Lore:Azura

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An emblem representing Azura
"Molag Bal wanted my mind, Boethiah wanted my arms, and Nocturnal perhaps my curiosity. Azura wants all of that, and our love above all. Not our abject slavering, but our honest and genuine caring in all its forms. It is important to her that our emotions be engaged in her worship. And our love must also be directed inward. If we love her and hate ourselves, she feels our pain. I will, for all time, have no other mistress." — Sigillah Parate, Invocation of Azura

Azura, the Queen of Dawn and Dusk,[1] also known as Azura of the Crimson Gate,[2] the Mother Soul,[3] Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky,[4] and called Azurah by the Khajiit,[5][6] is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is dawn and dusk—the magic in-between realms of twilight[4]—as well as mystery and magic, fate and prophecy,[3] and vanity and egotism.[2] Azura is one of the few Daedra who maintains the appearance of being "good" by mortal standards, and reportedly feels more concern for the well-being of her mortal subjects than other Daedric Princes. It is said she wants their love above all else, and for her worshippers to love themselves; it pains her when they do not. This attitude leads to an extremely devoted following.[7] She is also one of the few Princes who constantly maintains a female image, and is perceived accordingly.[3]

While Azura is considered one of the "good" Daedra by the Dunmer of Morrowind,[3] elsewhere she has been known to be allied with Molag Bal,[8] who is known to the Dunmer as one of the Four Corners of the House of Troubles.[9] The people of the Iliac Bay region believe that Azura bewitches some of her followers to become her "lovers" and "virtual slaves".[2] Her followers acknowledge that she is "cruel but wise".[7]

In addition to being one of her many sobriquets, "Moonshadow" is also the name of Azura's realm in Oblivion. Azura's Star, the Twilight Star, is visible at dawn and dusk low on the horizon below the constellation of the Steed.[3] She is considered an enemy of Ebonarm and Nocturnal.[8] Her summoning day is Hogithum, a festival on the 21st of First Seed.[7]

Worship[edit]

Azura's statue in the Cavern of the Incarnate

Anticipation and Reclamation[edit]

The Dunmer of Morrowind believe that Azura is their god-ancestor, who taught the Chimer how to be different from the Altmer (though some of her teachings are occasionally attributed to Boethiah).[6] These tales often portray her as more of a communal progenitor[3] or "cosmic force" for the Chimer rather than an ancestor or a god.[6]

After the apotheosis of the Almsivi in the First Era, Azura was recognized as one of three "Good Daedra" who swore allegiance to the new gods. The Temple dubbed these three the Anticipations, as they were "the early ancestral anticipations of the loving patronage of the Tribunal".[3] Azura became the Anticipation of Sotha Sil, female to his male.[3][6] However, Azura and the other Good Daedra (Boethiah and Mephala) continued to be venerated by the nomadic Ashlanders.[10]

Things changed after 4E 5, the Red Year. A massive eruption of Red Mountain wiped out much of Vvardenfell and devastated the mainland as well.[10][11] This, combined with the apparent disappearance of the three Tribunes at the end of the Third Era[12][13] caused a schism in the Temple, which ultimately resulted in the (former) Dissident Priests seizing control.[10] The "New Temple" that arose from this declared worship of the Tribunes a "result of misguided teaching". It also declared the triad of Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala to be the "true way". Thus, having reclaimed their status, they are now worshipped in Morrowind as the Reclamations.[10]

Azurah[edit]

