Graves of the Emperors
Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:33 pm
Maybe more of a concept document than a book for now, though it can be turned into the latter. We should consider the options afforded to us by the various burial grounds and tombs of the Emperors to plan interesting and unique dungeon opportunities.
GRAVES OF THE EMPERORS
Alessia was not only the first Empress of Cyrodiil, but also one of the first Cyro-Nedes to be buried in the earth, in what was then considered the Nordic fashion. While the Ayleids did built grave-chambers for their sorcerer-kings, their Nedic slaves were afforded no such luxuries: their bodies were reportedly consigned to mass graves, alchemically repurposed, or abandoned to rot and be consumed by the jungle's carnivorous moths -- a practice which would later inspire the institutionalized moth-burial practices of the Nibenay.
Burial in a barrow or a marked grave was an innovation introduced by the Nords, and Alessia's tomb can thus be considered a sign of her position as a queen of what was essentially a Nordic vassal state. The Nibenese to this day consider her burial a sign of great importance, one that signifies her becoming one with the land, living on eternally within Cyrod. Oddly, the exact burial place of Alessia is unknown: she is either buried beneath the Temple of the One in the Imperial City, or somewhere in the depths of Sancre Tor. Attempts to verify this through exhumation have met with violent protest.
Of the early Emperors, Belharza is unique in being cremated, having his ashes scattered across the waters of the Niben. Later Emperors of the Alessian line were buried in the Marukhati fashion: embalmed in vast, elaborate mausolith complexes. Like most of the monasteries and ur-cities of the First Empire, these burial-chambers have since been swallowed whole by the jungle, their locations ill-remembered. Of these, none are particularly noteworthy save the tomb of Gorieus, which, according to folklore, stands empty, its denizen being consigned to wander the earth.
The moth-princes of the Interregnum were known for their eccentricities. Some were interned in enormous tombs, others were cremated, eaten alive by moths, or liquefied using moon sugar. Among the broader population, the twin traditions of river-burial and the moth-catacomb became commonplace. In the west, the Colovian kings continued to bury their dead in Nordic barrows, favoring the tomb-cities surrounding Sancre Tor.
Emperor Reman, ever the great unifier, combined Nibenese and Colovian traditions in the construction of his Mausoleum of the Remanites -- a Niben-inspired catacomb, but built within a reverential distance to Sancre Tor. His successors built all manner of annexes to Reman's tomb, while minor relatives and court dignitaries constructed their own crypts around the main complex, thus creating the vast Second Empire necropolis that lies east of the holy city.
Though the untimely fates of the Akaviri Potentates is well-recorded, their final resting places or burial methods are all but unknown. It is believed that the Akaviri inner circles of the court used native Tsaesci practice to dispose of their dead, the details of which they guarded zealously. Of course, the lurid, xenophobic rumors of cannibalism spread by the Second Interregnum malingers of the Niben-Akaviri are not to be taken seriously.
The Interregnum Pretenders rarely had the opportunity to consider their eternal rest. Even those that managed to be buried with some honor were often exhumed by their immediate successors to be posthumously desecrated. Still, a number of interesting sites remain. While some Pretenders built solitary mausoleums or had their bodies returned to their home provinces, a large number ended up in what was then a rather fashionable graveyard in the northwestern city, which later became known as the Cemetery of the Pretenders. This funeral ground is now no longer in use. Of the Pretenders, only Cuhlecain is still honored to this day with an elaborate tomb near the borders of Falkreath.
Tiber Septim, of course, has no tomb, since he ascended to the ranks of the Divines and left no mortal coil to bury. His successor, the sober Pelagius, preferred a humble crypt in the shadow of White-Gold Tower. Later Emperors of the Septim line have continued this tradition, while their next-of-kin and court dignitaries found resting places in the deep catacombs beneath this garden.
Of the Septims, a number did not make it to this final resting ground in the shadow of the Tower. Antiochus, famously, spurned the company of his ancestors, preferring an extravagant pleasure-tomb be built near the Summer Palace at Lake Arius (also, according to folklore, because he was so fat that his body would not fit a grave plot amongst his peers). His successor, Kintyra II, was murdered at an inexact date, and consigned to a nameless grave somewhere in High Rock. The same fate ironically befell her usurper, Uriel III, who was burned alive in his carriage by an angry mob, and buried in a ditch in Hammerfell (though later accounts claim his supporters reclaimed his body and buried it in a secret location). The body of Uriel V, the conqueror of Akavir, could sadly not be recovered after his demise in the distant east.