The Shezarrine is an influential and sometimes god-like figure who is believed to be a mortal incarnation of the Missing God, Lorkhan, or one of his aspects. Several like individuals are believed to have appeared throughout various historical periods. The term "Shezarrine" itself is derived from "Shezarr," the Cyrodilic understanding of what is essentially the Missing God, and was first used in reference to Pelinal Whitestrake in the Song of Pelinal. The Shezarrine is believed to have taken the role of many of humanity's greatest champions, often appearing to defend their people against rising Elven aggression, in a similar light to how many old myths portray the roles of Shor and Shezarr.
The Shezarrine is believed to have found its origins after the defeat of Lorkhan, at the ending of the Dawn Era. Auri-El and Trinimac, who, according to Elven legend, were unable to destroy Lorkhan's Heart, instead decided to hide it where they thought it could never be found. The Heart was launched to Nirn from Auriel's Bow, and where it landed was formed Vvardenfell.[UL 1] Though Lorkhan's body was all but destroyed, his soul could not be extinguished due to his living, yet sundered, divine center, and so was doomed to wander the creation of the Et'Ada. For this reason, it is believed that whenever the Shezarrine appears, Lorkhan is in some sense physically walking Nirn. This is indicated through various Khajiiti and Yokudan myths regarding Lorkhan's demise stating "We curse you, noisy Lorkhaj, to walk Nirni for many phases," and "Sep could only slink around in a dead skin, or swim about in the sky." A possible explanation for the existence of these avatars may have be found in Lorkhan's supposed failure of the Psijic Endeavor.[UL 2] According to Mankar Camoran, the Tower is the conduit through which gods can revert themselves into mortal forms.
Elven chronicles of the late Merethic Era and onward, record varying accounts of a legendary and immortal human personage, wandering Tamriel, gathering armies, conquering kingdoms, ruling them, then leaving to wander again. This seemingly cyclical role is seen repeated in old Cyro-Nordic myths, where Shezarr is said to defend the ancient Nedes from the Ayleids before mysteriously vanishing, presumably to help humans elsewhere. Then, without his leadership, the Nedes are conquered and enslaved. This strange occurrence may find some clarity in Elven myth, where Lorkhan is stated to be "more of a limit than a nature, so he could never last long anywhere". These champions have been understood to reincarnate back into the mortal realm on various occasions. Pelinal Whitestrake, for example, was prophesied by Morihaus to return to Nirn as either a "fox animal or light."
Pelinal Whitestrake was the great hero of the Alessian Slave Revolt that occurred during the early years of the First Era, and is possibly one of the first and most conspicuous of the Shezarrines.
Pelinal's own likeness to the Missing God seem quite apparent, indicated through lines found in The Song of Pelinal regarding Pelinal as having "emerged into the world like a Padomaic, that is, borne by Sithis and all the forces of change therein" and likewise lacked a heart, possessing "only a red rage shaped diamond-fashion". Both factors being common motifs reflected in various legends of Lorkhan. Pelinal was also referred to as a "Myth-Echo," likely in relating between him and Lorkhan myths. It was even mentioned that the Men-of-Kreath on having gazed upon Pelinal at the bridge of Heldon, had mistook him for their own god Shor, the Nord's interpretation of the Missing God, returned from the dead. Despite these clear connections to Lorkhan, Pelinal was said to deny all ties to the god, and killed all those who spoke of "god-logic" in his presence, save for the slave queen herself. In some cases, those who claimed him to be a Shezarrine were suspiciously smothered by moths in their sleep.
Other evidence that associates Pelinal with the divine Lorkhan, is the claims that he was either immortal or had been reincarnated many times before, as separate individuals. Pelinal, as was his incarnation during the Alessian revolt, was occasionally referred to as "Pelinal the Third," with speculation reasoning that he had already been incarnated twice before. This is supported by certain texts stating that Pelinal was one of the individuals who wandered Tamriel during the late Merethic Era, supposedly having conquered the whole of Tamriel in ages long passed. It is also claimed that, held within the twelfth vault of the Library of Dusk, lies a rare, possibly apocryphal, tome written by Pelinal himself, known as the "Conversations with the Heart of Lorkhan", which supposedly elaborated on the nature of the Aurbis itself. Further connections can be seen with the speculative claim that the "red rage shaped diamond" that stood in place of Pelinal's Heart, was truly the Amulet of Kings, which legend holds was crafted from the solidified blood of Lorkhan's Heart.
Zurin Arctus is another individual often regarded as the Shezarrine,[UL 3] although the evidence concerning this is not as eminent as that which is seen with Pelinal Whitestrake. Zurin Arctus was the Imperial Battlemage and Grand Vizer during the early years of the Septim Empire.