Depiction of Azurah as an amalgamation of Khajiit, Mer and Human

In Elsweyr, Azura is a (nearly) wholly separate entity, the goddess Azurah, the Mother of All Khajiit and the Favored Daughter of Fadomai.[5][6][14][15] Azurah carries the burdens of the Khajiit's ancestors; her spheres are Magic, Beauty, and Prophecy, and she is the "keeper of all gates and keys, all rims and thresholds".[14] The goddess is credited with making the Khajiit out of the "forest people" (some of whom became the Bosmer) living on Nirn[5] and binding them to the Lunar Lattice, (or Ja-Kha'jay) [14] though other sources say the Khajiit were made out of "Altmeri stock".[6] It is said that Azurah knows the names of all the Khajiit that will ever live, and knowing her is the first step on their Path.[14] Azurah's is the "twilight path" to love and redemption. The Khajiit believe Azurah oversees the Gates of the Crossing behind the Lunar Lattice, a twilight realm between death and the afterlife.[16]

Azurah is said to be more beautiful than any other spirit, save for her sister, Nirni. She killed the dark spirit Varmiina in the underworld, which is why Varmiina haunts the dreams of the Khajiit.[17] Some say she often walks the halls of Hermorah's library, sharing in his knowledge.[18] Khenarthi is Azurah's messenger, and ferries the dead Khajiiti souls to her for judgment. Azurah tends the lanterns lit by Khenarthi in the eyes of Jone and Jode, their stillborn brothers, when they burn low.[14]

Mythology[edit]

Origins[edit]

Azurah was born from the third litter of Ahnurr and Fadomai, after the twin Moons and their Motions, and Nirni. Nirni and Azurah immediately began fighting for their mother's favor, but soon an angry Ahnurr struck Fadomai, and she fled into the Great Darkness with her children for protection. There, a dying Fadomai birthed her youngest, Lorkhaj, and bestowed gifts upon the rest. One by one the children received their gifts and departed, until only Azurah and her mother remained. Fadomai then left Azurah her greatest gift, three secrets—instructions on how to create the Khajiit.[5]

Azurah wept as her dying mother told stories of love, war, and undreamed dreams; the names of all gates and thresholds, of all the spirits, and of all the Khajiit that would ever live. Azurah wept so much that the moonlight reflecting off her tears "became one with the Lattice" as Fadomai died. Azura remained within the Great Darkness for some time, consumed by her grief.[15]

Azurah and Lorkhaj[edit]

Some time later, Nirni needed a place to bear children. Lorkhaj tricked his siblings into creating the World to satisfy her desire, and many of Fadomai's children died in its creation. The survivors killed Lorkhaj[14] and tore out his heart.[5] Or so they believed, for the Great Darkness in his blood filled the hole where his heart had been.[15] He sought out Azurah for help.[17]

Meanwhile, Azurah remained within the Great Darkness, mourning Fadomai's death. In time, the light from her tears and the Lunar Lattice dispersed the darkness, and she found herself in a "place of moonlight and shadow". Azurah then tried to return to her mother's side, but her tears had created a great sea, and beyond it stood a black gate that opened into darkness.[15]

And there stood Lorkhaj, his chest gaping, the dark heart beating steadily, dripping black blood. But Azurah knew the names of all of the spirits, so she recognized the Great Darkness for what it was.[15] Azurah was able to rip the dark heart—and all the Darkness—out of her brother before it could consume him.[15][17] She cast it beyond the sea, into the Void, where it became the Moon Beast, the first of the dro-m'Athra.[15][17]

Azurah held onto her brother until he died. She made a funeral pyre before the gate, and lit it with the Twin Lanterns of Jone and Jode.[14][15] Her tears fell upon the pyre and the ashes scattered across the Lattice.[15] As a result, it is said Azurah can call upon the "true spirit" of Lorkhaj to appear.[14] And it is said on nights of the Ghost Moon, the goddess has opened the Void Gate, and the Moon Beast will challenge mortals until banished.[17]

Stories also tell of the birth of Noctra from the black blood of Lorkhaj at the steps of the Void Gate. Boethra was able to defeat the spirit and took her to Azurah for judgment. Azurah was merciful, and allowed Noctra to live if she agreed to serve Azurah and the Lunar Lattice. But Noctra stole one of Azurah's keys and fled into the Void. So Azurah summoned the true spirit of Lorkhaj after her, and now Noctra aids the Khajiit when she is called upon.[17]

