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eight divines

Praise Be (Ancestor Song)

Author: 
Anonymous

(Music: deliberate and stately)

Praise we now Mara
O Goddess of Love
Bless us with children
Our mother above

CHORUS
Clap hands in praise
Exalt the Divines!
Clap hands and praise
Our ancestral lines!

Praise we now Xarxes
Who transcribes our story
Honor the scrivener
Archivist of glory

CHORUS

Praise we now Y'ffre
O first Ehlnofey
God of the forest
Earth Bones showed the way

CHORUS

Last praise Auri-El
Forefather of all
Formed us to be like him
Wise, noble, and tall

CHORUS

Cathedral Hierarchy

Author: 
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.

Dibella's Mysteries and Revelations

Author: 
Augustine Viliane

By Lady Augustine Viliane, Sibyl of the House of Dibella

The skies over Wayrest are stormy and changeable, more often gray than blue, but some mornings in Second Seed the sun rises into heavens blue and clear, and a mild, warm breeze blows in from the Iliac Bay. It was on just such a morning, under trees fragrant with blossoms, that I was welcoming several new novices to their vocation in the House of Dibella.

They were full of questions, as the young always are. "Holy Sibyl," asked a young oyster-catcher from Aldcroft, "is love truly the answer to every question?"

"It is - if the question addresses the heart," said I. "Rarely if it addresses the mind."

"Holy Sibyl?" asked the shy engraver from Alcaire. "Is it true we must dance for the worshipers while - unclad?"

I smiled. "That is as your spirit shall will - and as the weather shall allow!"

"I have one, Holy Sibyl," said the clever child of a Wayrest banker. "If the Aedra sacrificed themselves, each to add something to the making of the world, what did Our Lady contribute to the world?"

In reply, I scooped a double handful of fallen blossoms from the sward and rained them over his astonished brow.

"I am troubled, Holy Sibyl," said the hostler from Northpoint, "for I know not who is my father."

"That is naught to the Goddess of Beauty," I gently replied, "for she says, 'No matter the seed, if the shoot is nurtured with love, will not the flower be beautiful?'"

"What if a congregant seeks me as ardor-partner,"" said the knight's scion of Evermore, "but I find her without favor?"

"Love whomever you may," I sang, "but love coerced is not love at all."

"Holy Sibyl, is it true what they s-say,"" stammered the owlkeeper's heir, "that you lost your s-sight from the Great Flu?"

"It is," I smiled, "but what of that? For can I not dance?"

"Holy Sibyl!" "Holy Sibyl!"

"Peace, young novices!" I cried. "For it is Fredas, the bell tolls sundown, and the congregants await us in the chapel. Come, now! Come! Bring wine, bring tambours, bring light feet and warm hearts! Our Lady calls us to worship."

Worship of the Dragon God

Author: 
Anonymous

"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."

Falsehoods and Fallacies of the Eight

Author: 
Anonymous

It is only the most pitiful of circumstances that drive men and mer to seek counsel from the beings that dwell beyond Nirn. Within the deepest shadows, the brightest flames, the death-rattles of old men and the wailing screams of suffering babes does the faintest echo of the Daedric lords exist.

And they call to us, whether they realize it or not.

The adherents of the Tamrielic faiths — and make no mistake, they are all alike, no matter what differing names their followers may give them — would persecute and even execute those who bend an ear to the whispers.

Truly, in my years, I did not seek to consort with the Daedric powers; merely to understand them. And why should such understanding be forbidden? It is as the soldier who learns the secrets of metalcraft to better his knowledge of blades. Did the earliest tribes of men forbid discovery of the means to make fire?

And yet, to the false faiths of Tamriel, knowledge is to be feared. Power is to be punished. In their misguided terror, the priests will drive away the curious, right into the waiting arms of the Daedric lords. In their actions, they make their dark predictions true.

With these words, I curse you, Divines of Tamriel.

I spit upon the name of ever-arrogant Akatosh, who lords his mastery of time over the heads of mortals and demands only adherence to the tenets of the Eight.

I spit upon the legacy of haughty Arkay, who binds us to brief and painful existences of insignificance.

I spit upon Mother Mara and her conditional interpretations of love, and her laughable reverence for family even when said family is rotten to its core.

I spit upon Zenithar and his rewarding not of the hard-working, but of the cruel and those born into privilege.

