And the fact that many Emperors of Cyrodiil were from Skyrim (In particular Solitude), but that's getting a bit too far into specifics. Cyrodiil is the heart of the 'modern' Empire.
Oh, I'll certainly give you that. My point was that Skyrim has great historical significance to the Empire. The largest reason that the Empire is "Cyrodilic" is because of Reman Cyrodiil being the first to unite a large part of Tamriel in the Second Empire, and so the Third Empire used the Capital of White Gold Tower as its power base.
Granted, the Oblivion Crisis was 200 years ago. The great war, however, was far more recent, and they lost their capital (And eventually retook it) during it. The effects of that war would still be present in Cyrodiil, otherwise they would be carrying out their 'surprise' attack on the Summerset Isles.
I certainly agree with this. The Great War's effects were both devastating and wide ranging, which is why I think that the Imperials need the victory in Skyrim. The win would greatly bolster the ailing Legion forces, giving them something to rally around, and the guff to really pull in new recruits.
Think of it simply. Which Empire in history has not called upon the resources of its Vassal states to help it after it gets a hard hit in a war? The answer is the ones who let those states go. Cyrodiil is not letting High Rock and Skyrim go, and needing resources to rebuild after the great war, they will be taking it from their Vassal states to accelerate the process. Whether those resources are minerals, food, troops, arms, armour, livestock, manual labourers, mages - who knows. Cyrodiil, if unprepared to attack the Summerset Isles now, would be preparing for it. Being tacticians they would realise the faster they can prepare, the more likely they are to catch the Thalmor somewhat off guard. Whilst there will be nothing - or maybe a single note, I have not found everything is Skyrim yet - stating directly that Cyrodiil is taking the resources of Skyrim, it would be stupid not to. Cyrodiilian's are anything but stupid.
That makes sense, and as I said, I wasn't disputing the point. Generally, though, I see the Empire more as a symbiotic relationship, where the member states are expected to look out for each other. Either way, Cyrodiil would be the state needing taking care of right now.
Ahh, but do you know one of the main reasons Hammerfell rejected the treaty? It handed half of their land to the Thalmor. Not Half of Cyrodiil, half of Hammerfell. The Empire sold Hammerfell out for peace. Meanwhilst, High Rock is presumably untouched, Skyrim itself is untouched, merely a number of its soldiers died in the Red Ring attack, and Hammerfell, as shown later, is more than capable of shoving out the Thalmor. Cyrodiil surrendered as she had run out of resources to fight the war. What this decision ends up coming down to is; How well equipped do we think Hammerfell, Skyrim and High Rock are to fight the Empire?
If they are well equipped, the Empire should attack soon. If they are wasted and unlikely to even retake the main continent from the Thalmor, the Empire should wait. From the looks of things, Skyrim is fine, Hammerfell is fine and we hear nothing of High Rock, implying it was barely even affected by the war (We hear of battles in Cyrodiil and Hammerfell, but nothing of High Rock. If something major had happened there, we would have heard of it). This leaves Cyrodiil. They are either the limp leg holding back the other races, albeit with good Tacticians, or they are ready to attack here and now. Either way, dealing with the problem sooner rather than later is advised. Whoever wins the war, the Empire will be forced to act. We'll get to that later.
I agree that Hammerfell had a right to to be angry about the White Gold Concordat, but I also maintain that if I were in the emperor's position, I would've done the same thing. Its a matter of a guaranteed peace and time to rebuild versus another very costly war when the Empire's resources are already depleted.
As to High Rock, the Bretons aren't exactly known for their military prowess. They make great battle mages, but the fact that they haven't been mentioned so far, says to me that they haven't had a great effect on the war at all. Nord, Redguard, and Imperial forces were all present in the battle of the Red Ring. Breton forces weren't mentioned.
In regards to the Hammerfell victory over the Thalmor, I must admit, it really makes no sense to me how that happened. I think everyone has been so quick to point it out, but really, it doesn't follow. The heart of the empire is defeated in battle while the "vassal" state pushes its invaders out? Hammerfell was supposedly the main point of the attack too. Why, then, would the Thalmor find themselves so outmatched after they managed to crush the Imperial Legions' main forces in Cyrodiil.
