"Citing a stewardship clause in a treaty from a thousand years before, the High Elves quickly established a provisional government, the Thalmor, on behalf of their own claimant, Camoran Anaxemes, whose bloodline had struck the pact with the Aldmeri Council in the first place."
―A description on the forming of the Thalmor of the Second Aldmeri Dominion[src]

The Thalmor are a political faction and extremist paramilitary force within the Aldmeri Dominion.[2]

By game[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Second Era[edit | edit source]

First Aldmeri Dominion[edit | edit source]

A Fist of Thalmor.

The Thalmor of the First Dominion was separated into two groups, one being the diplomatic, political branch, tasked with increasing the group's de jure influence, and the other the paramilitary branch. The military arm of the faction would often act with brutal, repressive force, and became known as "Justiciars", also referred to as "Fists of Thalmor", to distinguish them from the diplomatic corps.[2] With the forming of the Dominion, the diplomatic corps would also influence the citizens of the Summerset Isles, focusing on how to communicate with the Khajiit and Bosmer allies of the Altmer, and how their cultures might be different.[3][4] Citizens would also be permitted to question the Thalmor rulership and request possible changes.[5] One Bosmer treethane, in command of Woodhearth, was also a member of the Thalmor.[6]

The Thalmor Justiciars would serve as a military guard unit in Velyn Harbor at the time of the wedding between the Silvenar and Green Lady.[7] The Justiciars also dispense punishments to those who committed crimes.[8]

Altmer dissidents did exist, who even outright questioned the policy of the Thalmor, accusing them of happily sending generations of Altmer to their deaths, through continued military intervention in the Alliance War sending the youth of the Altmer to the frontier,[9] numbers which would double the next year.[10] Opposition to Thalmor rule also existed among some Bosmer, who would aid the Maormer in combat.[11]

Second Aldmeri Dominion[edit | edit source]

The Second Aldmeri Dominion's origins can be traced from 2E 830, when Valenwood was in civil war between the heirs of the Camoran Dynasty and another Bosmer faction. This faction was making overtures to create peace with the people of Colovia, and as such, the Altmer invaded the nation of Valenwood, and conquered it. Justifying their invasion with a treaty from thousands of years ago, the Altmer established a provisional government, called the Thalmor, on behalf of Camoran Anaxemes, whose bloodline had struck the pact with the Aldmeri Council.[1]

After creation of this new government, the Colovians were pushed back, still weakened from the interregnum, and any opposition was silenced. The Bosmer were grateful for the Altmer aid, and in return, Camoran Anaxemes swore fifty years of fealty to the King of Alinor, starting the Second Aldmeri Dominion.[1]

Having solidified their hold on Valenwood, the Thalmor worked to consolidate their strength on Valenwood while the Third Empire was being founded, commanding Bosmer tribes to skirmish with the Colovian armies along the Strid River. These attacks would come to a halt when the Empire was reunified under Tiber Septim, while encampments of both parties were still present on either side of the border. When the Thalmor would attempt to probe the defences of the Empire, the Legions now sent them back in tatters. On sea the situation would be different, however, as the Dominion held the waters from the Cape of the Blue Divide to the Topal Bay with its navy. Likewise, the Thalmor repaired the roads of Valenwood, which had been overgrown due to the Green Pact, and changed the capital of the province from Falinesti to Elden Root.[1]

The Thalmor of the Second Dominion would fall when Tiber Septim conquered Tamriel.[12][13][14]

Third and Fourth Era[edit | edit source]

Third Aldmeri Dominion[edit | edit source]

A Thalmor banner with the eagle of the Aldmeri Dominion.

"We intend to prove the superiority of Mer over Man, one century at a time."

The Thalmor of the Third Aldmeri Dominion largely formed during the Oblivion Crisis; though they had always been a powerful faction within Summerset, they always consisted of a minority voice.[15]

They were syndicates of wizards who led boycotts on Imperial goods in the Summerset Isles, and its members had started to worship the Daedra.[16] During the Oblivion Crisis itself, Summerset was hit hard. In the final moments of the Crisis, the Daedra had overran the Crystal Tower,[17] and before they could continue their rampage, the Oblivion Crisis had ended. In the confusion, the Thalmor came out and proclaimed themselves the ones to have ended the Crisis.[18][19] The Altmer of Summerset, desperately looking for a savior, thanked the Thalmor with open arms,[18] providing the Thalmor with authority and power.[15] While in reality it was the effort of Martin Septim and the Hero of Kvatch which ended the Crisis,[20] the Thalmor certainly prevented the Isles from being overrun by the Daedric hordes.[15]

