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Lore:Icereach Coven

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Mother Ciannait - the leader of the Icereach Coven
An Icereach Coven banner

The Icereach Coven (or Icereach Clan) was a coven of witches active in the 6th century of the Second Era, primarily - though not only[1] - composed of Reachfolk and a clan that serves under the leadership of the witches.[2] They resided on Icereach, a frozen island in the Sea of Ghosts[3] and served as advisors of the Emperor during the times of the Longhouse Dynasty[4] and after the fall of the dynasty as allies of the army of Vampires and Werewolves known as the Gray Host.[5]

Wicker is a common component in their rituals;[6] they use it to create many of their ritual fetishes, and it is not uncommon for them to craft sacred wicker effigies.[7] Their emblem, a blood-red wicker spiral, represents their hunger for power, no matter the cost. The coven marks its territory with totems bearing that emblem.[8] Wicker, string, bone shards, animal hide, and tree bark are all materials the coven used in forging weapons and armor.[9] The Icereach Coven breeds durzogs to be used as mounts. The witches used magic to alter the pups in-utero to achieve a rideable size. These durzogs were quite aggressive, and those who sought to transfer ownership of a durzog to another rider required the prospective owner to sleep with the durzog's saddle before attempting to ride them.[10] Icereach Frost Charms were amulets carved from ice of the frigid Sea of Ghosts, enchanted to never melt. Their purpose and significance was a mystery.[11]

HistoryEdit

Ancient PastEdit

 
Fort on the Icereach, the base of the Coven
 
The leadership of the Icereach Coven ca. 2E 582

At some point of the history, centuries before the Interregnum, a coven of Reachfolk Witches known as Icereach Coven acquired the island of Icereach from Nordic owners with a cursed bargain. The more widespread belief among the Nords is that the coven took the island by the means of conquest. Ever since then it served as a base of the Icereach Coven.[12]

In the times prior to 2E 582 a group known as Kairian Coven split and lost members to the Icereach Coven. Every year, the coven's seedswoman would grow a coronal to crown their leader. After wearing it for a year and a day, the coven's leader would gift the object to a champion who performed dark deeds.[13]

Longhouse EmperorsEdit

 
Emperor Leovic

The Icereach Coven served as advisors and mages to the Longhouse Emperors.[4] It is unknown at which point of the history they were employed by the Longhouse Dynasty but they served as teachers and tutors of the last of the emperors of the dynasty, Leovic.[14] They were driven from Cyrodiil along with the other Reachmen after Varen's Rebellion.[12] They were led by a powerful witch known as Mother Ciannait and during their escape from Cyrodiil they wound up in the area west of Falkreath. They had taken refuge among the graves west of the town and raised numerous dead Nords from the graveyard to defend themselves from Imperial forces. Ultimately Imperials ceased to continue their pursuit once they suffered great losses and left the matters surrounding the Reachfolk incursion to the local Nords.[4] Nords eventually managed to cast the faction of Reach Witches out back to their ancient base in the island of Icereach.[12]

Dark Heart of SkyrimEdit

At some point between 26th of the Sun's Dusk in 2E 577 and 2E 582, after the Icereach Witches returned to their base at Icereach isle they entered into contact with Gray Host and started cooperation. They were tasked with mastering the Harrowstorm ritual by Rada al-Saran.[5][15] Soon the coven started their magical experiments and the area of the Sea of Ghosts around the Icereach island became known for unnatural and unpredictable storms.[16][17]

They re-emerged in 2E 582 and allied with the Gray Host. They started to perform tempest rituals known as Harrowstorms, which they used to resurrect members of the Gray Host that died and were sent to Coldharbour in the First Era.[5][18]

 
Icereach Coven totems

Around circa 2E 582 King Jorunn sent an expedition from Windhelm to look into a sudden barrage of storms in the Sea of Ghosts around the isle.[17][12] Although initially most of the forces sent by King Jorunn were met with fierce opposition ultimately the coven members who resided at the island was defeated by combined forces of Lyris Titanbon, the Undaunted guild and the Vestige.[19] Although their leader was defeated and their base of operation cleared from their presence they remained an active faction during Gray Host operations in the Kingdom of Western Skyrim and in the Reach. Despite their shared origins, they were generally hated by their kinsmen.[20]

At some point in 2E 582 the Icereach Coven was reported to have continued activity in various provinces of Tamriel such as Valenwood, Morrowind, High Rock and Skyrim. The Icereach Coven planned their next step in the city of Riften. They infiltrated the Ratway under the city of Riften[21] and parts of the Blackreach under the Hold of Eastmarch. One of the members of the coven, Sister Balra planned an assassination of King Jorunn. She stormed the Palace of the Kings and managed to abduct Jorunn, but her plan was foiled when Lyris Titanborn assisted by the Vestige slew her.[22]

