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Lore:Aedra

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The Aedra (also called the Dead Gods or The Mortal Gods)[1][2] are original beings generally believed to have arisen from the interplay of Anu and Padomay. They are regarded as counterparts and in a manner opposites of the Daedra, though the distinction between the two can be confusing to the layman and the terms Aedra and Daedra, gods and demons, are often used interchangeably. The terms "Aedra" and "Daedra" are not relative, they are exact elvish titles which translate to "ancestors and "not our ancestors" respectively, representing the mythical genealogy of the elves as they perceive it. The divide between Aedra and Daedra is commonly thought to have originated after their birth, during the creation of the Mundus, where most cultures maintain the Aedric beings played a leading role in the creation of Nirn, causing them to commonly be considered the creators of the mortal world.[3][4][5][6][7] Aedra translated into Aldmeris means "ancestors".[8] The proper singular form is "Aedroth",[UOL 1] but the Aedra are almost never referred to in singular.

MythologyEdit

 
Akatosh coiled around Nirn

The exact nature of the Aedra and of their role in the creation of Nirn and the mortal life that inhabits it are matters shrouded in much ambiguity, different cultures provide different accounts of the circumstances that lead to the creation of the mortal world and of the role the Aedra played in it.

According to the creation myth of the Altmer, "The Heart of the World", creation begins before the start of the Dawn Era and the beginning of time: the primordial force of Anu the Everything, who encompassed and encompasses all things, created Anuiel, the soul of all things, so it could know itself. Anuiel in turn created Sithis for the same purpose, as the sum up of all limitations which it would use to differentiate between it's attributes and ponder itself, and their interrelation created the Aurbis, where the Original Spirits, the Et'Ada, emerged before the creation of the Mundus as "aspects of Aurbis". The Aurbis, at first turbulent and chaotic, was stabilized by the emergence of Auri-El, the soul of Anui-El who spread through existence as the force called time, allowing the Original Spirits to take on names and identities. One of these spirits was more of a limit than a nature, called Lorkhan, he convinced the other spirits to help create a "soul" for Aurbis, a place where even the aspects of aspects might self reflect, but this was a deception. The new world, Nirn, was a place composed of more limitations than not and the spirits that participated in its construction began to die and many vanished completely, prompting the architect, Magnus, to terminate the project and depart. When Magnus departed the Mundus, the et'Ada that took part in its creation broke into groups, most would follow the flight of the God of Magic to become the Magna Ge, but some of those present chose instead to stay in the new world and keep working so it wouldn't die. These spirits would become known as the Ehlnofey, and would lay the foundations of both the system and laws of Mundus and the mortal life that would emerge. Of these remaining spirits some would follow the example of Y'ffre, giving themselves to the Mundus fully to stabilize it and form the foundation of its natural law, and would typically be referred to from that point on as "Earthbones" or "Earth Bones". Others would choose not to give themselves fully but to populate Nirn instead, having to "make children just to last" and this group would from that point typically be referred to as the "Ehlnofey".[UOL 2]The offspring of the Ehlnofey would exhibit a gradual change however, each consecutive generation was weaker than the one prior, more removed from their progenitors in stature and might. Through this generational phenomenon of diminishment the first Aldmer would arise, while the "weakest souls" that resulted from it would be formed by Lorkhan into armies he named "Men". Altmeri myth holds that Auri-El and Lorkhan and their respective followers would than war with one another, leading to the shattering of Altmora, the "Elder Wood" and one of the first kingdoms established by Auri-El alongside Old Ehlnofey, at Lorkhan's hands, and culminating in the removal of Lorkhan's Heart following his defeat. Following the establishment of the Adamantine Tower Convention was held, Lorkhan was judged, and the creator spirits elected to make their exit from mortal affairs due to the danger their continued presence posed to the mortal world, which was rendered highly unstable, and even the timeless continuity of existence. With the departure of magic in the mythic sense, linear history could finally begin.[4][5][9]

According to "The Psijic Compensation", the basics of Aldmeri belief as explained to Uriel V by the Psijic Order: Aurbis existed for time without measure as the Gray Center between the forces of Anu and Padomay. Within this Gray Center emerged the magical beings of mythic Aurbis, bits of the immortal polarity given life. The first of these was Akatosh, whose existence made it easier for other spirits to structure themselves. For a long time these spirits lived, formed, reformed, and procreated. Eventually, with Lorkhan as the instigator of the decision, the spirits told the story of their own deaths. This process has been described in various terms, as a transfiguration into the concrete non-magical substance of the world, as a war in which all were slain with their bodies becoming the substance of the world, or as a romantic marriage and parenthood where the parent spirits naturally had to die to give way to the succeeding mortal races. Mortals were shaped in the image of the spirits, either consciously molded by them, or sprung forth from the matter left behind by the dead spirits. Having died, these spirits became the et'Ada, and separated themselves in nature from the rest of the magical beings of Aurbis from that point on.[4][5]

