Lore:Valenwood

Lore: Places: V
Valenwood
Type Province
Continent Tamriel
Appears in Arena, ESO, Blades
Valenwood
Illustration of a typical Bosmer male

Valenwood, also called Ada-mor (Spirit Forest) or Ghul-Mora (Monster Wood),[UOL 1] is a densely forested, sub-tropical region that encompasses the southwestern coastal plain of Tamriel. In the words of A Pocket Guide to the Empire, Valenwood is "a sea of endless green, a maze of foliage with half-hidden cities growing like blooms from a flower, the home of the Bosmer is Tamriel's garden."[1] Alongside the Wood Elves, races like the Wood Orcs, Imga, and Centaur also call the forest their home.[2][1] One unusual feature of Valenwood is its gigantic, migratory trees, many so large that the Bosmer have built entire cities in their branches. Falinesti is one such tree, a mile-high specimen that serves as the capital of Valenwood and seat of its kings.[3][1][4] The forest is often referred to by Bosmer as 'the Valenwood' or 'the Valenwoods', designating the province as an entity in its own right.[5][6]

GeographyEdit

Valenwood borders Elsweyr to the east and Cyrodiil to the north, partially divided from the latter by the Strid River, and is just across the sea from Summerset Isle. Its landscape consists mainly of rolling hills and light blue rivers, predominantly covered in rainforest and woodland. The coasts of Valenwood are dominated by mangrove swamps and tropical rain forests, while heavy rainfalls nurture the temperate inland rain forests. The Bosmer live in timber clanhouses at sites scattered along the coast and through the interior. The few Imperial roads traverse vast dense woodlands, studded with tiny, widely separated settlements.[7]

Valenwood consists of four main regions: Grahtwood, Greenshade, Malabal Tor, and western Reaper's March.[8] There is also a small Rictus[UOL 2] chain of a least four islands off the Drowned Coast,[9] Tempest Island near the Strid, and by some accounts Stirk which has been claimed at times by the province.[10]

Grahtwood

GrahtwoodEdit

Grahtwood is the southeastern region of Valenwood. The region is covered in a dense jungle containing many massive graht-oaks, from which the region takes its name. It borders Greenshade to the west, Malabal Tor and Reaper's March to the north, and Elsweyr to the east. The Padomaic Ocean is off its southern shores. Its capital is Elden Root, a city built on and around the Elden Tree, an ancient and massive Graht-oak. The Elden Tree is said to be the only Graht-Oak to have a definite connection to the Green-Sap Tower at any given time, a side effect of Anumarils failed attempts to recreate White-Gold Tower.[11]

The other major cities are Southpoint and Haven, which can be found on the southern shores. The ruined city of Gil-Var-Delle, famous for being destroyed by Molag Bal in the First Era, is also located here.[8]

Other notable landmarks in Grahtwood include the Bone Orchard to the southwest, where powerful ancient spirits exist in a state somewhat resembling death[12], as well as the site which once hosted the walking city of Falinesti in the wintertime, found just west of Elden Root. Additionally, the settlement of Brackenleaf to the southeast contains the eponymous Brackenleaf, an ancient and powerful spirit who claims to be one of the first trees in Grahtwood.[8]

Greenshade

GreenshadeEdit

Greenshade is the southwestern region of Valenwood. It borders Grahtwood to the east and Malabal Tor to the north; the isle of Auridon is just across the sea to the west. The main city is Woodhearth, situated on the westernmost tip of the region. The other major cities are Greenheart and the Altmeri city of Marbruk, the latter of which once bordered Falinesti's spring location. The region consists of smaller forests, clearings and meadows; there is also a swamp to the southeast of Woodhearth.[8]

Despite boasting sparser vegetation than the likes of Grahtwood or Malabal Tor, Greenshade is a very spiritually significant part of the Valenwood. The region is home to many entities that act as emissaries for the forest and the Green. One such emissary is the Eldest, a venerated strangler purported to control the forests of Greenshade and to have created the first Silvenar and Green Lady. It is customary for many Bosmer to make a pilgrimage to its den.[13] Some Bosmer of this area also consider themselves subjects of the mysterious entity known as the Wilderking (or Wilderqueen), an ascended mortal with strong ties to the Green itself. They typically reside in Greenheart and are responsible for shaping the land of Greenshade to suit their whim.[5]

The ancient city of Hectahame lies deep in the northeast corner of Greenshade, near the center of Valenwood.[8] Here, the very soul of the Valenwood can be found, represented by the Valenheart. It was originally protected by the Ayleids, and is now guarded by the wards they left behind. Despite their fierce reverence for the site, very few Bosmer dare travel to Hectahame, and those who do are oft considered mad.[14]

