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Lore:Dragonguard

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This article is about the Dragonguard. For the organization that came after them, see Blades.

ON-banner-Dragonguard (small).png

The Dragonguard, also known as the Akaviri Dragonguard, was an organisation founded by Reman Cyrodiil from the Tsaesci warriors who had surrendered to him at Pale Pass after hearing his voice. While they assisted Reman in the creation of the Second Empire and became his loyal bodyguards, the newly created Dragonguard would also seek out dragons to kill, sometimes doing it in the company of the Reman emperors.[1] They were officially disbanded after the assassination of Reman III, but splinter groups carried on the traditions of the order.[2]

Out of these splinter groups were formed new organisations, such as the Fighter's Guild and the Dragon Knights, while others attempted to continue fulfilling the original role of the Dragonguard.[2] One of these remnants would remain in the Imperial City, waiting for the eventual emergence of a true heir to the Ruby Throne, while another would continue seeking out dragons to exterminate. By the time of the Planemeld, the latter group had dwindled to the point where only a single known member remained.[3]

Another group would abandon their identity as Dragonguard and become nomads in an active search of an heir to put on the Ruby Throne.[1] This last group would eventually re-emerge during the final years of the Second Era to assist Cuhlecain in his conquest of Cyrodiil, but secretly shifted their allegiance to Tiber Septim upon discovering that he was dragonborn.[4] After Septim's ascension to the throne, this group would be reorganized into the Blades.

During the Interregnum, some pretender emperors would form their own versions of the Dragonguard in an attempt at legitimizing their claim to the Ruby Throne.[5] One such example was the Dragonguard of Varen Aquilarios, who was commanded by Sai Sahan. After the Soulburst and the disappearances of Emperor Varen and Sai Sahan, this Dragonguard would fall under the control of Clivia Tharn and would cease to exist after its remaining members were killed in battle against a group of Undaunted.[6]

Following the release of a rage of dragons from the Halls of Colossus in 2E 582, Sai Sahan would attempt a second restoration of the Dragonguard. While this iteration of the order was much more faithful to the traditions and purposes of the original Akaviri Dragonguard, it was solely focused on exterminating the dragons which now terrorised Elsweyr. Despite this, the reformed Dragonguard was pragmatic enough to enter a temporary alliance with the dragon Nahfahlaar.

HistoryEdit

Reman's DragonguardEdit

The Akaviri Dragonguard has its origins in an army of Tsaesci who relentlessly hunted dragons in Akavir, and in 1E 2703 they invaded Tamriel to continue this crusade.[7] They marched through Morrowind and Skyrim with little resistance until being met by the united forces of Cyrodiil under Reman I at the Pale Pass, in the Jerall Mountains. As soon as they heard Reman's voice at Pale Pass, they knelt before him and proclaimed him Dragonborn, claiming he was what they had come to seek.[8][2] These new additions to his army did much to enable Reman's conquest and unification of most of Tamriel to found the Second Empire.[7] However, the Dragonguard had not forgotten their original mission, and they continued hunting dragons, particularly in Skyrim, with great success.[9]

In Cyrodiil, Cloud Ruler Temple was built by the Dragonguard at the start of the Second Empire, serving as headquarters, fortress, and sanctuary.[10]

Ja'darri and the Dragonguard confronting the Black Beast
Laatvulon being sealed by the Dragonguard

In Skyrim, Sky Haven Temple acted as an outpost for the Dragonguard and as a shrine to Reman. However by the late First Era, the Winterhold Rebellion took place in protest to forced conscriptions that were being imposed on the local populace by Emperor Kastav. The Dragonguard stationed at the temple disobeyed Emperor Kastav's orders to suppress the rebellion, on the grounds that it violated their Oath of Allegiance. In their stead, Kastav sent an Akaviri commander named Kalien, who sacked the city in 1E 2805. The sacking resulted in the local Nords laying siege to the temple, as they did not distinguish between Akaviri. The siege was eventually lifted shortly after the accession of Reman II as Emperor in 1E 2806. The new emperor later visited the temple as part of his first visit to Skyrim in 1E 2806, to which the Dragonguard provided the honor guard.

