[size=14]Describing the 'War between the Houses' which led to the destruction of the Old Silgrad, as House Redoran lay siege to keep Hlaalu from stealing the Ebony trade profits coming out of Vvardenfell. It ended without a victor, and ushered in a joint administration called the Council of Elders, to govern Silgrad Tower as an independent city-state under Imperial rule. Text in red are comments, and not part of the in-game book.
The fortified village of Kogo-Tel (or 'Old Silgrad') is believed to have been founded by Redoran farmers in 1E 2212 (roughly two thousand years before TES3 starts), and served as a border outpost to Cyrodiil for over 700 years before the Empire invaded Morrowind in 1E 2920, rampaging Kogo-Tel in the process. The outpost survived, and prospered during the peaceful time after the fall of Cyrodiil's Reman dynasty. It remained a free, Redoran town until Tiber Septim led a second invasion which finally conquered Morrowind in 2E 896 (the year before the start of the 3rd Era). The Empire assumed control over Kogo-Tel and started building an impressive keep, high up on the hills northwest of the settlement, in year 6 of the 3rd Era. Under the Empire's protection, House Hlaalu established a small trading post outside the city (where the Upper Chambers now lie) in year 8. House Redoran hated this, but was too weak to really oppose.
The two settlements existed side by side for several centuries in relative peace. House Redoran funneled goods northwards, to Reich Parkeep, while Hlaalu controlled the trade southwards to Verarchen Hall and beyond. An invisible border separated the outpost from the trading post, and few ever strayed over to the other House's side.
When the great deposits of ebony and glass were discovered on Vvardenfell early in the 3rd Era's fifth century, the Emperor pressed the Tribunal to open up Vvardenfell for colonization, which began in 3E 414 (after the Duke of Morrowind revoked the Treaty of the Armistice). Three of the great houses - Telvanni, Hlaalu, and Redoran - saw a chance to gain more power, and competed for mining rights on Vvardenfell. House Redoran pretty much lost out, being granted only a few mines (of which the mine in Gnisis was the only really profitable one).
House Indoril and House Dres, being very hostile to the Empire, were furious over this sacrilege, but could do little about the Imperial cities being built right next to the holy city of Vivec and in the midst of the holy Temple district. Even the Morag Tong assassins they hired could not deter the Imperial settlers. Eventually they gave up, and returned to grumbling and moaning about the occupation.
However, since the two important trade routes from Vvardenfell to Cyrodiil and Black Marsh run through Dres and Indoril territory, not all was lost for the two defiant Houses. Soon a lot of caravans, carrying goods from Vvardenfell to the rest of the Empire, began to disappear. Both Houses were suspiciously unable to cope with this sudden appearance of well-armed highwaymen, who even managed to overcome the escorting Legionnaires. Eventually, in early 3E 416, the cost of exporting glass and ebony southwards grew larger than the profit the Empire could make, and the Emperor began to look for alternatives. He couldn't bear more losses, nor lose the profits from exploiting Vvardenfell.
So the Empire found an alternative to the dangerous roads in eastern Morrowind, by reopening the Ancient Gate in late 3E 416. The Gate is an ancient Velothi armament, dating back to the days when Morrowind was Resdayn and the dark elves were Chimer, which has guarded the Vernim Pass border crossing from Nord invaders. Many battles has been fought there, spawning Redoran legends, but it fell in disuse after the Empire conquered Skyrim. It is situated far west, and slightly north of Reich Parkeep.
The route would take the caravans past the keeps of the Nords, who were eager to acquire large amounts of ebony from Vvardenfell. As the caravans would travel through Redoran lands, the House would recieve a meager toll. But it was House Hlaalu, with its strong trade connections to the Empire, who would really profit from the deal. Feeling shortchanged yet again, House Redoran declined House Hlaalu the right to pass through their territory, demanding a higher toll as well as a cut in the ebony and glass profits House Hlaalu stood to recieve.
