Venture Though Tamriel
High Rock is a province in the northwest section of Tamriel. The coastal region is temperate and covered in loose forests; inland, it becomes more rocky and mountainous. Most of the province is inhabited by the Bretons, who have divided the province into multiple Breton city states and minor kingdoms. The southern tip of central High Rock also contains Orsinium, the City-State of the Orcs. High Rock encompasses the many lands and clans of Greater Betony, the Deselle Isles, the Bjoulsae River tribes, and, by tradition, the Western Reach. The rugged highland strongholds and isolated valley settlements have encouraged the fierce independence of the various local Breton clans, resisting integration into a formal province or Imperial identity. Nonetheless, their language, bardic traditions, and heroic legends are a unifying legacy.
It can be rightly said that history begins in High Rock. Convention occurred here, at Adamantine Tower, the oldest structure in existence. The tower was there when Aldmer settled the region and inspired almost every race of mer to create a mimicry of it. Like other provinces, it is believed High Rock was originally inhabited by beasts, but the Aldmer were the first to develop civilization. The Nedes of the region were mostly absorbed by the Aldmer, but eventually a biracial man-mer society arose, and the ancestors of the modern Bretons were born. With the arrival of the Nords (and yet another bloodline), the fall of the Direnni Aldmer of the region was assured. The humans would eventually become the predominant power in High Rock.
The most concrete history of High Rock begins with its most well known colonized family; the Aldmer Direnni Clan. Described by A Pocket Guide to the Empire “As an economic and military power, they were formidable enough to pose a threat to the battle-hardened Nords and the nascent Alessian Empire of Cyrodiil. Taking advantage of the internal strife in Skyrim, the Hegemony began taking land north and south of High Rock, claiming portions of Skyrim and present day Hammerfell. At the peak of their power, they controlled nearly a quarter of Tamriel. But they had overextended their reach, and slowly, year by year, they lost all that they had gained, falling back to their fortress in Balfiera, The Adamantine Tower, now called the Direnni Tower.” It is believed the Bretons came to power in High Rock not by violence, but by trading and slowly overcoming the Nordic population. The province of High Rock was controlled by the Bretons by the end of the First Era. The Direnni made an impact on the Breton population, as they left the province split apart into numerous city-states, and they were weak against the other Races of Tamriel. They would not be given peace, however, as the Redguard conquest in the 808th year of the First Era caused conflict in settlements along the Iliac Bay. They would have to unite, however, against the Orcs of Orsinium. This battle is known as the Siege of Orsinium, and ends with the destruction of Orsinium. Due to the fall of the Direnni, the Bretons were not heavily affected by the fall of the Cyrodilic Empire, yet did lose some land to Tiber Septim. Still divided, some did unite to try to stop the Camoran Usurper, yet he was not stopped until the Baron of Dwynnen united the citizens of the Iliac Bay against him. The Bretons would not remain united, and went back to fighting one another, and those outside of High Rock, until they had to unite when the Nords reclaimed their land in The War of Bend’r-Mahk, when they fought the Redguards in The War of Betony, and when the Orcs resurrected Orsinium. However they would be united in The Miracle of Peace, also known as the Warp in the West, which is best described in the book of the same name. “The ‘Miracle of Peace’, also known as the ‘The Warp in the West’, is celebrated as the product of the miraculous interventions of Stendarr, Mara, and Akatosh to transform this troublesome region into peaceful, well-governed Imperial counties. The catastrophic destruction of landscape and property and the large loss of life attending upon this miracle is understood to have been ‘tragic, and beyond mortal comprehension.’” This event transformed High Rock from numerous city-states into five kingdoms.