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Lore:Green Pact

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Symbol representing the Green Pact[UOL 1][UOL 2]
"As Y'ffre spun the story, the Elves took the form they have today. Y'ffre gave them the power to tell stories, but warned them against trying to shape themselves or the Green. Shifting and the destruction of the forest were forbidden. Instead, Y'ffre commended the Wood Elves to the Green, so that they might ask the Green to provide them with shelter and a safe passage, and as long as they respected the Green, it would obey."
The Ooze: A Fable

The Green Pact, also known as the Treaty of Frond and Leaf,[1] is a strict code upheld by many of the Bosmer of Valenwood[2] to preserve the Green. It is said to have guided their existence since the beginning of the "great story". Its rules are clear. Do not harm the forests of Valenwood. Do not eat anything made from plant life. Eat only meat. When enemies are conquered, their meat must be eaten, not left to rot. Do not kill wastefully. Do not take on the shape of beasts.[3]

Green Pact Bosmer are said to attack any who would harm the forest in which they live, which they call the Green.[4] However, they usually don't mind other races cutting trees down (most notably in the case of Vinedusk Rangers and Wood Orcs in their respective territories), and are known to buy wood from them.[5][6][7] The cannibalistic "Meat Mandate" of the Pact sets them apart religiously from other cultures. The requirement to eat fallen enemies before three days pass is perhaps the most shocking part of the Pact to outsiders.[2][8] Though many Bosmer still try to respect the Green Pact, the practice of eating dead enemies diminished by the Second Era, and is typically only practiced in the most remote villages.[8] The family members of the warrior who slaughtered the enemy may help him with his meal.[2][8] Bosmer who honor this facet of the Green Pact typically attempt to prepare themselves before large battles by fasting.[2]

Despite its perceived simplicity the Green Pact's doctrinal details can be baffling to outsiders, its certain aspects are often matters of dispute among the Bosmer. According to Green Lady it consists of two broad tenets: "Harm no living plants,". Picking up and consuming fallen fruits is not considered breach of the Green Pact. Dairy products, honey, mushrooms, and insects are generally accepted meals in the Valenwood, and eating them is not considered breach of the Green Pact by all but the most ultra-zealous of Pact Bosmer.[9] Plants that are grown outside of Valenwood, but from seeds native to Valenwood are considered sacred and cannot be harmed.[10]

In return for protecting Valenwood from harm, Y'ffre allowed the Bosmer to make Valenwood their home and granted them his patronage and protection.[10][11] As a result, they use bone, animal, and insect products widely; imported wood is used when necessary.[2][11] Rather than drinking conventional liquor made from grain or fruit, the Bosmer consume jagga (fermented pig's milk) and rotmeth.[12] Rotmeth is made from fermented meat seasoned with thunderbug organs, takes years to brew, and is considered a precious ritual beverage that symbolizes "the muscle of the boar, the power of the forest, the strength of the Bosmer people". No wedding can take place without it.[13] Y'ffre is believed to have first blessed them with their form, thus their appearance is sacred, so although Bosmer may take the shape of beasts, the Pact normally bans this practice.[3] However, the Wild Hunt is considered a result of the Green Pact: in return for their patronage to Y'ffre, the Bosmer may perform a ritual in dire times that transforms the participants into a horde of wild, shape-shifting beasts, which go on to lay waste to the enemies of the Bosmer.[14]

The Green Pact made the felling of Valenwood trees by anyone a crime against the Bosmeri religion,[15] though this does not apply to non-Bosmer.[5] There are almost no cities or towns built by the Bosmer themselves. Rather, the Bosmer's relationship with the Pact grants them magical forest-shaping abilities to grow their settlements. The exact process is unclear, but reports claim that it's often a highly ritualized affair which consists of slow, rhythmic chanting for several days. Much like the Meat Mandate, fasting is possibly involved prior to and during the process.[16][17] Bosmer also believe Y'ffre has blessed them with the limited ability to ask the Green to shape itself to their needs to help them live within the restrictions of the Pact.[3] Some Bosmer during the Second Era refused to follow the Green Pact, as they considered it hypocritical for it to not apply to non-Bosmer and because the Pact was made long before they themselves were born.[5] Despite the fact that Green-Pact did not apply to foreigners, some Bosmer still considered foreigners harming plants as blasphemous crime against the nature.[18] Ayleid Diaspora was allowed to settle in Valenwood on the condition of adopting the Green Pact. Having little choice, the Ayleids agreed to adopt aspects of the Green Pact and refrained from harming the forest, which probably contributed to the dilution of their culture.[19]

The tenets of the Pact have led to many tensions with allies and others who have disrespected their beliefs. More than once, the Bosmer have gone to war to protect the Green.[3] While many "civilized" Bosmer don't adhere as closely to the Green Pact as their tribal brethren, they nevertheless often seem to be staunch advocates for respecting its tenets.[20] Green Pact Bosmer are fanatical in their devotion to the Pact. They have been known to let loved ones die of illness even as the alchemical ingredients which could save them grow nearby.[21] Nevertheless, these forest-dwellers are not savages: they have been described as a highly intelligent, curious, and rational people with rich cultural traditions vested in the forest and in their spiritual leaders, the Spinners of Y'ffre.[4] The Spinners are charged with enforcing the Green Pact, and are said to hold the real power in Valenwood.[22] Accounts suggest they have great influence on the people, and that their sermons touch upon more than just spiritual matters.[23] Every springtime, Green Pact Bosmer gather at the Den of the Eldest for a festival in which they drink, tell stories, and pay homage to the Eldest, an ancient strangler.[24]

Placating the Green is a vital part of life in Valenwood, as the forests will often turn against the residents when the Pact is broken or the Valenwood is otherwise harmed. In order to attone and stop the Green's assault, the clan responsible for that area of land must hold a trial and the party found guilty of violating the Green Pact must be sacrificed to the Green itself, regardless of how limited their involvement was or even whether they were a Bosmer. Three kinds of proof are required for judgment: witness testimony, physical evidence, and a magical omen.[25]

The Green Pact Bosmer are known as fierce warriors, but are also known for the hospitality they exhibit to outsiders who respect their ways. Their stories speak of the Ooze, a purgatorial state reserved for Bosmer who violate the Pact (who are called Apostates),[5] as well as the harsh punishments the Green unleashes on those who would harm it.[4][26]



  • Due to their diet, Green Pact Bosmer are supposedly prone to flatulence, which they refer to as "feeding the fire".[27] Some Bosmer, however, assert that these claims are inaccurate and offensive.[28]
  • Once every generation, Bosmer celebrate the Handfasting, the wedding of the Silvenar and the Green Lady which is viewed as a renewal of their divine pact.[29][30]
  • A sect of Bosmer known to the others as the "Oathbreakers" refused to agree to the Green Pact in ancient times. They were subdued and buried in Ouze.[31]

See AlsoEdit



Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.