Malabal Tor

Malabal TorEdit

Malabal Tor is the northwestern region of Valenwood. It borders Greenshade to the south, Reaper's March to the east and the Gold Coast of Cyrodiil across the Strid River to the north. The region contains the city of Silvenar, the spiritual center of Valenwood, and hosts the city Falinesti, where it has rooted itself since the Oblivion Crisis in what was once its summer site. The region is covered in a jungle similar to the one in Grahtwood, but denser and smaller in scale.[8]

The region contains many sites important to the Bosmer. It is the location of Ouze, a tar pit believed to be connected to the feared Bosmeri afterlife of the Ooze,[15] as well as Treehenge, the final resting site for the souls of all Green Ladies.[16]

However, Wood Elves aren't the only ones with significant landmarks in Malabal Tor; The Wood Orcs also have claim to many locations within the jungle. The largest of their strongholds, Dra'bul, can be found along the northern coast, while ruins such as Abamath or the Bloodtoil Valley hold vast historical and religious significance for their people.[8] [17][18]

Reaper's March

Reaper's MarchEdit

The western portion of the Reaper's March region, known as the Northern Woods, makes up the northeastern reaches of Valenwood. It is a sparsely forested area that borders Malabal Tor to the west, Grahtwood to the south, and Elsweyr to the east. The biggest settlement is the multicultural city of Arenthia to the north while Falinesti used to be found in the south during autumn months. Due to the close proximity of Cyrodiil and Elsweyr, the region was often raided by the Colovians and the Khajiit. For the same reason, both Colovian crypts and ruins of Khajiiti temples can be found here. The forests of the Northern Woods gradually diminish as they merge with Elsweyr's savannas to the east, which comprises the subregions of Dawnmead and Jodewood.[8] Because of its distance from Valenwood proper, the Green Pact is often overlooked by the Bosmer living here.[19]

Elden Root

HistoryEdit

Brackenleaf, one of the oldest trees in the Valenwoods

Dawn EraEdit

Valenwood's known history begins as early as the Dawn Era, when Y'ffre purportedly began to shape the formless Ooze with their Naming of things.[20] It was in Valenwood that his first creations such as the Eldest could be found, many of which have survived into later eras.[21] Bosmer originated from the Valenwood, but how they came to inhabit the land is a point of contention. Bosmeri stories claim that Y'ffre gave the Wood Elves the shape they inhabit today at the dawn of existence, before even other animals were made. Y’ffre then shared with the Bosmer their unique ability of Spinning, provided they use it to protect Y’ffre’s first creation, the Green, which is what the Bosmer believe to be the origin of the Green Pact.[20] Altmeri and Imperial descriptions of their origins, however, are far less fanciful. They purport that early Aldmer arrived in Valenwood at some point during the Merethic Era and simply changed over the generations in order to survive in the hostile forest, eventually forming a symbiotic bond with it and becoming the Bosmer.[1]

Merethic EraEdit

In either case, Bosmer had become well established in the Valenwoods by the middle Merethic Era, though they were far from the only settlers of the land. Wood Orcs have reportedly lived in the forest for as long as the Wood Elves, if not longer. [2] A Pocket Guide to the Empire also states that the likes of Centaurs, Satyrs, Minotaurs, giants, fairy folk, and the ape-like Imga "flourished there before the first Aldmeri stepped onto its shores." As a whole, society within the Valenwood would remain a disjointed mess of disparate peoples throughout the remainder of the Merethic era. [1]

In the final year of the Merethic Era, Eplear Camoran achieved the impossible and united the many clans of Bosmer into a single kingdom known as Valenwood. The formation of the Camoran Dynasty has been considered momentous enough to have signified the end of the Merethic Era and the beginning of the First Era.[1]

The ruins of Gil-Var-Delle, as depicted by Flaccus Terentius

First EraEdit

Under the early dynasty, the kingdom of Valenwood became a haven for outsiders. It welcomed escaped human slaves of the Ayleid Empire with open arms, as well as a mass of Ayleid refugees after Alessia overthrew them in 1E 242.[1][22] Relations between the two elven races were common, and there is evidence to suggest that rather than face extinction, the Ayleids of Valenwood simply interbred with Bosmer until they became indistinguishable.[23]

The Ayleid diaspora would also cause friction with the other races of Valenwood. The Wood Orcs in particular were hit hard by their arrival, as they were driven from their sacred shrine to Mauloch during the construction of the Ayleid city Abamath. [17]

