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Lore:Duraki

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Traditional Duraki armor

The Duraki were a tribe of Nedes based out of Craglorn, the northeastern region of Hammerfell. They were wiped out by the Anka-Ra, a Yokudan warrior wave who carved a bloody swath through Craglorn in search of a new home.[1] Though conquered and enslaved at numerous points in history,[2] the Duraki were not primitive. They were pioneers in harvesting the power of nirncrux, a red stone only found in Craglorn. They also built Skyreach, a massive city that extended through and under the Dragontail Mountains.[3] Some speculate, with evidence in the Skyreach Ruins, that Nirncrux was pulled from Nirn's crust with magic.[4] With its power, they created the lesser Celestials, a race of etheral beings constructed to harness the power of the stars.[3]

Society and CultureEdit

 
The three Guardian Celestials: the Warrior, the Thief, and the Mage

The Duraki had a troubled history of religion, frequently changing their beliefs as they were taken over by various invasionary forces, most notably the Dwemer, Ayleids, and Yokudans.[2][1] Their most well-known denomination was the Cult of the Stars, a sect that worshipped the stars and constellations. Other known religious groups include worshippers of the elven gods, the Daedra, and the Nereids.[5] Imagery of Hircine can be seen in Duraki armor,[6] but the Prince's prevalence in their culture is unknown.

By the time of the Anka-Ra invasion, the monarchic structure of the Durkaki consisted of a High King that presided over Craglorn.[3] Eight other Nedic kings are known to have operated in and around the region, known to be vassals of the High King that swore fealty to him.[7][8] The names of these tribes are not known.[3] By 2E 582, one of the only surviving depictions of late Duraki civilization was known as the Perenaal Fragment.[9][3] It pictured the Perena-formed Eternal Watchers sealing Virmaril the Betrayer in Skyreach, confirming their presence within the Duraki dominion.[10][9][3] It is unknown which of the tribal kings in Skyreach ruled over the Perena. Additionally, it is possible that the Duraki had relations with the Keptu, as their Bloodroot Forge was built close to Elinhir.[11]

The Duraki were described as fragmented by the time of the Yokudan invasion.[5] Additionally, it was said the Duraki often had to adapt to the cultures of those that conquered and enslaved them, including some Dwarven practices. However, these practices have been lost to time.[2] The Duraki were known to practice arranged marriage, one such example being the union of Princess Saradin and Forest King Kestic.[12][8] The dark arts were accepted and practiced within Duraki society, even by the High King himself.[12][9]

HistoryEdit

Merethic and First ErasEdit

Nedic peoples in Craglorn are known to have existed since at least the late Merethic Era, where they regularly engaged in conflict with the local Iron Orcs.[13] In 1E 420, the Chimer and Dwemer of Resdayn formed the First Council, angering the Rourken clan of Dwemer. According to legend, the Chief of the clan threw his mighty hammer, Volendrung, and began a march across Tamriel, following its place in the skies.[14] When the hammer made land, the site became a city known as Volenfell. Among the Nedic peoples conquered by the Dwemer were the Duraki. Several Dwemer cities, such as Mtharnaz, utilized Nedic slavery.[2]

The distant Battle of Red Mountain led directly to the disappearance of the Dwemer.[15] However, some claim the Rourken were driven away earlier by goblins.[16] Either way, the Duraki's enslavement abruptly ended with their departure. Using the techniques acquired in their years as slaves to the Dwarves, the Duraki constructed the Apex Towers of Elinhir, which resembled Dwarven architecture crudely.[1] At some point, the Duraki were also slaves at the hands of the Ayleids.[nb 1][1] Little is known of this period, and a distinct lack of Ayleid architecture could be noted in the Apex Towers.[1]

Described as the oldest city in Craglorn, Elinhir was built by the Duraki.[17] According to some legends, it was built by the "Nameless Founder" at the impact site of a great skystone that fell from the sky.[18] Elinhir's sewers housed the Apex Stone of the Celestial Mage, an artifact capable of destabilizing Mundus that anchored the Celestial Mage from Aetherius.[19][20] The Stones were created by the Duraki using knowledge stolen from the Dwemer.[21][22]

Some time after their enslavement by the Dwemer and Ayleids, Durac, possibly the namesake of the Duraki,[nb 2] was known as the High King of Craglorn and the Duraki people.[3][12] He and the royal family, including his daughter, Saradin, resided in a massive complex known as Skyreach. It is theorized that this was Skyreach's original purpose, built as a private estate for the High Kings. By the time of Durac's reign, it had become a city that housed some of the Duraki populace.[3][12] Durac maintained a council with eight other Nedic kings that swore to him, including those of Blood, Flame, Forest, Frost, Shadow, Spirit, Storm, and Sun.[3] Additionally, he had the counsel of the Altmer Virmaril, a close friend of his who advised him for years.[23]

