Dobyk added a topic in High Rock WritingThe House of Dumonte: The Sunblessed RevisedHey everyone!
I know, I know - the Dumontes again. After some internal feedback on Dumonte lore I decided to revise the Dumontes. I wanted to give them a much stronger and more concise identity with a few cool ideas thrown in, but what happened in the end is I expanded on a lot of Direnni lore and added many interesting (to me) potential quest hooks. While the thread is about the Dumontes, you will notice more than 50% of the writing is about their predecessors - the Durmontu. In order to explain who the Dumontes are, how they operate and to rationalize why they exist and how they've managed to become what they are, I had to look back at their ancestors. What will appear in the game in terms of information will be only what is written on the Dumontes. The Durmontu history might be explored in books and I have ideas for specific quests that will look at the very concept of the beratu and the Direnni Endeavour. In any case, be prepared for a lot of text. A LOT. I know it's big, but I promise it's good and interesting.
TL;DR: So, if you just want to read about the Dumontes just scroll down to "From Clan to House", but I think you will appreciate all the additional lore I've expanded upon in Durmontu history Honestly, I cut a lot of content here and tried to edit, but the lore I expanded on and added just necessitated a.... longer post xD Enjoy!
Name: House of Dumonte, previously known as Clan Durmontu
Concept: A secretive family with byzantine traditions, the House of Dumonte rose from a bloodline of Direnni loyalists whose ancient magics and infamous pride still haunt their modern descendants.
Sobriquet: The Sunblessed, the Children of Magnus (Gavaudon), the Elfborn (Northpoint)
Motto: Ours is the Light (aka, the Light of Aetherius)
Banner: An eagle/phoenix embracing the sun, gold on deep blue. The golden eagle represents both elven culture and the enlightened soul, while the sun represents magic, illumination, and Aetherius. The banner was drawn by our lead artist, Waffles.
Typical appearance: Wavy hazelnut hair, blue eyes (Sleeper Dumontes), golden eyes (Sunblessed Dumontes)
A History of House and Clan:
Origins of the clan:
Despite its prominence in the South, the House of Dumonte traces its lineage back to the clan of northerners known as the Durmontu. According to the annals of Dumonte history, the origins of the clan lie sometime around 1E 200 in coincidence with Clan Direnni’s expansion into the territories already claimed by the various Altmeri clans that dominated High Rock and its nedes. The story begins when the diplomat and battlemage Ryain Direnni was saved by the nedic witch-healer Durarta of the Monteku coven, after Ryain had been wounded and poisoned by Reachmen. Although the exact relationship between the elf and the nede wasn’t well documented, it is believed that Ryain took the witch as his personal healer and eventually developed a deep infatuation for her. At that time the practice of using multiple nedes as concubines was well established amongst the other Aldmeri clans, although most surprisingly Ryain desired no other concubine but Durarta alone. Eventually, she bore a half-elven bastard girl named Adrianna – the progenitor of Clan Durmontu.
Whether out of love for Durarta or an arrogant desire to prove his blood superior, Ryain was for a time obsessed to prove that his bastard daughter was better than the myriad of other mongrels born of the intermingling of man and mer. When Adrianna was of age, Ryain tested her talents in the art of warfare and tactics, but instead he discovered the girl took to magic like a moth to a flame and thus sought the advice of his cousin Raven Direnni, a powerful Direnni sorceress. Raven promised her cousin that the half-elf would be elevated above the other mongrels, that she would bear a blood of power and greatness if Ryain would allow the sorceress to perform a “ritual” (an experiment) upon the child. The battlemage, in his fit of pride, accepted Raven’s offer, and the Direnni enchantress proceeded to conduct an invocation most complex and taxing upon the half-elven maid.
Although the details of the deed are now long-forgotten, the experiment was related to the elevation of elven blood within the mongrel, and thus the elevation of the hybrid into something superior. Essentially, Raven summoned and concentrated a large amount of pure Aetherial essence (Aethera) directly from the sun, tying this raw energy into the elven “genes” of Adrianna, thus enhancing the mongrel’s blood. Despite the ritual’s inherent danger and the difficulty of concentrating the volatile and fractured energy of the sun (the reason why the Ayleids and the Altmer use other celestial foci), the bastard girl miraculously survived – her body almost glowing with the raw presence of Aetherius. Adrianna was deemed the very first Sunblessed, a mongrel with extraordinary magical potential and fearsome powers, blessed by the brilliance of Magnus himself, filled with the essence of Aetherius.
Despite the brilliant light and desperate screams from within Raven’s sanctum, Ryain was pleased and awed by the apparent success of the experiment. What he didn’t know, however, was that Raven and a handful of eccentric Altmeri wizards had already conducted a variety of experiments, both fascinating and horrifying, on captive nedes. This time, however, was the first in which a beratu, a half-elf, was experimented on in such fashion, and the first time Direnni had the arrogance to summon and bind pure Aethera within mortal veins. Raven’s success motivated like-minded Altmeri sorcerers to also include the beratu within the scopes of their experiments and rituals – another step on the subtle Direnni agenda that obscured a goal most arcane.
With her enhanced blood and guidance from Raven and Durarta, Adrianna served her father and his clan well throughout her short, but memorable life. The Direnni soon discovered that the powers of Adrianna were not only fearsome in themselves, but served to amplify all manner of spells and enchantments – gifts that the Direnni harnessed to the fullest. It was rumored that Adrianna was the one to help Raven Direnni discover the processes of enchanting and soul binding, and she was also credited with devising potent Direnni rituals herself. She was the ideal arcane battery and magic artillery, aiding the Direnni in most matters of arcane research and combat. As time went on, however, it was harder for Adrianna to contain her Gift – so hard that death seemed inevitable for the beratu. In an effort to preserve her bloodline, Ryain hand-picked a beratu lad to mate with his daughter, and from this union another half-elven child was born – one that had inherited a portion of its mother’s Gift. Sadly, this was the only child that Adrianna was to bear, for the overflow of energy in her veins proved lethal and one day she died in a quiet whimper – her body literally crystalizing from the sheer force of Aethera.
Since both Adrianna and her descendants were considered sub-mer and therefore could not bear the name Direnni, the bloodline named itself “Durmontu” in honor of Durarta of the Monteku, who remained a strong but subtle influence for her grandchildren. In the generations following Adrianna’s death, the bloodline grew in numbers and consolidated into the typical nedic clan structure, although culturally it was steeped in elven religion and traditions. In the early days of the clan, the Sunblessed remained close to Direnni’s side, offering their talent in all that their elven overlords required, whether it was conquest, leisure or magical research. It was in this early period that the Durmontu also explored and experimented upon the intricacies and might of their blood, soon discovering that the Gift was at its strongest when the ratio of man to mer blood in a Sunblessed was in perfect balance – “The Blessed Ratio”.
Through a series of mating with nedes and (with Direnni permission) lesser Altmeri vassals, the Durmontu discovered the different expressions of their Gift, which would only confirm their theory. If a Sunblessed was born more mer than man, the Aethera in the blood would quickly overwhelm the child, which resulted in an unfortunate series of crystalized toddlers. If a Durmontu was more man than mer, the blood would eventually thin out and the power of the Gift would wane to a point the Sunblessed considered shameful. Thus it was from the early beginning that the Durmontu made a conceited effort to breed only with other beratu so that their progeny could be a perfect half-elf. This was a certain deviation from the norm, as most beratu, not being allowed to marry elves, would instead choose mates from the nedic slaves, thus diluting the elven blood even before the rise of the Hegemony. This, however, was not the path of the Durmontu – they intended to preserve the Gift at all costs.
The Sunblessed were fully driven to ingratiate themselves in elven culture and preserve the Blessed Ratio, features which few beratu exhibited or cared about. Perhaps due to their enhanced blood, the Durmontu were more mercurial and emotional than their half-elven cousins. They were a paradox in themselves, lovers of contrasts and extremes, which brought the air of the exotic to the line – the Sunblessed saw themselves as different and unique and were willing to put up a bewildering display to prove that. They liked to contrast their exotic beratu appearance, which included platinum blonde hair, golden eyes, pointed ears and sharp features, with northern nedic attire – the crude, nedic-decorated leathers and hides oddly complementing Durmontu appearance. The Durmontu also exclusively chose to name their children with elven names, which created yet another unusual contrast of Altmeri first name and nedic clan name (e.g. Faritaale Durmontu). It was also common for the Durmontu to blend elven and nedic speech when addressing the nedic thralls.
The Sunblessed claimed they were entrenched in elven culture and yet, through their later interactions with nedes, they absorbed many elements of nedic culture: from burial rites to blood magic and nedic symbology (although some speculate Durarta influenced the clan in these regards). In fact, the Durmontu went as far as “improving” the elven magics of the Direnni by integrating nedic methods to them. Or as a Durmontu would put it, “Integrating nedic magic into elven theory.” To many beratu, and even the Direnni, the Sunblessed were an odd breed of manmer who reveled in their power, who clung to elven culture and yet incorporated the same nedic practices they deemed inferior. That should come as no surprise to any Dumonte, for the Durmontu were a clan of contrast and paradox – they were eccentric and flamboyant, passionate and impetuous, with a definite air of pride and arrogance about them. They were bold, blunt and direct, preferring to settle disputes with bloody magical duels rather than reasoned debates. They were a bloodline that exemplified the best, and (most definitely) the worst qualities of man and mer.
As sporadic as the birthing of beratu was before the Hegemony, the Durmontu were definitely not the only line of mongrels directly stemmed from the Direnni, let alone the only beratu under elven overlords. The birthing of half-elves in High Rock existed as long as elves had ruled nedes and this mere fact introduced the Durmontu to a myriad of bastard bloodlines, many of which were happy to dilute their mer blood and live amongst the nedes. A rare few, like the Durmontu, were also experimented upon (with increasing frequency after the rise of the Hegemony) which brought about a collection of unique breeds with their own special powers – breeds that were considered special by the Direnni and were collectively called the ker beratu, “superior manmer” or “better half-elves”.
Amongst the ker beratu there were the Lyrakhi, who were infused with the essences of Namira, the Orlocha who commanded the spirits of the dead, the Duranach who could steal the minds and memories of others, the Korchalh, Rorlech and Faralhach who later became the collective progenitors of Royal Clan Nechtan, and stranger bloodlines still. Some, like the mysterious “Guardians”, were rumored to have acquired their connection with Nirn and Y’ffre not with Direnni magics, but on their own accord, tying their power over nature to their nedic blood instead of elven heritage. In fact, there were a total of twelve ker beratu bloodlines in High Rock (13 if we count the Guardians), although not every ker beratu could pass on the power in its blood. In fact, there was a ker beratu “arms race” of a sort, with elven clans trying to create the most powerful and useful ker beratu that would rival the bastard bloodlines of other clans (even the Direnni). It is important to note that in the modern days, five of the bloodlines have survived in some manner – Royal Clan Nechtan (being made up of 3), the House of Dumonte, and the mysterious Sentinels (some rumor even the royal family of Kambria). While the Dumontes have achieved a certain prominence in the South, the powers of the Nechtan are much more stable and reliable, while the Sentinels seem to have disappeared entirely from Bretons’ collective knowledge.
Whatever the case, the Durmontu were certainly not the only line of ker beratu, but they were definitely the most noticeable and eccentric of them all. The Sunblessed felt they were more different, unique, and outright better than the other manmer. Deep down, Clan Durmontu simply knew it was a bloodline destined for greatness, for who can question the blessed radiance of their blood? Who could deny the legacy of the Children of Aetherius, prodigies of the great Clan Direnni?
*Note: Although initially beratu referred only to half-elves, the word came to be used for any manmer, regardless of levels of elven blood.
The Hegemony: Dream of the Endeavour
Breton historians who have bothered to document the history of Direnni loyalists note that the Durmontu were a half-elven bloodline that remained close to the Direnni and mainly resided in northern High Rock. Officially, the Sunblessed served either in stewardship, conquest or magical research, right beside the Direnni. Usually, the eldest and most powerful of the clan would accompany Direnni lords, while others were given direct leadership positions within the beratu caste. What few know, however, are the dealings and machinations of the rest of the clan, the half-forgotten tales of delusional fanatics who pursued some arcane agenda of their own. Not even the best Dumonte historians fully realize the scope of Durmontu’s operations, for they were not an obvious service to the Direnni and therefore were obscured from most official documents. What remains is only stories of golden-eyed madmen who terrorized the North, tales of searing light and delusional grandeur that would make a northerner tremble in fear and anger.
To understand how the Sunblessed pursued their goal, one needs to understand the rise of the Direnni Hegemony and the subtle agendas it contained. Around 1E 350, through political machinations and intimidations, the Direnni managed to gain control over High Rock and all the Altmeri lords that controlled it. They established the well-known Direnni Hegemony and essentially ruled High Rock as a royalty with the various Altmeri clans serving as their vassals. Very little, if anything, changed in terms of traditional master-servant Altmeri laws in regard to nedes, but one thing the Direnni deliberately encouraged was the age-old practice of elven lords sleeping with nedic thralls. It was a form of sexual slavery, whereas an Altmer could sleep with any nede they desired, going as far as even keeping stables of the most attractive humans. In the past the practice was sporadic and dependent on the lusts of the local lords and ladies, but the Direnni put a name to it and thus legitimized it– it was now the “Perquisite of Coiton”. By officially sanctioning sexual slavery, the Direnni also paid attention to the beratu that had been and would be born of such liaisons, decreeing that they would be an official caste of mixed-blood humans with more rights than the average nedes – in some very rare cases, even owning property. The beratu were a servant caste under the elven nobility but above the nedic slaves, a caste officially barred from marrying elves as they were sub-mer. Thus, they continued to take nedic spouses, which eventually dispersed and diluted the elven blood.
Why all of this mattered to the Durmontu was because the Hegemony allowed them to zealously pursue a secret Direnni agenda – the Grand Endeavour. The goal of this endeavour was to create a race of manmer that would essentially bring back the old Elhnofey, or rather, become the “New Elhnofey”. Through the mixing of man and mer blood, the Direnni desired to create a race far stronger and more adept than the current nedic subjects. Although the elves saw mer as superior than man, there was still some intrinsic, mystical quality to nedic blood that eluded Direnni rationalization, a quality they thought to be the heritage of the Wandering Elhnofey. Thus, the Direnni desired to create a race of half-elves with the combined blood of man and mer, of the Old and Wandering Elhnofey, a race so powerful as to be considered the true heirs of the original Elhnofey. It would take time, perhaps centuries, until the goal could be realized, but the Direnni envisioned themselves as the rulers of this powerful race that would dominate Tamriel, and thus, allow the Direnni to dominate a whole continent.
