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Where did Men Come From?

Today on Written in Uncertainty, I’m discussing one of the most universal questions in all mythology and applying it to Tamriel. Trying to disentangle the chaos of the Dawn and work out an answer to that fundamental question: where do men come from?

Before we get to that, though, I want to start by saying thank you to Wheels, who has been a fan of this show for several months now, and has made a lot of noise about it on Twitter in particular, who has just become my latest patron. With one more patron I can start having a fully self-hosted website, which is actually optimised for my content!

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I’ve also had a correction from EnricoDandolo to my Amaranth episode. I managed to misread the last line of Sermon 37 as “worldling” of the worlds” rather than the correct “worlding of the worlds”. That puts a whole new spin on things. Rather than being a child of the world, Enrico was kind enough to point me in the direction of Heidegger, who used “worlding” as a term to describe the process of making a life-world, a world as experienced by people. This is, for Heidegger, a natural reaction to being-in-the-world, it’s the constant construction of the world as something we experience, and is forever changing. In this way, it sounds rather like the process of creating headcanon; everyone’s perspectives are always evolving through contact with new material. I think this potentially mirrors MK’s line of thought with the Amaranth, that it is the process of making a new world, and while the Amaranth itself is not necessarily an ongoing process in TES, worlding is certainly the culmination of a world that is as open and diverse in its lore as TES.

I also want to say, as usual, that this is my own understanding of where men came from, and not the whole truth of things; we do have quite a partial view on this topic, at least from what I feel like we’re intended to have. I would love to hear your own ideas. Please leave a comment wherever you’re listening to this, or at the blog post at writteninuncertainty.wordpress.com. I’ll also be linking all the sources I quote in this cast in the blog post, so please check them out and come to your own conclusions on the matter, and join the conversation at the Written in Uncertainty Discord server.

And finally, if you’ve got anything you want to ask, please email me at  writteninuncertaintypodcast@gmail.com. I’d love to have a more expansive Q&A part of this podcast, but I can only do that if you send me questions!

One quick note here: when I say “men”, I mean all members of the races descended from the Atmorans, Nedes and Yokudans. I’m not meaning to imply anything about particular genders here, but I’m not going to use the term “humans”, as this is often applied to all races, or at least all non-beast races.

The Creation of Men

So where do men come from? It depends on who you ask, as with most things in the Elder Scrolls. According to what we know of their myths, men are created by the gods, and tend to view Lorkhan in a positive light because of that. They also claim that they were made by the gods, in contrast to mer, who believe they are descended from the gods. The Monomyth describes this as “the humble path”, in contrast to the rather more entitled view of the mer. If you want to hear more about that difference, please listen to the episode on the man-mer schism I did a while back.

There is however one dissenting view from this narrative, which is ironically the one that most fans seem to take as the truest one. This narrative, which comes from the Anuad, has both men and mer deriving from the Ehlnofey, with men coming from the Wandering Ehlnofey, who travelled throughout Mundus. The difference, according to this narrative, is initially one of ideology, not one of kind, although one eventually becomes the other.

The Anuad also calls the Old Ehlnofey “the Ehlnofey of Tamriel”, with the Wanderers scattering to the continents of Akavir, Atmora and Yokuda. This is where the Anuad starts to tally up with the other myths we have, although there are a few more questions there, which we’ll get to later. The thing I want to note for now is that this is happening after the war between the Old and Wandering Ehlnofey. Other myths, most notably the Altmeri creation myth, have this war happening when men and mer are already distinct, and the continents already separate.

I want to take a brief diversion here a little bit, and take a look at a few interesting quotes. We have this line from the Altmeri Heart of the World creation myth:

“Auriel could not save Altmora, the Elder Wood, and it was lost to Men. They were chased south and east to Old Ehlnofey, and Lorkhan was close behind. He shattered that land into many.

Bear in mind that Ald Mora is literally “Elder Wood” in the language Aldmeris. Then consider a few bits from Varieties of Faith, which comes from the Imperial College. First the description of Orkey, a Nord god of death. To quote:

Orkey (Old Knocker): A loan-god of the Nords, who seem to have taken up his worship during Aldmeri rule of Atmora

And this about Herma-Mora:

Herma-Mora (The Woodland Man): Ancient Atmoran demon who, at one time, nearly seduced the Nords into becoming Aldmer.

Taken together, these two quotes seem to imply that men were not entirely men in their earliest days in Atmora. I’ve seen some say that this means that Atmora and Aldmeris are the same place, but while I did once think that, I’m not totally sure any more. If the “Old Ehlnofey” mentioned in the Heart of the World is Aldmeris, which would be linguistically consistent with its use elsewhere, then it is fairly geographically distant from Atmora. Unless we take Atmora to be a part of Aldmeris that laer broke away. That would match the idea of the “sundering of purpose that the Nu-Mantia Intercept identifies with the destruction of Aldmeris, with the areas that were claimed by men becoming the other continents. However, we don’t have a firm answer either way.

Do Men Come from Atmora?

Possibly based on events after the sundering of the continents, most mannish myths will claim that men came from Atmora. The First Edition Pocket Guide to the Empire states that the first men came from Atmora to Tamriel, and that the Nords were the first to do this. This is generally thought to be rubbish by the developers; Kurt Kuhlman posted this comment some years ago. To quote:

The hoary old “Out of Atmora” theory has been widely discredited (no reputable archaeologist would publicly support it these days), but the Imperial Geographers continue to beat the drum of the Nordic Fatherland in the best tradition of the Septim Empire.

Michael Kirbride has also posted this:

And for the last time (uh huh), Nedes != Atmorans. That’s just shoddy scholarship from a bygone regime.

So it’s fairly clear that the developers intended for the idea of men to simply come from Atmora to Tamriel, starting with the Nords. There is some support for the idea that men came from Atmora, but that they weren’t all “Atmorans” in the same way that Ysgramor and his proto-Nords were. The book Frontier, Conquest & Accommodation: A Social History of Cyrodiil, says this:

Ysgramor was certainly not the first human settler in Tamriel. In fact, in “fleeing civil war in Atmora,” as the Song of Return states, Ysgramor was following a long tradition of migration from Atmora; Tamriel had served as a “safety valve” for Atmora for centuries before Ysgramor’s arrival.

This is a view that the Third Edition Pocket Guide seems to back up. On this reading, the Nedes are simply Atmorans who are culturally distinct enough from those things that we most commonly call Atmorans. However, we have some rather interesting implications from a passage in The Adabal-a, which says this:

Perrif’s original tribe is unknown, but she grew up in Sard, anon Sardarvar Leed, where the Ayleids herded in men from across all the Niben: kothri, nede, al-gemha, men-of-‘kreath (though these were later known to be imported from the North), keptu, men-of-ge (who were eventually destroyed when the Flower King Nilichi made great sacrifice to an insect god named [lost]), al-hared, men-of-ket, others; but this was Cyrod, the heart of the imperatum saliache, where men knew no freedom, even to keep family, or choice of name except in secret, and so to their alien masters all of these designations were irrelevant.

This gives Nedes as one group of many that were present in Cyrodiil in the First Era. We have this quote from Abnur Tharn, which may reconcile things:

The term ‘Nedic Tribes’ actually covers a wide panoply of different human cultures from different parts of Atmora, with a variety of traditions and practices. For the Nedes, Tamriel became a great mixing cauldron—some Atmoran practices were retained, but many were lost. In Nibenay alone do we find the kind of continuity that sheds light on original Nedic culture, for only here were the great, old traditions maintained in any fidelity.

According to this, “Nedes” could be both the tribe of Nibenay, and a catch-all term for all the Cyrodilic mannish tribes that were present in the First Era, in the same way that the name China is thought to have derived from the Qin, the name of the first Imperial dynasty, which was only one of several warring states for the first period of its existence. However, I should note that this does still equate all Nedic tribes with Atmora in some way, rather than saying that some of the tribes were already on Tamriel. I think it does, however, give us a possible framework to explain why the Nedes are only one of several groups mentioned in The Adabal-a.

Given all that, I’m inclined to think that, like “Nede”, “Atmoran” could have multiple meanings, and only Ysgramor’s actual wave is given the title Atmorans in the truest sense.

Now I’m going to turn to a text that makes me think that the Nords throw all of that out of the window. It’s called Children of the Sky, and it gave me some really inflated expectations of what to expect Nords to be capable of before Skyrim came out. The bit that we need to worry about is this:

Nords consider themselves to be the children of the sky. They call Skyrim the Throat of the World, because it is where the sky exhaled on the land and formed them. They see themselves as eternal outsiders and invaders, and even when they conquer and rule another people; they feel no kinship with them.

If this is true, then the Nords were created on Tamriel, not scattered to Atmora, as the Anuad states, to then come back later. There is no way to reconcile this directly with our other sources, so we can either dismiss it entirely, which would be boring, or see what we can make of it.

The Nords being “made” in Skyrim makes some sense to me as a metaphorical term; they weren’t Nords until some point while they were in Skyrim. I think we can possibly tie this to when they stopped looking on Atmora as “home”, rather than a literal creation process. King Wulfharth, who ruled Skyrim from around 1E 480 to 1E 533, was called the “breath of Kyne” in his Five Songs, and he was the king to renounce all holdings in Atmora. So, rather than being breathed out by Kyne in Skyrim, I think it’s possible that the Nords were instead made into the people of Skyrim by the Breath of Kyne, the king who sundered them from their Atmoran holdings.

