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The Wandering Spirits


by Amun-dro, the Silent Priest

Akha. The First Cat, whom we know as the Pathfinder and the One Unmourned. In the earliest days, when Ahnurr and Fadomai were still in love, he explored the heavens and his trails became the Many Paths. He was Ahnurr's Favored Son, and his father told him to find love like Ahnurr found with Fadomai. Akha mated with the Winged Serpent of the East, the Dune Queen of the West, and the Mother Mammoth of the North. He then went to the South and never returned. Instead, Alkosh appeared speaking warnings of the things Akha had made along the Many Paths. Since then, Alkosh and his faithful watch over the many children of Akha, for they are both terrible and kind.

Alkosh. The Dragon King. The Highmane. He was granted rule over the myriad kingdoms of Akha along the Many Paths. In time, the children of Akha overthrew him and scattered his body on the West Wind. It is said that when Khenarthi learned this, she flew across the Many Paths and put Alkosh back together. In doing so, she saw all the things Akha had wrought, including those that should not be. Now, Alkosh and Khenarthi safeguard the Many Paths from the wayward children of Akha. Pray to Alkosh not for his strength or his mighty roar, but for his sense of duty and purpose.

Alkhan. The Scaled Prince. Firstborn of Akha, who bred with a demon of fire and shadow. He can devour the souls of those he kills to grow to an immense size. The songs tell us Alkhan was slain by Lorkhaj and his companions, but as an immortal Son of Akha he will return from the Many Paths in time. He is the enemy of Alkosh, Khenarthi, and Lorkhaj, and ever hungers for his crown.

Boethra. The Warrior of the East and West. She is the mate of Mafala, who did not forget her love for Boethra after Ahnurr sent her into exile for her rebellious nature. Boethra walked the Many Paths in exile, and she returned. It was she who pried the eye from Magrus, and this is why Khajiit value swords as well as claws. There is no need for a True Cat to pray to Boethra, as you honor this spirit merely by walking the Path, and only hiding in order to pounce. It is forbidden to say her name on nights of the Ghost Moon, as during these phases Boethra dons the death-shroud of Lorkhaj and wages war beyond the Lattice.

Mafala. The Teaching Mother. Elder Spirit and the Keeper of the Ancient Secrets of Fadomai. These were the secrets her children only needed in the beginning, and it was Mafala that carried them down. She watches over Eight of the Many Paths, each of which a Khajiit must walk in time. Mafala aids the Clan Mothers in guiding the Khajiiti people along the Path and protecting our secrets from Others. She is an ally of Azurah, Boethra, and Lorkhaj. Her numbers are Eight and Sixteen, and these are two of her keys.

Pridehome: A Place Outside Time?


Transcribed by Kaalaleth of the Mages Guild

Transcriber's note: This transcription uses verbs that, in our language, denote the passage of time. I feel like they hamper understanding of what this itinerant Khajiit Moon-Priest tried to explain to me, but I needed to get these concepts down (albeit roughly) before my own mind confused me even more. As a result, any mistakes in this transcription are my own. I only wish I could give you the sense of timelessness that the Moon-Priest provided to me. But, perhaps that way opens a path to the likes of Sheogorath. Also, please note that the Moon-Priest refused to provide his name, stating that he was both a priest with knowledge and a neophyte with no knowledge, all at once.

* * *

Before time and the tapestry, Pridehome existed. As an ideal, it has always existed. It will always exist. The Dragon God of Time, Alkosh, wove it into the tapestry and time, making it real for the rest of us with our limited perception of linear time.

Pridehome served as a home for the adepts who follow the teachings of the God of Time. A secluded place. A place where they prepared for the Doom to Come, a time when the Dragons return and bring unbalance to the world.

Champion Ja'darri heard the call of Alkosh and crafted Pridehome, making it real for the rest of us. Yes, she fought the Black Beast. Yes, she died even as she succeeded. Yet she succeeded only for a time, in your mind. But, yes, she has always existed and succeeded. She will always exist.

The ideal and place of Pridehome has always existed. As has the Pride of Alkosh, of which Ja'darri was the first, provided you hold with the concept of events unfolding one after the other instead of all at once.

Can you imagine, you who are bound to the tapestry and linear time, knowing that Ja'darri both succeeded and failed at the same time? Just as the one called Abnur Tharn succeeded and failed at the same time? And in the same moment, outside of linear time? Perhaps you cannot. Perhaps that asks too much.

More champions heeded the call after Ja'darri, in linear time. More came. Clan Mothers came and went as well. Until, as time passed, in the common parlance, one named Ra'khajin arrived. He both succeeded and failed to become a champion, just as Ja'darri before him. How, you ask, is this possible? He succeeded until he left Pridehome in linear time, yes? But outside linear time? He succeeded and failed all at once. Or forever, if you prefer.

Pridehome's most recent Clan Mother, Hizuni, is also its first. All Clan Mothers at Pridehome are the first. But, perhaps I have belabored this topic long enough, yes? If you grasp anything I have told you, know this: Pridehome has always existed and always will. The Pride of Alkosh has always existed and always will. All Clan Mothers of Pridehome have always existed and always will. And the Doom to Come? It exists and always will.

Cathedral Hierarchy

Chanter Amia

A Primer for Novitiates by Chanter Amia

Novitiates, allow me to once again welcome to your new role in the service of Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time. You begin upon a journey of great importance and spiritual reward, but you are not the first to tread this path, nor will you be the last. Many share this journey and will tackle the same challenges that stand before you. While your path may not lead to the same destination as your fellow novitiates, it does travel in the same general direction.