This infuriated House Hlaalu. They had an Imperial contract, after all! So on Day 12 of Sun's Dawn, 3E 417, they went before King Helseth, the representative of the Empire, and the Council of Dukes. They supported Hlaalu's stance, and so House Redoran was, in no polite manner, told to let House Hlaalu have their way.
Not all of House Redoran accepted this. Seeing a chance to make up for the honourless retreat when the truce between Vivec and the Emperor was announced, some of the proud warriors of House Redoran saw a chance for glory and to redeem themselves. A force were gathered, reserves called in, and even some city guardsmen were mobilised. With the Redoran war drums constantly banging, the force marched on Kogo-Tel on Day 3 of First Seed that same year.
This army, coming out of nowhere on Day 6 of First Seed, took Kogo-Tel's small contingent of Imperial Legionnaires completely by surprise. They had no choice but to quickly retreat into the fortress, to keep it from falling into Redoran hands. There, they prepared a messenger to run quickly to Cyrodiil and ask for urgent reinforcements.
Hlaalu's small force of House warriors in this area, stationed as guards at the trading post, were quickly crushed. House Redoran proceeded to slay or drive away anyone they suspected of co-operating with the Hlaalu. Also, three caravans full of ebony and glass ore were caught by the Redoran army, which were quickly smuggled back to the vaults in Reich Parkeep.
The Imperials were very displeased, to say the least, at observing the Redoran army unleash their wrath at the trading post. As Kogo-Tel had been a peaceful region for ages, the Keep had only been manned with a small force, which was more accustomed to enforcing law than fighting battles. They could do little but wait and observe in the safety of the Keep, high above Kogo-Tel, waiting for reinforcements. As the days went by, the Redorans set up camp in Kogo-Tel, their former town. They weren't very rational in their conquest, but they nurtured a faint hope that they had won back Kogo-Tel to House Redoran and that the Empire would overlook the incident.
House Haalu hadn't seen this one coming. Furious about having underestimated House Redoran's will and dedication to their ideals, they assembled an army by themselves. Hlaalu had to rely on Imperial mercenaries, and even the heathen religious knight orders of High Rock, to bolster their forces. Moving into the Kogo-Tel area, they found House Redoran occupying the city, but managed to gain control over the pass. They quickly erected a new heavily fortified trading post, and trade resumed.
House Redoran, both seeing a force equal in size, and fearing the appearance of a large Imperial army, called upon the other Houses to join them in the rebellion. Indoril and Dres, fearing a devastating defeat, chose to remain idle and kept their forces for a possible guerrilla war, should the Empire really consider the treaty nil and completely take over Morrowind. The Temple, though trying to defuse the conflict, sent a small detachment of Ordinators. House Telvanni sent a detachment of battle mages. The new allies made their way to Kogo-Tel and joined the Redoran camp a week later, on Day 14 of First Seed.
What started the battle is not known. There are many stories, like the one of a Redoran warrior drawing his sword in reflex, as a nix hound appeared near him from the bushes and charged. Others believe it started because of a single arrow that, by work of some malicious deity, escaped the fingers of a careless warrior and slew the captain of the Telvanni detachment. In any case, a fierce battle between Hlaalu and Redoran ensued, which was to be known as the Battle for Silgrad Tower. It was nothing like a glorious battle, rather than a collection of skirmishes, sneak attacks, and the attempted razing of both Kogo-Tel and the makeshift Hlaalu trading post. In the end, almost five hundred men lay dead, quite a few of them innocent villagers or traders, and Kogo-Tel was burned to the ground. But neither side had really gained any ground. The Imperials, safe in their fortress high above the city, could only watch in dismay, waiting for reinforcements. Both armies licked their wounds and dispatched messengers calling for more troops.
The Imperial Legion that made it's appearance a month later, on Day 12 of Rain's Hand, 3E 417, took both Houses completely by surprise. It was lead by Hagar Thornswal, Lord of Old Keep, and it consisted mostly of Nord mercenaries and volunteers. It had only a few hundred Legionnaires at the core, but given both the Hlaalu's and allied forces' weakness, and aided by clever manoeuvering, the Imperial army could separate the forces of the Houses, and enforce a truce.