One indication that Zurin Arctus was indeed the Shezarrine, is a particular quote of the King of Worms that listed Zurin Arctus, amongst other champions of man (i.e. Pelinal and Ysmir) as beings capable of recalling where they were during the Middle Dawn. The quote also refers to Zurin as "Arnand the Fox," "the Fox" being an epithet used amongst Bretons denoting individuals of particular cleverness.[UL 4] The title is commonly seen referring to other like heroes, such as Hans the Fox. It was even said that Pelinal Whitestrake, upon his death, would be reborn as a "fox animal." The King of Worm's quote also brings another interesting implication, that given the Middle Dawn's occurrence preceding the Third Era by several millennia, Zurin, like Pelinal, was either immortal or has undergone previous incarnations. Possibly the most suggestive link relating Zurin to the Shezarrine, is Shezarr's recognized involvement in the foundation of the Imperial Battlemages, in which Zurin is stated to have been the very first.
Other evidence includes Zurin Arctus' claim that he removed his own heart to create the Mantella that would be used to power the Numidium. The missing heart being the most prominent factor when regarding the myths of Lorkhan, whom lost his own heart creating the world. A skeptical, but noteworthy piece of evidence could be found with Zurin Arctus' creation, the "Dragonbone Mail." It is said that this great armor piece Zurin enchanted was unable to stay in one place for extended periods of time. This parallels Lorkhan, who "could never last long anywhere." This same connection can be found in Pelinal and other like individuals, who were known to wander Tamriel gathering armies, conquering kingdoms, then leaving to wander again; never staying in the same place for too long. Interestingly enough, the Dragonbone Mail was itself said to be crafted for a "traveling warrior" who "never stays put for long."
Hjalti Early-Beard was a man native to the city of Alcaire in High Rock. He is heavily associated with the two individuals Zurin Arctus and Wulfharth. Though Hjati Early-Beard is often considered to be a name synonymous with Talos or Tiber Septim, it has been implied that this may not be completely true, and that Hjalti may at least be an individual persona of the two. Hjalti is believed to have been an avatar of Lorkhan.[UL 3]
King Wulfharth was a Nordic High King of Skyrim during the early First Era. He bears a heavy connection to the Nordic aspect of the Missing God, Shor, and is therefore believed to have been an avatar.[UL 3]
During his early reign as the High King of Skyrim, he was named "Shor's Tongue" and "Ysmir 'Dragon of the North,'" for his intense zealotry and the re-institution of the Nordic faith, which was then threatened by the spread of Alessianism. Elven chronicles attest that "Ysmir" was one of the individuals who, like Pelinal, Hans the Fox, and Harrald Hairy Breaks, had championed men in the later years of the Merethic Era. According to old Nordic legend, Ysmir was a great king of men and dragons who reigned for over a thousand years during the Mythic age and set the pathway to entering the afterlife.
At one point during Ysmir Wulfharth's rulership, legends speak of the evil god, Orkey, summoning the spirit of Alduin back into the world, to eat the lifespans of the Nords. Wulfharth pleaded to Shor to save them and so Shor's ghost answered his calls to battle Alduin, as had once occurred at the beginning of time. Observing the fight, Wulfharth learned to use Shout with the capabilities of manipulating time itself, but in the process of using this shout to fix the Nordic people, Wulfharth accidentally made himself too old and died. It should be noted that other sources seem to claim that it was actually Shor that removed the curse from the Nords, which could imply a possible confusion of identity between Ysmir, Wulfharth, and Shor, much like how Pelinal was once similarly mistaken for the same god.
Centuries after his death, Shor's ghost "remade" Wulfharth to be the general in his army to reclaim the Heart of Shor, lost millennia ago but rediscovered at Red Mountain. After Shor was defeated by Nerevar at Red Mountain, the Ash-King Wulfharth was said to have had trouble keeping his own form without the presence of his god. Many years pass and Wulfharth is adopted into Nordic worship as "Ysmir the Grey Wind," but his own personal identity was supposedly lost through his profound connection to Lorkhan. Like many other avatars, Wulfharth was said to have lost his heart, being placed within the Mantella and used to power Tiber Septim's Numidium. Not only does Wulfharth's loss of his heart reflect Lorkhan's own tragic fate, but the fact that the Numidium was specifically crafted to harness power from the Heart of Lorkhan seems to provide an unquestionable link between Wulfharth and the Missing God, Lorkhan.
Other related evidence that Wulfharth was an avatar of Lorkhan comes from a quote attributed to him stating "Don't you see where you really are? Don't you know who Shor really is? Don't you know what this war is?" This quote has been understood to refer to the fact that the War at Red Mountain was taking place during the Dragon Break of the Red Moment.[UL 5] This is likened to the King of Worms quote, who places Ysmir as one of the beings capable of comprehending the Dragon Break.