If being “breathed out” is more a figurative description of an historical event rather than a creation myth, that rather leaves the Nords hanging as to where they think they were actually created. We have a Cyrodilic creation myth, and a Yokudan creation myth, and the Bretons know they are descended from Nedic tribes subjugated by the Direnni elves in High Rock. We don’t have an explicit creation myth for the Nords. They have a creator and destroyer deity in the shape of Alduin, but little account of how that actually happened, or happens. The cyclical nature of Alduin eating the world and being the wellspring of the Nordic pantheon, as well as being one culture that, if you believe the Seven Fights of the Aldudagga and Shor Son of Shor, explicitly acknowledges kalpas as happening, then we would expect something cyclical and extra-kalpic, like we have in the Yokudan and Argonian creation myths.

To that, we have to turn to one of Michael Kirkbride’s forum posts. In particular, we have this quote:

Let me show you then, the proper way to ask the Nords their proper place in history: ask them to tell you the oldest story they know that’s also the best. That will get you as close to a creation myth as anything else, even if the next telling changes it a bit, but that’s beside the point of being the point.

“Just because we hate to waste time in Skyrim, we have lots of it to use with nothing else to do, and there’s no better way to use up time without wasting it than by telling a good story. And the best of the oldest stories we still know is [untranslatable], which I guess you’ll probably want to hear after you get me another round.”

Nords and Dragons

If we go to the oldest “Nordic” story, that’s probably the tale of Ysgramor and the 500 Companions, and Ysgramor functions as the “harbinger of us all”, the first Nord, so to speak. And it just so happens that we have that tale, The Five Hundred Mighty Companions or Thereabouts of Ysgramor the Returned, which MK posted in the Bethesda Forums in February of 2011. In particular, we should note that the first part of the first pararaph of the story begins like this:

The first of Ysgramor’s Five Hundred Mighty Companions was actually two, the ashen-amalgamation of his sons that had survived Sarthaal only to die in the freeze-rains of the returning, named Tsunaltir and Stuhnalmir when alive and now called the Grit-Prince Tstunal, whose Tear-Wives were Vramali, Jarli-al, Alleir, and Tusk Widow Who Foreswore Her Name, whose Wine-Wives were Elja Hate-Basket and Ingridal who lost her casket at the burning, and Mjarili-al Half-Casket, whose Hearth-Wives were none survived, and whose Kyne-Wives were none survived, and whose Shield-Wives were Shanjenen the Echo-Eaten and Jahnsdotter Whose-Name-Stays-in-its-Cradle.

And then we have the first part of the final paragraph is this:

With the Morag broken and sent into the eastern slush, we finally caught sight of Snow-Throat, and knew that our journey was near its ending again. It was the World-Eater’s-Waking that broke shore first, Shouting our victory and doom, whose Boat-Thane was Ysmaalithax the Northerly Dragon, his first-clutch-sons Tsuunalinfaxtir and St’unuhaslifafnal, whose Tear-Jills were Vorramaalix, Jarliallisuh, Alleirisughus, and the Dewclaw Widow Who Foreswore Her Name, whose Void-Jills were Eljaalithathisalif Hate-Fire and Ingridaaligu who lost her minutes in the mending, and Mjaariliaalunax Half-Fire, whose Earth-Jills were none awoke, and whose Aether-Jills were none survived, and whose Magne-Jills were Shanu’ujeneen the Star-Woven and Jaalhngithaax Whose-Name-Stays-in-its-Egg.

Once you adjust for Ysmaalithax not having a named equivalent in the ending, the names of the first companions and the first dragons mirror each other. Given that, it’s clear that Ysmaalithax represents Ysgramor himself. Given that, Toesock put together a fantastic theory that basically suggests that the Nords of the previous kalpa were the ones that tore down Lyg, thanks to a bunch of references in the text to the Adjacent Place, and have some sort of relationship with dragons. While Toesock suggests that this is possibly the Dragon War, reflecting the war of the Dreugh in Lyg, I’d suggest it’s something simpler than that. Toesock does suggest that the Nords ARE Alduin at some point, in that they destroy the world, I read it that they possibly become the dragons of the next kalpa. Many revolutions turn on those who initiate them, after all. We also have the line from Varieties of Faith that “the Nords could not look on [Talos/Ysmir] without seeing a dragon”. There is some special circumstances here (Talos was a dragonborn, after all), but the way that the others are talked about in the Five Hundred Companions text makes me think its possible that others can transform that way too. Possibly something to do with dracocrysalis, which as I understand it literally means “changing into a dragon”, but we know little about that process for certain and I don’t want to open that can of worms without making it a bigger focus of the cast as a whole.

Which leaves us with the Yokudans and… something else at the end, for those of you who have been paying attention.

Where do the Yokudans come from?

I covered the origin of the Yokudans in some ways in the episode on kalpas, but we can go over them again here for completeness. These men came from another landmass, which is either just another part of Nirn, or possibly from a previous cycle of the world. They also allegedly destroyed it, apparently in order to reach Tamriel, if you believe Mysterious Akavir. I’m not sure we should, and there are other accounts that attribute its sinking to natural disaster, to the use of forbidden sword techniques out of spite after losing a civil war, and various other things. We don’t know enough for a firm answer, although the current consensus seems to point to a sword-stroke sinking the continent.

The Redguards consider themselves much like mer, in that they are spirits wrongfully sundered from their heavens. Their origins are plainly those of spirits breeding in order to stay alive. They are also far more active in trying to get back to being gods again, like the Altmer. I’m not sure that we can therefore say that the Redugards would want to reach Tamriel for any particular reason, as they would have to try all the harder to hang on to their own culture which teaches the “right way” to get back, so to speak. So I think it’s more down to an ideological split that the Ra Gada, that waror wave of Yokudans who came to Tamriel, had with the other side of Yokudan society. That also strikes me as very similar to how Ysgramor first came to Tamriel, allegedly fleeing civil war in Atmora.

I’ve heard it suggested that that civil war was the fight with the Left-Handed Elves, that the distinction between the followers of Hira and Hunding’s sword-singers was the enough to change their ideology, and change their skin. I think this is a really cool idea, but I don’t think that it’s really backed up in the texts we have; there aren’t any events that really overlap between the two. I have a feeling I may have stated this as a possibility before, and if so I apologise.

The Redguards are also distinct in that they are possibly a “younger” culture than the other mannish cultures. We have accounts of Atmorans, Nedes and so on from the Merethic Era. which stretches back 2,500 years before the First Era. We don’t have any dating of the Redguards until what would have been around 850 or so years after that. I suppose you can argue that this is possibly due to a lack of “history” as such; Ysgramor doesn’t come to Tamriel until around ME 1000, and didn’t start recording history until after that point, so that could be a similar starting point for the Yokudans. That does however mean that all of their activities since they came to Tamriel have been very well documented, even if we are left with a few questions about their origins on Yokuda; we do know a lot more about their culture on Yokuda than we do about the Nords’ culture on Atmora, for example, but they do seem to have always been there. Unless we take the Anuad’s account that they are also descended from the Wandering Ehlnofey, though, we have very little to go on. Their own creation myth is different enough that it’s entirely possible that they could have come from another cycle of the world altogether; if you want to hear my take on that, check out my episode on kalpas.

The last race of men that are mentioned in the Anuad are the Tsaesci of Akavir. These are… possibly not men, if you listen to many of the tales, but vampire snakes, who ate the Men of Akavir. Mysterious Akavir puts it like this:

The serpent-folk ate all the Men of Akavir a long time ago, but still kind of look like them.

As I said in my cast on Trinimac, “eating” something is understanding something, or assimilating them. The Tsaesci may have potentially become men for a time, and then diverged, we don’t really know. However, they are certainly close enough in relation that they can breed with men. The first Pocket Guide to the Empire says this:

Akaviri surnames are rare and prized possessions among the Cyrodilic citizenry of today, and there are trace facial features of the Akaviri in many distinguished Cyrodilic families.

The trace facial features suggest some level of compatibility with the Akaviri and the Cyrodiils, enough to breed. Note, though, that this is Akaviri, not necessarily Tsaesci. There is the assumption that they are Tsaesci from the accounts of the invasion, which describe it as a Tsaesci invasion. Whether there were also men from an unknown stock mixed in with the snake-people, we don’t really know. However, I would point back to the idea that the Tsaesci can look like men, and so they could possibly be the Tsaesci themselves. That seems, to me, the easiest explanation. The most prominent account of them looking like snakes is in-universe fiction, although they are called snakes in several places.

If you like what you’ve heard here, please consider subscribing and leaving a review wherever you listen. Or consider becoming my patron or dropping me a tip at ko-fi.

If you have any comments on this episode or the podcast in general, please drop me a line at writteninuncertaintypodcast@gmail.com. I’d love to hear your feedback, and I’ll be sure to respond to some of them on air next episode.

Next week, we’re continuing our in-depth look at various Elder Scrolls texts, looking at the Psijic creation myth. After that, we’ll be asking our next question, about one of the most contentious and confusing events in Elder Scrolls history. In two weeks, we’ll be asking, what really happened at the Battle of Red Mountain?

Until then, this podcast remains a letter written in uncertainty.

Who is Trinimac?

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This week on Written in Uncertainty we’re discussing one of the strongest entities in The Elder Scrolls who was cast down and humiliated, and ultimately transformed, transforming his people with him. Or was he in fact many other things at once?

Today we’re asking, who is Trinimac?

Q&A and Updates

Before we get to that, though, I just wanted to start off with some follow-ups. I want to start by saying thank you, Greg, who has become my latest patron. If anyone else wants to become my patron, it is here. Or if you want to leave me a one-off tip, visit my Ko-fi page and drop a tip in the jar.

I’ve also started posting these podcasts on /r/teslore, and the latest of these on Lorkhan has generated a lot of discussion.

