- For the dog in Online, see Lorkhan (Dog).
According to legend, Lorkhan died long ago, giving his life for convincing the Aedra to create Mundus. 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." Lorkhan's heart was indirectly responsible for at least three major near-disasters in the last decades of the Third Era, and his remains are connected to the disappearance of the Dwemer. It is also believed that Nirn's moons, Masser and Secunda, are the two halves of Lorkhan's "flesh-divinity," cleaved in two.
It is said that Lorkhan was created by Sithis to go and destroy the universe, after the Aedra had enslaved everything Sithis had created. It is unknown whether this is true, although the Dark Brotherhood tends to advocate this hypothesis. Some sources state that he simply originated as an Et'Ada formed of the primal urge to physically or metaphorically create.
Creation of Mundus
Some et'Ada invested more power into the project than others, however. These were the entities that would come to be known as the Eight Divines. Those who could not or refused to participate were the et'Ada that would later come to be known by the Aldmer as the Daedra.
The Mortal Plane was magically volatile, and the presence of the Aedra there both strengthened and weakened it. Once the project had been completed, Magnus, the chief architect of the project began to have doubts. For this reason, the Convention was held at the Direnni Tower.
At this Convention, it was finally decided that Lorkhan was to be punished for his trickery in persuading the Aedra to create Mundus. His divine spark was removed and hurled towards Tamriel, and the Aedra departed to Aetherius.
Lorkhan is one of only two et'Ada (the other being Akatosh) to appear in every known mythology on Nirn, and the first being to be referred to as King of the Gods (the other being Akatosh).[source?] However, opinions of him vary dramatically from race to race. Generally speaking, Lorkhan is considered an enemy of the mer, and a patron and hero to men. The Cyrodilic culture calls him Shezarr, The Missing God, reflecting the fact that he alone of the Aedra has truly died and vanished.
In Mer mythology, Lorkhan is called The Trickster, and the Mer do not look kindly on him. They blame Lorkhan for tricking the other Aedra into giving up their divinity. This includes those who would become the Ehlnofey and thus the Aldmer, who now blame Lorkhan directly for their mortality. The Dunmer have a slightly different view of Lorkhan. Since they believe that their mortality is a test of their strength, and that they are ultimately destined to shed their mortality, Lorkhan is simply one of the obstacles the Dunmer have to overcome.
However, Men do not believe themselves to be descended from the Aedra. They believe themselves to be created from nothing by Lorkhan, and thus owe their entire existence to him. In their opinion, Lorkhan is the hero of mankind, and they object to his mistreatment by other races.
Even more so than the Amulet of Kings, the most influential legacy of Lorkhan's existence was his Heart. Altmer legend details the anger the remaining Aedra had towards Lorkhan once Nirn had been created. As punishment, Trinimac tore out his heart, intending to destroy it. However, the Aedra were present on Nirn, and Nirn itself was the remnants of Lorkhan's body. Thus, his Heart was literally the Heart of the World, and could not be destroyed. Instead, Auri-El flung the heart down to Nirn, intending to bury it forever.
The Heart did not remain hidden, however. During the First Era, while excavating caverns under Red Mountain in Morrowind, the Dwemer located Lorkhan's Heart. At the time, the Dwemer were pursuing the goal of attaining divinity through the combined effort of magic and science, and their High Priest Kagrenac believed that Lorkhan's Heart was the key.
Kagrenac proceeded to build a huge mechanical being, a golem named Numidium, which he intended to power with Lorkhan's Heart. Before he could do so, however, the Chimer attacked the Dwemer, and the Dwemer disappeared during said battle, presumably due to Kagrenac tinkering with the heart. However, Numidium survived its creator's disappearance and would play a key role in many future events.
The first real use of Numidium came during the late Second Era, when it was loaned by Vivec to Tiber Septim to aid in conquering Tamriel. At this point, however, Vivec and the Tribunal were keeping close control over the Heart of Lorkhan, so another power source was used for the golem (specifically, the Mantella, often mistaken for the soul of Ysmir). The golem would reappear late in the Third Era, hundreds of years later, as Zurin Arctus reappeared as the Underking and destroyed the golem.
The final encounter with the Heart of Lorkhan came during the Dagoth Ur crisis. It was here that the true power of the Heart was revealed, essentially validating many of Kagrenac's claims. After the defeat of the Dwemer, the Tribunal had used the Heart to achieve near-divine status. Contact with the Heart granted them immortality, at least as long as they maintained frequent contact. It also granted them legendary powers; such as Vivec's ability to flood all of Morrowind, and supposedly grant the entire Dunmer race the ability of water breathing first, to fend off an invasion.
