Biography of Queen Barenziah, Vol. I
by Stem Gamboge, scribe
Late in the Second Era an heir, a girl child, Barenziah, was born to the rulers of Mournhold in Morrowind. She was reared in all the luxury and security befitting a royal dark elf child until she reached five years of age. At that time, His Excellency Tiber Septim demanded that the decadent rulers of Morrowind yield to him and institute Imperial reforms. Trusting to their vaunted magic, they impudently refused and much of Morrowind was laid waste in the conflict that ensued. The little Princess Barenziah and her nurse were found among the wreckage. General Symmachus, himself a dark elf and born in Mournhold, suggested to His Excellency that the child might someday be valuable, and she was placed with a loyal supporter who had recently retired from the Imperial army. On retirement, Sven Advensen had been made Baron of Blackmoor, a small town in central Skyrim. Baron Sven and his wife reared her as their own daughter, saw to it that she was educated appropriately, and more importantly, was taught the Imperial virtues and piety. In short, she was made fit to take her place as a member of the new ruling class of Morrowind. The girl Barenziah grew in beauty, grace, and intelligence. She was very sweet-tempered, a joy to her adoptive parents and their five young sons, who loved her as their elder sister. Other than her appearance, she differed from young girls of her class only in that she had a strong empathy for the woods and fields, and was wont to escape her household duties to wander there. Barenziah was happy and content until her sixteenth year, when a wicked orphan stable boy whom she had befriended out of pity told her that he had overheard a conspiracy of her dear guardian. Baron Sven, said the boy, had dealt with a Redguard visitor to sell her as a concubine in Rihad, as no Nord or Breton would marry her on account of her black skin, and no dark elf would have her because of her foreign upbringing. "Whatever shall I do?" the poor girl wept, trembling, for she had been brought up in innocence and trust, and it never occured to her that her friend would lie to her. The wicked boy, who was called Straw, said she must run away if she valued her virtue, but he would come with her and protect her. Sorrowfully, Barenziah agreed to this plan and that very night, Barenziah disguised herself as a boy and the pair escaped to the nearby city of Whiterun. After a few days there, they managed to get places as guards in a disreputable merchant caravan. The caravan was heading east by side roads in a dishonest attempt to elude the lawful tolls charged on the highway. Thus they eluded pursuit until they reached the city of Rifton, where they ceased their travels. They felt safe in Rifton, close as they were to the Morrowind border so dark elves were commonly seen. The story of how Barenziah finally came to the throne of Mournhold after this fitful start is told in Volume II of the Biography of Queen Barenziah.