HopelessCinematic writes:

On the subject of Lorkhan willingly parting with his Heart, I don’t take that to mean that he ripped it out himself. Rather, I think it points to the possibility that he planned for the other Aedra to rip it out for him. As for why, I think he knew that doing so would allow him a greater presence in Mundus than his counterparts, and likely acts as a failsafe if the Adamantine Tower fails.

That’s definitely a possibility, and one that has a precedent in Magnus. As I said in the cast, Magnus’ exit feels a little too… pre-meditated. So it’s likely that Lorkhan planned to have it done, but didn’t necessarily do it himself. There is a reference in Shor Son of Shor which says “every time you spit out your doom”, talking about his Heart, but that’s only a possibility.

The idea of the Heart or the Red Tower acting as a failsafe is, I think, definitely true. There’s references in Before the Ages of Man to how the world stablises after the Heart lands, suggesting to me that both Ada-Mantia and Red-Heart are necessary for creation to be stable. If you want to hear more about my views on that one, check out my previous episode on the Towers.

Emmerson44 also commented, saying:

It’s intriguing to me that you treat all of the various aspects of Lorkhan as a single entity. If Shor and Sheor are the same deity, is it settled in the lore that Lorkhan hates Bretons? Is their humanness not human enough for him?

I find the complexities of Lorkhan’s perspective on elves to come out on two points: the manmer and the dunmer. He seems to war against them and then also assume their cause.

I did rather brush over Sheor, which I shouldn’t have. He’s the Bretons’ “Bad Man”, and a devil figure. I would point out that, despite protests to the contrary, Breton culture contains more merish influences than other mannish cultures, and this is a remnant of that, I think. We don’t have a whole lot on Sheor, but I’m pretty certain that’s the reason. I’m not sure that I’d say that Lorkhan ‘hates’ them; if anything, an end to the fighting in a synthesis that the Bretons represent is a really interesting idea, and if you’re inclined to directly link Lorkhan and Talos, then one of the most Lorkhanic figures in TES was probably a Breton. So I don’t think that we can say there’s much hatred there.

With respect to the second point of both the Bretons and the Dunmer, both warring against them and assuming their cause seems very in line with Lorkhan’s nature, which goes against simple dualities and divisions. Doing both at once doesn’t really seem that much of a problem. As much as Lorkhan’s representatives in the panethons have a relatively unified purpose, supporting different agendas seems quite in line with his nature.

I also want to say, as usual, that this is my own understanding of Trinimac, and not the whole truth of who he is. I would love to hear your own ideas. Please leave a comment, or join the conversation at the Written in Uncertainty Discord.

I’ve finally set up an email for this podcast, so if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to drop me a line at writteninuncertaintypodcast@gmail.com. I’d love to have a more expansive Q&A part of this podcast, but I can only do that if you send me questions! I’d also love to know what else you all want in terms of topics to examine. The survey we did recently has shed some light on that, but having more suggestions would be great.

Trinimac in Brief

Trinimac is seen, according to Varieties of Faith, as the “strong god of the Aldmer”, and called Ald’s shield-thane in the Seven Fights of the Aldudagga. He’s essentially seen as a warrior god, but a follower rather than a leader. Although he does exercise leadership and decisions when he ripped out Lorkhan’s heart, which we’ll get to a bit later. As well as defeating Lorkhan, Trinimac is also best known for becoming Malacath when he attempted to stop Boethiah and the Chimer leaving Summerset, although quite what happened then is something that is very much up for debate.

Trinimiac’s Betrayal and Transformation

The story that has been in most Elder Scrolls texts about Trinimac’s transformation is that he was tricked by Boethiah and then eaten, becoming Malacath when he was expelled. We have this most bluntly from the books Changed Ones and The True Nature of Orcs. The first of these is very Dunmer-centric, calling Trinimac a liar and proposing that the actual changed ones of the book’s title were the Chimer. The actual passage says this:

Of all the et’Ada who wandered Nirn, Trinimac was the strongest. He, for a very long time, fooled the Aldmeri into thinking that tears were the best response to the Sundering… They even took the Missing God’s name in vain, calling His narratives into question. So one day Boethiah, Prince of Plots, precocious youth, tricked Trinimac to go into his mouth…

Then Boethiah relieved himself of Trinimac right there on the ground before them to prove all the things he said were the truth.

This is all about who is right out of Boethiah and Trinimac, not necessarily about what happened. We also have his passage from The Anticipations which strikes me as incredibly similar in its formulation:

Boethiah was the ancestor who illuminated the elves ages ago before the Mythic Era. He told them the truth of Lorkhan’s test, and defeated Auriel’s champion, Trinimac. Boethiah ate Trinimac and voided him. The followers of Boethiah and Trinimac rubbed the soil of Trinimac upon themselves and changed their skins.

As well as the conflict, note that both of these call out Lorkhan’s ideology as important in the conflict. I think that’s the important thing to these writers, and both highlight that the Chimer also change as a result of the conflict.

The True Nature of Orcs, on the other hand, seems to tie in most closely with Nordic myths, but still tells a similar narrative. This book also claims, simply, that:

When Trinimac was eaten by the Daedroth Prince Boethiah, and transformed in that foul god’s insides, the Orcs were transformed as well.

This much more matter-of-fact, just, “this is how it happened”. The Elder Scrolls: Online repositions these tales, with the Daggerfall Covenant banning The True Nature of Orcs throughout its domain. We have the alternative tale in Mauloch, Orc-Father, which tells us this:

Trinimac was about to strike a mighty blow when Mephala appeared and stabbed him in the back. As Trinimac kneeled, wounded by Mephala’s treachery, Boethiah gloated and cast a terrible ritual to scar and twist his appearance, then cast him to a place of choking air and ash.

Trinimac, enraged by his failure, was reborn in blood as he sliced open his own chest, tearing the shame from his spirit. Mauloch, the God of Curses, rose from the ash and cursed Boethiah for his malice.

According to this tale, Malacath is a prisoner or the Ash Pit, rather than its lord, and his changed nature was something he did to himself, rather than explicitly by Boethiah. His followers are those that joined him by choice to enact vengeance, whereas The True Nature of Orcs casts it as an involuntary transformation. I find it interesting though that The Anticipations also has it as a voluntary thing, that Trinimac’s followers rubbed his remains into their skin to become the orcs.
The novel Lord of Souls also suggest something different, with Malacath stating that “You people are always so literal-minded.” when he is told a variant of the traditional Boethiah-Trinimac story. There’s several variations on the myth, as to precisely who did what to who. Many of the more nuanced stories have come later in the series, so part of me can’t help but think of them as “later embellishments”, but they don’t exist that way in-universe. Just be warned that I may be predisposed to consider the Boethiah story a little too closely because it’s the “original”.

In terms of what may actually have happened, there’s Boethiah assuming Trinimac’s role, and essentially conducting a smear campaign using Trinimac’s identity. This is where the similarities end. There’s a defeat by Boethiah, and possibly others of the “Good Daedra” if you read Lord of Souls, and precisely how he transforms varies wildly. It’s possible, then, that the transformation is brought on not by Boethiah’s consumption of Trinimac, but by Trinimac’s dishonour. I think this is a possibility, particularly given the Tsaesci.

Why are the Tsaesci relevant? Bear with me.

The Tsaesci are said to have eaten the men of Akavir. We don’t know whether that’s literal either, but several people will think that the Tsaesci “ate” the men of Akavir by absorbing and assimilating their culture. I also think it’s a little notable that MK titled the Tsaesci Creation Myth “We Ate It To Become It”. Sermon 28 of the 36 Lessons of Vivec also says that “No word is true until it is eaten”. I take that particular passage to mean that a thing is understood. You know how we say we need to “take some time to digest” something we’ve heard? That’s what I think may be going on in that line of Sermon 28, what may have been going on with the Tsaesci, and what may have happened with Trinimac and Boethiah. Boethiah consumed Trinimac’s ideas, made them his or her own, and so deeply shamed him. A proud warrior like Trinimac couldn’t stand that shame, and therefore couldn’t be the same person afterward.

Trinimac and/or Malacath?

One thing that has remained relatively constant, however, is an idea that throws all of this stuff out the window; that Trinimac and Malacath are distinct beings. When Gortwog refounded Orsinium after the Warp in the West, he reinstated Trinimac worship, with the Third Edition Pocket Guide to the Empire stating that:

The Orc King’s belief that Trinimac still lives and that Malacath is a separate entity, a demon whose aim was to keep the Orsimer pariah folk forever, is the official position of the shaman priests of Orsinium.

There’s also the question of precisely who Mauloch is. Mauloch is identified firmly with Malacath in most places, but with a distinct spin on him. There’s not much in the way of different aspects, but the full version of Varieties of Faith notes that he is explicitly a Nordic version of Malacath, who is associated with the Nordic god Orkey. Orkey is pretty much a hybrid of Malacath and Arkay, something that’ll be important to remember later.

One thing that’s worth noting is that The True Nature of Orcs also matches up with the Nordic Five Songs of King Wulfharth. In particular, The True Nature of Orcs says that:

In Skyrim, Malacath is called Orkey, or Old Knocker, and his battles with Ysmir are legendary.

And then Varieties of Faith says this:

At one time, legends say, Nords only had a lifespan of six years due to Orkey’s foul magic. Shor showed up, though, and, through unknown means, removed the curse, throwing most of it onto the nearby Orcs.

