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Sea of Ghosts
Type Body of Water
Appears in Morrowind, Skyrim, ESO
The Sea of Ghosts along the northern coast of Skyrim
The Sea of Ghosts is found on Tamriel's north coast.

The Sea of Ghosts (also known as the Ghost Sea[1] or the Northern Sea)[2] is the body of water that consists of the northern coast of Tamriel[3] and the southern coast of Atmora.[4] It is a part of the Padomaic Ocean, which consists of the north and east seas of Tamriel. The Sea of Ghosts is not easy to navigate. It took some time for the people of Tamriel to explore these misty waters, which are often riddled with glaciers and icebergs.[5][6] The Sea of Ghosts acquired its name from the ancient tale of Skyrim, known as Yngol and the Sea-Ghosts which refers to the death of Ysgramor's eldest son, Yngol, at the hands of the "Sea-Ghosts".[7] The Sea of Ghosts host its own variety of animals that are not commonly found in other parts of the continent, specifically horkers and chub loons.[8]


Yngol Barrow (Skyrim)

In the mid-Merethic Era, Aldmeri explorers sailed across Tamriel, charting the continent's waterways and sea lanes. The most well-known was Topal the Pilot, who explored all of Tamriel's coast, but most notably the Niben River.[9] Aldmeri explorers mapped the island of Vvardenfell, building several wizards towers along the coast, specifically in Ald Redaynia, Bal Fell, Tel Aruhn, and Tel Mora. But these towers were eventually abandoned as the High Velothi Culture, and the early Chimer began to establish the Great Houses and the Ashlander Tribes.[10]

Migration of Men from Atmora to Skyrim occurred over the centuries, with the founding of several settlements the largest of which was Saarthal. In the late Merethic Ega, Ysgrammor himself was one such settler alongside his two sons fleeing Civil War in Atmora. However the Snow Elves of Skyrim destroyed Saarthal in the Night of Tears.[10] leaving only Ysgrammor and his sons alive, who came to Atmora and gathered the Five Hundred Companions to return to Skyrim to reek vengeance against the Elves. Ysgramor the Harbinger and the Atmorans sailed across the Sea of Ghosts from the port city of Jylkurfyk and landed on Hsaarik Head. However, their fleet was caught in the Storm of Separation and the Harbinger's eldest son, Yngol, was killed in the raging storm in the Atmoran Strait.[11] In legend, it is said that Yngol was claimed by the "Sea-Ghosts".[7][12] Yngol's body was recovered by Ysgramor and buried in a traditional Atmoran barrow on the White River estuary, where it meets the Sea of Ghosts. Ysgramor looked to the south and decided to have a great city built near the estuary. This city of kings, Windhelm, was made to have Yngol Barrow viewable from the castle.[13] As time went on, more Nordic cities were built along the coastline, such as Dawnstar, Solitude, and Winterhold.

The cities of Daggerfall and Solitude maintained a summer route, with no waypoint between each location. That was when the Breton entrepreneur, Yric Flowdys discovered shores for an ideal harbor at the base of Dore Elard in the 9th century of the First Era. The deep waters were able to accommodate large merchant ships, and on the northernmost point, Flowdys built the town of Northpoint. As time went on, Yric Flowdys adopted the name of the mountain as his family name, House Dorell. They later attained the title of Barony from Empress Hestra of the First Empire, and became a prominent power in the Kingdom of Rivenspire. They have extensive ties with the Court of Solitude.[14]

An army of vampires and lycanthropes known as the Gray Host once occupied a castle on the remote island of Grayhome in the Sea of Ghosts. The island was left abandoned following the defeat of the Gray Host circa 1E 1029.[15][16]

There have been two instances where the Akaviri of the eponymous Akavir have invaded Tamriel, both of which arrived on the continent's shores the same way. The First Akaviri Invasion landed on the north coast of both Skyrim and Morrowind, cutting a bloody swathe all the way to the Pale Pass in the Jerall Mountains. By 1E 2703, General Reman defeated the Tsaesci and established the Second Empire.[17] In case of another threat, Reman I built strongholds across Skyrim's north coast as his bulwark.[18] In any case, the Second Akaviri Invasion rarely took place in Skyrim's coast. This invasion led by Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal traveled across the Sea of Ghosts, bypassing Solstheim, the Telvanni Peninsula, and Vvardenfell, only to land on the shores of Windhelm. Here, Dir-Kamal's forces sacked the city, killing the High Queen of East Skyrim, Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, and her shortly-lived successor, Nurnhilde. From there, his armies traveled southeast into the region of Stonefalls in Morrowind. As history knows it, the Akaviri were defeated and gave rise to the Ebonheart Pact.[19]

In 3E 271, Emperor Uriel Septim V explored the Sea of Ghosts and conquered the island of Roscrea, as of his several campaigns to expand the Empire.[20] Roscrea is found off the coast of Solitude and it was converted into an Imperial fiefdom. The history of the territory is unknown, however, it was later claimed by the Kingdom of Solitude in the late years of the Third Era, in 3E 432, to further expand their power. After marrying the Queen Macalla of Dawnstar, King Thian held a majority of control of Skyrim's northern coast. Under his reign, the island had been used to further chart the sea's mysterious waters.[6]