Cyrodiil are the tacticians of the army. Whilst certainly able to fight, their warriors can not match up to Nord or Redguard warriors in fair combat. The Dunmer are kinda in a bit of trouble after the Red Year, Valenwood I no longer hear of as being an Imperial state. In the current Empire, numerically Skyrim and Cyrodiil's military will be similar. Strength wise, Skyrim has the hardier warriors. Tactic wise, Cyrodiil has the better tacticians. From there you have High Rock, the mages of the Empire. In its optimal state at present time, presuming Hammerfell, Skyrim and Valenwood rejoined with them (Morrowind being in a bit of trouble ATM and requiring assistance more than being able to give it), Hammerfell and Skyrim's warriors would Numerically approx equal Cyrodiil and Valenwood. Individual combatants, Redguard and Nord are stronger. The main combat force of the Empire is Hammerfell and Skyrim.
If problems in Morrowind were to be solved, that would rebalance everything so that Hammerfell and Skyrim alone were no longer the bulk of the Imperial military. As is, all able Imperial states together, they would be.
Hammerfell's warriors led by Veteran Legionnaires is a perfect match up. The great warriors of Hammerfell with Cyrodiilic strategists. In combat however, the Hammerfell warriors would be more effective than the Cyrodiilic ones. I mean, curved swords man. Curved Swords! (:P)
Well, that's not really fair. The Imperials actually made up the Emperor's elite personal legion, so it seems that they're definitely suited for battle, though they may not match up perfectly. The Dunmer are in a tough way, as I've noted, but had such intense historical Imperial leanings (and hatred of the High Elves) that I wouldn't count them 100% out. Valenwood isn't an Imperial territory anymore, it was captured by the Thalmor, but it too has intense Imperial leanings, and a great hatred of the Thalmor (who commit mass murders there, according to some Bosmer). I'd imagine that if a war heated up, the pro-Imperial Bosmer would cause so much trouble to the Thalmor, that they would tie up a significant chunk of the Aldemeri forces.
Ultimately it comes down to the question, once again, of whether the Empire or the Free Territories would be better able to handle the Thalmor threat. My personal belief is that the Empire, with Cyrodilic forces helping, would be more powerful than the Free Territories, which would be sans-Cyrodiil.
Here's the thing, it works both ways.
Skyrim breaks away, it shows that it and the other Vassal Empire states don't need the Empire to be strong, and they will unite under that same 'Anti-Thalmor' ideal.
Cyrodiil, would have two choices.
1. Admit they are ready to go to war and join up with their allies
2. Admit they are too screwed over by the Thalmor presently and surrender.
Which do you think the great Generals would choose? Complete Thalmor occupation, or their allies? All that changes is that war is declared there and then instead of later. Either way, for a surprise attack to work, all Thalmor would need to be kicked out of Mainland Tamriel anyway, so they don't catch the armies leaving on boats and don't get intel on exact locations they will land. As such, no matter what happens, the Thalmor will be aware of the surprise attack. All that this is is a vote of confidence: Is the Empire able to handle the Thalmor, or are they willing to slip further into their grasp whilst preparing. If handled correctly, I feel a surprise attack soon against the Thalmor would be more effective than one that happens later once they have a firmer hold on the mainland.
What this shows is that the Empire is not afraid of the Thalmor, and believes itself strong enough to go to war.
The Thalmor are doing everything they can to stop unity on mainland Tamriel (As implied by Ulfric's dossier). What better way to instantly unite all the sides than give them one large common enemy? You could slowly waste your troops fighting wars to unite each state individually, but the Thalmor will be interfering wherever they can. Giving everyone a reason to unite is a far better method.
My belief is that after a major loss in Skyrim, the leader of the legions there dead, and Imperial forces in full retreat, the Cyrodilic forces would ultimately buckle, much like the Valenwood government did. Sure the Generals may not like it, but when morale has dropped, the Empire looks like its dead, and an enemy that has already once defeated you on the march, there's very little they can do. Without a group of men who are willing to go die in battle for the Empire, they will quickly be re-defeated, and I tend to think that a Vichy-style government is the only future for a defeated Empire. They would become puppets of the Thalmor, and would ultimately be pushed completely from the war.