As you begin to perform the duties of the Cathedral of Akatosh, you must ask yourself how you wish to revere the Dragon God of Time. Will you spread the word of the Dragon God through prayer and guidance, leading worshipers through their devotions and hearing their pleas? Or will you take to the pulpit and the street with holy texts in hand, speaking the truths of the Divines to those who require a rekindling of the fires of faith? After you complete your initiations, you will be asked to make that choice. To take up the mantle of Chanter or Sermonizer. Reflect on your decision carefully, for the demands of each branch in the path are very different.

Remember that the Primate oversees all aspects of Akatosh worship in the Cathedral, supported equally by the Grand Chanter and the Grand Sermonizer. For this reason, Chanters and Sermonizers stand shoulder-to-shoulder, bringing the light of Akatosh to the masses in equal but different ways.

As a Chanter, you will follow the lead of the Grand Chanter, offering compassion and guidance to those who come to our Cathedral in need. You will learn to mend their bodies, minds, and spirits with prayer and wisdom, as well as become a teacher yourself, leading worshipers through their offerings and rituals so that they can grow closer to Akatosh.

As a Sermonizer, you will muster behind the Grand Sermonizer, armoring your conviction against the great enemies of heresy and infidelity to guide the lost and faithless back to the protective wings of the Dragon God. You will learn to wield words that will strike at the heart, purging the impurities of dark influence and self-indulgence. The wicked must be chastised and condemned before they may be redeemed, and it is you who will drive out their darkness.

Do not mistake this division of duties for a lack of unity in purpose. We are guided by the Primate, who has the wisdom to see that both paths are equally important to the reverence of Akatosh. The Primate is the guiding light of our Cathedral, improving the lives of all who look upon its shining brilliance. The Primate, like Akatosh, will never lead you astray.

And if a different task calls to you, one of military service and the need to safeguard the faithful, consider pledging yourself to the Order of the Hour. Keeping the Cathedral and the faithful of Akatosh safe from the dangers of the world is a noble calling, should the more spiritual nature of life in the Cathedral seem like too mundane a method to show your devotion to the Dragon God of Time.

These paths stand before you, novitiate. May Akatosh guide you to your ultimate destination.

Worship of the Dragon God


"Lord Akatosh, lend us your might! Lord Akatosh, grant us your light!" - A popular prayer to Akatosh the Dragon God

If there is a single Divine who holds dominion over the Gold Coast, it has to be Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time. From the grand Cathedral of Akatosh in Kvatch and radiating outward, the word of Akatosh and his servants spreads the light and the truth of the Dragon God in all directions.

Reputed to be the first and greatest of the Eight Divines and the first of the gods to form in the Beginning Place, Akatosh watches over the land and its people with a singular ferocity, never shirking in his role as the God-defender of the Empire - even while the Empire lies broken and shattered. As the Primate of Kvatch likes to say at every opportunity, "The Dragon God sees beyond the concerns of the day and contemplates the entire expanse of time. The current situation is merely a minor disturbance in the flow of events, and Akatosh has everything well in hand."

Akatosh promotes three key qualities in his sphere: endurance, invincibility, and everlasting legitimacy. Perhaps that's why the Empire was so quick to embrace the Dragon God and his tenets. In the words of the Primate of Kvatch, here are the ways in which Akatosh embodies the three key qualities.

Endurance: "This quality represents Akatosh's ability and strength to continue or last and is directly tied to his role as the God of Time. Akatosh endures, and so do the true believers who have accepted his words and devoted themselves to his teachings. Despite fatigue, regardless of stress or adverse conditions, Akatosh and his followers carry on. This is the Dragon God's lasting quality."

Invincibility: "Akatosh cannot be conquered, defeated, or subdued - and neither can those who believe in and honor the Dragon God. This is the Dragon God's indomitable quality."

Everlasting Legitimacy: "This quality must be examined in all its parts. It represents not only Akatosh's eternal aspect, but his reverence for law, reason, and the ruling principles of hereditary right. Nothing blessed and sanctioned by Akatosh can be considered spurious or unjustified. This is the Dragon God's continuing and lawful quality."

Beyond these basic tenets, the Primate of Kvatch and his priests preach the five commands of Akatosh to faithful and faithless alike.

"Serve and obey your Emperor." Since its inception, the Empire and Akatosh worship have gone hand in hand, as this command clearly exemplifies.

"Study the Covenants." These written agreements between Akatosh and his mortal followers, such as Alessia and her descendents, serve as tokens of their joined blood and pledged faith. All followers are urged to read and understand these eternal contracts.

"Worship the Eight." But Akatosh is not a jealous god. He expects his followers to pay tribute not just to himself, but to his fellow Divines.

"Do your duty." Duty and responsibility figure prominently in the teachings of the rule-loving Dragon God. Failure to fulfill your obligations is a sin in the eyes of Akatosh.

"Heed the commands of the saints and priests." Akatosh favors hierarchy and structure, so it comes as no surprise that he demands that his followers comply with the orders of the saints and priests.

The Primate of Kvatch often declares, "As Akatosh wills it, so shall it be." For the Dragon God of Time embodies yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and he embraces the rules that keep the world ordered and precise. By honoring Akatosh with devotion and worship, his followers endeavor to do the same."