The Five Songs of King Wulfharth talks about this in a bit more detail. The passage that’s of most interest here is this:

Orkey, an enemy god, had always tried to ruin the Nords, even in Atmora where he stole their years away. Seeing the strength of King Wulfharth, Orkey summoned the ghost of Alduin Time-Eater again. Nearly every Nord was eaten down to six years old. Boy Wulfharth pleaded to Shor, the dead Chieftain of the Gods, to help his people. Shor’s own ghost then fought the Time-Eater on the spirit plane, as he did at the beginning of time, and he won, and Orkey’s folk, the Orcs, were ruined.

There’s enough of both a similarity and difference to the other narratives here that it’s possible that the Nords are representing the cursing of Trinimac in yet another way. I think the previous three passages are re-telling the same event, and that they claim that it’s the Nords, rather than Boethiah, that bring a curse upon the orcs. But this is all Orkey, with Mauloch being quite different, and not mentioned at all. This could possibly lend some credence to the idea that Trinimac and Malacath are different. If Mauloch is Malacath, then could Trinimac, who would certainly fought against Lorkhan during the Ehlnofey Wars, be Orkey?

Trinimac and Zenithar

There is however another candidate for Trinimac, and that is Zenithar. How is that? Through his version from the Bosmer, Z’en, and from looking at Trinimac’s real-world inspiration, Mithras.
Malacath is the god of the sworn oath and the bloody curse. Z’en is, according to Varieties of Faith, the “Bosmeri god of payment in kind”. This feels, to me at least, like being “paid back”, revenge, could be part of Z’en’s sphere, and righting wrongs, through things like oaths and curses, is very much in Malacath’s wheelhouse. Varieties of Faith hints at something else going on with Z’en in his passage:

Ostensibly an agriculture deity, Z’en sometimes proves to be an entity of a much higher cosmic order.

Could that higher order be associated with the wrong done to Malacath? Possibly. There’s also the quest in ESO called Z’en and Mauloch. One of the suggestions from this is that, ass Mauloch gets more powerful, Z’en recedes. They are both gods of order, and a specific type of order that is implied in contracts. This possibly becomes a little clearer when we look at Mithras.

Trinimac and Mithras

MK pointed out during his Reddit AMA that:

Trinimac is probably one of the least understood underpinnings of the whole pantheon. I like him that way, but I would study Mithras if you really want to find out more.

Mithras slaying the bull and looking… a little ambivalent about the whole thing.

Mithras was a Roman god, imported and copied from Persia. He was a god associated with oaths, just as Malacath is, although they are more to do with friendship, diplomacy and trade. Most particularly, Mithras is most often depicted slaying a great bull, whose blood births the world.

That has to sound familiar, at this point. It gets even better when you look at Mitra, who is widely considered the origin for Mithras. Mitra was also present in some Indian myths, and in those he is compelled to slay Soma, a god who appears as a white bull, and was associated with the moon. This makes the bull-slaying even closer to Trinimac killing Lorkhan. Although there is one other little detail that stands out. In many of the Mithras images, and in the Mitra myth, the bull or the moon is killed reluctantly. That really doesn’t jive with what we know about Trinimac.

I should note that, before I go any further and away from Mithras, I’d recommend checking out Reddit user MalaktheOrc’s posts on this topic. They go into a lot more detail than I can, without just reiterating a bunch of their stuff. So go and check their threads out, particularly Trinimalarkay and Identifying Trinimac: A Theory. They’re a rich vein of connections and interpretations that I really enjoyed reading through.

But now, back to Trinimac and Lorkhan. The reluctance for killing the bull may not be something that links directly to Trinimac’s attitude, but they do both make a definite choice. This is the central role of the observer in the enantiomorph. Trinimac made a choice to stand with Auri-El and the Old Ehlnofey, and dethrone Lorkhan. Trinimac was the strongest of the Aldmer, and could potentially decide the war by himself. At that moment, Trinimac chose to allow Auri-El win against Lorkhan, make Auri-El the victorious Rebel and Lorkhan the dethroned King. If you want to hear more about what precisely that entails, check out my episode on the enantiomorph.

One of the key things that comes out of the enantimorph is that the observer gets maimed, typically blinded for their trouble. They are also, in a formulation presented by MK, “shield-thanes”. They aren’t the leaders. That fits Trinimac perfectly, and in Shor Son of Shor, Trinimac identified explicitly with Tsun, who is called the Shield-Thane of Shor. In fact, we get some mirrored language between the two here:

Ald’s shield thane Trinimac shook his head at this, for he was akin to Tsun and did not care much for logic-talk as much as he did only for his own standing. He told his chieftain that these words had been said before and Ald only sighed and said, “Yes, and always they will be ignored. As for the war you crave, bold Trinimac, and all of you assembled, do not worry. A spear will be thrown into this soon, from Shor’s own tribe, and the House of We will be allowed our vengeance.”

which is totally a reflection of this passage:

But Shor shook his head at this, for he was akin to Ald and did not care much for logic-talk as much as he did only for his own standing. He told his father that these words had been said before and Shor only sighed and said, “Yes, and always they will be ignored. As for the counsel you crave, bold son, and in spite of all your other fathers here with me, that you create every time you spit out your doom, do not worry. You have again beat the drum of war, and perhaps this time you will win.”

This is also reflected earlier in the text, where Tsun and Trinimac explicitly switch places. This also suggests that, as it is the rebel and the king that are interchangeable in an enantiomorph, that there is more going on with Trinimac than simply being the observer of one enantiomorph.

There have been several comments from people over the years, although mostly MalaktheOrc, that have made Trinimac out to be a conglomeration of things. We’ve already seen there’s some overlap with Zenithar, and the next most typical go-to is Arkay, who Trinimac takes aspects of through Orkey, if they are the same being. There is also an equivalence with Stuhn, an opposite, like we saw above. Malacath is also known to look down on mercy as weakness. The thematic ties to Stendarr are all there. So we have a potential threefold set of gods who Trinimac/Malacath draws from, imitates or overshadows. It’s a really neat little set, and I’d recommend checking out MalaktheOrc’s post on it for more information.

And, as with most big enantimorphs, it’s not just one. I want to quote Reddit user Garrett-Telvanni here:

If Arkay, Zenithar and Stendarr are Trinimac, just like Hjalti, Wulfhaarth and Zurin are Talos, then Malacath/Mauloch is their equivalent of the Underking.

That feels really neat, although I must point out that we have little evidence of the et’ada being able to overlap like that. There are a ton of thematic overlaps there, though. Along with another trinity that I want to talk about.

Trinimac and the Tools of Kagrenac

The tools of Kagrenac are the hammer Sunder, the blade Keening, and the gauntlet wraithguard. How does this connect to Trinimac? They were used to manipulate the Heart of Lorkhan, and Trinimac certainly did that. However, there is more. In particular, this line from Changed Ones:

[Trinimac], for a very long time, fooled the Aldmeri into thinking that tears were the best response to the Sundering

And here we get into a bit of wordplay. In normal English, “keening” is a sound of mourning, a wailing. So Trinimac is advocating keening in response to the sundering… that feels like a bit too much of a coincidence, to me. This could imply a manipulation of Lorkhan’s heart that would be imitated at a later time. Malak the Orc compares this to the Crusader’s Relics, particularly a mace, hammer and gauntlet, as yet another reflection of Trinimac’s relationship to Stendarr and Arkay, but I’m not totally convinced. Check out his post for yourself, see what you think.

The only thing that is missing in the main connection that can be made is Wraithguard, which can potentially come in other forms, if you believe a certain reading of The Five Songs of Wulfharth. I’m not sure we have all the pieces yet, but it’s certainly one of the more intriguing notions, that the original manipulator of Lorkhan’s Heart would foreshadow the tools that were later used to manipulate it quite so directly.

So who is Trinimac? He is many things, with multiple candidates for his actual identity. He doesn’t own it himself any more, clearly. He both is and is not the strong god he was, held up by the orcs of Orsinium as a paragon, and yet forever shamed or possibly transformed by the actions of Boethiah. I’ve also heard it said, in some of the wilder theories that we don’t have time for, that he became Boethiah. But we’ll have to look into that, as well as the Ashpit and some more bits and pieces about the orcs in general, another time.

Before we wrap up though, I wanted to make a quick mention of a delicious little theory that Felix Macias posted recently on the Dreamsleeve Facebook group. This claimed that Trinimac is Tall Papa. Tall Papa both refuses Sep’s ideology, and squashes him with a big stick, making the Hunger fall out of his mouth. Both of those line up very nicely with Trinimac’s actions, rather than Akatosh or Magnus, who Tall Papa usually gets compared to. It doesn’t map precisely, particularly as Tall Papa creates Sep, and Trinimac doesn’t create Lorkhan, but I think it’s an interesting idea.
And on that note, that’s where I think we need to end it. There’s lots more, including an idea that Trinimac is actually Boethiah, that I just haven’t had the time to organise coherently. thank you ever so much for taking the time to listen to this cast, I do hope you’ve enjoyed picking over Trinimac with me. I’m sure we’ll be back to re-examine him later.

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Next week, we’re continuing our in-depth look at various Elder Scrolls texts, beginning a multi-part examination of the Monomyth. The next question will come the week after that, where we will be taking the other side of the man-mer divide, having been quite elvish so far. Next time, we will be asking, where did men come from?

Until then, this podcast remains a letter written in uncertainty.

Who is Lorkhan?

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This week on Written in Uncertainty, we’re discussing a figure who has divided the gods and the mortals, who either cursed everyone to dirt, or gave them a gift of existence. Today we’re asking, who is Lorkhan?

Before kick-off though, I’d like to give my thanks to Tanner Huggins and Peter, who have become my first patrons. Thank you so much both that you’ve chosen to support me, I hope you’ve been enjoying the early access and the notes. If you want to see my notes as I make these episodes, and get access to content early, become my patrons.

