|Appears in||Arena, ESO|
Shornhelm (sometimes spelled Sharnhelm) is one of the eight major kingdoms in the province of High Rock, located in the center of Rivenspire. Shornhelm is historically the seat of power for the Kingdom of Rivenspire, the north-central region of High Rock and it is aptly ruled by both the Riven-King and the regency council, the Council of the North, a triumvirate of the kingdom's three major houses, Dorell, Montclair, and Tamrith. The city acquired the epithet of the "Crown City of the North" for its status.
Layout & GeographyEdit
Shornhelm is located in the tumultuous landscape of the Kurallian Mountains in north High Rock, which is known for its rough, tricky terrain and oppressive environment, one that many people find hard to survive in. Even so, the city is found in the center of a varied kingdom, between the narrow canyons and basins in the west, the windswept moors of the east, and the nearby Darguard Ridge. Shornhelm itself is surrounded by flinty crags and hills that contain ruined towers from a bygone era of conflict, such as the Traitor's Tor that overlooks the city from the east, or even the old ruins south of it. In the mountains behind Shornhelm is a ravine called the Fevered Mews, which have been used by the city to quarantine those infected with a diseases and the plague. It also contains a series of caves and an ancient ruin found deeper in the ravine.
The city is built on a hill that overlooks the entire central region and it even boasts a strong defensive parameter of high walls and watchtowers. Shornhelm is split between two districts, the lower city where the common folk dwell and trade with one another, as well as the upper city, where the nobility live. Each of the noble houses has a manor in the district, as well as the local barracks and even the local wayshrine. The city's substructure is a series of interconnected cisterns that connect to each of the city's water wells, like a honeycomb of pocketed caches. Some of them have leaked into each other after years of exposure and their shoddy craftsmanship. The one that distributes the most water is sometimes called the master source, that bridges an underground river to the rest of the system. The sewers also serve as the city's outlaws refuges, and its were many noble families flock toward after the death of King Ranser. Shornhelm is neighbored by several settlements, including Markwasten Moor to the southeast, Old Gate to the northeast, and White Haven to the west.
Shornhelm's Early HistoryEdit
The Bretons of the Shornhelm heights and nearby Markwasten Moor have a long and storied history that dates back to ancient times, such as the Trammeling of the Giants in legend, and the Purge of the Wyrd-Hags in the Year of Sun's Death (1E 668). The Bretons of Shornhelm and even lancers from Oldgate were present in the Battle of Glenumbria Moors in 1E 480, in an event remembered as the Charge of the Montclair Knights (often erroneously called the Charge of the Shornhelm Knights).
In the mid-fifth century of the First Era, Shornhelm was ruled by House Spenard, a despotic dynasty that lasted for one hundred and eighty years, starting from King Frestrien Spenard I all the way to King Frestrien Spenard VI. And while there have been many tyrant kings in Rivenspire, none lived up to the Spenard's reign. Their territory was always in a perpetual state of famine and one of the vassal clans, House Aurmine patronized the notorious knightly order, the Knights of the Pale Order. They were later dissolved by House Dorell and they faded away in the annals of history. Amalien of the University of Gwylim claimed that each of the six kings were one person and that Frestrien Spenard was a vampire. Coincidentally, the vassal-clans were also accused of being vampires back in their time.
Shornhelm and the rest of Rivenspire was hit greatly by the Thrassian Plague in 1E 2260, and while most the population was affected by the pandemic, the noble and merchant class of Shornhelm quarantined themselves in the Fevered Mews. They eventually emerged from the caves after over five months, only to find the entire kingdom virtually de-populated. Shornhelm came under control of House Dorell by the twenty-fourth century of the First Era, and held the kingdom for many generations. Their control had cemented their place in the kingdom's upper echelon, where they maintain their position to this day.
In 2E 4, the Akaviri Potentate, Versidue-Shaie placed specially trained wolves in Shornhelm which caused a panic in the city, according to Mirannah of Gwylim. The region of Orsinium was sanctioned as an official Imperial Province under the Akaviri Potentate, at the time ruled by Savirien-Chorak. By with his death in 2E 431, the Bretons of Shornhelm took up their arms and laid waste to the province.
Shornhelm in the Post-Reman EraEdit
By the Second Era, Shornhelm had been ruled by House Branquette for at least twenty-two generations, and one of the most well-known monarchs was its twenty-first monarch, King Hurlburt Branquette, who reigned over the Kingdom of Rivenspire between 2E 522 and 2E 546. He led his kingdom in the historical Battle of Granden Tor, which led to several years of peace in High Rock. King Hurlburt married Countess Iphilia of House Montclair and later sired his crown-prince, Phylgeon Montclair. When Emperor Durcorach the Black Drake invaded High Rock, his forces were destroyed by the combined armies of High Rock's kingdoms led by Earl Emeric of Cumberland in 2E 542. King Hurlburt and Shornhelm joined together with Emeric and created the first iteration of the Daggerfall Covenant. The King died two years later and so the royal houses of Rivenspire became to sponsor which son would take the throne. The fourteen year old Phylgeon was championed by House Montclair for the throne, but both House Branquette and House Tamrith endorsed the older half-brother, Ranser.
