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Lore:Lefthanded Elves

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Yokuda, homeland of the Lefthanded Elves

The Lefthanded Elves (also Left-Handed Elves, or simply Lefthanders), also known as Kanuryai in their native tongue[1] and Sinistral Mer (or Sinestral Elves),[2][3] were a race of elves from Yokuda. They were the enemies of the Yokudans and fought long and bitter conflicts with them for a thousand years,[4] with the Orichalc Tower being supposedly involved in their wargames.[5][UOL 1] It is said the Lefthand Empire was four times the size the Third Empire under Tiber Septim, which itself accounted for the entirety of Tamriel.[6][UOL 2]


War with the YokudansEdit

During the Merethic Era, the Na-Totambu fought to a standstill among themselves to decide who would lead the charge against the Lefthanded Elves.[7] Their swordmasters, though, were so skilled in the "Best Known Cuts" as to be matched evenly. Leki intervened, introducing the Ephemeral Feint, and a victor emerged, and war was subsequently declared on the Elves.[7] Diagna, an avatar of the HoonDing, brought orichalc weapons to the Yokudans, which were instrumental in defeating the Elves.[8] The swords of the Ansei sent the Lefthanded Elves into the oceans,[UOL 2] before the Yokudans themselves plunged into a civil war which ended in the destruction of their continent.[9]

Systres InvasionEdit

Despite being driven out of Yokuda in the Merethic Era, a number of bedraggled Lefthand remnants fled by sea and survived into the First Era. In 1E 660, one of these fleets sailed east and arrived at the Systres archipelago with the intent to conquer it from the native Breton druids.[6] They found a foothold on Amenos and built a fortress on it to serve as their base while they assaulted the other islands and laid siege to Y'ffelon.[10] The protracted siege of the Systres resulted in the deaths of hundreds of fighters on both sides, but they were unable to conquer the rest of the archipelago and their campaign ultimately ended when Mount Firesong of Y'ffelon erupted in 1E 676, consuming both druids and Elves in a cataclysm. In the end, the Lefthanded Elves kept hold of the archipelago, and the druids faded into the background of history.[6] Most Druid records were burned during the invasion, and as result very little is known about the early days of the archipelago.[11]

The remaining Lefthanded Elves continued to live in the Systres, but their victory was relatively short-lived when in 1E 785 the first wave of Ra Gada warriors arrived in the Systres and annihilated the starving remnants before heading to Hammerfell. The Ra Gada's hatred of elves was such that they exterminated any and all elven colonies along the coast of Hammerfell.[4] The Redguards no longer speak of the Lefthanded Elves, as recalling the elves' abominations serves only to darken their days.[3]


The Lefthanded Elves' defeat by the Yokudans and the subsequent sinking of Yokuda imply that the race is extinct, although it has been speculated that there may be a link between them and the southern Maormer.[3] They are believed to have sailed near Thras as well, leading some to believe the buoyant steel salvaged by the Sload came from their shipwrecks, though it was much more likely Frog-Metal.[12] Due to suffering under Elven rule in Yokuda, some elven-loan words made their way into the Yoku language.[UOL 3]

Society and CultureEdit

"There is bone and dirt. Blood and smoke. Flesh and metal. This is the Real. While many stages of death exist, in the final after there is nothing. Knowing this makes our people strong. We tell no stories for comfort, so we fight to stay in the here and now."Cries from Empty Mouths[1]

Much of the what is known about the Lefthanded Elves themselves is scant and derived from Yokudan or Druid histories and sources. They were said to use a type of stone known as gypsum alabaster in many of their structures.[2] The boundary between pet and livestock was supposedly a hazy line for the Lefthanded Elves. Of note was the Yath Asp, a reptile whose stout leather was resistant to cuts and gouges. This made it the perfect material to protect their abdomen, which they believed was the "throne of the soul".[13][14] Lefthanded Elves were believe to possess superior gem-cutting skills and operated onyx peak-mines on Hattu Mountain before they were seized by the pre-Ra Gada Yokudans as spoils of war.[15]

While most sources deduce that they were a variant of Elf (presumably from Aldmer stock), others question this narrative and claim this was a Yokudan transcription error where "Elf" and "enemy" were essentially the same term, and that Lefthanded Elves were simply left-handed enemies.[16] One of the evidences that questions the elven theory are ancient druidic texts that described these peoples as "both long-of-face and long-of-ear", which appears to allude to elves - however some scholars explain this through the design of Yokudan helms, which were often stylized with a metallic depiction of their winged deity Tava, giving their helmets a hawk-like crest shape where the wings strongly resembled Elven ears. However, the same druidic texts argue against them being Yokudans as it later describes these left-handed warriors using shields in battle, which runs counter to everything known about Yokudan military practice.[6]

Funerary urns crafted from the purest orichalcum, fashioned in an exceedingly rare style, were discovered in the Systres Archipelago. The inscriptions on these urns were distinctly different from those found on the Tamrielic continent, and the artwork prominently featured winged figures. It has been speculated that these urns could be remnants of the Sinistral Elven culture.[17]

The text Cries from Empty Mouths, originally written in the Sinestral language, was translated by Varederil, a member of the Psijic Order. The text features an intriguing switch between verse and prose. It is unclear whether this was an artistic flourish or a cultural detail. The poem sheds light on the potential beliefs of the Kanuryai, who hold that nothing awaits past the final afterlife. While many stages of death exist, the final afterlife holds nothing. They believe that knowing this makes their people strong. They tell no comforting stories, encouraging them to stay in the here and now.[1]



  • During the mid-Second Era, fake Sinistral cutlery pieces were peddled by salespeople claiming them to be part of ancient elven dinner sets.[18]
  • In the 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 17, Vivec wrote that he "made [a] race of monsters which ended up destroying the west completely".[19]


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.

  1. ^ Michael Kirkbride's Posts Was the Orichalc Tower in Yokuda, and did it help sink the continent? (06/24/06)
  2. ^ a b Lord Vivec's Sword-Meeting With Cyrus the Restless
  3. ^ Redguard Forum Madness, The Imperial Library