I spit upon Kynareth and her ill-wind, whose thrice-cursed spawn hound us between the cities and devour our children.

I spit upon Julianos and his false truth, his justice that serves only those who least deserve to receieve it.

I spit upon Dibella, goddess of whores and lepers, whose followers mock the scarred and the misshapen as though they were animals.

I spit upon Stendarr, whose mercy comes only with a price, and whose kindness is reserved only for his chosen few.

Spurn these false gods, who demand obedience and punish free will. Deny them the bounties of your devotion and cast them down for the frauds they are; mighty they may be, but tyrants and liars to the last.

Augustine Viliane Answers Your Questions

Author: 
Augustine Viliane

May 30, 2015
 

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “So many, many questions! I am honored by your desires for knowledge and advice, but forgive me for being unable to answer every question—for Dancing Day is only a few weeks off, and there is still much to prepare!"

 

"Dear Augustine Viliane, Esteemed Sibyl of Dibella

I write to you in the hopes that you will guide me in my struggle to win the heart of an elven lad I have laid eyes upon. He is of Altmeri stock and recently arrived from fair Summerset to work at our Mage's Guild librarium. Dear Fellandril seems more friendly and informal than most his kin, and yet my Breton passion and charm do not suffice. There is fire in his eyes, but keeps that typical Altmeri aloofness. I have failed to win him over with our Breton poetry and witful remarks, so I ask you - how does one court the golden-skinned beauties of Summerset? How do I breach that frigid countenance?
Yours sincerely, Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte, of the Wayrest Mage's Guild"

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “The High Elves are famous for their interest in lineage and heritage. If you are one of the Dumontes of Gavaudon, your family is known for having considerable Direnni contributions to your bloodline. You might mention that casually in Fellandril's hearing and see if it piques his interest. Or, as you are in Wayrest, you might stop by the Temple sometime, and we can discuss it personally."

 

“Most Esteemed Sybil of Dibella,

To put my question bluntly, what is Dibella's stance on more than two lovers in a single relationship? Right now, I am not in any relationship of the sort, nor do I have any inclination to start one.

Until I have my answer, however, my scholarly curiosity shall not be sated.

Especially in these troubled times, it seems that people would seek companionship with as many as they can, and what stronger bond is there between people than that of love?

Perhaps I am being arrogant in my speculation, but it seems to me that a trio or quad of lovers would be even more content than a pair.

After all, more people means more love, right?

I beg your forgiveness if I am displaying the ignorance of a brute.

Nevertheless, I am curious as to what Dibella's judgement is on this.

Thank you for your time.

Divines be with you, Theophilus Drafonius

PS The first letter of each sentence is not mere coincidence. We know where it is, and how to get it."

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “Ah, but the Passion Dancer bids us remember that quality of love is of the essence, not quantity. If the dance transports us, what matter the number of dancers?

“As to the other matter: see me Fredas night, after the service."

 

“Most Venerable Augustine Viliane, Sibyl of Dibella at the Wayrest Temple,

I am a loyal follower of the ancient traditions of my people, but I respect those of yours. I love my homeland, but I wish Morwha would have one more hand to comfort my grief.

I know Dibella says: Open your heart to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love. But I wonder if those noble secrets of love are open to men as they are open to women. I wonder if the Eight Divines are different enough for me to change.

I fell in love with him when I was fourteen. We were friends since we were five. Since I first saw him in that way, I have never told him anything about it. We share the food, the steel and the blood, but I fear to share my feelings. I have killed and I have bled for him. But we are nobles and our families cannot waste a profitable marriage. So, I ask you and I ask Dibella: Could I seek joy and inspiration in the body of my beloved companion? Could such a strange love be acceptable to Dibella's eyes? Could I open my heart to him freely as I wish without fear? Could he love me?

Respectful regards, Baron Yashu al-Aydin of Herne"

 

“Dear Madame Viliane, may this letter finds you healthy and lighthearted.

As an Argonian hatched and raised in Daggerfall, I have a fairly good understanding of how most see intimate relationships with those that are deemed uncivilized. Being newly matured in such a place has been... er... lonely; until recently that is, but now I find myself on the other side of the debate.