Of course, very few elven lords and beratu knew of this aim (let alone nedes), and not all Direnni were particularly motivated to pursue it as an immediate goal. Some even disputed if, eventually, all beratu should become ker beratu and whether that would complete the process to turn them into Elhnofey. Others wondered if attaining the power of the Elhnofey in itself would be possible for the beratu. Most likely, only a handful of Direnni elders paid close attention to the endeavour, as the clan was preoccupied with conquering the Altmeri colonists of High Rock, and then expanding the Hegemony east into Skyrim and south into Cyrodiil. Thus, whatever the final technique required for Elhnofey completion, it was deemed wisest to let the race emerge “organically”, keeping elven lords, beratu and nedes in the dark until the right time – a time when the Hegemony was strong and stable and elven blood was well-spread so that all nedes would become beratu, then ker beratu, and finally – Elhnofey.
The Durmontu, as well as a rare few beratu and ker beratu, knew of the endeavour decades before the official birth of the Hegemony, but instead of simply letting the goal come to fruition naturally, the Sunblessed decided to do all in their power to secure Direnni’s dream. The Durmontu were surely the most loyal Direnni servants amongst the ker beratu and would point to their direct blood connection to the elven clan in great pride, although even the Direnni were taken aback by the fanatical zeal with which the northerners pursued the Endeavour. As impulsive and impatient as they were, the Sunblessed were not content to simply wait for the emergence of the Elhnofey – instead they desired to take direct action that would stabilize and materialize Direnni’s dream. The Durmontu did not simply believe in the Direnni agenda – they literally saw themselves as the heralds of this new race, as the ker beratu that will lead and guide the entire Elhnofey with their Aetherial powers. They boldly envisioned themselves as the next step in beratu evolution, just a miracle away from truly becoming Elhnofey themselves. They desired to bring enlightenment to nedes and beratu alike, to bring the Gift of Aetherius to the entire race of Elhnofey and then lead these superior peoples under Direnni (and only Direnni) command. With delusional arrogance and fanatical passion, the Durmontu sought to prepare nede and beratu alike for the birth of a new race, because who else but the first amongst the ker beratu could bear such a task? Who else, but someone who already considers himself Elhnofey?
The Direnni explicitly ordered the Durmontu to disclose no information on the Endeavour to the nedic and beratu subjects, which in turn necessitated a concealed strategy that the Sunblessed planned to execute in a threefold manner. Firstly, they thought the best way to prepare for the emergence of the new race was to create a homogeneous cultural frame for it. The Sunblessed thought it was imperative for the nedes and beratu to accept and venerate elven culture, that only through a unified Aldmeri culture can the new race unite under Direnni banner. Secondly, the Durmontu tried to encourage the Perquisite of Coiton and thus in many cases acted as mediators between nede and elf, trying to bring about the existence of as many beratu as possible and to inspire pride and euphoria in the nedes and elves that would bear beratu children – this goal often went hand in hand with the first mission of cultural “enlightenment”. Thirdly, the Sunblessed regularly encouraged Altmeri wizards to experiment on beratu instead of nedic slaves, hoping to bring about strong and stable bloodlines of ker beratu who would loyally use their powers in service to both the Durmontu and their Direnni masters. The third agenda was related to the previous two, as cultural assimilation and breeding would lead to a mass of enlightened beratu who were just an experiment away from entering the final stages of becoming true Elhnofey.
Although the three Durmontu strategies appeared subtle and cohesive, the Sunblessed were a bloodline of contrasts and extremes, of unbound passions and fanatical zeal, and their methods were as mercurial as their temperaments. While Durmontu elders remained close to the Direnni, the rest of the clan roamed the North to fulfill their goals with burning passion. Some would preach of the teachings of Phynaster and the brilliance of Magnus with burning inspiration in their eyes, while others preferred to torture nedic slaves into repeating the Altmeri master-servant laws over and over again. Some would motivate lesser Altmeri vassals to expand their harems of nedic slaves and to cultivate their lusts, while others preferred to excite the nedes to embrace and pleasure their masters, to rejoice in the act of creating beratu. Many Sunblessed boisterously displayed their powers, striking awe and fear into the hearts of nede and beratu alike, promising that their bastard children and grandchildren might one day also possess such gifts. Others used the Aetherial Fire to subjugate unruly nedes and force them into obedience, or alternatively – incinerate the most rebellious of the slaves in a flash of cleansing light.
Durmontu arrogance was so great that the clan outright abused their magics to intimidate the sadistic amongst the lesser Altmeri lords, forcing them to abandoning needless cruelty and torture on slaves – for the Sunblessed, a nede that utterly hates and despises its elven masters will poison the beratu offspring in its womb. Some Durmontu would kidnap beratu and present them to the deranged wizard-lords of Northpoint, urging them to “evolve” the poor souls into ker beratu, while other Sunblessed directly conducted the experiments themselves without any ounce of mercy or compassion. At their best, the Durmontu were inspiring preachers and just leaders, and at their worst, they were self-righteous fanatics and cruel demagogues. Most often, they were both at once, making it considerably difficult to extrapolate a consistent image of the clan in those dark days of the first era.
An important detail to consider is that through Durmontu’s extensive interaction with nedes on a cultural level, they inadvertently absorbed many practices and traditions of nedic culture. The Sunblessed’s fascination with fire as a lesser form of Aetherial light, for example, was borrowed from nedic beliefs, and the Sunblessed adopted many burial and cleansing rituals that incorporated fire and light in some form. Blood magic was also a secret of the nedes, and one of the greatest motivations of the Durmontu in interacting with nedes was to absorb and understand knowledge of this magic – some of the most iconic Sunblessed rituals are nothing but nedic blood magic cast through the prism of elven magical theory. Since the Gift was tied to blood and blood alone, the Sunblessed found it immensely useful to control and manipulate their own power. Even worship of Magnus, the patron of the Sunblessed, was influenced through nedic interpretations of the deity and the celestial significance of the sun. As entrenched in elven culture as they were, the Durmontu were also significantly influenced by nedic culture – perhaps fitting for a bloodline of half-elves.
The Sunblessed were not the only clan to pursue the Endeavour – in fact they collaborated extensively with elven lords, ker beratu and beratu bloodlines and their own nedic retainers. Nevertheless, the Durmontu inspired the most awe and fear amongst the slaves – a reputation that bore much hatred and bitterness in Fal’Ruhn, modern Farrun. The city was the last and most important location to be conquered by the Direnni, a place infamous for its focus on slave trade and exploitation. The relative success of the Durmontu impressed the Direnni, who urged the ker beratu to take residence in the city and, alongside other beratu, to overlook the works of the slaves and their cultural integration. Thus, much of the clan took up residence in what became known as “Castle Durmontu”. An impressive Direnni structure, the Castle became the Sunblessed’s seat of power, adorned by a beautiful spire made of pure, white crystal, inscribed with mosaics depicting Direnni accomplishments. It was even said the body of Adrianna itself was incorporated in the center of the spire, which marked the pedigree and arcane origins of the Durmontu bloodline.
While the Durmontu were disparate and mercurial in their various works in the North, they were much more focused and united in Fal’Ruhn. They urged and forced the nedic slaves to give their lives for the glory of the Hegemony, and offered “relief” in the hands of Phynasterian worship. All the strategies they employed throughout the North were applied in full force in Fal’Ruhn, although the multiple slave rebellions necessitated an iron fist and copious amounts of fire. The Durmontu were so obsessed with the Endeavour and the Hegemony that they even let the weakest and least useful of their own clan toil and die alongside nedic and beratu workers, perhaps in a carefully measured show of solidarity with the slaves. Fal’Ruhn was known as one of the worst places for nedes in High Rock during the Hegemony, and with the coming of the Durmontu and the decades of their reign, it became considerably worse (a horrific feat in itself), and thus, much bitterness and hatred grew in the hearts of the slaves, whose patience and obedience quickly waned. After the Battle of Glenumbra Moors, when some of the brightest Durmontu died at the hands of the Alessian Horde, the Hegemony was much weakened and the Direnni’s hold on power finally began to slip.
The final days of the Hegemony were at hand and the Direnni and their elven vassals began to retreat. In many places, the beratu caste managed to take control and, with almost no bloodshed, consolidated power in their hands. The emerging beratu nobles, now Bretons, quickly condemned their elven ancestors, in an attempt to distance themselves as much as possible from the hated Hegemony, and it worked – it was an interesting paradox that the families with the highest amount of elven blood became the new rulers in the vassal system established by the Direnni. This transition, however, did not come to pass in Fal’Ruhn, where nedes were unable to forgive the sins of the mer and their beratu mongrels. It is speculated that in those finals days, the Direnni urged and commanded the Durmontu to leave Fal’Ruhn and return to their elven masters, but the Sunblessed were already blinded by their pride and perceived divine destiny. If the Durmontu failed to quell Fal’Ruhn, wouldn’t they fail the great Direnni dream? How would they then be the heralds of the new race? How can they claim the mantle of the Elhnofey? For the Sunblessed, their pride and dream were at stake and they absolutely refused to admit defeat or denounce their ties to Clan Direnni – a decision that would cost them dearly.
The Fall and the Long Night:
In just three days, the nedes rose. When the last of the elven lords left, only beratu and ker beratu were left in Fal’Ruhn, and all their power and pride could not match the anger of the slaves. Despite their fearsome magics, the Durmontu were attacked not only by wrathful nedes, but even other beratu who bore a hatred and bitterness of their own, who blissfully abused the weaknesses of the Durmontu. Against daedric arrows and vampire blood, the Durmontu could not resist longer than a few days, and at last Castle Durmontu fell, its crystal spire shattering like the delusional dreams of the Sunblessed. In the massacre that followed, almost the entire clan and all of its allies were culled, the nedes dancing and singing on Sunblessed corpses as the castle burnt down, leaving nothing but ashes. Nevertheless, two Durmontu survived and managed to escape – Arandil and Elanya, brother and sister, knight and sorceress, the Blessed Twins. They salvaged what they could from the myriad of Direnni artifacts their clan possessed and took to the wilds, attempting to save their hides from the ire of Farrun’s hunters.
Few if any records of the Long Night have survived and thus the exact events in the following centuries are a mystery. It would almost appear that the Durmontu simply faded away, although reported sightings of golden-eyed madmen roaming the North indicate otherwise. What is known for sure is that only Arandil and Elanya emerged from Farrun – siblings who, in their desperation to save the Gift, embraced in blasphemous incest. It is rumored that indeed incest was the preferred choice for keeping the bloodline for the Durmontu at the time, since the majority of northerners had diluted their elven blood so much they were now Bretons instead of haf-elves. It is speculated that the Sunblessed had managed to find other beratu lines who still retained their elven heritage, and even entire clans of beratu who have not yet become Bretons. This is one of the tenuous (at best) explanations for why, centuries later, the Durmontu reappeared in the South, still bearing a distinct half-elven appearance. Of course, there are many other explanations for keeping the Blessed Ratio, from child sacrifice, to blood magic, to Daedric worship and half-forgotten nedic rituals. Whatever happened within the clan in those long and terrible nights, it changed the bloodline forever.
Any records of Sunblessed sightings in the North come with terrifying accounts of gibbering madmen who have twisted their blood and its Gift so much that they were all struck with an incurable plague of the mind. It is indeed their mysterious madness and exotic appearance that have given away the locations of the Durmontu throughout the Long Night, tales of golden-eyed witches kidnapping Breton lords, only to rape them and beget a half-elven child. Tales of manmer who stalked the forests and the fields, feeding off the blood of cattle, roaming naked in the night, screaming elvish incantations under the light of Masser and Secunda. The Sunblessed were never welcomed in any northern settlement, and decades after their fall at Fal’Ruhn, Farruni mercenaries would hunt them down, presenting their heads as trophies. The enemies the clan had made during its height brought about a resentment and utter hatred in many northerners, who would rather put Sunblessed heads on spikes rather than take them in their homes. It is rumored that when the Durmontu reached Northpoint and pleaded for mercy and haven, the royal clans rejected them, jokingly referring to them as the “Elfborn clan”. If tales are anything to go by, only clan Nechtan, for reasons unknown, allowed the Durmontu to catch their breaths for three days and three nights, after which they had to face the unknown wilds once again.
Whitehaven is another location which appears in the fractious Dumonte annals, where the priests of Phynaster and the Acolytes of the Crystal Circle took pity upon the beratu madmen, giving them shelter and succor in the worst of times. It is rumored (again) that it was the Acolytes who gifted the Sunblessed with the Phynaster’s Wisdom potion, an elixir that alleviated their restless and fractured minds. Rest and recuperate the Sunblessed did, and yet the Breton nobility thought it was appropriate for the Durmontu to move on, for Whitehaven can do only so much to defend the beratu from the ire of the North. The clan finally left Whitehaven and took to the northern wilds, until the coming of Nelacar the Bold. Nelacar was the Durmontu who finally conceded that the divine fate of his bloodline was a lost cause, and the family had no future in the North. Thus, he decided to bring his clan across the Wrothgarians and seek a new destiny for the Sunblessed, to seek new fortune and peace in the South. The journey was arduous and wrought with dangers, including the myriads of Reachmen tribes, Hagraven witches and worse. If the Durmontu hadn’t suffered enough already, some of the most prized Sunblessed artifacts (salvaged from Castle Durmontu) were lost, and in several battles with Reachmen the clan almost perished. Finally, after years and years of crossing, a period the Dumontes refer to the “Thorned Path”, what few Sunblessed survived finally reached a new land, with new peoples who knew nothing of their lineage. They had finally reached Gavaudon.
Dawn’s Mercy in Gavaudon:
When the Durmontu arrived in Gavaudon sometime in the 9th century of the first era, the fiefdom was at the time ruled by the Evermore-affiliated House of Montiler, their power contested only by the House of Florent, who in turn originated in the village of Wayrest. The Durmontu were, for the first time in the line’s history, complete strangers in a socio-economic system that had little to do with the traditional northern clan structure. Although their elven features were less prominent at the time, the Durmontu were considered bizarre, exotic and utterly alien – they dressed in furs, spoke with a heavy northern accent interlaid with Altmeri speech, and were unabashedly blunt. On top of all of that, many Durmontu were prone to emotional outbursts and illogical gibberish which did little to help with first impressions. The Sunblessed were, in all respects, unsuited for the subtlety, etiquette and culture of the South and despite their claims of ancient lineage, they were not afforded the status of nobility. Even when the Direnni themselves, upon hearing news of the bloodline’s arrival, confirmed the authenticity of the line and pleaded mercy from the Montilers, the Durmontu were relegated to the status of commoners. Indeed, the Montilers were asked to just let the Sunblessed travel to Balfiera and join the Direnni, but their strange powers compelled the nobles to keep the northerners within arm’s reach and to exploit their vulnerability.