Artorius Ponticus Answers Your Questions

Artorius Ponticus

May 15, 2015

“To Bishop Artorius Ponticus of the Temple of Akatosh. Greetings.

Given the large number of casualties due to recent calamities, the afterlife has recently drawn the attention of my studies. I have some previous knowledge of the Far Shores that claim heroes of Redguard lineage and the Aetherial realm of Sovngarde, but few other references seem to refer to the destinations of dead souls beyond Aetherius as a whole. What other realms of Aetherius do the Divines call their followers to upon death, and what ceremonies are necessary to ensure safe passage for the deceased?

Respectful regards, Rohais of Auridon"

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “Though other faiths may have fanciful names for the realm of the afterlife, to us in the Chantry of Akatosh it is simply known as Heaven. We followers of the Eight rely upon the Consecrations of Arkay to protect a soul in its heavenward journey."


"Dear Bishop Ponticus,

I would be humbled if you could explain a question that has baffled me for years and still gnaws at my curiosity. I am just a mage and a scholar and I have not the insight for such spiritual matters. As far as I know, both the priests of the Divines and the Altmer of Summerset agree that Akatosh and the Elven Auri-El are indeed the same deity. And yet again, I fail to see similarities between the Golden Eagle and the Time Dragon. I have yet to encounter any depiction or mention of Auri-El ever being depicted as a dragon, or Akatosh being in some way inspired by or related to Auri-El. Could you explain how the two deities are related and if one precedes the other? Are they, in fact, the same God of Time so many of us pray to?

Yours, Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte"

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “All but the most dogmatic of theologians agree that the Imperial Akatosh and the Elven Auri-El are one and the same, though the Elves' worship of Auri-El is skewed by their unfortunate racial biases. But Auri-El is indubitably the God of Time for both the Altmer and Bosmer, and in their creation myths we easily recognize the acts of our own Father Akatosh. As to your penultimate question, since both Akatosh and Auri-El are credited with commencing the flow of time, by definition neither could 'precede' the other."


"Dear Bishop Ponticus,

I would be humbled if you could answer a question that I dare not share with my friends and kin. It does not pertain to almighty Akatosh, but to the loving and forgiving Mara. It is always a joy to see young couples exchange their wedding vows in the temples of the Divine Mother, but I have not witnessed a wedding between two men or two women. Do Mara and her priests allow the union between two men or two women, and what is their opinion of such relations? Does Mara embrace all, or is it that two men or mer of the same gender should not marry?

Yours, Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte"

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “Mother Mara loves all her children regardless of form. She cherishes their souls, not their bodies, and it is the souls that are united when two mortals take the Pledge of Mara."


"You're a Bishop of Akatosh is that so? Well, there is two things that I don't understand about this aberrant 'Divine' of yours:
As a Singer I study both Words and Swords. And if my etymology serves me well, the name of "Akatosh" is constituted of the Aldmeri 'Aka' meaning 'Dragon' and the word 'Tosh' from an obscure Nedic dialect, meaning 'Dragon' too. So 'Akatosh' means 'Dragon Dragon'. But when I look to your representations of Akatosh, I see a bicephalous god with a dragon head and a human head, why not two dragon heads as suggested by his name?

The second question is: why do you consider that Akatosh is the 'first of the Divines'? The time is not that important. I mean, even if the Nords are dumb, their mythology makes sense with the role of Alduin, in a way. In other hand your mythology seems totally artificial. Well, I guess it's because of that crazy 'prophet' Marukh who destroyed all your Nedic heritage, so you had to build a new mythology out of nowhere. But still, I had to ask.
Seriously, you Cyrodiil folks are fools.

Tobr'a" Iszara the Restless, Singer of the Scenarist Guild"

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “Though you bluster, Restless Iszara, I sense that your questions are sincere, so I will overlook your irreverence, the better to tend to lessening your ignorance.

“Your etymology is not without merit, but it oversimplifies a matter of some complexity. Lord Akatosh wears both a dragon's face and a human's to symbolize the Covenant with the Empire of Man, that covenant made between the Divine and St. Alessia when the humanity of Cyrodiil was freed from the Elves. And the linguists will tell you that, to the Nedes, 'Tosh' means not just 'Dragon,' but also (depending on usage or placement) either 'Tiger' or 'Time.' Thus: Akatosh the Time Dragon.

“Your second question also has two answers. Akatosh was the first of the Divines to assume form in the Beginning Place; his was the example that all others followed. And, of course, as the god who set time running forward, he is the Prime Mover of Duration, and thus First of the Divines on that basis."


"Ah, good Bishop. It is an honor to be in correspondence with one who keeps the true Imperial faith in these benighted times. I hope you can forgive me for applying scholarly curiosity to sacred subjects, but nonetheless I have a pertinent question regarding the faith and the faithful. I'm curious as to the origins of the Imperial worship of Akatosh himself, and I assume you must be an expert on the theology surrounding him, so I'm curious to hear your input. I was dutifully reading a tome from the library at Wayrest, called "Shezarr and the Divines", which suggests that the Nords who assisted Alessia in the formation of the Eight Divines church were reluctant to include Akatosh in the Alessian pantheon, because he was an Elven god. I find this odd for two reasons. Firstly, I was under the impression the Aldmeri name for the Time God was always Auri-El, who is depicted as an Eagle or a tall Altmer with a crown. Secondly, some further research into the heathen faith of the ancient Nords suggests that some form of Dragon idol was imported from Atmora in ancient days. Could this primitive, no doubt Pagan god be some brutal, misunderstood iteration of our beloved Akatosh, or does this idol represent some savage barbarian god best left forgotten? I'm fascinated by the possibilities, and eagerly await your response, good sir."