I keep looking at the Great War, and I can't help but notice the historic implications. Frankly, the name alone suggests a World War I allegory, with Cyrodiil filling the role of France. I'm not saying that that's an absolute by any means, but there are some interesting parallels.
When you look at other Jarls though, there are those that are competent with competent advisors. Unfortunately those are either not liked by the people (Morthal as an example), or with the current loyalty of only half the Jarls (Ulfric. Whatever can be said, he is a competent leader, and his advisors are also competent). Elisif is one of the worst choices for High Queen, yet she is almost assured the title out of sympathy for her dead husband. Whilst liked by her people, she acts like spoilt brat at time, and at other times is too focused on her grief to properly make decisions. When you look at Falkreath, its old Jarl was asked to step down so that another could take the place. The excuse that was used was that he was becoming incompetent, when really it was just that he supported the Stormcloaks. If incompetence is reason enough to step down a Jarl, why has it not been done to Elisif?
Having advisors run the country for her is all well and good, but get to meetings with other nations, would an incompetent leader constantly being corrected by her advisors come across as anything but easy to manipulate and foolish?
I don't think it's quite fair to attack Elisif for what really amounts to inexperience. Elisif, at the beginning of the war, is in mourning, dealing with a major civil war. She's young and doesn't have the experience of the older Jarls, but she is genuinely working to educate herself, and by the end of the Civil War, she does seem like a much more experienced leader. She's getting a trial by fire, and she's doing an admirable job, all things considered. I don't deny that Ulfric is probably more experienced, but by the end of the Stormcloak questline, I felt like he was a lot more power hungry than I liked, and I refused to stand with him at the end. The murder of Tullius was just more than I felt was necessary.
They managed to get the Information on where Esbern was through torture. There is evidence that it provides good information.
Well...that's one time, and really it doesn't seem (when you come upon the Thalmor as they're torturing the man) that all the information or even a lot was garnered through the torture. Sure it works sometimes, but its just as likely not to.
The reason it was useless was that by that time they had already captured the Imperial City. Ulfric seems the kind to hold out more than most. An Imperial Officer or General may do similar, but at the moment the Thalmor have all the time in the world.
Not really, their enemies are just waiting to strike.
It is, it just takes time with some targets. Get a politician not suited to military life, they'll talk quickly. Get a seasoned soldier, they'll talk later. How long have the Thalmor had to interrogate soldiers? How much longer will they be able to interrogate them?
A faster solution is better here, and that is what Stormcloak victory offers.
I disagree. Jumping before they're ready will mean that they go directly from one war to another without a single breath. Thalmor forces have been rebuilding for thirty years, but Skyrim forces would be severely depleted after the battles to unite the country. That weighs in favor of the Thalmor, and I doubt they'll lose in Hammerfell a second time, certainly not without doing a huge amount of damage first.
Of course he is not indispensable. Nobody in Tamriel is, except the Dragonborn until Alduin is defeated. Ulfric does, however, present the best leadership in Skyrim (IMO). He is a competent leader by himself, and he has competent advisors whom he does listen to, and takes their opinions with a grain of salt.
Also, his major victories in the Skyrim Civil War were down to the Dragonborn. His Victory in Markarth over the Reach Natives was his own doing (Though it sounds as if the whole attack was manipulated by the Thalmor, I doubt they were personally there to carry it out).
I'm not so sure. Ulfric is a good leader, but his thirst for power is very unsettling. I stood by him through the entire war, and I just felt that afterwards I had made a mistake. He's power hungry, which is not what we need in a leader. Elisif is not incompetent, though she is highly inexperienced. That said, ultimately the choice is between Tullius and Ulfric, and my money stays with the General. I've said a couple times that he seems very much to be a Talos allegory, and I think that is somewhat intentional. His emperor is murdered while he fights in the North. I expect him to come back to the Empire and lead as the next Emperor, or perhaps as the Emperor's right hand. He's a competent and experienced leader who can more than make up for Elisif's inexperience, and while Elisif may not make a great Queen now, I see a lot of potential in her.
