The Dark Moon (or Dark Moons), also known as the Dead Moon, the Hidden Moon, the Hollow Moon, the Ghost Moon, and the Den of Lorkhaj, is rumored to be the corpse of the Missing God, Lorkhaj. During a dark eclipse, the alignment shows the "third moon" (or "missing moon"), and it is a significant sign that possesses duality for the Khajiit. On the upside, their spiritual leaders known as Manes are born during this occurrence. However, those born under the eclipse are sensitive to the moons, and thus are subject to the call of the Void, which could turn them into dro-m'Athra. The Bent Cats themselves show reverence to the Dark Moon, and are referred to as Children of the Dark Moon. Their steeds, the Rahd-m'Athra, are thought to hail from the Dark Moons. Khajiit deviants may mark themselves with tattoos reminiscent of the dark moon to show their defiance of social conventions.
Depending on the context, the term "dark moons" can vary in meaning. One who is born during an eclipse may be described by their peers as "born under Dark Moons". When Jone and Jode are both new, the Khajiit may refer to the sky as having "two dark moons". Two dark moons symbolize bad luck. Similarly, Khajiit often exclaim "dark moons" as a form of expression when misfortune occurs. "Sangiin's Midnight" is another term used for when both moons are dark, and Khajiit may turn to using bright crimson red claw polish during this time.
The Khajiit believe that Fadomai fled to the Great Darkness to give birth to her final child, Lorkhaj. Having been born amidst the Great Darkness, the Khajiit believe that Lorkhaj's heart was filled with such, and thus was the Great Darkness made aware of itself and then named Namiira. Amidst the darkness, surrounded by her children, Fadomai realized her death was near. In her final moments, she gave her daughter Azurah gifts in the form of three secrets. The First Secret gave Azurah dominion over the moons, Jone and Jode, and in the future, the Dark Moon. The spirit Alkosh compliments Azurah in that he ensures the movement of the moons with the tapestry of time, ensuring that they are not locked in place to prevent the undesirable from slipping through the Lunar Lattice.
After Fadomai's death, Nirni approached Lorkhaj, whom she asked to create for her children a dwelling; he did so, and yet the Great Darkness in his heart influenced him to deceive his siblings so that they were trapped in the new place with Nirni. Some managed to escape death and become the stars, and those who remained punished Lorkhaj by tearing out his heart and hiding it deep within Nirni, so that he would be with her whom he had done the most harm. Texts that predate the Riddle'Thar Epiphany speak of Lorkhaj surviving this encounter, allowing him to flee to Azurah with the hole in his chest, where she saw Namiira still dwelling within his wound, keeping him alive and corrupting him by imitating his heart. Azurah cleansed Lorkhaj of the corruption and flung the Dark Heart into the Void, and Lorkhaj perished within Azurah's embrace. From the Dark Heart came the twisted shade of Lorkhaj known as the Moon Beast, the first dro-m'Athra. Thus Lorkhaj represents the duality of Khajiiti souls and their susceptibility to the Bent Dance, which calls them to darkness through the "beating drum of the Dark Heart in [their] moments of deepest sorrow or most anguished regret".
Azurah embraced her brother until he died. She made a funeral pyre before the Varliance gate, and lit it with the Twin Lanterns of Jone and Jode. Her tears fell upon the pyre and the ashes scattered across the Lattice. As a result, it is said Azurah can call upon the "true spirit" of Lorkhaj to appear. Sometime before the "first memory" of the Khajiiti people, Azurah used these Twin Lanterns to summon Lorkhaj's true spirit to be a sky-guardian. As the third moon, Lorkhaj shined his light upon the Khajiit, choosing the purest of heart to be part of the "Litter of the Hidden Moon", where they would learn the way of the Moonlight Blade. On nights of the Ghost Moon, Azurah opens the Void Gate, and the false Lorkhaj, the Moon Beast, will challenge mortals until banished. Furthermore, the spirit Boethra is said to wear the death-shroud of Lorkhaj on nights of the Ghost Moon, and "wages war beyond the Lattice".