As the Durmontu were residents in Gavaudon, the Montilers forbid them to return to the Direnni, in part to display defiance to the infamous elven lords, and instead forced the clan (or what was left of it) into servitude. Thus, the Durmontu were little better than farmers and servants in the following century and a half, often succumbing to the madness that plagued their minds and desperately trying to protect their secrets from the Breton nobility. Even then the Durmontu attempted to practice incest, something which the Montilers severely punished, beheading the most mentally disturbed Sunblessed to prove the dangers of incest. It was during those early Gavaudon days that the Durmontu interacted with the commoners of Gavaudon more than anyone else – as exotic and alien as the Durmontu were, the inquisitive people of Gavaudon, already accustomed to foreigners, couldn’t sate their curiosity. Forbidden to escape to Balfiera and shackled into servitude to the Montilers, the Durmontu found solace with the people of Gavaudon, their shared worship of Magnus serving as the start of a great cultural exchange. In terms of their daily existence, the Durmontu tended to farms and provided magical services to the Montilers – services that the Montilers came to prize greatly, binding the clan further with a myriad of contracts and decrees. Thus until the beginning of 1E 1100 the Durmontu were held firmly in the grasp of the Montilers, serving in complete obedience and secretly practicing their traditions and beliefs in quiet worship, working the fields as their eyes wishfully watched their beloved sun.
Everything changed with the birth of the kingdom of Wayrest in 1E 1100, and the Durmontu opportunist Faritaale. Abused by the Montilers, ignored by the Florents and separated from the Direnni, the Durmontu were restless and wrathful, desiring nothing else but to take fate into their own hands and emerge victorious. By this time the Sunblessed had already assimilated a bit of southern bretic culture, and under the nose of the Montilers they established contact with Wayrest. Within a few months, they organized a coup with the help of the nascent kingdom, utterly destroying the House of Montiler and forcing the House of Florent into obedience. Since the Montilers were loyal to Evermore, while the Florents were seen as cultured, yet spineless, the Kingdom of Wayrest took a gamble and supported the Durmontu to become the new ruling dynasty. The only condition for this support, however, was for the Durmontu to fully integrate themselves in the southern bretic system and to abandon their northern clan structure and traditions. Although compelled to return to their beloved Direnni, the Durmontu decided for the first time in centuries to take fate into their own hands, in honor of Nelacar and Elanya and all the Sunblessed ancestors who bled and died for the clan.
From Clan to House:
The official, legal transition from clan to house was quick and painless, although it marked a long process of the Durmontu redefining their identity and traditions, and their role in Breton society. Although they had assimilated some informal facets of southern bretic culture through the commoners of Gavaudon, the Durmontu were still possessed of their mental plagues and mercurial passions and behaved like northerners. The clan had to fully adapt to the southern linguistic and cultural norms and thus it relinquished its clan structure and was legally incorporated as a minor noble house. With that came a change of name, from “Durmontu” to “Dumonte”, a change of naming conventions, a change of banner to southern standards, the acceptance of inheritance laws and everything else that encompassed the existence of the nobility. Thus, in 1E 1123 the House of Dumonte was first recorded into Breton historical annals, although the nobles of the house would need a few more decades, if not centuries, to fully count themselves equal to their Breton peers. From this moment until the modern times, the descendants of the Direnni loyalists from the North would be known as “the House of Dumonte”.
The Kingdom of Wayrest quickly noticed the unbound passions and mercurial minds of the Dumontes and began to seriously doubt their decision of backing up the Sunblessed. The Dumontes at the time, in a resurgence of pride, were still the emotional, blunt and headstrong northerners of Fal’Ruhn and this caused a series of diplomatic accidents between Wayrest and Gavaudon. The House of Florent, seeking to control and manipulate their overlords, taught the Dumontes the intricacies of Breton politics and Southern noble etiquette, as well as the game of marriage and the economic wars that southern kings liked to play. The Dumontes quickly learned how to carry themselves at court and converse with Wayrest, although they still lacked the critical skills of informal diplomacy and mercantile negotiations. Gavaudon was, as it still is, primarily a fiefdom of trade and the majority of the middle and upper class were established merchant dynasties with extensive ties across the Bay. Even a Gavaudon farmer knew the basics of trade, so the Dumontes relied heavily on the common folk of Gavaudon to teach and guide them in all matters of trade and informal communication. The amiable relations the Durmontu had established with the simple folk allowed the Dumontes to approach these Bretons more easily, and in time the lords and the common people shared more than just tips and lessons – they shared cultures.
It is often noted that modern Gavaudon is the only region within Wayrest’s kingdom where the common folk tend to put higher emphasis on social hierarchy and propriety, which is attributed directly to the Dumontes’ emphasis on these typical elven virtues - values that the people of Gavaudon have adopted out of necessity to appease their Lords. Likewise, worship of Phynaster became popular almost as much as that of Magnus, as the Dumontes preached on the lessons and teachings of Phynaster, not his racial underpinnings. In return, the people of Gavaudon, especially the merchant dynasties, have influenced the House extensively throughout its history, and as early as the first era a council of advisors from the most prominent dynasties has advised the Dumontes and shaped their trade policies – an advisory structure mimicking the court of Wayrest, where prominent merchants directly advise the crown. A very important point of commonality between the people of Gavaudon and the Dumontes was Magnus – a god that is fervently worshiped in the whole fiefdom. While the Dumontes and their subjects disagree on Magnus originating from nedic mythology, the fact Magnus is the patron of the Sunblessed and the shared veneration proved to be a critical cultural bridge between the newborn nobility and the commoners. While not necessarily superstitious, the commoners were enthralled by the Sunblessed’s Aetherial powers and in later centuries would call Sunblessed Dumontes “the Children of Magnus”. The importance of Magnus as common ground was so essential, the Dumontes even adopted many of Gavaudon’s beliefs of the god, including his image as the “Sorrowful Architect” and the “Weeping Celestial” – images they associate with the Long Night.
Nevertheless, the Dumontes of the mid first era were still possessed of a certain madness, a weakness of the mind and heart that nearly lost them their power. The notorious Mathis the Deranged, in his sociopathic madness, kidnapped, raped and ate three Gavaudon children – a heinous act that was later discovered. To put it mildly, the people of Gavaudon wanted nothing but to see all the Dumontes burn. It was a catastrophic week for the Dumontes, the commoners lighting torches and biding their time to bypass the guards and burn the whole Dumonte estate to ashes. In an attempt to quell the masses, the Dumontes took the most severe decision available – they sentenced Mathis to a gruesome death. He was declared to be a “Progeny of Lorkhan” (an immense insult within the House), then he was tied to a poll where the commoners were given three days to abuse him, safe from killing him. On the third night, the Dumontes gathered all commoners and in a display of righteous fury slowly flayed Mathis, keeping him alive with their magics. When all his skin was gone, the Dumontes symbolically raped him with a thorned staff, then bound him to a pyre and set him aflame, his own family extending his anguish with their magic. The severity of the death was so shocking that nobody doubted the intent of the Dumontes to punish the most heinous of acts and clear their name – even if the criminal was a Dumonte. The incidence was so disturbing that even Wayrest avoided all contact for several months, although in time relations were normalized and within a century or so Gavaudon almost forgot of the “incident”.
Throughout the first era, the Dumontes were toddlers, struggling to quell their inner demons and learn the ropes of the Breton nobility, to be rulers, diplomats and merchants. For the first time, they depended not on their power and Direnni ties, but on the mercy and lessons of the common folk. They had to establish a symbiotic relationship with the people of Gavaudon, relying on their business acumen and cultural traditions more than they would like to admit. Even the House of Florent was important, not only in tutoring the Dumontes but also offering the first betrothals to the House. The resemblance of the Bretic vassals system to the Direnni social structure aided the Dumontes, but they still heavily relied on external aid. Although the Durmontu that arrived in Gavaudon still bore more prominent elven features, by the end of the first era the Dumontes had intermingled so much with the lower nobility of Wayrest that their elven blood waned significantly. With that, their famed derangements were also gone, but so was the Blessed Ratio. The Dumontes changed – their platinum hair darkened to a hazelnut brown, their height shrank, their ears were no more pointed than those of the average Highlander, and their features softened. At last, nobody could insult the origins of the House, for they had finally caught up with the times and became “proper” Bretons in appearance and mannerisms – they finally joined their Breton kin. The only feature that still betrayed their Direnni blood was their haunting golden eyes.
A brief overview of modern Dumonte history:
The Second era: This period proved particularly fruitful for the Dumontes as growing friendship between Gavaudon and Wayrest ensured the growth of wealth in the fiefdom. The Dumontes focused on fostering good trading relations with Redguard and Altmer merchants, depending on opportunity and political climate. In the early first era Wayrest severely disapproved of the Dumontes breeding with the Direnni once more, yet the Elfborn managed to arrange a marriage with the Altmeri House Ravenwatch in northern High Rok, and thus once again directly strengthened the bloodline. This was the last time, however, that the Dumontes would bear half-elven children as the events of ESO would turn the public opinion against elves significantly. High King Emeric was as much a blessing as a curse to the house –under his rule many Redguard trade agreements were solidified and the Covenant proved fruitful. On the flip side, trade relations with Summerset suffered, which the Dumontes deeply regretted, and the Daedric invasions of Molag Bal proved challenging, to say the least. In fact, the battle with Molag Bal’s forces was so terrible that Helaine the Radiant literally burned herself to ashes in order to halt the daedric forces and close the anchor – a sacrifice the people of Gavaudon revere to this day.
The defense of Gavaudon and its forest earned the trust of the Gavaudon Sentinel, and a secret alliance between the Dumontes and the Sentinel was forged. The clandestine ways and appreciation for secrecy of the Dumontes were reassuring enough for the Sentinel to reveal his identity, while the Dumontes in turn promised they would limit industrial activity in the forest and keep the secrets of the Sentinel. Their alliance holds to this day, although the Sentinel and the Dumontes do not interact much in practice.
An important detail to consider is that the middle of the second era marked the “thinning of the blood” – it was the first time in the history of the bloodline that children without golden eyes were born. In the beginning the Dumontes simply thought the Gift would take longer to manifest in these Breton children, and thus named them “Sleepers”. This, however, proved erroneous and it was confirmed that Sleeper Dumontes were completely unable to tap into the power in their blood. They received its weaknesses and some minor benefits, and they were able to pass on the Gift to their children, but had no way of unlocking it themselves. This trend continued, with the rate of Sunblessed children being born declining with each successive generation during the Second Era to the point that only a single Sunblessed might be born every other generation. For the first time in the bloodline’s history, the “Sleepers” were the default condition of the blood and the Sunblessed were rare oddities.
*Note: The House of Florent was culled by an orcish attack during this era.
Third era: This era solidified Dumonte incomes from trade and Gavaudon became more prominent in the region. Many shipments from Summerset and Hammerfell arrived there, to alleviate the burdens of Wayrest port and bring money in from taxes and fees. While the fiefdom still produced the delicious La Chevre Loren (blue cheese from auroch milk) and blackberry wine, now it was renowned for its port income and steady alliance with Wayrest. Occasionally black bear pelts saw a rise in demand as they were seen as a sign of prestige, although this income for hunters has been relatively low.
More importantly, the Warp of the West allowed Wayrest to conquer the fiefdom and add it to its kingdom. At first resistance was fierce, but eventually the Dumontes thought it best to simply surrender – Wayrest’s army was superior and more numerous, and to endanger the lives of the Sunblessed in such conflict was considered more trouble than needed. The Dumontes already played an advisory and mercantile role in Wayrest’s court so this conquest was rationalized as a natural extension of their alliance. The wealth, protection and trade routes that Wayrest offered were powerful boons indeed for small Gavaudon.
The third era is the period when the frequency of Sunblessed births significantly drops, coming down to one in every three generations or more. Although the house managed to tie itself with various houses with a distinguished pedigree, the elven blood somehow failed to manifest as desired. In the early third era the Dumontes were involved in a political scandal whereas the heir to Gavaudon was the bastard son of the Magister of the Dumontes at the time – Rarya Direnni. At the time Wayrest still hadn’t conquered Gavaudon, and this would be the last time in recent history that the Dumontes would strengthen (albeit illegally) their elven blood.
The aftermath of the Great War has once again revived public discussion on all things elven, which spelled potential trouble for the Dumontes. Wayrest in particular had lost many to the armies of the Thalmor and thus it has forbidden all trade relations with Summerset – something of a lamentable decision for the Dumontes. In addition, some of Dumontes’ closest allies and acquaintances in Summerset were executed by the Thalmor, and a Dumonte was also lost in the Great War – Cheval the Fearless died as a Sunblessed battlemage who fought besides his Breton kin. Thus, the Dumontes bear a great hatred for the Thalmor, viewing them as terrorists and caricatures of elven culture. Wayrest’s displeasure with Summerset and the rise of the Thalmor have greatly damaged the traditional role of the Dumontes within the court, and their position of power and influence is often questioned.
Additionally, Thalmor representatives have arrived in Gavaudon to negotiate a possible re-opening of the Summerset-Wayrest trade routes. The Thalmor are unwelcomed guests, gleefully abusing the hospitality of their host and poking their yellow noses in matters that do not concern them. The Dumontes are in a delicate position, whereas they must balance the commandments of Wayrest with the constant nagging of the Thalmor and, ideally, find a desirable middle ground. What the House doesn’t know, however, is that the Thalmor seem to have an agenda of their own, and often ask to inspect the Arcane Sanctum of the Dumontes – a privilege they will most definitely not grant.
Lastly, Lord Dumonte is attempting to bind his house with the lords of the Highlands by betrothing his daughter to the rulers of Dwynnen. The target for betrothal has become the son of the Baroness of Dwynnen, since the barony has been relatively isolated and its inhabitants sport a particularly high level of elven blood. For centuries the Dumontes had been unsuccessful in fostering lasting relations with the people of the Highlands, and yet Lord Dumonte sees an opportunity now. The sour relations between Wayrest and the Highlands has been a thorn in the Lord’s plans, and Wayrest officials have even demanded the betrothal be secured so as to improve Wayrest-Kambrian relations. Needless to say the situation is difficult and Lord Dumonte is planning to ask Medora Direnni, a good friend of the Kambrian Duke, for help. Ultimately, Lord Dumonte would like to use the Dwynnen as an opening to get a noblewoman from Phrygias to marry the Sunblessed Etienne and thus strengthen the elven blood of the family.
Additionally, the lord’s children, especially the sunblessed Etienne, are unwilling to heed their father’s commands, even the little Marcel. The death of Lady Dumonte, who was much more lenient and understanding than her husband, certainly strained family relations.