I am talking about the events of the Red Year, where Vivec disappeared after than Oblivion Crisis, leaving the Ministry of Truth unstable. A machine was made to keep the Ministry aloft, powered by a living soul. The lover of the soul that volunteered to power the machine shut of the machine to 'save' her. This resulted in the Ministry crashing into Vivec city, causing Red Mountain to erupt and making vast stretches of Morrowind uninhabitable. This, combined with the Argonian attack from the South, caused many Dumner to flee Morrowind entirely and go to the island of Solstheim in the North West.
Yes, but the reason that Vivec disappeared was because the Nerevarine destroyed the heart of Lorkhan, and he lost his divine spark. The machine was really an "aftermath" type scenario, to deal with the problem caused by the Nerevarine. Regardless, my point is that the Dunmer didn't really "ask" for their problem, and I have a hard time attributing it to them in blame.
Last paragraph if you want a source.
It is more to those who use Racism as a bad point for the Stormcloaks. If they take over and Ulfric is crowned High King, Solitude and Windhelm may become Racist, but the rest of Skyrim is more likely to stay as is (Possible exception Whiterun).
I certainly don't see the Stormcloaks as badly as some on this forum, I just have my doubts about Ulfric's cause. I'm not convinced he's in it for Skyrim and not just himself.
To say there is no chance of anyone else being picked is wrong. There is a low chance of anyone else being picked, however Ulfic does have those, even within the Stormcloak Holds, that do not agree with him. It is highly likely that Ulfric will become king, but not certain (Hell, I wouldn't put it beyond Bethesda to have him lose the election simply to make it an easier tie in in the next game, with one of the other Jarls being elected by the Moot so that they don't have to say that either Ulfric won (By him being crowned king) nor that he lost).
Also, no matter his reasons, Ulfric does care about Nord tradition. Whether it is because cries of legitimacy may surface later, and the whole point of his campaign and going against that now would paint him in a negative light, or whether he actually does deeply feel for Nord traditions, he does care.
I have my doubts that anyone could be picked other than Ulfric. Once the Stormcloaks win, there's little question that the moot is just a formality. Ulfric is High King in everything but name by that point. I would be genuinely surprised if Ulfric weren't elected after the events of the civil war. That said, I do agree that he cares about appearances, I just don't think it's for as noble a reason, and that does matter.
This is the same way the Empire are an asset to them, by killing their own citizens. High Rock was allowed to secede, why not let Skyrim do so too? It would save both of their soldiers to fight the Thalmor. Both sides, however, decided to fight each other, thereby both helping the Thalmor.
And now we have an interesting question; Just how much influence do the Thalmor have over the Empire?
You say that they would not be gearing up for another war if the Thalmor had a great grasp on them, but what about the Thalmor letting them prepare so that they can crush their 'surprise' attack with an ambush.
There are two ways that the Empire can be at the moment. Any 'happy medium' is just a lesser extent in one of those ways.
1. Prepared to fight the Thalmor.
If this is true, then they should not be fighting the Nords, they should tell them 'We will give you Talos worship and your traditions, if you help us fight those that took them from you'. This would drop a lot of Ulfric's support straight up, and get Skyrim ready to fight the Thalmor. From there, they could send a similar message to Hammerfell, and get High Rock to ship out with them too. Get Vvardenfell, and march out. As is, they can't even fix a civil war in Skyrim, let alone launch an invasion.
2. They are not prepared to fight the Thalmor.
This gives the Thalmor an advantage over them, and allows them into the Empire to take its secrets and spread dissent. If the Empire is not ready to fight, it is within the Thalmor's grasp. No matter how much they are 'gearing up', unless they have kicked the Thalmor out and are prepared to fight there and then, the Thalmor are in control of the Empire to some extent.