The hidden maneuvering that led to the political race's conclusion is largely lost to history. Baron Phylgeon's advisors contended that he was the legitimate heir to the throne, not only because of his heritage, but by quoting the famous codicil, the Bretonnick Natalitie, which declared that "Howse Mount Clayre" was the royal house of Shornhelm. The Council of the North reviewed the claim, but one day, the codicil mysteriously disappeared and Ranser came forward with a long-lost decree from the Direnni that named House Branquette the royal delegates of Rivenspire. In a narrow victory, Prince Ranser won the crown and was proclaimed King of Shornhelm, and while House Montclair wanted Phylgeon to pursue it further, he declined and preferred to stay the house Baron. Ranser later had a daughter, Princess Rayelle and when Earl Emeric was named King of Wayrest, he began to search for a bride. At first it was Princess Rayelle, but he later married Princess Maraya of Sentinel, which strengthened relations with Hammerfell.
King Ranser's Fury and WrathEdit
King Ranser took great offense to Rayelle's rejection, and saw fit to wage civil war with the rest of the Daggerfall Covenant in 2E 566. Ranser's War began in the spring of that year and every royal house of Rivenspire, from Montclair to Dorell, the entire kingdom rallied behind their king. Count Phylgeon did not have faith in his brother's cause, and offered to serve as a peace envoy between the two kings. While Emeric's response is lost to history, Ranser's angry answer was quite clear and well-known, and so Phylgeon relented and leased the Montclair knights to Ranser's armies. After a failed siege against Wayrest, Shornhelm's armies fled north back to their domain, but found their capital city on fire, caused by the Orcs of Orsinium, led by King Kurog gro-Bagrakh. It was their revenge for the sack of Orsinium, some one hundred and thirty-five years earlier. Unable to retreat back home and caught between the Bretons and Orcs, Ranser took his armies east into Markwasten Moor, where the final battle commenced, as most historical documents dictated.
The Battle of Markwasten Moor ended with a resounding defeat, but what most people did not known was that Ranser and a small contingent of soldiers retreated to a nameless tor that overlooked ruined Shornhelm. Ranser had a plan to create an unstoppable army, with the help of his court magician, Reezal-Jul. Only a blood sacrifice was needed to fulfill the ritual and his plans, but he was slain by his trusted Captain, Dathieu, whose name was struck from history. His armies and confidants were now undead skeletons, and instead of pursuing Emeric's armies, remained on the tor to strengthen his position. That site was hence named the Traitor's Tor, and his soldiers remained vigilant on the tor for fifteen years after the war until Ranser was ultimately defeated and the curse was lifted.
With their defeat at the previous Battle of Markwasten Moor, not only was King Ranser presumed dead, but with him was House Branquette's dynasty. The Crown of Shornhelm was also lost to the war. The Council of the North led by Baron Alard Dorell, Baron Esmark Tamrith, and Baron Wylon Montclair continued to govern over the kingdom until further notice and tried their best to re-instate order and peace across the country. There was a common sentiment across Rivenspire that the kingdom needed a king, something that Baron Montclair believed that he could accomplish. Not only because was he a direct descendant of King Hurlburt through his father, Phylgeon, but he also re-discovered the Bretonnick Natalitie, which claimed that "Howse Mount Clayre" was appointed rulership of "Sharn Helm" and its contingent land. The Baron set forth his plan for the throne of Rivenspire.
Montclair's War and Shornhelm DividedEdit
After all these years of Wylon Montclair's preparations, the Baron's plans came to fruition with his annexation of Shornhelm's upper district in 2E 582. He brided the city guard and attacked other nobles before he took the upper district. As the Shornhelm City Guard were unable to withstand the Montclair Knights, the Daggerfall Covenant were tasked in the city's retaking, as they assembled south in Oldgate. Countess Eselde Tamrith returned to the kingdom took up the mantle of head of House Tamrith after news of her father's death a few months prior, only to find the capital city entrapped in conflict. The Countess, Baron Alard Dorell, and Count Verandis of House Ravenwatch gathered at the Chapel of the Divines, where they would devise their strategy to retake the upper city.
An Agent of the Covenant approached the meeting and was caught up on the situation. They delved in the occupied upper district and defeated the two traitorous guards that allowed Montclair's annexation. The Montclair court mage, Reezal-Jul kidnapped three nobles and attempted to flee via the Fevered Mews before he was confronted by both the Agent and Verandis Ravenwatch. Despite their best efforts, the Argonian escaped west into the Eyebright Feld but regardless, the city was liberated but the looming threat that House Montclair posed was ever-present. High King Emeric arrived after the city was freed and believed that the threat was far greater than it may had seemed. With his blessing and his forces, the pursuit for both Reezal-Jul and Baron Montclair commenced, but before the Agent could continue further, he was sent to Castle Ravenwatch by the High King, where they would assist Count Verandis and learn about Montclair's history.
