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Races Origins
by DMSP1312, Member — Category: Lore Articles
Post #960
The purpose of this article is to tell the origin of the races playable in TESO and some of the unplayables, I will not go into depth about the races, this article will merely 'scratch the surface' of the races lore, namely how they came to be. I hope this article proof to be helpful for those new to the series and its lore.

The Ehlnofey and the Hist

What is Ehlnofey? According to Annotated Anuad

Ehlnofey are one of the survivors (the other being the hists) of the 12 worlds creation

According to The Monomyth

They are the earthbones the transformed et'ada (original spirits. The book monomyth describes several versions of the common myth on world creation, all of them spoke about how at first there were spirits which were called et'ada later lorkhan or his various name variant tricked/convinced the other spirits to create Mundus, the world TES is set in, the spirits that participate in creation are called aedra those that didn't are called daedra.)

So what is ehlnofey? Simply put ehlnofey are the oldest race known, besides hist.

The ehlnofey are also the progenitors of various races, in fact most of the playable races are descended from the ehlnofey. See Annotated Anuad

"Over many years, the Ehlnofey of Tamriel became the Mer (Elves):
The Dwemer (the Deep Ones, sometimes called Dwarves)
The Chimer (the Changed Ones, who later became the Dunmer)
The Dunmer (the Dark or Cursed Ones, the Dark Elves)
The Bosmer (the Green or Forest Ones, the Wood Elves)
The Altmer (The Elder or High Ones, the High Elves).
On the other continents, the Wandering Ehlnofey became the Men: the Nords of Atmora, the Redguards of Yokuda, and the Tsaesci of Akavir

They are actually connected to the Khajiits, Imperials and Orcs as well, but we'll go to that later.

Now, what is the hist?

The hist is a tree only found in the province of Black Marsh and is connected with the argonians. Some claim that they were sentient and is even more ancient then mer(elves) and men alike (Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition, the war with the trees, Argonia and the Black Marsh)

The claim that they were more ancient than men and mer are supported by the Annotated Anuad. As it state that the Hist has existed even during the war of Ehlnofey.

And right before the events of Oblivion Crisis at the end of the 3rd era the hist through An-Xileel ( a political party in Black Marsh) Called back the argonians to Black Marsh because they have foreseen the crisis and as the result the invading daedras are driven off. (From the novel Infernal City) This supports the claim that they are sentient.

Men and Mer
As stated on the book Annotated Anuad The Ehlnofey was divided into men and mer(elves), the very first of the mer are the Aldmers (Before the Ages of Man), according to the book A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : The Blessed Isle: Alinor and The Summersets they are also the progenitor races of all elves.

The ehlnofey that wanders to the other continents namely Yokuda,Atmora,Akaviri became the Yokudan(redguards),Atmoran(nords),and Tsaesci respectively. (Annotated Anuad)

During Merethic Era 1000 the first of Atmoran migrates to Tamriel fleeing the civil war and "the freezing", an event where Atmora was turned into a wasteland from what described as "beautiful-green Atmora" (From Frontier, Conquest and Accommodation: A Social History of Cyrodiil, and Songs of Return)

Later during the first era the Yokudan migrate to Tamriel after their continent was sunk and became known as Redguards (Pocket Guide to the empire 3rd edition, other lands, Yokuda)

While Tsaesci remains in Akavir as the only human races there. Although the book Mysterious Akavir describe them as serpent like and said that men has long since being eaten by them. So it is not clear whether they are human or not.

Now, let's move on to Imperial they are not playable in TESO currently but seeing that they've been playable since Morrowind and I've heard rumors that they may be included as expansions or sort I will cover them, starting with their ascendant the nedes. There are various conflicting report about the Nedes

The book Before the Ages of Man state that nedic is Atmoran.

The book Frontier, Conquest and Accommodation: A Social History of Cyrodiil said that Atmoran are part of the Nedic and the nedic is the first Human settlers.

While A pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : All the Eras of Man, A Comprehensive History of Our History.
said that "The Nedic people meanwhile came from the frozen land of Atmora to the north to what is today Skyrim."

However, Michael Kirkbride, the man responsible for most of the obscure lore and the complexity of Daggerfall and Morrowind state that Nedes is not Atmoran(Michael Kirkbride's Posts)

So which one is right? That is something still unknown up to this point. However several times they came up as Ehlnofey that remains in Tamriel in a lore discussion.

Now gradually their blood mixed with many other races which gave birth to Imperials, many of Imperials family can retrace their family lineage to ayleids (Ayleids will be covered later when we reach the mer) or even akaviri.

Now that we've done Redguards, Nords and Imperial, that leave Breton to be the final man playable race that this article will cover.

