The Elder Scrolls (commonly referred to as TES) is an award-winning series of roleplaying games created by Bethesda Softworks. Set in the vast continent of Tamriel, The Elder Scrolls series is renowned for the level of unprecedented control given to the player over his or her character's destiny, establishing itself as the benchmark in immersive, independently-living worlds for the RPG genre.
The series consists of five primary games:
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (1996)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Apart from the central storyline, a wide range of games have been set within the world of The Elder Scrolls, including:
- An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire (1997)
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (1998)
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Stormhold (2003)
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Dawnstar (2004)
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey (2004)
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion (2006)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (2013)
 Gameplay Universe
The world of the Elder Scrolls is well-known for its attention to detail and realism, replete with an interconnected structure of various societies, cultures, and religions, each backed by a thorough historical basis, revealed to Elder Scrolls aficionados (who often assume the title of "loremaster") through in-game literature and deep, multi-tiered conversations. Set within the mortal realm of Mundus, the Elder Scrolls games are invariably placed within one or more of the nine provinces of the continent of Tamriel, these being:
- Black Marsh - homeland of the Argonians
- Cyrodiil - homeland of the Imperials
- Elsweyr - homeland of the Khajiit
- Hammerfell - homeland of the Redguards
- High Rock - homeland of the Bretons and Orcs
- Morrowind - homeland of the Dunmer and Dwemer
- Skyrim - homeland of the Nords and Falmer
- Summerset Isle - homeland of the Altmer
- Valenwood - homeland of the Bosmer and Imga
While it is known that continents other than Tamriel exist, players have not yet visited them in any official game.
 The Elder Scrolls Themselves
- "Go ye now in peace. Let thy fate be written in the Elder Scrolls..." — A message to the Eternal Champion, as seen in Arena
The Elder Scrolls (Kelle in the Dragon Language), also called the Aedric Prophecies (though the accuracy of that term is often disputed), are scrolls of unknown origin and number which simultaneously archive both past and future events. The number of the Scrolls is unknown not because of their immense quantity, but because the number itself is unknowable, as the Scrolls "do not exist in countable form". They are fragments of creation from outside time itself, and their use in divining prophecies is but a small part of their power. They simultaneously do not exist, yet always have existed.
From a philosophical viewpoint, the origin and purpose of the Elder Scrolls is rather obscure and indescribably abstract. As one author puts it, "Imagine living beneath the waves with a strong-sighted blessing of most excellent fabric. Holding the fabric over your gills, you would begin to breathe-drink its warp and weft. Though the plantmatter fibers imbue your soul, the wretched plankton would pollute the cloth until it stank to heavens of prophecy. This is one manner in which the Scrolls first came to pass, but are we the sea, or the breather, or the fabric? Or are we the breath itself? Can we flow through the Scrolls as knowledge flows through, being the water, or are we the stuck morass of sea-filth that gathers on the edge?"
Any person gifted with prescient powers is able to interpret the contents of the Elder Scrolls with practice. The information revealed about the future is never absolute. Once an event foretold within the Scrolls is carried out in the world it becomes fixed within them. Such insight into the inner fabric of reality comes at a price, however, as each new foretelling and interpretation strikes the reader with blindness for a greater period of time, while simultaneously granting them a broader view of the Scroll's contents. Ultimately, the reader, having engaged in frequent acts of prophecy, is left bereft of their vision, forever after removed of their right to read the Scrolls. By time-honored tradition only those of The Cult of the Ancestor Moth may read from the Scrolls, the younger members caring for the elder as they gradually lose their sight for eternity.
Numerous Elder Scrolls were stored at the Imperial Palace within a chamber known variously as the Imperial Library, the Hall of Records, and the Elder Library. After rumors circulated following the Oblivion Crisis that a Scroll had been stolen from the Imperial Palace by the Thieves Guild, efforts to take inventory of the Scrolls proved fruitless as their numbers and placement seemed to fluctuate for no discernible reason. In 4E 175, the Elder Scrolls mysteriously vanished from the Library, and were scattered across Tamriel.
The year 4E 201 saw the discovery of three Elder Scrolls. Two Elder Scrolls were discovered in Skyrim itself, one hidden in the Dwemer city Blackreach and the other in the ancient ruin of Dimhollow Crypt. The third was located in the Soul Cairn.