Legate Cyclenophus of the Bretonic Imperial Restoration Society

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “The Nords who aided Alessia in the Slave Rebellion were, as you put it, 'reluctant to include Akatosh' in the new pantheon not only because he was worshiped by the Elves, albeit under another name. Even more important was the Nords' fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Dragon God of Time, whom they conflate with their myth of Alduin, the Dragon Who Eats the World. This was, indeed, a 'brutal misunderstanding,' an error that lives on even today in the beliefs of the less educated folk of Skyrim. As the book you refer to explains, the Nords were only mollified when Alessia agreed to adopt their beloved Shor into the pantheon as Shezarr, the Missing God. And this was appropriate, as it both recognized the importance of Shezarr, and emphasized his absence."


“Salutations Bishop Ponticus,

My question to you is: how the state church deals with the bastardizations of the worship of the Eight Divines, such as those practiced by the Khajiit, or the worship of the Living Gods of the Dunmeri Tribunal?

Does the Church acknowledge such variation in the faith and, if so, how does it reconcile these differences in worship?"

The lonely Ayleid

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “Reconcile differences in worship? What a quaint idea. The world abounds in ignorance and error, and it is the task of the Faithful to set this right. The Covenants instruct us in the proper ways to worship Akatosh and the other seven Divines. To teach other peoples the truth of the Covenants is one of the Three Purposes of the Chantry of Akatosh."


“Dear Artorius Ponticus.

My question revolves around the "Daedric Prince" Meridia.
Meridia is quite a unique entity amongst the Daedric Princes, if she can even be called one.
For one, Meridia seems to possess many Anuic qualities that are common amongst Aedra and many Aetherian et'Ada but not Daedric Princes. Furthermore, Meridia was on Nirn during its creation, and left alongside Magnus, in fact, according to some research she was one of the
Magna Ge, and was also related to the Light in Ayleid mythology. I have interacted with her and her servants before, and she does not seem to have ill will against Nirn or its inhabitants. In fact, she seems willing to assist mortals, particularly against those who corrupt life.

I would like to hear your opinion of why she is considered a Daedric Prince: is it because she created a realm in Oblivion out of the Sun's light instead of returning to Aetherius? Also is Magnus considered a Daedra as well? He did, like Meridia, not give his powers up when Nirn was being formed."

Melanion, Templar of Stendarr and Meridia

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “I assume from your name, Melanion, that you are some breed of Elf, which may help to explain how you have fallen into such heinous error. Meridia may speak fair to mortals when she wishes to use them or command their obedience, but here in Cyrodiil we remember her for what she was: a patron and mentor to the Heartland High Elves, and complicit in the bondage and oppression of as much of humanity as the Ayleids could enslave. Her honeyed words hide devious purposes. Heed instead the words of the Covenants, and trust not in the promises of Daedra!

“As regards Magnus, he is not considered one of the Eight Divines, for though he gave much, he did not give all. When he withdrew from the Mundus, he left mortals the gift of magic, a dubious contribution that does the world at least as much ill as good—however, there is no doubt as to his Aedric nature. But I invite you to come to Kvatch, Melanion, that we may discuss these matters further, and clear up your many misconceptions."


“Letter - To Be Delivered Posthaste Via Courier On Horseback To:
Bishop Artorius Ponticus
Cathedral of Akatosh
City of Kvatch, Province of Cyrodiil
Remainder Of Delivery Fee (12 Coins) Enclosed

Most Reverend Bishop Ponticus,
I was very pleased to hear that you had offered to answer questions regarding the nature of worship of the Eight Divines throughout Tamriel (may it be filled with the blessings of Akatosh and all the divines). Do forgive me, Father, if I become too wordy. Firstly, I would like to know about the liturgies which you yourself celebrate in the holy cathedral. Is there some certain ritual performed at the central altar in the cathedral? How is the laity involved in worship? Are there certain liturgies for certain days of the week, or of certain times of the day? Do you engage in worship reading from or utilizing certain texts? Secondly, I would like to know about the personal devotions of your flock and congregation. Do they worship in their homes? Do they pray upon beads, or perhaps using devotional books? Do you yourself prescribe certain prayers or devotional acts? Thank you kindly for your attention.
Praise be to Akatosh and all the Divines,

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “In every church, chapel, or cathedral where Akatosh is worshiped, his mass is held exactly at noon, as determined by the presiding priest's Buoyant Sundial floating in the Vessel of the Hours. Except on days holy to Akatosh the mass is brief, consisting of a reading of the appropriate daily liturgy from the Augmented Covenants, after which the priest leads the congregation in the Orison of Gratitude.

“Home worship, or personal worship when one cannot attend mass, is even simpler: the layman of Akatosh merely pauses for a full minute to count out the Seconds of Requital, thereby giving thanks for his or her mortal life and every hour it endures, however few."


