The Ket Keptu, also referred to only as Keptu, were one of the many races of men. In appearance, they were humans with tan brown skin.[UL 1] They inhabited central Hammerfell and the Cyrod hinterlands by the time of the Second Empire, and were described, along with the Ashlanders of Morrowind, Reachmen of Western Reach and Kothringi of Black Marsh, as "barbaric" races.
Their culture was at one point almost entirely oral, though they had developed glyphs and amulets inscribed with markings. According to Seif-ij Hidja of Black Marsh, the barbarous tribes that inhabit the "hinterlands" (as he puts it) of Tamriel all share strikingly similar tastes in apparel. In his book series, Racial Motifs, he states that the tribal, clannish races "simply disdain all ideas of tasteful restraint, preferring the lurid and bizarre," rather than being less sophisticated than other cultures. He also mentions typical accouterments common in the different tribes, such as "skulls, antlers, feathers, strings of teeth, accents of beaten copper, and weapons ostentatious in size and number," although nothing is specifically connected to the Keptu. The Keptu were among the races enslaved by the Ayleids in Cyrodiil during the First Era. Zuathas the Clever-Cutting Man was described as "a Nede with a Keptu name" during "Slave Queen" Alessia's uprising in 1E 242–243.
The Keptu lived in Tamriel during the Merethic and early First eras, alongside many of the other early Nedic peoples. Though unpolished and barbaric, the Keptu were far from primitive, and were among the earlier pre-Alessian civilizations to discover techniques for refining stone.
They constructed the Bloodroot Forge atop a large source of nirncrux in a secluded Jerall valley with Hircine's assistance,[UL 2] a massive and powerful magical forge rivaling the architectural feats of the Ayleids and Dwemer. It harnessed the power of lava flows to smelt the tribe's ore and heat their metals, though also served a more occult purpose as a temple to worship dark gods and practice dangerous rites of Blood Magic with the use of iron, nirncrux, and lava. The Ayleids enslaved many Keptu around the Niben during the early First Era before their empire fell. Due to the usage of "Nede" as a catch-all term for Merethic Era humans, the Keptu are inconsistently described as being Nedes and as a separate race from Nedes. Pelinal Whitestrake brought Morihaus to the Nedic healer Zuathas the Clever-Cutting man, who had a Keptu name, and tended to the wounds he received after a battle with the Ayleids.
How the Keptu people faded from prominence is unclear, but most Nedic cultures were already in decline by the time the Ra Gada set foot in Volenfell by 1E 808. It is suggested that they had ancient cultural interchange with the clans of the Reach, who adopted parts of their cultural styles.
In the "Long Night" after the War of Succession circa 1E 2762, the Sancre Tor priestesses of Diblashuut painted their ankles in the same fashion as the extinct Keptu.[UL 3] By the Second Era, ancient Keptu sites had become ruins and were shunned by the Nords as places of evil. In 2E 582, a group of Reachmen descended from the Keptu formed the Dreadhorn Clan and reclaimed the Bloodroot Forge, meddling with the long slumbering smithies to infuse themselves with nirncrux. Their leader Gherig Bullblood met with the minotaur Domihaus the Bloody-Horned, who recognized his Keptu amulet, and together they used blood magic to awaken the forge.
- The "Men-of-ket" are identified as another race of early humans herded alongside the Keptu in Nibenay, but there is no confirmation that they are the same, as original context even indicates that they are separate races.
- Crafting Motif 12: Barbaric Style
- Nicolard's Notes on Ruin Origins
- Meet the Character – Domihaus the Bloody-Horned
- The Adabal-a
- The Song of Pelinal, Book IV
- Loremaster's Archive: Archeology and Races of Tamriel
- Nicolard's Notes on the Forge
- Bloodroot Forge Loading screen
- Blood-Forged skin description
- Keptu Armor costume and showcase descriptions
- Nedes of the Deathlands
- Keptu-Horn Skull Sallet hat description
- Blood for Blood quest
|Humans||Akaviri • Atmorans • Bretons • Imperials • Keptu|
Kothringi • Nedes • Nords • Orma • Redguards
|Mer||Aldmer • Altmer • Ayleids • Bosmer • Chimer • Dunmer|
Dwemer • Falmer • Maormer • Orsimer • Sinistral Elves • Snow Elves
|Beast||Argonians • Imga • Khajiit • Lilmothiit • Sload • Giants|
|Akaviri||Ka Po' Tun • Kamal • Tang Mo • Tsaesci • Dragons|
|Et'Ada||Aedra • Daedra|