|“||You Nords and your bloody sense of honor.||„|
|~ General Tullius|
General Tullius (simply known as Tullius) is one of the major heroes/villains in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He is the leading officer of the Imperial Legion's Skyrim branch. Originally from Cyrodiil, he was sent by the Emperor Titus Mede II to crush the Stormcloak Rebellion and keep Skyrim under the Empire's control. He becomes the main antagonist of Civil War quest-line if the player joins the Stormcloaks to fight for an independent Skyrim.
General Tullius is voiced by Michael Hogan in game.
The Great War
30 years prior to the events of the game Skyrim, the Empire of Tamriel will have been fighting a major war against the Aldmeri Dominion, an alliance formed between the Elven territories of Summerset Isle and Valenwood and as well as the Khajiit homeland Elsweyr.
The High Elves (Altmer) of the Summerset Isle, who were taken-over from within by a regime of elven supremacists called the Thalmor, sent some of their agents to the Empire to make demands.
The Thalmor agents made various outlandish demands of their neighbors like the discontinuation of the Empire's elite guards The Blades, Aldmeri garrisons were to be stationed along Cyrodiil's borders and the renouncement of their man-god Talos.
Emperor Titus Mede II refused as the Thalmor expected he would and the Emperor asked them to leave. The Thalmor gave the signal for the Aldmeri soldiers who were in a waiting to seize the Empire and begin a massive invasion.
The Empire's allies included their western province, Hammerfell, who were always on friendly terms with the Empire and disliked the notion of being overthrown by the Thalmor (who ultimately wanted to get rid of all non-elves) and Skyrim, the Empire's northern province, which was the homeland of Talos (Tiber Septim) who would later be recognized as a god, was the founder of the Third Empire.
The Empire also had political and financial, though not military, support from Daggerfall in High Rock, home of the Bretons which had once been subject to Elven tyranny before achieving independence. At one point the Thalmor did take control of the Imperial City and killed the Emperor, or so they thought the Emperor who was killed was a decoy and Mede had made his way out of the city prior to the walls of the Imperial City being breached. Using the lull in fighting to their advantage once the Thalmor held the city the Emperor marshaled his remaining forces and defeated and killed the Lord Naarfin, the elven general, and retook his city putting the Thalmor in a compromised though not hopeless position in the war.
Once the tide of war began to turn in the Empire's favor the Emperor did something controversial that his allies and own subjects would scrutinize him for for years, he reopened negotiation with the Dominion. Titus Mede II wanted to end the war before more blood could be spilled and wagered the best time to renegotiate with the Dominion was from a point of strength so they would be more eager to avoid bloodshed themselves. A treaty was reached called the White-Gold Concordat, named after the White-Gold Tower, capitol building of the Imperial City and presumably the location of the signing.
The White-Gold Concordant stated that the elves on the Altmer Dominion would be allowed to have officials in the Empire, that temples of Talos were to be closed and that the Emperor was to surrender the Blades as POWs. Furthermore, the Empire ceded large parts of Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion, as a result the Redguards resisted the treaty and continued warring with the Dominion, in turn the Empire renounced Hammerfell as a province of the Empire. Hammerfell was outraged at the Empire seeing this as a betrayal and continued the fight against the Dominion by themselves, and won eventually though at a great cost to their nation's infrastructure.
Many have claimed that the Emperor's surrender just gave the Thalmor what they wanted the whole time making the war pointless but the empire's sympathizers have stated that there is a tremendous difference between accepting outrageous terms just because the elves asked and accepting them to stop a war. Also the empire did manage to get a few extra considerations from the elves like not having to allow the elves to garrison armies on Imperial soil and Emperor and Elder Council remaining independent political groups instead of subject to the Thlamor. Skyrim was also highly against the surrender and the culture of Skyrim's Nord people was such that fighting the good fight regardless of blood split was the highest honor.
The ban on Talos was what weighed on the people of Skyrim the most, even more than that of Cyrodiil, since Talos was not only the embodiment of Nord ideals but their native son. Because of Skyrm's less than cooperative attitude towards the White-Gold Concordant the empire had to start stationing their own troops in Skyrim making many holds of the land subject to marital law if their Jarls ever tried to pass any policies that would endanger the Empire's side of the treaty.
Skyrim Civil War
For years Skyrim and Cyrodiil dealt with the ban on Talos worship by simply hiding their worshipers, as far as the empire was concerned it's only obligation was to see to it there were no state tolerated temples or statues to Talos but that it's individual citizens had the right to praise whatever they wanted in the privacy of their own homes. This policy was eventually challenged by a Jarl named Ulfric Stormcloak. When Ulfric helped clear out the Foresworn, savage pre-Nord natives of western hold Skyrim known as the Reach, the price for his help was the hold was to allow Talos worship. Ulfric claimed his people should not have to hide their worship of Talos and keep their faith to the shadows.
Of course the Reach could not honor such a request thanks to Imperial Legion being stationed within Skyrim. But the Thalmor took note of the trouble Ulfric was causing, realizing the empire had been choosing willful ignorance of many secret Talos worshipers for years. All of a sudden the empire had to start taking their ban on Talos worship a lot more seriously and it started by turning over Ulfric to the Thalmor and started allowing Thalmor agents to set up Inquisitional dungeons within Skyrim. General Tullius, who himself served in the Great War, was assigned to Skyrim as it's military commander with authority that could if need be outweigh that of Skyrim's own high-king.