In 1E 2812 Emperor Reman II permitted the construction of Alduin's Wall within Sky Haven Temple. Considered to be a wonder of the ancient world, its purpose was to record the accumulated dragonlore and prophecy that the Dragonguard possessed at the time. Its main focus was a pictorial representation of the Prophecy of the Dragonborn. The prophecy foretold of five key historical events that would preface Alduin's return after his expulsion during the Dragon War. Given that Alduin's return was inevitable, the Dragonguard believed that the wall was their gift to the generations that were to follow. Craftsmen from temples across the Empire were called upon to work on the wall, whilst Grandmaster Jaiv-Yora of the Dragonguard oversaw the construction of the wall, and after six years it was completed. Emperor Reman II returned to the temple in 1E 2818 to officially dedicate the wall. The Blood Seal outside the temple was consecrated in the presence of all Akaviri Dragonguard in Skyrim. This allowed the temple to be sealed, only ever to be opened by a Dragonborn to unlock its knowledge and power. The entrance into the temple, opened by the blood seal, was a giant stone effigy of Reman I.

During Vashu-Pir's time as grandmaster between 1E 2734 - 2758,[11] the Dragonguard worked to subdue Laatvulon, the Black Beast within Elsweyr. Ja'darri was a prominent member of the Dragonguard working in Elsweyr where she formed an unlikely alliance with the red Dragon Nahfahlaar, who grew to respect her enough to give her a Dragon name and grant her a boon in the form of his horn, which was later named after her. Having been tasked by Alkosh to use the Mask of Alkosh to extinguish Laatvulon, Ja’darri petitioned Nahfahlaar to imbue the mask with his power to defeat his ancient foe Laatvulon. In an act he would later regret, he refused, leaving the Dragonguard to fight Laatvulon with limited power. They would ultimately succeed in imprisoning Laatvulon beneath Doomstone Keep, though Ja'darri died in the process.[12] It is said Grandmaster Vashu-Pir was the one who defeated Laatvulon,[13] and bards still sing about this glorious battle between Reman I's Dragonguard and a "great Black Beast" at Doomstone Keep.[14]

Dragons were nearly driven to extinction in the next two centuries, and the Dragonguard operated chapters across Tamriel under the direct command of the Dragonborn emperors.[8]

Post-Reman DragonguardEdit

A Dragonknight
The Drake of Blades

Unfortunately, as the Dragonguard had not yet evolved into the espionage specialists that were the Blades, they failed to prevent Emperor Reman III's assassination by the Morag Tong in 1E 2920. The Dragonguard was officially disbanded after this ignominious event, with many members becoming mercenaries and later forming the Fighters Guild. Others went on to ensure the martial and mystical arts of old Akavir would survive into the Second Era, and became known as Dragonknights.[2] Unofficially, some were retained by the Akaviri Potentates, now as a covert force rather than an honor guard.[2] Others continued hunting the wary surviving dragons in Skyrim until at least 2E 373.[15] Some members of the disbanded Dragonguard went on to search for the Horn of Ja'darri, searching Scour Temple, Storm Talon Temple, Dark Water Temple. Eventually, they went on to attempt to kill Vahlokzin, the Dragon who was in possession of the horn, but failed.[16]

Following the assassination of Savirien-Chorak, the Dragonguard counted their enemies among those who conspired to cut down Reman and the Potentate. Many Dragonguard met their end by a knife in the dark, forcing the rest to go into hiding.[1]

During the long Interregnum, in the absence of any true emperor to protect, the Dragonguard protected the Ruby Throne in the Imperial City from the petty warlords who ran rampant in Cyrodiil.[4] They were driven underground by Empress Regent Clivia Tharn during the Planemeld after captain Sai Sahan disappeared, but continued to operate in the province under pseudonyms.[17]

A member of Clivia Tharn's Elite Guard

Some would-be emperors formed their own personal 'Dragonguard' to add legitimacy to their rule, although these were only imitations of the Akaviri, not a continuation.[18][19] Clivia Tharn had her own imitation Dragonguard. Members of the real Dragonguard who went underground took on pseudonyms with the title 'Drake of', and worked to safeguard artifacts and information until a real Dragonborn Emperor took the Ruby Throne. The real Dragonguard also sought out and protected potential Dragonborn individuals, including the future Tiber Septim, in a bid to place one on the throne.[4][7] Chevalier Renald is a known member of the real Dragonguard who helped Tiber Septim rise to power.