Relations with the First Empire and Valenwood were amicable to start with. The Camoran Dynasty would even forge a trade treaty with the Alessian Empire in 1E 340.[1] This arrangement would not last long, however, as Marukh’s fervently anti-elven Alessian Doctrines would be adopted by the Empire a mere two decades later.[23]

By 1E 369, the Empire and its allies began to prepare for war with Valenwood. In response to this, the Bosmer unleashed the first documented Wild Hunt, a ritual where many Bosmer revert into primordial monstrosities, and invaded Cyrodiil. This led to the death of High King Borgas of Skyrim, a Marukhati supporter who had come to Cyrodiil to help convince the Empire to invade Valenwood.[1] This death would have far-reaching implications for Tamriel as a whole, kickstarting a fifty-year war of succession within Skyrim,[24] granting Morrowind and High Rock their independence,[25] and ending the invasion of Valenwood before it could begin.[1]

Though border skirmishes would continue for years to come, Valenwood would ultimately outlast the Alessian Empire. It would not be until 1E 2714 that Valenwood was finally conquered by its successor, the Reman Dynasty. Emperor Reman Cyrodiil would allow the Camoran Dynasty to continue to rule over Valenwood as a province of the Empire but also granted many lesser nobles independence to break up their influence.[1]

In the last year of the First Era, during the chaotic events preceding the assassination of Emperor Reman III, Molag Bal was summoned within the Bosmeri city of Gil-Var-Delle and subsequently razed it. This event would inspire the Dunmeri demigod Sotha Sil to draft what would be known as the "Coldharbour Compact", an agreement between Sotha Sil and the most powerful of Daedric Princes to never manifest physically within the Mundus and act only through intermediaries.[26]

Second EraEdit

Around 2E 382, the walking city of Falinesti, the traditional home of the Camoran King, seemed to vanish from the face of Nirn during one of its routine migrations.[27] This caused mass panic throughout Valenwood and the creation of the Falinesti Faithful, a group operating under the belief their faith could return the lost city. Despite many efforts to discover the truth, Falinesti’s mysterious disappearance would remain unexplained for at least two hundred more years.[28]

King Camoran Aeradan, co-founder of the first Aldmeri Dominion

After the Second Empire finally fell in 2E 430 with the death of the Akaviri Potentate, the Camoran Dynasty would attempt to re-establish its dominion over Valenwood to limited success. The many clans had drifted too far apart under Imperial and Akaviri rule, and tensions had grown hot between the ardent Green Pact supporters and those who lived happily under Imperial rule, making reunification an extremely difficult task.[1][29]

In 2E 489, these tensions erupted into a civil war between the Bosmer which would come to be known as the Blacksap Rebellion, instigated by Camoran Gelthior under the belief that his cousin Aeradan refused to uphold the Green Pact.[29][30] It ultimately took the intervention of Summerset to put an end to the war in 2E 580.[31][29] Afterward, Camoran Aeradan would be recognized as the King of Valenwood and joined into the First Aldmeri Dominion with Summerset and Elsweyr[32] while Gelthior was imprisoned beneath Cormount,[30] the very site of the massacre which ended the war.[31]

In 2E 582, an unknown entity took control of the corpse of Prince Naemon Aldmeri during a botched resurrection in Greenshade. The shade sought to overthrow the Valenwood and replace it with its own Shadow Wood.[33] It intended to plunge the province Valenwood into darkness, unleashing dark spirits and driving all Bosmer within mad.[34] It was ultimately stopped by the Vestige and the newest Silvenar before it could successfully claim the Valenheart in Hectahame. [35]

The First Aldmeri Dominion would eventually dissolve, and Valenwood once again fell into disunity. By 2E 830, another civil war between Camoran heirs had broken out. One faction of Bosmer attempted to make peace with their longtime enemies to the north, the Colovians, in order to secure their support. This caught the attention of Summerset, who quickly joined with the opposing side to crush the Colovian sympathizers. Following the appointment of the new Camoran king Anaxemes, the second Aldmeri Dominion was formed. [36]

Valenwood avoided most of the fighting during the Tiber Wars, as Tiber Septim’s use of the Great Numidium on Summerset brought an end to the conflict.[37] Both Summerset and Valenwood were absorbed by the Third Empire in 3E 0. Camoran Kings were once again allowed to reign over Valenwood, so long as they pledged loyalty to the Empire.[1]