"Greetings, my dear Bishop. There has been a matter weighing down on my heart for some time now, and you being a worshipper of the Akatosh may finally result in some closure on this subject – it is about a possible connection between the Daedric Prince Peryite and the Dragon God of Time. Some months ago, a grizzled gentleman of the Imperial College mentioned to me that worshippers of the Taskmaster regard his likeness to the Dragon Gold as some form of unknowable jest from the beginning of time. Both are also represented by dragons, and where Akatosh upholds the Aedric Order, Peryite's sphere of Natural Order seems to do the same for the Daedra. I have also noticed that statues of the two used by priests and cultists alike often only have a few minor derivations. Are these similarities simple coincidences, or is there in fact some hidden connection between these two immortals? As Akatosh's Bishop, what are your thoughts about this?"

– Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “Daedra again! I will never understand people's fascination with those hateful and malicious demons. They are false gods, paragons of selfish willfulness, incapable of the sacrifice the Aedra made to create our world, unreliable of purpose and unworthy of worship.

“And yet some dare compare mighty and beneficent Akatosh to one of these so-called 'Princes' solely because the demon has stolen a Dragon's form and uses it as his symbol. If it were done out of admiration one could almost excuse it, but admiration is not a trait of the Daedra. This is theft, pure and simple, an attempt to gain unearned power and majesty by adopting another's guise. The Taskmaster? Pfah! Say, rather, The Impostor!

“We shall speak no more of this matter."


“In the standard Tamrielic worship, in specific the cults to Dibella, how do they go on about picking their Sibyl, or is this selected by divine inspiration via Dibella herself or otherwise?"

Valaria Aritus, Apprentice of the Mages Guild.

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “How the Sibyl of a House of Dibella is selected is one of their cult mysteries—if I knew the answer, I couldn't tell you, as I would be sworn to secrecy! It is said by some that Dibella herself chooses her Sibyls, communicating her choice to a congregation through some form of divine revelation. Others, myself included, deem this rather unlikely, as the Self-Sacrificed Gods are no longer active presences in our world. Father Akatosh might be considered the most 'active' Aedra of all, as we sense him every second in the passage of time—but if I, a Bishop of Akatosh, have never communed with my Divine, then (with no disrespect to the Lady of Love) how likely is it that a Sibyl of Dibella can commune with hers? Not at all. No, not likely at all."


“To Artorius Ponticus, Bishop of Akatosh at the Temple in Kvatch,
Every Cyrodiil knows about the Covenant between Father Akatosh and St. Alessia, but this amateur scholar does not understand how Molag Bal could bypass this agreement between the Divine and Al-Esh when the Daedra Prince destroyed Gil-Var-Delle in the final year of the First Era. Could you explain in terms that even the simplest of Nords could understand?"

Quintillius Trebates of the Grand Library of Leyawiin

Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, “That challenge may be beyond me, Honorable Quintillius, as the matter is … complicated. The issue of protecting Nirn from the depredations of the Daedra is not simply binary, with Tamriel either defended or undefended. The Mundus is multiplex, and both contains and is surrounded by the unnumbered planes of Oblivion. This is paradox, but it is true nonetheless. The Covenant of Akatosh is sacred and peerless, of course … but there may be ways by which it could be weakened, or even, unthinkably, sundered.

“The God of Time may be First of the Aedra, but there are many other powers in the Mundus, and others we will not speak of in the Beyond. Some defend us; some contest with our defenders; and even the acts of mortals may not be inconsequential. We have unyielding faith that Father Akatosh defends us—but still we pray in times of peril."


Trials of Saint Alessia


[fragment from the Trials of St. Alessia]

Akatosh made a covenant with Alessia in those days so long ago. He gathered the tangled skeins of Oblivion, and knit them fast with the bloody sinews of his Heart, and gave them to Alessia, saying, 'This shall be my token to you, that so long as your blood and oath hold true, yet so shall my blood and oath be true to you. This token shall be the Amulet of Kings, and the Covenant shall be made between us, for I am the King of Spirits, and you are the Queen of Mortals. As you shall stand witness for all Mortal Flesh, so shall I stand witness for all Immortal Spirits.'

And Akatosh drew from his breast a burning handful of his Heart's blood, and he gave it into Alessia's hand, saying, 'This shall also be a token to you of our joined blood and pledged faith. So long as you and your descendants shall wear the Amulet of Kings, then shall this dragonfire burn -- an eternal flame -- as a sign to all men and gods of our faithfulness. So long as the dragonfires shall burn, to you, and to all generations, I swear that my Heart's blood shall hold fast the Gates of Oblivion.

So long as the Blood of the Dragon runs strong in her rulers, the glory of the Empire shall extend in unbroken years. But should the dragonfires fail, and should no heir of our joined blood wear the Amulet of Kings, then shall the Empire descend into darkness, and the Demon Lords of Misrule shall govern the land.'

-- from the liturgy of the Re-Kindling of the Dragonfires

The Alduin/Akatosh Dichotomy

Alexandre Simon

The Alduin/Akatosh Dichotomy

By Alexandre Simon
High Priest of the Akatosh Chantry, Wayrest


As High Priest of the Akatosh Chantry, I have dedicated my life to the service of the Great Dragon. He who was first at the Beginning. He who is greatest and most powerful of all the Divines. He who is the very embodiment of infinity.

I am, quite obviously, a man of deep and unwavering faith. But not blind faith, for I am also a man of scholarly endeavors, and have always valued education and the pursuit of truth, in all its forms. And so, I have had the honor and privilege of making it my life's work to discover the truth about Akatosh, in all of our beloved Divine's incarnations.

