The Alessian Order was a once-popular monotheistic religion created by the prophet Marukh in the early First Era. By the time of the Second Era, the religion had lost almost all of its followers. The Alessians were often said to be very strict, humorless people, and their reign over the Empire is often remembered for its cruelty and follies, sometimes referred to as a "dark age."
- 1 History
- 2 Calendar
- 3 Alessian sects
- 4 References
The Order began in the coastal jungles of what is now the Colovian West after a prophet in the area named Marukh, who was believed to have spoken to Saint Alessia, questioned the validity of Elves ruling over men. The teachings of Marukh began to morph into a belief that there was only one God. Despite these beliefs the Alessians knew that in order for their religion to gain wide acceptance, they needed to incorporate elements of the various polytheistic religions that most people worshiped. The divine aspects worshiped by the various humans and Aldmeri were recognizable in the guise of the myriad saints and spirits of the evolving Alessian canon. Despite the Order's focus on "The One" as its religious godhead, the Order is often credited with finalizing the pantheon of the modern Eight Divines church.
Soon the Alessian Order's teachings spread across all of Tamriel and its authority rose over every other religion, allowing them to become one of, if not the most powerful group within Tamriel at the time. The Order eventually gained control of the Alessian Empire in the year 1E 361 after they performed a successful coup d'état. After they gained control of the Empire the group enforced a strict code of laws named the Alessian Doctrines, which were highly unsympathetic to elves. The Alessian Order centered its power in the city that Saint Alessia started her rebellion, the city of Sancre Tor. The city would remain the center of religious worship in all of Tamriel until the fall of the order in 1E 2321, when it moved south, to the Imperial City. The strict laws of the Alessian Doctrines brought with them a strange circumstance of growth in the Nibenay merchant class, causing the region to prosper economically. However, no matter how rich the citizenry became, they were still subservient to the Alessian Order.
The Alessian Doctrines were a set of laws created by the prophet Marukh. It was believed that the Doctrines were given to him by Saint Alessia, when she supposedly visited him and gave him the "Seventy Seven Inflexable Doctrines" which stated that death was an illusion and that through "Ehlnofic Annulment" and reaching a state of "Proper-Life," one could escape the process of life and death. The Doctrines eventually evolved into a set of religious codes in which the Alessian Order enforced upon the Empire. The Doctrines saw no difference between religious and political matters and taught that resisting the will of the Emperor was equal to resisting the will of the Gods, This way of thinking is reflected by a certain excerpt from the doctrines, "All are guilty until they have been proven themselves innocent," which is still present in the modern Imperial Legal System. However, even the Emperor's power was rivaled by that of the Order's, appointed, Arch-Prelate. The Doctrines were also said to have forbidden "trafficke with daimons," while the term "daimon" was never fully specified, it is quite heavily implied that it refers to the Daedra.
The most infamous part of the Alessian Doctrines was its extreme cruelty directed at elves, most notably the Ayleids, of Cyrodiil. Before the doctrines were even enforced, early Alessians were known to sack Ayleid settlements in human controlled territories in the early fourth century of the First Era, such as the Ayleid city of Malada. Not only did they attack the Elven people but the Order was also responsible for the mass destruction of Elven writings, leading to a scarcity of Elven historical scriptures. When the Doctrines were put into law, all Ayleid nobility was outlawed and their feifdoms were revoked. The anti-Elven laws were so harsh that just about the entire Ayleid population of Cyrodiil left the Empire to escape them, eventually being absorbed into the Elven populations of Valenwood and the Direnni Hegemony. It is believed that this mass exodus of Ayleids into neighboring lands may have led to the subsequent rise of the Direnni Hegemony as one of the most powerful nations within Tamriel.
It could be argued that the true beginning of the Alessian Order's decline began with the death of the devout Alessian, Nordic High King, Borgas, during the Wild Hunt of 1E 369. This heralded the subsequent loss of the Nordic Empire and all strong relations between Skyrim and the Alessian Empire. However, the origin of the Alessian Order's decline is normally directed towards the Colovian King, Rislav Larich, and the rebellion he started in the year 1E 478. Though the Alessian Order was quite used to crushing rebellions, the then Emperor, Gorieus, failed to quell the insurrection which would eventually lead to a merging of the entire Colovian Estates in an effort to resist the Empire. Larich's actions inspired many other kings, most notably Ryain Direnni of the Direnni Hegemony to defy the Empire. Ryain began outlawing the Alessian Doctrines and even invading Imperial territories. Hoag Merkiller of Skyrim, though sharing the Empire's xenophobia, was so opposed to the Alessian Order that he allied with the Direnni Hegemony in its war against the Order. While it appeared that the Order made some progress in the war, they were eventually halted at the Battle of Glenumbria Moors where they suffered a crushing defeat that the order would never recover from. Despite this the Order would still survive for almost another 2000 years.
