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This article is about the race. For the language, see Falmer Alphabet.
Falmer, also known as Snow Elves or Ice Elves, are a twisted race of blind subterranean Mer that live deep beneath the surface of Skyrim. The Falmer were once a proud people with an unusually great aptitude for magic. They had a strong resistance to frost, as their skin was coated with a thin layer of blue-white ice. They inhabited Skyrim before the Nords returned from Atmora, and were responsible for the Night of Tears. They had a civilization which rivaled even the Altmer of the Summerset Isles. They had their own language, which was written in a complex and nearly indecipherable alphabet. They were purported to use spears and archery in combat.
After the Night of Tears in the late Merethic Era, Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions launched a campaign to drive the elves from Skyrim. Ysgramor and his heirs succeeded, and by the second century of the First Era, during the reign of the Nordic king Harald, the last of the Falmer were driven from Skyrim to the island of Solstheim. The Falmer's civilization was obliterated at the Battle of the Moesring with the death of their leader, the Snow Prince. The remaining snow elves were scattered or slain, and were never heard from again.
Unknown to the Nords, many Falmer sought sanctuary with the Dwemer of Skyrim. The Dwemer agreed to protect the Falmer, but did not trust them. The Dwemer forced their Falmer guests to consume a type of toxic fungus found growing deep underground which rendered them blind. The Falmer first became servants of the Dwemer, then their slaves. The Dwemer made the fungus an essential part of the Falmer diet, ensuring that all future generations would be as powerless as their current slaves. The Falmer were embittered by this betrayal and rebelled against their dwarven masters. They constructed the Great Statue of Irkngthand, which contained the "Eyes of the Falmer", two massive gems embedded in the eye sockets. The Falmer fled deep into Blackreach, a gigantic cavern inhabited by the Dwemer. Thus began the War of the Crag, a bloody conflict between the Falmer and the Dwemer which took place far below the surface of Skyrim. Sai, the god of luck, attempted to help the Falmer, likely around this time, but they were very hard to find and unfriendly towards him. Mara later condemned the ice elves and considered them "gone altogether and forever". In 1E 700, when the Dwemer disappeared, the Falmer were left to spread freely throughout Blackreach. However, centuries of subterranean slavery, combined with their permanent blindness, left the Falmer crippled, and years of fighting the Dwemer left the race bloodthirsty and brutal.
Feeling the need to conquer, the Falmer began launching raids on the surface world. This led to the common legends of the snow elves, whom the Nords grew to blame for every instance of misfortune. The Falmer tamed the Chaurus, a poisonous insect native to the deepest reaches of Skyrim. They learned to use chitin for all of their crafting needs, creating everything from tents to swords with the dark, brittle substance. The Falmer dwell mostly in the ruins of their masters, including the Silent City of Blackreach, although they can occasionally be found living in isolated cave systems. They have a strong hatred for all but their own race, but are known to keep their own as slaves.
The Falmer have created their own clock of sorts through the use of a brass bowl marked with etchings. This bowl was placed under a drip from an overhanging rock and as water filled the markings told the time. This device is known as a "kulniir".
Many sightings of the fabled snow elves were reported throughout history, leading to much speculation and contradiction:
- The Skaal believe that the Rieklings of Solstheim are descendants of the Falmer, although scholars argue that they are simply snow goblins.
- Some (such as the scholar Athellor) believe that the snow elves have blended in with the other elven races through interbreeding, and as a result no longer exist as a recognizable race.
- The strange race known as Ice Warriors, found in the icy caves of Glacier Crawl, were thought to possibly be a remnant of the lost race of Falmer. These beings are uncommunicative with outsiders, but are icy blue-skinned humanoids, fitting the description of the ancient Falmer.
- The garrison town of Dawnstar was once besieged by the glacier tribes, or 'Ice Tribes'. These were blue-skinned humanoids that had tamed trolls and the dreaded Gehenoth as war beasts, and had plotted with the traitorous champion of the town.
- Some claim that Wispmothers are the last remnants of the Falmer.
The first real piece of evidence for the existence of the Falmer was the discovery of the Snow Prince's remains in Jolgeirr Barrow on the island of Solstheim in 3E 427. By 4E 201, it had become common knowledge that the Falmer existed in Skyrim's underground due to their increased activity, which is theorized to relate to a planned invasion of the surface world. The Falmer have expanded beyond the abandoned halls of their Dwarven masters, colonizing natural caves, and often coming into conflict with the current inhabitants. Sightings have occurred all across the province of Skyrim.
The Great Statue of Irkngthand was discovered by the Thieves Guild, who made off with the Eyes of the Falmer and caused the cavern to collapse, burying the only known visual representation of the ancient snow elves.
A small handful of Falmer managed to avoid becoming slaves to the Dwemer, instead retreating to hidden shrines such as the Chantry of Auri-El. These few remaining Snow Elves (as they prefer to call themselves) look upon their twisted kindred (which they refer to as "the Betrayed") with pity. However, these sentiments were not shared by the Falmer, as they attacked their untainted cousins with the same ferocity that they displayed towards the other surface races.
The Snow Prince's remains.
Knight-Paladin Gelebor, potentially the last remaining Snow Elf.
The Inner Sanctum, a relatively well-preserved example of ancient Snow Elf architecture.
 See Also
- For information on the Falmer language and alphabet, see this page.
- For game-specific information, see the Skyrim article.
- ^ King Edward, Part X
- ^ a b The Falmer: A Study — Ursa Uthrax
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Skyrim — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- ^ Diary of Faire Agarwen — Faire Agarwen
- ^ The Wispmother: Two Theories — Mathias Etienne
- ^ Events of Skyrim
- ^ Events of Dawnguard