High Rock was not allowed to secede. The Imperials are dead set against allowing the Septim Empire to die, and for good reason. They could set aside the war until later, but doing so generally ends with the rebel faction being able to get into a position of power that topples the government at some point anyway. See Communist China for an example of that. Ulfric is as much a threat to the Empire as the Thalmor are, but his threat is more drastic, and so must be tackled immediately. It wasn't like the Empire all of a sudden started cracking down on the Stormcloaks, the Stormcloaks made their move. Ulfric killed the High King (whether legitimately or not, it makes no difference) which set off this chain of events. As for how much influence the Thalmor have currently, I'd say that they have enough to cause the Empire to be forced to do what they want in name and word, but not so much to keep the Empire from trying to resist their influence.
1. Lets say for a moment that they ARE ready to attack the Thalmor. That means that the Imperials will have rebuilt as many as five Legions, not counting the IV Legion which is the one stationed in Skyrim and fighting the Civil War. That also means rebuilding the cities that were captured or damaged. If all that is true, then the Imperials are in a much better position than anyone is led to believe, which means that they can probably afford to sacrifice a legion in keeping Skyrim under control.
2. This is where we'll disagree, because just because the Empire is not ready now to deal with the Thalmor, doesn't mean they won't be soon. Not being ready to fight the Thalmor doesn't mean being so weak that the Thalmor control them like a Vichy government, it means not having the man or industrial power to successfully fight a war with the Thalmor. Ultimately the legion DOES still have power, they aren't completely cowed to the Aldemeri Dominion, but for now they don't have the ability to successfully fight the armies of the High Elves again.
Once Skyrim wins, they end the Empire's wait to attack. Cyrodiil would be stupid not to rejoin with its rebelling Vassal states, especially if they went to fight the Thalmor. Whichever side wins, the continent will join together against the Thalmor. All that who wins decides is how soon they march out. Skyrim's victory will spell instant war with the Thalmor. Imperial Victory spells more time for the Thalmor to prepare.
Unfortunately, Morrowind is mostly out of the question thanks to the Argonians and the Red Year. Cyroiilic Diplomats might be able to get them to co-operate with Black Marsh for an attack, but Morrowind itself lies largely in ruins, and would be unlikely to accept to fight the Thalmor thanks to their Argonian problem, and unlikely to join the Empire if the Argonians were given a place and not forced to give the land back. There is a bit of Diplomacy to be done there before that will work, but that could hopefully be done in the time it takes to drive the Thalmor off the mainland. If not, it is unlikely the two sides would agree to stop fighting.
Cyrodiil would be coming off a major loss of one of the stalwart parts of their empire. Their troops would be demoralized, and their government would quickly lose legitimacy. The Thalmor have already shown a propensity to be able to topple a government (see Valenwood), and I would not at all be surprised if they were to topple the Imperial government and replace it with a puppet. Sure Cyrodiil and the Imperials will still cause trouble with the resistance forces, but their puppet government will also send some troops to help the Aldemeri forces against their former vassals. It's exactly what happened to France during World War II. After France fell to Germany, the Vichy government sent French forces to oppose the Allied advances in Africa.
With Morrowind, the key is whether its the Empire or the Free nations fighting the Thalmor. The Dunmer have both a disdain of the Altmer, and historic Imperial leanings due to Barenziah. Ultimately Black Marsh is generally on the side of the Aldemeri Dominion, having broken away from the Empire at the same time as Elswyr, but are fairly wrapped up in Morrowind, so they'd be of little help to the Thalmor advance. The Dark Elves, on the other hand, might put together a token force to help the Imperials, assuming that its the Empire that's fighting, rather than Skyrim, (ostensibly) Cyrodiil, and Hammerfell. As I said earlier, though, I doubt the "Free Nations" would include Cyrodiil in the fight.
True, but you have evidence. Whilst not enough to convict someone, it is certainly enough to warrant an arrest - all the Redguards are doing. After that, in Hammerfell, all evidence will be bought forward to justify whatever punishment they decide. All that is there for us to decide is; 'Are the Redguards the 'police' in this case, or the 'gang''.
If I were a juror debating the woman's fate, I would have the evidence of her crimes bought forward.