The Drake of Blades was an agent of the Dragonguard who played a large role in protecting the Sublime Brazier and thwarting Molag Bal's invasion of the Imperial City circa 2E 582. She did this by scouting the Imperial City and gathering information from the Three Alliances, and then worked with the Vestige to stop Molag Bal's plot to snuff out the Dragonfires forever. The Drake and the Vestige blew up a mining operation in the Memorial District, saved Father Egnatius, and stole a book about the Sublime Brazier from the Daedra, among other events. The Drake of Blades, Father Egnatius, Captain Caudex, and the Vestige prevented General Malivus from successfully destroying the Sublime Brazier. The Drake of Blades then performed a ritual with Father Egnatius to transform her into the guardian of the Sublime Brazier until another Dragonborn took the throne. The Drake was blessed with power and immortality by Akatosh himself. The Drake of Shields was told by the Drake of Blades to ensure that the Sublime Brazier's existence was known only by the Dragonguard.[20][17]

Circa 2E 582, a Xivkyn servant of Molag Bal named Molag Kena disguised herself as Empress Regent Clivia Tharn and attempted to ascend the White-Gold Tower in order to recover an Elder Scroll needed to begin the Planemeld Obverse, a process by which Coldharbour would be pulled into Tamriel. While disguised, Molag Kena requisitioned a group of Clivia's imitation Dragonguard warriors to "retake" White-Gold Tower. These three individuals were powerful Dragonknights known as the Elite Guard. With the assistance of a group of Undaunted and the Moth Priestess Terran Arminus, Molag Kena succeeded in recovering the Elder Scroll. She then commanded her Elite Guard to slay the rest of the group, although they were no match for the Undaunted.[21]

The hidden Akaviri shrine of Dov-Vahl in the Scar served as one of the last sanctuaries for the disgraced and disbanded Dragonguard after the assassinations of the Potentates as a place to keep their ancient traditions alive.[22] When the Dragons were released from the Halls of Colossus circa 2E 582, they manipulated Euraxia Tharn to ally with them. As part of their agreement, Euraxia Tharn put out an order for her soldiers to assassinate Dragonguard Orland, the last known member of the order in Elsweyr.[23]

Sai Sahan's DragonguardEdit

Sai Sahan and members of the Dragonguard
Nahfalaar, an ally of the Dragonguard

With dragons returning during the Interregnum, Sai Sahan sought to reform the Dragonguard with their original purpose: hunting dragons. Hearing rumors of a powerful weapon known as the Horn of Ja'darri, Sai Sahan and the Vestige journeyed to abandoned Dragonguard strongholds, finding grappling bows, books, arms, and armor of the Dragonguard in the process. They soon discovered the Horn was stolen by Vahlokzin and taken to his lair in Pellitine; thus they traveled there to kill him, claiming the Horn.[24] Sahan soon relocated from the Valley of Blades to Senchal after hearing reports of dragon sightings and cult activity in the area.[25]

Once in Senchal, Sai Sahan and the Vestige sought help from General Renmus, leader of the 13th Legion and the Shields of Senchal. Renmus told Sahan that he could not spare soldiers nor ships due to the number of refugees moving into Senchal. Eventually, Sahan and the Vestige managed to procure a ship called the Perfect Ponce that belonged to a pair of Khajiit pirates named Za'ji and Caska. These pirates joined Sahan and the Vestige and traveled to Tideholm, where a red dragon had been spotted. Whilst exploring the island they discovered that the ruins on Tidehold were once a Dragonguard sanctuary. Sahan and the Vestige encountered a red dragon, and Sahan blew the horn—but to no avail. The red Dragon explained that it was his own horn and would not have any effect on him, revealing himself to be Nahfahlaar. Sahan and Nahfahlaar formed an alliance against the dragon Laatvulon, perceiving the destruction of Tamriel to be a threat to them both.[25]

Za'ji, a Dagi-raht member of the Dragonguard
Caska, a Senche-raht member of the Dragonguard

Once the group had gone back to Senchal, Sai explained that they needed to reform the Dragonguard and recruit new members to face Laatvulon and his New Moon Cult. The first recruits for this new Dragonguard were the crew of the Perfect Ponce[26], and after this more and more members were recruited. These new recruits came from many backgrounds, such as Maormer, Khajiit of all furstocks, Imperials, Bretons, Orcs, Altmer, and Dunmer. One Dunmer member, Darns Gilvio, had been forced to join by his family as his ancestor had fought alongside Hakon One-Eye.[27]

