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< Lore: Flora: H
A Hist tree
"The narrow reed you call real cannot hold the Hist's truth, Rootmender. Real. Illusion. Dream. Waking. These are the words that keep our bellies to the mud. We are safe there, yes. But we cannot see very far."
—Sap-Speaker Kuzei

The Hist are a species of giant spore trees growing in the innermost swamps of Black Marsh. Argonians are known to have deep connections with the Hist, calling themselves "people of the root", and licking the leaking sap of their trunks in religious rites. Others claim the trees are, in fact, a sentient race, more ancient than all the races of man and mer.[1]

Hist roots stretch very far, deep into the heart of Nirn and out into distant lands. Hist sap that bleeds from Hist roots buried deep underground is known as deep sap.[2]

In Black Marsh, Argonian eggs are usually incubated in pools of Hist sap to enable the Hist to help with the hatching ritual. If the Hist's connection to the eggs is somehow broken, it will result in the swift deaths of the unborn Argonians.[3] In Shadowfen, Argonian eggs are left in the care of the Keepers of the Shell who tend the Hatching Pools.[4] In Murkmire[5] Argonians who are hatched outside Black Marsh cannot hear the Hist.[6][7] Marsh-born Argonians are also capable of wielding Hist-magic, which doesn't operate on the same rules as conventional spellcraft.[8] In the Argonian language Jel, Hist saplings are referred to as Hist-Deek, mature Hists are called Hist-Dooka, and elder Hists are called Hist-Tsoko. The names of the stages of a Hist's development are also used as months within the Argonian calendar.[9]

Ancient TreesEdit

Argonians claim that the Hist trees of Black Marsh were the original life forms on Tamriel. The Hist were considered bystanders of the war between the Ehlnofey, but most of their realm was destroyed as the war passed over it.[10] The Hist acknowledge Sithis' role as the "Original Creator".[11] All Hist are connected at the root[12]:34—they are of one mind, and speak to each other.[12]:31 However, some trees, like the city tree of Lilmoth in the early Fourth Era, may become isolated.[12]:34 In the Third Era, the Hist used their influence to call Argonians from across the Empire back to Black Marsh. Having foreseen the Oblivion Crisis, the Hist (through the An-Xileel) ordered the Argonians to assault the invading Daedra. The Argonians poured into the Oblivion Gates with such ferocity that Dagon's lieutenants had to close them.[12]:19 This resulted in an astounding victory for the Argonians and led to the collapse of the Empire in Black Marsh as the Argonians turned to the An-Xileel, who proceeded to drive out the Imperials.[12]:17

Not all Argonians enjoy complete rapport with the Hist like the marsh-born tribes (and in 4E 8, the An-Xileel) do, especially not lukiul.[12]:45

Known HistEdit

The Rogue Hist of LilmothEdit

Lilmoth's Hist has a storied history. In the Third Era, it formed its own identity separate from the rest of the Hist, and isolated itself from its brethren.[12]:34 The rogue Hist was killed.

By 4E 8, a new Hist had grown from a single fragment of the root that survived the elder's killing more than 300 years ago.[12]:53 The new tree's roots pushed and wound through most of lower Lilmoth.[12]:35 The Hist cut itself off from the others once again.[12]: Usually, when speaking directly to the Hist, what one says is what they all say. Not so for the rogue Hist of Lilmoth.[12]:32 The rogue Hist stopped talking to the people of Lilmoth by 4E 8; it only spoke to the An-Xileel and the Wild Ones.[12]:45:53 Additionally, the An-Xileel in Lilmoth didn't take council from any other Hist, just the city tree.[12]:31

The rogue Hist was responsible for summoning Umbriel to Nirn, and maintained contact with the island.[12]:53

The Dreaming TreeEdit

The Remnant of Argon

The Dreaming Tree, also known as the whispering root,[13] was a Hist Tree belonging to the Root-Whisper Tribe. The Barsaebic Ayleids invaded the tribe's territory and harvested their souls at an alarming rate, and as a response, the Root-Whisper Hist sacrificed itself to create the Remnant of Argon, an amber artifact that could contain the souls of the entire tribe until the Ayleid incursion had passed. The Barsaebic Ayleids attempted to stop its creation, but were held back long enough for the Remnant to be completed.[14] The creation of the Remnant resulted in the hist tree being put into a slumber, thus becoming known as the Dreaming Tree.