According to the Cyrodiilic creation myth, "Shezzarr's Song": the world was formed when Shezzarr convinced a number of the gods, the Aedra, of the beauty of the concept of becoming mothers and fathers. The Aedra, determined to proceed regardless of cost, gave birth to the world and the life within it by sacrificing part of themselves, a painful process after which they were no longer strong and young as they'd been since the beginning. Some of the Aedra, the gods of the elves led by Auri-El, came to regret their choice and sought revenge upon Shezzarr and his allies, resolving to teach their children, the elves, to endure the suffering of the new world with dignity. Others, the gods of Men led by Akatosh, were proud, deeming the new world and the life within it glorious despite their sacrifices, and resolving to teach their children to cherish the concepts of beauty and honor and to love one another.[4]

According to the Yokudan creation myth, "Satakal the Worldskin": all things originated from Satak, the First Serpent on whose scales all worlds to come rested. Compelled by its Hungry Stomach, Akel, Satak started a neverending cycle of devouring itself and shedding its skin to be reborn and begin anew, becoming Satakal. When things from within the devoured worlds realized the truth of the cycle they began to take names and so the first spirits came to be. These spirits sought to escape Satakal's neverending hunger and found a way to slide between its Worldskins by moving at strange angles, this was called the Walkabout and through it was born a sanctuary from the cycle called the Far Shores. One of these spirits, Ruptga, sired many children and was so tall he placed the stars in the sky to help other spirits escape as well. The mortal world was formed when Sep, created by Ruptga out of previous Worldskins to be his helper, convinced some of the other spirits to stop performing the Walkabout, as they could escape the cycle by inhabiting a new world made of balled up Worldskins instead. This, however, was a trick, as having been formed of its skin Sep too carried much of Satakal's hunger, and wished to devour the spirits who followed him. Too far from the Far Shores to jump back to, and too far from the real world of Satakal to survive, the deceived spirits began to die but were survived by the children they'd made.[4]

According to the Khajiit creation myth: The gods were born as siblings to the three litters of Ahnurr and Fadomai. Spirits commonly considered Aedra were generally born to the first litter, and spirits commonly considered Daedra were generally born to the second. The goddess Nirni was born to the third litter, alongside the moons, Azurah and, eventually, Lorkhaj. Nirni wished to give birth to children, but had no place where she could do so, so she went to Lorkhaj for help. Lorkhaj made a new place but, as his heart was filled with the Great Darkness of Namiira due to the circumstances of his birth within the Great Darkness, he tricked a number of his siblings into entering this place with Nirni, where many of them had to die to make Nirni's path stable. Furious at the betrayal, the surviving siblings tore out the Heart of Lorkhaj.[7][10] Pre-ri'Datta myths also mention that Nirni eventually died when Y'ffer was also corrupted by the Great Darkness and killed her. Y'ffer himself was later slain by Azurah, Khenarthi and Hircine, and his bones were used to construct a cairn for Nirni.[10]

According to the Reachmen: Nirn was created by Lorkh, who desired to create not a vibrant paradise but a teaching tool a place that taught through suffering. To create this place Lorkh came to Namira, queen of the infinite realm of spirit, who granted him a place in her endless void to make his new world. As part of his covenant with Namira Lorkh had to make a great sacrifice of his own, a sacrifice which is said to be reflected in the creation of the Briarhearts.[11]

According to the Clockwork Apostles: Nirn was created by the "et'Ada Gears", aspects of Anu as is everything else, who were tricked by Lorkhan into believing the Great Lie, that they were separate from the all encompassing singularity that is Anu, and took names of their own to reinforce this illusion. In this belief the Daedra and Oblivion are nothing more than illusion themselves, a consequence of the flaws of the creation of the et'Ada' Gears creation, the result of the Void taking root within the cracks caused by said flaws.[12]

According to the transcribed creation myth of the Adzi-Kostleel Argonian tribe, Atak the Great Root and Kota the Serpent fought each other for so long that they eventually forgot their fight and became one, forming the entity Atakota. Atakota severed its roots and shed its skin and said the word "Maybe", giving rise to its Shadow, formed of its hunger and shed skin. Atakota continued to roil in a cycle, devouring itself and shedding its skin to be reborn and begin anew, each scale a world that it devoured. From this process the world and spirits arose, with Atak and Kota not in conflict, things now had time to begin and end, and the Shadow too fell asleep. As Atakota slumbered, the spirits started making new things that shared in their aspect and loved them, and they started growing, until they too were as large as Atakota, and forgot it had come before them and had a sleeping Shadow. Soon the worlds and spirits became too big and there was no more room for new things, in desperation, the spirits fell upon the sleeping Atakota and bit into it to drink its blood. Eventually the peace of Atakota broke, Atak remembered growing and Kota remembered being nothing, and existence fell into chaos again. In that time of chaos some spirits drank deeply of Atakota's blood and sap, and they grew scales and fangs and wings, forgetting why they'd ever made anything other than to eat it. Kota's blood made new oceans and Atak's sap made new stones. Eventually the roots woke the shadow and asked for its help, and its intervention put an end to the chaos that was threatening to consume everything.[6]

Though most creation myths credit the Aedra with contributing to the creation of Mundus in some manner, there are exceptions where the formation of the mortal world is described as the work of other forces.

