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The Tale of Three Moons

Author: 
Anonymous

In a time before our people's first memory, but long after Azurah's pyre claimed the flesh of the proud lion, Lorkhaj, our great mother wept and sighed–haunted by the fate of her brother's dark heart. As she prowled the hills and valleys of her wide domain, she could not escape the pounding–the faint, but constant drumbeat from across the churning seas. Somewhere in the Great Darkness, the fell rhythm of the Moon Beast quickened and grew stronger.

Knowing that her children of many shapes would fall to the Moon Beast's profanity, she purred across the stars, coaxing the lanterns of Jone and Jode to make way for a sky-guardian. This third moon and shield of the Lattice shone its light down upon Azurah's litter of purest heart and most fervent obedience. She called these cats the Litter of the Hidden Moon, and taught them the lunar byways, and secrets of the merciful blade. From that time on, they loved her as no other Khajiit could love her, and in that love, found sympathy for all cats bent by the beating of the Heart.

Beloved adepts, take these words into your heart and know that we keep Azurah's commandments still. For we are all children of the Hidden Moon. 

Our Calling, Our Pledge

Author: 
Abbot Durak

Those new to our order often ask me, "What does it mean to be a Spirit Warden?" This confusion is understandable. Azura offers guidance, but not always in the ways we expect. She has spoken to me but twice in my lifetime, and then only in silken whispers, barely audible in the night.

The Dream Shard is Azura's gift, as is the Dreamless Potion we drink every night. Azura foresees a time when Vaermina, Mistress of Nightmares, will unleash a plague on our province: a plague of madness. Countless innocents will die unless we stop it.

The Dreamless Potion protects us from Vaermina's madness only so we may protect others: those afflicted souls driven mad by their dreams, and their victims. When the time of plague comes, we must stand against it. This is our calling from Azura … and our pledge.

Founding of the Spirit Wardens

Author: 
Janise Muric, Third Warden of the Faithful Circle

Chapter One: Durak's Early Years

Though Abbot Durak is our spiritual leader, he has never been comfortable with the title. Old Master Ugbak once said that relates to his upbringing in the ruins of Orsinium. Anyone can see that Durak is small for an Orc, and one could speculate that his brothers' bullying led him to pursue a mystical path, one unusual for Orcs.

As Ugbak tells it, Durak's story begins in Orsinium, where his lot was hard and lonely. Durak's life changed when he first heard whispers in the night—whispers from the Daedric Prince Azura. Azura said Durak would accomplish a great task: he would come to Stormhaven and found an order of worshipers in her name. These "Spirit Wardens" would prepare for a time of chaos, when Stormhaven's people would suffer from a madness of nightmares.

Durak knew better than to share these whispers with his brothers. He already faced ridicule for his study of magic and lack of physical prowess. Soon after, he left his home in Orsinium and struck out on the long journey to Stormhaven, carrying nothing more than his staff and the clothes on his back.

Durak found his way to Stormhaven, but he had no idea how he was to found this order of "spirit wardens" or where they would live. Soon he despaired. One night, as he took shelter beneath the Weeping Giant, the whispers came again. The silken voice of Azura spoke of a path hidden in the hills west of Moonlit Maw. At its top, Durak found an ancient abbey, abandoned and overgrown. This, he knew, would be the home of the spirit wardens—and so it became our temple to Azura.

Under Durak's leadership, we are prepared for Vaermina's plague of dreams. We were founded to protect Stormhaven from its nightmares, and we will do so to our dying breaths.

The Five Points of the Star

Author: 
Sigillah Parate

PROPHECY is her province, and that which is seen by the Night Sky Queen must eventuate, however dimly it may appear to mortal foresight. For mortals are not all given the gift of Crystal Vision, nor can they always endure knowledge of the truth.

DAWN is the time of imminence, when Azura touches us with wisdom and purpose. It is then we speak the Supplication for Guidance, and tremble in fear that it may be answered.

ROSE is Her color and Her flower, and Moonshadow Her abode as Risen is the sun. Tend we then by midday our mortal necessities, conserving always some part of ourselves for when the sun slides low.

DUSK is when we turn our hands to Azura's commands. Then we praise Her with our dark evening acts, and glorify Her with chastening of noncompliance.

FATE is the Book that She writes in to inscribe our worth and deserts. For by our acts do we earn Her regard or disdain, and read our destiny in Her prophecy.

