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The Ayleids, also known as the Wild Elves, Heartland High Elves, or Heartland Elves, were a race of Mer who ruled over Cyrodiil during the First Era.
Much like the Dwemer, what little is known about the appearance of the Ayleid comes primarily from their architecture and early writings. Most Ayleid Ruins include at the very least one statue, presumably of an Ayleid warrior, usually holding a sword aloft. The general appearance looks similar to that of the Altmer, which most scholars consider fairly likely given the Altmer's concerted effort to maintain a "pure" Aldmeri appearance. A brief description given in volume 5, Second Seed, of 2920 describes them as "darker than Altmer, but lighter than Dunmer", suggesting a complexion similar to that of the Bosmer.
It seems Ayleids are identical in appearance to Altmer, with skin tones ranging from white to dark yellow, and eye colors such as blue, yellow and green.
Ayleid society was heavily centered in magic/arcane arts, and their people were particularly skilled in the arcane. Even as all Mer were naturally skilled in the arcane arts, Ayleid society focused on the civilization's advancement in magic. Magic was an important part of Ayleid culture and society, and their people were particularly skilled in it. The Ayleids were able to preserve many of the ancient runes, Dawn Era magic and lore of the Ehlnofey.
The Ayleids lived in a tribal society, with each "tribe" being different from the next. They were notable for building the Imperial City.
At one point the Ayleids controlled the entirety of the Imperial Province of Cyrodiil, and enslaved the Cyrodiilic and Nordic populations (which at that point were both part of the same prototypical race of men). During this time, the Ayleids made great strides in the arcane arts. The downfall of the Ayleid civilization was a combination of cultural hubris and revolution fomented amongst their slaves. With the blessing of the Aedra, the slave Alessia led the revolt that resulted in the destruction of the Ayleid civilization. The surviving Ayleids frequently showed up as civil servants to the nobility in the Alessian empire, or fled to Valenwood and interbred with the Bosmer. The last known King of the Ayleids was the ruler of the city of Nenalata who controlled eastern Cyrodiil. During the height of their civilization, the Ayleid empire existed anywhere in Tamriel except for Skyrim, Morrowind and the Summerset Isles. After their downfall during the First Era, many of their cities fell into ruin. Many would-be treasure hunters have died trying to plunder these lost ruins of the Ayleids. In Stros M'Kai, the Ayleids created a powerful relic powered by souls.
By the First Era and Second Era, the Ayleids were driven into a state many would regard as "primitive" (hence Wild Elves) and lived deep within the forests of Cyrodiil, though little is still known of modern Ayleids and their culture. Their tribes apparently possessed wildly disparate cultures, but shared a thread of xenophobia, likely remaining from the Alessian Reformation when Ayleidic culture was nearly destroyed. The last reported sighting of an Ayleid occurred nearly a thousand years before the Third Era. It is unknown whether a few Ayleids still survive in the wilds of Cyrodiil, or whether their ancient race finally expired and passed into memory.
Languages and writing systemEdit
Of the Ayleid language and writing system, much was known about it and many words, letters and ancient texts have been translated as a result of deep research and delving into Ayleid Ruins. The Ayleid language and writing system was very similar to the Aldmeri Language, just like the languages of the other races of Mer.
The Ayleid language was extremely similar to other Mer languages and writing systems, due to the fact that all Mer descend from the Aldmer, and because of this, the Ayleid language shares many terms and words with other Elven languages, such as Dunmeri, such as "Bal," which means stone.
The Ayleids held a close relationship with the Daedric Princes, and even worshipped them. The Ayleids of Delodiil notably worshiped Meridia, who was commonly referred to as Merid-Nunda. Delodiil's rival city-state was Abargarlas, whose people notably worshiped Molag Bal. The Ayleids of Varsa Baalim notably worshiped Mehrunes Dagon, and the people of Bisnensel worshiped Hermaeus Mora. It was implied that they used the Daedric magic to increase their strength to the point where they could conquer the Cyrodiilic and Nordic races. This could have been a contributing factor to the Aedra giving their aid to the human races against the Ayleids to help destroy or otherwise cripple Daedric influence in Nirn. The Nefarivigum was an ancient Daedric artifact of Mehrunes Dagon. The Ayleids coveted this artifact, so a city was built around the artifact so they could use it.
