A History of Stirk, Jewel of the Abecean Sea
Lying almost exactly between the prominent ports of Cyrodiil, Hammerfell, Valenwood and the Summerset Isles, the isle of Stirk has proven to be a safe harbor for many of the trade-ships and fishing boats that frequent the treacherous Abecean Sea. Though often maligned as a provincial backwater, this island's excellent fishing grounds and temperate climate (compared to the sweltering conditions of the Heartlands) have tempted many a pilgrim pause on their way to the temples and gambling halls of Anvil. Indeed, interest in the local Abecean Longfin, a fish of exceptional quality, has poised this town for an economical awakening which is surely just around the corner. Therefore, it behooves us to look back on the rich heritage of this windswept rock, which has so often been in the eye of the storm in regards to our Empire's history.
The Ayleid were perhaps the first people to set foot on the shores of Stirk. The utter west was, it is well-known, of little interest to the Ayleid kings, whose culture was centered around their Heartlands cities. It was only in the late decadent era that the Elven sorceror-kings, increasingly mistrustful of their western brothers in Alinor, Direnni, and Valenwood, founded several sea-fortresses designed to repel foreign invasions, the greatest of which was Wormusoel on the island's summit. It is telling, then, that the fall of the Ayleid did not come from without, but from within.
Following the Rebellion, most of the western kings were easily toppled by the incumbent Colovian kings. The Abecean strongholds were an exception, and long plagued the Strident Shore with skirmishes and incursions. But the efforts of these Ayleid remnants were no match for Colo-Nordic courage and knowledge of the sea, and in 1E 343 the island was subjugated by Skalgar Hellebor, a vassal of the Shore-King, from whom he received the noble title, Baron of Stirk.
Early records make very little mention of this little settlement. The great epics of the Colovian tradition on occasion report a notable hero or a war-party from the hold of Stirk, usually fighting under the banner of the Strident Coast, but otherwise unremarkable. One particular saga tells how the Ra Gada invasion of 1E 808 was successfully repelled at Stirk, one of the few counterpoints in that famously one-sided conflict (though Redguard scholars naturally dispute this).
The brave defenders of Stirk were much less succesfull in defending against the Thrassian Plague. The island was one of the first victims of the plague, which left less than a dozen people alive of what was once a burgeoning town. Baron Alvor, at the time a guest in Hal Verovar, survived the plague and swore vengeance on the Sloadic menace, supporting Bendu Olo's bid for the throne after the demise of the last Shore-King. The Barons of Stirk continued to play an unusually prominent role in the short-lived Oloman Confederacy and the ensuing War of Righteousness, in which Baron-Captain Aravest Helvor is said to have led a fleet of Colovian warships up the Niben in one of the most daring attacks on the Imperial City yet.
During the First Interregnum, the town once again vanishes from written record, only to reappear among the oath-bound of Reman during the latter's coronation. Under the great expansions of the Remanites, Stirk for the first time became truly a part of the Empire. the taking of the Hammerfell coastal cities and the burning of Valenwood were only possible through Stirk's role as a military harbor and supply station, and many young fishermen served in Reman's Legions and Navy, exchanging the peaceful island life for the duty and honor of serving the Empire.
Stirk would reprise these roles during the Tiber Wars, first in the obscurity of the Second Interregnum, then once again as a key military asset in the great western conquest of Admiral Richton. The town was assaulted twice, first by the cowardly outlaws of the Restless League, and later by the Altmeri Navy, who held the town for a season and caused grievous destruction before the Legion could reclaim the island. After the war, both the Altmeri and Redguard peoples were tasked to finance the city's rebuilding.
After war, peace returns, and in recent history Stirk thus assumed its modern role as a fishing town and halfway stop for the Abecean trade. The town remained untouched by the Camoran Usurper's passage, though it was much terrorized by the heinous pirates that sailed these seas in those lawless days. Liberation only came through the sweeping campaign of Commodore Fasil Umbranox, later to be named Count of Anvil -- an honor which the grateful Baron of Stirk gladly supported. Though the terrors of the Simulacra and recent unrests in the Iliac Bay may have caused a resurgence of piracy, we can confidently say that it will only be a short while before the Navy scours these seas again, and every inhabitant of Stirk can sleep safe with the knowledge that they, too, live in a place safeguarded by the Law and Strength of the Empire.
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Threw this together from existing background writings. I'd like to replace the current "Guide to Stirk" book with this, and maybe include a small bookart map of the town in it.