Loremaster's Archive – The Slave Rebellion is part of the Loremaster's Archive series written by Lawrence Schick, the Loremaster of The Elder Scrolls Online. This entry was published on 02/06/2015.



Our most esteemed contributor for this installment is no other than Chancellor Abnur Tharn!

The Chancellor's wisdom and insight are known throughout Tamriel, so we were thrilled when he agreed to visit the Archive and share his latest lore book, which examines the Alessian Slave Rebellion and the fall of the Ayleids. We offer our most sincere apologies to the Chancellor again for spilling our tea on him—entirely on accident—upon hearing his very fair criticisms of our humble Archive and its collection.

The next Loremaster's Archive will feature Arthenice Belloq, author of “A Life Barbaric and Brutal," who plans to present a new lore book about the Reachmen.


By Chancellor Abnur Tharn

The ruination that came to the Ayleids was inevitable. It was not, as less astute scholars postulate, due to the will of the Aedra or some absurd mystical agent, but was a result of their degenerate Daedra worship and gross underestimation of their slaves. The human leaders who challenged the Ayleids, Saint Alessia in particular, recognized the cultural rot weakening their captors and took advantage of it to orchestrate one of the greatest triumphs of Men.

The debauched Elves were apparently quite creative when it came to devising new horrors to inflict on their slaves. What a shock that practices such as “flesh-sculpture" would drive the tormented men and women of Cyrodiil to rebellion. In their smug complacency, the Elves could not conceive of the possibility of an uprising—which was well for the slaves, who would have been summarily crushed by the Ayleids at the height of their power.

As evidenced by the ruins found throughout Tamriel, the Ayleids were an incredible force. The source of their prodigious might, however, was also the catalyst of their decline. Deals with Daedric Princes granted them the power they sought. They thought themselves in control—typical Elven arrogance—as poison crept into their society. The various Daedric cults began bickering and backstabbing, as is their wont, forming the cracks the rebellion would exploit.

Another critical factor in the dissolution of Ayleid rule was the indomitable will of the oppressed. We have all read accounts of heroic deeds executed by the likes of Alessia, Morihaus, and Pelinal Whitestrake. While it's obvious to anyone with a modicum of intellect that these tales are a bit hyperbolic, it is quite clear that exceptional individuals made the establishment of the First Empire possible.

Alessia's Slave Army was populated with many examples of the true potential of Man. It is a pity that more texts have not survived, for the few we retain give us little insight, and dishonest scholars often distort them for slanderous political purposes. My own ancestor, “Tharanus Ye Redde-Hand," has been painted as either a slave-overseer or even implied to be Tharhan, the Mutilant of the Gradual Massacre, based on ridiculous interpretations of obscure and questionable footnotes. The jealousy of lesser men, while I do so savor it, can be such an annoyance at times.

In reality, based on the rare texts I have had the privilege of consulting in the vaults of White-Gold itself, including the recently-discovered Scroll of Precursor Saints, Tharanus was a critical supporter of Alessia's cause, disrupting supply routes through forged logistical orders and even leading his own battalion into some of the war's bloodiest conflicts. Sadly, the slanderous have sunk so low as to make preposterous accusations that I forged the scroll myself. Despicable.

Given the weakness of the Ayleids and the rather inspiring members of Alessia's retinue, the outcome of the war was determined before the first slaver was beheaded. The Slave Rebellion both teaches a cautionary lesson about the idiocy of trifling with the Daedra and demonstrates the power of men, who have rightfully ruled the heart of Tamriel since. As they always shall.


Lord Tharn, your noble family's role in the Alessian slave rebellion is well known, but one figure that always intrigued me is the mysterious Arch-Prelate Fervidius Tharn himself. Details about the man are rare. Would the kind Chancellor be willing to shed some light on the matter? - Archivist Jimeee of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “I am pleased by your question, good archivist, for it gives me an opportunity to set the record straight about a man who is often mischaracterized and misunderstood. My ancestor, Fervidius Tharn, began his calling with the Alessian Order as a humble oblate, but as his merits and character became apparent—good breeding always tells, does it not?—he was given greater and greater responsibility, in time becoming arch-prelate of the entire order. Though at that period the arch-prelate wielded power almost as great as that of the emperor, Fervidius still had powerful enemies, both inside and outside the order. The greatest of these threats was a fanatical schism of the Alessians called the Marukhati Selective. Arch-Prelate Fervidius learned that the zealots of the Selective were scheming to bring about some sort of mystical re-engineering of the Aurbis by finding and combining the eight parts of an artifact called the Staff of Towers. These segments had been deliberately separated and hidden early in the First Era due to the threat posed by the complete Staff. Fervidius sent agents of the Order out to find these segments—not, as some have said, to assist the Marukhati Selectives, but to sequester the segments where the Selectives could not get at them. Alas, in the end the arch-prelate, ever a trusting man, was betrayed by his closest allies, and his courageous stand against the Selectives cost him his very life."