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I also want to say, as usual, that this is my own understanding of Lorkhan, and not the whole truth of who he is. I would love to hear your own ideas.

Note: I’ve done some rearranging of text here, and went off-script a bit more than usual in the recording. Apologies if this makes it difficult to follow along for those of you both reading and listening.

Lorkhan in Brief

Lorkhan is the et’ada who is credited or blamed with the creation of the mortal plane, and got his heart ripped out by the Aedra for his trouble. He’s called the ‘god of mortals’ in several places, and the ‘space god’ in Et’ada, Eight Aedra, Eat the Dreamer. We’ll get to that later, but it’s an association that is worth bearing in mind when thinking about Lorkhan overall, I think.

Also, while Lorkhan is the god most associated with mortality and the mortal plane, he isn’t responsible for much of its actual shape. Lorkhan was the mastermind, but the Aedra as a whole determined its laws. However, Lorkhan also sacrificed the most for the mortal plane, in most myths.

As well as being the space god, Lorkhan is also associated with the moons by most fans, thanks to the book The Lunar Lorkhan. To quote:

In short, the Moons were and are the two halves of Lorkhan’s ‘flesh-divinity’. Like the rest of the Gods, Lorkhan was a plane(t) that participated in the Great Construction… except where the Eight lent portions of their heavenly bodies to create the mortal plane(t), Lorkhan’s was cracked asunder and his divine spark fell to Nirn as a shooting star “to impregnate it with the measure of its existence and a reasonable amount of selfishness.”

Other myths consider that Lorkhan’s heart was torn out, either by Akatosh or Trinimac, depending on who you ask, which is the divine spark in the above passage. This is also where the idea of the moons being Lorkhan’s corpse comes from. However, it’s not quite quite the whole story. For one thing, the Khajiit, who are intimately connected to the Moons, don’t associate Lorkhaj with Jone and Jode, but rather a third moon that other faiths don’t acknowledge. This would put it as something like the appearance of duality hiding a unity which is the underlying reality. Remember that, it’ll come up again later.

Lorkhan’s real-world origins

Following his death at the hands of the Aedra, Lorkhan has also been called the Missing God, which has more to do with a retcon in the games prior to Morrowind. The way that the gods were presented previously were, as was put in the Selectives Lorecast episode on Lorkhan, “copy-paste Eight Divines”. Michael Kirkbride remarked that he introduced Lorkhan during the re-development of much of the lore after The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, in order to make the pantheons distinct from each other. That they have a god to disagree about, rather than the larger collection that are broadly agreed on in their aspects makes the mannish and merish cultures much more individual.

Facets and Shezzarines

That multifaceted perspective is key to understanding Lorkhan, too; as much as most fans use the Lorkhan myth as the core, there is also Lorkhaj, Shezzar, Shor, Sheor and Sep. However, unlike the time god, the different aspects are not in conflict. When you look at Akatosh and Alduin, they are quite opposed in the plot of The Elder Scrolls V, but Shor, Lorkhan and the rest all share the same, or at least similar, goals. As such, I’ll be treating Lorkhan, Shor, Shezarr and the rest as the same entity, in the way that you can’t really for Akatosh and his aspects.

Those facets may, actually, be better described as shards, that have been shattered and spread throughout Tamriel. The term for those shards is the Shezzarines, avatars of Lorkhan moving throughout Tamriel’ s history. These are expressed most clearly in the Khajiiti myth, even if they are aren’t named that way. Instead we have this:

The children of Fadomai tore out the Heart of Lorkhaj and hid it deep within Nirni. And they said, “We curse you, noisy Lorkhaj, to walk Nirni for many phases.”

Those individuals who walk Nirn as Lorkhan are the Shezzarines. This is expressed in similar terms in Before the Ages of Man:

Also during the Late Merethic Era the legendary immortal hero, warrior, sorceror, and king variously known as Pelinal Whitestrake, Harrald Hairy Breeks, Ysmir, Hans the Fox, etc., wandered Tamriel, gathering armies, conquering lands, ruling, then abandoning his kingdoms to wander again.

This indicates that Lorkhan is essentially engaging in futile endeavours, things that will not last. I think that this is fitting for how the elves see Lorkhan, in particular. Of the characters named above, Pelinal Whitestrake and Ysmir are the only ones named that we know of in any detail, although Hans the Fox is named among Ysgramor’s Five Hundred companions. Pelinal Whitestrake is probably the best known for being a Shezzarine, if only because those that suggested it got killed by moths very quickly afterwards.

It’s also possible that these names are the same being, that Pelinal is Ysmir, who is Hans the Fox and so on. Which again points to a unity within the Shezzarines and Lorkhan’s manifestations in general.

As much as these heroes, or maybe just one hero, are seen to be Shezarrines, there aren’t that many precise meanings of what the Shezarrine actually is when it has the term attached to it. The word implies a reincarnation of Shezzar, which would mean a reincarnation of Lorkhan. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that, as each of the people named definitely has their own identity, as well as potentially being an aspect or shard of Lorkhan; clearly the being of Lorkhan is not manifest directly in Shezzarines; they are distinct from Shezzar himself. The only thing they really have in common is that they don’t hang around, they “go missing” after founding their empires or doing what they came to do, which entirely fits with Lorkhan as the Missing God.

To complicate things further, there was a post made by Michael Kirkbride in 2004 that listed Lorkhan’s “avatars” as the various aspects of the Hjalti Early-Beard/Ysmir Wulfharth/Zurin Arctus enantiomorph, appearing under several different names but essentially being the same thing; Talos and Septim are listed as separate beings in the list, for example. That’s getting into how I think MK wanted to originally formulate that particular enantiomorph, but I’m not going to go into that now. The thing here is that that list is taken by several fans to be a list of Shezzarines, if not the list of Shezzarines. I’m a little sceptical here as the list doesn’t include Pelinal, which I think should be a gimmie as far as Shezzarines go. But that’s just my opinion. As I’ve noted, we don’t have concrete answers as to who is a Shezzarine and who isn’t.

The Last Dragonborn: A Shezzarine?

A relatively common theory that you’ll see around the community is that the Last Dragonborn is a Shezarrine. This is mostly taken from the apparent absence of Shor from Sovngarde when the Last Dragonborn visits, and the way that the player character can sit on Shor’s throne. However, if you ask around you’ll get the line “Shor’s high throne stands empty; his mien is too bright for mortal eyes”. This means that he’s possibly still there, just not on his throne. So it’s not like the Last Dragonborn is replacing him, as is the unspoken assumption in this theory.

Lorkhan as the Demiurge

Lorkhan has, at least in his merish view, a clear inspiration in the demiurge, a being that is generally a limited or flawed creator, who makes a world that is imperfect. This sort of hinted at in the Monomyth, where he is referred to as “a barely formed urge”, a half-urge. A demi-urge?

Within the Greek pre-Gnostic systems of thought involve the demiurge, they are a “second cause”, a being that comes after the first cause, which again fits Lorkhan because Akatosh made time possible first. Another thing that’s an import from other strands of gnosticism is the notion that the demiurge does not create out of nothing, that he merely shapes. Lorkhan cannot make Mundus on his own, and needs the Aedra to help him do it. He’s shaping stuff that’s already there, in this sense.

Several forms of Gnosticism, although not all, also have a moral judgement on the demiurge, that the creation is messed up and bad, because the demiurge has made the material world, and drawn spirits away from their true pursuits. This is something that’s particularly the case for Catharism, which advocates as little involvement with the material world as possible, because the material world is sin itself. None of the Elder Scrolls faiths go that far, but several merish faiths have a similar attitude. In particular, remember that the first volume of The Truth in Sequence calls Lorkhan a deceiver. It’s expressed like this:

Our lessers know the Source as two forms: Anu and Padomay, but this binary is without merit. One of the Lorkhan’s Great Lies, meant to sunder us from the truth of Anuic unity.

Remember that claim, it’ll be important later.

For now, though, I want to take that sundering and division as an important part of Lorkhan’s character. He is noted in a few places as the son of Sithis, or the soul of Sithis, which in Gnostic terms is more or less the same thing. Sithis is a being of limit, of not-being, and Lorkhan created a place that was mortal, that was almost entirely limit. That he wound up being the most dead of the Aedra in the process is a nice irony. Unless it was his plan all along…

Lorkhan’s Plan?

There’s an awful lot about the general creation story of Mundus that feels rather… convenient. Magnus leaving and creating the sun is an incredible piece of coincidence, if that’s what it was. In particular, we also have this line from Varieties of Faith:

After the world is materialized, Lorkhan is separated from his divine center, sometimes involuntarily, and wanders the creation of the et’Ada.

The wandering is another allusion to the Shezarrine, but the bit that intrigues me here is that it’s only sometimes involuntary. That means, somewhere, that there are myths that tell how Lorkhan tore out his own heart, I imagine in a similar way to how Trinimac is described as “tearing the shame from his spirit” in Mauloch, Orc Father.

Now why would anyone do that? Why mutilate yourself in that way to create the world? I think the Altmeri creation myth has a possible answer here, when it gives the Heart of Lorkhan its own words. To quote:

But when Trinimac and Auriel tried to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan it laughed at them. It said, “This Heart is the heart of the world, for one was made to satisfy the other.”

The world was made to satisfy Lorkhan’s heart. He desired the world, in some way. I think that we have enough myths to indicate that Lorkhan was aiming to make something that was reflective of him (the Altmeri myth also says he was “more of a limit than a nature, so he could never last long anywhere,”, and the Yokudan myth says that “Sep had much of the Hungry Stomach still left in him.”. Both of these indicate that mortality and limit are fundamentally part of Lorkhan, and Mundus was made to reflect that. So why make a place that’s full of limits?