According to the Anuad: all things began with the brothers Anu and Padomay. Their interplay created Nir, who alongside Anu gave birth to the Twelve Worlds of Creation. Jealous, Padomay attacked, but was cast out of time by Anu. Life emerged on the Twelve Worlds but, eventually, a hateful Padomay returned and shattered the worlds with his blade. After Anu defeated his brother, he attempted to save what he could by combining the shattered fragments of the Twelve Worlds into a new world, Nirn. But after he did so, Padomay rose again and the two brothers finally pulled each other out of time forever. On Nirn life was seeded by the survivors of the Twelve Worlds who'd arrived in the new world alongside fragments of their original worlds, the Ehlnofey and the Hist, and during this time the gods and demons of the world, the Aedra, Daedra and Magna Ge also formed out of Anu and Padomay's spilled blood, as distinct groups from the life of Nirn and from each other from the start.[3]

According to the Bretonic tale "The Light and the Dark": two immortal entities representing Order and Chaos chose Tamriel to be their eternal battleground. This everlasting battle would create energies so powerful it distorted the world and created life, including the "people of et'Ada", who would in turn give rise to the gods, and their "daedric enemies", by believing in their myths for so long and so strongly, it caused the energies unleashed by the conflict of the Light and the Dark to bring them into being. According to the grandfather, all of creation exists to echo the battle between the Light and the Dark.[13]

According to the beliefs of the Mythic Dawn, the mortal world was actually the Oblivion plane of Lorkhan, who was actually a Daedric Prince. Per this belief, the Aedra, the gods mortals generally worship, were actually Lorkhan's betrayers, who stole the realm from its true deity and intentionally split Lorkhan's progeny from their divine sparks, so that they themselves would be viewed as the sole exit from the current world.[14][15]

CharacteristicsEdit

 
A Painting of Three Divines at the Gates of Aetherius

Owing to their alleged participation in the creation of Mundus, the Aedra are generally thought to have somehow separated themselves in nature from other spirits of mythic Aurbis. The exact manner in which this process is described differs by source but, generally, the Aedra are thought to be bound to the Earthbones, the rules they themselves established to govern Mundus, and to represent stasis, where the Daedra represent change. In addition, as beings bound by the contract of creation, the Aedra are thought to have become vulnerable to death and thus to being killed as well, whereas the Daedra, to whom such rules do not apply, can only be banished. [8][4]

Owing to them becoming bound to the laws of mortality, the Aedra are sometimes called the "dead gods" or the "mortal gods", sometimes disparagingly.[1][2] They are generally thought to currently reside in Aetherius[16]. Though some sources present a more negative view of their circumstances, naming Mundus as the Aedra's "cemetery", calling them "spent ghosts", or even alleging them to have died as part of the creation of the world.[17][18][4] Though the Aedra are thought to have endured a considerable cost as part of the creation of the world, they are also generally thought to be capable of creation, of making new things, whereas the Daedra can only change and mimic what's already there.[8][4][19]

Some sources maintain that, prior to Convention, the Aedra held "every power at every time amendment at every ordering", both the world and it's "architect-gods" were "young" and, as a result, though mighty, they couldn't fully manifest themselves within the world. Thus the limits were imposed at Convention.[UOL 3]

LegacyEdit

 
The avatar of Akatosh manifesting to end the Oblivion Crisis (Legends)

Though for the most part not directly active within the mortal world in a personal sense, the legacy of the Aedra is still occasionally felt both through the marks of their passing on the mortal world, and through the rare direct interventions of those spirits in mortal affairs.

Of the spirits that are thought to have participated in the creation of Mundus, the Ehlnofey have left behind a number of signs of their influence. They are thought to have taken on students before they disappeared, passing their knowledge on to emerging races such as the Dwemer.[20] Knowledge of most individuals has been lost to time, but many prominent Ehlnofey appear in some form in the pantheons of the various races. The Ayleids of Cyrodiil are said to have preserved the Ehlnofey's Dawn Era magics and language to a greater extent than other Mer.[5] The theories of the Dwemer High Craftlord Kagrenac involved using sacred tones on the Heart of Lorkhan and bending the Earth Bones, commanding the "obedience" of the Ehlnofey.[21] According to legend, the Sun Birds of Alinor, a mythical order of Aldmeri explorers from the Merethic Era, managed to pierce the veil between Mundus and Aetherius and journey to the Immortal Plane by using the raw magic of the Ehlnofey.[22]

Nirn itself is said to be imbued with a wellspring of primordial energy which flows in a network via lines within the ground, described as the manner in which Druids visualize the Earthbones, places where these "bonelines" intersect are said to possess great power and have an effect on both magic and prayer performed there.[23][24] [25] According to some sources, the reason Nirn is filled with natural caverns is that in primordial times they formed a network that functioned like nodes or capillaries for the divine essence of the Aedra that created it.[26]

The earliest martial discipline of Nirn was the "Prismatic Vector Dance of the Ehlnofey", which was recorded and studied by the Demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen.[27]

