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Lore:Accession War

< Lore: History: Wars
Accession War
Date 4E 5 – c. 4E 28
Location Morrowind
  • Mournhold sacked by the Argonian forces
  • Argonian occupation of Southern Morrowind
  • Further Argonian expansion halted by House Redoran
  • Dunmer Refugee Crisis in Skyrim
  • Effective independence of Morrowind from the Empire
  • Expulsion of House Hlaalu from the Grand Council and consolidation of House Redoran dominance in Morrowind
  • Relocation of Morrowind's capital to Blacklight
  • Transfer of Solstheim from Skyrim to Morrowind
  • Continued sporadic Argonian raiding and Dunmer reconquest of land for centuries following
Great Houses of Morrowind An-Xileel
An An-Xileel Invader

The Accession War, more commonly known as the Argonian Invasion[1] was a war waged by the Argonian An-Xileel against the Dunmer Houses of Morrowind in the immediate aftermath of the Red Year of 4E 5.[2] The invasion devastated much of southern[1] and eastern[3] Morrowind, including the capital city of Mournhold, and almost led to the complete destruction of House Telvanni[3] and temporary occupation of much of Morrowind.[4] The war would compound the ongoing alteration of the political dynamics of Morrowind and result in the solidification of House Redoran as the dominant power in Morrowind.


For millennia, the Chimer and their later Dunmer descendants had enslaved the Argonians of Black Marsh for use in the slave trade and as cheap labor,[5] frequently going on slave raids deep into the province with the assistance of collaborationist Archeins. This was a traditional part of Dunmer society dating back to the time of the Chimer[6] and was later guaranteed to them by the Treaty of the Armistice. House Dres in particular cemented themselves as the linchpin of the Argonian slave trade, though House Telvanni, House Hlaalu and House Indoril also heavily utilized slavery.[7] The Telvanni, in particular, had refused to join the Second Era Ebonheart Pact in protest of the contemporary abolition of slavery.[8] As a result of this, Argonians and Dunmer have a long-standing and bitter hatred of one another[9].

A soldier of House Redoran

During the Arnesian War of 3E 396,[10] Morrowind invaded Black Marsh. The war began when an Argonian slave uprising in the south against House Dres resulted in the murder of Saint Roris at the hands of Argonian rebels, which led to his posthumous canonization.[11] The war was very successful for Morrowind, which was able to expand its territory south into Arnesia.[12] However, following the Arnesian War, the Argonians began to slowly retake the lands lost to them during the war.[13] This was not the first time Dunmer rule had extended into northern Black Marsh, the region of Arnesia was originally settled by the Cantemiric Velothi before they were wiped out by the Knahaten Flu,[13] and in the mid-Second Era the cities of Stormhold and Thorn had been under Dunmer rule.[14][15][16][17]

In the decades following the Arnesian War, successive catastrophes struck Morrowind. In 3E 427 the Blight worsened and spread across Vvardenfell,[18] and the Tribunal Temple collapsed in the wake of the Tribunal's deaths and disappearances.[18][19][20][UOL 1] Civil War broke out between the Great Houses in response to King Helseth's abolition of slavery in 3E 430,[12][UOL 2] and in 3E 433 the Oblivion Crisis hit Morrowind particularly hard after the Empire withdrew its Legions back to Cyrodiil.[4] Among the losses was the city of Ald'ruhn, the Redoran seat of power in Vvardenfell district, which was destroyed by the invading Daedra.[21] Simultaneously, armies of Nords with Orc mercenaries invaded from the northwest into the territory of House Redoran.[20] Finally, in 4E 5 the Red Year occurred when Baar Dau destroyed Vivec City and triggered the eruption of Red Mountain, causing widespread destruction across the whole of the province. During these disasters and in the wake of the Empire's departure from Morrowind, House Redoran restored their previously disbanded military and mobilized a standing army with which to defend themselves.[4].

