Lorkhaj (also known as the Missing God, the Moon Beast, Moon Prince, Fadomai's Favored Son, the First Trickster, the White Lion, Dark Moon, Ghost Moon, Lost Runt) is the Khajiit interpretation of Lorkhan, the Creator-Trickster-Tester deity present in some form in every Tamrielic mythic tradition. Other names for his various versions or aspects include Lorkh to the Reachmen,, Sep in Hammerfell, Sheor in High Rock, Shor in Skyrim, and Shezarr in Cyrodiil.
Lorkhaj is both a Sky and Dark Spirit, and is easily identifiable with the tales of Lorkhan. As a Sky Spirit, Lorkhaj is the Moon Prince and is honored as the first spirit to make his own path, which led to him uniting the spirits to create Nirni. Lorkhaj as the Moon Beast is considered a dark spirit due to Namiira corrupting him, turning him into the first dro-m'Athra.
The Khajiit believe that Fadomai was caught by Ahnurr who, angered at her trickery and disobedience, struck her. She, fearing for her life and children, fled with them to the Great Darkness and hid, giving 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 known as Namiira.
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. Some ancient songs attribute Merid-Nunda as being the one that convinced the siblings to enact revenge. 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." These Khajiit that become dro-m'Athra would come to be known as the Children of Lorkhaj and Namiira. The Dark Heart of Lorkhaj also spawned the spirit Noctra at the steps of the Void Gate, from the black blood it spewed, evincing her claim to being part of the original void.[UOL 1]
After Lorkhaj's death, Azurah 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 and Khenarthi can call upon the "true spirit" of Lorkhaj to appear. Sometime after the creation of the Khajiiti people, Azurah, knowing that the false Lorkhaj, the Moon Beast, would one day covet her children, used the Twin Lanterns of Jone and Jode to summon the true spirit of Lorkhaj 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", to learn the way of the Moonlight Blade. And from then on, on nights of the Ghost Moon, Azurah opens the Void Gate, and the Moon Beast will challenge mortals until banished. Furthermore, the spirit Boethra is said to wear the death-shroud of Lorkhaj these nights, 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, with the earliest known mane. 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. Regardless of beliefs, non Khajiit have difficulty seeing the Dead Moon due to their eyes.
Ancient texts interpret Lorkhaj as both a Sky and Dark Spirit. As a Sky Spirit, Lorkhaj was the Moon Prince and was honored as the first spirit to make his own path, which led to him uniting the spirits to create Nirni. Lorkhaj as the Moon Beast was considered a dark spirit due to Namiira corrupting him, turning him into the first dro-m'Athra. Modern Khajiit revile Lorkhaj, instead believing him to be an enemy of Khajiit, and a hateful trickster that trapped them in mortal form. His deceptions lie even in plain view, and are common enough to be accepted as truths. When a particularly large rift opens between the Dark Behind the World and Nirni, the breach is referred to to as the Maw of Lorkhaj.
- The Monomyth
- Great Spirits of the Reach: Volume 5 — Vashu gra-Morga, Chief Daedrotheologist at the University of Gwylim
- Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- Varieties of Faith... — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- The Sky Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- The Favored Daughter of Fadomai — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- Moon Bishop Hunal Answers Your Questions — Moon Bishop Hunal
- The Adversarial 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
- Shazah's dialogue in ESO
- Adara'hai's dialogue in ESO
- The Favored Daughter of Fadomai — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- The Tale of Three Moons
- The Wandering Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- Vastarie's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
- Shazah's dialogue on Mane Jinninji-ri in ESO
- The Moon Cats and their Dance — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Elsweyr — Flaccus Terentius, 2E 581
- Secrets of the Riddle'Thar — Rid-Thar-ri'Datta, First Mane of the Epiphany
- Vazshara's Journal — Vazshara
- Maw of Lorkhaj loading screen in ESO
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.
- Imperial Census of Daedra Lords — Imperial Geographic Survey