In the Second Era, what seemed to be lingering Ehlnofey spirits were still present in the Bone Orchard of southern Grahtwood.[28] Originally a group of "Old Bones" that wandered the lands, the travels of these gigantic beings unintentionally caused untold suffering in the lands they'd travel through, making them decide to seek a true death by being completely forgotten since, as long as they were remembered by the world, they could not truly die and leave it.[29] The last of this group, Dringoth, would continue to wander by himself, and so became feared by the Bosmer as a terrible destroyer who would absentmindedly trample their cities and hills under his feet while wandering through. The fearful Bosmer tricked and magically sealed Dringoth in slumber and, worried the restless remains of the other Old Bones might rise to wander again, brought them to the Bone Orchard, where the magic that ensnared Dringoth would imprison them as well.[30][29][31] As the site became a graveyard and shrine to Y'ffre tended by the Spinners , the Old Bones interred there could not be forgotten and so could not truly die. Some of the Orchard spirits would inhabit elven skeletons to move around, while others preferred to stay resting in their own massive and monstrous appearing bones. The Bone Orchard itself was constructed around the "hill" that was Dringoth's skull, and which the great Barrowbough tree that sealed him was planted on.This group would help foil an attempt by the Worm Cult to reanimate them into an army of giants by possessing the bones of the Bosmer buried in the Orchard and fighting alongside the Vestige, who used the power of a piece of Dringoth's rib to control or destroy the cult's undead, thus preventing the threat their reanimation would have posed to Tamriel. During these events the Orchard Ehlnofey decided on whether to allow Dringoth to keep residing within the Bosmer skeleton he was possessing, or to destroy his vessel and forcibly bind his soul to his own bones so, with his body still sealed by the Barrowbough, he'd never wander again.[32][29][28][33]

The Beldama Wyrd are a witch coven attuned to nature. They venerate the Breton interpretation of Y'ffre, Jephre.[34] They are guided by elemental spirits known as the Guardians,[35] which are among the extinct Ehlnofey who claim they were once Y'ffre.[36]

Some sources speak of sea-dwelling Ehlnofey with hearts made of pearl residing in old places of primordial energy, rivers and reefs where the Earthbones never quieted down.[23][24]

In addition, a number of events have prompted the seeming direct intervention of Aedric spirits.

The Liminal Barriers separating Mundus from Oblivion are the creation of Akatosh through the Sublime Brazier, a sacred cauldron described as Akatosh's first light, which stretches to the very heart of Nirn. During events such as the Planemeld and the Oblivion Crisis, when the barrier was sundered and the mortal world was threatened, Akatosh's power played a crucial role in ending both Daedric incursions and restoring the boundaries between worlds.[37][38][39][40][41][42]

A number of interventions of lesser scale also occured during 2E 582. On one occasion Kyne intervened and reverted the transformation of Keeper Ormi into a hagraven, after her son Sahun revealed himself to still be alive and prayed for her.[43]. On another, the Bosmer Indaenir was revived by Y'ffre as the new Silvenar, after sacrificing himself to cleanse the Heart of Valenwood.[44] During that same year, Sai Sahan was brought back to life by the alleged intervention of Alkosh in the event that he was sacrificed in Coldharbour, as the deity had foreseen the need of his presence to combat the threat of Kaalgrontiid and Laatvulon due to his ability to see across all the Many Paths of time.[45] At that time, Mara also intervened to enable the departed to return as ghosts to share final moments with their loved ones and guide them beyond the mortal realm. This intervention extended even to situations involving individuals from different races with distinct beliefs about the afterlife. Notably, Mara facilitated the reunion of Nuralanya, a Corelanya Altmer, and an Orc named Gurlak in the afterlife.[46][47]

In 3E 427, a number of alleged avatars of the Divines appeared to the Nerevarine.[48]

In 3E 433, Umaril the Unfeathered returned to Tamriel, seeking revenge on the gods who'd aided in his downfall. The Hero of Kvatch, sought out the Crusader's Relics at the behest of the prophet of Anvil, they were granted audience with Pelinal Whitestrake by the gods, and retrieved the artifacts after passing the trials of each Divine.[49].[50] After Umaril was vanquished in the spirit realm through the Blessing Of Talos, the Hero of Kvatch was returned to life by the Divines for their deed.[51]

In 4E 201, Mara would intervene again in a similar manner to reunite the spirits of loved ones, even communicating with a priestess of hers and providing information for this to become possible.[52]Other deities, Arkay and Dibella, also allegedly communicated information to chosen mortals during that time.[53][54]

Other events throughout time have been attributed to intervention by the Aedra.

