After the corruption of the Tribunal by the Heart of Lorkhan and the death of the great Chimer champion Indoril Nerevar, the Daedric Prince Azura swore that she would use her powers over dawn and dusk to resurrect Nerevar and make things right once more. The Tribunal dismissed this proclamation, saying that they were now more powerful and influential than the Daedric Princes, and that their time as gods to the people of Morrowind had come to a close, even as Azura cursed the Chimer and changed them into the Dunmer. The realization of this proclamation was known as the Nerevarine Prophecy, and it came to pass at the end of the Third Era as the Vvardenfell Crisis.
Prior to its fulfillment, the Nerevarine Prophecy was denounced as heresy by the Tribunal, and those groups that believed in them (Ashlanders, Dissident Priests, and some others) were heavily persecuted. Occasionally, a potential candidate would appear, and until recently, each one had met an untimely end through a variety of means and circumstances.
According to the prophecy, "A prisoner born on a certain day to uncertain parents" would be sent, under guard, to Morrowind, would overcome numerous trials, and, eventually, unite the province and cast down the Tribunal as false gods. The gender and race of Nerevarine was, and remains, unknown, though it is well known that they would not be a native of Morrowind. This was the most widely known part of the prophecy; the remaining parts are detailed in the work Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate.
Seven trials: What he puts his hand to, that shall be done. What is left undone, that shall be done.
- First Trial: On a certain day, to uncertain parents, incarnate moon and star reborn.
- Second Trial: Neither blight nor age can harm him. The Curse-of-Flesh before him flies.
- Third Trial: In caverns dark Azura's eye sees, and makes to shine the moon and star.
- Fourth Trial: A stranger's voice unites the Houses. Three Halls call him Hortator.
- Fifth Trial: A stranger's hand unites the Velothi. Four Tribes call him Nerevarine.
- Sixth Trial: He honors blood of the tribe unmourned. He eats their sin, and is reborn.
- Seventh Trial: His mercy frees the cursed false gods, binds the broken, redeems the mad.
One Destiny: He speaks the law for Veloth's people. He speaks for their land, and names them great.
The first trial suggests that the Nerevarine would be an unknown person, born on a specific day.
The second trial speaks of a seemingly unique and great power of the incarnate, being immune to all disease and even aging (Corprus, also known as the Curse-of-Flesh, does grant these traits, at the expense of the victims' sanity and appearance, to say the least).
The third trial is, at first glance, somewhat puzzling, but it is now known that the Nerevarine traveled to a hidden shrine known as the "Cavern of the Incarnate," was acknowledged as Nerevar's reincarnation, and was blessed with his legendary ring, "Moon-and-Star," or "One-Clan-Under-Moon-And-Star," which, besides giving bonuses to Speechcraft and Personality, gave Nerevar unmistakable identity, as anyone besides him who tried to wear the ring would die instantly.
The fourth and fifth trials are quite similar, and detail the Nerevarine's duty and ability to unite all of Morrowind to their cause. The four civilized Ashlander tribes would all acknowledge him as 'Nerevarine' and the Three Great Houses of Morrowind (Hlaalu, Redoran, and Telvanni) would name him 'Hortator', a title given to a leader of the people of Morrowind during wartime/great emergencies. Both refer to the 'stranger', so the Nerevarine could not be born into either the Ashlander tribes or Great Houses, making him/her an outsider (foreigner, or, as the Nerevarine is commonly referred to as in-game, "outlander").
The sixth trial suggests that the Nerevarine would learn all that could be learned of the history of Nerevar and his time, and would pity and understand the plight of the 'tribe unmourned', which could either refer to House Dagoth (as suggested in a conversation in Morrowind) or the Dwemer, or possibly both. At the realization of the Nerevarine Prophecies, the Nerevarine defeats his old friend Dagoth Ur and "destroys" the Heart of Lorkhan that corrupted him and the Tribunal, ending the Blight and the Tribunal's false godhood. They, beside understanding and mourning them, would right the wrongs they had brought upon the world and thus release them from sin and honor their memory.
The seventh trial almost undeniably points to the disappearance of the Tribunal at the end of the Third Era, as the Nerevarine had severed their source of divinity. After the fulfillment of the prophecy Sotha Sil (one of the members of the Tribunal) was murdered by Almalexia (another member of the Tribunal, and formerly the wife of Indoril Nerevar), who in turn was destroyed by the Nerevarine. The fate of Vivec, the final member of the Tribunal, remains unknown and possibilities run rampant. Some include:
- He has accepted his lost of divinity with grace and has disappeared from public view to live out the last of his years in what may be assumed to be 'quiet meditation'.
- He was put on trial by the Daedra for the crime of proclaiming himself to be a god and defiantly using a profane artifact of impossible power, and thusly placing himself on the same level as the Daedric Princes.
- He was brutally slain by a wrathful, unforgiving Nerevarine.