Four months ago I was exploring just off the shores of Glenumbra looking for any sunken item that I could sell, when i overheard the loud cries of a harpy; I came ashore to help. To my surprise I did not find some astray tourist under attack by a flock, but the reverse. A single harpy Matron -the ones with dark feathers and jewelry- was being robbed by three Redguards not just of her finery, BUT OF HER EGGS! As a male Argonian this sent me into a rage. After driving off the trio, the Matron had rewarded me... quite affectionately. I have been visiting her each week and each time I leave she seems even sadder to see me go.

I have made up my mind to make this relationship permanent; while I know how others will see it; i'll willingly take their insults, but my greatest concern is that the Goddess of Affection will see our love as blasphemous or tainted. Am I over-reacting or must I live in fear of the Divine?

Sincerely: Dives-For-Treasure"

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “The heart seeks what it desires, noble Baron and lusty Argonian, regardless of the chest it beats within. If your affection is pure and untainted by coercion, it is blessed in the eyes of Dibella. For has she not said, 'No matter the seed, if the shoot is nurtured with love, will not the flower be beautiful?'"

 

“Hail Augustine Viliane,

I am Alaesir Morellian, a humble Breton Apprentice within the Camlorn Mages' Guild, and I beg for your aid. I am besotted by the beauty of two of my Masters: one an Altmer with the most noble bearing and countenance; the other a Dunmer whose red eyes and grey, ashen skin deeply intrigue me for their exotic beauty. I think on them every night hoping for inspiration from Dibella as to how to win their favour, but this has only resulted in complaints from the Guildhouse servants that I ought to wash my own bedclothes from now on...

How should I court the noble Estirdalin given that Altmer, generally, view Men as inferior and are allegedly so concerned about purity of bloodline?

I have turned to my fellow Apprentices for advice but they have no more idea of how to court and win the affections of these Mer than they do about casting a competent healing spell. They tell me that High Elves must surely be “stuffy and pompous" within the bedchamber and that I ought to focus on Brelayne Hllervu given the reputation of Dark Elves. Is there any truth in that?

How should I go about winning her favour? She doesn't seem to like any other races very much, persisting in calling out “N'Wah" and “S'wit" at anyone who wanders past her study.

Kind regards, Alaesir Morellian."

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “A dilemma indeed! Regarding the High Elf, see my answer to Enchanter Dumonte above—perhaps you can intrigue your fair Altmer with something along those lines. As for the Dark Elf, I can confirm their reputation for an appetite for amorous dalliance from personal experience. If she wears her neck-scarf with the point on the left, toward her heart, this may be taken as a signal that she is open to approach. But if it points to the right, beware.

“More to the point, as it were, is where YOUR true feelings lie, young Alaesir. Consult your own heart on this matter—and don't be too shy to speak to our Camlorn Sibyl, Lady Siquine."

 

"Hello Sibyl, I have a question for you:

After reading various nordic narratives from our libraries, it seems that the old Nords were practicing the polygamy, notably in the famous recital of the Five Hundred Companions during the Feast of the Dead, where the Companions are cited with their numerous husbands and/or wives.

But I fail to find any modern reference about it. I wondering; what's happenned to this practice? Is the polygamy still a thing among the Nords?" Iszara the Restless, Singer of the Scenarist Guild

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “I'm afraid that you have fallen into a common misconception about the early Nords, one based on their use of the term 'War-Wives.' This phrase is used interchangeably with 'Shield-Sisters,' and refers to the Nords' women warriors, rather than to wedded wives. Though a War-Wife might be married to a Shield-Brother, or even to a non-warrior, such relationships were (mostly) monogamous."

 

"Ah, dearest Sybil of our Blessed Lady. It's nice to converse with somebody local for a change, especially one so venerated as yourself. My question for you pertains less to courtship rituals and more towards the perception of the Lady herself in High Rock. Recently, I took a trip to Daggerfall to visit the various alchemy and enchanting shops in that fair city, and stopped by the Chapel of the Divines to listen to a sermon while I was there. I was shocked and dismayed to hear the priest tell his flock to "beware" the "charms of Dibella" or some such. He had spoken so highly of the other seven Divines, and I found it odd that the Lady of Love, Beauty, Art and Music would be vilified in such a fashion. Is she not one of the blessed Eight? Did Akatosh not choose the others to serve at His side? What should I tell people who imply that the Lady is somehow craven or unworthy of our praise? I feel particularly strongly about this, as it was the cult of Dibella which brought me into the faith of the Divines in the first place. I want people to understand how kind and benevolent she is. Will you help me to find the words, O Sybil?" – Legate Cyclenophus of the Bretonic Imperial Restoration Society