I think that Lorkhan made a place full of limits to allow entities to go beyond those limits. If you have no limits, you can’t go beyond them. You need to delineate in order to know anything. That’s why we have Vivec calling Sithis “the start of all true houses”, because say “we are X”, some things will be not-X. It’s also why Anu and Sithis create souls, to distinguish between thing, which is an inherently limiting activity.

From this perspective, a being that is everything, like Anu is in several tellings in the Monomyth, is nothing at the same time. Nothing can be done by such a being, because they have no comparison on which to base such an action. These sorts of distinctions will be important when we look at souls in The Elder Scrolls, but we should probably get back to Lorkhan before tangents entirely overtake me.

So how or why do we think that Lorkhan wanted others to go beyond their limits? That’s something that Divayth Fyr openly ponders in the Inexplicable Patron Questions in the Loremaster’s archive. Particularly this quote:

Consider: Ebony is a substance whose acquisition and use tempts mortals into acts of achievement that transcend their usual limitations. Did Lorkhan ‘intend’ this?

Fyr doesn’t actually give an answer, but I think the answer would be yes. The book The Anticipations puts part of Boethiah’s role as the one who “told [the Chimer] the truth of Lorkhan’s Test”, which is also connected to the Psiijic Endeavour, which is potentially a way to achieve CHIM.

A quick side-note here, we possibly also get Boethiah fangirling about Lorkhan quite heavily in Sermon 10 of the 36 Lessons, which is linked to the Tri-Angled Truth, in my opinion. In particular, we have this quote, attributed to Boethiah:

We pledge ourselves to you, the Frame-maker, the Scarab: a world for us to love you in, a cloak of dirt to cherish. Betrayed by your ancestors when you were not even looking.

The “cloak of dirt” is typically taken to be Mundus itself, as well as drawing a parallel with Lorkhan getting his heart torn out. However, there are a few potential problems with this. On the face of it, it’s not clear why the other et’ada who punish Lorkhan are necessarily his ancestors as such – it’s possible that being “barely formed” could man that Lorkhan is younger, perhaps, but that’s the only hint that that could be true. The frame is also possibly not Mundus, as Vivec uses an “ebony listening frame” elsewhere in the 36 Lessons to drive of Ysmir. So while the explanation of Lorkhan being the Scarab here is tempting, it may not be right one. If you want to dig more into this, the Reddit user Maztiak has produced a fantastic piece of analysis on this, which is worth a read. I’ll be posting a link to it on the blog post, so check it out there if you want to look more into this.

Lorkhan and CHIM

The central realisation of CHIM, that the world and the individual are the same thing, is something that Lorkhan realised, if we follow Vehk’s Teaching, particularly this passage:

Anu’s firstborn, for he mostly desired order, was time, anon Akatosh. Padhome’s firstborn went wandering from the start, changing as he went, and wanted no name but was branded with Lorkhan. As time allowed more and more patterns to individualize, Lorkhan watched the Aurbis shape itself and grew equally delighted and tired with each new shaping. As the gods and demons of the Aurbis erupted, the get of Padhome tried to leave it all behind for he wanted all of it and none of it all at once. It was then that he came to the border of the Aurbis.

He saw the Tower, for a circle turned sideways is an “I”. This was the first word of Lorkhan and he would never, ever forget it.

This passage shows us similar behaviours to the Shezarrines and the Khajiiti punishment of Lorkhan, the constant wandering, and casts it as a good thing, but the main thing I wanted to draw out was the “I”. The I is the expression of the Tower, the core realisation of CHIM. This is explicitly referenced later in that text, with this end note:

The world you stand on is said to be the first attempt at chim. It is also admittedly the most famous. That it was choreographed by Lorkhan and ultimately failed is well-documented, but whether or not this failure was intentional is still disputed.

Wait. Why would anyone want to purposely fail the process of CHIM?

And this is the most-reached destination of all that embark upon this road. Why would Lorkhan and his (unwitting?) agents sabotage their experiments with the Tower? Why would he crumble that which he esteems?

Perhaps he failed so you might know how not to.

So this casts Lorkhan as someone who is imposing limits on others and giving them an opportunity to move beyond current modes of existence. It’s not entirely here whether it was intended to be that ultimate moving beyond that is the Amaranth, but I think that is the case. Lorkhan highlighted that fundamental boundary, so that people might move beyond it. This also potentially fits with the Scarab metaphor, as dung beetles lay eggs in dung that then fly away; if Lorkhan IS the Scarab, he’s making a place that others can “escape” from.

Is Lorkhan Aedra or Daedra?

On the face of it, with the definition of Aedra being those et’ada who created Mundus and the Daedra as the ones who didn’t, then Lorkhan couldn’t be more Aedric. He gave his whole life in a way the others didn’t. However, there are a few things to contradict this, as ever… The book Sithis says this:

Soon it seemed that Lorkhan had a dominion of his own, with slaves and everlasting imperfections, and he seemed, for all the world, like an Aedra.

So he seemed like an Aedra, not that he was one. There’s also the slightly pedantic point that “Aedra” in the merish usage means “our ancestors”, and no mer claim descent from Lorkhan. So he’s not a merish Aedra, but then the humans have appropriated the term a little, and so that strict definition argument may not cut it.

We also have the little matter of Mankar Camoran, who claims that Mundus is Lorkhan’s personal plane of Oblivion, and not a creation that was made from the Aedra. If that’s the case, then Lorkhan is a Daedra. Quite what that makes the other Aedra, if that’s true, is another question, but the general takeaway is that they are lesser Daedra who rebelled against Lorkhan. That this is possible has some really interesting implications for the nature of Oblivion as well as Mundus, but we’ll hae to leave that until another cast.

Lorkhan and Akatosh

A dragon AND a man… that dualism feels like it’s hinting at something…

These two deities are often portrayed as opposites, one coming from Auri-el, the other from Sithis. However, there are a few hints here and there that they’re not quite as distinct as they appear. This is at its most obvious in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, where statues and pictures of Akatosh with the head of both a dragon and a man. There are other, less obvious things in the games that point at a similar thing. Remember earlier about the “Great Lies meant to sunder us from the truth of Anuic unity” from The Truth in Sequence? And then we have a line in the Song of Pelinal where he states “Oh Aka, for our shared madness I do this!” Perhaps one of the most telling for me is that some sources, like Chim-el Adabal: A Ballad, claim that the Amulet of Kings is Lorkhan’s blood, while Trials of St Alessia and The Amulet of Kings both imply heavily that it’s Lorkhan’s blood that makes up the Amulet.

There was actually a forum thread made in 2006 where MK flat-out stated that there was intended to be more ambiguity about who gave Alessia the Amulet of Kings than actually made it into the game. This, and all the other hints we have, seem to point to one thing: that Akatosh and Lorkhan are the same being.

I’ll say that again: Akatosh and Lorkhan are the same being.

At least, if you take all those little hints and smash them all together. There’s quite a few others out there that it’d be a bit tedious to list off all at once. If you want to see my whole list, sign up to become my patron and you can see the notes that I made for this cast.

This similarity is also a little clearer if we add a dollop of modern physics alongside; according to Einsteinian relativity, space and time are not distinct things; they are just a single spacetime unity. Which is what the ultimate “truth” of Mundus, if we consider both Lorkhan’s revelation of the Tower and that he and Akatosh are mirror-brothers, two sides of the same coin.

And on that bombshell, I think we can conclude our look at Lorkhan, at least for now. He is seen as many things, as a deceiver, as a creator, as a warlord. He’s one of the most fascinating characters in The Elder Scrolls, and I do hope you’ve enjoyed plumbing his depths a little with me.

Next time, having looked at a god who was mutilated during Mundus’ creation, we’re going to examine another one. Next time we’re asking, who is Trinimac?

Until then, this podcast remains a letter written in uncertainty.

A Change in Schedule

I’ve been musing over how to get everything I want to produce for Written in Uncertainty – podcasts, videos, history topics, philosophy topics etc – all in one place, as well as produce regular content. I think I’ve finally hit on it.

I’m going to do it all at once.

Instead of having discrete YouTube and podcast content, I’ll produce both topical episodes and close reading into audio and video format. That will however mean that some scheduling changes are coming. Also, while the close readings will be linked in the podcasts section of this site, these are essentially notes that I haven’t prepared any formal structure for, so there won’t be a separate blog post for each of these.

I’m going to keep the “week on, week off” pattern for the “main” podcast (and video). This will alternate with weeks where I do a close reading video and podcast, where I was previously trying (and failing) to do a close reading every week in addition to a full podcast. Hopefully this will mean that I can produce all the content in a manageable way, rather than simply adding more types of content to my schedule.

I’ll be putting the back catalogue into each format, so the Close Readings will be those that have already gone onto YouTube.

As always, patrons will see all this content early.

I hope all this means that Written in Uncertainty content will be that bit more consistent, and able to be enjoyed wherever you listen.

What is C0DA?

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This week on Written in Uncertainty, we’re discussing one of the most contentious texts in The Elder Scrolls, one that was written to end a war, and possibly just started another one. A text that has called for the birth of new worlds, new ideas, and a perfect marriage. Today we’re asking, what is C0DA?

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PSA: while I hope there’s little difference in the audio quality or content, I’m now recording and uploading all these podcasts to YouTube, as well as producing the usual audio only content. When I start referencing visual stuff, they’ll be appearing on the video, as well as being referenced in the blog posts. And also, the Written in Uncertainty Close Reads videos will also be coming to podcast format. I’ll see how all this goes, and hopefully all the multimedia stuff does not break me.

