Written by Elbert Woodsley,Edit
Court Scribe; Afranius Masterly, Official Biographer and Historian; Froulrund of Jehenna, Field Marshall of Northpoint; Edgar Gaerwing, Grand Master of the Order of the Mist.
Funding for the project provided by Lord Francis of Northpoint, Grand Master Edgar Gaerwing, Alyssa Kingston, and Maniel of Old Gate.
Part One: A General History of Northpoint
Written by Elbert Woodsley, Court Scribe and Afranius Masterly, Official Biographer and Historian
The founding of Northpoint is impossible to place in a timeline of events on Tamriel. Myth, legend and tradition have all come together throughout the years to weave an interesting but confusing tapestry.
Legend says that the beginnings of Northpoint were during Ysgramors return to Tamriel with his Five Hundred Companions., when several of his ships were blown off course during a storm. Where Castle Northpoint now stands is where those lost Companions took refuge in the cold north.
Modern historians have generally agreed, through extensive work aided by the funding of Lord Francis himself, that the first settling of the city was somewhere between 150 to 260 of the First Era. However, it is likely that at this time it may have been no more than a dozen or so huts that contained free men who had avoided slavery under the Mer. Several old, hardly legible writings have proven that Aldmer were in the region, but whether it was before or after the coming of the Nedes remains to be discovered.
Despite their relative freedom from slavery, nothing shows Northpoint to have been any more than two dozen huts of men and their families, living off the abundant trout of the northern seas and rarely, if ever, leaving the small plateau that Castle Northpoint now stands.
Although the founders and their close ancestors had freedom from the troubles of the southlands, this also means that for almost 300 years after its founding, the small village remained quite in the dark in any of the extensive histories of High Rock and the Nedes.
A lucky find in the archives of the Arcane University turned up a simple passage that mentions Northpoint in passing as nothing more than a tributary to Hoag Merkiller. The passage, written by some unknown contemporary historian is as follows:
“... and the officers dined well on the large stockpiles of salted Atmoran Trout, provided by the hamlet of Northpoint as tribute to Merkillers army as it marched south...”
This small passage is incredibly important however, as by 482 of the First Era, it is shown that Northpoint was large enough to be considered by the powers around it. It has been generally accepted amongst scholars in the field that Northpoint may have been home to upwards of a few hundred people. Most guesses would put it at a hundred men, women and children at the time, as their numbers could not have been great as Hoag took fish, not men or gold, as tribute.
Though no records make any further mention of it for the next 500 years when mention of its tribute of fish comes up in Ra’Gadic records of the Siege of Orsinium, in the late 900’s of the First Era, yet again by an unknown contemporary. The passage itself has not come to be in this piece but it reads almost exactly like the above exert, except Northpoint is now referred to as the “booming fishing town of Northpoint”, showing what must have been a slow, but remarkably steady growth of population and its fish trade.
Its history once again plunges into relative darkness, with a slight glimmer in the form of a crude painting, depicting what most scholars agree is the Sload releasing their famous plague on Tamriel. What is interesting about this painting, is the map of Tamriel on which men in the general location of Northpoint look ‘down’ on the rest of Tamriel with smiles, while the rest is dominated by the dead and unhappy people. The validity of the painting is questionable but is raises the interesting idea that Northpoint, being so secluded and oft forgotten, may have survived relatively unscathed during the Thrassian Plague.
Alas, little is to be found from the time of the Thrassian Plague up until the middle of the Second Era in either art or literature. However, an official document found here in Northpoints Hall of Records, dates to 467 of the Second Era with an interesting bit. A contract between the Fighters Guild and Northpoint seems to have been drawn up, giving permission to set up a chapter house (which still stands today) in Northpoint, which is called a “city” in the contract (Legal Record No. 32F2). Large pieces of the document have become lost, burned or smudged but it is likely they were brought it by the persistent problem of goblin-kin roaming the mountains and forests to the south, which may have truly hurt land trade with the southern powers.
Another telling document further reveals the size of the, when in 567 of the Second Era, the City Council agreed, in a forty to thirteen vote, to build a “wall proper, around the majority of Northpoints citizens” (City Council Document No. 150A1). Yet another document, penned only fourteen years later, is what was perhaps the first attempt at a city census. Unfortunately all that remains is the numbers of the Northeast section of the city. This however tells us that in that section of the city, which today is moderately populated, had 439 people, including children (Census Record No. 00001A2, 581E2).