The modern Dumontes:
Stubborn, patient, cautious, traditionalist – these words paint a perfect picture of a Dumonte . Indeed, the family is renowned for its wariness and caution in regards to sudden decisions and large-scale changes. Thus, in the Wayrest court the Dumontes are, more often than not, the voice of reason and caution, the rational and careful amongst the advisors, urging the Wayrest rulers to tread carefully in regards to risky trade agreements, unverified economic allies and pointless wars (something Emeric clearly paid no attention to). Indeed, the caution, patience and stubbornness of the Dumontes stems from centuries of adhering to Direnni-derived traditions and draconian laws passed on generation after generation, although in reality the Dumontes are no more traditionalist than the lords and ladies of Daggerfall. It is important to note that, while the Dumontes are a welcomed advisor in a court filled with risky opportunism and ruthless mercantilism, the Sunblessed can also be very rigid and resistant to change, which sometimes renders them insignificant when the crown desires bolder economic decisions. It is also interesting to note that while the Dumontes tend to be wary and careful, they are not fearful and spineless. The Sunblessed are possessed of a quiet confidence and pride, especially when making decisions - they just have a very, very meticulous approach to decision-making. The Dumontes prefer to study an issue from every angle, to carefully consider all options before comitting to an action, although this perceived inaction and lethargy should not be mistaken for complacency: when infuriated, the Dumontes strike with an anger and bitterness so measured and persistent, it can last generations.
The Dumontes were able to impart some of their own traditional values on their Gavaudon subjects or, more likely, the commoners simply adopted them to better influence and communicate with their rigid lords. Although the Dumontes do not speak in old Aldmeris, nor paint their faces yellow or elongate their ears, it is impossible to mistake the Altmeri-like virtues they uphold. The Sunblessed put specific emphasis on lineage, ancestor veneration, etiquette, order and hierarchy – virtues which are considered cornerstones of Altmeri high culture. It is quite ironic that the Dumontes are much better at upholding these elven values than their predecessors, the Durmontu – while the Clan was enamored by Altmeri culture in theory, and claimed to practice it flawlessly, in reality the typical Durmontu was too impulsive, passionate and mercurial to properly carry themselves like Altmer. The Dumontes, on the other hand, had to reinvent themselves as they became a Breton house and in their new identity they were much more focused on this traditional culture - for two reasons.
First, it was a way to honor the traditions of the Direnni, the sacrifices of Durmontu ancestors and the bloodline itself. Coincidentally, it was a culture that allowed the Dumontes to preserve their traditions and protect their secrets. With a rigid hand and a sense of pride, the elder Dumontes drilled these values into their children so that their naiveté and youth might not betray the house’s secrets. Secondly, for the Dumontes these are not quintessentially elven virtues, but simply a more rigid variation of the traditional Breton noble virtue – in the long-past days of the first era, the fledgling Dumontes clearly saw the Altmeri roots of the Breton socio-economic system, and the vague similarity between Breton lords and Altmeri lords. For the Dumontes, there is no dramatic difference between a proud Daggerfall Duke and a lesser Altmeri noble, and this internal synthesis of “elven social order” and “Breton nobility culture” has allowed them to fully embrace the fact they are now Bretons and no longer beratu. Of course, Breton society has evolved significantly since the days of the first era, but the Dumonte rationale was not entirely incorrect and allowed for an easier transition from clan to house.
Here it is important to note that these traditions simultaneously allowed the Dumontes to preserve a modicum of their Durmontu identity and to accept their transition from ker beratu to Bretons. In fact, it was Arnauld the Wise who, in the last years of the first era, decreed that to attempt to preserve the Blessed Ratio and to pretend to be beratu in a land of Bretons is a lost cause; that the Direnni dream as it was known would not come to be – ever. It was tragic, it was saddening, but to dwell upon the past and grasp at things no longer there was utterly foolish and self-destructive – like a mother clutching her dead child. Thus, he concluded that perhaps the Bretons, although no Elhnofey themselves, are the true heirs of High Rock and Akatosh’s Spear, the Children of the Direnni who despite their mannish appearance seamlessly blend elven and human culture, magic and swordplay, the old and the new. The Bretons would, one day, be destined to guide Tamriel in their wisdom and power, magic and willfulness, intellect and sophistication. This philosophy would be considered a heresy punishable by death by the Durmontu, but it allowed the Dumontes to accept “defeat” at the hands of time and fate and to fully embrace their new, self-constructed identity – that of the survivors of a distinguished bloodline, the protectors of Gavaudon, blessed with the Gift of Aetherius, carrying forward the legacy of the ker beratu and the Direnni. To do otherwise would be to have an utter, irreversible identity crisis.
The last, but not least, aspect of Dumonte internal culture is their veneration and emphasis on magic – a trait shared with the people of Gavaudon. While Bretons as a whole are open to magic and make heavy use of it, for the Dumontes it is essential to prove a strong skill in the arcane arts – even if the child is gifted with political acumen or a shrewd business sense, it is unacceptable to have no skill and interest in magic whatsoever. Although not all Dumontes are Arch-mages and arcanists, one cannot pass the rite of passage without showing desirable magical knowledge and power – to do otherwise would be a considerable shame, and the Dumonte would not be considered an adultnor a full member of the House. Usually the challenge lies in hunting and killing a black bear without leaving any signs of supernatural death on the creature – the fur must be immaculate, there must be no traces of blood or gore. This requires the weaving of many spells at once in a cunning matter, so that the bear would appear as if it had died from natural death. If the hunting is successful, then the Dumonte’s will and intellect must be tested, and then finally the ritual “Embracing the Light” would be conducted to complete the rite of passage.
The fires of youth! Or how difficult Dumonte parenting is:
In complete contrast to their parents, many Dumonte children and youths display a fiery temperament that defies the very foundations of House culture – a temperament not unlike their Durmontu ancestors. Dumonte youths tend to be passionate, impulsive and unruly– they have an urge to embrace life, to express themselves and to reject the rigid traditions of their parents. Even the people of Gavaudon, who tend to be much more energetic and entrepreneurial than their Lords, resemble a young Dumonte, and it is often the youngest of the House who spend the most time amongst commoners – escaping the House estate and spending a night at Gavaudon inn is so common for the youths, it is jokingly considered a tradition of the House. Although some might ascribe this behavior to some arcane property of Dumonte blood, the truth is that the House is so secretive and replete with traditions and draconian rules that Dumonte parents tend to be overbearing, controlling and sometimes cruel – thus, their children tend to rebel under so much pressure. Although not all, many Dumonte youths simply want to enjoy their youth and bring change to the stiff traditions of the House. Still, as rigid and traditional as Dumonte parents can be, they were youths themselves and on many occasions they do allow their offspring the opportunity to "live out their passions" so that by the time they become adults they can put aside their temperament and act more in accordance with House culture.
The Dumontes and marriage: A most complex equation
While marriage is an important tool for political and economic alliances amongst the Breton nobility, for the Dumontes it is the most important negotiation to be made in each generation. Since the Gift is directly correspondent to levels of elven blood, it is essential for the House to take in Breton nobles with higher levels of elven blood and to send their children for betrothals into families with low elven blood. To preserve the Gift, the Dumontes need to negotiate the perfect deal and to make alliances with those Breton lords who have preserved a modicum of elven blood. Since the populations of Wayrest and the surrounding regions have a relatively low level of mer blood, the Dumontes have taken to establish basic diplomatic relations with Kambria and Dwynnen – a feat which has borne no fruit so far. It was not until the Warp that the Dumontes finally saw an opportunity to accomplish their plans, since the Highlands were incorporated into the kingdom of Wayrest. Currently, the Dumontes are indeed trying to marry Clarisse into the Dwynnen family and open the road to taking in a Highland noble into the House.
Also: because the Gift is linked to blood more than anything else, the Dumontes are much more stringent when it comes to lovers. Any “accidents” that come about from secret relations will carry some Aethera in their blood, which in the long run can severely compromise House secrets. Thus, the Dumontes are notorious for actively promoting homosexual and bisexual relations to their children, because a liaison with someone of the same sex will under no circumstance bring about “an accident”. It is for the best, otherwise the unlucky child will have to “be taken care of”.
Gavaudon and the Dumontes: a cultural symbiosis
As already stated above, the people of Gavaudon and the House of Dumonte have influenced each other culturally for extended periods of time, each group adopting cultural elements from the other. The commoners, who are known to be quite energetic, humorous and pragmatic, have adopted some of the “elven” values of the Dumontes, in addition to considerable worship of Phynaster and, in some cases, even burial rites. The Dumontes, on the other hand, have always relied on the business acumen and entrepreneurship of their subjects, and have absorbed a significant portion of the locals’ beliefs about Magnus. The most prominent and successful merchant families in the fiefdom have even formed a small advisory body to their lords, and the economic policies of Gavaudon are heavily influenced by these merchants. In return, the Dumontes provide their subjects with a rare line of communication with Summerset and Valenwood, bringing in exotic items to the Gavaudon economy. The commoner’s high regard for Magnus and, therefore, all things magical lure in the native merchants to exploit every opportunity to acquire enchanted elven wares and tomes of spells. Thus, the people and their lords have fostered a stable, if peculiar, relationship throughout the ages.
Wayrest and the Dumontes: a most useful alliance
Traditionally, Wayrest is considered the only true ally to the fiefdom and the House of Dumonte and although diplomatic relations have been strained on numerous occasions, the two have enjoyed an amiable alliance. The Dumontes serve Wayrest as economic and political advisors and, due to their instinctive understanding of Altmer customs, are invaluable in all manner of diplomatic conversations with Summerset. As already mentioned above, the disciplined and cautious demeanor of the Dumontes has served to be the “voice of reason” within the court and no few Dumontes have influenced Wayrest economic and foreign policy. Still, the Dumontes need to contend with a rather large circle of advisors, many of whom are either jealous or malignant towards the House, and thus must always tread carefully lest they make an unnecessary enemy. The only setback in Dumonte function is, of course, their famed stubbornness and many kings and queens of Wayrest have found this particular facet of the Dumonte psyche to be most infuriating. In certain matters a Dumonte opinion is so evident that the reigning monarch doesn’t even bother to ask the noble for advice because he most likely will repeat what he said three months ago. Nevertheless, the Dumontes have proven to be steady, if odd, allies to Wayrest and this has benefited the House and Gavaudon immensely.
Additionally, Sunblessed Dumontes have served extensively in the Mage’s Guild (now the University of Wayrest) and the Wayrest army and their powers have proven to be invaluable, if fear-inspiring, assets. In fact, some of the most prominent Arch-mages of the local Guild branch have been Dumonte Sunblessed (it is also these leaders who have introduced the most bizarre and “colourful” of the Guild’s policies). Most Wayrest nobles approach the Sunblessed with caution, as they often tend to be more passionate and flamboyant than their kin and this break from stereotype, in addition to their fearsome powers, has afforded the Sunblessed the status of “prized, but odd possessions” when within Wayrest Kingdom. Nevertheless, for Wayrest the benefits outweigh the doubts, if only just.
The Dumonte practice of always sending their Sunblessed (if there are any) on diplomatic missions to Summerset has unnerved many Wayrest nobles, but so far the strategy has proven quite successful as the haughty elves are usually quite curious about the Sunblessed. Of course, Wayrest knows absolutely nothing about the origins of the Gift, and few have dared to directly ask the Dumontes, who simply repeat it is a special oddity of their blood, a gift from Magnus himself (the Dumontes usually speak with vague, flowery phrases when discussing their ancestors). In any case, Wayrest’s general lack of interest in lineage and heritage has benefited the Dumontes immensely as they were free to preserve their secrets without being questioned or challenged. Even their Direnni ancestry, a most contentious topic for many nobles, has remained largely under the radar – the kingdom is simply too practical, “progressive” and mercantile to care about such details.
The Direnni and the Dumontes: tradition and ancestry
Apart from the Sunblessed, the most confusing facet of Dumonte existence is the intricate relations they have maintained with the Direnni. It is odd for a Breton noble to emphasize their elven ancestry, but it is virtually unheard of for said noble to admit direct blood relations to the most controversial clan of elves in the entirely of High Rock’s history. Although the Dumontes quickly learned that mentioning the Direnni was absolutely forbidden in polite conversations, when confronted by others the Dumontes have never in their history denounced the Direnni (safe for Ilyes the Apologist, shame upon his name). In fact, the Dumontes are often the first to point how much Breton society has absorbed from the Direnni, and are unafraid to voice out both the best and worst the Hegemony has brought about for the Bretons. They have pointed to Daggerfall, Camlorn and even Wayrest as places “successfully” influenced by elven culture, and Farrun and the Highlands as lamentably scarred. Religion, magic, master-apprentice laws, even Breton weaponry – much was influenced by Altmer culture, although the Bretons have since changed many facets of their culture and have built upon it to make it truy their own. Nevertheless, Wayrest has often approached the Dumontes when contact with the Direnni or Summerset was desirable, and not a few Breton scholars have asked the nobles to elaborate on the mysterious elven clan (a curiosity that was not accommodated).
The Direnni and the Dumontes have maintained a warm, but complex relationship. Unlike the Durmontu, the Dumontes do not consider the Direnni to be their masters and thus do not feel immediately beholden to serve their every whim. At the same time, there is a deep veneration for the clan on part of the Dumontes, as they are ancestors after all, and at best we could call it a form of “loyalty” or “ancestor worship”. The Direnni, on the other hand, were shocked to see how much clan Durmontu had changed when they reappeared in Gavaudon, and have watched with intense curiosity how the House of Dumonte has developed throughout the eras. For the elves, the Dumontes are a living legacy of the once-great Hegemony, a remnant of the powerful ker beratu and the Great Endeavour. Although much has changed, the Direnni do feel a certain kinship towards the House, although this has waxed and waned depending on personal relations more than formality. Nevertheless, the Direnni often learn inside information on the intricacies of Breton politics from the Dumontes, while the Altmer in return have vowed to train and educate every Sunblessed born into the House – for the Direnni themselves have devised the spells and rituals that best channel raw Aethera.
Thus, the Clan and the House have maintained close relations, and in time the Direnni introduced the Dumontes to many of their contacts in Summerset, which later became central trading partners and minor allies of the House. It is these precious connections, as well as shared knowledge of the Gift, that has always kept the Dumontes visiting Balfiera, and has driven the Direnni to contact Gavaudon. In the best of times, the Dumontes revere the Direnni and display much affection (even if secret) - a warmth that the Direnni usually reciprocate. At worst, Balfiera and Gavaudon barely communicate, only exchanging letters on formal occasions. Whatever the case, Direnni and Dumonte history is so intertwined that the two factions have always maintained a relationship (the Direnni even sent Rarya Direnni to bear children for the Dumontes), and perhaps they realize that only with each other can they discuss and cherish the Gift and their shared legacy. Last, but not least, since the Dumontes possessed only a fractured view of their own history, the Direnni have since filled some of the holes and have explained a handful of Durmontu details, although much of the clan’s history is still obscured.
The Dumontes and Whitehaven:
Since the Long Night, the Dumontes have kept close relations with Whitehaven, in particular the Acolytes of the Crystal Circle, and the city-state is considered to be the only other ally, apart from Wayrest, to Gavaudon – an alliance that is based more on sympathy and shared religious values rather than economic ties. Still, the Dumontes have managed to take in betrothals from Whitehaven on occasion, although the consolidation of the city-state into Camlorn, and therefore, Daggerfall has damaged these connections. Still, the Sunblessed are expected to visit Whitehaven at least once in their lifetime, similarly to how they spend time with the Direnni.
