What is Tamriel Rebuilt?
Random ScreenshotsStryker named new Head of Interiors (5. May 13 18:34)
Stryker named Assistant Head of Characters (3. Feb 13 13:54)
2012 in Review (31. Dec 12 13:51)
Our New Head of Characters is Not! Also Int Reviewing Empty! (13. Dec 12 17:56)
Sacred East updated to Version 1.2 (11. Oct 12 10:30)
New Core Shuffle! (7. Oct 12 23:20)
Sacred East (6. Jun 12 00:36)
New Head of Interiors (19. Mar 12 11:12)
2011 in Review (3. Feb 12 12:20)
Why is our new Head of Quests, awesome! (30. Jun 11 15:20)
The History of Sutch
By Edwinn Pennel
The town of Sutch is a curiosity, an enigma to scholars and travelers alike. But a few hundred years ago it was as bustling a settlement as any you were like to see in Hammerfell or Cyrodiil alike, fat on the wealth of trade, agriculture and minerals beneath the land. Yet today, all that remains is a small estate of a minor lordling, a broken fort, and a disappearing path, populated only by vagabonds and curious adventurers. In this essay, I hope to enlighten the world as to how a town which was to become a city can simply die.
Chapter I: The Foundations are Laid
It is no secret why there was a need for a settlement at Sutch. Hammerfell has always been a wild region, from that time immemorial when it was known as the Deathlands, to the golden age of the Dwemer in Volenfell. However, the first real threat to the fledgling nation that would become Cyrodiil came in the Eighth Century of the First Era: the arrival of the Yokuda. The pre-Redguard peoples were fleeing the demise of their own continent, and upon arriving in Tamriel conquered all that they saw. Of course, Volenfell was largely populated by bands of Orcs, and there was little resistance. However, Colovia was a fragile prize, ready to be taken under Ra Gadan rule, like the lands to the north of it.
Our records do not stretch so far as to tell us who gave the order, but it is known that by the middle of the Eighth Century there was a fort to the north of Kvatch, which was to become later known as Sutch. It is likely that the construction was funded by the King of Kvatch, Rislav III. The fort was probably in fact established before the Yokuda ever set eyes on Colovia, as the region was still sore from the Direnni assaults of previous centuries. It was this fort, and its sisters to the east and west, which marked the boundary of civilization: to the Ra Gada, the wooden palisades, bristling with trained archers and well equipped soldiers acted as a signal. The warriors would conquer no further south, as they recognized a superior force.
Chapter II: The Birth of a Town
Many forts have been established in Cyrodiil throughout the ages, but few became towns. Why was Sutch special? The answer is position. The mechanism? Economics. At this time, Anvil was no more than a fisherman's hamlet. Kvatch was the westernmost point of Cyrodiilic culture, and as the Yokuda of Volenfell evolved into the Redguards of Hammerfell, so they were touched by the pre-Imperial civilization. The creation of the town can be defined in three stages: birth as a fort, conversion to a town, and growth.
Thanks to its location, Sutch came to be the gateway to Colovia for the Redguards who settled along the coast, at Rihad and Taneth. For Sutch to become a trading point was an obvious process, as we all know the Imperial's love of trade records. The borders of Second Era Cyrodiil were ill defined, as the region was in constant turmoil: from Tsaesci rule to rebellion, from civil war to assassination. Sutch was one point where the border was defined: on one side of the fort gate you were in Hammerfell, on the other, Colovia.
Prior to this trade, the fort had no real name. Records show it referred to as 'the Western Fort', or 'The Moor Fort'. Other nicknames given by soldiers are less savory: 'Rainhole' and 'the High Hell' come to mind. It was the collision of proto-Cyrodiilic and Yoku languages which gave rise to the name 'Sutch'. There are many theories which attempt to pinpoint the exact etymology: perhaps the hard tongues of the Redguards had difficulty with the soft vowels of the word 'sale', and so would shout a barbaric approximation which evolved into Sutch. An alternative record states that it came from the confusion of an early Redguard ambassador of sorts, who when asking in his broken Cyrodiilic 'What do you do here?' was given the answer 'oh, such and such'.
As trade flourished the town grew. One could trade anything at Sutch, from spices to weapons, from crops to horses. The reason why Sutch has traditionally been considered a town of Hammerfell springs from the asymmetric growth of the town: with the heartland at war with itself, Colovian traders had difficulty keeping up with the traders from Hammerfell. In addition, some goods were traded which were disowned by the empire. Drugs and slaves could be found on the Hammerfell side of the wall, and occasionally on the Imperial side.
Chapter III: The Golden Age of Sutch
We are now in the years immediately prior to the rise of the Third Empire. By examining Redguard maps of the time we can easily discern the status of the town: it is given as much importance on the map as Kvatch and Skingrad, as areas which would become counties. Anvil has been established by this time, but trade still lies primarily with Sutch: piracy is a problem in the Abecean, and so land-based trade reigns supreme in the west.
