"A flying city from Oblivion, populated by strange creatures, destroying all it passes over and creating an army of living dead from the corpses."
Intendant Marall to Colin[src]

The Umbriel Crisis was an event that threatened Tamriel during the Fourth Era. Black Marsh and Cyrodiil were the most affected provinces, although Morrowind was also involved in the conflict.

Background[edit | edit source]

After Vivec's disappearance, the Ingenium was built to keep the Ministry of Truth afloat. The Ingenium needed souls to be powered. At first, it consumed as much as ten souls per day. Criminals were used to power the Ingenium, but eventually, a Vuhon discovered that appropriate souls could power it for months. He selected a Dunmer named Ilzheven to power the Ingenium. Ilzheven's man, Sul, thought that Vuhon had selected her because she loved him instead of Vuhon. Sul tried to save Ilzheven, but he destroyed the Ingenium and killed Ilzheven.

The explosion hurled Vuhon and Sul to Oblivion. The ministry crashed into Vivec City, triggering the events of the Red Year. Vuhon and Sul ended up in Clavicus Vile's realm. A being named Umbra took them captive. Umbra had become an independent being from the eponymous sword, and he had somehow managed to cut a piece from Clavicus Vile himself, stealing a lot of power from him. Vile circumscribed his realm against Umbra so that he couldn't escape. When Vuhon and Sul came to his realm, Umbra took advantage of the situation and threw the blade through the rift they had entered from.

Vuhon made a deal with Umbra, he offered him to build a new Ingenium so that Umbra and him could escape from Vile's realm. Sul managed to get away from Umbra, he wandered through the different realms of Oblivion trying to return to Tamriel. Since Umbra couldn't leave Vile's realm, Vuhon managed to wrap Umbriel, Umbra's city, in a Oblivion bubble. Vuhon and Umbra merged into one being who could control Umbriel at their will. The only thing Vuhon/Umbra, henceforth called Lord Umbriel, needed to break free from Vile was to go to Tamriel in their bubble and use the power of the White-Gold Tower to free them.[1]

Lord Umbriel made a pact with Hierem to summon Umbriel into Tamriel and allow him to use the power of the White-Gold Tower. In exchange, Hierem could overthrow Emperor Titus Mede I and become the new emperor. Hierem made a trip to Lilmoth and performed a ritual in the Hist of the city to summon Umbriel. The An-Xileel allowed him to perfom the ritual as long as Umbriel only killed non-Argonians and Lukiul (the assimilated).[2]

Summoning[edit | edit source]

Umbriel, the flying island, was summoned in the southwest of Black Marsh. It approached Lilmoth through the sea. The flying city was followed by an undead army that murdered the population and destroyed the city. The deaths supplied Umbriel with the souls needed to power the Ingenium. One of the only survivors of the massacre were Annaïg Hoïnart and Mere-Glim. They drank levitation potions that brought them to Umbriel. Annaïg was decided to save Tamriel from the incoming threat, so she sent a message to Prince Attrebus warning him about Umbriel. Annaïg gained the trust of the Umbrielians and worked in the kitchens of Umbriel in order to keep Prince Attrebus informed about anything she could discover about Umbriel. She eventually was promoted to chef, even preparing a meal for Lord Umbriel himself.[3]

Ambush on Prince Attrebus[edit | edit source]

Attrebus Mede was a hero to the people. When he received the message he informed his father about Umbriel. Titus had already received reports about the flying city, but according to the reports, in was heading to Morrowind. He would not send an expedition to stop it unless it threatened the Empire.

Attrebus did not pay attention to his father, so he secretly prepared his men for an expedition. In their march to Umbriel, they were ambushed by a criminal organization hired by Hierem to kill the prince. However, Radhasa, the leader of the ambush decided to keep Attrebus alive and sell him to a eccentric Khajiit in Elsweyr. During their journey, Radhasa revealed to Attrebus that all his guards knew he was a mediocre warrior, and certainly not a hero. His father had risen him to believe he was a legendary hero, and Attrebus had believed so.[4]

Umbra and Vivec City[edit | edit source]

Sul, who after serving Azura had managed to return to Tamriel, received a vision from the Daedric Prince. Azura warned him about Umbriel and hinted him to find Attrebus, so that he could avenge Ilzeheven.[5] Sul rescued Attrebus from Radhasa. Sul explained to the prince all he knew about Umbriel. He expected that Umbriel would head to Vivec City to recover Umbra sword, the only artifact capable of defeating Lord Umbriel. In order to beat Umbriel to Vivec City, they had to take a shortcut trough Hircine's Hunting Grounds. They were aided by the F'aashe clan, who sacrificed so that Sul and Attrebus could escape from Hircine.[6]

Once in Vivec City, Sul searched for Umbra. He encountered Ilzheven's ghost, who warned him that a Dunmer who wore a signet ring with a draugr had already taken the sword. Umbriel arrived at Vivec City, and the zombies captured both Attrebus and Sul. They talked to Vuhon, who revealed them that he was now heading to the Imperial City. Sul tried to kill Vuhon, but it was useless without Umbra. He opened a door to Malacath's realm, and Attrebus and him escaped from the flying city.[7]

Solstheim[edit | edit source]

Attrebus and Sul were healed by Malacath. Sul deduced that the Dunmer who had taken Umbra must be in Solstheim. They convinced Malacath to send them to Solstheim. They discovered that the man who recovered Umbra was Elhul Sathil. He went mad as soon as he touched the blade, so his father had to lock him up in the depths of their castle. Attrebus and Sul had to kill Elhul. Once they owned the sword, they were summoned by Clavicus Vile to his realm.