The Dumonte lineage:
A blessing: the Brilliance of Magnus
Dumonte blood is not only rich in elven heritage compared to average Breton families, but has also been enhanced by the bold experiments of Raven Direnni. When Adrianna was infused with the very essence of Aetherius, raw Aethera from the sun, some of the original Sunblessed Gift remained in the blood of her heirs. Whenever a Breton child with enough elven blood is born into House Dumonte, it is declared “Sunblessed” – graced by the brilliance of Magnus himself, filled with the Light [of Aetherius]. The child is distinguished only by its golden eyes and potent magical power, but is otherwise a Breton in appearance. It is important to note that while the majority of Dumontes were Sunblessed until the mid-second era, since the blood thinned Sleeper Dumontes quickly became the “default”, while their Sunblessed kin became a rarity – one being born in several generations. Upon birth the Sunblessed child is blessed by priests of Phynaster and Magnus and when it reaches the age of 10 it spends 6 years on Balfiera, where it is tutored by the Direnni as only they can properly instruct the Sunblessed to control her power and to cast the potent Direnni spells the Dumontes possess (see below). Additionally, the Direnni visit Gavaudon several times upon the birth of a Sunblessed, and are (usually) excited to see their legacy has survived, spending a considerable amount of resources to prepare for the child’s tutoring.
This is perhaps the most obvious of the Dumonte peculiarities, since the Sunblessed are employed as powerful mages in Wayrest and the Mage’s Guild/University of Wayrest. The mere fact their power allows not only for strong magics, but also enhanced enchanting is enough for Wayrest to use the Sunblessed as glorified enchanting stations. No few Sunblessed have served as Arch-mages in the Mage’s Guild, and some of the most renowned (and eccentric) leaders of the University of Wayrest have been Sunblessed – like Alexandre the Inquisitive, who was responsible for inventing magical scanning devices for the proper assessment of the value of enchanted goods. Additionally, Sunblessed have served in Wayrest’s armies as battlemages or, in a few rare cases, have been wizard advisors in the Wayrest court. Their flamboyancy and mysterious powers, however, have always been considered a bit disruptive, depending on the current ruler. This, in addition to their ties with the Direnni, has served to ostracize some Sunblessed from the royal court, in particular those with stubborn opinions. Nevertheless, a Sunblessed is an invaluable asset to both Gavaudon and Wayrest, especially since the “unification”.
To be born a Sunblessed, however, is not a life of leisure and grandeur. The House has phenomenal expectations from their golden-eyed kin as the Sunblessed must, no matter what, inherit Gavaudon’s rulership – it is an established law for the House that whenever a Sunblessed is born, they must inherit the fiefdom. This spectacular trumping over succession laws brings much division and bitterness within the family as the Sunblessed’s siblings are suddenly relegated to the status of babysitters and political pawns for their parents. No matter how competent or intelligent an older sibling is, the Sunblessed will inherit the position, which has led to no few fratricides and sororicides within the House. It is ironic that something so cherished within the House is also hated and despised by its own blood, but such is the state of affairs for the Dumontes – tradition trumps individual merits. Additionally, a Sunblessed is automatically expected to one day represent the House in all political and diplomatic matters, especially in regard to Summerset. The Sunblessed must not only be a powerful mage, but must also learn the ropes of rulership, etiquette, diplomacy and mercantilism WHILE contending with suspicion from Wayrest and its own family. Thus, life for a Sunblessed is rarely carefree and joyful as the traditions and laws of the House are forced down her throat.
Although the Gift is a strong asset, since the Blessed Ratio was forever lost and Dumontes' elven blood diluted, the Gift diminished over time and at present would be considered laughable by Durmontu standards. Nevertheless, it is a powerful boon, providing a lot of passive benefits like a higher magicka pool, magic resistance and magicka regeneration. The Gift may only manifest if enough elven blood is present within the child, so all Sleeper Dumontes have no access whatsoever to the active power. Although the passive benefits of the Gift affect all Dumontes and have aided them in upholding their reputation as powerful mages, only the Sunblessed can channel their inborn power, which in-game would be known either as “Child of Aetherius” or “Child of Magnus”. The power can be used once per day, and upon activation the Sunblessed radiates bright Aetherial light, a flurry of white energies enveloping the caster’s body. For the duration of the power, the passive bonuses are doubled and all schools of magic are enhanced, in addition to the light searing nearby enemies. While powerful in its own right, the Gift ultimately serves as the definitive “mage steroid” and therefore the actual power of the Sunblessed is dependent on their knowledge and power as a mage. The stronger the child is in the arcane arts, the deadlier their power. Additionally, the last surviving tome of Direnni magics the Dumontes possess is full of spells and rituals of tremendous power, which can be cast only by a Sunblessed while the power is active. Also, it is speculated that the Sunblessed may be able to interact with objects that channel or hold Aetherial essences (like Ayleid wells or Nedic stones), although the theory is not confirmed so far.
Fun fact: Channeling the Gift causes intense ecstasy in the caster, a feeling many Sunblessed claim is stronger than orgasm and can be quite addictive in its own right.
A curse: Lorkhan’s Kiss
For all its benefits and powers, the Gift carries with it a considerable weakness that affects Sleepers and Sunblessed alike. No matter how dormant or miniscule the Aethera in Dumontes’ blood may be, even this small quantity reacts violently to its complete antithesis – Daedric essences. Thus, all Dumontes find Daedric weaponry, diseases or substances to be particularly lethal when used against them. While an unlucky adventurer might be crippled by an arrow to the knee, a Daedric arrow to the knee will take a Dumonte’s whole leg. Because of the Aethera in Dumontes’ blood, Daedric swords cut deeper and the wounds refuse to close, Daedric maces crush with a force that no Dumonte bone can take, and Daedric-derived diseases can kill the nobles in days, sometimes hours. On Tamriel, the most common forms of Daedric substances are Daedric weapons, as well as the supernatural diseases of vampirism and lycanthropy. The strength of the weaknesses depends on whether a Dumonte is a Sleeper or a Sunblessed, but all members of the family suffer from Lorkhan’s Kiss. What sunlight is to vampires and cold iron is to the fae, Daedric-derived substances and diseases are to the Dumontes.
For example, when a Sleeper Dumonte is affected by a strain of vampiric disease, he has around 50% chance of outright dying from it. If he “survives”, his vampiric weaknesses become more pronounced and he receives few of the benefits of his cursed kin. A Sunblessed almost always dies from vampiric diseases, usually in a lot of pain. If not, he would be a mindless, bloodthirsty beast for eternity, but few Sunblessed survive vamprirism. Similarly, a Sleeper Dumonte affected by the curse of the werebeast will survive the transformation, but will receive few benefits and will find it particularly hard to leave his beast form. A Sunblessed cursed with lycanthropy will never exit his beast form, roaming the wilds as a golden-eyed ravaging beast. Similarly to Molag Bal’s cursed disease, Periyte’s diseases being Daedric in origin are more often than not quite lethal to the Dumontes.
To illustrate the weakness in game terms, when a Sleeper is pierced with a Daedric sword, he receives +50% damage and will find it harder to cure his wounds. A Sunblessed would receive +100% damage, and the wound might not close for days instead. Some of the secret enemies of the House might know that the cleanest way to kill a Dumonte is simply to give an assassin a daedric arrow, dipped in vampire blood – if the shot doesn’t kill the noble, the cursed blood will finish him. A more magically-intense way is to summon and bind a Dremora, equipped with Daedric weapons, and set it against the Dumonte, or outright banish the Dumonte to a Daedric realm, where every facet of the alien dimension might kill the unfortunate soul.
This crippling weakness, however, has not stopped a fair few Dumontes from dabbling in the Daedric. In particular, the Dumontes have discovered that the energies of Meridia are not only safe for the family, but in some instances might even boost Dumonte magics. Likewise, for some mysterious reason Azura’s essence is not inimical towards the Dumontes, and it is theorized that Sheoggorath’s energies are safe. In any case, Daedra worship and vampirism will make a Dumonte tremble in fear, and thus the House has spent considerable resources in rooting out said worship and eradicate vampire covens. Still, the Montalion bloodline holds power in Gavaudon and Wayrest alike and they are one of the most ancient enemies of the House. Montalion vampires have noted that Sunblessed blood is quite bitter to their taste, carrying a faint burning sensation, although they don’t quite know why.
Note: Since they are not daedric in nature, Atronachs and lesser familiars are no more deadly than a reanimated corpse.
An oddity: Remnants of madness
The ancient Durmontu were famed for their strong passions, extreme moods and fear-inspiring madness. Although Lorkhan’s Kiss is considered to be the traditional weakness of the Durmontu/Dumontes, something happened during the Long Night and it changed the bloodline forever. Whether it was the practice of incest, the curse of an ancient Witch-King, or simply some obscure quality of Aethera, the Durmontu that emerged in Gavaudon and the Dumontes of the first era still suffered from great affliction of the mind. This madness has disappeared with the dawn of the second era, but it occasionally resurfaces in Sunblessed Dumontes, which makes for a particularly challenging situation. Although the famed flamboyancy of the Sunblessed is attributed to this madness, it is most often just a display of self-grandeur, individuality and a form of rebellion. True madness is rare nowadays and woe to those Dumontes who are unlucky enough to bear a mad-struck Sunblessed child for it would be a most difficult task to prepare the child for rulership.
Religion and spirituality:
Perhaps it is ironic that, like many other things, the Dumontes worship Phynaster much more fervently than the Durmontu ever did. While the Clan preached of Phynaster’s teachings and paid lip service to him, the elven god just served as a cultural link to the Direnni and a means to brainwash nedic slaves. During the Long Night, however, it was Phynaster who gave solace to the maddened Durmontu, alongside the Phynaster’s Wisdom elixir. Upon arrival in Gavaudon Phynaster was considered a true patron to the bloodline, his wisdom and teachings keeping at bay the inner demons and uncontrollable passions of the Durmontu. It was during the reinvention of their identity that the early Dumontes put almost fanatical emphasis on the elven god and associated their house culture and traditions with him. Since the early Dumontes still suffered from madness and emotional instability, worshipping Phynaster was associated with self-control, calmness of the mind and dulling one’s passions and these values are still valid for the modern Dumontes, even if the madness has subsided long ago and such strictness and obsession with self-discipline is no longer necessary.
In addition to the usual Phynasterian virtues of patience and perseverance, the Dumontes have added the virtues of self-discipline and temperance to Phynaster worship. The strict traditionalism and secrecy of the house, as well as the almost stoic attitude of its elders, was synchronized with an interpretation of the God as patron of the wary, the patient, the strong-willed and the mentally balanced. Display of strong passions, loss of control, rash decisions and the breaking of order are seen as antithetical to the values of the god per Dumonte interpretation and thus worship of him is seen as identical to respect for family traditions. Whether the times are favorable or catastrophic, the Dumontes always worship Phynaster first and his ideals have contributed to the Dumontes being better at seeing long-term outcomes and the larger conceptual picture – but also to being rigid and unadaptable in the face of sudden change.
Magnus has always been the number one patron of the Durmontu, but for the Dumontes he is considered a secondary patron, especially since Sleepers first came into existence. As the Sunblessed condition became a rarity, the god was much more strongly associated with these golden-eyed children. Reverence for the Architect is still important, as the Dumontes put emphasis on magic and knowledge, and he is a critical cultural link between the people of Gavaudon and their rulers, to the point that the Dumontes have assimilated the imagery of Magnus as the “Weeping Celestial”. Nevertheless, the god is considered to be a true patron only to Sunblessed children, while Sleeper Dumontes’ fervor for him depends on personal preference and interest in magic. Still, reverence for Magnus must always be displayed to the masses, even if his importance has waxed and waned within the house.
When talking about Sheor, the Dumontes always refer to him by his elven name. In Dumonte culture, Lorkhan is the worst of all evils, the progeny of Padomay, brother of the Daedra, bringer of chaos and corruption, the Doom Drum that disrupted Anu's Harmony. To be called “Progeny of Lorkhan” is considered a grave offence within the house and the dangerous weakness of the family, related to Daedric essences, was aptly named in mock honor of this hated deity.
Artifacts and heirlooms:
Codex av Latta: Also known as the Tome of Light, this is an ancient Direnni book filled with spells and rituals of tremendous power, specifically designed for the Sunblessed and their Aethera. The book is clearly of elven design, with a large gem embedded on its cover, and seems to have a limited sentience of its own – it is so stubborn and temperamental, it refuses to open except to trained Sunblessed and those individuals of great patience who have bothered to “court” the book into compliance. The rituals and incantations within are of great power, but the majority can only be cast by a Sunblessed while their power is active as they take considerable time and resources. The book is written in old Altmeris, although hand-written notes in Altmeri-nedic can be seen all over, adding details to spells and rituals – including the addition of blood rituals.
The Chalice of Potency: An artifact rumored to have been crafted from the same white crystal that adorned Castle Durmontu, this goblet bears a complex enchantment which enhances the magical properties of any liquid held within, including blood. Besides the obvious alchemical functions, it is a favoured item for conducting Dumonte rituals.
Adrianna’s Might: An adamantium staff of Direnni design, said to have been crafted specially for Adrianna herself. The staff holds powerful, Aetherial-based spells and is a privileged heirloom only for Sunblessed Dumontes, but is sometimes used in the conduction of family rituals. Unlike other Direnni staves, the staff seems to have held a crystal at its core, although currently it is empty and has been so ever since the Durmontu first arrived in Gavaudon. The Dumontes have often fitted enchanted crystals to use the staff to its full capacity, but all these crystals break sooner or later. Whatever the original gem, it would be up to the player to fix the staff.... maybe.
Shiny: In order to display their status, the Dumonte Lord or Lady wears a circlet and a pendant outfitted with enchanted pieces of white crystal (the Dumontes do like their crystals). The Circlet is named Elanya's Widom, while the pendant - Arandil's Promise.
Rituals of the Dumontes: Power in the blood
Although the majority of Dumonte magics are powerful rituals designed by the Direnni, the most iconic Dumonte incantations used on regular basis are nothing more than nedic blood magic. The majority of these were designed by the early Dumontes for various purposes, based on older Durmontu blood magic. Again, “nedic magic through the prism of elven theory”. All rituals are presided over by the Magister (see below) and are conducted within the Arcane Sanctum.