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “By Her Lips! You've been listening to the sermons of Father Pitof of the Daggerfall Cathedral, haven't you? The pious father is devoted to theology, but as I have reason to know, he is not passionate only about our duty to worship the Eight. But it doesn't do, after one night of worship to Dibella, to get all proprietary about one's ardor-partner. I fear I spoke more sternly than he liked, and may have sent him back to Daggerfall with a grudge against Our Lady and those who serve her. Hopefully, with time, he will find his way back to joy."

 

“Faithful Sibyl, with the Kothringi people all but gone from this world, a great cultural gap has appeared in the depopulated mangroves of their native Argonia. As a direct link to Dibella, surely you must feel the goddess's pain from the loss of some of her most devout worshippers. We know that the Lady of Love was held in high regard by the Kothringi, but historians regretfully know very little of their courtship traditions. Can you speak on their behalf, that we might honour their memory?" – Legoless, Doyen of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “The Kothringi, though tragically extinct, have not been gone for long, and are well-remembered by their former neighbors. Many of the Lustrous Folk lived in the vicinity of Gideon in the region known as Murkmire. It is my understanding that, due to recent trade agreements, the road between Gideon and Leyawiin will soon be reopened, and traffic with the old Kothringi homelands will then resume. When that occurs, I will forward your interesting question to my Sister Sibyl in Gideon—though if your curiosity is so great, you might even choose to make the journey yourself."

 

“Dear Augustine Viliane, Sybil of Dibella

I have a question of a rather unnatural,perhaps to some even disgusting, nature. No, I'm not trying to court a Daedra. A certain young Bosmer girl caught my eye a couple of weeks ago, mainly because she managed to drink half of the Nords in the Horker's Tusk tavern under the table without passing out. I was instantly smitten, but she kept ignoring my advances. Then one day, as I left the inn I saw her take someone along in an alley. She had a strange air about her, so I followed them. Moments later I saw her, bent over a hapless victim, piercing red eyes and skin white as moonlight. Ysmir's beard! I'd been trying to flirt with a vampire! And yet, even though I know what she is, it doesn't change my feelings for her. Would Dibella shun me for my abnormal affection, or does she believe in love for all, regardless of form? How should does someone court a vampire without getting killed?" – Jonnlur the Willful, Nord

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “Alas, Jonnlur, such a path is perilous, and if you choose to follow it, you are more likely to need the advice of a Priest of Arkay than of a Sibyl of Dibella. For Undeath is corruption, and one who willingly remains a vampire and feeds on others is impure of spirit. I have spoken to Father Rangouze, the leading Priest of Arkay here in Wayrest, and he says that the pull you feel toward this Wood Elf is not love, nor even joyous lust, but a darker urge that you must try to put behind you. Be not willful, but rather strong, and turn away, for you are in danger, both body and soul."

 

My Lady Sybil,

I write to you, in hope of clarity on a matter of faith and, perhaps, guidance as I seek to find my partner in life.

I am blessed with two loving parents, thank Mara. I was raised by my mother in the traditional Altmeri way and on the whole my Nordic father accepted this. Unfortunately, this concord broke down whenever the subject of Dibella was raised. As you'll know, Dibella is missing from the Altmeri pantheon. Yet Father would insist Dibella's patronage was required when seeking love. I'm told he was a patron of the Dibellan Arts but the less spoken of this, the better.

When I asked Mother about this apparent courtship requirement, she would say, “Jephre is the god of natural beauty. He told the tale of Creation that all may know their role and form. He blessed the Altmer and the Summerset Isles with beauty unsurpassed. He taught the birds to sing and inspired even the stars with his songs. Dibella is a poorly understood song-echo of Jephre, misinterpreted by foolish Nords who care only for the pleasures of the body and nothing of the soul. Seek Jephre's blessing and you'll find your soulmate".

Meanwhile, father would say, “Jephre? Shor's bones! A pale imitation of the full-figured Dibella, fit only for milk-drinkers! The prudish elves are so found of blathering about the loftiness of their gods because their heads are in the clouds. Seek Dibella's counsel to satisfy your urges."

