Skyrim brought a lot of change to Tamriel. Vvardenfell was destroyed when the Red Mountain erupted, the Argonians invaded southern Morrowind, the Aldmeri Dominion took over large chunks of the continent, and an interdimensional floating city appeared in the sky. Any one of these could become central depending on when and where The Elder Scrolls 6 is set, but there’s one event likely to have a huge impact no matter which province the next game explores.
At the end of Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood questline, the Dragonborn assassinates Emperor Titus Mede the Second. Assuming The Elder Scrolls 6 takes place after Skyrim, this will almost certainly have a huge impact on Tamriel.
The death of the Emperor could be the straw that breaks the Empire’s back. As seen in Skyrim, the Empire is already facing the loss of huge territories to the Aldmeri Dominion and separatist movements like the Stormcloaks. Hammerfell was already released as an Imperial province in the time between Oblivion and Skyrim, and it’s possible the Empire will retreat to Cyrodiil alone or dissolve entirely.
This dramatic development could make Tamriel and its factions feel fresh. It would also help Bethesda avoid stating which side of Skyrim's civil war the Dragonborn fought for, as Skyrim would be out of the Empire regardless. Titus Mede was the Emperor when the White-Gold Concordat was signed, allowing the Thalmor to persecute Talos worship across non-Dominion provinces. His assassination could embolden the Empire’s enemies, but it could also lead to the Emperor’s successor blaming the Dominion and reigniting the war.
In fact to see how the assassination of the Emperor wouldn’t cause another conflict to break out. The years between Oblivion and Skyrim already saw the Empire at war with the Dominion, the Dunmer at war with the Argonians, and the Redguard kicked out of the empire for refusing to sign the Concordat. Each of these factions have reason to accuse their own immediate enemy.
The Dark Brotherhood questline implies that the Emperor may have been assassinated by an anti-Concordat faction within his own inner circle. The man who hires the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim, Amaund Motierre, can be asked why he wants the contract carried out.
Amaund explains: “In the year 3E 41, emperor Pelagius Septim was murdered in the Temple of the One in the Imperial City […] His killing ushered in, shall we say, a necessary change in Imperial policy. There are those now who wish for a similar change.”
It isn’t clear from the lore exactly what this change might have been, only that Pelagius was Tiber Septim’s immediate successor, and that his assassination led to his cousin Kintyra Septim becoming Empress. However, the Mede Dynasty’s concessions to the Dominion are practically the only pieces of Imperial policy mentioned in Skyrim, and are almost certainly the policy Amaund is referring to.
It’s likely that Amaund opposes the Concordat, and it’s possible that he and his allies are right to do so – both the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion were exhausted by the end of the Great War, and while Skyrim makes it clear that the Empire is in decline and the Dominion is on the rise, it’s still possible that the Empire is in good enough shape to drive the Dominion out. If so, the Empire may have recovered some ground in The Elder Scrolls 6.
On the other hand, Skyrim had Bethesda bring so much change to the Empire that the Empire recovering from its decline might feel cheap from a storytelling standpoint. The Elder Scrolls 6 is more likely to err on the side of change rather than a return the Imperial dominance of the first four main TES games. Many fans, however, have taken the speculation about the Emperor’s death even further. It seems no matter where that speculation leads, the history of Bethesda's storytelling and the in-universe signs both point in one direction for The Elder Scrolls 6.
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