialogue with Dreyla Alor
  60. Dialogue with Lleril Morvayn
  61. History of Raven Rock, Vol. III
  62. The Ulen Matter
  63. Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
  64. Events of "Served Cold"
  65. Random Encounters after completion of "Served Cold"
  66. Which Morrowind Great House do you belong to?
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