Modern Khajiiti beliefs on the third moon differ from ancient beliefs, with the birth of the Mane being the main purpose of its existence. This belief could have existed since at least 1E 2902. Furthermore, the reasoning for the Dark Moon's existence is different. Modern Khajiit believe that after Convention, Lorkhaj's body was hurled to the moons, and forced to follow Jone and Jode forever as punishment. Apart from its role in selecting the Mane, the Dark Moon is viewed as a sinister force. Jone and Jode, the "Bright Moons" or "Blessed Moons", are invoked in prayer by the Twilight Cantors to banish the Dark Moon's influence from true cats. Non-Khajiit purportedly have difficulty seeing the Dead Moon due to their eyes.
One theory on the nature of the Dark Moon is explored in The Lunar Lorkhan. It argues both Masser and Secunda are two halves of Lorkhan's corpse and represent a "Cloven Duality". However, the War of Manifest Metaphors contradicts this claim. Additionally, both modern and ancient Khajiiti religion places the two moons as separate entities that existed prior to Lorkhan's punishment at Convention, and only believe that the third moon is Lorkhaj's corpse.
The Two-Moons Path
In 2E 582, in the presence of the Dominion's leaders and other important figures at the Two Moons Path temple, the Moon Hallowed and Lunar Champion walked the last path—the Two Moons Path, where they would face Javad Tharn, and the sister would become the Mane. They traveled to the Plane of Jode and witnessed a possible future which would result in the fall of the Aldmeri Dominion, should they fail in their quest. The pair persevered and made it to the last leg of their journey. At the Den of Lorkhaj, they encountered both Javad, and the other Lunar Champion whom was possessed by the Dark Mane. Tharn planned for his tainted Lunar Champion to walk the Path to become the Mane, as they represent the soul of the Khajiiti people, and would then ensure that the Khajiiti people would be plunged into darkness. In the end, the Mane and the Moon Hallowed had prevailed, and the battle against Javad Tharn was over. The other Lunar Champion that was tainted sacrificed herself and was set free by this, and thus was able to reach Aetherius. After their victory, at Dune, Rid-Thar-ri'Datta gave his blessing for the new Mane of Elsweyr.
A Rage of Dragons
After the retrieval of the fabled Wrathstone in 2E 582, the Imperial battlemage Abnur Tharn inadvertently unleashed the Dragons from their containment from the Halls of Colossus, allowing them to continue in their quest to steal lunar power of Jode's Core. An ancient enemy of Queen Anequina rose from the dead and forced the moons into an eclipse, allowing the Dragons to enter the Plane of Jode through Anequina's moon gate. Kaalgrontiid attempted to consume energy from the moon's core. Queen Anequina's descendant, Khamira, was able to banish Kaalgrontiid from the plane before he was able to fully absorb the core's power. Abnur Tharn was subsequently summoned to Pellitine by the Mane to discuss the arcane implications of the false eclipse, the Khajiit born under it, and the Mane's succession.
- Moon Bishop Hunal Answers Your Questions — Moon Bishop Hunal
- Vastarie's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
- Idol of the Hollow Moon item description in ESO
- Crafting Motif 35: Dro-m'Athra Style — Twilight Cantor Adara'hai
- Shazah's dialogue in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: The Elsweyr Confederacy — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Za'ji's dialogue in ESO: Dragonhold
- Akkhuz-ri's dialogue in ESO
- Rahd-m'Athra mount description in ESO
- Dark Moons Headwrap and Dark Crescent Moons marking descriptions in ESO
- New Moons Cross-Sash Robe costume description in ESO
- Elazura, Naraku, Klarari, and a plethora of other Khajiit using "dark moons" as an exclamation in ESO
- Bottle of Red Claw Polish item description in ESO
- Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- The Tale of Three Moons
- Moon-Bishop Azin-jo's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
- The Favored Daughter of Fadomai — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- The Sky Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- The Dark Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- Epistle on the Spirits of Amun-dro Vol 1 — Thava-ko
- The Favored Daughter of Fadomai — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- The Wandering Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- Shazah's dialogue on Mane Jinninji-ri in ESO
- The Moon Cats and their Dance — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- Mantra of Expulsion
- The Lunar Lorkhan — Fal Droon
- Den of Lorkhaj loading screen text in ESO
- The Moonlit Path quest in ESO
- Javad Tharn's dialogue in ESO
- The Den of Lorkhaj quest in ESO
- Events of The Halls of Colossus in ESO
- Events of Cadwell the Betrayer in ESO
- Events of Jode's Core in ESO: Elsweyr
- Envoy Cashia's dialogue during The Heir of Anequina in ESO