Nahfahlaar informed the Dragonguard of another Dragon named Yahgrondu that would be willing to help them fight against Laatvulon, but he wasn't sure where his associate was located. Za'ji mentioned that the priests of Khenarthi's Breath Temple may be able to assist in finding Yahgrondu. Clan Mother Tadali of the temple offered her assistance, but first required the Vestige to recover one of her sacred temple bells, which had been stolen years prior. After the bell was retrieved from Moonlit Cove it was cleansed at the temple and Tadali performed a divination ritual. She told the Dragonguard that Yahgrondu was located somewhere with an abundance of limestone, inside a coastal cave.[28] When she was done, Nahfahlaar arrived and informed the Dragonguard members of a limestone quarry south of the temple, which had been overrun by the Order of the New Moon. By the time the Dragonguard arrived at the limestone mine, Laatvulon was already in the depths of the mine, attempting to convince Yahgrondu to join him. Yahgrondu refused, which provoked Laatvulon to attack him. By the time the Dragonguard members had reached Yahgrondu he was already dead. Laatvulon then commanded his dragon priest Ra'khajin to raise Yahgrondu from the dead. Ra'khajin was able to raise Yahgrondu with the power of the aeonstone present throughout the mine, but the Vestige managed to kill the risen Dragon.[29]

After the Vestige informed Sai Sahan of the New Moon Cult's involvement in helping Laatvulon, Sahan asked the Vestige to infiltrate the Cult in order to learn where their base of operations was located, how large a force they commanded, and what they planned to do next. General Renmus gave information on the Cult, stating that they were known to be recruiting in Senchal. The Vestige then proceeded to investigate the cult's recruitment process alongside Caska, with the two having to fight in an underground arena to prove their strength to join the Cult. The Vestige was then offered a place in the Order of the New Moon, and was given a pendant which was to be shown to the guard in front of the cult's fortress in the Tenmar Forest. Once at the fortress, the Vestige underwent trials to prove themselves further. Upon completing the trials, the Vestige gained access to a ceremony that the Cult was about to perform. This ceremony was a ritualistic sacrifice of the new recruits, whose life energy was transferred to the aeonstones in order to help Laatvulon. Caska and the Vestige destroyed some of these aeonstones to order to stop the ceremony. They then escaped the fortress and informed the Dragonguard of how the Order of the New Moon were empowering the Dragons they served, and that an attack on Pridehome was imminent.[30][31]

Sai Sahan leading Dragonguard members against Laatvulon

The Dragonguard made haste to Pridehome, which they found in ruin. Pridehome's clanmother was gravely wounded, and informed Sahan's Dragonguard of the Mask of Alkosh's existence before passing. Laatvulon's Dragon priest, Ra'khajin, was a member of the Pride of Alkosh before he was seduced by Laatvulon's promise of power. Ra'khajin sought to find the Mask of Alkosh, keeping it out of the hands of those who would oppose his master. With the help of Clan Mother Tadali, the Vestige entered the Halls of the Highmane, where the mask was being held. The Vestige had to pass the trials left in the halls to test those who would seek to become the mask's bearers. They did so, defeated Ra'khajin in the depths of the temple and claimed the mask. Laatvulon was enraged by the Vestige's meddling and attempted to destroy them, but was stopped by Nahfahlaar. Engaged in battle, the Dragons flew off.[32]

The Dragonguard followed the pair to Doomstone Keep, where Nahfahlaar crashed after being wounded by his enemy. The Sai Sahan and the Vestige entered the keep to search for their ally, and learned about Nahfahlaar's past with Ja'darri in the process. They found Nahfahlaar, who offered to imbue the Mask of Alkosh for the Vestige, who he had come to respect. The pair entered a dream-like state and performed the ritual to imbue the mask. The Vestige wore the empowered Mask of Alkosh as the Dragonguard proceeded further into the keep in search of Laatvulon. Laatvulon was slain in Doomstone Keep by the Dragonguard with Nahfahlaar's aid.[12]

After Laatvulon's death, Sai Sahan was contacted by Abnur Tharn, a member of the Five Companions who dealt with a Dragon problem of his own in the past months. Laatvulon was not the Order of the New Moon's true master; that role fell to Kaalgrontiid, a green Dragon who sought to use the aeonstone to gain immense power and become a god. Abnur Tharn and the Vestige entered the New Moon cult's fortress and gained access to Dragonhold, the island where Kaalgrontiid based his operations. The pair learned more about Kaalgrontiid's intentions while there, and managed to destroy the force field surrounding the island. Meanwhile, Sai Sahan rallied the Dragonguard to prepare to face Kaalgrontiid in battle.[33] Tharn remained on the island while the Vestige returned to the Dragonguard's base of operations. The Vestige, Nahfahlaar, Queen Khamira of Anequina, Sai Sahan, and the Dragonguard then invaded Dragonhold in a bid to slay Kaalgrontiid once and for all. They succeeded, but the empowered aeonstone at Kaalgrontiid's seat of power was volatile. Abnur Tharn and Nahfahlaar remained on the island to contain the explosion, and only Nahfahlaar returned to the Dragonguard Sanctum on Tideholm.[34] Nahfahlaar left Elsweyr soon after, and Sai Sahan continued to lead the Dragonguard against any Dragons who sought to lay siege to Elsweyr.[35]