Malyn Varen's Grimoire

Author: 
Malyn Varen

THE BLACK STAR

An Achievement of Magic over Daedra

by
Malyn Varen
Master Enchanter

Though some scoffed, some scorned, at the very notion of experimenting on a daedric artifact, I have succeeded where the ignorant and superstitious would not even dare to try. The Black Star. My achievement over the Daedric Lord Azura, a re-envisioning, a remastering of the ultimate soul gem. It shall become the vessel of my immortality. Final proof that mortals can live as indefinitely as the denizens of Oblivion.

The visions, the voices that Azura has sent to taunt me. While some called me mad, I knew the truth. Nothing can be held sacred in the pursuit of advancing the very nature of magic itself. Let the daedra send their foul images into my mind. They have given me the burning desire and unrelenting discipline to shut out all influence, all morality.

My disciples and I have built a new site, free of the prying eyes of those primitive minds in Winterhold. Fort Ilinalta. We had been conducting a few minor experiments before our exile, some of which led to the disruption of the island, but a few enchantments have kept the ruins intact, and beneath the waters of Lake Ilinalta has been the perfect place for the final phase of the Black Star.

 

The Book of Daedra

Author: 
Anonymous

Azura, whose sphere is dusk and dawn, the magic in-between realms of twilight, known as Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky.

Boethiah, whose sphere is deceit and conspiracy, and the secret plots of murder, assassination, treason, and unlawful overthrow of authority.

Clavicus Vile, whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pact.

Hermaeus Mora, whose sphere is scrying of the tides of Fate, of the past and future as read in the stars and heavens, and in whose dominion are the treasures of knowledge and memory.

Hircine, whose sphere is the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game, the Chase, known as the Huntsman and the Father of Manbeasts.

Malacath, whose sphere is the patronage of the spurned and ostracized, the keeper of the Sworn Oath, and the Bloody Curse.

Mehrunes Dagon, whose sphere is Destruction, Change, Revolution, Energy, and Ambition.

Mephala, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; known by the names Webspinner, Spinner, and Spider; whose only consistent theme seems to be interference in the affairs of mortals for her amusement.

Meridia, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; who is associated with the energies of living things.

Molag Bal, whose sphere is the domination and enslavement of mortals; whose desire is to harvest the souls of mortals and to bring mortal souls within his sway by spreading seeds of strife and discord in the mortal realms.

Namira, whose sphere is the ancient Darkness; known as the Spirit Daedra, ruler of sundry dark and shadowy spirits; associated with spiders, insects, slugs, and other repulsive creatures which inspire mortals with an instinctive revulsion.

Nocturnal, whose sphere is the night and darkness; who is known as the Night Mistress.

Peryite, whose sphere is the ordering of the lowest orders of Oblivion, known as the Taskmaster.

Sanguine, whose sphere is hedonistic revelry and debauchery, and passionate indulgences of darker natures.

Sheogorath, whose sphere is Madness, and whose motives are unknowable.

Vaernima, whose sphere is the realm of dreams and nightmares, and from whose realm issues forth evil omens.

[Especially marked for special interest under the heading "Malacath" you find a reference to SCOURGE, blessed by Malacath, and dedicated to the use of mortals. In short, the reference suggests that any Daedra attempting to invoke the weapon's powers will be expelled into the voidstreams of Oblivion.]

"Of the legendary artifacts of the Daedra, many are well known, like Azura's Star, and Sheogorath's Wabbajack. Others are less well known, like Scourge, Mackkan's Hammer, Bane of Daedra...."

"...yet though Malacath blessed Scourge to be potent against his Daedra kin, he thought not that it should fall into Daedric hands, then to serve as a tool for private war among caitiff and forsaken. Thus did Malacath curse the device such that, should any dark kin seek to invoke its powers, that a void should open and swallow that Daedra, and purge him into Oblivion's voidstreams, from thence to pathfind back to the Real and Unreal Worlds in the full order of time."  

The Doors of Oblivion

Author: 
Seif-ij Hidja

"When thou enterest into Oblivion, Oblivion entereth into thee." -- Nai Tyrol-Llar

 

The greatest mage who ever lived was my master Morian Zenas. You have heard of him as the author of the book 'On Oblivion,' the standard text for all on matters Daedric. Despite many entreaties over the years, he refused to update his classic book with his new discoveries and theories because he found that the more one delves into these realms, the less certain one is. He did not want conjecture, he wanted facts.

