Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction that attempts to explain and speculate on some aspects of the Redguards and Yokudans. It’s written in “book format” as though one would read it in an Elder Scrolls game. It is by no means canon.
Ue no Yokuda
by Arata Kairou
The information presented in this book was compiled from ancient scripture, legends preserved by the griots, and memory stones and is documented by Arata Kairou, Chief Librarian of the Library of Hegathe.
It has often been in the interests of people to take none in other cultures. On the surface, many see us as merely Redguards. Those with a sliver of knowledge of our history, would tell you that we are either Crowns or Forebears. Dear reader, there is far more to it than that, and it starts with Yokuda.
Yokuda was not merely a nation, but a continent far larger than Tamriel. To refer to Yokuda as a nation would be akin to calling Tamriel a nation. As for its inhabitants, there were the Lefthanded Elves, who ruled over an Empire three times the size of Tamriel, and the Twelve Tribes of Men.
You see dear reader, we “Redguards” only came to exist once the Ra Gada arrived in Tamriel in the First Era. Never before had we been a singular people. Our only unifiers were our religion and hatred of the Lefthanded Elves.
Much knowledge of the Twelve Tribes has passed into oblivion, save for their names.
These were the Twelve Tribes of the Men of Yokuda from which all Redguards descend. This is also why a Redguard’s skin tone can match that of an Imperial, or can be as black as obsidian.
What little we know from memory stones, scripture, and the tales of the griots is that each tribe was led by a council of the ruling and influential families of the clans within the tribe. These were what we call the Totambu, though when they gathered they were called the Na-Totambu, meaning “gathering of leaders” or “gathering of rulers” depending on the version of Yoku.
Yoku simply means “language”, and while uninspiring, is entirely accurate for Yokuda, the “Land of Language”. Over such a vast area and over many years, a variety of languages came to exist among the twelve tribes.
Tell me dear reader, if you had ever wondered why we had so many varied, simple, complex, and excessive names?
Frandar, Lhotun, Vhosek, Thaik, Charvek-si and Trithik.
Amir, Nazeem, Khafiz, Amjad, Ayesha, Jamila, Hadia, Abdul-Mujib, Afa-Saryat, and Ashad Ibn Khaled.
Akane, Arata, Jiro, Kanon, Nanami, Rei, Yori, Hina, and Hira.
And of course, Gaiden Shinji.
These names are all that remain of the languages from whence they came.
Ah, but now dear reader, you must be asking how we came to have but the single language of Yoku. As the years passed, words and languages came and went. Words were borrowed from other tribes, the Lefthanded Elves, and even a few Akaviri loan words.
We Redguards are nothing if not pragmatic. Just as we learned the native tongue of Tamriel to better trade and communicate with our neighbours, so too did we seek improved contact, trade, and relations with each other and our kingdoms, for better communication was needed to help put pressure on the Elves. This attempt to better understand and communicate with each other would result in the linguistic mosaic we call Yoku. It was not standardized until we defeated the Elves and placed our first High King upon the throne.
So you see dear reader, that the divisions and cultures of us Redguards goes far deeper than our skin and our politics.
So I wrote this last night after seeing yet another post about “Redguards = Black Arabs”. I was also inspired by ladynerevar and her speculative map of the scale of the continents of Nirn.
I had always wondered where exactly the Redguards had come from, since they came from fighting an empire that was apparently three times the size of the Septim Empire. With such a massive area, surely the “Redguards” as we call them must have been different people with different languages in their early stages.
This little bit of writing is my (probably not lore-accurate) attempt to explain the disparate names between Redguards across all TES games, their varied skin tones, and a little bit of their origin and history.