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Lore:Exodus of the Druids

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Exodus of the Druids
by Druid Laurel of the Stonelore Circle
A druid historian's look at the druidic exodus from High Rock to the Systres

Life in High Rock eventually became intolerable for the druids, despite the fact the order was born there and loved the land so. The Y'ffre-worshiping druids left High Rock in 1E 330, though whether the increasingly hostile Direnni Hegemony chased them away or they fled of their own accord, we may never know. My research indicates that whatever the impetus, Druid King Kasorayn planned the exodus and had the druids grow the vessels that would eventually allow them to depart the mainland.

Druidic legends and oral history tell us that these seaworthy vessels were remarkable gifts provided by Y'ffre and the Green, given to the Druid King in dreams. He, in turn, taught the druids to sing these vessels into existence, getting the very plants and trees of High Rock to grow them to exacting specifications. Unfortunately, the secret to creating these vessels was lost to the depths of time.

How large was the original community of druids, before we were divided into the three circles that exist to the current season? I can only speculate. Some elders claim there were as many as a million followers of the True Way, while others put the number only in the thousands. Regardless, the Druid King required an armada of ships to get his people away from the Direnni, and he had to find a way to keep their plans secret until they were ready to depart. From what stories remain, the Druid King was successful. There was no last moment battle or rush to escape. It seems the druids simply disappeared one night and were gone before the Direnni even noticed.

Now imagine setting sail into the open expanse of ocean west of Tamriel. At the time, long sea voyages were not undertaken by the people of Tamriel, and few ships ever sailed far from the sight of shore. The druids, however, were intent on finding a new place to call home, a place promised to them by the Druid King. Legends tell us that the Druid King was led to the Systres Archipelago by dreams and the whispers of Y'ffre, but what trust his people had to place in him to believe he could transport them safely across an unknown sea.

Imagine a small armada of strange-looking ships that were grown, not built with hammer and nails, visible on the horizon as they sailed away from the shore. What a sight that must have been! How the Druid King kept the armada together has yet to be fully understood. Did he have navigational charts of some sort to direct the vessels? We may never know for certain, but recent discoveries indicate that at least one druid vessel never made it to the archipelago. We don't know how many ships were lost to storm or other hazards, but if one didn't make it, there were probably others that disappeared or sank or wrecked or were otherwise lost.

Eventually, the surviving vessels in the druid armada reached the shores of the Systres Archipelago. Ultimately, the druids spread to all the islands, but tradition claims that Galen was where the ships first landed. Y'ffre led us to these islands, but nature here was in disarray. The Druid King and his people spent those first seasons putting nature in order and summoning spirits to help maintain the land. It must have been an amazing time, yet so much information has been lost.

I shall continue my exploration and research into the life and times of Druid King Kasorayn as I attempt to uncover more of the lost history of the druids.