Lore:Alkosh

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Alkosh depicted alongside his Hourglass

Alkosh is a pre-ri'Datta Dynasty Anaquinine deity, also known as the Dragon King of Cats,[1][2] the First Cat,[3] the Highmane,[2] and the Great Cat King of Time.[4] He is depicted as a fearsome dragon, swift and graceful but also powerful and clever, and radiant as the sun, which the Khajiiti say "is just a real big cat".[1][5] He is the god of Time,[3] and the king of dragons [6], a variation on the Altmeri Auri-El, and thus an "Akatosh-as-culture-hero" for the earliest Khajiiti. Alkosh's worship was co-opted during the establishment of the Riddle'Thar, but the Dragon King remains popular in Elsweyr's wastelands.[1]

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 unspool from the tip of his tail and, should the thread end, there will be nothing, as all exists within time's domain. The Dragon King of Time, like Khenarthi, can see across all the Many Paths of Fate.[7][8]

Mythology[edit]

Aspect of Alkosh in a deep slumber
Descendant of Alkosh (Legends)

The Khajiit believe the Dragon Break phenomenon occurs when Alkosh has been broken.[9] In some pre-ri'Datta beliefs, Alkosh is said to have appeared after the disappearance of Akha, taking over the role and crown of the First Cat, and inheriting rule over the myriad kingdoms of Akha along the Many Paths. While he ruled over the children of Akha, he was soon overthrown and his body scattered on the West Wind. It was Khenarthi who flew along the Many Paths and put Alkosh back together, and now they both "safeguard the Many Paths from the wayward children of Akha" from his unions with the Winged Serpent of the East, the Dune Queen of the West, and the Mother Mammoth of the North.[2][nb 1]

It is said Alkosh repelled an early Aldmeri pogrom of Pelinal Whitestrake during mythic times by descending from the heavens as a shooting star and shouting the invader off the summit of Sunspire and out of Elsweyr,[1] leaving behind a "wound" in the sky.[5] In 2E 582 this Time Wound would make Sunspire the target of the dragon Nahviintaas, who used his own Thu'um to start tearing the wound wider, in an attempt to rewrite time and restore draconic rule.[5][10]

Some Moon-Singer songs link Alkosh to the origins of the Khajiiti demigod and hero Khunzar-ri. In the song Alkosh, perpetually grim due to the challenges of guarding time, refuses to be cheered up by either Mara or Khenarthi, dismissing the words of the former and dispatching the latter with a roar. The task is left to Sheggorath, who finally manages to make Alkosh laugh by telling a joke about Hircine. Alkosh laughs for thirty days and nights, shaking the sky and making the moons dance until, finally, a single tear of joy falls rolls down his cheek and lands onto Elsweyr where Khunzar-ri emerges from its depths, fully grown and ready for adventure.[11]

The Khajiit believe that 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.[5] 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.[12] 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.[13]

One pre-ri'Datta Khajiit account describes how, during the Middle-Dawn, Boethra was called from her battle with Orkha by the Blue Star and transported atop the Adamantine Tower by Khenarthi. There Boethra saw the Selectives speaking lies in a way that made them true, drawing runes that were attempting to make it so that neither Akha, nor Alkosh, nor Alkhan, nor any Child of Akha, nor any of the myriad kingdoms Akha had created along the Many Paths, any of the lands he'd seeded and brought into his kingdom, had ever existed. Seeing the lie the Selectives were attempting to make real, Boethra, who had once been exiled to the Many Paths by Akha, started to wander if she had ever been the Daughter of Blades at all, or if it had all been a dream of someone who'd never existed, and felt something akin to fear for the first time. Knowing the Selectives must not succeed, Boethra calculated and enacted the cuts needed to destroy both them and the lies they'd attempted to make real. Than, sensing an opportunity created by their actions, she found a tunnel to the fate they'd sought. Boethra opened her eyes to twelve spinning wheels surrounded by fire revolving beneath two warring serpents, one a serpent of flaming feathers and crystal scales with a head like a hunting bird, and another a crimson eyed serpent of blackest scales and a white mane followed by all the Void, the truth within the lies the Selectives had sought. The flame-feathered serpent emanated rejection of all "Mannish impurity in all the known worlds", the dark serpent though surrounded by chaos emanated gentleness and love for the spirits of the worlds, and in it Boethra saw a fleeting chance for peace along the wheels. As the feathered serpent's beak found purchase beneath the scales of the white maned serpent Boethra, dodging through the wheels to reach, summoned all her blades and struck at its eye, repelling it. Landing on the head of the dark serpent she drew upon its black flames, forming a blade and armor as her mind was scorched with things that were and have yet to be. She named the hawk-serpent for what it was and, reciting the Will Against Rule, dashed forward, cutting concepts at strange angles and ending the Dragon Break. This event would later come to be known as the Division of Heaven by mortals who remembered the Middle-Dawn.[8]

It is common among the Khajiit to fashion wooden religious fetishes that depict Alkosh as a reclining cat with its jaws open wide.[14].