Scattered records of things not too important then dot the history of the city for the next 600 years. Being so far north, the city once again avoided being damaged when Camoran Usurper marched his evil army north through much of western Tamriel. Unlike previous campaigns in High Rock, no record of Northpoints assistance to any other kingdom is recorded, though the matter is still under research.
From the fall of Camoran Usurper onwards, city records becomes more steady but their content is notably less decided by any Council and the name Karris de Guiralle is repeated, often accompanied by the title of “Lord” and “King”. It is therefore reasonable to assume that this man gained sole ruler ship of the city, though how officially he ruled is still up for debate.
It is not unknown how prosperous he made Northpoint however, which may have led to his rise in power. Several dozen histories in the city have large sections devoted to the man, and his efforts are well known to the people of Northpoint though what kind of man he was like, both physically and otherwise are unknown.
All contemporary pieces of the age refer to his campaigns in the mountains around Old Gate against the increasingly prevalent goblin raiders. In 271 of the Third Era, he led what may have been the first semi-professional Northpoint militia far to the south in what is called a “proper campaign” against the goblin-kin. Several contemporary writers’ remark on how many men flocked to his call, despite knowing the campaign would be prolonged through the summer months. By this time, it appears Normar Heights was established in the name of Northpoint, according to this passage:
“...and gathered outside of the Normar palisade stood the largest force Northpoint had ever brought together against the goblin-kin of the south.”
How large the force was is unknown, but another piece describes a pitched battle against the goblins not too far to the south, written by de Guiralle’s secretary and publicist, Lewyylnd. Though the passage is believable, it ought to be taken in context from being written by a publicist.
“And on the 15th of Rain’s Hand, the Great Karris de Guiralle of Northpoint met the long-hated Axe-Tooth goblins. Though outnumbered, the brave men of Northpoint fought valiantly, and Lord Karris himself led the final charge that broke the goblin ranks and led them to victory that day.”
Despite their victory somewhere south of Normar Heights, Lewyylnd and several others write of further campaigns that stretched to the mountains that the people of Northpoint had long avoided. But under Karris, despite the lengthening of the summer, further records, both official and not, tell of a fortress being commissioned and built at the main pass that leads north from the mountains, where the goblins had led their raids onto Northpoint.
Little is written for the rest of the year, and nothing significant is recorded again until two years later, in 273 of the Third Era, when the first mention of the Knights of the Mist appears in city history. Apparently to be founded by Karris de Guiralle, they seemed to be no more than volunteers from the city who became the cities only professional fighting force, likely to serve as a garrison for the fortress of Old Gate. More detail on the Order of the Mist later. Despite their small numbers, the Knights won several small, but important victories in the mountains against the Axe-Tooth goblins, including the battle of Low Peak in 276 of the Third Era when the Axe-Tooth shaman itself was finally defeated in a daring raid of the goblin cave city.
Unfortunately, Karris de Guiralle either did not sire an heir or an heir did not live at Karris’ death in 286 of the Third Era. The history goes oddly silent at this point, and it is unlikely that every contemporary historian writing during Karris’ life died with him. Official writings of the time say nothing, but traditional folk-lore has it a Nord named Jerik ruled during this time. It was Jerik who not only took sole ruler ship of Northpoint and her colonies, but it was he who slew Karris and his family as well. There is much speculation as to how and why this was done, and the oral tradition has long since been polluted with modern twists and children’s tales. However, a murdering tyrant would explain why little official history remains from 286 up until 317 of the Third Era when official documents begin showing up again in the city archives.
Though the stories branch off often as to exactly what happened during Jeriks rule, the basic tale is not a happy one for Northpoints history. Jerik was clearly a Nord, which was not a problem due to Northpoint being founded by a dozen of intermarrying Nedic families several eras ago. Despite Nedic ancestry, the city had likely grown more Bretic and Imperialistic due to the opening of trade to the south with the defeat of the goblin-kin in the mountains. Several archaeological finds suggest that Jerik attempted to stamp out the Bretic culture that was seeping into the city in a less than humane way which included slavery, deportation and murder of several high class Breton families.
How much of this is true or not it unknown, though several authors after 317 tell this same story. Whatever the truth is, Jeriks rule ended when a distant nephew of Karris de Guiralle returned from a lengthy family exile in Old Gate. It is worth noting here that Old Gate had developed into a decent sized township, built around the fortress laid down by Karris and likely led by the Order of the Mist. The nephew was Daymond de Guiralle, who according to the contemporary writers, led the small band of Misty Knights and his family in a coup against Jerik in 315. The throne was not to be passed back to the de Guiralle line at this time however, and in the ensuing urban brawl, the Order of the Mist was nearly wiped out. Despite the setback in 315, the people of Northpoint had seen a de Guiralle in the flesh and Jeriks tyranny soon came to an end, when Daymond entered the city two years later through gates opened by townspeople to reclaim the throne.
