“You must learn to control yourself, Ankoroth,” Torvald demanded. “Your energy is better spent focused on martial pursuits rather than parlor tricks.”
Ankoroth quickly released the apple he had been hovering from one end of the table to the other, causing it to fall in Torvald’s mug of mead.
“Your father would be ashamed of the insolent welp you have become,” Torvald sneered in frustration.
Without a word, Ankoroth exploded out of his seat over the table, driving Torvald to the floor. Ankoroth was not yet fully a man, and Torvald outweighed him greatly. That didn’t stop the boy from getting a few punches in before Torvald threw him off.
Torvald was fuming, but tried to restrain himself. “He has been through too much for his age,” he resigned.
In the 2nd era, year 572, the Akaviri, led by the relentless Ada’Soom Dir-Kamal, sacked the city of Windhelm. A small group of the cunning Akavir warriors scaled the walls under cover of night. Their army had already made its way across western Skyrim, having little trouble overtaking the less organized Nords. Windhelm was considered impenetrable. A gate is only as good as its guards. The small force infiltrated the gate house undetected, using the stealth and magic Nords despised and often ignored. Before the citizens of Windhelm could organize, the entire Akaviri army was storming in. This was not an army interested in merciful vasselage. The Akavir bashed in doors and lit fires past the threshold. The stone houses that felt so safe turned into furnaces.
Archaeus Ankorius had risen to prominence in Cyrodiil in organized prize fighting. He had won fourteen matches in a row, besting cunning mages and skilled archers through brute force. He was menacing figure in heavy armor, standing six and a half feet tall. He was one of the few Arena gladiators that elected to wield two axes.
As he stood over his fourteenth fallen foe, ready to deliver the final blow, the man suddenly began to weep. He pleaded to Archaeus for mercy; he begged that his life be spared so he may be able to provide for his newborn daughter. Archaeus refused to finish the fight. While he was given the victory, his honor as a gladiator was tarnished for good.
Archaeus saw himself in that man. He had recently been blessed with a son of his own. The controversy surrounding his refusal to finish his opponent only further agitated the very public details of his newborn. Archaeus came from a proud Western Cyrodiil family of Colovian lineage. This group in Cyrodiil was associated both in looks and culture with the Nords of Skyrim. While they had once been in union with the elven-influenced Nibeneans of the East, relations were tenuous and inter-marriage was discouraged. His wife was not only Nibenean, she was the daughter of a powerful wizard that had been instrumental in the defeat of Colovian forces during several skirmishes over control of farmland.
With his reputation in ruin, Archaeus and his wife, Julianas, took their newborn son, Ankoroth, to a new life in Skyrim. Despite local rumors, Archaeus prowess in combat was potent enough to earn him a spot as the head bodyguard of Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, ruler of Windhelm.
Archaeus and Julianas raised there son in relative harmony for just over a decade before the Akaviri returned to Tamriel. On the night of the sneak attack, Archaeus was on duty at the Palace of Kings while his family slept at home only a hundred yards away. He was sitting in silence outside the chamber of the queen, listening to the sounds of night as he often did. Years of combat had left him in a state of hyper vigilance that made it nearly impossible for him to focus on anything but his immediate surroundings. The only people that could help him ease his turbulent mind was his wife and his son.
A resounding footfall echoed through the Palace of Kings as the Akaviri army entered through the cities main gate. Archaeus sent a guard to raise the alarm, while he gathered the royal family. As the head bodyguard, he was sworn to protect the royal family despite the impending danger for his own.
Across town, Julianas sprang from bed to the sound of a door being axed to splinters. In an instant, the main living space had been doused in oil and set on fire. She rushed to gather Ankoroth and flee, but in a few seconds smoke had overtaken the building. Due to Archaeus’ paranoia, each window had been additionally reinforced with iron bars to prevent entry. Ankoroth and Julianas were trapped inside.
“Mother, we have to run through the fire!” Ankoroth cried.