Tiber Septim is confirmed to be the oversoul mixture of Talos Stormcrown and Zurin Arctus,[UL 7] which was most likely formed after Zurin Arctus crowned Talos as the Emperor "Tiber Septim." Arctus and Talos supposedly joined together as one in order to fortify the throne and protect both Cyrodiil and its people. The oversoul created from Talos and Arctus was collectively referred to as "The Enantiomorph" by some.[UL 7] Tiber's moniker as the "Heir to the Seat of Sundered Kings," can be seen as a reference to this union. The Seat of Sundered Kings is a term sometimes used to refer to Cyrodiil in reference to the cultural, and often national, split between the Kingdoms of Colovia and Nibenay. This merging between Talos and Arctus symbolically represents the consolidation of Colovia and Nibenay into the greater Cyrodiil, in which is represented by Tiber Septim himself.[UL 7]
Tiber Septim is also alluded to being more than one person in the 36 Lessons of Vivec where he is referred to as the "two-headed" king.
The Two-heads seem to be referring to both Talos and Arctus being Tiber Septim. This may have been hinted at with the Two-Headed Septim that is seen in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which depicts a seemingly normal gold piece, but with both sides depicting the head of Tiber Septim. Though this is, obviously, very speculative.
The Mortal Talos
The individual known as Talos Stormcrown, or General Talos, is believed to possibly be the combined oversoul of Wulfharth and Hjalti Early-Beard. The reasoning behind this possible Stormcrown bridging between the two is based in Wulfharth's supposed visit to Hjalti's camp at the Battle of Old Hroldan. During his visit, Wulfharth spoke with Hjalti and helped him destroy the walls of Old Hroldan, it is also implied, though not directly stated, that Hjalti's Thu'um was actually the work of Wulfharth. This is seen through quotes that state that Hjalti actually lied about his throat being cut as a means to excuse his inability to use the Thu'um after the Battle of Old Hrol'dan. However, at Old Hroldan, Ysmir takes the form of a storm which guards Talos from the Reachmen arrows, and Talos shouts down the walls himself. Seeing as Wulfharth states that Hjalti was never a Tongue, this implies Talos, who is normally believed to be Hjalti, may have in actuality been the two acting as one individual. Likewise, Wulfharth is never actually recorded as ever being physically present during any of Talos' conquests outside of the The Arcturian Heresy. As it is stated, Wulfharth occasionally acted as a double for Tiber Septim so that he could administer his Empire while also conquering at the same time.
Talos Stormcrown was also the entity that was given the title "Ysmir" by the Greybeards, a spiritual title originally held, and almost completely associated with, Wulfharth. Strangely enough the name "Tiber Septim" itself apparently translates to 'Dragon of the North,' or in other words, 'Ysmir.' Other evidence which implies a crossing between these two people is the claim that the individual "Talos" was born on the frozen continent of Atmora, despite the fact that Hjalti, who is generally accepted to have been Talos, was seemingly a native of Alcaire. Wulfharth on the other hand is often stated to have been a native of Atmora. While it could be said that Hjalti was merely claiming to be an Atmoran to build his legend, an image made by ex-developer Michael Kirkbride, heavily implies that Talos was truly a supernatural native to Atmora.
Talos Stormcrown, like Tiber Septim, has also been said to have multiple heads. He was referred to as the "Many-Headed Talos" during his use of CHIM to remove the jungles of Cyrodiil, seemingly implying he is multiple people.[UL 8]
The identity of the Underking has been contested between the two beings Ysmir Wulfharth, and Zurin Arctus. Wulfharth claims to have been the Underking since his awakening to defend Tamriel from the Kamal Invasion, but Arctus claims to have become the Underking after his betrayal at the hands of Tiber Septim.
It is suspected that like Tiber Septim, the Underking is a the result of the Shezarrine souls of Arctus and Wulfharth mixing to become a single oversoul. This is supported by the fact that the Mantella was believed to be made from Zurin Arctus' heart (though possibly Tiber Septims') and used to hold Wulfharth's Heart. The existence of both Wulfharth's and Zurin's hearts being contained in the Mantella and the Underking's wish to be reunited with his Heart implies that the Underking could have been a mixture of the two. Another notable quote from the Arcturian Heresy states that, with his last breath, Ysmir Wulfharth's heart roars a hole into Arctus' chest, killing him. With the loss of both their Hearts possibly implying some unity between the two.