Breton was originally nede that live in High Rock but soon when the aldmers came to High Rock they breed and eventually create Breton(A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : The Sons and Daughter of the Direnni West: High Rock)

That should cover it for men, next up is mer

At first there were only one elven race the aldmers later the group of aldmer that flourished in Cyrodiil formed their own civilizations these elves are called Ayleids(A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : The Seat of Sundered Kings: Cyrodiil)

Those that remains in Summerset Isle became known as Altmer(High Elf), they are basically aldmers with evolved culture and civilizations as time passes (A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : The Blessed Isle: Alinor and The Summersets)

Those that leave in early history to a land now known as Morrowind and settle there then named the land Dwemereth was called the dwemer (Annotated Anuad and A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : The Temple: Morrowind)

During the Merethic Era another group secede from Summerset Isle led by the prophet Veloth who thought the way of Summerset had became decadent was called Chimer(Lives of Saints) They arrived in Dwemereth and later after the Battle of Red Mountain the Chimer was changed to the dunmer because they didn't uphold their oath to Azura(a daedra) to not use the power of a powerful tool called the Heart of Lorkhan to become gods, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil broke this oath and used the power of the heart to became god, Azura became mad of the treachery and cursed the Chimer. And thus they were changed into the dunmer (Dark Elf)

'And then, in that moment, all Chimer were changed into Dunmer, and our skins turned ashen and our eyes into fire. Of course, we only knew at that time that this had happened to us, but Azura said, "This is not my act, but your act. You have chosen your fate, and the fate of your people, and all the Dunmer shall share your fate, from now to the end of time. You think yourselves gods, but you are blind, and all is darkness." And Azura left us alone, in darkness, and we were all afraid, but we put on brave faces, and went forth from Red Mountain to build the new world of our dreams.'-The Battle of Red Mountain

Now, let's move on to the orcs, yes orcs, in TES, orcs are classified as elves, due to their origin. They are also called orsimer (Pariah Folks)

The orcs, came into existence when the Daedric Prince Boethiah defeat the elven god Trinimac and then proceed to "eat" him, whether this is literal or a form of metaphor is unknown, what known is Trinimac was then transformed into the Daedric Prince Malacath this events also turns Trinimac's follower to orcs (The True Nature of Orcs) Although this is a myth, this theory is actually the most accepted on how orcs came to be.

The last of Mer that will be covered is Bosmer or wood elves, they came into existence due to adaptation to the environment of Valenwood according to A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : The Wild Remain: Valenwood

But Varieties of Faith in the Empire and Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter spoke of a different tale about their origin.

It spoke on how Bosmer was previously a being stuck between man and beast but later manage to stabilize as elves when Y'ffre an aedra transformed himself into the first 'earthbone' to establish the law of nature.

"According to the Wood Elves, after the creation of the mortal plane everything was in chaos. The first mortals were turning into plants and animals and back again. Then Y'ffre transformed himself into the first of the Ehlnofey, or 'Earth Bones'. After these laws of nature were established, mortals had a semblance of safety in the new world, because they could finally understand it. Y'ffre is sometimes called the Storyteller, for the lessons he taught the first Bosmer. Some Bosmer still possess the knowledge of the chaos times, which they can use to great effect (the Wild Hunt)."- Varieties of Faith in the Empire

"And Nirni thanked Y'ffer and let him change the forest people also. And Y'ffer did not have Azurah's subtle wisdom, so Y'ffer made the forest people Elves always and never beasts or trees."- Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter


Khajiit, how did they came to be? According to the A Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd Edition : Sugar and Blood: The Cats of the South

They are the survivors of the original inhabitants of Tamriel before the coming of Men and Mer. And there is an alternate theory that they're cousin of the elves.

Both of them are then further reinforced by Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter. According to this book they were part of a being that stuck between man and beast before Azura changed them.

Now what is this being that stuck between man and beast? The book Varieties of Faith in the Empire state that they were the first mortals, in other word the ehlnofey.


So we're at the end of this article, the Argonians, the Argonians are a race that we still know nothing about how they came to be.

There is a theory that they are actually an evolved form of the hist, the source of this theory is a cave painting that depicts tree-like creature
While other theory state that they are some lizards drink the sap of the hist and became argonian.


And so thus the races of elder scroll came to be.

Not all of the races are covered here, only the playable races and those that need to be mentioned when explaining these playable races are covered.

Feel free to point out any mistake I may have made.
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Comments on Races Origins
Post #1051

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Ebonheart Pact (Nord)
Nice article! It should have been called "The Origin of the Species" though xD
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Veric Dalomax
Post #1115

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Ebonheart Pact
i love it! very informative Thumbs_up Reading it made me smile and it pulled me into it. This is a good start and i advice everyone to read it even if you are already familiar with the origin. U might learn something new or learn the answer to a question you did not know Creepy
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Post #1136

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Ebonheart Pact (Dunmer)
Thanks, it's missing a few references though, if anyone can points out the references for Imperial origin and Argonians theory I'd appreciate it.
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Bilbo Swaggins
Post #1187

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Aldmeri Dominion (Khajiit)
Good article, DMSP1312.

I like to investigate what all races and lores and the world... :)
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Post #14866

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Ebonheart Pact (Nord)
I believe all species from the elder scroll series should be playable..
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