7 Details About The Series You’ve Never Heard Of
From the swamps of Black Marsh to the frozen peaks of Skyrim, the world of Tamriel in which the Elder Scrolls game series is set is vast, with a background story that is both fairly easy to digest on the surface and has no afraid of being complex and more than a little weird than necessary.
As fans continue to look forward to The Elder Scrolls 6 after 10 years of Skyrim releases, there remains a rich tapestry of background mythos to explore that can admittedly be a little hard to follow at times – that’s when it’s not outright making you stop and say “wait, what?”
7 Alduin was originally the Norse version of Akatosh
Skyrim fans will know Alduin the World-Eater as the main antagonist of their Dragonborn, Akatosh’s evil firstborn bent on asserting his sinister title. However, players who have dipped their toes into Morrowind may find that Alduin is one of the gods worshiped by the distinct pantheon followed by many Nords found in the 2002 title. For them, Alduin is an incarnation of Akatosh who represents a force for change and renewal through destruction.
Alduin’s role in the Norse pantheon was to destroy the present world so that a new one could rise from its ashes. Sometime between the events of Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls 5, the Norse of Skyrim abandoned this pantheon, adopting instead a modified version of the faith of the Nine Divines. Whatever Alduin’s original version of Skyrim was, it’s clear that he’s gone astray.
6 There is more than one type of Khajiit
The Khajiit of Elsweyr have a special and mysterious connection to the moons of Tamriel, their reverence for which factors into their culture, faith, and even birth. Depending on the phases of Masser and Secunda during the night of their birth, Khajiit can grow and take on a wide range of forms. Different types include the Alfiq, indistinguishable from a domestic cat but for its ability to speak; Ohmes, who are virtually identical to the Wood Elves of Valenwood; and rarest of all, the Mane, the spiritual leader of all Khajiit culture, who, unsurprisingly, tends to have long manes.
Not only is this a particularly compelling and wacky story that unfortunately has yet to be properly represented in a mainline Elder Scrolls game, but it’s also a fantastic reason for the huge design changes the Khajiit have undergone from a game to game, so crazy props to Bethesda for that one.
5 Mehrunes Dagon has been thwarted an embarrassing number of times
Fans of Oblivion and Elder Scrolls Online’s Gates of Oblivion storyline will be familiar with Mehrunes Dagon and his attempts to conquer the mortal plane. What they may not realize is that Oblivion is actually marking its third attempt (so far) to invade Tamriel. Bethesda’s 1997 spin-off An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire marks Mehrunes Dagon’s original appearance as an invading antagonist as he rampages through the Battlespire, the training facility for Imperial Battlemages.
Similar to how the Lord of Destruction is defeated in ESO, the player character in Battlespire banishes Dagon in a battle of wits with the use of a strange ritual surrounding the Daedric Lord’s “true” name. If the story is any kind of precedent, we will most likely see more Mehrunes in the future.
4 The homeland of the orcs has been sacked at least five times
The Orcs of Tamriel have had a hard time. Whether the various empires of Cyrodiil actually consider them citizens varies from time to time, and whenever they manage to establish their own kingdom, it tends to be violently ransacked by its neighbors. The first realm of Orsinium, established at the start of the First Era, was ransacked for no apparent reason by the forces of High Rock, then again only a few centuries later with the help of Hammerfell during the Siege of Orsinium. The Second Age would not be kinder to the Orcs and their kingdom, as it was once again sacked and its people displaced by the invaders.
Once again, Orsinium would be rebuilt during the events of ESO, but would be destroyed again sometime before the Third Era in order to be rebuilt a fourth time, during the events of Daggerfall. Orcs would finally gain lasting citizenship in the Septim Empire as a result of all that arrived during this game, but will nonetheless have to endure Orsinium being sacked a fifth time during the chaos of the Fourth Era, an event that would see many refugees flee to establish fortresses in the land of Skyrim. Sometimes you could swear Bethesda has it all for the Orcs.
3 Tamriel is made tangible by landmarks called towers
Contrary to what their name might suggest, these are not real tricks. Well, some actually are. The short version is that when the mortal plane was created, a number of important places in the world were created with the special role of guarding the corporeal world, essentially preventing the fabric of reality from completely unraveling. Within each tower is a stone – a magical artifact through which the creative energy of each tower can be harnessed.
These towers can be destroyed, with some being considered broken in the time of the Fourth Era. If they were all to break, all of Nirn would kind of cease to exist, which is a pretty scary prospect. These towers include the White-Gold Tower in Cyrodiil, the Gigantic Tree in the center of the city of Elden Root in Valenwood, the Red Mountain Volcano found in Morrowind, and the Throat of the World in Skyrim.
2 There are actually three moons
The lunar cycles that dictate the forms the Khajiit will take upon birth are also responsible for the birth of a future Mane, the spiritual leaders of the Khajiit. The birth of these rare individuals occurs during a special solar event when the two moons of Tamriel eclipse the sun and reveal that there is a third lunar body, known simply as the Dark Moon or Lair of Lorkhaj. For the Khajiit, the moons are not merely celestial bodies, but actual deities known as Jode and Jone, and are ruled by the Khajiit incarnation of Daedric Prince Azura.
The Dark Moon is also believed to be an entity, though it is thought to be the corpse of the Khajiit version of Lorkhan, AKA Shor. Lorkhan is sometimes referred to as the Missing God in regards to his apparent death early in creation, so the fact that the Dark Moon was absent until the moons influence on the people of Elsweyr was at its peak is somehow appropriate.
1 The world exists in the dream of a cosmic entity
Former Elder Scrolls writer Michael Kirkbride has a reputation among Elder Scrolls fans for being… a little quirky, to say the least. One of the many outlandish theories Kirkbride has written about in the lore’s archive, the Imperial Library, involves an entity known as the Deity, a single God-like entity who sleeps soundly and in whose dreams the world of the Elder Scrolls takes place. If ever the Divinity were to awaken, Bethesda’s entire fantasy title universe would come to an end. Fortunately, this cosmic entity, if it is even real, seems to keep repeating its awakening.
Whether or not the deity is actually a canon in-universe element is up for debate, as Michael Kirkbride hasn’t been a Bethesda employee for some time. Despite this, the term was mentioned in the Black Book: Waking Dreams found in Skyrim, so there is perhaps more legitimacy to the theory than canon sources would otherwise imply. It’s an unusual premise, but whether Bethesda will decide to expand on it further, or if it’s just a tongue-in-cheek reference to the show’s writing staff, is a mystery we may not solve. ever be.
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