Y'ffre is known to send wisps to herald the storms of Rain's Hand. To see one is to see the promise of new growth, new life, and a new chapter in nature's cycle.[55] As part of a covenant with Tu'whacca, three Ansei warriors bound their souls to their blades to create the Ansei Wards - magical relics that prevented even the most powerful necromancers from raising their dead.[56] Mara is thought to have blessed the village of Garridan Stalrous, which was suffering from a drought, with rainfall, to honor his sacrifice.[57]

Minor Aedric spirits exist, but they are rarely encountered since Magnus withdrew from the world at the moment of creation.[58] According to some theories, the Luminaries, immortal beings of pure magic, are thought to be creations of the Aedra sent to guide and protect mortals, and the Aedra's children who potentially herald their return, being to Aetherius what non-greater Daedra are to Oblivion.[59][60]

RealmsEdit

 
The planets as depicted in a Summerset orrery

The astral bodies in the sky above Nirn, the moons and dominion planets, are believed to actually be the planes of the gods as well as the gods themselves, as seen from the mortal plane.[UOL 4] They are said to actually be different planes of existence in their own right, infinite in size and mass, with their appearance as spheres being only a visual phenomena caused by mortal mental stress.[UOL 4]

In addition to the planets, a number of other realms have been associated with the Aedra as their domains. Sovngarde was created and is ruled by Shor, and the god Tu'whacca is said to be the caretaker of the Far Shores.[61][62][63][9]

Additional realms of existence have been associated with the Time God.

The Spilled Sand is a strange plane of existence that is associated with Alkosh. It consists of an endless expanse of sand interspersed with an oasis of golden trees, and a colossal slumbering golden dragon with scales of pure gold. The twin moons, Jode and Jone, can be seen in the sky alongside a series of stars. The realm is described as not a place but rather a "story that has and will be told time and time again" and "myth made manifest", it is said to exist at once within and outside the tapestry of time, and beyond even the Sands Behind the Stars.[64][45] When questioned on whether the Spilled Sand is the realm of Alkosh itself, Ja'darri would not outright confirm it, answering instead that Alkosh is both weaver and embodiment of time's tapestry and all always exist within time's realm regardless of where they are.[45] The Mask of Alkosh allows for one to journey to this realm when awoken via the blood of a dragon.[65] The "myriad kingdoms of Akha along the Many Paths", the realities beyond Aurbis are thought to be ruled over and safeguarded by Alkosh, who inherited the crown of Akha.[66][67][68]

Though it is acknowledged as a paradox, it is said the Mundus both encompasses and is encompassed by the innumerable planes of Oblivion.[69]

Cultural SignificanceEdit

 
The Temple of the Divines in Solitude

The Aedra generally feature in some manner in the pantheons and religious belief of the races that inhabit Tamriel. As with the various creation myths, the exact perception of each deity in a system of belief varies by culture. Though the Aedra occupy an important role in Tamriel's religious beliefs, they are not the sole objects of worship, and many other saints and holy spirits are known to have their own following.[9]

Owing to the influence of the Empire, eight of the Aedra came to be worshipped as the Eight Divines, namely Akatosh, Arkay, Dibella, Julianos, Kynareth, Mara, Stendarr, and Zenithar. With the addition of Talos, the human god-hero Tiber Septim, they became the Nine Divines. These deities became the central figures of the major religious cult of Cyrodiil and its provinces.[9]

Of the Aedra, Akatosh and Lorkhan, the Dragon God and the Missing God, are the two who are thought to appear in some capacity and form in all of Tamriel's major religions. The Mother-Goddess Mara is also considered a nearly universal deity in Tamrielic belief, sometimes associated with the female principle of creation, Nir, and with either Akatosh, Lorkhan, or both.[9]

Some of the Aedra feature prominently in a number of Tamrielic religions, though their exact origins, actions, nature, and even names, can differ per belief. These are:

Akatosh is generally thought of as the first god to form at the Beginning Place, he is credited as the origin of time, and it is said that his "perch from eternity allowed the day". The formation of the Dragon God is thought to have made it easier for other forces to crystallize. Akatosh is considered the most active of the Aedra within the lives of mortals, as his presence is felt in the form of time, in each moment that passes. Auri-El, the counterpart of Akatosh within elven belief, is considered the ancestor from whom modern Altmer and Bosmer generally claim direct descent.[9][4][69]The laws that govern Nirn and Mundus and the roles of all spirits within them, are believed to have been set in place at and through the Adamantine Tower by its creators. The Tower itself being the seat of Akatosh from where he ruled prior to Convention and the framework set in place itself being described as "the Dragon's timebound tale".[70][UOL 3] This role of the Time God in the order of the world is especially emphasized within Khajiit belief where his counterpart, Alkosh, is said to be at once the weaver of the tapestry of time and the incarnation of the tapestry itself, the threads that comprise it unspooling from the tip of his tail, which would lead to nothing remaining should the thread ever end, as all exists within time's domain.[45] To the Khajiit, Alkosh is responsible for preserving the stability of the world, he is said to maintain the steady movement of the moons, Jode and Jone, it is believed that without him they would freeze in place, allowing terrible things to slip through the Lunar Lattice.[71] It is said that all time flows from Alkosh and that, without him, the world would either sit lifeless or churn like a boiling pot. Because of this, staving off both total chaos and stagnation, his role is considered the most important among all the gods.[72] It is said that Alkosh watches over time's tapestry, whenever a "snag" appears to threaten it, Alkosh realigns the threads with his claws and the aid of the Pride of Alkosh.[73] In Khajiit belief, the Time God's influence is even thought to extend in some manner beyond Aurbis itself, with Akha having created the Many Paths, the realities that exist beyond and surrounding Aurbis, and Alkosh having inherited Akha's crown, role, and myriad kingdoms along the Paths.[66][67][68]