For decades before and after the publication of 'On Oblivion,' Zenas compiled a vast personal library on the subject of Oblivion, the home of the Daedra. He divided his time between this research and personal magickal growth, on the assumption that should he succeed in finding a way into the dangerous world beyond and behind ours, he would need much power to wander its dark paths.

Twelve years before Zenas began the journey he had prepared his life to make, he hired me as his assistant. I possessed the three attributes he required for the position: I was young and eager to help without question; I could read any book once and memorize its contents; and, despite my youth, I was already a Master of Conjuration.

Zenas too was a Master of Conjuration - indeed, a Master at all the known and unknown Schools - but he did not want to rely on his ability alone in the most perilous of his research. In an underground vault, he summoned Daedra to interview them on their native land, and for that he needed another Conjurer to make certain they came, were bound, and were sent away again without incident.

I will never forget that vault, not for its look which was plain and unadorned, but for what you couldn't see. There were scents that lingered long after the summoned creatures had left, flowers and sulfur, sex and decay, power and madness. They haunt me still to this very day.

Conjuration, for the layman unacquainted with its workings, connects the caster's mind with that of the summoned. It is a tenuous link, meant only to lure, hold, and dismiss, but in the hands of a Master, it can be much stronger. The Psijics and Dwemer can (in the Dwemer's case, perhaps I should say, could) connect with the minds of others, and converse miles apart - a skill that is sometimes called telepathy.

Over the course of my employment, Zenas and I developed such a link between one another. It was accidental, a result of two powerful Conjurers working closely together, but we decided that it would be invaluable should he succeed in traveling to Oblivion. Since the denizens of that land could be touched even by the skills of an amateur Conjurer, it was possible we could continue to communicate while he was there, so I could record his discoveries.

The 'Doors to Oblivion,' to use Morian Zenas's phrase, are not easily found, and we exhausted many possibilities before we found one where we held the key.

The Psijics of Artaeum have a place they call The Dreaming Cave, where it is said one can enter into the Daedric realms and return. Iachesis, Sotha Sil, Nematigh, and many others have been recorded as using this means, but despite many entreaties to the Order, we were denied its use. Celarus, the leader of the Order, has told us it has been sealed off for the safety of all.

We had hopes of using the ruins of the Battlespire to access Oblivion. The Weir Gate still stands, though the old proving grounds of the Imperial Battlemages itself was shattered some years ago in Jagar Tharn's time. Sadly, after an exhaustive search through the detritus, we had to conclude that when it was destroyed, all access to the realms beyond, the Soul Cairn, the Shade Perilous, and the Havoc Wellhead, had been broken. It was probably for the good, but it frustrated our goal.

The reader may have heard of other Doors, and he may be assured we attempted to find them all.

Some are pure legend, or at any rate, not traceable based on the information left behind. There are references in lore to Marukh's Abyss, the Corryngton Mirror, the Mantellan Crux, the Crossroads, the Mouth, a riddle of an alchemical formula called Jacinth and Rising Sun, and many other places and objects that are said to be Doors, but we could not find.

Some exist, but cannot be entered safely. The whirlpool in the Abecean called the Maelstrom of Bal can make ships disappear, and may be a portal into Oblivion, but the trauma of riding its waters would surely slay any who tried. Likewise, we did not consider it worth the risk to leap from the Pillar of Thras, a thousand foot tall spiral of coral, though we witnessed the sacrifices the sloads made there. Some victims were killed by the fall, but some, indeed, seemed to vanish before being dashed on the rocks. Since the sload did not seem certain why some were taken and some died, we did not favor the odds of the plunge.

The simplest and most maddeningly complex way to go to Oblivion was simply to cease to be here, and begin to be there. Throughout history, there are examples of mages who seemed to travel to the realms beyond ours seemingly at will. Many of these voyagers are long dead, if they ever existed, but we were able to find one still living. In a tower off Zafirbel Bay on the island of Vvardenfell in the province of Morrowind there exists a very old, very reclusive wizard named Divayth Fyr.

He was not easy to reach, and he was reluctant to share with Morian Zenas the secret Door to Oblivion. Fortunately, my master's knowledge of lore impressed Fyr, and he taught him the way. I would be breaking my promise to Zenas and Fyr to explain the procedure here, and I would not divulge it even if I could. If there is dangerous knowledge to be had, that is it. But I do not reveal too much to say that Fyr's scheme relied on exploiting a series of portals to various realms created by a Telvanni wizard long missing and presumed dead. Against the disadvantage of this limited number of access points, we weighed the relative reliability and security of passage, and considered ourselves fortunate in our informant.