Negotiations were started, and all involved parties were called to the table. Hagar forced them to consider the dire problems facing the population of the trading post and the city, which had been turned into rubble. Hagar lit up the room with his fabled charisma, and forbade the diplomats from getting up before a peace treaty was agreed upon. Eventually, the weary parties gave up and opted for peace.
Trade was resumed, this time under strict Imperial control, meaning no House was favored. The wounded were tended to as well as circumstances would allow. In the end, the "forced round table talks" became a kind of an institution, used later on several occasions by the Council of Elders. The negotiations concluded that the settlement would become an autonomous city, a protectorate of the Emperor himself, and a demilitarized zone where no forces from the Houses were allowed to be stationed. It was to be named Silgrad Tower.
The Imperials used this opportunity to gain a foothold in Silgrad's hinterland, and established outposts such as Steadhelm. A conglomerate - the Traders' Guild of Silgrad - was founded, and shares of this guild were given to each party involved in the newly formed Council of Elders (most of whose members were the former negotiators), according to which each partakes in the profits Silgrad makes from trading and tolling caravans. House Hlaalu was, on the Emperor's orders, granted certain privileges, like a larger percentage of revenue and most rebuilding contracts.
Funds, architects, workers and citizens were drawn to this flourishing, rich trade city from all over the Empire, and the Imperial-style city grew and expanded. Soon it had encompassed the old Hlaalu trading post, which became the office of the Traders' Guild, and tall stone houses were built on the ruins of Kogo-Tel. In just a few years, the massive Imperial influence had completely reshaped the site of the twin settlements. Despite the alien feel it has to the Dunmer, they maintain a strong presence in the city, and the Hlaalu and Redorans who made it their home soon put their past behind them.
Since no force of any House is allowed into the protectorate of Silgrad, a volunteer force dubbed the Silgrad Guardians was formed. Commanded directly by the Council of Elders, they act as officers of the Imperial law throughout the city and also serve as a unified military force if one should ever be needed. Luckily for Silgrad Tower, things have been very quiet since the war.
The Empire's influence on Silgrad Tower was as strong as it was short-lived, as they started withdrawing from the whole Morrowind Province in 3E 429 (conjecture) following civil unrest and emerging chaos back in Cyrodiil. While many citizens of the Empire chose to remain in the city-state, the Imperial Legion abandoned the Keep in an orderly fashion and have not been seen since.
Following the withdrawal, the Council of Elders took over more responsibilites. The Silgrad Guardians recruited a lot of new officers, and are now based in the Keep which was inherited from the Legion. But all is not well in Silgrad Tower. Without the stern Imperial hands keeping a lid on things, members of the various factions have begun speaking out and demanding more power for their side. The Redorans argue that the town - which they still refer to as Kogo-Tel - should return to their rule, despite most of it being built after they lost the old town. The Temple monks wander the streets, proclaiming the end of the world at at hand as the daedric hordes invade from Cyrodiil. House Hlaalu tries to dampen the unrest and tries to reassure everyone the Empire will soon come back, but in secret they have their own plans to take control of Silgrad. House Telvanni are very amused at the situation, and won't pass up the opportunity to claim Silgrad for themselves, though no one takes them seriously since they only have a handful of members here. The situation is indeed volatile right now, and the powder keg is just waiting for the spark.
This book sets up the historical backdrop of Silgrad Tower (see www.silgrad.com for more information). Originally written by Zarkis, but heavily modified by me to fit with lore and the official timeline. Thanks goes out to all the guys on the Lore forum on elderscrolls.com. It is written with the intention of being used in the Oblivion version of our mod, which is why it references the year 3E 429, which we use in several texts as the year when the Empire withdraws from Morrowind. It will be changed later when we know the exact year Oblivion starts. At the end it also ties in with our main story and other works.
Kindly do NOT edit this text in any way. Our team can't have stories from Silgrad Tower on Tes F'Ruum that are inconsistant with our world. If someone wants to suggest a change, please post a reply in this thread. If I agree I'll change it, if not, you are free to delete it.