There were some Ayleids who also worshiped the Aedra. The Ayleids worshiped Magnus, the God of Magic, as well as Auri-El. Statues were built in their cities to honor both Gods.
Ayleid cities were built partly above and partly below the surface of the land. Ayleid architecture appears to be a whitish rock, similar to Snow Elf architecture. Ayleid architecture was also integrated with magical artifacts as well, including Great Welkynd Stones, which were large variations of Welkynd Stones, which were used to power cities and increase the power of the people's enchantments. Many statues were built by the Ayleids in their cities to honor the Gods they worshiped. This included statues dedicated to the Aedric Gods Magnus and Auri-El.
The White-Gold Tower, the central spire of the Imperial City in Cyrodiil, was originally the central temple of the Ayleids. After the fall of the Ayleid empire in the First Era, it served as the Imperial Palace for the Tamrielic Empire. The rest of their capital city was either razed or buried beneath the Imperial City. It was unknown why the Nedes left the White Gold Tower alone during the Alessian Slave Rebellions.
Magic was an extremely important aspect of the Ayleids and of their society. They developed magics far more advanced and powerful than any other at the time. The Ayleids were notable for developing the arcane art of Alteration. In terms of both science and magic, their people believed in the four elements of Altmer religion, which stated that Nirn was composed of four basic elements: earth, water, air and light. While modern natural philosophy states that Nirn is composed of four basic elements: earth, water, air and fire, which they recognized, they believed the the most important form of light was starlight. The Ayleids regarded fire as a weak and corrupt form of light. Instead, the Ayleids regarded starlight as a fundamentally significant form of light. For Nirn and its people, it was common knowledge that stars were linked to the plane of Aetherius. Aetherius was the source of all magical power and all things magical, so light from the stars was the most powerful and grand of all magical powers.
Sometimes, objects called Aetherial fragments sometimes come from Aetherius to Mundus, specifically Nirn. There were two known types of Aetherial fragments: Meteoric Iron and Meteoric Glass. Many, if not all, of the magical devices and technology created by Ayleid engineers and architects were made of meteoric iron and meteoric glass. One of the magical devices created by the Ayleids were Ayleid Wells. These Ayleid Wells were scattered across Cyrodiil, and were not associated with any Ayleid cities, settlements or other sites. Made from Meteoric Iron, Ayleid Wells were designed to harvest and collect magical power from starlight. The Wells were located in the meeting point of ancient lines of magical power, though this was merely theorized by modern Ayleid scholars. For mages, and even for anybody without any magical talent, he or she could draw magicka from the Wells to restore their own sources of magicka. When people worked with Ayleid Wells, no ritual, basic academic or arcane knowledge was required to harvest the magicka, and were designed to serve people who were not skilled in the magical/arcane arts. When they do finally drain, the Wells replenish at midnight when the stars are out. Once recharged, they radiate some of the magical power back into the sky. This was most likely a cultural, religious or ritualized magical significance.
Another Ayleid device were Welkynd Stones. Welkynd Stones were designed and used as storage devices for magical resources and magicka reserves, and to power the magicka itself; Mages and enchanters could restore their own magicka reserves. The Ayleids had their own laws and knowledge for storing, removing and using Welkynd Stones. so currently, in the modern era, anybody, which was essentially everybody in the modern era, who did not have proper knowledge of using Welkynd Stones, would see these stones crumble to dust after they have been used. A variant of the Welkynd Stones, known as Great Welkynd Stones, were exceptionally large Ayleid devices made of enchanted Meteoric Glass. At the heart of each Ayleid city, a Great Welkynd Stone as the source of the city's power, magical resources and magical enchantments. These great, grand stones were directly connected to the lesser stones within a city, which restored and maintained their power as the stones worked together to power the city. Yet another Ayleid device were Varla Stones, which were made of Meteoric Glass and were used to enable trained and even untrained enchanters to add and restore magical energy to any enchanted items and magical artifacts. The Varla Stones were of great value and utility, and though they were quite rare, small and easily concealed, the diligent, patient, careful and focused explorers could still come across these rare Ayleid devices in any Ayleid Ruin.