A reaver raiding party on Solstheim
A Sea Giant longship

The people who inhabit the Sea of Ghosts are known as out-islanders. They spend most of their time at sea, journeying from the far north on their ships to raid the coasts of northern Tamriel. The Nords refer to these raiders as reavers. They generally target one-hut settlements and hunting camps, dropping off small raiding parties rather than beaching their ships for fear that their vessels would be stolen or burned.[21] Raiders are known to make base on remote frozen islands in the Sea of Ghosts; for example, the Frostbite Raiders once inhabited an icy island off the Frozen Coast of northeastern Hjaalmarch.[22]

In addition to reavers and other raiders, the Sea of Ghosts is home to the elusive Sea Giants, a species of giant rarely seen on Tamriel. They allegedly only make landfall during the coldest winters, and never stay for long. They slaughter and pillage, then vanish into the ice and fog.[23] Sightings of their longships have been reported over the centuries, but generally sailors who witness the Sea Giants do not live to tell the tale.[24] Sea Giants sometimes come into conflict with raiders and invade their territory.[25] They are also known to interbreed with the people of Tamriel, producing offspring known as Half-Giants who accompany them on their raids.[26]

The Sea of Ghosts was once home to the infamous Vampire Lord Falgravn. Said to have once been a pirate, Falgravn traveled the Sea of Ghosts since the reign of King Ysmir, disappearing for hundreds of years at a time before being sighted again.[23] Circa 2E 582, Lord Falgravn mounted an invasion of Kyne's Aegis with an army of vampires and Sea Giants, but he was killed by the Undaunted and the island liberated.[27]

High RockEdit

Northpoint (ESO)

At some point, the Sea of Ghosts meets the Eltheric Ocean to the west, as the town of Eagle's Brook is considered Glenumbra's gateway to the Eltheric Ocean.[28] The coast of Rivenspire and Wrothgar are at least considered part of the Sea of Ghosts. The port-cities of Fharun, Jehanna, and Northpoint are the largest settlements on the northern coast. Although, there are some small harbors across the coast, such as the Morkul Stronghold, home to the Orc clan of smiths of the same name. Formerly, the once great city of Erokii was found on the shores, hidden from the rest of Rivenspire by the Kurallian Mountains. It is now known as The Doomcrag. From the east to the west, the Sea of Ghosts becomes more hospitable as glaciers are less common. Where the regions of Rivenspire and Wrothgar meet on the mainland is the Great Bay, a water basin with several shipwrecks and stones jutting out. Further northeast into the frozen north, traversing is much more difficult. The Frozen Fleet is a ship graveyard held together in an icy wasteland. Wrothgar's coast is notably populated by the chub loon, mysterious flightless birds that came from Atmora.[8] In the seas surrounding Rivenspire and Glenumbra is a notorious creature known as the Ithguleoir, a leviathan that preys on the people of the coast.[29] The royal House Dorell are the ancestral rulers of Northpoint and are known for their maritime endeavors. They founded the settlement as a waypoint on the summer route between Daggerfall and Solitude. The shores around the city are notably deep, which made the location all the more favorable for a checkpoint.[14]


Khuul (Morrowind)

Morrowind's coast is shared between the Great Houses of Redoran and Telvanni. The cities of Blacklight and Firewatch are found on the coast, as well as many minor settlements. These include Ald Velothi, Dagon Fel, Gnisis, and Khuul. The Inner Sea empties into the Sea of Ghosts, separating the island of Vvardenfell from the rest of mainland Morrowind. It is believed that the First Era eruption of Red Mountain, known as Sun's Death, caused the Inner Sea to form and separate the region.[30] Dunmeri mythology indicates that the Inner Sea was created by the Numidium, the Brass-God of the Dwemer.[31] Bypassing Firewatch leads into the rest of the Padomaic Ocean, all the way to distant Akavir. The coast of Vvardenfell is ridged and volcanic, and both the Foyada Bani-Dad and the Valley of the Wind empty into the Sea of Ghosts. The archipelago of Sheogorad is found off the coast of the Black Isle. These scattered islands surround the large island of Sheogorad, from which the archipelago gets its name. These islands have only one known settlement, the town of Dagon Fel. The remote fishing village of Ald Redaynia no longer exists, but it was found on the westernmost point of the Sheogorad region, on the second-largest island. There is an uninhabited island between Sheogorad and the coast, west of the ancient stronghold of Rotheran known as Shuran Island. The villages along the Morrowind coast are typically built on wooden foundations and are often controlled by House Redoran.