In pre-ri'Datta Khajiiti belief, the Khajiiti followers of Alkosh are urged to pray to him not for his strength or his mighty roar, but rather for his sense of duty and purpose.[2] The Khajiit acknowledge both Auri-El and Akatosh as aspects of Alkosh.[12]

Pride of Alkosh[edit]

Shrine to Alkosh
Pridehome Temple

The Pride of Alkosh is an order of Khajiiti warriors dedicated to Alkosh, comprised of the Forgotten Manes, would be Manes who were born under the eclipse, making them more attuned to the influence of the moons, but also to the call of the Dark Heart and Dark Moon, and so to becoming Dro-m'Athra. As cubs they are taken to Pridehome, where they are trained as warriors and are taught Alkosh's wisdom, becoming the "secret defenders" who serve as the Dragon King's "claws" that help catch and pull the dangling threads of time's tapestry.[13][15][7][16]

The Pride of Alkosh and Pridehome were founded by Ja'darri the Endless, a member of Reman's Dragonguard, ally to the dragon Nahfahlaar[17][18] and Forgotten Mane. After nearly succumbing to the call of the Dark Moon, Khenarthi appeared and transported Ja'darri to the darkness within her own heart where, now armed with a lantern and blade that shone with Alkosh's light, she overcame its dark influence.[7] Upon her victory Ja'darri was presented with the Mask of Alkosh and tasked with defeating the dragon Laatvulon whose actions threatened time's tapestry. The prideful Nahfahlaar refused to awaken the Mask's power, a requirement for using its might set by Alkosh who "looks at mortals with a weary eye", leading to Ja'darri's death, after which Khenarthi raised her to a place beyond even the Sands Behind the Stars.[19][17][7]

Just like Ja'darri, upon death members of the Pride are raised to a place beyond even the Sands Behind the Stars and all that is known by Khenarthi.[16][7] These champions of Alkosh, like Pridehome, are said to than exist outside the tapestry of time and linear progression. It is said that in some sense they both have always existed and will always exist, and that Pridehome and the Pride were simply woven into the tapestry by Alkosh, allowing them to also interact with those within linear time. Because of this extratemporal nature, each Clan Mother of the Pride of Alkosh is simultaneously both the first and the last to occupy the position. This extratemporal nature is said to also apply in some sense to dragons, allowing them to return even when seemingly vanquished, and to the "Doom To Come", the time when dragons return to bring imbalance to the world. As both the Doom and the Pride will always exist, the champions of Alkosh prepare for the time when dragons will return and bring disorder to the world again.[20]

The members of the Pride are said to be entrusted with Alkosh's secrets. Clan Mothers of the Pride are said to be able to see into the tapestry of time to discern coming events. [7][21]

Alkosh is said to sometimes bestow his champions with a feline companion, a lion made of pure light with which they'll ride to fulfill their mission.[22]

A song about the trials of a Khajiit seeking to brave the trials of the Halls of the Highmane, claim the Mask of Alkosh, and join the Pride to stand before Ja'darri herself in the end, circulated during the mid Second Era.[23]

Artifacts[edit]

Mask of Alkosh[edit]

The Mask of Alkosh

The Mask of Alkosh is a holy relic of the Dragon-Cat Alkosh, his light willing it into existence to help mend the tapestry of time, and is worn by the champions of the Pride of Alkosh. It was first worn by the Ja'darri the Endless, the first champion of Alkosh and the founder of the Pride of Alkosh. A Dragon must awaken the dormant power within the mask before it can be used. When the mask is empowered, it imbues its wielder, known as a Mask-Bearer, with extraordinary power.

Realm[edit]

The Spilled Sand (Aspect of Alkosh slumbering in the background)

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.[17][7]

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.[7] The Mask of Alkosh allows for one to journey to this realm when awoken via the blood of a dragon.[24]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • 1.  The Wandering Spirits recounts the tale of Akha, who fathered offspring with the Winged Serpent, Mother Mammoth, and Dune Queen. Upon Akha's vanishing in the South, Alkosh "was granted rule over the myriad kingdoms of Akha along the Many Paths", and would watch over Akha's children. However, they rebelled against Alkosh, only for Khenarthi to restore him afterward. Together, they now oversee them.[2] The term "wayward children of Alkosh" was used by Clan Mother Tadali, a leader of a temple dedicated to Khenarthi, to describe dragons.[21] Moreover, the dragon Nahfahlaar referred to Alkosh as his father.[17]
  • 2.  Ja'darri suggests Alkosh was the one to bring Sai Sahan back to life in the event that he was sacrificed in Coldharbour, having 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.[7]
  • 3.  The Nine Coruscations, a religious text of Ayleid origins describes linear time being layered upon infinite possibility in connection to what happened to Aka in the south, how he learned why his insanity is all that is and could be, and by that lesson Ada-Mantia was established as a stable spire fixed by a stone of nothing-possible. This account might be a description of the disappearance of Akha in the south and the return of Alkosh in his place from a different cultural perspective.[25]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]