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I saw a Bard perform one of the lost tales of the Songs of the Return at the Bard’s College in Solitude a few years ago, where she had found the tome remained a mystery.  But with the recent work in uncovering the con set by an Argonian and a Dunmer in selling the relics of the Five Hundred, I have decided to stick around Whiterun for a time. One of the Companions within Jorvasskr today, is a man who was a shield brother to my father for many years. It is his knowledge on the history of the Companions that I’ve sought out. If a simple Bard could find one of the lost Songs of the Return, how many more tomes were out there? How many had been forgotten by time? How much of our history had been lost with them?

I had known that at least a dozen volumes of the Songs of the Return were lost to antiquity; I did not know fifty-one of the Songs of the Return were lost, only five are known to us and these five are often found on countless bookshelves across Tamriel, not just Skyrim. The actions of Ysgramor and his sons, Yngol and Ylgar, are something of a mythos on their own well beyond the people that they pertain to.  It is within the Songs of the Return that we know and have access to, that we see just how little the Nord people have changed. In our souls, spirits and cultures, we remain, overall, Atmoran. Time has done little to change us.

For those who don’t know the stories told within the Songs of the Return, they are tomes that tell the tale of Ysgramor’s return after genocidal culling of the Nord race by the Mer at Saarthal. In the fifty-six tomes, is a lyrically written recount of events that happened with Ysgramor, his sons and the Five Hundred Companions. It also speaks of the founding of Skyrim’s heart and soul, Windhelm and Whiterun.

As Nords, we take great pride in knowing the tomes of the Songs of the Return that haven’t been lost. But, I, and probably many others, often wonder what history we are missing out on, by not having the rest of those tomes. What information resides in them? And why were they lost?

While these seem like important questions, they are simple idle wonderings that may lead to adventures.  Adventures that take form in locating the lost tomes of the Songs of the Return, though, according to the Companions, the tomb of Ysgramor would not be the place to begin. 

Astridr Black-bow | Tales of a Magpie


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