The Towers are a series of natural and artificial structures on Mundus built by both the Aedra and mer that hold power over the world, although the precise extent of that power is unclear. Their origin is the Adamantine Tower in High Rock, with the other Towers attempting to imitate its metaphysical properties.[UL 1] It is believed by some that that their existence ensures Mundus remains stabilized and prevents it from dissolving back into Oblivion. Each Tower bears a "stone" that serves as its heart and allows it to channel creatia from Oblivion, which in turn may allow the Tower to shape creation around itself.[UL 2]
The concept of the Towers was introduced in series of unlicensed texts known as the Nu-Mantia Intercepts, written by Michael Kirkbride, former writer and designer for Bethesda Softworks, and has since been expanded upon in texts from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online.
Creation of the Towers
The origins of the first tower, the Adamantine Tower are uncertain, but according to Elven religion, it was created when the Aedra gathered to decide Lorkhan's punishment for his involvement in the creation of Mundus. Akatosh's vessel planted itself into Nirn and became the Adamantine Tower, and it was on this first tower that the Convention took place.[UL 3]
Immediately following Lorkhan's Heart being torn from his body, it was flung across the sea, creating Red Mountain where it landed. Immediately afterwards, creation stabilized, possibly due to the landing of the Heart, which created the Red Tower.[UL 1]
The remaining Towers were created by various mer throughout the Merethic Era, either in imitation of the Adamantine Tower,[UL 1] or as an expression of the mer's own desires for creation and self-definition.
Towers and Stones
Each Tower bears a focusing Stone that provides it with stability and power, which is used to harvest raw energy from Aetherius to help the Tower reshape the landscape around it. To change the nature of this Stone will change the nature of the Tower, and the land around it. Control of a Tower itself may also allow this type of control over the land as well.
It has been suggested that when a Tower's Stone is destroyed or altered, that Tower ceases to function, although there is little direct evidence of this.
Loremaster Celarus of the Psijic Order states that there are eight towers in Nirn. Ada-Mantia and the Red Tower are the only two that were created by the et'Ada, most of the others were made by the various races of Mer.
The Adamantine Tower, also known as the Direnni Tower, was the first Tower.[UL 1] It was created on the island of Balfiera in the Illiac Bay and is believed to be the oldest known structure in Tamriel. It is considered an active tower and its stone is known as the Zero Stone, which is the Convention.
Red Mountain was the second Tower that was created when Auri-El and Trinimac killed Lorkhan and shot his heart into Vvardenfell. Red Mountain grew around its stone, the Heart of Lorkhan, and it granted a special kind of divinity to Mundus. With two Towers in place Mundus was stable, so Auri-El and several other Aedra left the mortal plane. The Aldmer, seeking to follow Auri-El and achieve divinity, began to construct their own Towers.
The Red Tower was deactivated at the conclusion of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind when the Nerevarine infiltrated Dagoth Ur's citadel and destroyed the various power tapping enchantments placed around the Heart of Lorkhan. Once the enchantments were destroyed, the Heart disappeared. The mountain later erupted in 4E 05.
The Crystal Tower is located in Alinor in the Summerset Isle. It was built by the Altmer in ancient times and served as the pinnacle of arcane research, predating the Arcane University and College of Winterhold. During the Oblivion Crisis, it was turned over to the Thalmor, however it was attacked and destroyed by legions of Daedra. Its Stone is Transparent Law.
The White-Gold Tower is the ancient structure which dominates the Imperial City in Cyrodiil. It was built by the Ayleids, and has been referred to as "one of the axes of creation." and "an echo of the ur-Tower" in its imitation of the Adamantine Tower.
Although the tower was built with a central spire the structure itself resembles the Wheel, with eight lesser towers forming a ring around it. This formation is described as a unique "Wheel within the Wheel" and gives the White-Gold Tower a power over creatia unlike any of the other Towers. While other Towers bind magic and bleed it, the White-Gold Tower harnessed the power of creation.[UL 4] Its stone was the Chim-el Adabal, the central gemstone within in the Amulet of Kings.[UL 2]
Phrastus of Elinhir claims that the stone of the White-Gold Tower is actually the Tel Var Stones built with it. According to the Prophecy of the Dragonborn recorded on Alduin's Wall, the fall of the White Tower occurred during the Oblivion Crisis or the Great War—"When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls."
