Epistemic status: EXTREMELY SPECULATIVE
WARNING: Spoilers for TES V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls official Twitter account posted the image below, saying: "Transcribe the past and map the future." The three lights placed on the map are supposed to be clues as to the setting of TES VI. The hint is pretty obviously pointing to Hammerfell, but the other clues I think warrant a deeper investigation for their own sake, which might reveal points of a narrative consistent with currently-known lore.
The top left light is right at the location of the Katariah, the Emperor’s flagship moored in the Solitude inlet during the events of TES V: Skyrim, where the Emperor is assassinated by the Dark Brotherhood. This could symbolize the death of the Empire.
The bottom-most light is clearly indicating Hammerfell. I’m not sure if the compass needle has any relevance to the clue, or whether the tall cliff structure in the upper left corner is significant.
The top right light is more obscure to me, but it would seem to have something to do with the coins next to it. The coins used throughout the Empire are called "Septims", after Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Empire. The Septim bloodline died out after Martin Septim sacrificed himself with the Amulet of Kings in order to end the Oblivion Crisis that plagued Tamriel in 3E 433.
The coin in top of the pile depicts the Wolf of Solitude, and the coin directly beneath it appears to depict the two moons, Masser and Secunda. The inscription on the latter coin reads "The two..." but is cut off at the top. I'll attempt to explain why the engravings on these coins are significant to the clue.
In 4E 98 (102 years before the events of TES V: Skyrim), the moons Masser and Secunda vanished from the sky until mysteriously reappearing two years later. The Thalmor took credit for the return of the moons. The two moons are an integral part of Khajiit culture and religion, so this gave the Aldmeri Dominion considerable influence over the Khajiit. While the Empire's influence in Elsweyr declined, the Elsweyr Confederacy split into the two kingdoms of Anequina and Pellitine and became client states of the Aldmeri Dominion.
In 4E 175 (25 years before TES V: Skyrim), the Empire signed the White-Gold Concordat, a peace treaty with the Aldmeri Dominion, which ended the Great War. The conditions of the treaty included banning the worship of Talos throughout the Empire, disbanding of the Blades, and giving a large portion of southern Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion. Talos worship is important to Nord culture, so these conditions were unacceptable to many Nords and consequently provoked a rebellion. Ulfric Stormcloak incited the rebellion when he murdered High-King Torygg at the Blue Palace in Solitude. During the events of TES V: Skyrim, Ulfric and the Stormcloaks engage in a civil war against General Tullius and the Empire. Regardless of whether the player sides with the Empire or the Stormcloaks, the civil war considerably weakens both Skyrim and the Empire.
It's interesting to note that, among the conditions of the White-Gold Concordat, the Aldmeri Dominion specifically demands the disbanding of the Blades. The Blades are sworn to protect the Dragonborn Emperors of Tamriel. With the Septim bloodline passed on and the Amulet of Kings destroyed, it seems the Thalmor seek to sever the remaining ties between the Empire and the dragon-god Akatosh to gain a strategic advantage against the Empire.
The Wolf of Solitude and Two Moons coins could symbolize the Empire and the two kingdoms of Elsweyr are in the pocket of the Aldmeri Dominion. It's hard to make out what the coins underneath these depict, but maybe a starting point to narrow it down could be to check the history with regard to which nations the Aldmeri Dominion has "in their pocket" by the end of TES V.
So, starting from the top east-most coin and going south-westward, a narrative of the clue could be something like: The Empire and Elsweyr are in the pocket of the Aldmeri Dominion, which leads to the death of the Empire. The south-western light, then, could indicate that the next plot point in the war against the Aldmeri Dominion is in Hammerfell.
Assuming this is even remotely correct, it makes me wonder whether the person who hired the Dark Brotherhood to assassinate Emperor Titus Mede II was an agent of the Thalmor. His name is Amaund Motierre, and all that we currently know about him is that he is part of a powerful Breton family established in Cyrodiil, and he paid the Dark Brotherhood in advance with an amulet that is given exclusively to members of the Elder Council.
- [UESP] Lore: Tiber Septim
- [UESP] Lore: Third Empire
- [UESP] Lore: Septim Dynasty
- [UESP] Lore: Solitude
- [UESP] Lore: White-Gold Concordat
- [UESP] Lore: Great War
- [UESP] Lore: Blades
- [UESP] Skyrim: Amaund Motierre
Last updated: 2021-11-18