Lore:The Slave Rebellion – Man's Triumph
The ruination that came to the Ayleids was inevitable. It was not, as less astute scholars postulate, due to the will of the Aedra or some absurd mystical agent, but was a result of their degenerate Daedra worship and gross underestimation of their slaves. The human leaders who challenged the Ayleids, Saint Alessia in particular, recognized the cultural rot weakening their captors and took advantage of it to orchestrate one of the greatest triumphs of Men.
The debauched Elves were apparently quite creative when it came to devising new horrors to inflict on their slaves. What a shock that practices such as "flesh-sculpture" would drive the tormented men and women of Cyrodiil to rebellion. In their smug complacency, the Elves could not conceive of the possibility of an uprising—which was well for the slaves, who would have been summarily crushed by the Ayleids at the height of their power.
As evidenced by the ruins found throughout Tamriel, the Ayleids were an incredible force. The source of their prodigious might, however, was also the catalyst of their decline. Deals with Daedric Princes granted them the power they sought. They thought themselves in control—typical Elven arrogance—as poison crept into their society. The various Daedric cults began bickering and backstabbing, as is their wont, forming the cracks the rebellion would exploit.
Another critical factor in the dissolution of Ayleid rule was the indomitable will of the oppressed. We have all read accounts of heroic deeds executed by the likes of Alessia, Morihaus, and Pelinal Whitestrake. While it's obvious to anyone with a modicum of intellect that these tales are a bit hyperbolic, it is quite clear that exceptional individuals made the establishment of the First Empire possible.
Alessia's Slave Army was populated with many examples of the true potential of Man. It is a pity that more texts have not survived, for the few we retain give us little insight, and dishonest scholars often distort them for slanderous political purposes. My own ancestor, "Tharanus Ye Redde-Hand," has been painted as either a slave-overseer or even implied to be Tharhan, the Mutilant of the Gradual Massacre, based on ridiculous interpretations of obscure and questionable footnotes. The jealousy of lesser men, while I do so savor it, can be such an annoyance at times.
In reality, based on the rare texts I have had the privilege of consulting in the vaults of White-Gold itself, including the recently-discovered Scroll of Precursor Saints, Tharanus was a critical supporter of Alessia's cause, disrupting supply routes through forged logistical orders and even leading his own battalion into some of the war's bloodiest conflicts. Sadly, the slanderous have sunk so low as to make preposterous accusations that I forged the scroll myself. Despicable.
Given the weakness of the Ayleids and the rather inspiring members of Alessia's retinue, the outcome of the war was determined before the first slaver was beheaded. The Slave Rebellion both teaches a cautionary lesson about the idiocy of trifling with the Daedra and demonstrates the power of men, who have rightfully ruled the heart of Tamriel since. As they always shall.