My own suspicion is that both gods are aspects of the same deity. Whether one is an aspect of the other or a 'more accurate' Aedric interpretation seems pure semantics. I say Auri-El, you say Akatosh. Of course, I take nothing for granted so I invoke both whenever pursuing any creative endeavour or partaking in any courtship ritual. Yet, despite this careful piety, I remain single!

Tell me, dear Sybil, am I going about this the right way? Or am I doomed to an eternity alone because I hedge my bets? Who can understand the will of the Aedra? What do they WANT from us? The panic is literally spewing from me! I can't take it anymore! Must… find… smelling salts…

Yours desperately,

Lady Aereda, Author of “Lamentations of Phynaster: A Study in the Grief Symbolism of Hawks"

Sibyl Augustine Viliane says, “My Lady Aereda, you are an academic, and I fear you have fallen into the scholar's trap of thinking too hard about a matter where thinking is of little value. 'Careful piety' may have its uses (though I admit, none come to mind at the moment), but it is standing between you and finding your heart's desire. Seek beauty that gives you joy, and don't concern yourself with its theological origins."

Artorius Ponticus Answers Your Questions

Author: 
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,
Abeachy"

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."

 

Call to the Faithful (pamphlet)

Author: 
Prudentia Blaesus

Tamriel cringes in pain beneath the heels of armies that bruise her face. Arrows rend Kynareth's holy gales, and all the Divines sadly shake their heads as their Commands are stifled by the drums of war. Oh faithful, the heretics surrounding us on all sides seek to propagate their blasphemies and lies, to trample on the legacy of Reman and spit upon the Divines themselves, endeavoring to bury them forever or obscure them behind a veil of lies.

We true servants of the Divines know these profane foes, these misguided alliances, cannot and shall not prevail. Akatosh, invincible and eternal, will not forsake us if only we show our devotion, if only we stand up when so many have been beaten down before us, if only we cry out against the flood of pretenders and their cruel masters. We are called now, brothers and sisters, to silence the dissenters and Daedric thralls that surround us. We are roused by Akatosh's mighty roar and must not stand by as the Golden Hill shakes in resonating rage.

Though we wear only simple robes, Stendarr defends us. He envelops us in light, in unbreakable Aedric glory. He turns aside the blades of the heretics and proclaims our eternal victory. Though we wield only our words, Julianos sharpens them to a razor edge. He forges our very minds into weapons, fills us with holy words to awaken the faithful. Though we may feel weak and afraid, Akatosh's might voice commands us forward, and we know that we will be conquering heroes, that we will set the Empire right by his command.

To restore our beloved Empire, we must not falter or be shaken; we must not cower before the armies that ravage our home. Now is the time to honor our pact, consecrated by His mighty blood. We are not abandoned; no, we have been granted a sacred moment in which to prove our unwavering devotion, to stand against the tides of evil that erode our shores. Take up your implements of war. The Divines are your shield, your shining armor, your immaculate blade. They will carry us forth to drive the enemy out and restore rightful peace and order to Tamriel.

Do not hesitate, for you must surely hear this call, echoing loud and true within your spirit. Clothe yourself in faith and do as the Divines command.

Varieties of Faith: The Bretons

Author: 
Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College

The Eight:

Akatosh (Dragon God of Time):
Akatosh is the chief deity of the Eight Divines (the major religious cult of Cyrodiil and its provinces) and one of two deities found in every Tamrielic religion (the other is Lorkhan). He is generally considered to be the first of the gods to form in the Beginning Place. After his establishment, other spirits found the process of being easier, and the various pantheons of the world emerged. He embodies the qualities of endurance, invincibility, and everlasting legitimacy.

Kynareth (Goddess of Air):
Kynareth is a member of the Eight Divines, the strongest of the Sky spirits, patron of sailors and travelers. In some legends, she is the first to agree to Lorkhan's plan to invent the mortal plane, and she provides the space for its creation in the void. She is also associated with rain, a phenomenon said not to occur before the removal of Lorkhan's divine spark.

Julianos (God of Wisdom and Logic):
Often associated with Jhunal, the Nord father of language and mathematics, Julianos is the god of literature, law, history, and contradiction, and the favorite deity of most Breton mages.

Dibella (Goddess of Beauty):
Popular god of the Eight Divines, Dibella has nearly a dozen different cults, some devoted to women, some to artists and aesthetics, and others to erotic instruction.