Clavicus demanded them to return him his sword. Yet, they needed it to defeat Vuhon and stop Umbriel. They made a bargain with the prince to allow them to defeat Umbra and return him the power he had stolen from him. In exchange, Vile demanded a soul, but Attrebus refused to the additional requirement. After all, Vile needed their help as much as they needed him.[8]

Cyrodiil[edit | edit source]

Umbriel razed everything in its path. The fallen men and women were resurrected as zombies, thickening Umbriel's army of undead. Cheydinhal was sieged by the zombies, but the city guard and the legionaries that had withdrawn to the city opened a gap in the enemy line so that the citizens could evacuate.[9]

Once the citizens evacuated the city, Captain Arges ordered to split into two groups, one north and one south of the Blue Road, and hope the main army of zombies didn’t come after both of them.

The zombies headed to the Imperial City. General Takar lead the last attempt to stop Umbriel from attacking the Imperial City. He commanded five thousand men, mostly mounted infantry and mages, and eight siege engines. He launched an attack on Umbriel, half of the legion suddenly left the ground, along with the engines, and flew toward the city. The attack was repelled by flying creatures, and Takar retreated to the Imperial City.[10]

Siege of the Imperial City[edit | edit source]

Vile sent Attrebus and Sul to his shrine in Cyrodiil. The approached the Imperial City by boat. They were captured by Hirem's agents. Inspector Colin Vineben, a member of the Penitus Oculatus who had been tasked to investigate Attrebus' pretended murder and who discovered that Hierem was involved in the Umbriel Crisis, received a report that claimed that Prince Attrebus had been seen at the waterfront. He was abducted, taken away with a bag on his head. Colin and Letine Arese, an agent of the Emperor who had worked in Hierem's ministry for ten years and gained his trust, broke in Hierem's chambers. They rescued Attrebus and Sul, and they designed a plan to stop Vuhon and Hierem.

Hierem was finalizing the plan to attack the Imperial City with Vuhon in Umbriel. Attrebus and Sul waited for him in the sigil he used to teleport. When Hierem came back to his chambers, Attrebus and Sul were teleported to Umbriel.

Colin and Letine fought Hierem, who died butchered by a Daedra summoned by Arese. Arese stabbed Colin with her knife and she headed to a room that was in the very axis of the White-Gold Tower. She had discovered that Hierem intended to become a god draining the power of the tower and using the power of the souls in Umbriel. Letine had suffered for ten years, and she wanted to something in exchange, to feel safe again. Colin recovered from the stab and stopped Arese from performing the ritual. He hit Letine in the eye with the knife he had nailed in his body, ending with her life. Colin died of his wounds shortly after.

The Imperial soldiers made a massive push toward the northwest side of the city. That was where the enemy was massed most deeply, and had begun actively trying to break through the gate that led to the Imperial Prison. It was also where Umbriel would arrive, if it continued on the course it was presently following. The left flank collapsed, and the zombies threw themselves on the city wall, building ladders with their bodies.

Annaïg poisoned the trees in Umbriel to weaken Vuhon. Sul tried to use Umbra on Vuhon, but the sword did not seem to work. Annaïg warned Sul and Attrebus that Lord Umbriel's soul was in the Ingenium. Attrebus wielded Umbra to destroy the Ingenium. Umbra briefly possessed Vuhon's body before being trapped in the sword. Just then, Clavicus Vile possessed Attrebus, Vile demanded a soul for their bargain. Sul sacrificed himself to save Attrebus from Vile. Umbra and Sul melted together with the Ingenium.[11]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

After the Ingenium was destroyed and Vuhon was defeated, the zombies became inanimate. Attrebus spared Vuhon's life so that Mere-Glim could avoid Umbriel from falling into the Imperial City. Glim lead Umbriel into the Realm of the Hist.

Attrebus gave credit of the victory to The Synod and The College of Whispers, who had cooperated to stop Umbriel, in order to start their reconciliation and have their political support now that Hierem was dead.[12]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, part three chapter three
  2. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, part one chapter five
  3. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, part one chapters one to eight
  4. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, part two chapters one to three
  5. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, prologue
  6. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, part two chapter nine to part three chapter seven
  7. An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, part two chapters nine to ten
  8. An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, prologue to part three chapter two
  9. An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, part one chapter six to part two chapter twelve
  10. An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, part three chapter four
  11. An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, part three chapters three to ten
  12. An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, epilogue
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