My question for you, Chancellor, is that during the Alessian Rebellion, why were the Barsaebic Ayleids of my native Black Marsh not targeted as a potential threat or source of allies for the two conflicting sides (and the same for the Saxhleel ourselves)? I would think their proximity would result in some action from them, but nothing seems to be recorded in The Imperial Library. But we know how much you care for authenticity and accuracy, eh Tharn? – Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “My dear Warden, you wound me, truly you do, with your implications. Those who put the boot into another should take care, lest they become boots themselves, if you take my meaning. But I digress. The Barsaebics, of course, were on the Aedric side in the Ayleid civil conflict known as the Narfinsel Schism, and were driven out of Cyrodiil by the Daedra-worshipers in the Scouring of Wendelbek. As this took place only a half-century before Alessia's Slave Revolt, the humiliation of exile still stung for the Barsaebics; when King Glinferen of Atatar sent an envoy to Gideon call for aid against the rebellious Nedes, the Barsaebic king (I'm afraid his name is lost to history) sent him back with a blunt refusal. Why didn't Alessia, who had other Ayleids among her allies, call on the Barsaebics to join her? We don't know that she didn't—all we know is that such an alliance never took place."

Let's get the facts straight. Was Morihaus a bull, or a man, or a man-bull, or what? We need to know! -Imperial Scholar Aidius Lutrus

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “As one Imperial scholar to another, Aidius, I am surprised to hear you use the word 'facts' about an individual known to us only through the medium of myth. In 'fact,' it matters not whether Morihaus was man, bull, or Eidar cheese—what matters is how his saga supports the national narrative of the Empire, and how belief in the might and righteousness of Morihaus informs the self-image of the average Cyrodiil. The creation story of the Empire has no purpose or meaning beyond its support of the Empire's continuation. If this is news to you, perhaps it is time to review the continuation of your Imperial stipend."

I wish to know your opinion on Alessia. Why did Akatosh favor her cause—indeed, the cause of all Imperials, and grant her the Amulet of Kings? - Alessandra of Cyrodiil

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Ah, but of course you already know the answer, loyal Alessandra. Do you simply wish to hear the truth spoken again from the very lips of the High Chancellor? If so, I am happy to indulge you. Repeat, along with me, the words that cannot be gainsaid, the truth that cannot be questioned: 'Saint Alessia, through her purity and wisdom, earned the love of all good beings, mortal and immortal. At Sancre Tor she prayed to Akatosh for the liberation of her people, and the Time Dragon granted her Three Visions to guide her in this task. Though the road was long and filled with hardship, her faith sustained her. When at last all three visions had come to pass and her people were freed of Elven domination, her purpose was fulfilled and she was called to Apotheosis. Then was she inducted into sainthood by Akatosh himself, and granted the Amulet of Kings, for the sacred rulers of the Empire to wear for ever and beyond.' There, Alessandra. Blessed be the Divines."

As a young woman, I was taught that our ancestors were called 'Nedes'. Some historical texts suggest the Nedes are the aboriginal humans of Tamriel. Others, such as the Dunmeri sagas, suggest they came from Atmora, and were cousins of the Nords. I know you have a deep interest in the genealogy of your own esteemed bloodline, milord, as well as a strong nationalistic pride in Nibenay and its accomplishments, so I'll assume you have an opinion on the matter of the identity of Nedes. Just who were our enigmatic ancestors, sire, and where did they come from? – Laurina Berne, Master Enchanter, Battlemage Corps

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Excellent questions, upon matters to which many of our finest scholars have devoted their entire lives. Before Khosey's 'Tamrilean Tractates,' which date to around 1E 200, the historical record is fragmentary to entirely nonexistent. This places us in the realm of conjecture, but from common elements in the oral traditions of the Cyro-Nedic tribes, certain probabilities can be adduced. The origin of the Nedes was undoubtedly the northern continent of Atmora, but the Nedic tribes did not all come to Tamriel at once; they came in waves, over a period of centuries, one tribal group at a time. These tribes were far from homogeneous: though all came from Atmora, some were as different from each other as Reachman and Redguard. The term 'Nedic Tribes' actually covers a wide panoply of different human cultures from different parts of Atmora, with a variety of traditions and practices. For the Nedes, Tamriel became a great mixing cauldron—some Atmoran practices were retained, but many were lost. In Nibenay alone do we find the kind of continuity that sheds light on original Nedic culture, for only here were the great, old traditions maintained in any fidelity. Thus, when you look at a Nibenese, you see the closest thing to a pure-bred Nede still remaining on this continent."

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+