Morian Zenas then left this world to begin his exploration. I stayed at the library to transcribe his information and help him with any research he needed.

'Dust,' he whispered to me on the first day of his voyage. Despite the inherent dreariness of the word, I could hear his excitement in his voice, echoing in my mind. 'I can see from one end of the world to the other in a million shades of gray. There is no sky or ground or air, only particles, floating, falling, whirling about me. I must levitate and breathe by magickal means...'

Zenas explored the nebulous land for some time, encountering vaporous creatures and palaces of smoke. Though he never met the Prince, we concluded that he was in Ashpit, said to be the home of Malacath, where anguish, betrayal, and broken promises like ash filled the bitter air.

'The sky is on fire,' I heard him say as he moved on to the next realm. 'The ground is sludge, but traversable. I see blackened ruins all around me, like a war was fought here in the distant past. The air is freezing. I cast blooms of warmth all around me, but it still feels like daggers of ice stabbing me in all directions.'

This was Coldharbour, where Molag Bal was Prince. It appeared to Zenas as if it were a future Nirn, under the King of Rape, desolate and barren, filled with suffering. I could hear Morian Zenas weep at the images he saw, and shiver at the sight of the Imperial Palace, spattered with blood and excrement.

'Too much beauty,' Zenas gasped when he went to the next realm. 'I am half blind. I see flowers and waterfalls, majestic trees, a city of silver, but it is all a blur. The colors run like water. It's raining now, and the wind smells like perfume. This surely is Moonshadow, where Azura dwells.'

Zenas was right, and astonishingly, he even had audience with the Queen of Dusk and Dawn in her rose palace. She listened to his tale with a smile, and told him of the coming of the Nevevarine. My master found Moonshadow so lovely, he wished to stay there, half-blind, forever, but he knew he must move on and complete his journey of discovery.

'I am in a storm,' he told me as he entered the next realm. He described the landscape of dark twisted trees, howling spirits, and billowing mist, and I thought he might have entered the Deadlands of Mehrunes Dagon. But then he said quickly, 'No, I am no longer in a forest. There was a flash of lightning, and now I am on a ship. The mast is tattered. The crew is slaughtered. Something is coming through the waves ... oh, gods ... Wait, now, I am in a dank dungeon, in a cell ...'

He was not in the Deadlands, but Quagmire, the nightmare realm of Vaernima. Every few minutes, there was a flash of lightning and reality shifted, always to something more horrible and horrifying. A dark castle one moment, a den of ravening beasts the next, a moonlit swamp, a coffin where he was buried alive. Fear got the better of my master, and he quickly passed to the next realm.

I heard him laugh, 'I feel like I'm home now.'

Morian Zenas described to me an endless library, shelves stretching on in every direction, stacks on top of stacks. Pages floated on a mystical wind that he could not feel. Every book had a black cover with no title. He could see no one, but felt the presence of ghosts moving through the stacks, rifling through books, ever searching.

It was Apocrypha. The home of Hermaeus-Mora, where all forbidden knowledge can be found. I felt a shudder in my mind, but I could not tell if it was my master's or mine.

Morian Zenas never traveled to another realm that I know of.

Throughout his visits to the first four realms, my master spoke to me constantly. Upon entering the Apocrypha, he became quieter, as he was lured into the world of research and study, the passions that had controlled his heart while on Nirn. I would frantically try to call to him, but he closed his mind to me.

Then he would whisper, 'This cannot be...'

'No one would ever guess the truth...'

'I must learn more...'

'I see the world, a last illusion's shimmer, it is crumbling all around us...'

I would cry back to him, begging him to tell me what was happening, what he was seeing, what he was learning. I even tried using Conjuration to summon him as if he were a Daedra himself, but he refused to leave. Morian Zenas was lost.

I last received a whisper from him six months ago. Before then, it had been five years, and three before that. His thoughts are no longer intelligible in any language. Perhaps he is still in Apocrypha, lost but happy, in a trap he refuses to escape.

Perhaps he slipped between the stacks and passed into the Madhouse of Sheogorath, losing his sanity forever.

I would save him if I could.

I would silence his whispers if I could.

Varieties of Daedra

Author: 
Aranea Drethan

Varieties Of Daedra

by
Aranea Drethan
Healer and Dissident Priest
 

There is little chance of our ever understanding the various orders of Daedra and their relationships to the Daedra Lords and their dominions. Of the varieties of Daedra that appear in our world, and the varieties of their relationships to their fellows and their Daedra patrons, there is no end. In one place and time they are seen to be this, and in another place and time they are seen to be the opposite, and in another place and time they are seen to be both this and that, in completely contradictory terms.

