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Lore:Systres History: Volume 6

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Systres History: Volume 6
by Trilam Heladren, Associate Dean of Eltheric History, University of Gwylim
A history of the Systres Archipelago

The Systres pastoral renaissance came to a swift conclusion on 11 Sun's Dusk, 1E 2704. Emissaries of the newly formed Reman Empire arrived on the shores of Gonfalon Bay and decreed that the archipelago was once again the lawful property of Cyrodiil. These heralds brought a coterie of Breton coin-barons with them who swiftly seized the reins and steered the Systres Archipelago back to their feudal roots—albeit now in the emperor's name. Small pockets of resistance formed across the archipelago, but none of the revolts gained purchase (aside from the activities of the Eldertide Circle, which persist to the current day). Under the watchful eye of Imperial governors and their Breton financiers, the islands transitioned back into Tamriel's greater political order in less than a decade.

Over the course of the Remans' rule, the Systres returned to familiar trades—logging, mining, and shipbuilding. Ammonite excavation exploded in the 1E 2800s, driven by Nibenese warlock-fashion, but soon gave way to more standard mining for larimar and semi-precious stones. Several maritime operations changed their focus from fishing to frog-metal reclamation during this period, driven by the discovery of vast troves of the buoyant alloy in caves beneath Amenos. By all accounts, the archipelago prospered throughout the Reman period, albeit at the cost of their renaissance freedoms.

The islands' fortunes shifted once again with the rise of the Akaviri Potentate. In 2E 11, the newly empowered Potentate Versidue-Shaie converted the isle of Amenos into a penal colony for Reman-aligned political prisoners. The irony of using the Systres—a symbol of Tamrielic unity—as a dumping ground for prisoners of conscience was not lost on the scholars of the day. One such chronicler, Lisolda Paquoit wrote, "The fact that a serpent would profane a monument to our victory over slugs should come as a surprise to no one!" Paquoit, like many of her contemporaries, died on Amenos. Even after completing work on the infamous Rose, the Potentate continued sending prisoners to the prison island. mostly to work the larimar and ammonite mines.

While the Potentate's policies had some effect on High Isle, the island's remoteness from the mainland insulated it from the regime's worst excesses. To maintain the peace, the Systres's Breton overseers cultivated a reputation of joyful compliance and servility—proudly waving the Potentate's banner over Gonfalon Bay, even as they plotted their escape from Versidue-Shaie's clutches.

Between 2E 110s and 280s, Breton House Mornard inherited ever greater power in the Systres—mostly on account of their close ties with the Potentate. As the costs of ruling the fractious mainland mounted, Versidue-Shaie began consolidating resources in Cyrodiil, effectively privatizing the Systres and placing them in the care of House Mornard. From that moment forward, the Systres again belonged to the Bretons.