Unbeknownst to High King Durac, Virmaril and Princess Saradin had garnered romantic interest for each other. Upon Virmaril asking Durac for Saradin's hand in marriage, the High King was furious. He said that Saradin could not possibly marry an elf, and instead arranged for her to marry King Kestic of the northern forest tribes.[12] Though Saradin was hurt, she took it in stride and accepted her duty as princess.[12] In contrast, Virmaril went into a rage, feeling betrayed by Durac, whom he had faithfully advised for years.[8] Though he tried to escape Durac's ruling by running away with Saradin, he was rejected, and became cold and distant.[12]

Following the third Yokudan warrior wave of 1E 808, a following known as the Anka-Ra arose within the ranks of the invaders. Led by self-proclaimed emperor Tarish-Zi, the wave cut through southern Hammerfell and approached Craglorn.[24] The Nedic kings convened at Skyreach at the behest of High King Durac to hear out Advisor Virmaril's ritualistc plan to repel the invasion. Though they believed that Virmaril's incantation would beat back the Yokudan army, he instead turned it on the kings in bloody vengeance. He subjugated the council of kings, Durac among them, becoming a lich and raising the dead of Skyreach.[8][25][26]

Virmaril's betrayal did not go unnoticed by the Duraki, as soon after his regicide an extermination force was sent into the catacombs to destroy him. Virmaril soundly defeated the team, benefited by his undead state,[25] and was furious that the Nedes dared to attack him.[8] One of the members of the force, Shavmar of the Perena tribe,[10] managed to escape the catacombs. He gathered two other Perena soul mages, Garalan and Armok, and entered the catacombs once more in an attempt to bind the Betrayer where killing him failed.[10][25] The trio were successful in weakening Virmaril, pushing back to the deep chambers of the catacombs and sealing him behind a soul ward and placing him in a sleep-like state.[25][8]

Despite the defeat of Virmaril, the Duraki, and their seat of power, Skyreach, met their end at the hands of the Yokudan armada.[1][9] Among the defensive tactics used to combat the Yokudans was the release of the previously sealed Celestials, beings imbued with magical energy.[3][27] The most fearsome of the beasts, Aetherion, was a great winged terror with near immortality.[27][28] The Yokudans contained the released creatures by restoring the old Nedic wards in the uppermost tower of Skyreach.[27][29]

During the Yokudan invasion, a group of Duraki based out of the City of Shimmering-Water-in-the-Desert, later known as Shada's Tear, sought the help of the Nereid queen Shada.[5] General Zal'ik of the Duraki resistance headed the negotiations with Shada, seemingly to great success. Shada agreed to give them the strength they needed to combat the Yokudans in a pact that took the Nedes' souls,[30] blessing the city's famous water. The blessed water gave great strength to the Nedic forces, culminating in the successful defense of the city against the Yokudans.[5][30] This act of triumph was short-lived, however, as Shada's water held a curse that would turn all who drank it, in due time, into thralls.[5][31]

Second EraEdit

At some time during the Interregnum, researchers in Craglorn discovered Shada's Tear and drank the water within. They felt the same empowering effects before succumbing to the madness placed upon the cursed water.[32] An adventurer in the area ventured into Shada's Tear's depths and fought several Nereids, deemed the 'Daughters of Shada' and eventually Shada herself to cleanse the water of its curse.[33][34] Those afflicted by the curse, too, were saved by the adventurer, who learned the secrets to curing the disease from an undead Nedic priest.[5][23][35]

Also during the Interregnum, members of the Antiquarian Circle conducted an exploration of the ruins of Skyreach to investigate the ancient Nedes. They explored much of the city, from the lower catacombs to the pinnacle tower. While exploring the catacombs, the group may have inadvertently begun the awakening of Virmaril the Betrayer.[3]

Circa 2E 582, increased necromantic activity surrounding the ruins attracted the attention of several forces. First, the Scaled Court, and then the Crusaders. Both of the groups were stopped by harrowing voices coming from within. Dalamar, a Crusader, stayed at the ruins in search of another entrance.[9] He gained the help of an adventurer, who he sent to purify the ruins. The source of the magic, it turned out, was Virmaril the Betrayer himself, awakened again after over two thousand years. The adventurer delved into the ancient city and vanquished Virmaril once and for all, though it is unclear whether he was truly dead or could rise again.[9][7]