What Daedra serves this Prince? What Daedra gives orders, and what Daedra serves, and in what hierarchy, and under what circumstances? What Daedra exist in fellowship with one another, and what Daedra have eternal enmity to one another, and what Daedra are solitary, or social, and by turns solitary or social? There are no limits to the varieties of behaviors that may be observed, and in one place they may be this, and in another place they may that, and all rules describing them are always found to be contradictory and in exception to others.

Further, from whom may we seek answers to our questions about these orders? From mortals, who know little but what they may observe of another world? From the gods, who speak in riddles, of enigmas wrapped in mysteries, and who keep things from us, the better to preserve their dominion over us? From the Daedra themselves, who are never the models of straightforwardness or truthtelling, but rather are famous for misstatements and obfuscations?

And even were the Daedra to speak the truth, how can we know if they know themselves, or that there is any truth about them that is to be known, or are all arrangements among the Daedra protean and ever subject to change?

In short, what is to be known is little, and and what is to be trusted is nothing.

These things being said, I shall venture to relate what I have observed and heard of the relationships of the servants of Lord Dagon in my brief service to the Telvanni Wizard Divayth Fyr, when I sought him out and offered to bring peace to the victims of corprus in his sanitarium, once the Prophecies of the Incarnate had been fulfilled, and Dagoth Ur had been destroyed, and the Blight had been banished from the island of Vvardenfell forever.

Divayth Fyr told me that he, by choice, trafficked only with two Daedra Powers -- Mehrunes Dagon and Azura.

Azura, he said, knew and understood all things, and declined to speak of these things, or only spoke in riddles.

Mehrunes Dagon, on the other hand, out of pride, fixity of purpose, and a predictable lack of subtlety in thought, knew nothing and understood nothing, and was inclined to speak freely and without falsehood.

Divayth Fyr said that Dagon's chief servants, the Dremora, were like him in pride, fixed purpose, and lack of subtlety, with the addition of the peculiar traits of honor and loyalty, both within their class and within their relationship to Lord Dagon.

And Divayth Fyr said that the Dremora were ordered into clans and castes, and these clans and castes were well-defined. Individual Dremora might rise or fall in ranks, or move back and forth among clans, but only when regulated by complex oaths, and only at the will and pleasure of their Lord Dagon.

The Dremora refer to themselves as 'The Kyn' ('the People'), contrasting themselves to other Daedra, whom they consider unthinking animals. The term 'kynaz' refers to a member of the Dremora race ('he of the Kyn').

The least of kyn castes are the Churls, the undistinguished rabble of the lowest rank of Dremora. Churls are obsequeous to superiors but ferociously cruel to humans and other Daedra.

Next in rank are the Caitiffs, creatures of uncalculating zeal, energy without discrimination. Caitiffs are used as irregulars in the faction wars of the Daedra, as berserkers and shock troops, undisciplined and unreliable, but eager and willing.

The highest of the regular rank-and file of Dremora troops are the Kynvals, warrior-knights who have distinguished themselves in battle, and shown the deliberate steadiness of potential war leaders.

Above the rank and file warriors of the Churl, Caitiff, and Kynval castes are the officer castes.

A Kynreeve is a clan sheriff or clan officer. Kynreeves are typically associated either with a clan fighting unit or an administrative office in the order of battle.

The Kynmarcher is the lord and high officer of a Daedric citadel, outpost, or gate. A Kymarcher's command is usually associated both with a unit and with a 'fief' -- a location or territory for which he is responsible.

Above the Kymarcher is the Markynaz, or 'grand duke'. A Markynaz is a lord of lords, and member of the Markyn, Mehrunes Dagon's Council of Lords.

The highest rank of Dremora is the Valkynaz, or 'prince'. This warrior duke is a member of the Valkyn, Mehrunes Dagon's personal guard. The Valkynaz are rarely encountered on Tamriel; normally they remain by Mehrunes Dagon's side, or serve as commanders of operations of particular importance or interest to Dagon.

Of the varieties of other Daedra I encountered while I served in Divayth Fyr's Corprusarium -- Ogrims and Golden Saints, Daedroths and Winged Twilights, Scamps and Clannfear -- there is much that might be said, but little that is helpful or reliable.