Embracing the Light: Perhaps the most iconic modern ritual, Embracing the Light was designed to awaken the power within Sleeper Dumontes (which obviously didn’t work) and it serves as the final ceremony for coming of age for the modern Dumontes. The young adult must fill the Chalice of Potency with her blood, which will enhance the Aethera within. The Dumonte must then “ignite” the Aethera with a complex incantation so that a bright, white Aetherial flame engulfs the blood. Finally, the Dumonte strips naked and pours the “burning” liquid on herself, which simulates the feeling of channeling the Sunblessed power. The fire slowly burns the mana of the caster, but beyond the initial discomfort the Dumonte feels powerful and ecstatic, as if she herself is a Sunblessed. If the spell is not cast correctly, the fire may incinerate the poor soul, although the Magister usually makes sure the noble knows the spell well before the ritual. Performing the ritual too often may permanently burn the magicka of the addict (channeling the power does feel good). As a matter of formality, this ritual is also performed by the Sunblessed.
Nowadays the ritual serves to show the Dumontes why it is imperative to keep house traditions secret and to preserve the blood. It shows the Sleeper the legacy of the bloodline and the power that one day might be displayed, if the Dumontes play their cards right and are lucky enough to get a Sunblessed heir. It proves they are still Dumontes and carry the Gift in their veins, even if it’s dormant. In fact, before this ritual the Dumonte probably has never entered the Arcane Sanctum and is unaware of the majority of house secrets (like details about Clan Durmontu, the origins of the Gift etc). With the ritual comes an oath of service to family and House and all secrets and knowledge about the House are disclosed to the Dumonte, who is now considered a proper adult and a full member of the House. The ritual may be performed on those not of the blood as a reward, as they will temporarily or permanently gain the passive benefits of the Dumonte Gift without being part of the family. Needless to say, it is a great honor for an outsider to be summoned to the Sanctum and to embrace the Light themselves.
Sealing the Gift: The Dumontes have been around for centuries, betrothing their children to other noble houses, and yet no Sunblessed have been born outside of the Dumonte estate – for good reason. This ritual was designed by the early Dumontes after two Sunblessed children were born to other families, which necessitated the unfortunate assassination of those toddlers, for nobody outside the family must learn the House secrets. In order to make sure the Gift stays with the family, the Dumontes devised this blood ritual which looks surprisingly simple for such a powerful tool. The ritual effectively renders the Aethera within a Sleeper’s veins inert, blocking the Dumonte’s ability to pass on the Gift to her children. It doesn’t remove the passive benefits of the blood, nor does it alleviate Lorkhan’s Kiss – it simply means the Aethera will not pass to the Dumonte’s heirs. It might seem cruel that the family shows its Sleepers what it feel like to be Sunblessed and then blocks the Aethera in their blood, but the interests of the House always come first, and only the heir to the House has the right to sire Sunblessed children.
The ritual is conducted only when it is clear that the Dumonte will be sent to another House, or she chooses to travel through Tamriel and take life into her own hands (a feat in itself). Thus, sooner or later all Dumonte children safe for the heir will undergo this ritual, which is mildly painful, but otherwise quick. If the ritual is performed twice on the same Sleeper, the Aethera becomes unblocked permanently. The ritual works on Sunblessed, but it also lessens the might of their inborn power. Channeling the Gift may actually unblock the Aethera, which would necessitate another cast of the ritual.
Witness Malormo’s Judgement: Perhaps the only true Durmontu blood ritual, this incantation is an effective death sentence for any Sunblessed unlucky enough to rouse the ire of Clan and House. It is thought to cause excruciating agony, as if one is simultaneously being flayed and burned from within. The spell, which takes a while to fully cast, forcefully extracts the Aethera from the Sunblessed’s veins and transfers it to another vessel/object, with the Sunblessed dying as its veins explode in a scene of gore and screams. This ritual has never been used in modern Dumonte history and serves as a morbid reminder of the cruelty Clan Durmontu was willing to inflict on its own blood.
*Note: Depending on his/her choices, the player will have the chance to witness some of these rituals.
Death by Fire: Even though the Dumontes have changed much, they have still retained their northern (aka nedic) burial rites. For the Dumontes, fire is a leser form of Aetherial Light and is thus a sacred element with strong cleansing qualities. Thus, the Dumontes always cremate their dead as they believe that burning the body would help the soul reach Aetherius faster and safer. This has carried over to the penal code, and as a result the death sentence in Gavaudon is death by fire (the purest death). The commoners of Gavaudon, however, have not adopted their lords' burial rites, except for the rare few sycophants who desire to appease the lords.
Titles within the Gavaudon Court:
The Lord/Lady: The ruler of Gavaudon and head of the House of Dumonte. A Sunblessed always becomes the Lord/Lady.
The Castellan: Similarly to the stewards and castellans of other kingdoms, the Gavaudon castellan is responsible for the upkeep of the Dumonte estate and all nearby settlements, as well as other administrative duties. More importantly, the Castellan serves as an economic advisor to the Lord or Lady and until recently was exclusively chosen from the senior members of the Gavaudon Merchant’s Guild. Although the Guild forms a council for the Lord/Lady, more often than not the Castellan speaks “for the people” and influenced Gavaudon trade policy.
The Magister: Superficially, the Magister appears to be the Wizard advisor to the ruler of Gavaudon, preoccupied with matters of the arcane and the supernatural. This, however, is a gross simplification of the importance of this individual. The Magister is a wizard who not only conducts magical research on behalf of the House, but also is responsible for reminding the Lord/Lady to uphold House traditions at all times. The Magister must master the common Dumonte rituals, become acquainted with Dumonte and Durmontu history, serve as a healer and must protect House secrets at all costs. The Magister is responsible for the continuation of House traditions between the generations and for drilling Phynasterian worship and House virtues into the minds of younger Dumontes, especially the heirs. For all intents and purposes, the Magister is there to always remind the Dumontes of their culture, to oversee and protect their arcane secrets, to tutor the young when the Lord/Lady is unable to, and to make sure that in the case of a dead Lord, Lady or heir, the next Dumonte in line is properly tutored and upholds House virtues. Effectively the Magister acts as a healer, babysitter, priest of Phynaster and Magnus, wizard and confidant simultaneously.
Because cultural continuation between generations and House secrets are so important to the family, the Magister has always been an Altmer, for only a loyal individual with a long lifespan can successfully perform the complex duties of this position – not to mention he must also worship Phynaster and be intimately acquainted with Altmeri culture. The only time the Direnni have any real influence on the Dumontes (besides tutoring Sunblessed) is when a new Magister must be appointed, for it is not a simple matter. The individual must be trustworthy and loyal to the Dumontes, but also friendly with the Direnni for it is them who recommend candidates for the Magister position. At times, choosing the right Magister can take years or decades, which is understandable given the responsibilities of the title. The Magister is nominally considered a member of the House and receives the benefits of “Embracing the Light”, and is the only person in the household beyond the Lord/Lady who has access to the Arcane Sanctum.
The Paragon: One part bodyguard, one part knight, one part mercenary – the Paragon is mainly in charge with keeping the Dumontes alive in the face of aggression. What is less known is that he is also responsible for finding and taking back Dumonte youths who have escaped too far away in a fit of rebellion, or to protect travelling Dumontes. The least savory part of the job is when a Sunblessed bastard is born or an enemy of the House learns one of the family’s secrets. In those rare cases the Paragon has the duty to hire an assassin or eliminate the threat himself to keep the House safe. These decisions are not taken lightly, but the Dumontes are willing to go to extremes to preserve House secrets when all other options are exhausted.
Lord Gaspard Dumonte: The current head of the House, Lord Gaspard is the perfect Dumonte – strict, measured, patient, stubborn and traditionalist. He is a shining example of Dumonte culture and etiquette, but struggles severely with his stubborn and temperamental children.
Etienne Dumonte: The firstborn son of Lord Gaspard and the first Sunblessed to be born in four generations. He is, to his father's contempt, carefree, flamboyant and stubborn. Charismatic and eloquent, Etienne works at the Wayrest Academy as a Grand Enchanter. He doesn't take his position as sunblessed seriously, and has so far fucked his way through Wayrest kingdom with men and women. He is the current heir of the House, although his position was disputed by his twin brother Francois.
Francois Dumonte: Francois and Etienne were born twins, yet Francois is considered the secondborn son, and unlike Etienne he was born a Sleeper. Francois has always strived to be the perfect Dumonte, to exemplify all Dumonte virtues and win the respect of his father. He believes he is more fit to rule than his twin brother and is convinced he would bring honor and pride to his house.
Clarisse Dumonte: The thirdborn child of Lord Dumonte, Clarisse is a headstrong and independent young lady who vehemently opposes her father’s plans to betroth her to some Dwynnen lord she hasn’t even seen. She is probably the best candidate to rule Gavaudon, but sadly her brothers’ quarrels and House traditions overshadow her talents.
Marcel Dumonte: He is the fourth child of Lord Dumonte, still a child in fact. Little Marcel would like to become a Knight and serve in the Wayrest army. He is, unfortunately, also very stubborn and openly defies his father.
Telinturco of Firsthold: The current Magister of House Dumonte, Telinturco arrived in High Rock to serve the Dumontes three decades ago. He is calm, intelligent and loyal, but never speaks of his origins or the reason why he left Summerset. He seems to have a strong dislike for the Thalmor.
Caranya of Skywatch: Commander Caranya is the Thalmor representative in Gavaudon and is in charge of the negotiations with Wayrest and the Dumontes. She is quite arrogant and belittling and seems quite eager to explore every bit of the Dumonte estate.
Lady Corinne Blanchard: A Wayrest merchant loyal to the crown, Corinne is the current Castellan of Gavaudon. She feels much disoriented in the current tension between the Thalmor and Lord Dumonte and knows nothing of Dumonte’s secrets.
Relyn of Blacklight: The personal guard and current lover of Etienne. Relyn is quiet, focused and morose, but feels deeply for Etienne. He used to be in service of House Redoran and then adventured as a pirate. Lord Dumonte is particularly bitter about his heir having an affair with a Dunmer. A Dunmer! Can you imagine?!
Whether or not it's considered an Altmeri virtue, the Dumontes tend to be proud of their heritage to the point they almost worship their ancestors and sometimes boast of their ancestor's accomplishments when the need arises. Although the family currently keeps the ashes only of their Dumonte ancestors, the list includes both Durmontu and Dumontes, both those respected and despised by the family. It is important to note that the Dumontes tend to discuss and remember their modern, Dumonte ancestors much more than their Durmontu predecessors - when speaking of the Clan, the family is considerably vague and secretive, further confusing outsiders on the exact history of their bloodline. The names below are essentially a compiled list of the ancestors I've mentioned throughout the post:
* Durarta of the Monteku, Root of our Nedic blood, Keeper of Secrets, blessed be her name
* Ryain the Conqueror, Root of our Elven blood, Leader of man and mer, blessed be his name
* Adrianna the Sunblessed, the Child of Light, Progeny of Magnus, First of our kind, blessed be her name.
* Malormo the Cruel, Who fairly judged those of our blood, blessed be his name
* Elanya the Merciful, Whose kindness moved the cruel Witch-Kings, blessed be her name
* Arandil the Vengeful, Whose wrath burned bright in the Long Night, blessed be his name
* Nelacar the Bold, Whose bravery led us through the Thorned Path, blessed be his name
* Faritaale the Shrewd, Who stole Gavaudon from the unjust and the ruthless, blessed be her name
* Mathis the Deranged, Who commited the most heinous of crimes, shame upon his name, Progeny of Lorkhan
* Arnauld the Wise, Who showed us our path when fate was uncertain, blessed be his name
* Helaine the Radiant, Whose sacrifice halted the intrusions of Molag Bal, blessed be her name
* Ilyes the Apologist, Who denounced our Direnni blood, shame upon his name, Progeny of Lorkhan
* Elise the Unshakable, Who defied the will of Emperor Talos, blessed be her name
* Nicolas the Wild, Who thought himself kin to bears, shame upon his name, Progeny of Lorkhan
* Alexandre the Inquisitive, Whose ingenuity forever changed our esteemed University, blessed be his name
* Cheval the Fearless, Who fought valiantly against the forces of the Thalmor, blessed be his name
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Dobyk added a topic in High Rock WritingHouse Cassius - Glory in StrifeHey everyone,
Yet another house for development. So many noble houses in Wayrest! Here I will be presenting information about House Cassius, the rivals to House Dumonte. If I have to be honest I haven't put in as much detail to the Cassius, since their existence is justified by their opposition to Dumonte, but for the sake of completeness and development I did spend time thinking about the history and psychology of the house, their goals and dreams. You will notice that while they are much younger than the Dumontes, their blood runs hot and their ambitions reach high. They are in many ways the yang to Dumonte's ying, and I think their interactions in-game would be quite... interesting The post will be concise, but hopefully enjoyable!
Name: House Cassius. The founder of the house actually changed his name to "Cassius" after one of his favourite Imperial scholars.
Nicknames: The Dragons, the Pious, Champions of Akatosh's Fury (self-titled)
Motto: "Glory in Strife" . The motto refers to the military experience of the Cassius, and how they always emerge victorious in their service to the Empire. Their name is forged in their battle experience.
Banner: A roaring dragon's head, black on crimson (colors of the Imperial Legion). After House Cassius became the rulers of Urvaius, the banner changed to a crowned dragon's head, same colors. The dragonhead represents both Akatosh and the Empire, while the addition of the crown is to signify the elevated position of Cassius from Lords to Counts.
Signature appearance: The Cassius look more Imperial than Breton, and in particular Colovian. They tend to have tanned skin, dark hair and hazel eyes.
Since House Cassius is a relatively young house, I will look at their history in two broad periods: before and after the Warp in the West.
Pre-Warp in the West - Origins and development:
The origins of House Cassius lie in a small farming village in the fiefdom of Reich Gradkeep (modern Anticlere), where the ancestors of the Cassius were a small farmer family named Bebel. The Bebels were honorable, humble and diligent, ever toiling for their lords and masters, one of the many who lived in the shadows of the aristocracy. The Bebels remained a small farming family until a young boy named Gebrin Bebel decided to do all in his power to rise above the poverty of his lot and become a knight. Gebrin, born around 2E 834, wanted to be something more than a mere farmer and at the tender age of 10 did his best to convince a knight, any knight, to take him as a squire. Although the boy was illiterate and scrawny, an old and sour mercenary accepted the boy as an apprentice and under his tutelage Gebrin eventually learned not only the basics of swordplay and tactics, but also how to read - the very first book he read from cover to cover were the musings of the Imperial scholar Thrasitus Cassiopelus in his "Eight eight virtues of an Imperial Legionnaire". What was essentially a book lauding imperial culture and military might opened Gebrin's eyes to the vastness of Tamriel, and the heart of the Empire that is Cyrodiil. As the squire read more and more on the province of Cyrodiil and its inhabitants, he dreamed to partake of the bravery and discipline of the legionnaires, imagined himself as a stoic soldier in the vast armies of the Empire. Suddenly the desire for knighthood diminished, and the dreams to explore and serve cosmopolitan Cyrodiil emerged.