Ayleid mages experimented with magic and technology that was capable of absorbing lightning bolts and converting them into magical energy. They possessed a specific way of absorbing magical energy from lightning, which was a spell known as the Fingers of the Mountain. A magical pillar was also required to extract the magical energy from the lightning.
The Ayleids produced many artifacts, both regular and unique, that were heavily based in magic and the arcane arts. The impact these Ayleid artifacts had in the future on the Ayleid scholar community was significant; many scholars and adventurers, both single and in groups, dared to go deep into ancient Ayleid ruins to discover these lost treasures.
Possibly one of the most famous and renowned of all Ayleid artifacts was the Amulet of Kings. The Amulet of Kings, also known as the Chim El-Adabal, was an amulet worn by Cyrodiilic Emperors of the bloodline of Saint Alessia. The symbol of the Imperial Empires of Tamriel, the Red Diamond, stemmed from the amulet and became the royal seal of the Septim Dynasty much later. Some theories report that the amulet is a Soul Gem of Ayleid origin.
The Ayleid Crown of Lindai and the Ayleid Crown of Nenalata were two unique and powerful light Ayleid helmets bearing powerful enchantments. The Crown of Lindai could resist magic from 10%-35%, fortify Illusion from 5 to 15 points and fortify alteration 5 to 15 points. The Crown of Nenalata could reflect spells from 8%-25%, fortify alteration 5 to 15 points and fortify conjuration 5 to 15 points.
The Ayleids were one of the descendants of the Aldmer. The Aldmer were an ancient race of Mer who were the descendants of the Ehlnofey. During the middle of the Merethic Era, the Aldmer allegedly left their homeland, known as Aldmeris, and relocated to the Summerset Isles, which is southwest of Tamriel. A short time after the Aldmer settled in the Summerset Isles, many explorers, which notably included Topal the Pilot, began venturing out towards the coastline of Tamriel to map out the area and explore the lands.
Later, but still during the middle of the Merethic Era, some Aldmer groups departed from the Summerset Isles and relocated towards Tamriel. The ones who traveled to pre-modern-day Valenwood became the Bosmer; the ones who went to pre-modern-day Morrowind became the Chimer; the ones who stayed in the Summerset Isles eventually became the Altmer; and the ones who traveled towards pre-modern-day Cyrodiil became the Ayleids, where they established the first empire on the continent. During this time, the Ayleid civilization flourished and expanded. In the Heartlands of Cyrodiil, the Ayleids constructed the White-Gold Tower.
The White Gold Tower appeared to be used as a central council chamber that held significance over other capital cities of the Ayleid empire, as its defeat marked the end of the Ayleid civilization. The Ayleids prominently controlled a large swath of land in what is modern-day Cyrodiil. This included at least the forested areas around the Niben river basin, parts of the Valus and Jerall Mountains, and areas west into Colovia.
However, they were not ruled, as is often assumed, by a single, powerful central government. By the start of the First Era, a powerful aristocracy had divided the region up into a number of small kingdoms. Modern scholars are aware of at least three, with their capital cities being Lindai, Nenalata, and Miscarcand. The Ayleid empire expanded beyond Cyrodiil, where they established a massive, flourishing empire on Tamriel. This expansive empire existed throughout many parts of Tamriel, which included most of Cyrodiil, as well as different parts of Black Marsh, Valenwood, High Rock and Hammerfell. In Valenwood, great cities such as Haven, Woodhearth, Silvenar and Elden Root were established. In Black Marsh, an Ayleid tribe known as the Barsaebic Ayleids built two great cities, known in the modern era as Gideon and Stormhold.
Alessian Slave RebellionsEdit
About a century into the First Era, a slave woman was born to the humans living on Ayleid-controlled Niben. This slave, who eventually ended up at the now-sacred Ayleid site of Sancre Tor (Golden Hill), would receive divine inspiration, and direct divine help, to rouse her fellow slaves and revolt against their masters. She became known to her people as Alessia, the Slave Queen.
In 1E 242, the revolution began. The rebellion coincided with a period of civil war within the Ayleid empire. Alessia and the Nedes were given some help from the Nords and, due to the Ayleid civil war, help from some of the more radical Ayleid nobles. Many battles took place, including the Duel at Sancre Tor, Duel at Ninendava, Battle of Ceyatatar, the Battle of Narlemae, Battle of Celediil, Battle of Vahtacen, Battle of Sedor, the First Pogrom and the Battle at the Bridge of Heldon.