I did note, however, that when Divayth Fyr sought a Daedra of a character like unto the Dremora, but of greater power, and greater inclination for independence and initiative, or solely as a master, he summoned Xivilai, who are like the Dremora in personality and temperment, except that they hate subordination, and are liable to disloyalty and betrayal when they feel they have not been treated with the proper deference and respect.

The feral, beastlike Daedra like the Clannfear and the Daedroth appear in the service of many different Daedric Powers, and may represent common creatures existing like wild animals in the wildernesses of Oblivion. Other savage, semi-intelligent creatures like Scamps and Spider Daedra may also be found in the realms of various Daedra Lords.

The case of the Elemental Atronachs, on the other hand, is less certain. Flame and Frost Atronachs, for example, appear to be highly intelligent, but not all varieties of Elemental Atronachs seem to be social or to have the power of speech. Divayth Fyr preferred not to summon or deal with these creatures, had little experience with them, and showed no inclination to speculate upon their nature, so I learned little about them during my time at Tel Fyr.

Invocation of Azura

Author: 
Sigillah Parate

For three hundred years I have been a priestess of Azura, the Daedric Princess of Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky. Every Hogithum, which we celebrate on the 21st of First Seed, we summon her for guidance, as well as to offer things of worth and beauty to Her Majesty. She is a cruel but wise mistress. We do not invoke her on any Hogithum troubled by thunderstorms, for those nights belong to the Mad One, Sheogorath, even if they do coincide with the occasion. Azura at such times understands our caution.

Azura's invocation is a very personal one. I have been priestess to three other Daedric Princes, but Azura values the quality of her worshippers, and the truth behind our adoration of her. When I was a Dark Elven maid of sixteen, I joined my grandmother's coven, worshippers of Molag Bal, the Schemer Princess. Blackmail, extortion, and bribery are as much the weapons of the Witches of Molag Bal as is dark magic. The Invocation of Molag Bal is held on the 20th of Evening Star, except during stormy weather. This ceremony is seldom missed, but Molag Bal often appears to her cultists in mortal guise on other dates. When my grandmother died in an attempt to poison the heir of Firewatch, I re-examined my faith in the cult.

My brother was a wizard of the cult of Boethiah-and from what he told me, the Dark Warrior was closer to my spirit than the treacherous Molag Bal. Boethiah is a Warrior Princess who acts more overtly than any other Daedroth. After years of skulking and scheming, it felt good to perform acts for a mistress which had direct, immediate consequences. Besides, I liked it that Boethiah was a Daedra of the Dark Elves. Our cult would summon her on the day we called the Gauntlet, the 2nd of Sun's Dusk. Bloody competitions would be held in her honor, and the duels and battles would continue until nine cultists were killed at the hands of other cultists. Boethiah cared little for her cultists-she only cared for our blood. I do think I saw her smile when I accidentally slew my brother in a sparring session. My horror, I think, greatly pleased her.

I left the cult soon after that. Boethiah was too impersonal for me, too cold. I wanted a mistress of greater depth. For the next eighteen years of my life, I worshipped no one. Instead I read and researched. It was in an old and profane tome that I came upon the name of Nocturnal-Nocturnal the Night Mistress, Nocturnal the Unfathomable. As the book prescribed, I called to her on her holy day, the 3rd of Hearth Fire. At last I had found the personal mistress I had so long desired. I strove to understand her labyrinthine philosophy, the source of her mysterious pain. Everything about her was dark and shrouded, even the way she spoke and the acts she required of me. It took years for me to understand the simple fact that I could never understand Nocturnal. Her mystery was as essential to her as savagery was to Boethiah or treachery was to Molag Bal. To understand Nocturnal is to negate her, to pull back the curtains cloaking her realm of darkness. As much as I loved her, I recognized the futility of unraveling her enigmas. I turned instead to her sister, Azura.

Azura is the only Daedra Princess I have ever worshipped who seems to care about her followers. Molag Bal wanted my mind, Boethiah wanted my arms, and Nocturnal perhaps my curiosity. Azura wants all of that, and our love above all. Not our abject slavering, but our honest and genuine caring in all its forms. It is important to her that our emotions be engaged in her worship. And our love must also be directed inward. If we love her and hate ourselves, she feels our pain. I will, for all time, have no other mistress.

The Battle of Red Mountain

Author: 
Vivec; Malur Omayn, ed.

