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Forest Warden, Volume I

The Tale of the Unsung Hero of Valenwood

By Alariel

This is the tale of a hero that the Empire does not celebrate. In fact, the Septims would like to pretend that she never existed at all, for the simple reason that she fought for her people, on the wrong side of the Tiber Wars. Only in Valenwood and the Summerset Isles do we acknowledge the Boskara's existence, and even then many of us are ridiculed as Camoran sympathizers.

When Camoran is brought up today, we think of the Usurper, Camoran Hart-King who consorted with Daedra and plunged Tamriel into chaos decades ago. We think of the figureheads that pretended to rule Valenwood before him. Few in the Empire still know Camoran was once a respected name, a powerful name. The Camorans had been the rightful kings of Valenwood since the First Era, so important that the onset of the First Era was actually marked by the ascendance of the first Camoran to the throne. It would be unfair to credit the Empire alone in the downfall of this once great dynasty, as the Camorans were showing signs of faltering before the Tiber Wars. This was the time of the Camoran Civil War, a war of succession between claimants to the Camoran throne. This was the time of the Boskara.

There is little information on the identity of the Boskara, or 'Forest Warden' as it is most commonly translated (the alternate translation of 'Green Guardian' is misleading as the Boskara was described by numerous accounts to have favoured a set of silver Mithril mail rather than anything green). It is no surprise given the loss and censorship of sources following Tiber's conquests. Most of the sources that remain do not refer to the Boskara by pronouns and the ones that do employ the use of 'she,' so that is what we will use here. There is also conflicting information on her race, which shall be discussed as they arise. Without further ado: the tale of the Forest Warden.

The Boskara's story began when she was imprisoned in either Silvenar or Elden Root for attempting to break the Green Pact. This suggests that the Boskara was a Bosmer as the Green Pact applies only to the Wood Elves, though some cults are known to detain or even kill outlanders for harming the rarer vegetation of Valenwood under the crime of violation of the Green Pact. Shortly after she was captured though, the forces of Camoran Anaxemes stormed the city with Altmer assistance. The Altmer leader defended the Boskara and Anaxemes allowed her to work off her transgression by serving his shaman. Some claim that the Altmer helped her because the Forest Warden was of the same kin, but as the Shaman traveled with their army and assisting him would ultimately mean fighting for their cause, it could simply be their desire to recruit.

The Shaman was along not out of loyalty but because he felt something was wrong with the forests of Valenwood and he believed that following Anaxemes would lead him to a solution. Anaxemes was the one who wanted to restore Valenwood to its former glory and fought against the other contestants, including one who had allied with the Bosmer's long time enemies, the Colovians. Working with the Altmer forces and Anaxemes' army, the Boskara drove back the Colovians. Desperate, the other Camoran fell to a new low and called to him an army of Daedra, the same ritual that some say was passed down to the Usurper centuries later.

The Boskara was a talented mage and contributed much to their battles with magic, which suggests that she is Altmer. However, it is important to remember that she fought alongside the Shaman and the Altmer and may have picked up much of her skills there. One source claims that she was already a mage before her adventures and offended the locals by attempting to gather certain plant ingredients, leading to her arrest, but this does not preclude the possibility of a Bosmer heritage. But even her abilities and the magic of the High Elves was not enough to keep the horrors from Oblivion at bay. After an ill-fated battle, the tide had turned against Anaxemes once more.

It was in this battle that the darkness the Shaman had sensed revealed itself in the form of a monstrosity commanding the Daedric forces. Almost all the sources call her 'the Twisted One,' a former shaman who had broken the Green Pact and transformed her body into something unnatural. Following Anaxemes' defeat, the Shaman and the Boskara embarked on a mission to assassinate the Twisted One, whom they correctly assumed was manipulating the despondent Camoran claimant for her own gain. The Twisted One proved too powerful and the Shaman was killed, but their mission was not a complete failure. The Boskara managed to grab the Twisted One's spellbook while escaping, learning the secrets of how the Daedra was being controlled. Upon returning to Anaxemes' camp, the Boskara performed a counter-ritual with Altmer wizards, unbinding the Daedra and wreaking chaos on the enemy.

The Twisted One intervened and banished all her forces back to Oblivion, but in that moment of opportunity, with the enemy Bosmer decimated by rampant Daedra and no reinforcements to support them, Anaxemes struck. In her most abhorrent violation of the Green Pact, the Twisted One decided to enact the Wild Hunt to transform Wood Elves friend and foe alike into monsters that would destroy the Altmer forces and go on ravaging the land. Her Camoran supporter turned against her and tried to stop her, but the Twisted One showed her true colours and changed him first. The Camoran-beast went for his fellow royalty Anaxemes, nearly killing the future king. The Boskara arrived in time with assistance and they slew the abomination before going for the Twisted One herself.

In the middle of her ritual, the Twisted One was not at full strength, though the battle was still said to have been both spectacular and terrifying to witness. According to one legend which describes this confrontation in detail, the Boskara vanquished her foe with a stream of lightning so powerful that it split the wood-like body of the Twisted One and caused it to burst apart into a thousand splinters which in turn impaled all of her half-created monstrosities. With the greatest threat gone, Valenwood was soon unified again. Her savior was not only forgiven of her crimes but given the title that we all know her by today: the Forest Warden.

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