The Bosmer, also known as the Wood Elves, are one of the diverse races inhabiting the continent of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls universe. They hail from the province of Valenwood, a dense and untamed forest that is home to some of the most unique flora and fauna in Tamriel. The Bosmer have a rich and fascinating cultural history, shaped by their close connection to nature, their unique religious practices, and their distinctive way of life.
Origins and History:
The Bosmer’s history is deeply intertwined with the god Y’ffre, also known as the Storyteller. According to Bosmeri mythology, Y’ffre bestowed the “Green Pact” upon them, a sacred agreement that binds the Bosmer to the Valenwood forest. This pact prohibits the Bosmer from harming the vegetation of Valenwood, ensuring a harmonious coexistence with the land.
The Wood Elves are descendants of the Aldmer, the ancient race that inhabited Tamriel before the various races split off into distinct cultures. The Bosmer, however, diverged from the traditional Aldmer way of life due to the influence of Y’ffre and the Green Pact.
Culture and Society:
The Bosmer have a unique societal structure that reflects their connection to nature and their commitment to the Green Pact. Their settlements are often built in the treetops, and they are known for their agility and skill in archery. Valenwood itself is a maze of gigantic, interconnected graht-oak trees, forming the setting for the Bosmer’s arboreal lifestyle.
The Green Pact has also shaped their martial traditions. The Wild Hunt, a ritual transformation, allows Bosmer to temporarily shape-shift into feral and powerful forms, often used in times of war. This ritual is seen as both a blessing and a curse, as it involves breaking the Green Pact by consuming the vegetation of Valenwood.
Bosmer worship a pantheon of deities, with Y’ffre being the most central figure. Y’ffre is considered the god of the forest and is credited with teaching the Bosmer the ways of the Green Pact. Other deities, such as Auri-El and Arkay, are also venerated, reflecting the Bosmer’s complex religious beliefs that incorporate aspects of Aldmeri traditions.
Trade and Diplomacy:
Despite their insular lifestyle, the Bosmer are not completely isolated. They engage in trade with neighboring regions, exchanging unique goods from Valenwood, such as rare timber and alchemical ingredients. The city of Falinesti, a massive graht-oak tree that serves as a mobile settlement, travels across Valenwood and occasionally beyond, facilitating trade and diplomacy.
Role in Tamriel:
The Bosmer have played significant roles in the major events of Tamriel’s history. They are known for their fierce defense of their homeland and their expert archery skills, which make them formidable allies or adversaries in conflicts. The Bosmer have also been involved in various alliances, such as the Aldmeri Dominion, where they joined forces with the Altmer and Khajiit to pursue common goals.
The Bosmer’s lore is a tapestry woven with the threads of nature, magic, and tradition. Their unique cultural practices, shaped by the Green Pact and their ancient connection to the land, set them apart in the diverse mosaic of the Elder Scrolls universe. As the guardians of Valenwood, the Bosmer continue to be a fascinating and enigmatic presence in the ever-evolving tapestry of Tamrielic history.