Lorkhan, is generally thought of as the agent of the communal decision for the creation of Mundus, an act believed to have upset the cosmic balance. Following this act Lorkhan is separated from his divine center, sometimes involuntarily and sometimes willingly. Lorkhan is credited with introducing instability into the cosmos at the Beginning Place, reflecting his Padomaic origins, his actions are central to the Human/Aldmeri schism and have caused him to both be vilified and be viewed sympathetically as the being without whom the mortal world and mortals could not exist, depending on the culture. Because of the controversial nature of his role, the Missing God was given a secondary role in the religious life of Cyrodiil as part of a political compromise.[9][4][74] The cultural counterpart of Lorkhan within the faith of the Khajiit, is described as having a second dark heart, representing his link to the Void, and through it being indirectly responsible for the birth of Noctra.[75][76]

Magnus, believed by some sources to be the architect of Mundus. Following creation, he is thought to have abandoned the project and returned to Aetherius. In doing so, he tore a hole to Oblivion, which became the sun and allowed magic to come to Mundus. Most of the other et'Ada who'd initially participated in the project followed him forming the stars and becoming known as the Magna-Ge. For this Magnus is referred as the God of Magic, and is considered one of the Aedra. Despite this, within the Empire, his veneration is sometimes not as pronounced as that of the Divines, as his early departure is viewed in a negative manner, as him refusing to give for the world as much as the other spirits did, and his introduction of magicka is viewed as a dubious contribution that does as much ill as good.[9][4][69] According to some sources Magnus foresaw that the mortal realm would turn out flawed and it was these flaws that made him turn away, he warned the other gods that their current course should be stopped but they chose to proceed anyway, creating the world's suffering. Since than, Magnus watches from the sun, waiting to return when the time is right and the current flawed world is unmade, to make a new world without the flaws of the first in its place. In this capacity, Magnus is thought of by these sources as the indirect origin of the goals of Mehrunes Dagon, who is believed to have been created by the Magna Ge as a weapon to unmake the current world so Magnus can return to reforge it.[77][78][14][15] In some beliefs the relationship of Magnus and the Magna Ge to the sun and stars is changed, with the sun instead being described as one of the eyes of Magnus and the stars being described as fragments of his.[79][80]

Y'ffre is a central deity of the Bosmer. After Magnus and the Magna Ge abandoned Mundus and departed, the spirits who then remained to keep working on Mundus so it'd survive, are said to have either followed Y'ffre's example and given themselves fully to become the stabilizing elements of the new world, its framework of natural laws. Or "made children", becoming the progenitors of life. These spirits would come to be known as the Ehlnofey or Earthbones. [4][5] The greatest among those spirits who gave themselves fully to form the laws of nature is Y'ffre. Altmer and Bosmer myth describes how during the Dawn Era, both all life, and even the land itself, were formless and constantly shifted between shapes, until Y'ffre's Naming gave all things in Nirn an enduring form. This event, the establishment of shape, is considered a core element of the Green Pact. In certain circumstances such as the enactment of a Wild Hunt, which is enacted in accordance with what the Pact allows, creatures can be made to "forget their Y'ffre taught shapes", causing the bonds of the Naming to unravel, and return to this original formless state.[81][82][83][84][9] Within Bosmer belief Y'ffre is believed to have created day, night, and the places between through the manner in which he interpreted the laws of time established by Anui-El and applied them to Nirn, he is also believed to be responsible for the movements of the stars, as to this day the realms they're windows too sway and wink to his song.[85] Dunmer faith also acknowledges Y'ffre in this capacity of being the deity responsible for the movements of the stars.[86][34] Y'ffre and the Earthbones play a central role in the beliefs of both Druids and Wyrd.[87].The Druids commune with the voices of Y'ffre and the Earthbones for guidance and tap into their power through their magic.[88][89]. The Wyresses believe that during Y'ffre's Naming, the act which gave all life on Nirn its shape,[90] the deity tasked the Earthbones to choose those who would become the guardians of nature,[91] a task ultimately given to the Wyresses, the Name-Daughters, who are descendants of the Ehlnofey themselves.[34]