Arkay (God of the Cycle of Life and Death):
Member of the Eight Divines pantheon and popular elsewhere, as well. Arkay is often more important in those cultures where his father, Akatosh, is either less related to time or where his time aspects are difficult to comprehend by the common folk. He is the god of burials and funeral rites, and is sometimes associated with the seasons. His priests are staunch opponents of necromancy and all forms of the undead. It is said that Arkay did not exist before the world was created by the gods under Lorkhan's supervision/urging/trickery. Therefore, he is sometimes called the Mortals' God.

Zenithar (God of Work and Commerce, Trader God):
Member of the Eight Divines, Zenithar is understandably associated with the Bosmeri Z'en. In High Rock, however, he is a far more cultivated god of merchants, artisans, and the middle nobility. His worshipers say, despite his mysterious origins, Zenithar is the god "that will always win."

Mara (Goddess of Love):
Nearly universal goddess. Her origins started in mythic times as a fertility goddess; in High Rock, she is the Mother-Goddess. She is sometimes associated with Nir of the "Anuad," the female principle of the cosmos that gave birth to creation. For the Bretons, she is married to Akatosh.

Stendarr (God of Mercy):
God of the Eight Divines, Stendarr has evolved from his Nord origins into a deity of compassion, or sometimes, righteous rule. Stendarr is the patron of magistrates, rulers, and knights errant.

Additional Deities with Significant Breton Cults:
Magnus (Magus):
The god of sorcery, Magnus withdrew from the creation of the world at the last second, though it cost him dearly. What remains of him is felt and controlled by mortals as magic. One story says that, while the idea was thought up by Lorkhan, it was Magnus who created the schematics and diagrams needed to construct the mortal plane. He is sometimes represented by a golden eye, an astrolabe, a telescope, or more commonly, a staff. Legends say he can inhabit the bodies of powerful magicians and lend them his power.

Y'ffre (God of the Forest):
While Akatosh Time Dragon might be the king of the gods, Y'ffre is revered as the spirit of "the now." According to the Elves, after the creation of the mortal plane, everything was in chaos. The first mortals were turning into plants and animals and back again. Then Y'ffre transformed himself into the first of the Ehlnofey, or "Earth Bones." After the laws of nature were established, mortals had a semblance of safety in the new world, because they could finally understand it.

Sheor (Bad Man):
In High Rock, the Bad Man is the source of all strife. He seems to have started as the god of crop failure, but most modern theologians agree that he is a demonized version of the Nordic Shor or Aldmeri Lorkhan, born during the dark years after the fall of Saarthal.

Phynaster:
Hero-god who taught the Altmer how to naturally live another hundred years by using a shorter walking stride. Patron deity and "teacher" of the Direnni. Often worshiped by those Breton mages who emphasize their Elven blood.

The Amulet of Kings

Author: 
Wenengrus Monhona

In the first years of the First Era, a powerful race of Elves called the Ayleids, or the Heartland High Elves, ruled central Tamriel with an iron hand. The high and haughty Ayleids relied on their patrons, the treacherous Daedra Lords, to provide armies of daedra and dead spirits; with these fearless magical armies, the Ayleids preyed without mercy upon the young races of men, slaughtering or enslaving them at their whim.

On behalf of the suffering human races, St. Alessia, the first in the line of Cyrodiils, sought the aid of Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time, and ruler of the noble Aedra. 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.

In token of this Covenant, Akatosh gave to Alessia and her descendants the Amulet of Kings and the Eternal Dragonfires of the Imperial City. Thus does Alessia become the first gem in the Cyrodilic Amulet of Kings. The gem is the Red Diamond in the middle of the Amulet. This is the Symbol of the Empire and later taken as the symbol of the Septim line. It is surrounded by eight other gems, one for each of the divines.

So long as the Empire shall maintain its worship of Akatosh and his kin, and so long as Alessia's heirs shall bear the Amulet of Kings, Akatosh and his divine kin maintain a strong barrier between Tamriel and Oblivion, so that mortal man need never again fear the devastating summoned hosts of the Daedra Lords.

But if the Empire should slacken in its dedication to the Nine Divines, or if the blood of Alessia's heirs should fail, then shall the barriers between Tamriel and the Daedric realms fall, and Daedra-worshippers might summon lesser Daedra and undead spirits to trouble the races of men.