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"Perhaps it was Sithis who crumbled our stone hearts. Perhaps it was the Hist, who longed for our company, for the patter of our feet atop their roots."
Nisswo Uaxal

Duskfall refers to the slow decline of the old Saxhleel civilization.[1] Little is known about this time period or what provoked this change, though it is clear that the Elder Argonians still communed with and had Hist Trees of their own. Their bows were often made from the bark of Hists,[2] and the Argonians of old were often able to commune directly with the Hist.[3]

Days of Stone NestsEdit

A now abandoned Xanmeer

It is theorized ancient Argonian society was more advanced and unified before Duskfall, in an age known as the xanmeer period.[4] However, a competing theory has been proposed that the ancient Argonians' trade connections simply reached farther than what was previously believed. The ancient Argonians were adept at metalworking and often used volcanic glass in their weaponry. Some of their work was possibly even inspired by Dwemer designs.[2] Ancient Argonian ruins have been found as far north as the southern coast of Morrowind's Inner Sea.[5]

The ancient Argonians viewed Sithis as a destroyer. They feared change and Sithis' destructive force. As a representation of this ideology, they built vast stone pyramids, known as xanmeer, to withstand the test of time.[6] Fearing Sithis to this extent could explain why the old priests of Sithis were able to retain a position of power in Argonian society in the pre-Duskfall period.[6] Sithis had a more central role in this old society, and the ceremonies dedicated to Sithis were also different, including blood sacrifices.[2] Unsurprisingly, there was resistance to Duskfall among the Sithis priesthood, with some of them taking extreme measures to halt the approaching change. One priestesses of Sithis named Shuxaltsei managed to return briefly in 2E 582 and attempted to reclaim her temple in Murkmire.[7]

The ruins within Tsofeer Cavern, the Tomb of Many Spears, the Xinchei-Konu Monument and the Teeth of Sithis are examples of buildings from the pre-Duskfall era. The Xinchei-Konu was an ancient calendar that shows how the Argonians viewed time and tried to fight against the change, for example by manipulating the weather. The Teeth of Sithis on the other hand is an old temple of Sithis, and possibly the largest known.[8][6][9]

Duskfall and its ConsequencesEdit

Shuxaltsei, the last living remnant of pre-Duskfall civilization

What Duskfall was, exactly, has been left unclear. Sources largely describe it poetically, such as "the Hist led the way" and "the Hist revealed the true path", implying the Hist trees were involved in some way with the event.[1][6] By the time the Barsaebic Ayleids arrived in Black Marsh circa 1E 198, the ruined xanmeers were already ancient. The Barsaebics refused to believe that the Argonians were capable of building such complex stone structures.[10]

Interestingly, the Hists seemed to have some forewarning of the events to come prior to Duskfall, and not all were in agreement of how best to handle the approaching change. At least one Hist Tree sought to keep their tribe safe from these changes by forming a pact with Molag Bal to wait out Duskfall within Coldharbour.[11] This deal backfired, however, as the Hist Tree was soon enslaved by the Daedra and regularly harvested for its sap. The Argonians of Haj Uxith assisted in the invasion of Coldharbour in 2E 582, though whether or not the Tree had finally been allowed to die is unknown.[12]

The Hist trees that remained ceased all communication with the Argonian people for an indeterminate amount of time following Duskfall. It wasn't until the Argonian Jaraleet rediscovered a method of communication through Hist sap that a connection between the two parties finally resumed.[3] Unfortunately, the secrets of Duskfall remained lost even after this, with the Hist trees either having lost or just refusing to share the knowledge of Argonians from that era of their history.[UOL 1]

Argonian culture went through a paradigm shift as a result of Duskfall. Having previously viewed Sithis as a destructive force and living in fear of it, Argonians now started to recognize Sithis not only as destruction, but also change. Simultaneously, Argonians adapted a more cyclical view of time. They believe that the fear of death and impermanence, which they call "shunatei", is the reason both the ancient Argonians and the other civilizations insist on building giant stone cities. Modern Argonians believe that by building impermanent structures, they conquer shunatei and become one with Change, or Sithis.[13]

Several relics from pre-Duskfall or Duskfall can be found in Black Marsh, some of them dangerous.[1][14] One pair of such relics is the Fangs of Sithis, which could be used for mass destruction, turning crops into ash and creating undead horrors from the living.[14] However, using the Fangs of Sithis is said to consume one's soul, driving the wielder mad.[15] In 2E 582, the Fangs of Sithis were discovered deep inside the ruins of Sunscale Strand in Shadowfen.[15]

An anthropological society known as Cyrodilic Collections aimed to research and recover such relics and return them to Argonians. In 2E 582, a former member of the society traveled to the island of Norg-Tzel to pursue the Golden Skull of Beela Kaar, the gilded skull of an ancient Argonian sorcerer who practiced dark arts. The relic was said to contain the power of Beela-Kaar himself, vibrating with arcane energy and carrying a terrible curse.[1][16]



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.