Meanwhile, the Argonians had gained strength. The Hist had accurately predicted the incoming Oblivion Crisis and summoned many Argonians back to Black Marsh,[20] altering their physiology to make them more powerful warriors,[2] capable of defending Black Marsh from the armies of Mehrunes Dagon. The Hist's plans were wildly successful, forcing the Daedra to close the gates they opened in Black Marsh to end the onslaught.[22] Despite the success of the Hist's defense, the fanatical An-Xileel party took credit for the organization of the defense of Black Marsh. With most Argonians believing the An-Xileel were responsible for their salvation, the An-Xileel successfully united most of the Argonian people under their rule. The An-Xileel then turned their wrath on the Empire, declaring Black Marsh independent and sacking Imperial colonies in the province.[22] While the abolition of slavery in Morrowind did improve relations somewhat, tensions still ran hot.[13].

The InvasionEdit

Map of Morrowind

The precise reasons for the Argonian Invasion are unknown. Speculation ranges from revenge for millennia of slavery and oppression by the Dunmer,[2][4] to a premeditated plan by the Hist[22] to expansionist opportunism against the weakened Dunmer by the Argonians of the An-Xileel, who were at the time in a position of strength,[4] to even incitement by the Thalmor in an effort to weaken the Empire and it's relations with Morrowind,[23] or a combination of these factors.

The Argonians first launched their invasion sometime in the months following the Red Year. The city of Mournhold was sacked during the course of the war,[4] and the Argonian advance reached as far as the southern coast of Vvardenfell and the Scathing Bay where Vivec City once stood, there they performed rituals of unknown purpose.[22] By the middle of 4E 6 the Argonians had pushed deep into the territory of House Telvanni in the northeast of the province and threatened the very existence of the House.[3] It was only through the efforts of the newly re-established army of House Redoran that the complete occupation of Morrowind was prevented and the invasion halted.[4] At some point between 4E 6 and 4E 28[note 1] House Redoran was able to turn the tide of the war. Since then the Argonians have shown no interest in conquering any more land from the Dunmer.[2] The invasion cost thousands of Dunmer their lives, and many became refugees that fled west to Skyrim and Cyrodiil over land[24] and sea.[25]


The wreck of The Pride of Tel Vos, a refugee ship

In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, the An-Xileel continued to occupy southern Morrowind; with some tribes settling the land.[1] By 4E 48 the Argonians still occupied territory as far as southern Vvardenfell and the Scathing Bay[2] and prevented both Morrowind and the Empire from reclaiming it.[2] The invasion compounded the refugee crisis that had started during the Red Year, and as a consequence the High King of Skyrim ceded control of Solstheim to Morrowind for the refugees to settle[2].

The war completed the shift of power in Morrowind that had begun during the Oblivion Crisis; because of it and the simultaneous Stormcrown Interregnum Morrowind would become effectively independent from the Empire,[22] though some Imperials would continue to refer to it as a province.[26] The Dunmer themselves consider modern Morrowind an independent nation.[4] As a result of Morrowind's independence and the Argonian Invasion - as well as their leading role during the decades of crisis - House Redoran became the most powerful of the Great Houses and used their newfound influence to relocate the capital to Blacklight and expel House Hlaalu from the Grand Council,[4] replacing them with House Sadras.[27]

Black Marsh was devastated in 4E 48 by the floating island of Umbriel and its undead hordes, with entire cities such as Lilmoth, Gideon, and Stormhold stripped of life as the island traveled up the core of Black Marsh and southern Morrowind, killing all below. This disaster appears to have broken the hold the An-Xileel held over the Argonian people, and the mysterious party has not been mentioned in the following centuries.[22][2]

After the end of the initial invasion, the Dunmer began to slowly to reclaim their lost territory. Mournhold was reclaimed by the Dunmer at some point prior to 4E 151[note 2] and it would be rebuilt and restored following its sacking, with work still ongoing as of 4E 201, the city is considered secure enough that the bulk of the Redoran Guard garrison once stationed in the city has been reassigned elsewhere.[28] By 4E 201, only a few Argonian tribes remained within the province's southernmost extremities with occasional patrols along the frontiers,[29] and the Dunmer considered the Argonian Invasion to have ended "long ago."[1] These Argonian remnants would continue to harass the Dunmer sporadically, attacking small villages near the Black Marsh border,[1] and in one case unsuccessfully attempting to raid Solstheim in 4E 150 before being thwarted by the Redoran Guard of the island.[21]


  1. ^ The Argonian advance is described as ending decades before 4E 48 which means at minimum twenty years.
  2. ^ Nilara says she hasn't been back to Mournhold in 'almost fifty years'.


Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.