Months later, some doubt began to arise. One of the defenders of the Crystal Tower, known as Rynandor the Bold, questioned the influence the Thalmor had in ending the crisis, and in doing so, was besmirched by the Thalmor. With the public opinion being in favor of the Thalmor, Rynandor's reputation was quickly tarnished, and Rynandor himself would be denounced and exiled soon after.[18] While in exile, Rynandor had set out for Anvil in Cyrodiil, but never arrived, as he and those who sailed with him were killed on the sea.[21]

When the Red Year took place in 4E 5, the Thalmor took advantage of the chaos in Morrowind and Black Marsh. They incited the Argonians to mount a massive uprising, which worked, with Black Marsh and southern Morrowind falling to the beastfolk. Following this, the Thalmor lost what little influence they had over the Argonians. Later, Ocato, the Potentate of the Third Empire, had started listening to the dissidents of Summerset, but before he could do anything, the Thalmor had him assassinated.[22]

With the death of Ocato, the Empire entered the Stormcrown Interregnum, leaving it greatly weakened. In the chaos, the Thalmor overthrew the kings and queens of the Altmer, further consolidating their grip on Summerset in 4E 22. They would also implement reforms, purging all those who were not of "the blood of the Aldmer", alongside dissidents.[23] They would also rename the Summerset Isles to "Alinor", which hearkens back to the time before the rise of Man,[15] though most people still refer to the land as the Summerset Isles.[15]

When Titus Mede ended the Stormcrown Interregnum, he was still trying to stabalize what remained of the Empire. In the ongoing chaos, the Thalmor staged a coup in Valenwood alongside their Bosmer allies in 4E 29.[15] By using a greater network of spies and being more mobile than their Imperial counterparts, the Thalmor and Bosmer were able to defeat the Imperial generals in Valenwood, despite their smaller numbers. The Bosmer then made an alliance with the Thalmor, resulting in the Aldmeri Dominion being reborn.[23][19][15] After this event, the Thalmor would severe all contact with the Empire for the next 70 years, giving the Thalmor the time to further consolidate their power within Valenwood and Summerset.[15] In these years of silence, the Thalmor would also take part in trying to harm the Empire in other ways. They supplied a group of rebels in Skingrad, known as The Natives, and also provided them with funds.[24]

"I may well not be privy to many details, but their goal is clear--the pacification and purification of all of Tamriel--to bring about a new Merethic Era"
―Inspector Colin[src]

At the same time, the Empire was aware of the geopolitical goal of the Thalmor. Through investigations by the Penitus Oculatus, the conclusion was made that the Thalmor desired a new Merethic Era, as the Thalmor sought to pacify and purify Tamriel. To support this claim, the evidence was brought up that the reforming of the Aldmeri Dominion, persecution of refugees from Valenwood and Summerset, and Thalmor contact with Elsweyr all amounted to a huge build up of political tension and the military arsenal - to wage war on Tamriel and usher in another Merethic Era.[24][25]

The Thalmor also took down dissidents outside of the Summerset Isles. Refugees who had fled to Sentinel in Hammerfell in 4E 42 were found and attacked by members of the Thalmor. By the time the Legionnaires stationed in the city could respond, the Refugee Quarter was already a smoking ruin. This event would be known as the Night of Green Fire.[26] Other refugees would also be targeted by the Thalmor, though primarily Balfiera and Sentinel were targets of their attacks. On Balfiera, series of murders were attributed to the Thalmor on the basis that all of the targets were generally targeted by the Thalmor. Those of mixed blood or those in contact with organizations which were considered to be unclean by the Thalmor. In Valenwood, the situation for dissidents was worse, with the Thalmor actively working against local rebels, and having clear intelligence on the supply lines to those rebels by the Penitus Oculatus, often executing the rebels and occasionally managing to take down Penitus Oculatus Agents.[25]

In 4E 98, the Void Nights took place, as both Masser and Secunda vanished. Most of the Empire looked at this in horror, but in Elsweyr, the situation was worse. When the moons returned in 4E 100, the Thalmor proclaimed they had brought them back using previously unknown Dawn Magicks. Regardless of whether or not this claim was true, the Khajiits of Elsweyr hailed the Thalmor as their saviors. Fifteen years later, in 4E 115, Imperial influence within the land had diminished enough that the Imperial forces could not responed effectively to the coup by the Khajiits, dissolving the Elsweyr Confederacy and returning the kingdoms of Anequina and Pelletine, both of which became client states to the Dominion.[15]

The Great War[edit | edit source]

Before the Great War, the Thalmor and the Blades would find themselves at odds, with the Blades being involved in damaging operations, such as breaching a prison and an incident at Falinesti.[27] As such, the Thalmor took out most of the Blades both prior to, and during, the Great War.[28] The Blades had underestimated the Thalmor, leading to their destruction.[29] Many Altmer disagreed with the Thalmor around this time, but only few dared to speak up about it.[30]