And finally, my usual disclaimer: this is my own understanding of C0DA, and definitely not the whole truth of it. The very concepts that C0DA has come to represent in the community rather preclude that. If you have your own idea on C0DA, please leave a comment here, on YouTube, or join the conversation on the Written in Uncertainty Discord server. Also, please check the references rather than taking what I say at face value. There are also tons of “what is C0DA?” threads out there, and I’d recommend taking a look at LadyNerevar’s explanation on the teslore subreddit as well.

C0DA/Coda IRL

Image result for coda segno

For those of you who have seen this written down, it’s weird because it has a zero in the middle, rather than an o. That’s a nod to its original meaning, as much as anything else. In music, a coda is a section in a piece of music that is explicitly designed to give the music a feeling of conclusion. From where I’ve seen it used, the music will run to a point where a segno sign to repeat a passage is placed, and then when the repeated passage is played, the musicians are then instructed to go to the coda, a section designed to give the music a satisfying conclusion. The symbol for a coda is an o with crosshairs in it, which looks, to me at least, similar to a zero. The zero is, I think the closest we can come to the coda symbol with a normal keyboard.

That’s what a coda is in the normal musical use of the term. In The Elder Scrolls, it’s come to mean several things. We’ll get to the different ways that people use it later, but the most basic answer it’s a comic book script written by Michael Kirkbride and published on Valentine’s Day in 2014, and teased with the Loveletter from the Fifth Era, which was released on 12th September 2005. C0DA was originally intended to be fully developed with artwork, but from what I gather that’s rather fallen apart. Which is a shame, because what there is is awesome. Go check it out. And if you haven’t read C0DA, check it out at c0da.es, and make sure you take a minute to read each sentence. One of the things that are in there remind me a lot of the aesthetics of Kill Six Billion Demons, but that webcomic also references The Elder Scrolls a LOT, so I’m not sure whether it influenced C0DA, or C0DA influenced it.

Kill Six Billion Demons Throne landscape. Similar, no?

C0DA concept art

C0DA Synopsis

C0DA’s story is set in the 911th year of the 5th era of the world. This is a long way after the events of the games that we’ve seen so far, and is after Nirn has been destroyed by a Numidium that has returned, in an event called Landfall. The Khajiit and the Dunmer fled to the moons in a spaceship, and now have an existence beneath the surface in Ald Sotha Below. The protagonist is Jubal lun-Sul, who is introduced after a lot of pseudo-tech-sounding jargon. Jubal is a Dunmer who announces to his friend Hlaalu Hir that he’s going to marry… someone, once he kills the Numidium.

Then we get a bizarre segue that confuses a lot of people. Jubal is shopping for a weapon with Hir, gets confronted by a bunch of floating fingers called the Digitals, and Vivec turns up to help out with the shopping. This is where things get weird. The story digresses into various stories about how the Dunmer on the moons see Vivec and the Tribunal. There are about 3 stories told here, which end with a version of the Tribunal being portrayed like the Justice League or the Avengers, and beating up invading television-headed things from another dimension.

Once that’s storyline ends, rather abruptly, we’re back in the “present”, and Jubal is prepping for surgery by smoking skooma, and sounding quite like the Digitals did. He then has his hands cut off by Khajiiti “sugar surgeons”, paid for by Hir, and then has a bachelor party. There are various people that turn up to insult and be insulted by Jubal in this party, most particularly Talos, who gets called a virus. Eventually Jubal and Talos make up, and a few significant words are exchanged. Most particularly, Talos accuses Jubal of knowing what he’s doing because he’s cut his hands off, and Jubal calls Talos Lorkhan.

Jubal then confronts the Numidium, and essentially asks it what why its destroyed anything. The Numidium emits a lot of empty speech bubbles, and eventually admits that it has ‘unfinished business’, which is the Grey Maybe itself. Jubal then declares that the Numidium just wanted to win, and cuts its head off with its own empty speech bubble.

The comic then cuts to Jubal’s wedding preparation, which is crashed by the Morag Tong, which were hired by Hir, using the money he said was for the surgery (as Khajiit would clearly cut off a Dunmer’s hands for free). Jubal develops ghost hands and kills all the Tong, and strangles Hir.

Jubal and Vivec then get married, officiated by Lorkhan, who’s heart heals at the end of the ceremony, and the dragon inside that heart eats itself and disappears. The final image in the comic is of a baby made out of flowers. The comic ends with the line:

NEW LANGUAGE, CONTINUED MEANING, STRING-STRAND OF BOTH. MEANING REMAINS: WELCOME TO THE HOUSE OF WE.

That’s something of a whistle-stop tour of the plot of C0DA, and I’ve skimmed over a few bits. I’ll get to those little complications and elaborations once I’ve gone over what C0DA is beyond a comic.

C0DA as Literal Future

A lot of fans have taken C0DA to be the literal future of The Elder Scrolls, set in the future. Most particularly, this seems to come up when people talk about C0DA as something they don’t like, something that means that the events of the main game don’t matter, something that breaks their immersion. Why does defeating Dagoth Ur, Mehrunes Dagon, Alduin or whoever matter if we know that the world is going to carry on and be destroyed until the Fifth Era?

I guess this may have a point if you’re essentially “learning the ending before finishing the story”, but I’m not sure that totally matters. I’ve not heard anyone say that the plot of The Elder Scrolls: Online doesn’t matter because the main series games exist, for example. But I also think this argument doesn’t hold much weight because the text doesn’t really try to pretend it fits with the main series. C0DA contradicts the ending of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, for example, where the Numidium is destroyed. Similarly, Vivec is heavily involved, after going missing and possibly being dead after the events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

There are potentially answers for this, within the current universe of The Elder Scrolls; one version of the Numidium is possibly still fighting the Siege of Alinor for much of Tamriel’s history, if you take some of MK’s other writings into account, and so there is a version of it that could come back in the Fifth Era. There is also the possibility that Vivec is still alive after the events surrounding the Nerevarine, because he just disappeared according to the Third Pocket Guide, and is not definitively dead.

C0DA as Thematic Ending

However, I don’t think that this strict continuity actually matters for C0DA; MK stated that the text is a thematic ending for Morrowind, and uses a variety of tools to achieve a thematic completion of that narrative, not necessarily a literal one. Within the descriptions of C0DA are a lot of symbolic changes, that may not necessarily be literal; for example, we have Kyne’s head changing shape mid-conversation, Lorkhan’s heart warping into various things in the same way, and a superhero narrative that makes explicit reference to things in this world, like pop-up blockers. These make more sense to me if you’re looking at the text not as something directly happening, but as a thematic exploration of ideas that are going on – things that are acting as a cipher for others within the narrative. In particular, I think that this passage is possibly also a retelling of the Blight in another way; the TV heads take over people and make them spread their ideas in a way that is similar to the Blight. So this passage is a good example of how C0DA can be used to retell or recontextualise existing stories.

It’s also possible that things are wobbly because there are explicit references in the text to memory and time having run out and similar, so the events of C0DA are all over the place because causality has been destroyed, but I don’t think that’s applied consistently enough for it to be a real answer.

C0DA as Thematic Exploration

There’s another way of looking at C0DA, which Lady Nerevar points out in her What is C0DA? An Answer thread on /r/teslore, which suggests that C0DA is simply a retelling of an Elder Scrolls story in another way, and not meant to be attached to it. To quote:

Think of the Elder Scrolls universe (the universe – not the games) as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Each game, book, art piece, playthrough, etc. are then different versions of this one central piece of fiction, just like there are many different editions of Shakespeare’s play. There are books, movies, theatre productions, audiobooks, a ballet… but they are all Romeo and Juliet. Some of the editions make only minor edits to the “real,” original work of fiction, others make sweeping alterations. C0DA, in this analogy, is something like West Side Story.

This makes C0DA free to explore narrative ideas in a way that is impossible within the main Elder Scrolls series, because it’s essentially only retaining the trappings of the original on a thematic or allegorical level. Lady Nerevar also describes C0DA as “speculative fiction about an already fictional universe,” which again underlines the point of taking a story and messing with its genre. Look at things like Pride & Predudice & Zombies, for another analogous example.

However, that really hasn’t been the way that the narrative has been taken by fans, and (thanks to /u/TooFarGoth for these thoughts), in a way the universe itself. There are a variety of events that have happened between the events of the games and C0DA, which C0DA assumes have happened. It’s not exactly a retelling of TES’ stories in a different way, because the time difference effectively assumes that all this stuff has happened before.

The Loveletter itself potentially has a way to reconcile this, in that it makes C0DA a possible future that does not happen. This is hinted at in the Lovletter, which has this to say:

I tell you now, brothers and sisters of the coming 4th, that the holy Scripture of Love contains all you need to avoid the perils of the Landfall.

The Loveletter is written by Jubal as a message to the past, explicitly as a means to avoid Landfall, and thereby the situation that produces C0DA. This means that, if the Loveletter does appear in the past, then Landfall will probably be averted, and C0DA therefore not something that comes to be.

The term C0DA itself has also been taken by some to be a moniker for either a recontexualisation of The Elder Scrolls, or an exploration of the future of the universe. If you check out texts like “A Khajiit C0DA”, “An Orsimer C0DA,” “A Shortened Flippers C0DA” or even “A Space Falmer C0DA”, these are all stories that take place following Landfall. The term itself has some to mean writings that address the future of The Elder Scrolls.

C0DA’s Metatext

C0DA also has a fairly explicit ideological component. It’s been taken to be a mission statement on various things, most particularly the notion of canon and intellectual property as a whole. Toesock, one of the members of the old Bethesda forums, puts it this way:

Canon is a modern concept that is really only relevant in an era that recognizes intellectual property rights. Where narrative is a profit-driven endeavor and stories are owned by corporations. The mythologies of the past were ever evolving, tweaked by hundreds of anonymous storytellers, changing, growing, self-contradicting and alive.