The Battle of Red Mountain

and

the Rise and Fall of the Tribunal

[The following is a transcript of the words of Lord Vivec, addressed to a Dissident Priest, Malur Omayn, who confronted Vivec with the Ashlander traditions surrounding the Battle of Red Mountain and with prophecies of the Nerevarine, and to unnamed magistrates of the Inquisition who joined Vivec in interrogating the Dissident Priest.]

Who can clearly recall the events of the distant past. But you have asked me to tell you, in my own words, the events surrounding the Battle of Red Mountain, the birth of the Tribunal, and the prophecies of a Nerevar reborn. Here is what I can tell you.

When the Chimer first abandoned the herds and tents of their nomadic ancestors, and built the first Great Houses, we loved the Daedra, and worshipped them as gods. But our brethren, the Dwemer, scorned the Daedra, and mocked our foolish rituals, and preferred instead their gods of Reason and Logic. So the Chimer and Dwemer were always at bitter war, until the Nords came and invaded Resdayn. Only then did the Chimer and Dwemer put away their strife and join together to cast out the invaders.

Once the Nords were driven out, General Nerevar of the Chimer and General Dumac of the Dwemer, who had come to love and respect one another, resolved to make peace between their peoples. In that time I was but a junior counselor to Nerevar, and Nerevar's queen, Almalexia, and his other favorite counselor, Sotha Sil, always doubted that such a peace might long survive, given the bitter disputes between Chimer and Dwemer, but by negotiation and compromise, Nerevar and Dumac somehow managed to preserve a fragile peace.

But when Dagoth Ur, Lord of House Dagoth, and trusted as a friend by both Nerevar and the Dwemer, brought us proof that High Engineer Kagrenac of the Dwemer had discovered the Heart of Lorkhan, and that he had learned how to tap its powers, and was building a new god, a mockery of Chimer faith and a fearsome weapon, we all urged Nerevar to make war on the Dwarves and to destroy this threat to Chimer beliefs and security. Nerevar was troubled. He went to Dumac and asked if what Dagoth Ur said was true. But Kagrenac took great offense, and asked whom Nerevar thought he was, that he might presume to judge the affairs of the Dwemer.

Nerevar was further troubled, and made pilgrimage to Holamayan, the sacred temple of Azura, and Azura confirmed that all that Dagoth Ur said was indeed true and that the creation of a New God of the Dwemer should be prevented at all costs. When Nerevar came back and told us what the goddess had said, we felt our judgements confirmed, and again counseled him to war, chiding Nerevar for his naive trust in friendship, and reminding Nerevar of his duty to protect the faith and security of the Chimer against the impiety and dangerous ambitious of the Dwemer.

Then Nerevar went back to Vvardenfell one last time, hoping that negotiations and compromise might once again preserve the peace. But this time the friends Nerevar and Dumac quarreled bitterly, and as a result, the Chimer and Dwemer went to war.

The Dwemer were well-defended by their fortress at Red Mountain, but Nerevar's cunning drew most of Dumac's armies out into the field and pinned them there, while Nerevar, Dagoth Ur, and a small group of companions could make their way into the Heart Chamber by secret means. There, Nerevar the Chimer King met Dumac the Dwarf King and they both collapsed from grievous wounds and draining magics. With Dumac fallen, and threatened by Dagoth Ur and others, Kagrenac turned his tools upon the Heart, and Nerevar said he saw Kagrenac and all his Dwemer companions at once disappear from the world. In that instant, Dwemer everywhere disappeared without a trace. But Kagrenac's tools remained, and Dagoth Ur seized them, and he carried them to Nerever, saying, "That fool Kagrenac has destroyed his own people with these things. We should destroy them, right away, lest they fall into the wrong hands."

But Nerevar was resolved to confer with his queen and his generals, who had foreseen that this war would come and whose counsel he would not ignore again. "I will ask the Tribunal what we shall do with them, for they have had wisdom in the past that I had not. Stay here, loyal Dagoth Ur, until I return." So Nerevar told Dagoth Ur to protect the tools and the Heart Chamber until he returned.

Then Nerevar was carried to us where we waited on the slopes of Red Mountain, and he told us all that had transpired under Red Mountain. What Nerevar had said was that the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals and that the Heart of Lorkhan held wondrous powers. [Only later did we hear from others present that Dagoth Ur had thought the Dwemer destroyed, not made immortal. And no one knows for sure what really happened there.]

After hearing Nerevar, we gave our counsel as he requested, proposing, "We should preserve these tools in trust for the welfare of the Chimer people. And who knows, perhaps the Dwemer are not gone forever, but merely transported to some distant realm, from which they may some day return to threaten our security once again. Therefore, we need to keep these tools, to study them and their principles, so that we may be safe in future generations."