Third EraEdit

The forest spirit Selene, circa 2E 582

By 3E 249, many Bosmer had become discontent with life under Imperial rule.[1] Haymon Camoran took advantage of this and, with his army of mercenaries and Daedra alongside the boon of a mysterious benefactor, would claim the Camoran throne for himself and begin to wage war on the other provinces of Tamriel.[38] He would go on to conquer western Cyrodiil and the majority of Hammerfell before eventually setting his sights on High Rock in 3E 266.[39] However, whatever boons his master had provided had long faded,[38] and the people of Valenwood soon revolted against him.[1] After losing his home province, he would ultimately be defeated by the combined might of High Rock’s many kingdoms.[40] Haymon Camoran fell in battle just outside of Dwynnen in 3E 267, though his son Mankar was born soon after.[38]

Following Haymon's rule, Valenwood was a broken land. The Bosmer no longer trusted outside rule or the rule of their own leaders. The Imperial Simulacrum only made things worse, with Summerset and Elsweyr both seizing land from the province in the chaos[1] and the forest spirit Selene attempting to wrest control of Valenwood.[41] The cities were abandoned for forest life, the tribal council was all but abolished, and what little national pride remained seemed to die.[1]

In 3E 433, the Oblivion Crisis struck. Falinesti rooted itself in place for the first time in history to prepare for the event, and a Wild Hunt broke out across the province to defend it.[1] Though scarred, Valenwood would survive and enter into the Fourth Era.

Fourth EraEdit

In 4E 29, Valenwood's Imperial-friendly government was overthrown in a Thalmor-backed coup. Bosmer loyalists and supporting Imperial forces were subsequently defeated by better-prepared Bosmer troops aligned with the Thalmor. In the aftermath, Valenwood's new government proclaimed a union with Summerset Isle, now known as Alinor, and the third Aldmeri Dominion was formed.[42] Since the Great War, surviving Blades have claimed that the Aldmeri Dominion has been covertly "purging" Valenwood of certain Bosmeri families.[43]

Silvenar, an example of a Bosmeri tree-city

ArchitectureEdit

Bosmeri cities are usually located on the branches and in the trunks of the graht-oaks, with some individual tree-houses on the forest floor. The Green Pact does not allow the Bosmer to shape the trees in the traditional way, so instead Bosmeri Pod-Singers magically persuade Valenwood trees to grow into houses.[44][8]

However, Valenwood does not consist only of the Bosmeri tree-cities. Some of the cities are built in other architectural styles: for example Haven and Marbruk are primarily Altmeri, Southpoint is Colovian, and Arenthia is a mixture of Colovian and Khajiiti styles.[8]

Valenwood is also dotted with numerous Ayleid ruins, built by Ayleid refugees from Cyrodiil. In the northeastern part, old Khajiiti temples can also be found.[8]

FloraEdit

The Shimmering Kollopi Tree

Valenwood's sub-tropical climate supports a great wealth of flora, which often grows to enormous proportions. The Green Pact forbids the Bosmer to harm the plants, so they grow uncontrollably, resulting in wild, dense jungles and forests. The massive graht-oak trees are common in the province, which are sometimes hollowed out and inhabited by the Bosmer.[45] These graht-oaks occasionally uproot themselves and migrate to a different portion of Valenwood on occasion, with some like Falinesti following seasonal migrations.[46] The canopies they create are so large, they are sometimes referred to as a second sky (or the "middle green").[47]

Alongside graht-oaks, there are sapient trees such as Brackenleaf who are allied with the Bosmer.[48] The small palm leafed Kollopi trees are another common sight in Valenwood. Their essence and seeds are often used in rituals by the native population.[49]

FaunaEdit

Valenwood's lush environment is home to many creatures, such as monkeys, antelopes, giant wasps, thunderbugs, spriggans, crocodiles and tick-like hoarvors. Timber mammoths inhabit Greenshade and Malabal Tor. Senche-tigers are present all throughout Valenwood, but are most numerous in Reaper's March and Greenshade. [8] The Kollopi is an arboreal rodent which lives and feasts exclusively on branches of graht-oak trees, despite sharing a name with the kollopi tree.[50] A sort of winged mimic is rumored to inhabit Valenwood and regurgitate whatever words they overhear. It is described by famed author Waughin Jarth as a legless creature with crimson eyes and a fat belly, darting through the air like sparks from a fire.[51]

The lines between fauna and flora can become blurred in Valenwood, and many plant-like animals inhabit the forests as well. Carnivorous Stranglers inhabit the heavily wooded portions of Malabal Tor and Grahtwood, while spriggans and even the larger lurchers can be found all throughout the Valenwood.[8]