Although Northpoint was seemingly a Council-run state at its founding, Daymond was a political expert following his defeat of Jerik. It is likely that the common people were elated to be free of the heavy Nordic rule and it was an easy move for Daymond to have the people name him Lord of Northpoint. The nobility at this time was mostly of Bretic descent; rich families from eastern and southern High Rock who still had Nordic blood in them, but who dominated the small number of upper-class “pure” Nordic families. Daymond thus played to the Bretic nobility to quell any mutterings amongst them and any Nordic nobles who might have had any ideas of removing Daymond were forced to be silent as their support was non-existent.
Daymond de Guiralle ruled for thirty four years, generally rebuilding the broken economy by using the business-savvy Bretic nobles and giving more rights and opportunities to the valuable Nordic fishermen. He encouraged the friendly mix of cultures, building temples to gods of the Nordic and Bretic pantheons.
His son Toulouse de Guiralle took the throne next in a seemingly easy transfer of power in 354 of the Third Era. The ease of which he was crowned makes it clear of how popular and proficient his father had been at pleasing the crowd and the nobility. Toulouse was the image of his ancestor Karris as he led Northpoints citizen army in three campaigns in 356, 361 and 362 against the goblins who had re-emerged as a threat during Jeriks rule. The lack of any mention from Toulouse’ scribe of the Order of the Mist implies that it had still not recovered from the bloody defeat in Northpoint, though it cannot be said if the Order was still alive or not, or whether it had become a more priestly order than the fighting one it had been founded as.
Toulouse reigned for a short but successful twenty one years, before dying of some disease contracted while campaigning in the valleys to the west. His son, Galien, was not of age in 375, so Toulouse’ brother, Rolston de Guiralle assumed the regency until Galien was of age. Little can be said of Rolston as a ruler, for in his twelve years as Regent he accomplished little other than keeping the nobles in check and maintaining good relations with valuable trade partners. Better things can be said about Rolston then Galien as a ruler however. When Galien de Guiralle took up the throne in 387 of the Third Era, he faced three immediate problems to test his strength as a ruler.
The first was that rich mines of some iron, but mainly valuable quarries of good stone were found just east of Old Gate. His inability to claim these immediately let many of them slip into Sharnhelms hands and those he kept were largely ignored by him as he placed too high a cost on them for nobles and entrepreneurs to risk buying them to turn a profit. Second, was that the Atmoran trout were becoming scarce in the regularly fished waters and so the Fishers Guild requested to move further out into the sea. To do this, they required State funding to improve their ships hardiness with promises to repay the State when they regained lost profit. Galien refused to provide Northpoints biggest industry with money from his pocket, and when the Fishers Guild turned to the nobles to finance, Galien passed a decree refusing large sums of money to be lent to the city guilds without the consent of the Lord. More on this later. The last problem presented itself in the form of the old Axe-Tooth tribe allying with a modest-sized clan of ogres.
Galiens’ response to a raid of Old Gates farmland was a hastily gathered army, under strength and under-supplied. In 388, Midyear, on the plains northwest of Old Gate, Galien led his ill-considered army in a disastrous defeat. Upon his return to Northpoint, many nobles offered gold from their own pockets to hire mercenaries and men from the Fighters Guild to defeat the goblins without risking more of the men of Northpoint. Galiens response to this was the immediate levying of a new army, one that was much larger but still under supplied and prepared, as well as fining the nobles who, according to this decree “offended the Crown by words of arrogance and treason” (Past City Law, No. 0098D4).
In 388, during the month of Last Seed, Galien led his new army to the south, leaving murderous mutterings of the upper class unheeded. In the Second Battle of the Gateway Plains, the goblin-ogre alliance was finally defeated but the cost was high for the city, as shown in a passage by a noble who wrote a private history that was never published.
“Upon return to the city, there was little to be celebrated. Though the Lord marched through the streets with a smile upon his foolish face and his sword in front of him like a great warrior, the people around him mourned silently. Desperation clung to every face as the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, wives and brothers and sisters watched the unbelievably short column, crying out in relief when a loved one came into sight. Or falling to the dirt in hysterics as the last man marched by and no sight of their loved one met their eyes.”