At first Gebrin desired to leave for Cyrodiil and join the legions, but reaching the central province proved too expensive and arduous at that moment, so Gebrin promised himself to finish his apprenticeship and then earn enough money to reach Cyrodiil. For eight years did Gebrin toil under his bitter master, when the latter was hired by Breton nobles to fight in what became known as the "Battle of Sancre Tor". Naturally, the mercenary's apprentice was to follow his master and aid him in the battle, and thus young Gebrin headed to the Cyrodilic border earlier than expected. In this famed battle, Tiber Septim himself fought on the side of King Cuhlecain, and it is that in this very encounter Tiber Septim awed his enemies with the raw power of the Thu'um. The allied forces of Nords and Bretons opposing the king shattered, with the Nords joining Tiber Septim's side and praising him under the name "Talos". The Breton nobles, battlemages and mercenaries, however, were either enslaved or butchered, or so most people believed. One young man, with both fire and fear in his eyes, stepped forward and demanded he serve general Talos.
Thus, Gebrin Bebel joined the forces of the emperor-to-be General Talos, and in many ways his dreams to see the heart of the empire and to serve a mighty emperor came to fruition. Gebrin soon joined the Imperial legions, which allowed him to both hone his martial skills and explore Cyrodilic culture, and after several years of service he married the daughter of a Colovian general and even changed his name to "Gebero Cassius", his new surname honoring the great scholar and patriot Cassiopelus. It was during Gebero's early military career that Tiber Septim was crowned emperor, and in the service of his legions Cassius became a mighty warrior and a disciplined soldier, shedding blood and sweat for Tiber, viewing him as an exemplar of what every Imperial, no, every self-respecting human should strive to be. It was Gebero's years serving under Tiber that shaped him into the good Imperial citizen that he was to become. For the Cassius, the dream of a united empire under Septim rule was the highest ideal, and no life was to be spared to make it a reality.
After uniting Cyrodiil, Tiber Septim turned his eyes to High Rock and Hammerfell, a time when Gebero had already become a general and was eagerly expecting to convince his fellow Bretons to join Septim willingly. Although there was conflict and bloodshed in the conquest of High Rock, Tiber proved shrewd enough and took advantage of the fractious Breton kingdoms, turning them against each other and winning strategic allies. Gebero Cassius also played a role, particularly in his native Reich Gradkeep, where he took the Septim agenda to heart and put rebellious nobles under the mercy of his blade. The rest Gebero pleaded with, putting his Imperial diplomatic skills to convince the wise and the opportunistic that the Breton kingdoms would be stronger and more prosperous under Imperial rule. Thus these nobles supported the joining of Reich Gradkeep, and consequently High Rock, into the Septim Empire. Gebero himself was lauded and respected in his native fiefdom, being given the title of "Lord" and was praised by both Imperials and Bretons as a force of peace and stability that promoted Imperial rule.
It was at this point that Gebero faced a crossroad in his life, being given several opportunities. On one hand, he desired to go back to Cyrodiil, where he would be lauded as a hero and a veteran, although life in the heart of the Empire did not promise a noble title. On the other hand, Gebero had a genuine desire to take care of his poor family and elevate them to true noble status, and even more importantly - he felt it was his mission to continue to inspire his fellow Bretons to observe the laws of the Empire and to absorb as much Imperial culture as possible for the good of the citizens of Reich Gradkeep. As Gebero was confounded with his dilemma, suddenly a third option emerged - a variety of Breton and Imperial minor nobles and merchants desired to create a new kingdom within High Rock, one with a stronger Imperial influence. Gebero saw this as a perfect opportunity to both stay in High Rock and promote Imperial culture, and thus House Cassius decided to join the founders of this new land, which became the County of Urvaius.
The establishment of the county, with its territory, cities and infrastructure took a decade to complete, not to mention the flood of peasants and merchants looking to move into the brand new county. Before the process began Gebero signed a contract with his fellow founders that ensured he would receive the title of baron and he would be part of the decision to choose a Count to rule. After he moved his family to their new castle and settled his immediate affairs, Gebero decided matters were stable enough for him to join the armies of Septim once more as he was still a capable general willing to prove his valor. Thus Cassius continued to serve the Imperial legions for a decade, fighting in numerous battles where he proved his intellect and might, helping Tiber secure Elsweyr and Valenwood. All was well until he was crippled by a Bosmeri arrow and eventually forced to retire from service with honors. Eventually, he returned to Urvaius to claim his status and elect a Count, only to find the county had already moved on with his family living in misery in some dilapidated mansion, and Urvaius being ruled by what he believed was a most despicable man.
Rohall of House Leroy, an opportunistic and corrupt merchant prince, had already become the Count, and an elite circle of nobles had formed around him squandering for attention and gold. The Cassius were not barons of even marquises as arranged, but mere lords and ladies relegated to the outskirts of political life. Enraged, Gebero demanded justice and swift compensation for the breaking of the contract, to which Rohall only laughed, supported by most of his court. Without immediate imperial support Gebero cited the bretic laws and demanded a trial by combat, to which the Count adamantly protested and instead accused Gebero of treason for a murder attempt. With some exaggeration of words and hired witnesses, Gebero had to face either death or banishment, and of course he chose the latter. Humiliated and fearing for the lives of his family, he retreated to fair Reich Gradkeep, where he still held a noble title, returning to his ancestral lands for the near future.
While he was a relatively minor noble in his fiefdom, Cassius had already established a reputation of fierceness, discipline, justice and utter faith in the Imperial doctrines, and was met with much respect, although relatives of the nobles he executed were angered he returned. After a few failed assassination attempts and the death sentences of the instigators, life for Cassius was once again peaceful and secure, although they could hardly bear the insult of the Leroys. For many years did the nobles appeal to the Imperial court for justice, yet Imperial magistrates were unable to fulfill his demands as his trial in Urvaius was technically legal. Gebero received some monetary recompense, but in the end even the Cyrodilics could not intervene without causing a major conflict. Thus, Cassius were forced to contend with the fate of Urvaius, and Gebero decided that a life in his fiefdom might after all be better than contending with the scum that is the Urvaius political elite. With a noble title, land and much respect from the ruling nobles and many commoners, Gebero was willing to stay in Reich Gradkeep and not move into Cyrodiil.
For many generations after Gebero, the Cassius would be known as loyal imperialists and expert soldiers in Cyrodiil, receiving honor and applause back in Reich Gradkeep. And yet, while their fellow Bretons respected them, the commoners and nobles were not infatuated with Cassius accomplishments and had a distinctly provincial mentality – the fiefdom has never been particularly obsessed with Imperial values, nor disdainful of them, and has largely adopted a positive, albeit neutral and aloof, stance towards imperialization. For many Cassius over the centuries, regardless of how much blood they have spilled and how many conflicts they have earned their honor in, glory and laurels was not a reward they got in their native fiefdom. On several occasions the house was even tempted to relocate to Cyrodiil, yet the Cassius still couldn’t get over the fact Urvaius banished them in such a despicable manner. Provincial and quaint Reich Gradkeep did not offer grand celebrations of Cassius accomplishments, but it was a comfortable and familiar spot to observe the fate of Urvaius, and what a fate it was.
Although it was founded with the greatest of expectations, the independent county never stood out as a political or economic force, and in fact was regarded as a “poor, backwater state” by its neighbors. The original plans to turn Urvaius into a sprawling merchant hotspot and center of imperial culture did not work out as intended, and in just a century the territory was nothing more than a poor, isolated, quiet and barely operational county which was able to make ends meet, yet remained in the background of regional affairs. The Leroys and their nobles did not have the necessary political and economic clout, or connections within High Rock, to make it all work and by the end of the second era even the inhabitants accepted their status of “backwater state”. The Cassius watched in quiet anger as their promised land was brought to a stagnation, hoping to one day seize the opportunity to prove their skills as competent and just rulers and help Urvaius rise from the mud. The opportunity did not present itself and the centuries went on, and yet Cassius kept a close watch.
After the Warp in the West:
For many generations the Cassius held strong ties with the Imperial Legion, providing many generals and legionnaires and returning to Reich Gradkeep, now Anticlere, to live out their veteran years in peace and modest admiration, with no expectations of high accolades and parades from their provincial fellows. And just when they thought all hope to reclaim Urvaius was lost, the mysterious Warp in the West struck. In the chaotic aftermath of the explosion most nobles, including the ruling Leroy, died and the county was truly ravaged by the mystic explosion. The Cassius immediately set off to aid any survivors and help rebuild whatever was left in the territory, impressing the survivors with their compassion and sense of duty.
Naturally, the remaining commoners were quick to proclaim Cassius as the new rulers of Urvaius, thankful for the aid the house provided in this most dire time. It was shortly after the war that Wayrest invaded Urvaius and declared it part of the Kingdom of Wayrest. The Cassius did not challenge Wayrest and actually welcomed the kingdom, believing it would be much more beneficial and profitable for Urvaius to join the kingdom and Cassius believed they have not only reclaimed their right, but now they would receive the proper accolades and praises they have always coveted. The title of “Count”, they believed, finally matched their accomplishments and contributions to both High Rock and the Empire.
In the initial years after the Warp Urvaius was on a hard and arduous road of recovery, with little hope it would ever match its former condition, no matter how poor it was. Although disheartened, Cassius felt almost at home in the kingdom, which had already assimilated much of imperial culture and resembled cosmopolitan Cyrodiil, and this perception was strengthened as Wayrest did finance some of the early reconstruction of Urvaius. The house was hopeful that their military accomplishments and strong ties with the Legion would bring in more gold and attention from Wayrest, as Cassius believed their military accomplishments and strong ties to the Legion would prove powerful tools to aid Wayrest diplomacy with Imperial dignitaries. Indeed, initially Cassius were frequent members of the Wayrest court, welcomed by all with high praise, and applauded by Imperial diplomats. The increasing role of Cassius in court brought more gold into Urvaius coffers, and for two decades it seemed the house was finally receiving its due treatment, and its county was fast tracking on the road to prosperity. Alas, Wayrest is a tricky place, where favor and gold seldom flow in one direction, where title and land rarely hold any real meaning, where the only thing that matters is function and opportunity. It was a bitter lesson for Cassius.
Although the years right after the Warp proved fruitful for Cassius, eventually Wayrest’s support for the county waned and once again it was relegated to its former status of “backwater state”. The dream of turning Urvaius into a mercantile center of Imperial culture once again seemed illusory as Wayrest nobility paid less and less attention to the county, until the Cassius felt almost ostracized. The Cassius were bewildered as it was hard for them to comprehend how a house with the title of Count, coupled with land holdings and hundreds of military accolades could be so easily sidelines to the outskirts of court attention. Indeed the Cassius tried to assert their role as diplomatic facilitators, but even that did not suffice for Wayrest already had well-established relations with the Empire and a network of Breton nobles with high standing amongst Imperial diplomats. It seemed Cassius were no longer needed, and as the years went by they were increasingly seen as attention-seeking and bothersome by the Wayrest court. The constant need for praise, for attention and for gold soured Cassius’ relations with the court, while Urvaius was entering the greatest economic and cultural depression since its creation. It was no secret that the Wayrest royalty was regretting its decision to acquire the county just for the sake of owning it, as the costs simply outweighed the benefits.
Cassius grew angrier and more distraught with each passing decade, for even their sacrifices and bravery in the defense of the Imperial City during the Oblivion Crisis did little to appease the lords and ladies of Wayrest. It was around this time that Cassius began to grow increasingly frustrated with House Dumonte, a simple lordly house ruling the small fiefdom of Gavaudon. A certain rivalry was brewing between the two houses, or rather, Cassius were growing more and more frustrated at the mere thought that a house of such low position, with no significant military accomplishments and a dubious loyalty to the Empire could possess a lot more power and favor from Wayrest than the honorable, fierce and distinguished Dragons. Although the tension intensified, it was not until the Great War and the instability in Cyrodiil and the Empire itself that Cassius began to clash severely with the Dumontes.
The Great War was not only a shame to the Empire, but a massive stain on the honor of Cassius, who lost two members of the house to the wretched Thalmor. As the Kingdom of Wayrest did all its best to balance the new elven influence in the empire, a strong anti-mer stance began to emerge in Cassius as they were convinced these blasphemous elves would bring nothing but ruin to the glory of the Empire. Although largely cosmopolitan in their views, the Cassius grew increasingly bigoted and fanatical about the dangers of Altmer influence, and this budding racism further soured relations with the Dumontes. Not only were Cassius ostracized by the Wayrest court, their county rotting in its poverty, ignored by its neighbors and even Imperial dignitaries, but the lowly Dumontes, with all their heresies and dangerous elven relations still held significant power from their miserable fiefdom. The Cassius anti-mer propaganda became even more pronounced, and they simply could not believe how such a minor family as Dumonte, with no royal or military titles, and with obvious connections to the loathed Direnni could possess so much prestige. Was everyone blind?! Certainly these deluded elf-lovers would bring ruin to Wayrest and the Empire! Something had to be done.
Although Cassius have a reputation for fierceness and bravery, few people realize they are also cunning strategists and, in some circumstances, ruthless enemies. Unfortunately for the Dumontes, after the Great War the discussion on all things Direnni and all things elven was once again revived, and the Cassius saw an opportunity to add oil to the fire. Although more than half of the Wayrest court still supports the Dumontes, Cassius use every opportunity to shake their reputation and accuse them of conspiring with the Thalmor to bring authoritarian elven rule upon Wayrest. Already some have begun to ponder the usefulness of the Dumontes, and even the Queen of Wayrest is growing restless with the failed Dumonte-Thalmor negotiations. Meanwhile, a sense of fear and quiet anger is rising among the commoners, who are more susceptible to buy into the Cassius propaganda. What was once a proud and honorable house of warrior has now turned into a scheming nest, out of desperation and hopelessness – both for the Empire and for Urvaius. The Cassius are also trying to win the favor of those who have until now ignored them, like the Dwynnens and Kambrians, and to turn the tide against Dumonte and the Thalmor influence.
For the Cassius there is no greater sin than to destroy Imperial culture and bow to elfkind, and thus the Dumontes are unworthy of their petty lands and political powers. Perhaps if the Dumontes were to disappear, Cassius could influence Wayrest and instigate resistance against the Thalmor. Perhaps if the Dumontes were to disappear, small Gavaudon could turn into a centre of Imperial resistance within High Rock. Perhaps if the Dumontes were to disappear, Cassius could once again receive the praise and respect they deserve and to bring their county to glory and prosperity. Is this blindness rage, or simply the desperate actions of a desperate people?
Major battles, in which Cassius have participated:
*Battle of Sancre Tor
*War of the Isle
* War of the Red Diamond
*War of the Usurper
*War for Betony
*The Great War
*The Skyrim Rebellion
Beliefs and Traditions:
Religion: Just like the Dumontes had their religious particularities, so do the Cassius. Above all, they worship Akatosh and Shezzar as the greatest forces that represent the human spirit and the divine sanctity of the Empire. Akatosh, for them, is the supreme representation of the Empire, and thus most worthy to worship. They also worship Talos and perfectly realize that in many ways Talos and Shezzar represent the same concept - the human hero, the human spirit. Thus, the Cassius have a heresy of their own, worshiping Talos right under the Thalmor's noses.