It is also said that an unnamed "spirit of vengeance" was born from Azurah's grief after the deaths of her mother and brother. It has no will of its own, and can only be summoned by Azurah, Boethra, and Mafala, or by those who know its true name. Tales describe its appearance as a black panther, a warrior in ebony armor, or a hidden sword.[17]

The Khajiit[edit]

Because of Lorkhaj, Nirni could now make children. But she was sad because the forest people, her favorites, were "torn between man and beast" and did not know their shape. So Azurah came to Nirni and tricked her into allowing the creation of the Khajiit, offering a "gift" of new people. She spoke Fadomai's First Secret, and the Moons parted for her. She took some of the forest people and made them many shapes, for every purpose, called them the Khajiit, and put them in the best forests and deserts on Nirni. Azura told them the Second Secret and made them Nirni's secret defenders, and bound them to the Lunar Lattice. And she spoke the Third Secret, and "the Moons shone down on the marshes and their light became sugar".[5]

However, Y'ffer overheard Azurah speak the First Secret and told Nirni what Azurah had done. So Nirni made the lands of the Khajiit inhospitable, and allowed Y'ffer to change the forest people into elves—the Bosmer. And Y'ffer shouted the First Secret across the heavens so all the original spirits could cross the Lattice, but Azurah ensured that neither Ahnurr nor Lorkhaj could hear the Secret.[5]

Magrus' Eye[edit]

It is said that Magrus serves as a remider of Azurah's wrath.[14] The Sun God once fought Boethra and Lorkhaj, and Boethra plucked out one of his eyes.[14][19] Half-blinded, Magrus fell into the Moonshadow, where Azurah judged him too fearful to rule a sphere, and tore out his other eye (though other stories say he gave Azurah the eye willingly). Azurah took the eye and fashioned it into the Aether Prism, a stone which reflects the Varliance Gate, and opens from Dawn to Dusk.[14]

History[edit]

Seryn, possessed by Azura

Second Era[edit]

In 2E 582, Azura asked the Vestige to help free the soul of one of her servants from the clutches of Molag Bal, and to free her Oracles from pocket realms of Oblivion.

Azura involved herself in the affairs of mortals once more when a plot concocted by Barbas threatened to destroy the island of Vvardenfell. She assisted the Vestige and her new champion Seryn in defeating the false Nerevarine and brother of Seryn, Chodala, and begrudgingly helped return Lord Vivec's power so that he could stave off the meteorite Baar Dau's collision.[20]

Third Era[edit]

Some time around 3E 405, Azura charged an agent of the Blades with killing a monk who had offended her. The Blade was given Azura's Star for completing the task.[2]

In 3E 427, Azura took notice of a prisoner sent from the Imperial City to Morrowind in the hopes of being a prophesied hero, the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of Azura's First Era champion, Lord Indoril Nerevar.[12][21] She helped guide the prisoner into fulfilling the prophecy, becoming the Nerevarine, and freeing Morrowing from the threat of Dagoth Ur. The Nerevarine was also given Azura's Star, as a reward for helping her win a bet with Sheogorath.[12]

In 3E 433, the Champion of Cyrodiil received the Star for putting down some of Azura's worshippers who had inadvertently been turned into vampires while in her service.[22]

Fourth Era[edit]

By 4E 201, Azura's Star was in Skyrim, in the hands of a dying mage. He had corrupted the artifact, allowing it to trap black souls and placing his own inside it. Azura sent the Last Dragonborn to retrieve the artifact, though when found, it was broken. The Dragonborn entered the Star and destroyed the mage's soul, though whether or not this was done with Azura's help is unclear.[23]

Artifacts[edit]

Azura's Star, ca. 4E 201

Azura's Star[edit]

Azura's Star is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince Azura. In appearance it looks like a large, intricately designed throwing star or gemstone, with eight star-like prongs. In the right hands, Azura's Star acts as a reusable soul gem of almost unlimited capacity. This makes it highly sought by mages and assassins. It can only capture white souls, but was once corrupted by mortals to trap black souls instead, becoming the Black Star. The Star is often used as a symbol of Azura.

