—Where Were You When the Dragon Broke?
A Dragon Break is a phenomenon where linear time is broken, and becomes non-linear. The "Dragon" refers to Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time. A Dragon Break not only precedes significant changes in Tamriel, but challenges mortal comprehension. It is a re-alignment of time and space in response to an event which makes the normal continuity of reality impossible. The chaos which ensues is a refrain of the chaos of the Dawn Era. The area that is noticeably affected, and length of the interval measured in the areas not apparently affected, varies with each Dragon Break. Historically, the cause is often attributed to mortals manipulating divine matters.
The Middle DawnEdit
A sect of the Alessian Order, the Marukhati Selective, is said to have caused the longest known Dragon Break, known as the Middle Dawn (or colloquially as "the" Dragon Break), which is thought to have spanned one thousand and eight years from the 13th to the 23rd centuries in the First Era,[UOL 1] by attempting to exorcise elements of Elven Auriel from Imperial Akatosh. The Psijic Loremaster Celarus claimed that misuse of the Staff of Towers played a part in bringing about the Dragon Break, although he did not specify by whom. According to Celarus, Dragon Breaks could be created by the "impossibly dense Aurbic gyre" formed by the coalescence of the Staff's power. This is the only Dragon Break that is a universally-known event, though some civilizations claim to have been protected from it. Mnemoli the Blue Star, a Magna Ge associated with un-time events, grew bright enough during this Dragon Break to be seen in the daytime sky.
Yet in later eras, the occurrence of this event became disputed, most notably by the scholar Fal Droon. He posited that no cosmic disruption took place at all, and that the "Dragon Break" story was concocted in the early Third Era to explain inconsistencies in the Encyclopedia Tamrielica. He cites "scholarly inertia", obsession with "eschatology" and fanatical "Numidiumism" in order to explain the perpetuation of the error.
Fal Droon's claim that the Dragon Break was a Third Era fabrication is apparently discredited by older sources, which are known to have described the Dragon Break as early as 2E 582. In particular, Vindication for the Dragon Break seems to describe the Marukhati Selective's justification for the Middle Dawn before the event itself. The Dunmer of the era were hostile towards the Empire, yet they still acknowledge a Dragon Break occurred. Furthermore, a member of the Elder Council claimed that the oversoul of emperors within the Amulet of Kings confirmed that a Dragon Break took place. The Council purportedly gathered information from every province, information which never coincided except by mentioning that all the folk of the continent tracked the fall of eight stars, which they used to count their days.
An abstruse text ascribed, like the Vindication, to Arch-Prelate Fervidius Tharn appears to describe the mechanics of the Middle Dawn in more detail as involving the detachment of a particular "sheath" from the "integument", or outer layer, of the Aurbis. This process would begin by "intercourse with the star-orphan" Mnemoli, followed by "eversion of the organ of thought" and "an employment of the Hurling Disk", "twisting the enveloping sheath into the middle dawn".
Circa 2E 582, the Breton noblewoman Lady Edwyge stole a copy of the text Vindication for the Dragon Break from the Mages Guild in Hallin's Stand. She managed to convince an Orc novice named Gahgdar to let her borrow the book, and then fled to the ruins of Rubble Butte, an ancient Ayleid complex located near Nilata in southern Bangkorai. She and her supporters sought to turn back time several years in order to change the course of history and ensure Edwyge became Queen of Bangkorai rather than Arzhela. The nobles managed to emulate the ritual performed by the Marukhati Selective and turned back time a few hours, but ended up creating a time trap within the ruins by trying to extend the ritual further.
Unbeknownst to the nobles, Gahgdar had tracked Edwyge down to Rubble Butte and had entered the ruins in search of the book to avoid being kicked out of the Guild. However, he also became stuck in the time trap. The Vestige subsequently entered Rubble Butte and agreed to help Gahgdar recover the book from the nobles. The Vestige fought through the nobles before reaching Lady Edwyge and killing her, recovering the book in the process. However, upon reading Edwyge's notes, it transpired that she had anticipated her death and was stuck reliving the same few hours over and over again. The Vestige returned the book to Gahgdar, but the cycle simply began anew; Gahgdar would repeatedly request the recovery of the book, and Edwyge and her supporters would repeatedly be slain in order to recover it. The Vestige was not caught in the time trap and was free to leave Rubble Butte, but the ultimate fate of those trapped inside is unknown.
The Brass GodEdit
The first activation of Numidium by Tiber Septim at the town of Rimmen in Elsweyr is said to have preceded a Dragon Break that heralded the Third Empire. The second activation of Numidium in the Iliac Bay region during 3E 417 brought about another Dragon Break. Sentinel, Wayrest, Daggerfall, Orsinium, and the Empire all gained control of the Totem of Tiber Septim, somehow at the exact same time, which allowed them to control the power of the golem. When this "Warp in the West" ended (the effect objectively seemed to last roughly two days), the many other kingdoms of the Iliac Bay region were conquered. Each remaining kingdom consolidated its newfound territory and swore fealty to the Empire, bringing historically unusual harmony to northwestern Tamriel.
Because the use of Numidium has not once, but twice been associated with a Dragon Break, it is speculated that some of the events surrounding the Battle of Red Mountain and the disappearance of the Dwemer around 1E 700 may also be explained by a Dragon Break. This purported Dragon Break, sometimes called the Red Moment,[UOL 2] involved the battle which ultimately resulted in the disappearance of the Dwemer. The accounts of this battle often conflict with each other on various points, such as the loyalties of the parties in the battle and the events which transpired at the climax of the battle, including how the Dwemer met their fate.