The conquest of Tiber Septim in the late Second Era was a testament to the multicultural nature of Sutch, and the political guile of the man who would be Emperor. Throughout the conflict, trading did not stop in Sutch. Though an embargo was placed on weapons, smuggling still continued, and after a brief interruption, trade continued as normal as soon as Rihad and Taneth fell. New, definite borders were drawn, placing the fort at Sutch in Imperial lands, but much of the town proper under Redguard control. This was an important compromise, as Septim wished to win the Redguard hearts and minds, as well as their lands.
Once the empire had formed, Sutch simply exploded with trade. With no other alternative routes, almost all goods for Hammerfell and even High Rock would have had to pass through Sutch at some point. With this vast wealth came crime. Our most entertaining record of this comes from a (likely fictitious) legend called 'Thief of Virtue', in which a thief attempts to steal some coins from right under the Baron's nose. Unfortunately, it was crime which was to play a factor in the town's downfall: an Imperial Lordship was established in the south side of the town, tasked with clearing out crime, as the Redguard barons would do nothing.
Chapter IV: The Beginning of the End
Finally, we come to the mechanism by which the town fell. Disappointingly, it was not an exciting overnight downfall. It was slow and cancerous, and ironically spurred on by the very forces which created the town. The end of Sutch can be defined in three stages, opposites of those that began it: shrinking, reversion to a fort and death.
Ultimately it was the unification of the Empire which killed the town which had thrived on multiculturalism. The New West Navy, under the leadership of Admiral Richton had cleansed the Abecean of pirates during the conquest of Hammerfell. With the seas now safe, and the Redguard ports open, it was Anvil which flourished as a center of trade. Faced with the choice of climbing the highlands at Sutch or spending time on the beautiful Abecean, many merchants chose the maritime route. As trade by land dwindled, Sutch lost a lot of business and slowly began to decay.
This turn of fortune hit the people of Sutch quite hard, and fanned the fires of crime in the town. Gradually all of the wealthy merchants left, and honorable families moved away. The once proud city was left a shell of its former self, a den of vice and smuggling. The Imperial Lord and the Redguard Baron were, of course, at odds with one another. Strings of belligerent or corrupt nobles squabbled over the town, with the Imperial side issuing decrees, and the Redguard side disobeying them. In a fateful move by Uriel VI, the Barony of Sutch is revoked. The crime lords of Sutch are rounded up and executed.
Unfortunately now Sutch is left without much purpose. The markets have no merchants. The dens of vice have no suppliers. The town literally dwindles: houses are dismantled and their bricks re-used in construction on both sides of the border. By the time that Uriel Septim VII is crowned, Sutch has become a garrison and stopping point between nations of the empire. It is agriculture which flourishes now, with wine from rural Sutch gaining a name for itself. In addition, small deposits of gold are found, and for a time a village is sustained under watch of the diminished Lordship
Chapter V: The Last Days of Sutch
In the Fourth Century of the Third Era, Sutch came to an end. As we all know, that was a time of war in the West, but how could the fighting have affected a settlement so far south as Sutch? Indeed, now the Redguards had left the town, the border had been redrawn to place the fort entirely within Imperial territory.
War has a strange effect on men. Even as far south as Rihad, the warrior folk of the Redguard gained the blood-lust exhibited by the north. To mercenaries who wanted to join the fight in the Iliac Bay, the quiet village of Sutch, with its token guard and fat coffers of raw gold was too irresistible. A number of raids scared off the vineyard owners, but caused the legion to reinforce the fort, reverting the settlement almost back to its original status: simply a fort, though now with some mines and a Lord's estate.
Of course, this act was its own undoing. In the year 417, that which all soldiers dread came about: peace. With the final unification of a peaceful empire came the death knell of the once great town of Sutch. There was now little need for the border forts, and over the coming years they were decommissioned one be one. The once proud bastions were picked apart by scavengers for their stones, and inhabited by beasts and bandits.
Today little remains of the legacy of Sutch. All evidence we have is the small estate of the old Lordship, and the ruins of a fort, indistinguishable from the countless others which dot our land. Today you might hear of people who live in Sutch, though this is simply a colloquialism for the area. One might find a reference in a book, or a bottle of old Sutch wine in a wine cellar. Today such goods are mere curios: the wine has long since passed its best, and is not to be drunk. However, if you do find such an item, cherish it. That is all that is left of a grand legacy, one of unity beyond war, of friendship above race. It is a memento of the legacy of our Empire.
|The content of this site is © by the Tamriel Rebuilt community. Morrowind, Oblivion, their expansions, and their content is © Bethesda Softworks.|