The Marukhati Selective
A very notable event in the decline of the Alessian Order began with the appointment of Fervidius Tharn to the rank of Arch-Prelate in the year 1E 1188. Around this time, the ideals of a clandestine and extremist sect, known as the Marukhati Selective, began to quickly spread amongst the ranks of the Alessian priesthood, causing a great schism within the Order. Certain texts imply that while Fervidius openly spearheaded the opposition of the Marukhati movement, he was also, secretly, the true leader of the Selectives. In the year 1E 1200, the Marukhati Selective, wrapped up in its fanatical dogma, would bring about the greatest Dragon Break in known history, which would last for what is normally believed to be 1008 years.
The War of Righteousness
The Dragon Break drastically altered the Order's image and ability to maintain power within Tamriel. After more than 1000 years as a vassal state of the Alessian Empire, the Kingdom of High Rock successfully seceded. The Alessian Order failed to reconquer the territory in 1E 2305, substantiating the visible decline in the Order's power.
While many different factors contributed to the Alessian Order's downfall, the longterm factor which indirectly led to the destruction of the Alessian Order ironically began with its own success. The Alessian faith became so widespread that religious dissension began to appear in the order creating schisms that would eventually cause the War of Righteousness in 1E 2321. The war began with the attempted secession of the entirety of the Colovian Estates from the Alessian Empire, eventually spreading as far as the Iliac Bay, where almost half of the population was said to have perished in direct cause. The war quickly evolved into a fight for the survival of not just the Empire, but the entire Alessian faith, with almost every encountered Alessian text being destroyed or misplaced. Unfortunately for the Alessians, their efforts were in vain, and after ten years of fighting, both the Empire and the Order collapsed, throwing Tamriel into a 400-year state of chaos until the rise of the next Empire.
The Alessian Order was known to use its own calendar, dating their events from the Apotheosis of Alessia (1E 266). According to some scholars, the Alessians recorded their years based on the length of the long vision-trances of the Order's High Priestesses, which could last as long as a few weeks or up to a couple of months. Scholars who dismiss the existence of the Dragon Break theorize that the Alessian Order, according to the records of their surviving trance-scrolls, was in power for only 150 standard years, contrary to the popularly believed 1008 years recorded in the Encyclopedia Tamrielica. However, even if the Dragon Break did truly occur, the Encyclopedia Tamrielica is still incorrect on its dating as the famed 1008 years refers more specifically to the duration of the Middle Dawn rather than that of the actual Order. With the existence of the Dragon Break acknowledged, the Order would have been in power for a recorded 1970 years, if it is to be assumed that the Order collapsed at the very end of the ten year War of Righteousness.
The following are sects of the Alessian/Marukhati faith or groups that are believed to be, in some way, associated with the Alessian Order.
The Holy Brothers of Marukh
The Holy Brothers of Marukh was an early sect of the Alessian Order that was created sometime around the Order's founding. The Brothers of Marukh were responsible for an event known as "the Cleansing of the Fane" in which the Ayleid temple of Malada was destroyed in order to put an end to the demons who were reportedly centralized in the city, being in someway provoked by a solar eclipse.
The Temple of the One
The Temple of the One is often associated with the Alessian Order.[UL 1] While the building itself has more recently been associated with the Dragonfires held within, and by extension, Akatosh, it is known that the Temple was once the headquarters of a Nordic cult by the same name that believed in one deity, much like the Alessian Order. Tiber Septim was said to have revived this cult during his reign and was believed to be a devout follower of its teachings.
The Temple Zero Society
The Temple Zero Society was a secretive Imperial cult said to dabble within the mystery of myth and legend.[UL 2] While the cult was often associated with Lorkhan, it was also known to follow the teachings of the prophet Marukh and is thus associated with the Alessian Order.[UL 3]
The Marukhati Selective
Possibly the most infamous of the Alessian Sects, the Marukhati Selective was a very secretive cult of fanatical Alessians whose main objective was to remove the elven aspects of Auri-El from the god Akatosh. In order to achieve their goal, they created the 1008 year Middle Dawn Dragon Break,[UL 4] an event that would cause much hatred to be aimed at the group. Despite the apparent disappearance of the group after the War of Righteousness,[UL 4] the cult was known to survive into the far future.[UL 5][UL 6]
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- Rislav The Righteous
- The Final Lesson
- Shezarr and the Divines
- Reflections on Cult Worship
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Cyrodiil
- The Last King of the Ayleids
- A Life of Strife and Struggle
- The Legendary City of Sancre Tor
- The Illusion of Death
- Legal Basics
- Loremaster's Archive – The Slave Rebellion
- On Oblivion
- Cleansing of the Fane
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Aldmeri Dominion
- The Black Dragon's Journal, Part 2
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Valenwood
- House Tharn of Nibenay
- Vindication for the Dragon Break
- Where were you when the Dragon Broke?
- Bangkorai, Shield of High Rock
- A History of Daggerfall
- The Dragon Break Reexamined
- Trials of St. Alessia
- The Real Barenziah, Book III
- Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part II