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The Dark Heart (ESO)

Lorkh, who is known as the Spirit of Man, the Mortal Spirit, the Sower of Flesh, and the Lord of Mortals, is the Reachman interpretation[1][2] of Lorkhan, the Creator-Trickster-Tester deity present in some form in every Tamrielic mythic tradition.[3]

Lorkh is a revered spirit in the Reachman pantheon. Their creation story speaks of Lorkh having an epiphany when he visited the darkness; that which is perceived as nothingness is ripe for possibility.[4] And so, Lorkh approached Namira, who ruled the world of spirit, and convinced her to grant him a place in the infinite void to create a realm for wayward spirits. But it was not a cost. To make this a possibility, Lorkh sacrificed himself to create a harsh realm, one that is unforgiving and intended to teach through suffering.[5] Despite his sundering, Lorkh still believed in the light of Man, whose ancestors fled into the mountains, away from the darkness emitted from his heart.[6][7] Hircine is said to have taken the mantle of Lork's creation, becoming the sovereign of the world of flesh.[8][1] Despite this, it is believed Lorkh still walks among the mortals of Nirn. He appears only once in a great while, braving the pain and sorrow of the cruel world he created to aid the Reachfolk in times of desperate need.[5]

The briarheart ritual is a reflection of the Reachmen's need to become better, and involves communing with Hircine to ritualistically replace the heart of a skilled Reachfolk warrior with poisoned briars.[9] This ritual represents Lorkh's immortal sacrifice,[5] which is reflected by sacrificing of ones' own life. The end result is a warrior being resurrected[10] as a living weapon with great strength and endurance known as a Briarheart.[11] They endure constant pain,[12] a trade-off to use their transformation's benefit to protect their clan.[11]

The symbol of one of Hircine's aspects, Gulibeg the Quick fox, is the Wand of Bone, which was fashioned from a shard from Lorkh's ribs, and has the ability to confound any mortal.[13] Gulibeg is said to reward those he finds clever by teaching them tricks and secrets,[14] which the Reachmen claim helped them survive the fall of Lorkh.[13]

Lorkh is revered by the Reachfolk, but his name is never uttered in prayer, for his part in their story has long passed. While Hircine teaches the Reachmen how to survive, Lorkh is the reason that "no matter the struggle, (they) should not go quietly into death".[2]