Trinimac is the "strong god" of the early Aldmer and a prominent warrior spirit of the early elven tribes, elven myth credits him with fighting and ultimately killing Lorkhan.[9] A number of Tamrielic beliefs maintain that, at some point, Trinimac disappeared from the mythic stage. Though the sources disagree on the exact circumstances of the event. A number of sources hold that the Daedric Prince Boethiah 'ate' Trinimac taking his form, and appearing before Trinimac's followers to discredit the Aedra. What was Trinimac was released and was now the Daedric Prince Malacath, and his most devout followers were transformed with him into orcs.[92] Or that it was Trinimac who tricked Boethiah, willingly entering the Prince's being to steal some of the other deity's power from within.[93][94]. Other variations of this story suggest Trinimac's visage was scarred by a curse and he was banished to a realm of ash, where, enraged at how he was tricked, he tore the shame and weakness from his chest and was reborn as Malacath.[95][95]. In Khajiit belief the counterpart of Malacath is instead the demon Orkha, who followed Boethra back from her exile to the Many Paths.[96] One Khajiit source inverts the common roles, suggesting Boethra was the real Trinimac from the start and Orkha only attempted to deceive Trinimac's followers that he was their god before the truth was exposed by the real Trinimac, Boethra. Orkha's attempt to kill Boethra by infusing her body in the form of a curse was prevented by Mephala and Azura but some aspect of the Trinimac he pretended to be remained with Orkha when he was extracted, thus changing him to be more like the Trinimac of old and giving rise to their association. [97] Trinimac is also acknowledged in certain Cyrodiilic folktales, where he is described as the "greatest knight of the Ehlnofey, champion of the Dragon of Time".[98] Whatever the case, the worship of Trinimac would often resurface among the Orsimer, with Trinimac adherents viewing Malacath as either a separate being, or even a deceiver who'd imprisoned the real Trinimac and was trying to usurp his faithful.[99][100][101]

Kynareth is commonly believed to be the Goddess of Air greatest of the Sky Spirits, who was first to agree to the plan to create the mortal plane and provided the space in the Void for its creation.[9] The cultural counterpart of Kynareth within Nord belief, Kyne, is considered the chief of their pantheon, who breathed Men into existence on top of the Throat of the World and leads the souls of the dead to Sovngarde.[102][103] This psychopomp role is also present within the beliefs of the Khajiit, where the cultural counterpart of the Sky Goddess, Khenarthi delivers souls to the afterlife.[104][105] In pre-rI'Datta Khajiit belief, Khenarthi also plays an important role in safeguarding the Many Paths. It is said that, while Alkosh ruled over the children of Akha, he was soon overthrown and his body scattered on the West Wind. It was Khenarthi who than flew along the Many Paths and put Alkosh back together, and now they both "safeguard the Many Paths from the wayward children of Akha".[66] Khenarthi, like Alkosh, is believed to be able to see across all the Many Paths, and is described as the spirit that gave the first sounds to the world.[80][45]

The concept of the Aedra as ancestors is central to a number of elven faiths, and provides the basis for the term "Aedra" itself. Altmer view themselves as "true children of the Et'Ada", descendants of the Aldmer and the Ehlnofey that preceded them. This belief was central to the ancestor worship of the Aldmer that eventually gave way to the Altmeri pantheon when the religion shifted from the worship of one's own ancestors to the worship of the ancestors of one's "betters", the most influential in their society. Most Altmer and Bosmer claim direct descent from Auri-El himself. Altmer also count deities like Trinimac, Syrabane and Phynaster among their ancestors[106][9][4][107][108]

Mortals who achieve apotheosis have also found membership in Tamrielic pantheons alongside the Aedra, such as Talos, and possibly Arkay whom some myths attribute to have once been mortal. Syrabane is the Warlock's God, and Phynaster is the Wayfarer God, originally thought to be mortals who ascended to godhood within certain Elven Pantheons and beliefs.[109][9]