Two weeks later, Galien was found hung up by his neck in front of the old city hall where the council used to meet. Civil war would be too dramatic a word for what happened next. Galien was too young and had not even taken a wife at the time of his death at seventeen (having taken the throne at sixteen). His brother, Jerras de Guiralle, at fourteen was thrust into the leadership position at the worst possible time, in 388. Facing a downright murderous and united upper class, the boy conceded to almost every demand made by the nobles.
By 390, the boy was officially made Lord of Northpoint, but the royal title had lost much power in those two years. The City Council was re-instated. Though they had no real legal power, Jerras and following Lords had little choice but to generally please the nobility around them. Lack of power and constant pressure from the Council, which eventually added representatives from Old Gate and Normar Heights, as well as for the Fishing Guild, the Mining Guild (which had been founded in 389 to exploit the stone quarries) and the Merchants Guild, prevented Jerras from doing anything but produce a number of children and become a sort of figurehead for the city.
It is perhaps his fruitless rule that led to his death by alcohol poisoning in 402 of the Third Era. He left no legacy as a great commander or a popular statesman. No great building or life-improving law was set forth by him. About the best thing that came from Jerras was his oldest son, Francis de Guiralle the current ruler of Northpoint.
Though only eleven upon his fathers death, he worked his mother like a puppet as she assumed Regency of the land. His first legacy came at only thirteen years of age, upon the founding and personal funding of the mining town known as Thorkan Park. Despite the large personal cost, the town and the quarries were set up with his gold and when he sold it off to nobles interested in the business, he kept interest and royalties on the profits rather low. Next, upon taking the throne at sixteen in 407, he set out to win back the middle class guildsmen. To placate the ever-annoying Merchants Guild, he made significant additions to the harbour in 407, not all at his own cost but with still a considerable amount coming from the family treasury. In 408, he personally outfitted three hundred fishing boats and promised to outfit another fifty each year with his own funds. With the guilds, the nobles and the lower-class fishers happy, he then began his military career.
In 413, he levied a modest army that included a number of hired mercenaries (from the nobles who happily hired the men) and set out for Thorkan Park to calm the many small but ferocious goblin tribes in the area. In 413 he won three major victories and personally led and won several small but vicious skirmishes against the goblins. The next year, in 414, with a fresh army he defeated a major alliance of several goblin tribes at the Battle of Thorkan Park, in which the Order of the Mist made its first re-appearance. With the goblins put down for the most part, he went about his state-building.
The stone quarries brought newfound wealth to the city and the fortress of Old Gate was upgraded and the town was expanded. To alleviate the pressure if the fast-growing population in Northpoint, he re-located hundreds of willing families to Old Gate in 418. During this time, Thorkan Park attracted a number of mining families and to accommodate them, the town was also expanded with walls and a small fortress.
The Warp in the West was a confusing time during the history of Northpoint. However, the issue is now the past, and though Northpoint was once a vassal of Wayrest, no longer shall it be and let us cease to discuss the issue from here on.
During the 420’s, the Knightly Order began to grow again with the help of both Lord Francis and his good friend Edgar Gaerwing. In 426, the Order was officially initiated as protectors of the state, and three hundred recruits formed the initial core. More on the Knights later however. The emergence of the knightly order also led to a reformation of the army, as people were naturally nervous of sending their citizen armies off to battle. More will be said of the military reforms in 425 later.
The Oblivion Crisis was yet another Tamriel disaster that did not hit Northpoint hard physically. However, trade was severely damaged and though few of the Daedra entered so far north, our armies were put to the test nonetheless. In 433, during the month of Frostfall, Lord Francis and six thousand men, including a thousand Misty Knights fought the Daedra in the Battle of the Southward Plains, just outside of the city. The move, though risky, was to prevent a siege of the city but all risk was forgotten as Lord Francis drove the Daedra back though he dared not enter the gate to their foul home which stood along the western coast.
A constant military presence was kept at the gate, but it was not needed for long as soon the gate itself simply disappeared due to the end of the Crisis far to the south in Cyrodiil.
The beginning of the Fourth Era and the end of the Crisis meant a renewal of growth in the city as trade flourished, especially in stone to rebuild many shattered cities. Northpoint remained a silent player in the political strife during the War of the Wolves in Hammerfell, but in year 3, with the Nordic Confederation smashing the power of Wayrest and annexing eastern High Rock, Northpoint refused to play silent lackey to Wayrest any longer.
In a diplomatic mission to the leaders of the Confederation, Lord Francis de Guiralle offered terms of friendship and alliance to the Nords in return for protection from any Wayrestian response. Though military assistance was given, few men were lost as Northpoint entered a new chapter in its long history, in a new alliance of its choice with the Nords to the east.