Throughout the civilized world (and I refer not only to the Empire, but to every nation on great Nirn that has embraced the virtues of learning and letters), the Great Dragon is worshipped. Usually, the highest of Divines is referred to as Akatosh. But what some may not be aware of is that he is occasionally referred to by two other names as well.

The Aldmer refer to Akatosh as Auri-El. The Nords call him Alduin. These names come up repeatedly in certain ancient texts, and in each one, it is clear that the deity in question is none other than he whom we call Akatosh.

Yet there are those who believe, even in this enlightened age, that this is not so. That the regional interpretations of Akatosh are not interpretations of Akatosh at all. Rather, they are references to altogether different deities, deities who may or may not share the same aspects or be the Great Dragon at all.

Many Altmer of Summerset Isle worship Auri-El, who is the soul of Anui-El, who in turn is the soul of Anu the Everything. But if you ask the high elves themselves (as I did, when I traveled to Summerset Isle to continue my research), the majority will concede that Auri-El is but Akatosh with a different name, colored by their own cultural beliefs.

So maybe it comes as no surprise that the real theological dissention lies in Skyrim, among the Nord people - renowned as much for their stubbornness as they are their hardiness and prowess on the fields of valor. When I journeyed to the stark white province, I was surprised to find a people whose views on Akatosh are almost diametrically opposed to those of the Altmer. The majority of Nord people seem to believe that their Alduin of legend is not Akatosh, but another deity entirely. A great dragon, yes, but not the Great Dragon.

Determined to get to the heart of this matter, I consulted with several Nords, chief among them an old and respected clan chief by the name of Bjorn Much-Bloodied. And what surprised me most about those I talked to was not that they believed in Alduin instead of Akatosh, but that they recognized Alduin in addition to Akatosh. In fact, most children of Skyrim seem to view Akatosh in much the same way I do - he is, in fact, the Great Dragon. First among the Divines, perseverance personified and, more than anything, a force of supreme good in the world.

Alduin, they claim, is something altogether different.

Whether or not he is actually a deity remains in question, but the Alduin of Nord folklore is in fact a dragon, but one so ancient, and so powerful, he was dubbed the "World Eater," and some accounts even have him devouring the souls of the dead to maintain his own power. Other stories revolve around Alduin acting as some sort of dragon king, uniting the other dragons in a war against mankind, until he was eventually defeated at the hands of one or more brave heroes.

It is hard to deny that such legends are compelling. But as both High Priest and scholar, I am forced to ask that most important of questions - where is the evidence?

The Nords of Skyrim place a high value on their oral traditions, but such is the core of their unreliability. A rumor passed around the Wayrest market square can change so dramatically in the course of a few simple hours, that by the end of the day, one might believe half the city's residents were involved in any number of scandalous activities. How then is an educated, enlightened person possibly supposed to believe a legend that has been passed down, by word of mouth only, for hundreds, or even thousands of years?

The answer to such a question is simple - he cannot.

And so, it is my conclusion that the Alduin of Nord legend is in fact mighty Akatosh, whose story grew twisted and deformed through centuries of retelling and embellishment. Through no real fault of their own, the primitive peoples of Skyrim failed to understand the goodness and greatness of the Great Dragon, and it was this lack of understanding that formed the basis of what became, ironically, their most impressive creative achievement - "Alduin," the World Eater, phantom of bedtime stories and justification for ancient (if imagined deeds).

Alduin is Real

Thromgar Iron-Head

Alduin is Real,
and He Ent Akatosh

Thromgar Iron-Head,
prowd Nord


As my da used to say - Imperials are idiutts!

That is why I am riting this book. I ent never rote a book before, and I do not reckon to rite one agenn, but sometimes a man must do what a man must do. And what I must do is set the recerd strate about the god called Akatosh and the dragon called Alduin. They ent the same thing, no matter what them Imperials mite say, or how thay mite wish it to be so.

My da was never one for the gods, but my ma was. She wershipped all the Divines, and tot me lots of things. So I noe a thing or two about Akatosh. Just as much as any Imperial. I noe he was the first of all the gods to take shape in the Beginning Place. And I noe he has the shape of a dragon.

My da even told me the story of Martyn Septim, and the things what happened when the gates to Oblivion opened. Septim turned into the spirit of Akatosh and killed Mehrunes Dagon. Now I dont noe about you, but any dragon that fites the Prince of Destruction is okay by me.

Now I hope you understand the problim. Akatosh is good. Everyone, from Nord to Imperial, noes that. But Alduin? He ent good! He's the oposit of good! That Alduin is evil thrue and thrue. So you see, Akatosh and Alduin cant be one and the same.

Growing up as a lad in Skyrim, I herd all the stories. Told to me by my da, who was told by his da, who was told by his da, and so on. And one of those stories was about Alduin. But see, he was not Akatosh. He was another dragon and a real wun at that.

Akatosh is some kind of spirit dragon I think, wen he bothers to be a dragon at all (and not a god livin in sum kind of god plac like Obliviun). But Alduin is a real dragon, with flesh and teeth and a mean streak longer than the White River. And there was a time when Alduin tried to rool over all of Skyrim with his other dragons. In the end, it took sum mitey strong heroes to finally kill Alduin and be dun with his hole sorry story.

So I got to ask - does that sound like Akatosh to you? No, frend. No it do not.

And so I, Thromgar Iron-Head do firmly say, with the utmost connvicshun, that Alduin is real, and he ent Akatosh!