After the Baron's defeat at the hands of both Count Ravenwatch and the Agent, all of Rivenspire celebrated and gathered in Shornhelm for the coronation of the kingdom's new ruler. It was decided that either Countess Eselde Tamrith or Baron Alard Dorell would be given the crown but it was the High King that chose one of them to led. The Countess believed that she would make a thoughtful leader, one that had the people's best interest at heart. Her first act as Queen would have been to restore the people's faith and return their lives to some form of normalcy. The Baron on the other hand believed that Rivenspire needed a decisive leader and a firm hand to guide them in troubled times. His first act as King would have been to bolster the kingdom's defenses and enlist hundreds of youth to restore their strength. It is unknown who was chosen at the end of the day, but Rivenspire was finally at peace.
Shornhelm in the Third EmpireEdit
Because of the fractured state of High Rock's kingdoms, Tiber Septim was able to conquer High Rock with ease and incorporated the province into the Third Empire. Shornhelm had been the seat of power for Rivenspire kingdom since at least the First Era, and since then it has encompassed other large settlements such as Northpoint and their noble family, House Dorell. But by the late Third Era, Shornhelm and Northpoint were kingdoms in their own right, no longer tied together.
With the death of Emperor Uriel Septim IV in 3E 247, his son, Andorak was disinherited from the throne by the decree of the Elder Council, and instead his cousin, Cephorus II of Skyrim ascended to the throne. For the next nine years, Andorak and his loyalists waged a minor civil war against the Empire. The Council granted Andorak and his allies the Kingdom of Shornhelm, an act that the Sage, Eraintine described, "Tiber Septim's heart beating no more". Andorak's dynasty continued to rule there since at least the late Third Era by the tail end of the fourth century.
During the Imperial Simulacrum in the late Third Era, the city-state of Shornhelm was an active settlement. It was ruled by King Rodore, and it had a rivalry with North Point and Wayrest. By the Fourth Era, a knightly order known as the Order of the Crypt began their operations in the Kingdom of Shornhelm, in the Crypt of Hearts located southeast from the city. Eventually, they moved beyond the kingdom's border and traveled as far as the Reach, where they combated the likes of the Forsworn.
Shornhelm Champion (Legends)
- The Council of Three is a cabal of wizard and leaders of the mages in Shornhelm. They are known to work with the local Mages Guild and the Guildmagister. At some point, they met a young Gyron Vardengroet before he became the legendary figure known as the Sage.
- The Bretons of Shornhelm have their own version of the Lusty Argonian Maid known as "Shornhelm's Lucky Orifice" and it has circulated throughout the northern tier of Tamriel in taverns.
- Arena was originally conceived as a fighting game featuring a tournament that took the player to each of Tamriel's cities to challenge different gladiatorial teams. According to a file from that stage of development left behind in the final game, Shornhelm's gladiatorial team would have been called "the War Mages".[UOL 1]
- Shornhelm, Crown City of the North — Lord Wylon, 39th Baron Montclair
- Map of High Rock – Pocket Guide to the Empire (3rd Edition)
- Map of High Rock – The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- Etiquette With Rulers — Erystera Ligen
- Riven King's Throne antiquity codex entries in ESO: Greymoor
- Northpoint: An Assessment — Chancellor Regina Troivois
- The Sage — Aegrothius Goth
- Rivenspire loading screen text in ESO
- Torg's dialogue in ESO
- Rivenspire region in ESO
- Countess Eselde Tamrith's dialogue in ESO
- Shornhelm location in ESO
- Notes on Shornhelm's Cisterns
- Shornhelm Outlaws Refuge loading screen text in ESO
- Riven-King's Throne antiquity codex entries in ESO: Greymoor
- Ring of the Pale Order antiquity codex entries in ESO: Greymoor
- Fevered Mews loading screen text in ESO
- Akaviri Potentate Wolf description text in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: The Wild Regions — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- The Fury of King Ranser — Wafimeles Masteret (Lorekeeper)
- Guide to the Daggerfall Covenant
- Triumphs of a Monarch, Ch. 6 — His Majesty King Emeric
- The True Fate of King Ranser — Serinal Gane, Royal Scribe of Shornhelm
- A Traitor's Tale quest in ESO
- Darien Gautier's dialogue in ESO
- House Tamrith: A Recent History — Chancellor Regina Troivois, the Department of Interior Affairs
- Shornhelm Divided story quest in ESO
- Dream-Walk Into Darkness story quest in ESO
- Baron Alard Dorell's dialogue in ESO
- The Crown of Shornhelm story quest in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Sons and Daughter of the Direnni West: High Rock — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Brief History of the Empire v 3 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Brief History of the Empire v 4 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Shornhelm location and rumors in Arena
- Crypt of the Heart - Draft — Ariana Dumas
- The Argonian Maid—An Oral Tradition — Telenger the Artificer
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.