The Great Arch of Solitude

Skyrim's northern coast consists of the cities of Dawnstar, Solitude, Winterhold, and Windhelm, as well as their respective holds (The Pale, Haafingar, Winterhold, and Eastmarch). Each of them are prominent cities that are often utilized by the East Empire Trading Company. The latter two, Solitude and Windhelm are built where two great rivers empty into the Sea of Ghosts. The Karth River runs across Haafingar as well as the Reach, while the White River starts from Lake Ilinalta in southern Skyrim and descends northeast into Eastmarch. However, the city of Winterhold is not a port city. It is built atop of the Broken Cape, where it overlooks the entire sea from the highest bluffs. A large chunk of the city fell into the sea after the Great Collapse.[32] Beyond the cities, there have been little to no settlements on the coast of Skyrim. The only known example is the small town of Dunbarrow.[33] It is not uncommon to find wrecked ships across the northern coast. The most infamous case of this is the Pilgrim's Trench, a graveyard of ships off the coast of Winterhold. Islands off the coast are sparsely-populated, much less so than in Morrowind, but there are still people nonetheless. The Volkihar Clan of vampires live in an ancient castle on an island north of Haafingar. East of Winterhold is Serpentstone Isle, which contains the eponymous Serpent Stone, one of the Standing Stones of Skyrim. The Sea of Ghosts transitions into the region of Hjaalmarch through the Drajkmyr Marsh, which takes a large portion of Hjaalmarch and ends toward the towns of Morthal and Fort Snowhawk. Along the coast can be found various ruined forts built during the time of Emperor Reman I of the Second Empire. As a defense measure for another invasion from Akavir, he built several strongholds across Skyrim's northern coast.[18] Further from the coast, the Merringar is a rare fish that is hunted in schools for food. Dreugh are also found here and are attracted to the Merringar's blood.[34]


Map of Solstheim (ca. 3E 427)
  • Blackbone Isle: A haunted island that houses the treasure and wealth amassed by Cyrus the Restless
  • Bleakrock Isle: A small island between Windhelm and Solstheim far from major trading routes
  • Castle Volkihar: A island north of the border between Skyrim and High Rock, the ancient home of the Volkihar Clan
  • The Chill: A glacial island north of Winterhold, with an ice cave that serves as the city's jail
  • Giant's Tooth: An island inhabited by Giants northeast of Winterhold that contains the last remaining Ironwood trees in Skyrim
  • Grayhome: An island far to the north of Northpoint, formerly the home of the Gray Host
  • Icereach: An archipelago north of Haafingar's coast and home to the Icereach witch coven
  • Kyne's Aegis: A medium-sized island northwest of Solitude, where many ships pass before reaching the city
  • Olenveld: Roughly a summer's day sail away from Winterhold that was abandoned in the Second Era
  • Rockjoint Island: A frozen island northeast of Winterhold, considered inhospitable for a permanent settlement
  • Roscrea: An island fiefdom somewhere north of Solitude that was originally conquered by Uriel V
  • Serpentstone Isle: An icy island northeast of Winterhold, named after the Serpent Stone at its peak
  • Sheogorad: A rocky archipelago off the north coast of Vvardenfell that is mostly uninhabited, save for Dagon Fel
  • Solstheim: A large island northeast of Windhelm that was formerly occupied by the Empire until it was passed to the Dark Elves


See AlsoEdit



  1. ^ Solitude Loading Screen in Skyrim
  2. ^ Exclamations in the Elder Scrolls: Arena — The Imperial Library
  3. ^ Guide to Vvardenfell
  4. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Other LandsImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  5. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  6. ^ a b Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Throat of the World: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  7. ^ a b Yngol and the Sea-Ghosts
  8. ^ a b Mystery of the Chub LoonZabia-ko
  9. ^ Father Of The NibenFlorin Jaliil
  10. ^ a b Before the Ages of ManAicantar of Shimerene
  11. ^ Broken Statue description in ESO
  12. ^ Songs of the Return, Vol 2
  13. ^ Songs of the Return, Vol 19
  14. ^ a b Northpoint: An AssessmentChancellor Regina Troivois
  15. ^ Grayhome in ESO
  16. ^ Bangkorai, Shield of High Rock — King Eamond
  17. ^ Legacy of the DragonguardKiasa-Veda, the Chronicler of Blades
  18. ^ a b Ice and ChitinPletius Spatec
  19. ^ The Second Akaviri InvasionYngmaer Raven-Quill, Historian Royal of the Bards' College, Solitude
  20. ^ Brief History of the Empire v 3Stronach k'Thojj III
  21. ^ Reaver dialogue in Bloodmoon
  22. ^ Magreta's dialogue in ESO
  23. ^ a b Thane Ogvar's dialogue during The Fight for Kyne's Aegis in ESO
  24. ^ Letter to Thane OgvarThunvilde
  25. ^ The Fate of the Frozen quest in ESO
  26. ^ Half Giants in ESO
  27. ^ The Fight for Kyne's Aegis quest in ESO
  28. ^ Glenumbra's Towns and CitiesAnsur Belote
  29. ^ Ithguleoir
  30. ^ Ruins of Kemel-ZeRolard Nordssen
  31. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 36Vivec
  32. ^ On the Great CollapseArch-Mage Deneth
  33. ^ Cap'n Dugal's Journal, Part 1Captain Torradan ap Dugal
  34. ^ The Red Kitchen ReaderSimocles Quo