And though Nerevar voiced his grave misgivings, he was willing to be ruled by our counsel, under one condition: that we all together should swear a solemn oath upon Azura that the tools would never be used in the profane manner that the Dwemer had intended. We all readily agreed, and swore solemn oaths at Nerevar's dictation.

So then we went with Nerevar back into Red Mountain and met with Dagoth Ur. Dagoth Ur refused to deliver the tools to us, saying they were dangerous, and we could not touch them. Dagoth Ur seemed to be irrational, insisting that only he could be trusted with the tools, and then we guessed that he had somehow been affected by his handling of the tools, but now I feel sure that he had privately learned the powers of the tools, and had in some confused way decided he must have them for himself. Then Nerevar and our guard resorted to force to secure the tools. Somehow Dagoth Ur and his retainers escaped, but we gained the tools, and delivered them to Sotha Sil for study and safe-keeping.

For some years we kept the oaths we swore to Azura with Nerevar, but during that time, in secret, Sotha Sil must have studied the tools and divined their mysteries. And at last he came to us with a vision of a new world of peace, with justice and honor for nobles, and health and prosperity for the commoners, with the Tribunal as immortal patrons and guides. And dedicating ourselves to this vision of a better world, we made a pilgrimage to Red Mountain and transformed ourselves with the power of Kagrenac's tools.

And no sooner than we had completed our rituals and begun to discover our new-found powers, the Daedra Lord Azura appeared and cursed us for our foresworn oaths. By her powers of prophecy, she assured us that her champion, Nerevar, true to his oath, would return to punish us for our perfidy, and to make sure such profane knowledge might never again be used to mock and defy the will of the gods. But Sotha Sil said to her, "The old gods are cruel and arbitrary, and distant from the hopes and fears of mer. Your age is past. We are the new gods, born of the flesh, and wise and caring of the needs of our people. Spare us your threats and chiding, inconstant spirit. We are bold and fresh, and will not fear you."

And then, in that moment, all Chimer were changed into Dunmer, and our skins turned ashen and our eyes into fire. Of course, we only knew at that time that this had happened to us, but Azura said, "This is not my act, but your act. You have chosen your fate, and the fate of your people, and all the Dunmer shall share your fate, from now to the end of time. You think yourselves gods, but you are blind, and all is darkness." And Azura left us alone, in darkness, and we were all afraid, but we put on brave faces, and went forth from Red Mountain to build the new world of our dreams.

And the new world we shaped was glorious and generous, and the worship of the Dunmer fervent and grateful. The Dunmer were at first afraid of their new faces, but Sotha Sil spoke to them, saying that it was not a curse but a blessing, a sign of their changed natures, and sign of the special favor they might enjoy as New Mer, no longer barbarians trembling before ghosts and spirits, but civilized mer, speaking directly to their immortal friends and patrons, the three faces of the Tribunal. And we were all inspired by Sotha Sil's speech and vision, and took heart. And over time, we crafted the customs and institutions of a just and honorable society, and the land of Resdayn knew millennia of peace, equity, and prosperity unknown to other savage races.

But beneath Red Mountain, Dagoth Ur had survived. And even as the light of our bold new world shined ever more brightly, beneath Red Mountain, the darkness gathered, a darkness that was close kin to the bright light that Sotha Sil coaxed from the Heart of Lorkhan with the Tools of Kagrenac. As the darkness grew, we fought it, and crafted walls to confine it, but we never could destroy it, for the source of the darkness was the same source as the source of our own divine inspiration.

And in these latter days of Morrowind, reduced to a subjugated province of the Western Empire, as the glory of the Temple fades, and the dark tide rises from Red Mountain, we are reminded of Azura and her promised champion's return. We have waited, blind, and in darkness, mere shadows, drained of our ardent vision, in shame of our folly, in fear of our judgement, and in hope of our deliverance. We do not know if the outlander claiming to fulfill the prophecies of the Nerevarine is our old companion Nerevar reborn, or a pawn of the Emperor, or a catspaw of Azura, or some simple twist of fate. But we insist you adhere to Temple doctrine, and conform to the strictures dividing the Hierographa from the Apographa, and that you not speak that which must not be spoken openly. Act as a dutiful priest should, in accordance with your vows of obedience to the canons and archcanons, and all will be forgiven. Defy me, and you will know what it is to stand against a god.

-- Vivec