Moon-and-Star[edit]

Moon-and-Star is a Dwarven ring of Chimer hero Nerevar. The artifact was forged by one of the smiths of Dwemer Sorcerer-priest Kagrenac and blessed by the Daedric Goddess Azura. The ring lent Nerevar supernatural powers of persuasion and indisputable proof of identity, since any other who tried to wear it would be killed instantly. The Moon-and-Star helped Nerevar unite the warring Chimer clans, and form the First Council which included the Dwemer.

Moon-and-Star played a role in the Nerevarine Prophecies, as it allowed the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of Nerevar, to again unite the Great Houses and Ashlander clans, this time in the battle against the forces of Dagoth Ur.

Moonlight Blade[edit]

The Moonlight Blade is a crescent moon-shaped blade associated with both Azurah and the extant Order of the Hidden Moon. This ancient Khajiiti order was said to have been gifted the blade by the Mother Goddess herself and were charged to guide, protect and redeem their people's souls—both pure and those corrupted by Namiira, the Moonlight Blade was considered sacred tool for this duty. While on its own the blade was a deadly weapon against the Dro-m'Athra, in the hands of those who knew the Order's secrets, the Moonlight Blade could cut through liminal barriers, both the mundane and those between worlds.

Ring of Azura[edit]

This ring was bestowed upon the Nerevarine in 3E 427 upon killing Dagoth Ur. It possessed a few magical enchantments.[24][25]

Moonshadow[edit]

Moonshadow is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by the Daedric Prince Azura, Queen of Dawn and Dusk. The realm is said to hold "[t]oo much beauty", so much so it can render mortal visitors "half-blind", and contain flowers, waterfalls, and a city of silver. Azura herself resides in a rose palace, and is welcoming to mortal travelers.

To the Khajiit, Moonshadow is where Azurah tends the Gates of the Crossing—the bridge between Nirni and the afterlife beyond. According to myth, as Azurah wept in the Great Darkness after the death of her mother, the light from her tears chased away the Darkness and eventually left a "place of moonlight and shadow". Khajiiti mythology also writes that when Magrus fled from Boethra and Lorkhaj after the former had plucked his eye out, he fell into the Moonshadow. There, Azurah judged him as too fearful to rule a sphere, and tore out his other eye. The blinded Magrus fled to the heavens, and Azurah made of his eye a "stone to reflect the Varliance Gate".

See Also[edit]

Books[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Modern HereticsHaderus of Gottlesfont
  2. ^ a b c d Azura's quest in Daggerfall
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h The Anticipations — Anonymous
  4. ^ a b The Book of Daedra
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Words of Clan Mother AhnissiClan Mother Ahnissi
  6. ^ a b c d e f Varieties of Faith...Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
  7. ^ a b c Invocation of AzuraSigillah Parate
  8. ^ a b Factions in Daggerfall
  9. ^ The House of Troubles
  10. ^ a b c d The ReclamationsThara of Rihad
  11. ^ The Red YearMelis Ravel
  12. ^ a b c Events of Morrowind
  13. ^ Events of Tribunal
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Sky SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Favored Daughter of FadomaiAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  16. ^ Mazza-Mirri's dialogue in ESO
  17. ^ a b c d e f g The Dark SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  18. ^ The Worldly SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  19. ^ The Wandering SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  20. ^ Events of ESO
  21. ^ The Battle of Red MountainVivec
  22. ^ Azura's quest in Oblivion
  23. ^ Events of The Black Star quest in Skyrim
  24. ^ Azura's dialogue in Morrowind
  25. ^ The Ring of Azura in Morrowind