General ideology and demeanor: The Empire must be preserved at all costs. That is the quintessential Cassius worldview. Also, discipline, loyalty, order, hierarchy, valor - these are all qualities the Cassius value immensely. It's not that the house is full of stoic and noble men and women, but they do want to believe they are Colovians in disguise, exhibiting the stern and disciplined culture of these northern imperials. Also, magic and poison are seen as inferior skills, unless combined with battle tactics and physical prowess. Given that they are Bretons, Cassius don’t actually deride magic, they simply prefer the comfort of steel. Thus they don’t have any exemplary mages, although a fair number of Cassius battlemages have fought for the Empire. Also, while they hold cosmopolitan Cyrodilic values, Cassius still prefer that a human dynasty rules the Empire. All are accepted, yet humans make the best emperors and foreign influences are to be controlled and questioned.
Traditions: Above all, a Cassius is expected to know the basics of swordfighting, military tactics and strategies. The house has produced its fair share of Imperial soldiers, and on occasion diplomats and battlemages. Beyond all, duty to the Empire and to the family are seen as paramount.
Heirlooms: Three sets of superior imperial armors, swords and shields. They all bear the symbol of the house as well as that of the Empire.
The Cassius are mainly involved in trying to sabotage whatever the Dumontes are trying to do - the betrothal to the Dwynnens being a high priority target. Other than that they are trying to arrange for the sunblessed Etienne Dumonte to be given to a reach tribe, and they also have plans to assasinate either Clarisse or Gaspard, or why not both? Count Cassius uses a fiery language at court, but chooses his words carefully. Ideally, they would like to claim the wealth of Gavaudon and aim it towards Urvaius. Also, sabotaging Dwynnen-Dumonte relations might open the road to fostering good Cassius-Dwynnen and Cassius-Kambria relations. Perhaps even a betrothal could be at hand… In any case, supporting Cassius, as the PC, might run the risk of destabilizing the status quo just when Wayrest needs to be united and stable.
Ideally, there should be a peaceful solution to their conflict and a way to reconcile the two Houses, if the player plays his cards right.
*Count Quintulus Cassius: The current ruler of House Cassius. He is calm, calculating, headstrong and ruthless, believes in the superiority of his house and the power it deserves. He is very biased against mer and cannot wait to drive a sword through a Thalmor Soldier. He is, nevertheless, shrewd and patient enough to see his plans come to fruition, and also a good actor – given he knows when to speak passionately and when to convince calmingly.
*Countess Astinia Cassius: A woman of colovian blood, Astinia is the daughter of a Cyrodilic baron who betrothed her because he fought alongside Quintulus. She is used to being regarded in a higher position and has no compulsions to help her husband displace the Dumontes. She is intelligent, cold, yet seductive. Not a bad person, but ambitious enough to attain more power and prestige. She is kind of pissed because she expected more power from Cassius.
*Aventus Cassius: The firstborn child of Count Quintulus, and probably the most naïve Cassius. He is stoic, honorable and truly believes in the ideals of the house. He is currently somewhere in Skyrim, serving the Imperial Legion.
*Apronia Cassius: Secondborn child of Count Quintulus. A very ambitious young lady, which desires to marry into a suitable house as soon as possible. She is far from a virgin saint, and knows how to manipulate men, although she likes to play hard to get. She is charming, likeable and intelligent, and seems to be fond of the son of the Baroness of Dwynnen.
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Dobyk added a topic in High Rock WritingHouse Dumonte - Odyssey of the SunblessedHey everyone,
This is my draft post that would explore the history and lore of House Dumonte, a noble house ruling the fiefdom of Gavaudon. I am very proud of their humble beginnings from a family mentioned in a single sentence from ESO writers, to a full-fledged minor Breton house with a distinct elven heritage and significant contributions to Clan Direnni. They are part of the small community of Bretons that I casually refer to as the “elf lovers”, although they are unique in many ways. I will explore their history, culture, unique customs and traditions, as well as the political and economic power they have garnered. For me this house is very special because all of my Breton PCs were born in it, and now it moves from the realm of headcannon into the reality of this project. I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I have enjoyed developing the Dumontes J Clearly I go into too many details and only some information may be used in-game, but this is a comprehensive background lore anyway. It will be made in several posts.
Name: House Dumonte. The name is inspired from the name of the very first “Dumonte” – the nedic witch-healer Dularta of the Monteku coven.
Nicknames: The Sunblessed, the Elfborn (derogatory), the Heretics (used by Cassius), the Usurpers (used in Evermore), the Golden abominations (in the North)
Motto: “Ours is the Light”. Originally the motto was a (badly written) poem:
“Ours is the Light, our sun shines bright
Banished is the blight, for we forsook the night
Valor paved our pride and virtue saved our sight
Eternal is our right to embrace the sacred Light”.
Banner/Sigil: An eagle (phoenix) embracing the sun, gold on deep blue. The golden eagle represents both elven culture and the enlightened/perfected soul, while the sun represents magic and Aetherius. Banner is made by the amazing Waffles
Signature appearance: Wavy amber-brown hair and turquoise blue eyes. The sunblessed always possess golden eyes.
Origins and early history:
The origins of the house lie in the early first era, sometime around 1E 200. The story really begins when, as the Direnni-proper ascend to take over the power in High Rock, the diplomat and battlemage Ryain Direnni is saved by the nedic witch-healer Dularta of the Monteku coven after Ryain had been wounded and poisoned by reach tribesmen. Although the exact relationship between the elf and the nede wasn’t well documented, it was known that Ryain took the witch as his servant and eventually developed a deep infatuation for her. As the Perquisite du Coiton (the Direnni privilege of sleeping with any nede they desired) rose in prominence, most surprisingly Ryain desired no other concubine but Dularta alone. Eventually she bore a half-elven bastard girl named Adrianna. Dularta, however, died defending her master from yet another barbaric attack.
Whether out of pride, love for Dularta, or an arrogant desire to prove his blood superior, Ryain was for a time obsessed to prove his bastard daughter better than the myriad of other mongrels born of the intermingling of man and elf. The girl had a talent for magic, so Ryain turned to his cousin Raven Direnni, the sorceress. At this point in time many experiments, both fascinating and terrifying, were conducted upon nedes and beratu, and naturally Raven had a plan promising unparalleled magical power to Adrianna that would bring pride to Ryain.
The experiment was related to the elevation of elven blood within the mongrel, and thus the elevation of the hybrid into something superior, purer. Essentially, Raven summoned and concentrated a large amount of Aetherial energy directly from the sun, tying this raw energy into the elven “genes” of Adrianna. Miraculously the bastard survived, her body almost glowing with the raw presence of Aetherius. She was known as the very first sunblessed, a mongrel with extraordinary magical potential and fearsome powers, blessed by the grace of Auri-El and Magnus. Technically, as a half-elf, she was also the first official member of the Dumonte line, and thus its progenitor.
Adrianna served her father and the clan well for a few years, being used as a powerful weapon and a magical amplifier all the same. It is rumored she was the one to help Raven Direnni discover the processes of enchanting and soul binding, and she was the one to repel hundreds of attacks from nedes, Nords and Reachmen alike in Farrun. Yet, the overflow of Aetherial energy in her veins proved too much, and one day Adrianna died – her body literally crystalizing from the sheer force of aether. She did, however, leave a child from her half-elven husband (chosen by Ryain himself). The bloodline of what other jealous Bretons called “bastards of the Monteku wench” flourished, as many sunblessed children were born, even if the nedic appearance predominated and the bloodline eventually became part of the Breton race (as there were more Bretons than half-elves, and they were not allowed to marry elves). Adrianna's progeny at this point were one of few families among the privileged beratu who basked in the favour of the Direnni.
The line, in honour of Dularta of the Monteku, named itself “Dumonte” and had several contributions to Clan Direnni. They provided powerful sunblessed mages, they were given rulership positions and responsibilities across northeastern High Rock, settling in Castle Dumonte in Farrun around 1E 400. They aided the Direnni in several alchemical, ritual and enchanting discoveries, and they even fought at the Battle of Glenumbra Moors and helped Ryain conquer lands as far as Markarth. As the Direnni eventually lost momentum and began to retreat to Balfiera, the Dumontes were given the right to rule Farrun in their stead. Given that the northeast was ironically the last bastion of Direnni power resisting Nordic invaders, this was a great responsibility indeed. Castle Dumonte became their seat of power and was adorned by a beautiful spire made of pure, white crystal, inscribed with mosaics depicting Direnni accomplishments. It is even said the body of Adrianna itself was incorporated into the spire, which marked the pedigree of the Dumonte bloodline.
The Fall and the Long Night:
Unfortunately for the Dumontes, many Bretons coveted their position, and due to Farrun’s history of brutalities against nedes and Bretons, the local population had a sincere hatred for all things Direnni as well. So hated were the Dumontes that the competing nobles even allied with reach tribes in the hopes of countering the magics of the sunblessed. Although the Dumontes never truly harmed the local population, their name alone caused enough frustration. The rise of tensions eventually led to a bloody coup in 1E 567 and the complete destruction of Castle Dumonte, the death of all but two Dumontes and the loss of myriads of heirlooms. Avenall and Cerise Dumonte, the Orphaned, gathered all they could and escaped Farrun.
It was this period the Dumontes call “The Long Night”, for the Dumontes were persecuted as traitors and allies of the Direnni for about three centuries. They were one of the few privileged families in High Rock who, ironically, refused to taint Direnni’s name and participate in the orchestrated propaganda of other nobles. Avenall and Cerise, brother and sister, embraced in blasphemous incest to retain the elven blood in the line and protect their name, relying on the kindness and protection of strangers (commoners, villagers, even witches), a practice modern Dumontes do not like to bring up.
This was a period of incest, shame, constant persecutions (seems Farrun never forgets), a time when the oathbound tradition of the Dumontes flourished as the only thing left for them to trade in exchange for security was “a promise to pay our debts” and a piece of white crystal, salvaged from the spire. The Dumontes had to pretend to be mere commoners, revealing their identity only to a select few and promising them recompense for their favor. Particularly the villagers and nobles of White Haven were amiable towards the Elfborn, but even they could not protect the line for long.
The Dumontes had to do all they could to mask their sunblessed children and protect their family. Their persecutors did not tire, however, and the Dumontes moved frequently, all the way to Northpoint, where they were rejected even by the witch-king clans as “the lost Elfborn”, sent away as outcasts and witch-king pretenders. Rumors of Direnni sympathizers being beheaded in Shornhelm ensured Dumonte would never set foot there, and thus the family was circling in the north, scrapping for survival and never staying at one place for longer than a decade. Their name was so infamous that for years there would be a price for their heads, as they were seen as the evil of the Direnni that still taints Farrun’s name. In fact the Dumontes were again nearly annihilated in 1E 700 near Northpoint, but again the survivors managed to continue the line through incest.
After several generations (about 300 years) of hiding in the dark, Cheval the Bold finally saw an opportunity to seek a land free of prejudice and to escape the hatred of the north once and for all. The Dumontes thus decided to cross the Wrothgarian Mountains – “The thorned path” as they call it. The journey was ripe with Reachmen and Hagravens intent on murdering the nobles and sacrificing their sunblessed to their dark gods. After months of fighting off the dangers of the mountains, the Dumontes finally arrived in fair Gavaudon, far away from the ire of the north.
*Note: Although incest was common for the Dumontes at this time, they didn’t practice it constantly. Whenever they could they married several commoners in White Haven and other areas where elven blood still remained strong. Some effects of incest did occur, however, as many sunblessed proved either brilliant or utterly mad. This effect has subsided with the coming of the second era (happening only twice), and there is no reoccurrence of it since the coming of the 3rd era.
Dawn’s Mercy in Gavaudon:
When the Dumontes arrived in Gavaudon around 1E 857 - 867, the fiefdom was at this time ruled by Evermore, and not one but two noble houses already resided there – the ruling Montiler and their vassals Florent. The news of a new house emerging in the region unsettled the Montilers, not to mention a long-lost line of Bretons favoured by the Direnni. When the Clan heard of the news they immediately met with the survivors of the line and saw for themselves all the Direnni artifacts and the sunblessed mages of the Dumontes, acknowledging the line’s authenticity.
The elves urged Evermore to respect the struggles and tragedy of these inconspicuous nobles and to allow them to reside as their vassals. The Direnni even betrothed one of their own to the Dumontes, to support the purity of the line and end the rumors of incest and debauchery (which irked Evermore and nearly caused another bloody bath). Thus for many centuries the Dumontes were no better than farmers and courtiers with a title, considered the lowest of the low in Gavaudon. Their sunblessed mages proved powerful assets in the court of the Montilers, while the Florents surprisingly proved sympathetic to the Dumontes and even arranged marriages between the houses.
This was a time of servitude and obedience for the Dumontes, who were mainly preoccupied with diplomatic efforts to convince families with preserved elven blood to marry into their line, and to produce auroch milk and blackberry wine for the Montilers. Incest was ever a tempting option, but the Montilers never lost an opportunity to remind the Dumontes of their debauchery and their real place. The fact that some of the sunblessed born were mad from the effects of incest only gave opportunities of the Montilers to behead golden-eyed Bretons and send their heads to the Dumonte estate (farm). Thus until the beginning of 1E 1400 the Dumontes were held firmly in the grasp of the Montilers, serving in complete obedience and secretly practicing their traditions and beliefs in quiet worship, working the fields as their eyes wishfully watched their beloved sun.
In the beginning of the 15th century of the 1st era, however, the nascent kingdom of Wayrest began to turn its eyes towards Gavaudon and its port on the mouth of the Bjoulsae River. The Dumontes decided to take opportunity of Wayrest’s desire to expand and began secret correspondence, which ultimately led to an open rebellion in Gavaudon and an attack on the Montilers. Evermore forces were slow to arrive and the rebellion ended with Francois Montiler’s head on a spike and Gavaudon held firmly in the grasp of Wayrest. Because of their machinations and shrewdness the Dumontes were declared rulers of the fiefdom, while the Florents were spared as the Dumontes insisted they were forced to fight for the Montilers and declared vassals. With this sudden rise in power the Dumontes finally saw an opportunity to redeem their name and prove the excellence and competence of their bloodline. The higher political position also ensured more nobles of higher elven blood would be willing to marry into the line. It was at this point the Dumontes also took the opportunity to repay their debts to any family they could find which still possessed an oath token. This slightly stabilized the reputation of the Dumontes, and from then on they focused on rebuilding their fortune and prestige.
*Note: House Florent is the only family native to Gavaudon, but as fate would have it they always serve overlords. Their line became extinct in the beginning of the third era as the family was wiped out by an orcish attack.
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