Ulfric would eventually escape his captors and kill the high-king of Skyrim, Torygg, declaring with the king's death his wish to established Independence. With High King Torygg's death Tullius decided the empire's forces had to stop humoring Nord costumes and sympathies since the Empire's very rule was being challenged by it's own province and had lead to the death of one of it's official supporters. Tullius organized an ambush of Ulfric and his Stormcloak soldiers. Ulfric knew an ancient Nord Art called the Voice which allowed him to unleash sonic blasts just by shouting as such once captured Ulfric was not only bound but gagged and of course not be permitted to speak in his own defense.
Ulfric and his generals were taken to the small town of Helgen to be executed by Tullius and his men. Along the way the Imperials found an immigrant wondering over the boarder from Cyrodiil to Skyrim. Tullius did not want to take the chance the straggler was a Stormcloak contingent of some kind and had the immigrant arrested and brought with the Stormcloaks for summery execution to be safe. The straggler is the player character of the game and the game will start off with the player being taken on the wagon ride to Helgen to await execution. A dragon named Alduin interrupts the executions seconds before the players is about to be executed and the player as well as Ulfric and the renaming Stormcloaks can use the chaos as cover to forge their escapes.
Resolving the Civil War is an optional but very prevalent mission arch and may be summarized best as the second main storyline, with the main one being defeating Alduin. If the player goes to Ulfric's city of Windhelm he/she can join the Stormcloaks and fight for independence/revenge against Tullius. The fight against Tullius and his allies is the ultimate goal of this arc concluding with Tullius's death in Skyrim's former capital city of Solitude.
General Tullius is seen by some as a respectable general while to others he is an oppressive warlord but virtually no one disputes his well established insensitivity towards the Nordic culture of Skyrim. Many accuse Jarl Elisif the Fair of being Tullius' puppet, while Tullius is said to exorcise no authority over Elisif, he does consider her an asset to the Empire since she sees Skyrim as a providence of the Empire and not it's own nation. It only adds to the relationship that Tullius is out to get the man who murdered her husband.
Those concerned about Elisif's rather young age and inexperience are kept in check by General Tullius and his men who are stationed in Elisif's city of Solitude, which has earned Tullius Jarl Elisif's cautioned trust. Tullius honors the Empire's recent alliance with the Thalmor but neither likes nor trusts them. Tullius may have no personal ambitions of his own but still sees the Jarls of Skyrim as owing their loyalty to the Empire and thus to him over that of a rebel leader at least until such time as the rebels are defeated and he can drop martial-law.
Tullius has been known to do things like bribe officials in other holds, plant spies and exaggerate reports of Stormcloak activity to be seen in a more favorable light by the Jarls. As first demonstrated with the player character, Tullius is certainly not above leaving innocent people to be imprisoned or executed if he can't take the chance said offenders are not rebels. Tullius understands little of the significance of Nord traditions which is why he relies on his lieutenant, Rikke, to let him know when he should bother to care about this or that ancient custom.
Mostly Tullius has nothing but disdain for Nord customs and traditions and the ones he does tolerate are just honored to maintain public relations.
General Tullius seems to have a policy of ending the rebellion by any means possible, he does not care about Nord custom or being sensitive to the locals and instead views Ulfric's insolence as what happens when you tolerate dissidents rather than crushing them. Regardless of his oblivious insensitivity or kill or be killed outlook on commanding Tullius hates the Thalmor just as much as Ulfric, he does not trust them and prior to High King Torygg's death was encouraging Torygg not to give the Thalmor anymore leeway than was absolutely necessary.
Tullius cares about Skyrim and it's people as a province of the Empire but this only fuels dedication to doing his job and getting rid of the rebels, as far as Tullius is concerned the sooner the Stormcloaks are dealt with the sooner the empire can focus on building up it's forces to be in a prime position to renegotiate the conditions of peace with the Aldmeri Dominion. Like most Imperials Tullius maintains a cosmopolitan outlook on society and thinks that all cultures should be able to assimilate in one society without issue, but because of this he gets heavily annoyed by the Nords demanding that he and his people stop to observe Nord customs over doing what is practical.
Tullius's second-in-command, lieutenant Rikke, is a native Nord of Skyrim who while completely loyal to her commander is much more sensitive to her people's national pride and tempers most of Tullius's outlook on holding up military policies to humor local customs.
When confronted in the invasion of Solitude, if the player sides with Ulfric, Tullius is disheartened by the situation and ready to surrender claiming that things are far too one-sided for anything to be done at that point. However regardless of acceptance of his situation Tullius is never willing to grovel to Ulfric but rather is just simply resigned to either being disgraced of killed. Rikke is not willing to go so quietly and fights the player and Ulfric, when she is killed Tullius resumes his grim outlook. With his final breath Tullius tells Ulfric he was just a pawn of the Thalmor, being manipulated into turning on the empire to weaken them from within, Ulfric dismisses Tullius' words though as just the desperate words of a man who saw his end was at hand and kills him.