The Falmer Fascination
by BlytheAlarynn, Contributor — Category: Lore Articles
We have all seen the chill-inducing, nightmarish creatures that lurk in the darkest depths of the caves and ruins of Skyrim, but we often forget that those hideous beings used to be a proud, if not beautiful race of elves. The Falmer, or Snow Elves, are an ancient and rather interesting race and this article explains the illusive elves and what they have become. We will first take a look at the elves themselves and then at the creatures we all love to hate so much. Let's try and make this a community article... if you know more about the Snow Elves and the Falmer, please comment and share your knowledge!
Middle picture: source
Side pictures: source
The Snow Elves
Most prominent in the Merethic Era, the Snow Elves were a very culturally rich society of Elves with snow-pale skin and hair. They rivalled the High Elves with their innovation and prosperity but still remain shrouded in mystery. Little is known about them as a whole but what tidbits we do know are rather interesting.
What's in a Name?
Technically, the name "Falmer" should be used to describe the race of Snow Elves, as it is merely a more technical name. Other examples include "Bosmer" for the Wood Elves, "Dunmer" for the Dark Elves, and "Altmer" for the High Elves. You get the point. However, the few that survived the race's downfall refer to themselves as "Snow Elves" and to those that fell: the "Betrayed". Evidence of this exists in the Dragonborn DLC when speaking to Gelebor.
By the Gods!
The Snow Elves were worshippers of the deity Auri-El. The Elven alternative to Akatosh has a Chantry constructed by the Snow Elves which spans over a large area of the Forgotten Vale, which borders Northeastern High Rock and Skyrim. Many young Snow Elves would make a pilgrimage there to be accepted by their God. It is said that the journey was long and exhausting both mentally and physically but once it was over all the pilgrims said they were surrounded by a light and felt instantly rejuvenated. Divine miracle or sleep-deprived hallucination, it's still a nice story!
The Fall of the Snow Elves
It remains unknown as to why the Elves instigated a bloody massacre of the Nords but you can bet they retaliated. Some theories include fear of being surpassed as a culture, land possession, and the discovery of the Eye of Magnus. They call that night, the "Night of Tears". The reason it started matters not, as the Nords came back with Ysgramor and his 500 companions to slaughter thousands of elves in spite during the battle of Moesring. The beloved Snow Prince was murdered that day and all hope was lost for the elves. They receded and slowly depleted as a race. Desperation eventually had the Snow Elves turning to their underground neighbours, the Dwemer who promised safety. Apparently, their definition of 'safety' was slightly altered... The Dwemer forced the Snow Elves to pledge their service as slaves and fed them a toxic fungus which rendered them incapable of sight. And thus, begins the story of the Falmer.
Hidden well in all the dark, dingy caverns of Skyrim, the Falmer we see in the year 4E 201 are skin-crawling in appearance and seemingly made of evil and malice. If you used to be an adventurer like me, and didn't take an arrow in the knee, you may have comes across butchered animals and people and torture devices while delving into the Falmer caves. To most, this would have proved to be incentive enough to hightail it out of there... but the Dragonborn is not afraid!
Now You See Me... Actually, You Don't
The Falmer are blind and thus have a heightened sense of hearing. This means that any noise made will be heard and thoroughly investigated by the creatures be it from a falling urn or an intruder. While it may seem to be a bit of a hindrance initially, you can always find ways to use this fact to your advantage. Distract them by shooting arrows at pots, trigger traps and watch them walk into them unknowingly... Get creative!
It Take All Kinds
The creatures come in many different varieties, each more powerful than it's precursor. Some wield swords, others bows, and you may even come across a few who use magic. For a full run down of all the different types you come across on your travels, I suggest clicking here and directing your attention to the chart near the top of the page. However, if you're feeling lazy, I'll just give you a quick breakdown right now!
While at first glance they may seem like wild, rabid animals, the falmer do have some structure. While you will never see them sitting around at a table discussing politics over a spot of tea, a quick look at any of their camps will show you that they build a sort of tribal village as a group. In some instances, there are multi-level settlements with bridges to connect the different buildings together and you may even see caught fish in certain areas. They often build crude, barbaric traps and have the ability to utilize weaponry and magicka. This points to their roots, which we have already discussed above, and gives them a little more humanity. This also means they are intelligent beings which... truthfully... is a little scary!
The Snow Elves in TESO
Due to the period in time in which the Snow Elves existed as a society, it may not be uncommon for us to see them in TESO expansions as the game progresses after launch. While they will not be in directly at launch, there's no telling what might happen! They tend to inhabit the cold, snowy regions of Nirn so... yeah, you guessed it! Look for them when they expand the playable area of Skyrim! I for one hope that the developers will be including side quests revolving around the Snow Elf history and maybe even include a few villages in which the Snow Elves live. If the demand is high enough, I can't imagine why they wouldn't put it in-game.
Clearly, the Snow Elves and the creatures they became have quite the story to tell. Their history is a rich one, with many darkened corners and unopened doors. The Snow Elves are one of the many fascinating races of Nirn and I hope you learned a little something or at the very least, enjoyed reading! Remember to comment and tell me more! There's always something to dig up!
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