The Orichalc Tower was believed to have been located on the continent of Yokuda. It was built by the Lefthanded Elves and is likely to have been constructed from Orichalcum. The Tower was deactivated when a Redguard attempted to perform the swordstroke "Pankratosword" and Yokuda sank into the ocean.[UL 5] Its stone was said to be "a sword."[UL 6]
Walk Brass, also known as the Brass Tower, is the Numidium—the brass god created by the Dwemer. Following the Dwemer's disappearance, it sat dormant until it was traded to Tiber Septim by the Tribunal for a degree of autonomy from Cyrodiil. It was used to assault Summerset and unite Tamriel under one empire. It was later destroyed by Zurin Arctus, the Underking.
Its stone was originally the Heart of Lorkhan. The Mantella, a powerful soul gem that contained the oversoul of Talos, Zurin Arctus, and Ysmir, was used as its replacement after the disappearance of the Dwemer.
Green-Sap has been stated to be made up of a large network of Graht-oak trees in which began with the Elden Tree of the secret Elden Grove, all in which are planted with a 'perchance acorn'. The stone of Green-Sap is said to be "a fruit",[UL 6] with a perchance acorn being the most likely of these.
Following the Alessian Slave Rebellion, the Elden Tree was almost converted in a new White-Gold after an Ayleid known as Anumaril attempted to convert the region into a new home for the Ayleids. Anumaril stopped the Elden Tree from moving by turning its perchance acorn into a definite acorn, but his plan to convert the tree was unsuccessful. When Queen Ayrenn stepped into The Orrery beneath the Elden Tree in 2E 582, she emerged as herself, proving to the Bosmer that she was a righteous and true queen. Another major hub of the Green-Sap tower is the Graht-Oak of Falinesti. In the late Third Era the city stopped walking and rooted itself for the first time in recorded history.
Snow Throat, also known as the Snow Tower, is typically interpreted as the Throat of the World in Skyrim. According to Alduin's Wall, the Snow Tower lies "sundered, kingless, bleeding" in the Fourth Era
Doomcrag is speculated by Morachellis to be one of the Towers. It was build by the Ayleids in the city of Erokii, once the greatest Ayleid city in northwest Tamriel. The Ayleids who colonized this land brought with them a powerful relic, Lattanaya, forged by their greatest sorcerers, that helped to tame the wilderness and allowed them to survive. It helped plants grow and cured illnesses, helping to bring life to the barren wilderness.
Following the attack of the savages who lived in these lands before the Ayleids, blood and death tainted the relic, changing it into Abagandra. When the vampire touched it eons later, the corruption intensified. The Tower was deactivated when its stone, the Lightless Remnant, was moved to the Coldharbor due to the pact made between Count Verandis Ravenwatch and Molag Bal.
- The unlicensed text referred to by the Imperial Library as An Altmeri Commentary on Talos suggests that the Thalmor's end goal is to return the world to a timeless state of pure spirit—unlike that which is allegedly upheld by the Towers—but does not specifically refer to the Towers or their role in stabilizing Mundus.[UL 7]
- An old draft of the main quest of The Elder Scrolls Online involved the Vestige recharging the Staff of Towers from the energies of each Tower's Stone and use the Staff to stop the Planemeld.
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City – Gregory Keyes
- The Elder Scrolls Online – "City on the Brink" quest, dialogue with Phrastus of Elinhir
- Subtropical Cyrodiil: A Speculation – Lady Cinnabar
- The Book of the Dragonborn
- Before the Ages of Man – Aicantar of Shimerene
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Eras – Imperial Geographic Society
- Aurbic Enigma 4: The Elden Tree – Beredalmo the Signifier
- Aurbic Enigma 4: The Elden Tree
- The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset – "The Shattered Staff" quest
- History of Raven Rock, Vol. I
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Summerset Isles
- The Sage
- The Great War
- Rising Threat, Vol. I
- The Crystal of the Tower – Larnatille of Lillandril
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls – Greg Keyes
- The Elder Scrolls Online – Dialogue with Phrastus of Elinhir
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire – Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- On Morrowind – Erramanwe of Sunhold
- The Arcturian Heresy
- Events of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Valenwood
- Loading screen of Doomcrag
- The Elder Scrolls Online – Events of "The Lightless Remnant" quest
- Further Notes on the Sload
- The Elder Scrolls Online The Doomcrag Loading Screen