LegacyEdit

By the Second Era, the Nedes as a distinct people were gone, faded into the culture groups of other races, mainly the Nibenese.[14][36] Virmaril the Betrayer was widely regarded as a myth during the Interregnum.[3][9] Many Duraki techniques, such as harvesting Nirncrux[4] and imbuing celestial energy,[27] remained advanced. Skyreach remained a fascinating but fractured architectural marvel,[3] and Elinhir, after some renovation, became the center of civilization in Craglorn.[37] This would not last, however, as by 4E 201, the city was regarded as a small border town.[38]

The Nedes survived in culture via their former invaders, the Yokudans. After and during their conquering of the Duraki, they took various elements from their culture as their own, such as Celestial worship, particularly of the Warrior.[39][40] The Cult of the Stars, though different from its roots in Nedic culture, retained worship among Second Era groups.[41]

Notable DurakiEdit

  • High King Durac — Leader of the council of eight Nedic kings (The Blood, Flame, Forest, Frost, Shadow, Spirit, Storm, and Sun kings) and final ruler of the Duraki.[12][8][3]
  • Princess Saradin — Daughter of High King Durac. Promised to Forest King Kestic against her love for Advisor Virmaril, leading in part to the fall of the Duraki.[12][8]
  • General Zal'ik — Struck a deal with the Nereid Shada and repelled the Yokudan invasion.[23]

NotesEdit

  • ^  While some sources place the Ayleid slave period after that of the Dwemer,[2] others put the Ayleid presence around Craglorn much earlier.[42] Laloriaran Dynar's memoirs place an 'extermination in Craglorn' between 1E 482 and 1E 484,[43] but the specifics of this event are unknown. This timeline overlaps with the time of the Rourken in Craglorn, but not with their arrival, implying that the two groups may have coexisted in the region for a time.
  • ^  The Duraki are often simply referred to as the followers of High King Durac. While it is unknown whether the term Duraki derived from Durac, similar naming conventions exist in early First Era tribes (such as the Velothi of Saint Veloth) that may suggest a correlation.

See AlsoEdit

  • The Perena and Keptu, other substantial Nedic tribes in Hammerfell.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Nedes of the DeathlandsArgus Mender
  2. ^ a b c d e Erold's dialogue in ESO
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Skyreach ExplorerReginus Buca, Historian, University of Gwylim
  4. ^ a b Nirncrux: A StudyMendan Flot,
    Regent of Roiling Concoctions
  5. ^ a b c d e f Nhalan's dialogue in ESO
  6. ^ Stag symbol present in the Nedic Warrior Pack
  7. ^ a b Events of Souls of the Betrayed in ESO
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Virmaril's JournalVirmaril, Advisor to High King Durac
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Cursader Dalamar's dialogue in ESO
  10. ^ a b c Watcher's Ritual Stole antiquity codex entry by Verita Numida in ESO
  11. ^ Bloodroot Forge in ESO
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Saradin's DiarySaradin
  13. ^ Orcs of Tamriel, Volume 3Grassius Vilco
  14. ^ a b Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: HammerfellImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  15. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Ra Gada: HammerfellImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  16. ^ King Edward, Part I — Anonymous
  17. ^ Fights-With-Tail's dialogue in ESO
  18. ^ Periapt of Elinhir item description in ESO
  19. ^ Events of The Shattered and the Lost in ESO
  20. ^ Valla's dialogue in ESO
  21. ^ Hermaeus Mora's dialogue in ESO
  22. ^ Atildel's dialogue in ESO
  23. ^ a b c Events of The Reason We Fight in ESO
  24. ^ Warlords of the Ra Gada
  25. ^ a b c d Watcher Shavmar's JournalWatcher Shavmar
  26. ^ Virmaril the Betrayer character in ESO
  27. ^ a b c d Mederic Vyger's dialogue in ESO
  28. ^ Aetherion's appearance in ESO
  29. ^ Skyreach Pinnacle's loading screen in ESO
  30. ^ a b Shada's dialogue in ESO
  31. ^ Tishi's dialogue in ESO
  32. ^ Sali'ma's dialogue in ESO
  33. ^ Events of The Fallen City of Shada in ESO
  34. ^ Events of Waters Run Foul in ESO
  35. ^ Nhalan's Journal item description in ESO
  36. ^ Chancellor Abnur Tharn Answers Your QuestionsChancellor Abnur Tharn
  37. ^ The Flourishing of ElinhirGarold Farfly
  38. ^ Marise Aravel's dialogue in Skyrim
  39. ^ Titus Valerius's dialogue in ESO
  40. ^ Celestial Robes costume description in ESO
  41. ^ Origin of the Scaled CourtValinka Stoneheaver
  42. ^ The Adabal-aMorihaus
  43. ^ A Life of Strife and StruggleKing Laloriaran Dynar