You may have already seen this on the SHotN website or the official forums. Although it's about Skyrim and has nothing to do with Cyrodiil, it's written by an Imperial and I thought that it could be found all over the Empire in libraries and such-like. After all, some people like to read about distant lands and strange places. Thanks to Samir for Americanising it.
Peoples of the Reach
Antony Cestus, Imperial Cartographer
I have visited the Reach of western Skyrim twice in my life. The first occasion was shortly after the War of Bend'r-Mahk in 397 3E to record the shifting borders and general ruination of that devastating conflict. The second was seventeen years later to visit my nephew, a merchant who settled in Karthwasten. During these two visits I had the pleasure of meeting a great number of interesting people from a wide variety of backgrounds. I also met some people I would quite happily never see again.
The Reach has been disputed territory throughout history, changing hands on numerous occasions. One constant has the been the Reachmen. These people, described (rather unkindly) as a 'mongrel breed' in the Pocket Guide to the Empire, are a mixture of Breton and High Elf blood. The Reachmen have a distinct cultural identity entirely separate from the other races of the Reach. The majority live in isolated settlements in the wilderness entirely peacefully. I spent a week in a Reachmen camp and was impressed by the generosity of my hosts. Their religion, although archaic and shamanic, does bear some resemblance to the Nine Divines worshiped in the rest of Skyrim and I found no justification for the persecution the Reachmen have endured at the hands of Bretons, Redguards, Nords and others at various times in history. On the other hand, like all cultures there are those who have no respect for the property and lives of other people. As I continued on my way, heading north towards the town of Amber Guard, my escort and I came under attack from a band of Reachmen witches. They slew four of my guard and took myself and three others captive. They treated us quite abysmally, and we feared for our lives. Luckily we were able to escape, although my good friend Ungolith was struck by a poisoned arrow and died soon after. We were later informed that there are those Reachmen who call themselves the Forsworn and will stop at nothing in their efforts to drive all other races from the Reach. The witches that captured us were almost certainly members of this cult.
The wilderness of the Reach is also home to a number of Orc tribes. During my first visit these tribes were extremely unfriendly and would almost certainly have attacked us on sight if we had strayed too close to their crude encampments. The tribes made their living from raiding and pillaging neighboring settlements and exacting tolls from those travelers who braved the forest paths in an attempt to shorten their journeys. Following the rebuilding of Orsinium and the lessening of prejudices against the Orcish race many of these tribes moved to Nova Orsinium. Those tribes that remained in the Reach are those that disagree with Gortwog gro-Nagorm's vision and religious beliefs and most of them, I am reliably informed, are peaceful and only wish to be left alone. Again, there are still some Orcs who attack strangers on sight, so travelers in the Reach would be advised to stick to the roads.
The Nords of the Reach are very similar to Nords elsewhere. They are a tough, uncompromising race who never forget a grudge, or a trusted friend. However, the Nords of the Reach are, if anything, even more willing to take up arms to avenge a real or perceived slight than their kin elsewhere. This is probably due to the troubled history of the Reach. Indeed, many older Nords remember the War of Bend'r-Mahk well and need little excuse to recount their heroic and obviously untrue war stories. One section of Nordic society in the Reach worthy of special mention is the Bear Clan of Amber Guard. These Nords claim to be the defenders of the Reach, the first line of defense against the Bretons, Redguards and Reachmen. I could find no evidence to support this claim. In fact, several people told me (in confidence) that the Bear Clan are naught but petty criminals with visions of grandeur. Doubtless to say that I am unlikely to return to Amber Guard after making such claims in print!
The other major inhabitants of the Reach are the Redguards and Bretons. They co-exist peacefully, if at times a bit uneasily, with the Nords. The city of Karthwasten, which was captured from Hammerfell during the War of Bend'r-Mahk, has a large Redguard population. Most of them live in a separate area, walled off from the rest of the city. This has, at the time of writing (Last Seed, 420 3E), minimized sectarian violence in the city - although my nephew tells me there are always rumors of loyalist gangs attacking Nords and Redguard sympathizers foolish enough to wander the Redguard quarter alone at night. Elsewhere though, the majority of races do live together without violence, meaning that the Reach has one of the richest mix of cultures in the whole of Skyrim, if not Tamriel.
Tarius wrote:This is entirely a matter of the Bethstapo that will burst in, yell STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM, and C&D us to death if we violate copyright.