Simplified ListEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Vastarie's dialogue in ESO
  2. ^ a b The Prophet's dialogue in Oblivion
  3. ^ a b The Annotated Anuad
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Monomyth
  5. ^ a b c d e Before the Ages of ManAicantar of Shimerene
  6. ^ a b Children of the RootSolis Aduro
  7. ^ a b Words of Clan Mother AhnissiClan Mother Ahnissi
  8. ^ a b c Aedra and Daedra
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Varieties of Faith in the EmpireBrother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
  10. ^ a b Spirits of Amun-droAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  11. ^ Great Spirits of the ReachVashu gra-Morga, Chief Daedrotheologist at the University of Gwylim
  12. ^ The Truth in SequenceDeldrise Morvayn, Fourth Tourbillon to the Mainspring Ever-Wound
  13. ^ the Light and the DarkIrek Unterge
  14. ^ a b Mankar Camoran's dialogue in Oblivion
  15. ^ a b Mythic Dawn CommentariesMankar Camoran
  16. ^ Serana's dialogue in Skyrim
  17. ^ Loremaster's Archive - Mehrunes Dagon & Daedra in the Second EraLyranth
  18. ^ Glorious UpheavalThendaramur Death-Blossom
  19. ^ Inexplicable Patron: MephalaDivayth Fyr
  20. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: HammerfellImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  21. ^ Baladas Demnevanni's dialogue in Morrowind.
  22. ^ Prismatic Sunbird Feather antiquity codex entry in ESO
  23. ^ a b Stormweaver's Cavort codex entries in ESO: Firesong
  24. ^ a b Pearls of Ehlnofey codex entries in ESO: Markarth
  25. ^ Visitor's Guide to Y'ffre's CauldronBernardine Gelves, Associate Chancellor of Cultural Heritage
  26. ^ Weeping Wind Cave loading screen in ESO
  27. ^ Lord Fa-Nuit-Hen and Tutor Riparius Answer Your Questions 2Fa-Nuit-Hen and Tutor Riparius
  28. ^ a b Dringoth's dialogue in ESO
  29. ^ a b c Olphras's dialogue in ESO
  30. ^ Last of the Old Bones
  31. ^ Bone Orchard ResearchBonelord Ethruin
  32. ^ Events of Keeper of Bones in ESO
  33. ^ Dringoth's Rib effect in ESO
  34. ^ a b c Witch Cults of Northern High RockWafimeles Masteret (Lorekeeper)
  35. ^ Wyress Ileana's dialogue in ESO
  36. ^ Guardian of the Earth's dialogue in ESO
  37. ^ Events of Light the Dragonfires in Oblivion
  38. ^ Dialogue from the Drake of Blades in ESO
  39. ^ Trials of St. Alessia
  40. ^ The Sublime BrazierAugusta Purusius, Associate Historian, Imperial Academy of Records and Histories
  41. ^ Abnur Tharn's dialogue in ESO
  42. ^ Martin Septim's dialogue in Oblivion
  43. ^ Events of For Kyne's Honor in ESO
  44. ^ Striking at the Heart quest in ESO
  45. ^ a b c d e Ja'darri's dialogue in ESO:Dragonhold
  46. ^ Nuralanya's dialogue in ESO
  47. ^ Events of The Oldest Orc in ESO
  48. ^ Lalatia Varian's dialogue in Morrowind.
  49. ^ Pelinal Whitestrake's dialogue in Knights of the Nine
  50. ^ Events of Knights of the Nine
  51. ^ Sir Thedret's dialogue in Oblivion
  52. ^ Dinya Balu's dialogue in Skyrim
  53. ^ Florentius Baenius's dialogue in Skyrim
  54. ^ Hamal's dialogue in Skyrim
  55. ^ Galen Wisp collectible description in ESO
  56. ^ Throne Keeper Farvad's dialogue in ESO
  57. ^ KnightfallJaren Aethelweald, edited by Kirellian Odrenius
  58. ^ Phrastus of Elinhir Answers Your QuestionsPhrastus of Elinhir
  59. ^ Loremaster's Archive - Scribing — Votary Nahila
  60. ^ Ulfsild's Notes: The Origin of LuminariesUlfsild
  61. ^ Tsun's dialogue in Skyrim
  62. ^ Tu'whacca's Prayer
  63. ^ Reverence for the DeadBrother Opilio Congonius
  64. ^ Nahfahlaar's dialogue in ESO: Dragonhold
  65. ^ The Dragonguard quest in ESO: Dragonhold
  66. ^ a b c The Wandering SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  67. ^ a b Leramil's dialogue in ESO
  68. ^ a b Ithelia's dialogue in ESO
  69. ^ a b c Artorius Ponticus Answers Your QuestionsBishop Artorius Ponticus
  70. ^ Aurbic Enigma 4: The Elden TreeBeredalmo the Signifier
  71. ^ Moon-Bishop Azin-jo's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
  72. ^ Natrada's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
  73. ^ The Pride of Alkosh — Clan Mother Hizuni
  74. ^ Shezarr and the DivinesFaustillus Junius
  75. ^ The Dark SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  76. ^ The Favored Daughter of FadomaiAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  77. ^ Doombringer Celdina's TestamentDoombringer Celdina
  78. ^ Sister Celdina's dialogue in ESO
  79. ^ The Infernal CityGreg Keyes
  80. ^ a b The Sky SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  81. ^ The Ooze: A Fable
  82. ^ Brief Letter to an Aldarch in ESO
  83. ^ Wild Hunt Horse mount description in ESO
  84. ^ Wild Hunt Crate descriptions in ESO
  85. ^ Girnalin's dialogue in ESO
  86. ^ Of Jephre — Anonymous
  87. ^ Wyrd and Druid — Archdruid Barnabe's Discourse with Mainlanders, 2E 553
  88. ^ Druid Audrine's dialogue in ESO
  89. ^ Legacy of the BretonsStefan Mornard
  90. ^ Wild Hunt Crown Crate season description in ESO
  91. ^ Wyresses: The Name-DaughtersGlargargil the Speaking Oak
  92. ^ The True Nature of Orcs
  93. ^ Varieties of Faith: The OrcsBrother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
  94. ^ The Fall of TrinimacThe Faithless One
  95. ^ a b Mauloch, Orc-FatherRamurbak gro-Abamath
  96. ^ The Adversarial SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  97. ^ The Bladesongs of BoethraModun-Ra, the Hidden Voice
  98. ^ Lord of SoulsGreg Keyes
  99. ^ High Priestess Solgra's dialogue in ESO
  100. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: OrsiniumImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  101. ^ Villager Dialogue from Blades during The Heretic questline
  102. ^ Divines and the NordsHigh Priest Ingurt
  103. ^ Goddess of Storm, Mother of Nords
  104. ^ How We Came to Fly
  105. ^ Litter-Mates of DarknessMoon-Bishop Hunal
  106. ^ The Onus of the OghmaPhrastus of Elinhir
  107. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Blessed Isle: Alinor and the SummersetsImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  108. ^ A Rejection of Open BordersKinlady Avinisse of Shimmerene
  109. ^ Ark'ay The GodMymophonus the Scribe

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.