Book of the Dragonborn

Prior Emelene Madrine

The Book of the Dragonborn

Prior Emelene Madrine
Order of Talos
Weynon Priory

Year 360 of the Third Era,
Twenty-First of the Reign of
His Majesty Pelagius IV

Many people have heard the term "Dragonborn" - we are of course ruled by the "Dragonborn Emperors" - but the true meaning of the term is not commonly understood. For those of us in the Order of Talos, this is a subject near and dear to our hearts, and in this book I will attempt to illuminate the history and significance of those known as Dragonborn down through the ages.

Most scholars agree that the term was first used in connection with the Covenant of Akatosh, when the blessed St. Alessia was given the Amulet of Kings and the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One were first lit. "Akatosh, looking with pity upon the plight of men, drew precious blood from his own heart, and blessed St. Alessia with this blood of Dragons, and made a Covenant that so long as Alessia's generations were true to the dragon blood, Akatosh would endeavor to seal tight the Gates of Oblivion, and to deny the armies of daedra and undead to their enemies, the Daedra-loving Ayleids." Those blessed by Akatosh with "the dragon blood" became known more simply as Dragonborn.

The connection with the rulers of the Empire was thus there from the beginning - only those of the dragon blood were able to wear the Amulet of Kings and light the Dragonfires. All the legitimate rulers of the Empire have been Dragonborn - the Emperors and Empresses of the first Cyrodilic Empire founded by Alessia; Reman Cyrodiil and his heirs; and of course Tiber Septim and his heirs, down to our current Emperor, His Majesty Pelagius Septim IV.

Because of this connection with the Emperors, however, the other significance of the Dragonborn has been obscured and largely forgotten by all but scholars and those of us dedicated to the service of the blessed Talos, Who Was Tiber Septim. Very few realize that being Dragonborn is not a simple matter of heredity - being the blessing of Akatosh Himself, it is beyond our understanding exactly how and why it is bestowed. Those who become Emperor and light the Dragonfires are surely Dragonborn - the proof is in the wearing of the Amulet and the lighting of the Fires. But were they Dragonborn and thus able to do these things - or was the doing the sign of the blessing of Akatosh descending upon them? All that we can say is that it is both, and neither - a divine mystery.

The line of Septims have all been Dragonborn, of course, which is one reason the simplistic notion of it being hereditary has become so commonplace. But we know for certain that the early Cyrodilic rulers were not all related. There is also no evidence that Reman Cyrodiil was descended from Alessia, although there are many legends that would make it so, most of them dating from the time of Reman and likely attempts to legitimize his rule. We know that the Blades, usually thought of as the Emperor's bodyguards, originated in Akaviri crusaders who invaded Tamriel for obscure reasons in the late First Era. They appear to have been searching for a Dragonborn - the events at Pale Pass bear this out - and the Akaviri were the first to proclaim Reman Cyrodiil as Dragonborn. In fact it was the Akaviri who did the most to promote his standing as Emperor (although Reman himself never took that title in his lifetime). And of course there is no known hereditary connection between Tiber Septim and any of the previous Dragonborn rulers of Tamriel.

Whether there can be more than one Dragonborn at any time is another mystery. The Emperors have done their best to dismiss this notion, but of course the Imperial succession itself means that at the very least there are two or more potential Dragonborn at any time: the current ruler and his or her heirs. The history of the Blades also hints at this - although little is known of their activities during the Interregnum between Reman's Empire and the rise of Tiber Septim, many believe that the Blades continued to search out and guard those they believed were (or might be) Dragonborn during this time.

Lastly, we come to the question of the true meaning of being Dragonborn. The connection with dragons is so obvious that it has almost been forgotten - in these days when dragons are a distant memory, we forget that in the early days being Dragonborn meant having "the dragon blood". Some scholars believe that was meant quite literally, although the exact significance is not known. The Nords tell tales of Dragonborn heroes who were great dragonslayers, able to steal the power of the dragons they killed. Indeed, it is well known that the Akaviri sought out and killed many dragons during their invasion, and there is some evidence that this continued after they became Reman Cyrodiil's Dragonguard (again, the connection to dragons) - the direct predecessor to the Blades of today.

I leave you with what is known as "The Prophecy of the Dragonborn". It often said to originate in an Elder Scroll, although it is sometimes also attributed to the ancient Akaviri. Many have attempted to decipher it, and many have also believed that its omens had been fulfilled and that the advent of the "Last Dragonborn" was at hand. I make no claims as an interpreter of prophecy, but it does suggest that the true significance of Akatosh's gift to mortalkind has yet to be fully understood.

When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world

When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped

When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles

When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls

When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding

The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.

Shor son of Shor

Michael Kirkbride

"And the awful fighting ended again.

"Kyne's shout brought our tribe back to the mountaintop of Hrothgar, and even our recent dead rode in on the wind of her breathing, for there had been no time to fashion a proper retreat. Their corpses fell among us as we landed and we looked on them in confusion, shaken as we were by this latest battle in the war of twilight. The chieftains of the other tribes still held their grudge against our own, Shor son of Shor; more, they had united finally to destroy us and used skin-magic to trick us into disarray.

"Shor was disgusted with the defeat, and disgusted more when reminded by Jhunal that our withdrawal had been wise, for we were outnumbered eight to one. Shor took on the form of his Totem then, which he used to better shape his displeasure, rather than to shout it aloud and risk more storm-death. His shield thanes, the brothers Stuhn and Tsun, bowed their heads, collecting the spears and swords and wine-knives Shor threw about the broken pillars of the easternmost sky-temple. The rest of us looked away and to our own, not even to acknowledge the thunderclap that signaled our Queen's arrival, who stepped in from the tunnel of her own breath last.