Although the Remnant of Argon was meant only as a temporary measure, the Ayleid occupation lasted far longer than was anticipated thanks to Myndhal's obsession. With the Root-Whisper Hist cut off from the rest of the Hist and the Root-Whisper tribe all but dead, there was no clear way for them to pass along the information regarding the Remnant's location. Eventually, all knowledge the Remnant of Argon faded into obscurity, thus keeping the Dreaming Tree in its slumber. It was remembered by the Hist and Argonians of Murkmire, a memory that invoked immense sadness.[15]

Eventually, a group of historians known as the Cyrodilic Collections came to Murkmire on behalf of their Argonian benefactor to collect and preserve ancient Argonian relics. Though their benefactor, Kassandra, seemed to be altruistic motivations at first glance, she secretly hoped that one of the artifacts discovered could finally allow her to become connected to the Hist, something that had been an impossibility for her ever since her birth into Dunmeri servitude.[15] After Cyrodilic Collections discovered both the origin of the Remnant of Argon and the Rootmender's Staff, which could lead them directly to the Remnant, Kassandra betrayed them, stealing the Staff and leaving the rest for dead.[14] Kassandra used the Rootmender's staff and a Vakka Stone to open a portal from the Nexus Realm directly to the hiding place of the Remnant of Argon, with the Vestige and Famia Mercius giving chase.

Kassandra successfully uncovered the Remnant and, claiming to finally hear the Hist, was promptly devoured by a Miregaunt. Thanks to her control over the Remnant, however, Kassandra managed to wrest control of the Miregaunt and had to be defeated by the Vestige. Famia picked up the Remnant and carried it to the safety of the now long-abandoned Root-Whisper Village. There, the Vestige, the Bright-Throat Xukas, and the Naga Jaxsik-Orrn traveled into the Remnant of Argon itself in order to finally lead the lost Argonian souls out and reawaken the Dreaming Tree. In order to do this, one of them needed to stay behind and guide them back at the cost of their life, though it is unclear whether it was the Naga or Bright-Throat that did this. Regardless, because of their sacrifice, the Dreaming Tree was awakened, the Root-Whisper tribe was reborn, and the Remnant of Argon was finally no more.[16]

The Hist of Haj UxithEdit

The Hist of Haj Uxith in Coldharbour

At some point in the ancient past, the Hist tree of Haj Uxith made a deal with Molag Bal in order to ensure the survival of its tribe of Argonians. The village and its Hist tree were taken to Coldharbour and preserved by Molag Bal, allowing both the Hist and its tribe to survive. The tree withered away, but was kept alive by a crystal provided by Bal, thought to be one of his vampiric shards. However, his reason for providing this aid was simply to harvest Hist Sap from the tree. A mechanical sap collection facility was set up at Haj Uxith, manned by Bal's Dremora servants.[17]

In time, the crystal poisoned the Hist, prolonging its suffering but not allowing it to die. With only what little sustenance the crystal provided, the tree became weak, and was no longer able to commune directly with its Argonians. Many years later, circa 2E 582, an argument broke out among the scholars and warriors of the tribe. The scholars wished to end the eternal suffering of their Hist and allow it to die, while the warriors refused to allow the Hist and the tribe to be destroyed.[17] Both parties turned to the Vestige to settle the matter, and pledged to aid the Tamrielic invasion force which had come to the realm to end the Planemeld. The ultimate fate of the tree is unknown.[18]


The Hist of Mazzatun's Xit-Xaht tribe has a Jel name: Tsono-Xuhil.[19][20] Tsono-Xuhil was the mad Hist of Mazzatun, kin to the Xit-Xaht tribe.

Tsono-Xuhil was obsessed with maintaining the pre-Duskfall way of life. The Hist and its last known tree-minder, Na-Kesh, were not keen on the lifestyle shown to the Saxhleel by Sithis. While the rest of Black Marsh accepted the idea that change is inevitable and altered their practices to adapt accordingly, Tsono-Xuhil sought order in the city of Mazzatun. Tree-Minder Na-Kesh viewed the modern Argonian way of life with disgust, regarding the use of impermanent materials like reeds, mud, and wood in construction and craft as "savage". Believing that their people were above such things, the tree-minder, guided by her Hist, conspired to impose its will upon all of Black Marsh.