On the 30th of Frostfall, 4E 171, the Thalmor sent an ambassador to the Imperial City with an ultimatum for Emperor Titus Mede II. The terms of the ultimatum demanded disbandment of the Blades, outlawing of Talos worship, ceding large portions of Hammerfell to the Dominion, and several tributes of gold. Despite the warnings of his generals, Titus Mede refused the ultimatum. As such, the Thalmor opened a cart they had brought, revealing the heads of every Blades agent in the Summerset Isles and Valenwood. And so, the Great War started.[15]

Under the command of Thalmor Lord Naarifin and Lady Arannelya, the Dominion advanced into both Hammerfell and Cyrodiil, quickly conquering most of Hammerfell's southern coastline, and taking territory in Cyrodiil. While the original goal of Lord Naarifin's army was to pin down the Legions in Cyrodiil while Hammerfell was overrun, the weakness of Cyrodiil's defenses made the Thalmor change their plans. The complete overthrowing of the Empire now became their goal. The Dominion would have the greatest extent of its territory in 4E 174, when the Thalmor sent all available forces to Cyrodiil in order to conquer the Imperial City. In Hammerfell, the Thalmor had conquered all of southern Hammerfell, excluding Hegathe, and had also claimed Skaven, though they would be pushed out of Skaven later the same year. Within Cyrodiil, the Thalmor had claimed Bravil, Leyawiin, Skingrad, Anvil and the Imperial City.[15]

Through the usage of the Orb of Vaermina, alongside the Dremora Reive carrying Goldbrand, Naarifin was able to make great progress in achieving this goal, with the Orb being used to spy on the Imperial Legion.[31] His success made Nord Legionnaires believe the Legion was doomed, resulting in them deserting the Legion.[32] He attempted to fulfill the Culling prophecy, which would unleash hordes of Daedra, but ultimately failed when the Legion would retake the Imperial City.[33] After the Battle of the Red Ring had ended, Lord Naarifin was kept alive for thirty-three days. Reports on what happened to the Thalmor General on the thirty-fourth day vary. It is unknown where he was buried, or if he was buried, with one report stating he was carried off by winged daedra.[15]

After the Battle of the Red Ring, the entire Imperial army was decimated,[15] and to continue the war would have meant defeat for the Legion.[34] With most of the Empire welcoming peace at any price, Titus Mede signed the peace treaty known as the White-Gold Concordat, which was similar to the ultimatum the Emperor had refused years prior. Hammerfell refused the treaty, unwilling to give up so much of their territory, despite most of it already being conquered by the Dominion. As such, the Emperor was forced to renounce Hammerfell as an Imperial province. While the Great War within the Empire was over, it would continue for five more years in Hammerfell, and end when the Redguards managed to stop the Aldmeri advance and fight them to a standstill. The Second Treaty of Stros M'kai was signed, and the Thalmor withdrew their forces from the province, leaving southern Hammerfell devastated. With the Great War officially over, Hammerfell and the Empire were in an uneasy situation, as Hammerfell felt betrayed by the Empire when the Concordat was signed, yet acknowledged that only their combined forces could truly defeat the Dominion.[15]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

A Thalmor Justiciar within Skyrim.

In the aftermath of the Great War, the Thalmor would attempt to further their political goals. Ulfric Stormcloak, the son of the Jarl of Windhelm had been captured by the Thalmor during the Great War, and had been allowed to escape after investigation, being assigned as an asset to Elenwen. After the war, the Thalmor established direct and cooperative contact with Ulfric, who would prove his worth as an asset to the Thalmor.[35] During the Great War, the guardsmen of the Reach would be conscripted by the Legion to aid them in battle. With the Reach being greatly weakened, the natives, known as the Reachmen took their chances and took over the land, creating the independent kingdom of the Reach. With the Legion still being in Cyrodiil,[36] Jarl Hrolfdir turned to Ulfric and his militia, requesting their aid in reclaiming the Reach. Ulfric would grant this request, on the condition that open and free Talos worship would be permitted within the city. Hrolfdir agreed, and Ulfric reclaimed the Reach in his name.[37]

The ban on Talos worship had not been enforced by the Empire within Skyrim up until this point, as nobody paid attention to the ban and everyone still had their shrines of Talos.[38] As such, the reason Ulfric demanded free Talos worship was due to his collaboration with the Thalmor, who considered the Markarth Incident particularly valuable in regards of their aims towards Skyrim.[35] After the city had been reclaimed, the Thalmor suddenly found out about the breaking of the Concordat, and demanded the arrest of Ulfric and his men.[37][39] Because of this, Ulfric became uncooperative to direct contact with the Thalmor, and his status of asset to them turned dormant.[35]