Time Wounds, also known as Tiid-Ahraan in the Dragon Language, are tears created in the fabric of space when time is shattered within a localized area. These distortions of time and space have some similarities to Dragon Breaks. In appearance they can resemble a slight shimmering in the air, or a vortex of golden and purple light.
The first Time Wound in known history was created in Skyrim during the Merethic Era, and served to bring about the end of the Dragon War. Near the end of the war, the ancient Nords confronted Alduin at the summit of the Throat of the World. With no conventional means to defeat the wyrm, Felldir the Old used an Elder Scroll to perform an incantation that ejected Alduin from their time, propelling him into the future and leaving behind a Time Wound. In 4E 201, Alduin emerged from the Time Wound and began the process of resurrecting his Dragon allies all across Skyrim. The Last Dragonborn later used the same Elder Scroll to exploit this Time Wound and gaze into the past, thereby gaining lost knowledge of the Thu'um.
A Time Wound also appeared at the peak of the Sunspire temple in the First Era, when Alkosh's battle cry put an end to Pelinal Whitestrake's slaughter of the Khajiit and cast him out of Elsweyr. Circa 2E 582, the Dragons Nahviintaas, Lokkestiiz, and Yolnahkriin returned to the affairs of mortals, posing as gods. The Khajiit devotees of Sunspire Temple believed Nahviintaas to be Alkosh, and gathered pilgrims from across Anequina to serve him. However, Nahviintaas' true goal was to tear the Time Wound wider in order to wipe out all mortals and restore the "natural order". This threat was ended when all three Dragons were slain by the Undaunted.
- Vivec's "Scripture of the Numbers" begins with "The Dragon Break, or the Tower. 1".
- Fervidius Tharn associates the Middle Dawn with the number 17 and the "Hurling Disk", a connection also drawn by Vivec.[UOL 3]
- "Kalpas" are thought to be the overarching epochs into which the flow of time is divided, with the transition from the chaos of the Dawn Era to the Merethic marking the end of a previous kalpa.[UOL 4] Dragon Breaks could possibly be understood as interruptions in the new kalpa.
- In Five Songs of King Wulfharth, before the Battle of Red Mountain, Ysmir Wulfharth said to the reticent Nordic troops, "Don't you see where you really are? Don't you know who Shor really is? Don't you know what this war is?" This was purportedly referring to their presence within the Dragon Break of the Red Moment.[UOL 2]
- Where Were You When The Dragon Broke? contains an account that is generally accepted as referring to the use of the Numidium by Tiber Septim, as well as the Warp in the West. This text also refers to Mannimarco as the "God of Worms", a title used only after the Warp allegedly allowed his apotheosis. Yet copies of the book were discovered in the Second Era, before the Warp occurred, and have the same text as those found in the Third and Fourth Eras.
- In The Dragon Break Re-Examined, the scholar Fal Droon attempted to debunk the Middle Dawn, and thus the "doctrine of the Dragon Break" in general. The book first appeared in TES III: Morrowind, which took place in 3E 427. Droon wrote of the fall of the Septim Dynasty in the past tense, even though it would not occur for another six years, which suggests that he did not actually write the text until after the end of the Septim Dynasty and the Third Era. Thus, the book ironically seems to corroborate that Tamriel is susceptible to distortions in time such as the Dragon Break.
- In the French translation of A Child's Tamriel Bestiary, jills are said to be mythical beings who fix the world during dragon breaks.
- The Dragon Break Re-Examined by Fal Droon — Explanation of a historical error of timing
- The Egg of Time by Bthuand Mzahnch — A refutation of a popular theory among the Dwemer that the use of Lorkhan's Heart involved unjustifiable risks
- On the Detachment of the Sheath by Arch-Prelate Fervidius Tharn — An explanation of an aspect of Aurbis
- Vindication for the Dragon Break by Fervidius Tharn, Arch-Prelate of the Maruhkati Selective — A Marukhati edict instructing the expungement of the Aldmeri aspects from Auriel
- The Warp in the West A Report Compiled By Ulvius Tero — Reports from Imperial Blades concerning the effects of the Dragon Break on the Iliac Bay region
- Where Were You ... Dragon Broke by Various — A brief description and multiple accounts of the Dragon Break
- Gahgdar's dialogue in ESO
- Loremaster Celarus's dialogue in ESO: Summerset.
- Where Were You ... Dragon Broke — Various
- Exegesis of Merid-Nunda — Phrastus of Elinhir
- The Dragon Break Re-Examined — Fal Droon
- Events of Elder Scrolls Online
- Reflections on Cult Worship — Cuseius Plecia
- On the Detachment of the Sheath — Arch-Prelate Fervidius Tharn
- Lady Edwyge's Notes — Lady Edwyge
- Back in Time quest in ESO
- The Warp in the West — Ulvius Tero
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 37 — Vivec
- The Battle of Red Mountain — Vivec
- Nerevar at Red Mountain — the Tribunal Temple
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 26 — Vivec
- Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 29 — Vivec
- The Song of Pelinal, v 7
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.
- Where were you when the Dragon Broke? (original, unabridged), The Imperial Library
- Michael Kirkbride - IRC Q&A Sessions
- Vehk's Teaching, The Imperial Library
- World-Eating 101, The Imperial Library