Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For the book series, see The Red Year.

The "Red Year" was the name given to the disaster in 4E 05,[1] either on the fourth of Sun's Dawn[2] or the fifth,[3] which caused the destruction of Vvardenfell and parts of Morrowind, and the deaths of countless Dunmer. When the last member of the Tribunal, the warrior-poet Vivec, mysteriously disappeared, the power that kept the meteor Baar Dau floating over the city of Vivec began to diminish over time. In order to keep the moon from crashing down, a device known as the Ingenium kept it afloat. After the device was destroyed, Baar Dau fell from the sky and crashed into Vivec City. This resulted in a chain reaction of events that caused Red Mountain to erupt, laying waste to Vvardenfell and covering a large portion of Morrowind in ash, with many Dunmer dying in the carnage or losing their homes.[4]

By game[]



"I shall keep it there with its last intention intact, so that if the love of the people of this city for me ever disappear, so shall the power that holds back their destruction."

Shortly after the founding of Vivec City, Sheogorath tricked the meteor Baar Dau to change its course through Oblivion and head towards the city in response to the blasphemy of the Tribunal, as he believed Vivec built the city in a mockery of the heavens. In response, Vivec merely lifted his hand, immediately causing Baar Dau to freeze in place above the city.[5] Vivec left the meteor to remain frozen above the city, so that if the people ever stopped loving him, the force keeping the meteor at bay would also stop.[6] Baar Dau was later mined out and became the Ministry of Truth, where it would remain in place for centuries.

Following the Oblivion Crisis in 3E 433, Vivec mysteriously disappeared, and much of the faith and love the people had for him diminished.[7] Some followers of Azura were warned of the impending eruption by the goddess' prophecies, and fled west to Skyrim.[8] In order to keep the Ministry afloat and prevent it from crashing into Vivec City, two Dunmer, named Ezhmaar Sul and Vuhon, made a deal with Clavicus Vile for a device known as the Ingenium, which would keep the Baar Dau suspended in the sky without the need for Vivec. In return, the Ingenium would need to be powered by souls to keep it running. Initially, only the souls of outlaws, prisoners, and other undesirables were sacrificed for the Ingenium. Eventually, citizens were needed to be used as a source as well. The Ingenium was powered for five years until the wife of Sul, Ilzheven, was about to be sacrificed. Sul attempted to save his wife, but the result ended up inevitably destroying the Ingenium. Without anything holding it up, Baar Dau began to fall towards the ground.

The Eruption[]

Baar Dau collided into the very heart of Vivec City, wiping it out completely. This caused the Red Mountain to erupt, devastating cities such as Balmora, Ald'ruhn, Gnisis and Sadrith Mora, and regions like Molag Amur being diminished to ash.[9] The devastation was not limited to Vvardenfell, as even some parts of the mainland, like Tear, suffered from continuous earthquakes and floods caused by the eruption.[10] A month later, a House Redoran councilor, who was living in Mournhold, which was spared from the destruction, issued relief efforts to the ruined island. Vvardenfell was later on the road of recovery, where some of the settlements had been rebuilt over the years.[10]


Red Mountain, still spewing ash, 4E 201.

Following the eruption, Morrowind became less habitable, and even the air was difficult to breathe in.[11] Two hundred years after the event, the waters in the Sea of Ghosts still remained too tainted with ash for fish to live in them.[12] Mysterious compounds known as Heart Stones and violent creatures called Ash Spawns also arose from debris spread by the eruption.[13] The Silt Strider species was nearly wiped out, as many of them were native to Vvardenfell.[9] Many Dunmer fled to Solstheim, which had its climate drastically changed in the southern areas,[13] and was later given to Morrowind by the High King of Skyrim in 4E 16.[14] Others decided to settle in Skyrim, mainly in Winterhold,[15] Windhelm, and Riften.[16]

In 4E 6, the Argonians took advantage of Morrowind's weakened state, and launched an invasion as revenge for centuries of slavery under the Dunmer, killing hundreds of innocents.[17] Under the command of the An-Xileel, they captured territories in southern Morrowind, but were then halted by the armies of House Redoran.[4] The Argonians cursed the waters near the ruins of Vivec City forever, turning it into a boiling hot area known as Scathing Bay. When Umbriel flew over Morrowind in 4E 40, it resurrected the bodies of the many Red Year victims buried in the waters of the Inner Sea as zombies.[4][18]

The Great Collapse, which occurred in 4E 122 and had destroyed large portions of Winterhold, resulting in the deaths of many civilians,[15] is suspected to be caused by late-term aftershocks from the eruption of Red Mountain.[19]