Organization and EquipmentEdit

A Dragonguard grappling bow
A Dragonhorn

The Dragonguard was traditionally led by a Grandmaster, and each temple was commanded by a Master. When necessary, a grandmaster could issue a Writ of Requisition to the master of a temple. Several military ranks would exist beneath that of Master, such as Captain, Commander, and Sergeant.

The order had several strongholds across Tamriel, the most well-known being Cloud Ruler Temple in Cyrodiil. Other known strongholds include Storm Talon Temple in High Rock, Sky Haven Temple and Dark Water Temple in Skyrim, Wind Scour Temple in Hammerfell,[8] as well as Tideholm and Dov-Vahl Hall in Elsweyr.[23] Although the order was theoretically united in purpose, Dragonguard temples had enough autonomy that each would vie for individual prestige, and even rivalries could develop between temples.[9]

The Dragonguard's equipment reflected their elite status with them having equipment such as grappling hooks for traversing high up places, ballista for attacking dragons and Dragonhorns for grounding dragons.[36] The Order also made good use of the Dragons they killed, extracting alchemical ingredients such as dragon blood, bile, rheum.[37][38].

Notable MembersEdit

True DragonguardEdit

Pretender DragonguardEdit

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

BooksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Dialogue with Chevalier Renald
  2. ^ a b c d e f Legacy of the DragonguardKiasa-Veda, the Chronicler of Blades
  3. ^ Dragonguard Orland's dialogue during the Main Questline of ESO: Elsweyr
  4. ^ a b c d Remanada
  5. ^ Kasura's dialogue during The Dragonguard's Legacy
  6. ^ Events of the Planemeld Obverse quest in ESO: Imperial City
  7. ^ a b c The Book of the Dragonborn — Prior Emelene Madrine
  8. ^ a b c The Rise and Fall of the Blades — Anonymous
  9. ^ a b Annals of the DragonguardBrother Annulus
  10. ^ Baurus' dialogue in Oblivion
  11. ^ a b Grandmaster Vashu-Pir (1E 2734 - 2758)
  12. ^ a b Events of The Dragonguard quest in ESO: Dragonhold
  13. ^ Grandmaster Vashu-Pir Effigy quest item description in ESO
  14. ^ Doomstone Keep's loading screen text in ESO: Dragonhold
  15. ^ a b Atlas of DragonsBrother Mathnan
  16. ^ Searching for the Horn of Ja'darriCommander Oholin of the Dragonguard
  17. ^ a b Drake of Blades' dialogue in ESO: Imperial City
  18. ^ Chronicles of the Five Companions 7Sai Sahan
  19. ^ Dialogue with Kasura
  20. ^ Main Quest of ESO: Imperial City
  21. ^ Planemeld Obverse quest in ESO
  22. ^ Dov-Vahl Shrine loading screen
  23. ^ a b Main Questline of ESO: Elsweyr
  24. ^ The Dragonguard's Legacy and The Horn of Ja'darri quests in ESO
  25. ^ a b The Dragon's Lair quest in ESO
  26. ^ Reformation quest in ESO
  27. ^ Darns Gilvio's dialogue in ESO
  28. ^ Clan Mother Tadali's dialogue in ESO
  29. ^ Uneasy Alliances quest in ESO
  30. ^ Order of the New Moon quest in ESO
  31. ^ Trial Master Zayri's dialogue in ESO
  32. ^ Events of The Pride of Alkosh in ESO: Dragonhold
  33. ^ Events of The Dark Aeon in ESO: Dragonhold
  34. ^ Events of New Moon Rising in ESO: Dragonhold
  35. ^ Events of The Pride of Elsweyr
  36. ^ Abnur Tharn's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
  37. ^ Dahfnar's dialogue in ESO
  38. ^ The Good BitsDahfnar
  39. ^ Grandmaster Ghelin-Brol (1E 2703 - 2734)
  40. ^ Grandmaster Jaiv-Yora (1E 2808 - 2835)
  41. ^ Grandmaster Ettiene Volusus (1E 2879 - 2902)
  42. ^ Searching for the Horn of Ja'darriCommander Oholin of the Dragonguard

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.