The Trees of UmbrielEdit

Art of Umbriel, showing the Hist-like trees

A distinct group of sentient trees were found on Umbriel, supposed to be 'cousins' of the Hist of Tamriel.[21]:86 Like that floating island, they originated from a mysterious realm of Oblivion and came to inhabit the realm of Clavicus Vile. In the early Fourth Era, these trees were split from the realm by Umbra, becoming an integral part of the life cycle on the floating island of Umbriel. Compared to the Hist of Tamriel, these trees slightly differed in appearance; the leaves were too oblate, the bark less fretted, and the smell a bit off.[12]:191

The trees of Umbriel were responsible for producing many substances used in the island's kitchens. The trees were interconnected and played an important role in the recycling of souls on Umbriel; in one sense, they were Umbriel. They lived in the Fringe Gyre, an external area of Umbriel located around the edge of the island's surface, although their root system extended down into the lower subterranean levels of the island. They were thought to be drawn to Tamriel from the Void in 4E 48 by the Hist in Lilmoth. Annaïg Hoïnart, a Breton who had infiltrated Umbriel and assimilated into the kitchen staff, planned to feed the roots of the trees poison and cripple Umbriel.[21]:86:282 Mere-Glim, Annaïg's Argonian companion, felt a connection with the trees similar to that of the Hist, albeit quieter and vague. After he was reborn as an Umbrielian, Glim felt an even deeper connection, and convinced Annaïg to help him save the trees.[21]:290 Following the destruction of the second ingenium, these trees were responsible for teleporting the island of Umbriel to their mysterious realm.[21]

The Sleeping TreeEdit

The Sleeping Tree

The Sleeping Tree is a strange leafless tree found in Whiterun Hold in Skyrim. It grows in a misty pool beside a small cave now named after the tree. A giant encampment also named for the tree surrounds it. Several legends exist on the origins of the Tree. Some say that a piece of rock was blasted from Red Mountain during the Red Year and landed in Skyrim, and the Tree grew from the resulting crater. Others say that it grew from a spore which fell from a "floating island", referring to Umbriel, in which case the Tree is one of the Hist "cousins" of Umbriel.

Other HistEdit

A blue Hist tree belonging to the Dead-Water Tribe

One tribe dedicated to ice spells have a Hist that drips with icicles and is said to be located deep within Black Marsh.[22]

Hist trees usually have red bioluminescent flowers growing out of them, although the Naga-Kur Tribe’s has blue flowers.


"The Hists' wisdom is infinite, but our ability to understand them is limited. To commune with the Hist is to see, to hear, to smell, to feel, and even to taste in a way not your own. Discerning the meaning of these signs is not a simple thing."
Tree-Minder Pavu

The Hist is capable of communicating in a variety of methods. The Bright-Throat Tribe's Hist speaks through the wind, and the Bright-Throat Argonians create chimes in order to receive its message.[23] Some Argonians receive dreams from the Hist.[24][25]

Hist Sap is a substance made out of the Hist's very spirit. When Hist Sap is licked by an Argonian, the Hist is capable of communicating with the Argonian through visions. The sap of the Hist seems to increase the combat prowess of those who drink it. Hist sap has the ability to 'alter' living organisms, which may explain the origin of the Argonians. Ingesting large quantities of Hist-Sap is often dangerous, even for Argonians. The Sap-Speakers of the Miredancer Tribe, known for communing with their Hist and ingesting large amounts of sap in the process, often suffer the effects of sap-poisoning, including "gold tongue" (permanent change of mouth pigmentation to a golden hue), "bark scale" (thickening and darkening of surface scales), and unwanted hallucinations among other symptoms. The Blackwood Company smuggled a Hist tree from Black Marsh to their headquarters in Leyawiin, and extracted the sap to exploit this. However, when consumed by non-Argonian species, the Hist sap had strong hallucinogenic properties that sent them into dangerous bloodlust, though the poor treatment of this particular tree affected the sap causing similar effects on Argonians, as well. At the end of the Third Era, a recruit of the Fighters Guild sabotaged the Hist extraction mechanism, destroying the tree in the process.

A similar substance known as Amber Plasm is also produced by certain Hist trees. Despite its appearance, it is not Hist Sap and is instead a form of chaotic creatia from Oblivion which leaks into Mundus through the Hist like blood from a wound.

Rarely, the Hist-Tsoko will mark an individual to carry out a sacred task. Those marked possess wooden skin and veins that glow amber, and the Sap-Speakers know to provide them with aid.[26]



  • The first edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire mentions the Hist, though its description of them differs dramatically from that given by other sources. They are described as a relatively intelligent strain of Argonian; repulsive, but peaceful enough to be tolerated outside of Black Marsh. The Pocket Guide also makes reference to their "cherished spore-trees".

See AlsoEdit

  • For Hist names, see here.
  • For a list of notable Hist , see here.