This story protests the modern situation. It’s a showdown between corporate canon and ancient open-source storytelling.

So we have Jubal slay Numidium and marry Vivec. Numidium represents the non-contributor who sits back and nay-says everyone else’s ideas instead of inventing their own Tamriel. Jubal’s eventual accusation is that this sort of thinking secretly wants a “victor” – a version that wins at the expense of everyone else. This is why Jubal cuts off his hands. He is not engaging in an argument, he is embracing all versions of Tamriel and declaring everything equally valid. That is why the story ends in a marriage. Compromise and happy coexistance instead of battle between ideas. This leads to the birth of the Amaranth – YOU (or I guess WE) – taking ownership of the TES myth back from Bethesda and making our own contributions without worrying which is truer.

That’s a lovely explanation of some of the paratexual stuff that’s going on in C0DA, a way of telling multiple stories in whatever way is valid. It’s why we have multiple stories about where Vivec comes from, the repeated references to “which Nerevar”, and the creation of new universes as part of it. The idea is that every person’s experience of The Elder Scrolls is valid. C0DA is basically an expression that people can, and should, do what they want with The Elder Scrolls lore.

But… this has been taken to a reductio ad absurdum in some places, with the phrase “c0da makes it canon” doing the rounds. This is basically someone saying “hey, anything goes, because of C0DA”. And while in a way that’s true, in that people can write whatever they like about whatever they like, it often gets used as a way to automatically win any argument, or render it null and void. That is, kind of, a consequence of having a statement like C0DA saying people can think what they want, but it also means that people don’t have to accept what everyone has said, either. There was a “code of C0DA” that emerged following the text itself, which basically said “don’t be an ass about this, let other people have their fun, whatever that looks like.” The way “c0da makes it canon” often gets used, at least to my mind, is often to try and be right at all costs. Which kind of defeats the point, at least in my view.

C0DA’s Lore Bits

And now, with all that context, what does C0DA bring to us in terms of an understanding of the lore? It’s often used as a source for various claims, and hints at things that are, at the very least, the opinion of an ex-developer that created much of the current lore. Advance warning, this is going to be rather a grab-bag of things.

Jubal’s first monologue ends with talk about the Worm, which is generally taken to be both a Dune reference and the idea of a permanently broken dragon, a dragon without wings. Akatosh gets called “worm” later in the narrative. Whenever Akatosh or dragons appear in the narrative, it’s in the context of being trapped, or broken. C0DA is also a place where a personified Memory is going away. There’s the sense throughout the narrative that time is very broken, and the way that the dragon is reduced to a Worm reflects this. All this is probably a consequence of the Numidium. It openly kills gods later in the comic, and in the series has caused dragon breaks whenever it is active. With the dragon finally properly broken, all it can really do is go away.

With time being broken, memory doesn’t work properly. Jubal calls out that in various places, and we also have the phrase “registered by C0DA” as a repeated phrase to track where his family comes from. Exactly what C0DA means in the narrative itself is unclear, but it could be a database, a document, anything to record things that were. In the absence of memory, all people have is C0DA to inform them of the past.

There’s also the Digitals, called C0DA Digitals. Giant fingers that float around and say obnoxious things, mostly quoting the 36 Lessons. We don’t entirely know what these are, but my feeling is that they are likely Jubal, manipulating events before the fact. We know from the Loveletter that Jubal can mess with time to a degree, and his hands are missing for a good chunk of the story. He also has ghost fingers later on, that are pointedly noted to be “rendered just like the digital fingers from before” in the art notes. So it’s very possible that the two are linked. I like to think that the Digital are Jubal messing with the narrative, from a point where he can. This is further driven home, I think, when Jubal takes his skooma trip. His dialogue here is very similar to the Digitals; short sentences, seemingly out of context and quoting the 36 Lessons, another link between the two of them.

There’s also a bizarre reveal in the superhero section on the inspiration for Yagrum Bagarn. There’s this bit of text in the middle of the battle:

ZERO METHOD ZERO, PEOPLE! THE LAST TIME WE LET YAGRUM BAGARN THE INTELLECTIVE SLIP INTO OUR UNIVERSE, HE TRIED TO UPGRADE EVERYONE INTO ONE OF HIS OWN GIGANTIC METADELUSIONS!

Yagrum Bagarn, clearly influenced by…

This suggests that Yagrum Bagarn is some sort of multidimensional entity. I think this is a nod to Bagarn’s clear inspiration, Mojo from Marvel’s comics, who basically exists in another dimension and makes beings fight for his entertainment. Mojo was created as a parody of television series executives, and the inclusion of Yagrum here, to me at least, underlines C0DA’s point that corporations should not control thoughts or ideas.

And then there’s the part where Jubal cuts of his hands. Talos says it’s

...Mojo. Everyone’s favourite TV boss.

clear he knows what he’s doing, but what is that, exactly? For one thing, it’s a reference to Sermon 11, explicitly repeated in C0DA. To quote:

“According to the Codes of Mephala, there is no difference between the theorist and the terrorist. Even the most cherished desire disappears in their hands. This is why Mephala has black hands. Bring both of yours to every argument. The one-handed king finds no remedy. When you approach God, however, cut both of them off. God has no need of theory and he is armored head to toe in terror.”

Within the context of C0DA, this lack of hands means that Jubal firstly needs help to accomplish his goals, and secondly, can’t fight but can embrace. That’s been taken by several fans to be the point of C0DA; don’t fight other ideas, accept them. It also means you can’t hold onto anything. You have nothing to lose. Which, as the proverb goes, makes you dangerous. That’s another reason why Jubal defeated the Numidium. He was, at that point, detached from the world.

If you look far enough into C0DA discussions, you’ll see the notion that Jubal is a Nerevarine. This isn’t explicitly stated anywhere, and there’s no one line of argument that gets used, but I’ve seen it most commonly explained as Jubal fulfilling some of the things that the Nerevarine does; forgiving the forsaken house of the Dwemer (symbolised in C0DA by the Numidium), and frees the false gods (in this case Lorkhan and Akatosh, rather than Tribunal). He also has a very strong relationship with Vivec, which the original Nerevar did, particularly if you read What My Beloved Taught Me.

I think possibly the last piece that we need to go through before we finish is the role that Talos plays in all this. Talos is revealed to be the same as Lorkhan at the end of the story, and is called a virus by Jubal. There are various ways that the fandom have interpreted this, but I haven’t seen anything I entirely buy. The best explanation I’ve seen is that the Hjalti-Zurin-Wulf function as a botnet that emulates Convention. It links back to the idea of Talos being “Convention 2.0”, a thing that reinforces the structure of the Aurbis. Talos undergirds that structure, but isn’t that structure.

I wanted to end this on something else for people to look at; C0DA and Hinduism. I admit I don’t know enough about it to give definitive statements, but the way that the Bhagvad Gita is structured as a discussion and dialogue is mirrored in the final battle of C0DA, between Jubal and the Numidium. Jubal is also in the process of accepting his destiny in some way, which could potentially be something that Vivec has been scheming for millennia. Given the other parallels of Dune, it’s possible that we see Jubal as the kwizatch haderach, and Vivec as the Bene Gesserit, pulling the strings to produce this being that can defeat the Numidium and help him create the Amaranth.

The baby, it’s worth noting, is taken by many fans to be the Amaranth, the seed of a new universe that moves beyond Mundus. I’ve done a podcast on the Amaranth and the Godhead previously, check that out if you want to know more about what that means. The way that the baby is produced potentially has some significance; the universe of TES is created as an Amaranth that comes from pain and sorrow, while the flower baby of C0DA is birthed from love and celebration. For those of you wondering how this can be an Amaranth, remember that Amaranths are created out of sensory deprivation. A baby experiences this state in the womb, which is how a baby can reach that state in the womb.

And that’s about it for C0DA, although at least without going down a huge rabbit hole of ideas. There is a lot that have been discussed in various corners of the Internet, so feel free to go and look at those. And if you have any other questions about C0DA, please let me know, either in the comments or the Written in Uncertainty Discord. If I get enough, I’ll do another episode or minisode on those particular queries. There’s a lot you can dig out of C0DA, and it would take a long time to go into them all, so whatever interests you all I can look into.

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to listen/read to this podcast, if you’ve appreciated it, please like, subscribe, all that good stuff.

I’m also doing a survey to check out how people are seeing my stuff and how I can improve. Please take a few minutes here to let me know what you think.

And, in the meantime, I wanted to give the other Elder Scrolls podcasts out there, so check out some of the other Elder Scrolls podcasts that are coming out of the woodwork. For some great Elder Scrolls Online news and content, as well as a great refresher on the basic lore, we have the Loreseekers Podcast. The Elder Scrolls Lorecast is covering the basics of the lore in bitesize pieces, and has recently stated up. There’s also the Selectives Lorecast, which I’ve been a part of for the past year or so, that’s currently only on YouTube, but I’m making moves to put it into podcast form, slowly but surely. We also have Tales of Tamriel, an actual play Elder Scrolls Online podcast, with snippets of lore sprinkled throughout. And finally, the UESP has started a podcast very recently, which is currently only on Twitch and YouTube, but has a good lot of lore in there amid community news.

Enjoy those until next time, where we will be looking at the overseer of several of the events of C0DA, the one where most of what we know of in The Elder Scrolls exists at all. Next time we’re asking, who is Lorkhan?

Until then, this podcast remains a letter written in uncertainty.

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