"Kyne had taken the head of Magnar, the jarl that betrayed the weakness of our spear-lines and fled the field. Shor shook his scaled mane. "That isn't Magnar," he said, "Magnar, I fear, fell at sunrise and became replaced by mirrors. The other chieftains are using our forms to lead us astray."

"And then Shor walked away from his War-Wife to enter the cave that led to the Underworld. He needed to take counsel with his father yet again. "Our chieftain loses heart," Dibella said, Bed-Wife of Shor, hefting another body onto the corpse pile some of us were making, "And so goes to the speak to one that has none anymore. Mirrors, indeed, and in that I see no logic."

"Tsun took her by the hair, for he was angered by her words and heavy with lust. He was a berserker despite his high station, and love followed battle to his kind. "You weren't made for that kind of thinking," Stuhn said, dragging Dibella towards a whaleskin tent, "Jhunal was. And no one should be speaking to him now." Tsun eyed the Clever Man who had heard him. "Logic is dangerous in these days, in this place. To live in Skyrim is to change your mind ten times a day lest it freeze to death. And we can have none of that now."

"Kyne could have stopped all of this but did nothing but stare at the crowd of Nords around her. Stuhn and Tsun were shifting and it was still uncouth to prevent this kind of neighboring. She looked on Jhunal and did not know if he should be spoken to or not. Rules were changing. Even her handmaiden was gone, and that lack of attendance was a transgression, but Kyne knew Mara was no doubt making treaties with one of the other chieftains, and the Pact still allowed for Tear-Wives to do that. After her husband Shor had forgotten to kiss her, a tradition among the War-Married when they returned from the field together, Kyne kept her storms to herself and knew there would be no true understanding until the twilight was lifted.

"Shor breathed the lamplights of the Underworld to life with small whispers of fire. The dark did not frighten him-- he had been born in a cave much like this-- but nevertheless it added to the mounting disgust in his spirit. Ever since the Moot at the House of We, where the chieftains of the other tribes had accused him of trespass and cattle-theft and foul-mouthery, he knew it would come to a war we could not win. Any of those words were enough for the treason-mark, and traitors were only met with banishment, disfigurement, or half-death. He had taken the first with pride, roaring a chieftain's gobletman into dust to underscore his willingness to leave, knowing we would follow. He had taken the second by drawing a circle on the House's adamantine floor with his tailmouth-tusk which broke with a keening sound, showing the other chieftains that it would all come around again. And he took the third by vomiting his own heart into the circle like a hammerclap, guarding his wraith in the manner of his father and roaring at the other tribes, "Again we fight for our petty placements in this House, in the Around Us, and all it will amount to is a helix of ghosts like mine now spit into the world below where we fight again! I can already feel the war below us starting, and yet you have not yet thrown your first spears even here!" We took our leave of the House and would never reconvene again in this age.

"The Moot looked to the tribe of Ald son of Ald but he would break no oath of the Pact, saying "Shor has paid ransom now three times for the the sins we accused him of, and by that we will hold him as dead and shake not our spears against him or his kin. Of the below he speaks, he is confused by it, for under us is only a prologue, and under that still is only a scribe that hasn't written anything yet. Shor as always forgets the above, and condemns himself and any other who would believe him into this cycle." Ald's shield thane Trinimac shook his head at this, for he was akin to Tsun and did not care much for logic-talk as much as he did only for his own standing. He told his chieftain that these words had been said before and Ald only sighed and said, "Yes, and always they will be ignored. As for the war you crave, bold Trinimac, and all of you assembled, do not worry. A spear will be thrown into this soon, from Shor's own tribe, and the House of We will be allowed our vengeance."

"Shor found the alcove at the core of the world and spoke to his dead father. He said a prayer to remove any trickery of mirrors and the ghost of Shor father of Shor appeared, saying "Ald and the others have paid time and again for the the sins we accused them of, and by that you should hold them as dead and shake not the spears of your tribe against any of their kind again. Of the above he speaks, Ald is confused by it, for above us is only an ending, and above that still is only a scribe that hasn't written anything yet. Ald as always forgets the ground below him, and condemns himself and any other who would believe him into this cycle." But Shor shook his head at this, for he was akin to Ald and did not care much for logic-talk as much as he did only for his own standing. He told his father that these words had been said before and Shor only sighed and said, "Yes, and always they will be ignored. As for the counsel you crave, bold son, and in spite of all your other fathers here with me, that you create every time you spit out your doom, do not worry. You have again beat the drum of war, and perhaps this time you will win." Shor son of Shor returned then to us on the mountaintop.

"He didn't need to explain what he had learned, for we had been there with him. Trinimac left Dibella in his tent as we assembled, and he had not touched her, frozen in the manner of the Nords when we are unsure of our true place, and asked his brother to rearm him. Stuhn was confused for a moment, thinking this an odd shift, but Mara was returned and had made great headway into treaty with the other tribes, telling him that such Totems here in the twilight could now be trusted. Our Queen merely nodded to her War-Husband and shouted us back to the fields of our enemies, towards a weakened spot among their spear-lines that Magnar our scout would light for us.

"And the awful fighting began again."