The revolution eventually came to an end with the Fall of the White-Gold Tower in 1E 243. During the battle, Pelinal Whitestrake, one of the leading generals of the Nedic army, fought Umaril the Unfeathered. Both were killed in the fight. With Alessia leading the Nedes, and with the help of the Nords and some of the more radical Ayleid nobles, they defeated the Ayleids and overthrew their kingdoms. They conquered the land in the name of the new Cyrodiilic Empire. The war ended in 1E 243. As the newly formed Alessian Order began to eliminate the remains of the Ayleid empire, one famous battle that occurred was the Battle of Bravil.
Late Ayleid PeriodEdit
The Late Ayleid Period was one of the last sections of history for the Ayleids. The Late Ayleid Period lasted from 1E 243 to 1E 498. Even with the Fall of the White-Gold Tower, the Ayleids showed little sign of being defeated. In 1E 361, the Alessian Order decreed and issued the Alessian Doctrines. The Alessian Doctrines enforced harsh policies upon the Ayleid people. Alessian armies slowly began to eliminate the Ayleid communities one by one. The balance of power between the two factions was upside down, with the Alessians owning complete dominance over the Ayleids. Most Ayleids decided to just pack up and leave Cyrodiil, as their lives were tough living in Cyrodiil. The Alessian Order was eradicating the Ayleids in Cyrodiil and forcibly taking down their empire. In addition to defeating the Ayleids themselves, the Alessian Empire destroyed many artifacts, relics and books that were of Ayleid origin. There were some Ayleids who stayed in Cyrodiil who served as teachers and mentors for the human rulers.
The Ayleid Diaspora began when the Ayleids started to leave Cyrodiil. The Ayleids in Cyrodiil were abandoning their homes to find better lives elsewhere in Tamriel. The ones who traveled north were all killed by the Nords, led by Vrage the Butcher. The ones who went to Black Marsh to join the Barsaebic Tribe were denied admittance into Black Marsh, though most of those who went on the journey to Black Marsh died during the expeditions in Elsweyr. Some journeyed to the Iliac Bay in High Rock, where they joined the Direnni of Balfiera. The Ayleids who went to Valenwood happened to be the most successful of all of the departing Ayleids. The clans of Anutwyll, Vilverin, Talwinque, Bawn and Varondo all traveled to Valenwood to forge a new life for themselves. The native Bosmer of Valenwood welcomed the Ayleids with open arms, as long as the Ayleids adopted aspects of the Green Pact and refrain from harming the forests, which they did.
There were varying theories on how the Valenwood Ayleids disappeared from Valenwood. One theory, the Theorem of Disheritage, notably supported by Gelgarad the Velaspid, attempted to explain that the Valenwood Ayleids disappeared because they became unable to breed with each other and could only produce offspring by mating with the local Bosmer. A competing theory was proposed by Doctor Thetis of the Shimmerene Academy. Her theory attempts to explain that the Valenwood Ayleids disappeared because the Ayleids declined on the over-consumption of a beverage made by the Bosmer. The theory also stated that, as the Ayleids were quite vulnerable in their sadness and loss, fell to the Bosmers' cultural drinks and simply gave up.
Within about 400 years of their overthrow, the strongly anti-mer Alessian Order had driven out, or exterminated, most remaining Ayleid settlements. Scholars generally believe that the Ayleid immigrated en masse to Valenwood, and possibly Summerset Isles, where they were integrated into those mer races. There are persistent rumors, which cannot be rejected outright, that wild tribes of pure Ayleid still hide within the Cyrodiilic forests. In any case, the Ayleid abandoned their cities, which have fallen into ruin, though the magic and mechanical traps which were installed near the end of their history still function.
Ayleids had lived into the Second Era, with credible sightings stating that they had lived in a reclusive tribal society.
One of the members of the University of Gwylim was a civilized Ayleid, Tjurhane Fyrre, who was one of the finest sages at the University. He wrote a text on his people, called The Wild Elves.
Third and Fourth EraEdit
No Ayleids have been seen or reported during the Third Era and the Fourth Era, and as of the Fourth Era, scholars presume that they are extinct.