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The Seventeen and One Monarchs
of the Ysgramor Dynasty
Book III: Totem-King Heimverlund
of the Ysgramor Dynasty
Book III: Totem-King Heimverlund
by High Chronicler Valerius of Winterhold
A history of Skyrim's early High Kings
- Heimverlund was the sole issue of Yngol, First Martyr of the Return and his war-wife Astrid Stormcrag. He was born in Atmora shortly after his father and the Five Hundred Companions returned to Skyrim. Once Ysgramor had established his kingdom, he sent for his remaining clan members back on Atmora to join him on the mainland.
- Arriving in the new world at the age of eight, Heimverlund was taken under Ysgramor's wing. Against generations of clan tradition, Ysgramor decreed that young prince Heimverlund be schooled not on the field of battle - but in the fanes of the priesthood. Such a path was unprecedented among Ysgramor's clan, who were resolutely warriors. The ruling caused strife among the royal court, but Ysgramor was steadfast. Addressing the court, he revealed his deep foresight:
- "Noble kinsmen, remember the words of the hoar father: the best weapon is the mind of a steel-souled warrior! Verily, we hath no shortage of champions to drive the perfidious elves from thy new home. But in time the Echoes of Atmora will reach thine shores and usurp this throne, as is their right. Wherefore, would it be not wise to wield the wisdoms of the old priests, who alone are granted the right to parlay with Drah-gkon and rule in their stead?"
- Ysgramor foresaw the coming of the priesthood and prepared for it. Although the Companions were formidable warriors, even they would not risk drawing the ire of the Dragons by rejecting the priesthood. Instead, Ysgramor would ensure one of his own leading the ruling council of priests when that day came. And so Prince Heimverlund began his tutelage under numerous holy men, prelates and scholars. He later studied in seclusion under the Ternion Monks of the Monahven, and took a particular liking to the Three Old Gods.
- Many years later after Ysgramor died Ylgar assumed the throne. Not five years had passed when the priesthood did indeed arrive on the mainland, much earlier than expected. Prince Heimverlund had yet to become a fully anointed dragon priest (to do so required the explicit blessings of the Dovah), thus he could make no claims of authority. After a power share was negotiated with the priesthood, High King Yglar continued to rule his holdings while Heimverlund returned to Atmora to undergo the ritual known only as the "Countenance of Drah-gkon".
The Dragon Age
- Years passed and much of what occurred back on Atmora is lost to history, but around ME 83 Heimverlund sailed an enormous fleet of longboats back to Skyrim, as numerous dragons followed overhead. Contemporary texts often reference this event with the verse "And lo did mighty Heimverlund come from the brutal north, like a storm of unbridled vengeance from Sovngarde itself."
- The dragons had anointed Heimverlund as one of their priests and had decreed that Skyrim would be their new home. Upon arrival, much of the priesthood settled in the Pale, while the dragons themselves scattered to the four winds. Heimverlund reunited with his aged uncle, King Yglar, in Windhelm and stayed with him until his death two years later. Heimverlund assumed the throne and moved the capital to Bromjunaar in the west. The priesthood founded the holy city fifteen years earlier, and since then it had become vast and powerful. Given Heimverlund's station, he joined the ruling council of eight-and-one high priests. Heimverlund inherited the name and title of Vokun from his predecessor on Atmora, but to his people he was forever known as the Totem-King.
- Years passed and Heimverlund proved to be a formidable ruler, earning the respect of his fellow priests quickly. Staying true to his grandfather's wish, he expanded the empire further west, uprooting Orcish settlements and establishing Hjaalmarch Hold and the city of Snowhawk. When the Orcs of the west banded together under chief Krul gro-Urdnot and rebelled it resulted in a bloody conflict known as the "War of the Marsh". In times of war, the council chose from among themselves a priest to lead their troops into battle. More often than not, Heimverlund was chosen to lead the charge and would assume the mantle of "Konahrik". As legend goes, he rode his sabre cat through the Drajkmyr marshlands of Hjaal directly to the chief's stronghold and challenged him to single combat. Armed with his golden sword and tusked mask, he slew Krul and drove the remaining Orcs into the sea.
The Feast of the Dead
- Over time, jealousy and fear began to fester in the hearts of the Totem-King's peers. Heimverlund's lands were the most prosperous, his subjects the most loyal and devout, and his standing with the Dovah was unmatched. And so the priests, in their madness, agreed to end Heimverlund and his heirs in one felled swoop. They waited until the Feast of the Dead, an auspicious day where the citizens of Windhelm remember the original Five Hundred Companions and their sacrifice.
- This tradition was established by Heimverlund years prior. Seeking a way to honor Skyrim's founders, he ordered the construction of an enormous edifice in Windhelm's Stone Quarter. Each brick was inscribed with the name of every Five Hundred (or thereabouts) and blessed by the Totem-King himself. As time passed, the wall itself became a symbol representing the strength of Nordic unity. Ironically, that unity was about to be shattered.
- Most of the Skerd (Heimverlund's clan) was present at the feast, alongside his staunchest defenders throughout the land. Queen Finna Prince-Slayer and Crown Prince Grymvaar, Heimverlund's torc-uncles: Jarl Vunhilde of Whiterun and Thane Israk of Saarthal. Jarl Ulfgi of Riften and even the reclusive Magus Frilgeth of Winterhold. During Heimverlund's recital of the Companions names in the Stone Quarter, a terrifying cloud of black fog suddenly engulfed the square, choking the life out of those present.
- The Totem-King miraculously survived the assassination, but witnessing the destruction of his clan utterly broke his will and sent him into a homicidal madness. In ME 62 he retreated north to the temple of High Gate and sealed himself inside. What became of the Totem-King thereafter is unknown, but his surviving clansmen were left in disarray. The priesthood quickly replaced him with another priest and began to carve up his holdings among themselves. The only surviving member of the clan that could lay claim to Heimverlund's crown was his nine-year-old son, Jafnhar.