Many have heard the tales of the recent Stormcloak rebellion, and even more have seen their banners either hoisted in their towns or passed out in propaganda by the TEM. That being said, very few know or understand their history prior to the rebellion. To begin to understand their origins, we must look farther than the TEM. Farther even than Convention.
The non-linearity of the Dawn reflected in every aspect of the Mundus, including its inhabitants. Before time began to last in a stepped fashion, sentient creatures found it difficult to find solid purchase in the forms they took, constantly shedding their skins as they became unnecessary or unwanted. This is still reflected in the Bosmeri tribes that hold true to their forest lord and the Wild Hunt they undertake to protect their forest. If one culture remembers, why not others? So we arrive at the pertinent part of this tale.
Out of Atmora, the hoary Nords sailed making landfall upon the shores of Skyrim. This is common knowledge, as is the tale of their genocide and subsequent return with Ysgramor’s 500 companions. They are said to have arrived with dragons, giants, monsters, and more. Of these monsters, the forebears of the Stormcloak clan originates; for they were not monsters at all, they only emulated them. They used a magick not common in the world today, but all too prevalent in the days of the Merethic Era.
When the Companions made landfall, they immediately began their devouring of Merish culture. They stamped it out where they saw it, murdering Mer to the last. None more so than the ancient Stormcloaks, so called because they wore Kyne’s storms as their cloak and embodied her righteous rage against the children of Auri-El Godkiller. But the Stormcloaks did not fight with swords or axes. They didn’t wear iron or steel for armor. They used claws and tough hide.
It is written record that the Mundus has seen its share of skin magicks, in the form of Hollow Men, skin-changers, skin-stealers, etc. The Atmoran Berserkers are just another sect of the skin magick wielders. The Berserkers would ritualistically slaughter their prey and wear their skin to better embody their rage and hone it into an indefensible weapon. When they arrived in Skyrim, the first creature they saw to accomplish this was the bear and what an appropriate creature it was. For the bear, like their enemy deity Orkey, was relentless in its pursuits of savagery against its enemies.
The Berserkers lost themselves to their animalistic rage so that even Kyne couldn’t calm them. They slaughtered Mer after Mer until all that was left was eviscerated carnage. They became so lost in themselves that the Companions had to hunt them to near extinction. It wasn’t until the ravens of yore, the loaned messengers of Shor, flew among them that they knew peace at last and shed their skins and regained their manish forms. It was decreed by the Harbingers that no form would ever be taken again and that any who would trespass on such an edict would be barred from Shor’s loving embrace.
So the Stormcloaks found contentment in their name alone, still blessed with the righteous fury of their scorned shield-matron and cursed with the lack of temperament to hone and control it.