However, this pairing is not as likely as the above two oversouls, as certain situations regarding the Underking seems to imply that both Zurin and Wulfharth were both separate individual Underkings, most notably the events after the destruction of Numidium. When Numidium was defeated by the Underking, it was said that Arctus-Underking went into a period of semi-slumber in a subterranean vault to due to his loss of the Mantella, and did not wake up until the events of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.[UL 9] However, Wulfharth-Underking claims that directly after Tiber Septim's death, he became a secret adviser for his grandson Pelagius Septim. Also during the "Blood of the Divines" quest, it was said that Zurin cursed a group of Blades Tiber Septim sent to his shrine in Sancre Tor, despite the fact that he was in a comatose state during the time, and that Zurin's followers have stated that he wished no harm against any of the Blades. It has been implied before that there are multiple Underkings.[UL 10]
Apotheosis of Talos
The God Talos, and his deification, has been speculated and challenged by many of Tamriel's inhabitants. Some claim that he was so great in life that the gods ascended him to the heavens and made him a god, while others claim he isn't a god at all. Talos, as a god, is believed to actually be Hjalti, Zurin, and Wulfharth combined into a new oversoul through a process known as the Enantiomorph.[UL 11] This combined soul was so identical to Lorkhan that it was actually able to mantle his place in the Aurbis.[UL 12]This quote states that Talos became a god by mantling through the fourth walking way. Due to Talos' already heavy connection to the god Lorkhan through his multitude of Shezarrine souls, and mantling requiring one to be so similar to a god that "they must walk like you," it can be assumed that Talos mantled Lorkhan.[UL 12] Other evidence that appears to hint that Talos mantled Lorkhan is his statue that appears in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which depicts him overshadowing a serpent, a symbol commonly used to represent Lorkhan. Other sources depict Talos transforming into Lorkhan.[UL 13] Evidence supporting Talos' use of the Enantiomorph to achieve godhood would be that Tiber Septim himself was infrequently known as "the Enantiomorph."[UL 7]
Due to the lack of reference to Talos being a god in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, it is normally assumed that Talos didn't actually become a god until after the event known as the Warp in the West, which occurred in 3E 417. This shows the Underkings place in Talos' ascension as it wasn't until the Warp that he actually died, implying that his death may have been the final step in the apotheosis of Talos.
The following list was created by the ex-developer Michael Kirkbride and was made to list Lorkhan's avatars. The list's exclusion of Pelinal Whitestrake has led many to believe that it is only listing the Shezarrines associated with the god Talos. Note how it lists names normally believed to be synonymous (such as Hjalti, Talos, Septim) as separate entities.
Lorkhan and his avatars:
- 1. Wulfharth L
- 2. Hjalti O
- 3. Ysmir R
- 4. Talos K
- 5. Arctus H
- 6. Septim A
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Song of Pelinal, Book V
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Before the Ages of Man
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- ↑ The Song of Pelinal, Book II
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 The Arcturian Heresy
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Varieties of Faith in the Empire
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Shezarr and the Divines
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 The Monomyth
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ The Lunar Lorkhan
- ↑ Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi
- ↑ Mythic Dawn Commentaries 3
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 The Adabal-a
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The Song of Pelinal, Book I
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Song of Pelinal, Book VI
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 The Song of Pelinal, Book IV
- ↑ Hallgerd's Tale
- ↑ The Library of Dusk: Rare Books
- ↑ Chim-El Adabal: A Ballad
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Aldmeri Dominion
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Where Were You When the Dragon Broke?
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 Tamrielic Lore
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 Letter from the Underking
- ↑ Ysmir the Forefather
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Dialogue of The Prophet
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 26.2 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- ↑ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 19
- ↑ Battle of Sancre Tor
- ↑ Dialogue of Arngeir
- ↑ Dialogue in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Topic: Talos
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Dialogue of Hrongar
- ↑ Rislav The Righteous
- ↑ Wulfharth's plaque in Windhelm
- ↑ Anonymous Letters
- ↑ Dialogue of an Agent of the Underking in the quest "The Stronghold of the Blades"
- ↑ Dialogue of Ondolemar
- ↑ Dialogue of Elenwen
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- ↑ The Warp in the West
- ↑ Nu-Mantia Intercept, Letter #4
- ↑ More on the Psijic Endeavor
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lorkhan and his avatars: MK's Posts
- ↑ Interview With Three Booksellers
- ↑ MK IRC Q&A
- ↑ ...The Tower
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Skeleton Man's Interview with the Denizens of Tamriel
- ↑ From The Many-Headed Talos
- ↑ The Daggerfall Chronicles (Narrative here)
- ↑ Michael Kirkbride - Reddit AMA
- ↑ Fireside Chats
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Nu-Hatta of the Sphinxmoth Inquiry Tree
- ↑ C0DA