They joined the Gray Host in their operations in the Skyrim and the Reach. When the Icereach Coven returned to Skyrim, they bolstered their numbers with Reachmen and lured innocents to their cause.[9] The coven performed the harrowstorm ritual on numerous occasions for their vampiric benefactors. Rites were used several times in order to further their plans in the regions of Western Skyrim, parts of Blackreach and the Reach.[23][24]

 
Icereach Coven performing a ritual

In Western Skyrim, random harrowstorms were often summoned in order to allow the Nords to fret over them while the Host prepared more powerful versions.[25] Efforts of the coven were fought by the mercenaries hired by The Swords of Solitude, one militia of Haafingar.[26]

Harrowstorms were summoned against the temple of Kilkreath,[27][28][29] near the underground city of Dusktown,[30], near to cities of Morthal and Karthwatch.[31] Karthwatch was destroyed by the coven ritual and the rest of the Karthald hold to eventually ceased to exist as its people were either dead or scattered.[32]

Icereach Coven kidnapped Bjora of Karthwatch, the only known descendant of the bloodline of the Red Eagle. They believed she was prophesied to lead as their Queen. After destroying Karthwatch in a Harrowstorm, they brought her outside Sundered Towers and began using magic to implant memories in her, including a vision of Red Eagle handing her a crown of briars while a frightening, fanged man declared that she would lead his armies.[33] The ritual was ultimately interrupted by her childhood friend, Hafskjar, assisted by the Vestige.[34]

Eventually, the coven summoned the final harrowstorm in the region. It was completed and unleashed from within Greymoor Keep, rising to affect the capital city of Solitude, with the Host using it to resurrect the last of their numbers. Many exposed to the storm had their life energies taken by it, but efforts of the defenders of the city among others were able to stop the storm and kill High King Svargrim, who had been merged with Greymoor Keep and thus his end meant the end of the harrowstorm as well.[35]

Later during their campaign in the Reach, similar random harrowstorms appeared in several areas of the region, with the city of Markarth having an agent that recruited outsiders to deal with them.[36] Despite the fact that their base was once a remote island they had a visible presence in the hills of the Karth Valley.[20] Storms were frequent enough in the region to the point that the agent of Markarth pointed out that new ones would likely appear the next day.[37]

Eventually, the forces of the Gray Host and Icereach Coven were defeated and Rada al-Saran was killed. The fate of the remnants of the Icereach Coven is unknown.[38]

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Drodda of Icereach in ESO
  2. ^ Reach Loyalist's LetterReach Warrior
  3. ^ Icereach loading screen text in ESO
  4. ^ a b c Meet the Character - Mother CiannaitOptio Cornelia Midara
  5. ^ a b c Letter to the Icereach CovenR
  6. ^ Witch Pike construction in ESO
  7. ^ Urgarlag Chief-bane's dialogue during Pledge: Icereach
  8. ^ Icereach Coven Totem, Emblem furnishing description in ESO
  9. ^ a b Crafting Motif 82: Icereach Coven StyleSvarrid Snow-Seer, Guard of Windhelm
  10. ^ Frostborn Durzog Mangler mount description in ESO
  11. ^ Icereach Frost Charm item description in ESO
  12. ^ a b c d Arvnir's dialogue during The Frozen Isle in ESO
  13. ^ Crone's Wicker Coronal item description in ESO
  14. ^ Secret History of the Longhouse EmperorsCouncilor Vandacia
  15. ^ Overheard Dialogue of generic Witches and Vampires encountered during Greymoor Prologue
  16. ^ Icereach loading screen in ESO
  17. ^ a b Lyris Titanborn's dialogue in ESO
  18. ^ On HarrowstormsFennorian of House Ravenwatch
  19. ^ Events of The Frozen Isle in ESO
  20. ^ a b Tayfaern's dialogue in ESO
  21. ^ Events of The Coven Conspiracy in ESO
  22. ^ Events of The Coven Conundrum in ESO
  23. ^ Events of ESO: Greymoor
  24. ^ Events of ESO: Markarth
  25. ^ Gray Host CommuniqueRada al-Saran
  26. ^ Events of Halt the Harrowstorms (Greymoor) in ESO
  27. ^ Pentarch's OrdersR
  28. ^ Priest Bavian's dialogue in ESO: Greymoor
  29. ^ Events of Meridia's Brilliance in ESO
  30. ^ Events of Dark Clouds Over Solitude in ESO
  31. ^ Events of Danger in the Holds in ESO
  32. ^ Events of Danger in the Holds in ESO
  33. ^ Bjora's dialogue in ESO
  34. ^ The Blood of Old Karth quest in ESO
  35. ^ Events of Greymoor Rising in ESO
  36. ^ Events of Halt the Harrowstorms (Markarth) in ESO
  37. ^ Nelldena's dialogue in ESO: Markarth
  38. ^ Events of Kingdom of Ash in ESO