After this incident, the Emperor was forced to crack down on Talos worship and permit the Thalmor entry into Imperial land to enforce the Concordat.[38][40] Within Skyrim, the Thalmor would seek to advance their goals through various pursuits. Within Markarth the Thalmor commander of the Justiciars, Ondolemar, was stationed. The Thalmor Justiciars were in charge of enforcing the ban on Talos worship.[19] Thalmor patrols would take Talos worshippers as prisoners for interrogation,[41][42] and conduct assassination attempts against those who attempted to hinder their work in Skyrim.[41][43][44] The Thalmor would, in their effort to root out Talos worship, also locate shrines to Talos and eliminate those utilising them.[45][46]

Other activities within the province revolved around perpetuating the Civil War in Skyrim through indirect aid to the Stormcloaks,[35] finding magical artifacts,[47][48][49] and defending themselves from harassing Stormcloaks in skirmishes.[41] On the isle of Solstheim, the Thalmor would also attempt to uncover the means to craft weapons and armor made from Stalhrim by kidnapping the blacksmith of the Skaal.[50] Other missions included finding Esbern, the loremaster of the Blades regarding the Dragons,[27] as the Thalmor sought to discover why the Dragons returned.[51] Another assignment was finding Delphine, a Blades agent who had dealt serious damage to the Dominion before the Great War broke out, avoided a purge, and personally defeated three assassination teams.[52] At the College of Winterhold, the Thalmor advisor, Ancano, gathered intelligence on the Arch-Mage and his endeavors.[53] When the Eye of Magnus was found, Ancano attempted to take its power for himself, but was killed by a College Wizard in his attempts.[54] The Psijic Order, which had become an enemy of the Thalmor years prior due to conflict with them,[55] and their repudiation of Thalmor authority,[56] eventually took the Eye of Magnus away.[54]

In other parts of the Empire, the Thalmor hunted down Blades members,[57] and continued to root out Talos worship.[58][59]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Aldmeri Dominion
  2. 2.0 2.1 Regarding the "Fists of Thalmor"
  3. Thalmor Handbill
  4. Thalmor Diplomatic Corps Notice
  5. Response to Citizen Inquiries
  6. Woodhearth: A Pocket Guide
  7. Fists of Thalmor
  8. Aldmeri Court Transcript
  9. Savior of the Altmer, Part 1
  10. Savior of the Altmer, Part 3
  11. Firras' Journal
  12. Anonymous Letters
  13. Letter from the Underking
  14. Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Valenwood
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 The Great War
  16. Overheard conversations in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  17. Rising Threat, Vol. I
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Rising Threat, Vol. II
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Dialogue with Ondolemar
  20. Events of "Light the Dragonfires"
  21. Rising Threat, Vol. III
  22. Rising Threat, Vol. IV
  23. 23.0 23.1 Rising Threat, Vol. IV
  24. 24.0 24.1 An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, Part Two, Chapter Seven
  25. 25.0 25.1 An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, Part One, Chapter Three
  26. Dialogue with Legate Fasendil
  27. 27.0 27.1 Thalmor Dossier: Esbern
  28. The Rise and Fall of the Blades
  29. Dialogue with Delphine during "A Blade in the Dark"
  30. Dialogue with Telarendil
  31. Events of "Chapter 16 - The Restless Dead"
  32. Events of "Chapter 14 - A Fractured Legion"
  33. Events of "Chapter 20 - The Showdown"
  34. Loading Screen in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Thalmor Dossier: Ulfric Stormcloak
  36. The Bear of Markarth
  37. 37.0 37.1 Dialogue with Igmund
  38. 38.0 38.1 Dialogue with Alvor
  39. Dialogue with Cedran
  40. Flight from the Thalmor
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Random Encounters in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  42. Dialogue with Thalmor Justiciars
  43. Justiciar Execution Order
  44. Events of "Find the Thalmor Assassin"
  45. Thalmor Orders
  46. Lorcalin's Orders
  47. Events of "Siege on the Dragon Cult
  48. Valmir's Orders
  49. Events of "The Staff of Magnus"
  50. Events of "A New Source of Stalhrim"
  51. Dragon Investigation: Current Status
  52. Thalmor Dossier: Delphine
  53. Dialogue with Ancano
  54. 54.0 54.1 Events of "The Eye of Magnus"
  55. Dialogue with Ancano during "Good Intentions"
  56. Dialogue with Quaranir during "Good Intentions"
  57. Dialogue with Aranande during "The Justiciar Cometh"
  58. Events of "The Forbidden Divine"
  59. Events of "The Freedom to Believe"
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