Indoril Nerevar was the Chimer general responsible for the attack and ultimate defeat of the Dwemer at Red Mountain around the year 1E 700. When the battle had concluded Nerevar ordered Dagoth Ur to remain behind and guard the Heart, as he and the Tribunal (then mortal Chimer) found a plan on what to do with the artifact. When they returned they found that Dagoth had become insane from tapping into the Heart's power. A battle broke out between Nerevar and the Tribunal against Dagoth Ur. Dagoth eventually lost the duel which ended with Nerevar being mortally wounded. This is where reports differ. One legend states that after finding the Tribunal and making them swear not to use the tools of Kagrenac on the Heart, the Tribunal murdered Nerevar. Another report simply says that Nerevar died after making them swear to Azura, after which they used the tools, against their oath, and became the living gods of Morrowind (the act that caused Azura to turn the Chimer race into the Dunmer). It was thousands of years later in the Third Era that the Nerevarine, a reincarnation of Nerevar, was able to destroy the Heart, after the second rise of Dagoth Ur. This caused the Tribunal to lose their immortality as well, simply making them incredibly powerful mortals. After losing her immortality, Almalexia killed Sotha Sil and was, herself, killed by the Nerevarine. That event led to Vivec being the only member of the Tribunal alive during the Third Era and ended the influence that the Heart had on men and mer.
Vivec disappeared around the end of the Third Era during the Oblivion Crisis under mysterious circumstances. Though magical inventions were made to support Baar Dau in Vivec's absence; the meteor eventually fell in 4E 5, resulting in the destruction of Vivec City, and another eruption of Red Mountain.
Lorkhan and Daedra
There are several comments made in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that are rather strange and contradictory. Several statements made by Mankar Camoran in his Paradise point out that Lorkhan did make Tamriel, but Lorkhan was lost for an unknown reason. Mankar Camoran also states that Tamriel is not a realm for the mortals nor common folk, but is actually another realm of Oblivion. He says that it is an Oblivion-realm that once belonged to Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Change, Energy, and Ambition. Mankar Camoran explains that Lorkhan, having loved his created world so much, was unwilling to let the Prince of Destruction claim it. Mehrunes Dagon is not actually invading Tamriel, Mankar Camoran says, but rather is coming to reclaim his long-lost world. Of course, Mankar is certainly an unreliable narrator in this respect.
Lorkhan and Sithis
Equally mystifying is that the Dark Brotherhood claims that Lorkhan was begotten by Sithis in order to destroy the universe, a belief which notably ties in with how Mer cultures universally vilify Lorkhan as the "Doom-Drum". However, when the Last Dragonborn enters into Lorkhan's domain of Sovngarde and presents himself as Listener to the Night Mother, a position of highest honor in the eyes of Sithis, the ancient Nordic god Tsun proclaims defiantly: "You trespass here, shadow-walker. Shor does not know you. Perhaps before the end you will earn the right to pass this way. Welcome I do not offer, but your errand I will not hinder, if my wrath you can withstand."
- Lorkhan – Altmeri Pantheon, Bosmeri Pantheon and Dunmeri Pantheon
- Sheor – Bretony Pantheon
- Shezarr – Imperial Pantheon
- Lorkhaj – Khajiiti Pantheon
- Shor – Nordic Pantheon
- Lorkh – Reachfolk Pantheon
- Sep – Redguard Pantheon
- During the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Last Dragonborn encounters a mage named Septimus Signus, living in the ice fields north of Winterhold. Speaking with Septimus will begin the quest "Discerning the Transmundane," as the Dragonborn seeks to help Septimus open an ancient Dwemer lockbox. When asked what is inside the box, Septimus goes on to say he believes the Heart of Lorkhan to be inside. It is revealed later that the Heart is not inside, but the Oghma Infinium, the tome of esoteric knowledge created by Hermaeus Mora.
- In Riften's Mistveil Keep, one can find in Wylandriah's chambers a letter from Mirabelle Ervine at the College of Winterhold. In the letter, Mirabelle replies to Wylandriah's request that she does not have a sample of The Heart of Lorkhan for experimentation because no samples exist.
- The Lunar Lorkhan
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire
- Spirit of Nirn
- The Monomyth
- Before the Ages of Man
- The Battle of Red Mountain
- Nerevar at Red Mountain
- Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City
- Mankar Camoran's dialogue during Paradise
- Dialogue with Lucien Lachance
- Dialogue with Tsun