Julianas thought for a moment about the prospect of descending a flaming set of stairs into an inferno of a den and through the front door. She kissed Ankoroth on the forehead, “You’re a very smart boy.” Growing up with a mage for a father had its advantages. She cast a ward on Ankoroth and told him to run for the door and that they would meet outside. The ward shielded most of the heat from the fire, but once in the main living area the heat became too extreme. Ankoroth shrieked in pain as he scurried over ashen furniture. When he finally made it out the left side of his body was in flames. He dove into the nearby snow as soldiers ran through the street, awaiting his mother’s escape.
Ankoroth heard a loud crash as the second story collapsed in the fire. Julianas had never been as gifted in the magic arts as her father, and was too drained to recreate the same ward that had saved her son on herself. Ankoroth circled the house in shock, searching for any sign that his mother had escaped, to no avail.
There was destruction all around him. Every single building in town with the exception of the palace had been gutted by fire. Survival kicked in despite his pain and emotional anguish, and he slipped into the sewers. He had often played underground with other children, and he knew another entrance into the palace’s guard quarters.
He had barely made it halfway when he heard approaching footsteps. There was nowhere to hide in the narrow tunnels.
“Ankoroth! Thank Talos you’re alive!” It was one of the palace guards, a Nord named Torvald. He was one of Archaeus’ closest companions. “ We have to get out of here, boy.”
“What do you mean? I’ve got to get to my Father!”
Torvald’s face sunk and he knelt before Ankoroth. “Your Father died defending our queen.”
Archaeus and a handful of the city militia held off scores of Akaviri in the Palace hall before being overwhelmed. The Akaviri were lovers of art and architecture, and while they felt no shame in torching common commodes, the architectural splendor of the Palace of Kings was something to be preserved. As dawn broke, Akaviri general Ada’Soom Dir-Kamal sat victorious on the throne laughing, while the queen and her daughter were buried.
Torvald and Ankoroth fled to Riften, which Jorunn the Skald-King eventually fortified. Jorunn raised an army to avenge his mother and sister, and repelled the incursion of the Akaviri. The Akaviri found the city too difficult to take, and marched east to Morrowind thinking the Nords would stay safely tucked away in Riften. This was there fatal flaw.
After their argument over lunch, Torvald returned to his instruction. Ankoroth had been trained in combat by his skilled father. The Colovian way mirrored Torvald’s Nordic upbringing: the bigger the better. Although Torvald towered over Ankoroth, the fifteen-year-old was still able to wear a set of plate. He had his father’s build, and to Torvald’s dismay, his mother’s desire for arcane knowledge. Although he had never been formally educated in magic, from an early age Ankoroth was coursing with raw energy which only grew stronger through adolescence.
The lessons continued until it was time for Torvald to join Jorunn’s forces in pursuit of the Akaviri. Ankoroth, waved goodbye to Torvald, promising to look over their small farm west of Riften. He promptly broke the promise, planning all along to join the armies at Riften and avenge the death of his parents.
The Battle at Stonefalls was Ankoroth’s first experience in life or death combat. He proved a valuable asset despite his youth. The residual scarring from the fire, coupled with the intense gaze of a boy with his mother’s murder fresh in his memory made him an intimidating presence on the battlefield. It was in this battle that he released the raw energy that he had been forced to suppress his entire life. Alongside Nords, Argonians, and Dunmer, Ankoroth the Imperial dived into swarms of cornered Akaviri. He became the physical manifestation of energy itself, striking his foes down swiftly while remaining untouched in the fray. Some squadrons of Akaviri were reduced to ash by Ankoroth alone. Their wanton destruction of his home and his family fueled every strike with fury. He emerged from that battle no longer a boy, but a man. Astounded by his ability to seemingly become lightning, a group of Dark Elves brought Ankoroth to Vvardenfell, where he was trained to bridle the energy into concentrated doses for increased sustainability. He did not forget the teachings of his father, but instead married the two techniques into one potent permutation.
Ankoroth was once again betrayed by the seeming silence of the night, as Molag Bal conspirators raided his camp at night, sending him to Coldharbour.
Hearing of the bravery coupled with mercy that accompanied tales of the Silver Dragons, Ankoroth decided to join the legendary Order. While his interest in the political conflict between the three alliances is limited, he recognizes the danger the incursion of Molag Bal poses to all of Tamriel.
Iris Umbra// Stamina Nightblade // Aldmeri Dominion