Notable PlacesEdit

Arenthia
A multicultural city in Reaper's March, near the border with Cyrodiil and Elsweyr.
Diss
A location that existed in the late Second Era.
Elden Grove
A sacred forest known as the birthplace of the First Tree.
Elden Root
An ancient city in central Grahtwood.
Falinesti
A city in northern Malabal Tor and the traditional capital of Valenwood, it formerly migrated between four sites depending on the season.
Gil-Var-Delle
A town located in eastern Grahtwood that was razed by Molag Bal.
Greenheart
A city in southern Greenshade, near the shore.
Haven
An Altmeri city in southeastern Grahtwood, near the shore.
Hectahame
An Ayleid ruin containing the Heart of Valenwood.
Marbruk
A major Altmeri city in eastern Greenshade.
Selene's Web
A hidden forest between Malabal Tor and Reaper's March ruled by Selene, a mysterious forest spirit.
Silvenar
A city in eastern Malabal Tor, the spiritual center of Valenwood.
Southpoint
A port city in southwestern Grahtwood founded by a cohort of Imperial soldiers in the early days of the Second Empire.
Velyn Harbor
A port town in western Malabal Tor.
Whisper Grove
A city in eastern Greenshade destroyed by the forces of Mehrunes Dagon.
Woodhearth
A city in western Greenshade, near the shore.

GalleryEdit

MapsEdit

See AlsoEdit

BooksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: ValenwoodImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  2. ^ a b Dra'bul loading screen in ESO
  3. ^ A Dance in FireWaughin Jarth
  4. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri DominionImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  5. ^ a b The Wilderking's dialogue in ESO
  6. ^ Belegond's dialogue in Blades
  7. ^ Valenwood topic in Morrowind
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Appearance in ESO
  9. ^ Oblivion map of Tamriel
  10. ^ ESO loading screens
  11. ^ Aurbic Enigma 4: The Elden TreeBeredalmo the Signifier
  12. ^ The Keeper of Bones questline in ESO
  13. ^ The Eldest: A Pilgrim's Tale
  14. ^ Heart of ValenwoodBeredalmo the Signifier
  15. ^ Oathbreakers of Ouze
  16. ^ Secrets of Treehenge
  17. ^ a b The Taking of Abamath
  18. ^ Drublog Shaman's Journal — Drublog Shaman
  19. ^ Glooredel's dialogue in ESO
  20. ^ a b The Ooze: A Fable
  21. ^ Indaenir's dialogue in ESO
  22. ^ Ayleid Survivals in ValenwoodCuinur of Cloudrest, 4th Tier Scholar of Tamrielic Minutiae
  23. ^ a b The Last King of the AyleidsHerminia Cinna
  24. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  25. ^ A History of DaggerfallOdiva Gallwood
  26. ^ 2920, The Last Year of the First EraCarlovac Townway
  27. ^ Andewen's dialogue in ESO
  28. ^ Events of ESO
  29. ^ a b c The Rise of Cormount
  30. ^ a b Gelthior's dialogue in ESO
  31. ^ a b The Massacre at CormountCamoran Gorinir
  32. ^ Aicantar of Shimmerene Answers Your QuestionsAicantar of Shimmerene
  33. ^ Retaking the Pass quest in ESO
  34. ^ Indaenir's dialogue in ESO
  35. ^ Striking at the Heart quest in ESO
  36. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri DominionImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  37. ^ The Arcturian Heresy — The Underking, Ysmir Kingmaker
  38. ^ a b c The RefugeesGeros Albreigh
  39. ^ Brief History of the EmpireStronach k'Thojj III
  40. ^ The Fall of the UsurperPalaux Illthre
  41. ^ Queen Ulandra's dialogue in Arena
  42. ^ Rising Threat, Vol. IVLathenil of Sunhold
  43. ^ Delphine's dialogue in Skyrim
  44. ^ Deepwoods Pod-Singer Tunic costume description in ESO
  45. ^ Arboreal ArchitectureCirantille
  46. ^ A Dance in Fire, Chapter 2Waughin Jarth
  47. ^ Falicia's dialogue in Redguard
  48. ^ Bosmer Insight quest in ESO
  49. ^ Frighten the Fearsome quest in ESO
  50. ^ The Red Kitchen ReaderSimocles Quo
  51. ^ A Dance in Fire, Chapter 5Waughin Jarth

Note: The following references are deemed to be unofficial sources. They are referenced to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.

  1. ^ Michael Kirkbride's PostsMichael Kirkbride
  2. ^ ESO Cut Content - Rictus maps