In this case, though, with the question being "Are the Redguards the 'police' or the 'gang'?" my instinct is to err on the side of caution and let a guilty woman go free, rather than arresting an innocent woman and handing her over to a gang of marauders. Despite everything, there's no official seal, no proof they are governmental, and no proof that they won't just kill her once they're out of sight.
On another note, I've looked up the quest in question, and while I don't remember one way or the other, the wiki describes her as admitting to "speaking out against the government" rather than "speaking out against the Thalmor." If that's the case, her story actually gains a fair amount of credibility.
Stop right there. Why is the woman IN Skyrim? If she is a princess, why is she not with her personal guard in her palace? In fact, where even is her personal guard?
Even if you can come up with a reason for her being in Skyrim, why not flee to Hammerfell? She knows where the Redguard are, she has avoided them thus far, why not make a break to Hammerfell, or send a messenger asking for assistance. She knows she'll get none.
According to the above, she even admits that she spoke out against the government. That means that despite whatever status she had, the wartime government probably would've stripped her of that and summoned her for her execution, to keep dissidence from spreading. I don't know if she specifies what exactly she was speaking out against. Knowing that the government would kill her for speaking out, she fled to Skyrim to live out her days in peace, then the Redguard send a group after her.
Yet we still have the problem of why Redguard are working for the Thalmor. Mercenaries or no, I doubt a Redguard would accept to kill/capture a member of a royal Redguard family for their greatest enemy. It would be like an Imperial soldier coming up to a Stormcloak and asking them to kill/capture Ulfric's advisor. The answer would be no.
Well, according to the above, that theory has the obvious problem of not making sense. That being said, just to humor the situation, I'd like to point out the flaw in your comment here. You make the statement that no Redguard would sell out to the Thalmor and do their bidding. Historically, though, there have been MANY cases where a group has sold out for large sums of money and handed over a key person or official. You cannot tell me that NO Redguard would do so. Sure, the general populace probably wouldn't, but many times through out history a traitor or defector has caused a shift in the balance of power. It happened to both the KGB and CIA during the Cold War, it happened in France during World War II, it even happened to the Americans during the Revolution (though Benedict Arnold did not do what he did for money).
They were thrown out of the city, pretty good reason why they couldn't ask the Jarl. Yes, that was due to them doing some other stuff whilst looking for the woman, but they no longer have the ability to ask the Jarl to help them find the woman. Would it have been smarter to ask the Jarl straight up? Yep. Would this be a matter they would rather keep quiet (A princess selling them out to the Thalmor). Quite likely. Could they be certain the Jarl would even listen to them? No. Why did the woman not go see the Jarl?
Again, hold on here. Why would they want to keep a traitor's deeds quiet? Historically, finding a traitor and publicly executing them has been one of the best ways to rally a group, and I doubt that Jarl Balgruuf has any love for the Thalmor. He wouldn't hide her, he'd be likely to hand her over. The fact that these Mercenaries completely shirked the lawful government, and took matters into their own hands (causing other trouble along the way) is what makes me so skeptical of their story. They had the chance to work with the government. Instead they hire some random guy off the street who has absolutely no credentials (I did the mission fairly early in my game, while I was just "that dude who saw a dragon" which doesn't really make for great credentials).
I highly doubt they stabbed her in the Wilds. This comes from a comment made if you let them capture her, then kill her. They say 'You come all this way then just kill her?'. They want her alive. Whether this is for Thalmor torture (I find Redguard working for Thalmor unlikely), or for a trial in Hammerfell (Judging by circumstances and the individual parties in the conflict I find this more likely) is uncertain, but it is very likely that the woman is a traitor, whilst there is only speculation that the mercs may be working for the Thalmor. A semi-grey decision that can be made with some evidence to provide a more likely good side. When you look at each of the characters and their stories, the Princesses one is filled with flaws, the Mercenaries has few if any.
The problem with this is that the despite any light that we shine on it, this mission is distinctly shrouded with not enough facts. Sure you can discern a great deal, but ultimately all you have is one guy's word against another guy's word (or woman's word in this case). For some reason, at the time, I found that to be enough evidence to hand the woman over, but looking back on it, I don't. When there is not enough evidence, my sympathies will generally lie with the accused, rather than the accuser.