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You think yourselves gods. But you are blind, and all is darkness.
~ Azura

Azura is the Deadric Prince (Or in this case Mistress as she is often depicted as being female) of Dusk and Dawn in the Elder Scrolls series. She is often considered as being one of the more benevolent Deadras, although she can be wrathful at times.

Background

Azura is considered one of the three patron Draedra of Marrowind, the land of the Dunmer (Dark Elves), along with Boethia and Mephala. Boethiah encourages strength through murder, Mephala emphasizes the need for cunning and trickery but Azura encourages respect and forethought, and of the three is by in large the least evil. She is not merely the most benevolent of the three patrons of Marrowind, but one of the most benevolent Daedra period. To call her "good" though would be to grossly simplify how Daedra treat morality, rather she is very often the most philanthropic of her kind. Her often charitable nature routinely shifts to episodes of vengeance, spite and pure rage for even the Dunmer, some of her most fervent worshipers have collectively suffered at her hands.

Khajiit and lunar cycles

Masser and Secunda

Masser and Secunda

According to the Khajiit, Azura is the youngest daughter of one of the primordial gods of creation who loyally serves fate and as such she was made a goddess all her own as the favored of all such children. Azura was given three gifts to bestow upon the mortal race of her choosing. Azura choose the elves of the Elsweyr. The elves of Elsweyr were a merger of elf and beast, some say through literal mating with the wilds, but aside from their appearance as beast-folk the elves had no innate talent, only what they taught themselves as great hunters. To reward the beast-folk for their hard work as a great people, Azura made the beast-folk the most beautiful, cleverest and quickest race of the mortal races and uniting them as a race, the Khajiit.

Khajiit born under the moons Masser and Secunda in different cycles turn out differently ranging from lynx-like humanoids, to fur-less near elven looking, to large jaguar-men, to what appear to be common house cats, changes entirely by who is born in what lunar phase. Because Masser and Secunda are so intricate to the Khajiit life-cycle, Azura, being the patron of the lunar cycles is seen as the great holy mistress of the Khajiit so much so that total eclipses of both moons are seen as times of world shaking disasters. This reverence for Azura has seen to it that Elsweyr is one of the few countries on Nirn that acknowledges Azura, not merely as a Daedric Prince but as a high goddess.

Dunmer and the Tribunal

The story of the how the Dunmer became a distinct race is a long and bloody tale. The god Trinimac called for the his sect of the high-elves, the Chimer, to leave the Summerset Isles and make pilgrimage to their own land. However Trinimac had been killed and his body worn as a suit by the Daedric Prince Boethiah, who had encouraged the pilgrimage simply to create a schism from the elven people. Boethiah guided the Chimer to Morrowing before revealing herself but by then the Chimer had their own country and readily accepted it regardless of who their benefactor truly was, this is why Boethiah is considered one of the three patrons of Morrowind along with Azura. Boethiah had also wished to spark a war, which was what occurred when the Chimer met the original inhabitants of Marrowind, the Dwemer, (Dwarves). The Dwemer were great scientists and engineers who had forsaken their ancestral gods and become an atheist people, this clashed with the devout Chimer who had followed a god to their new home and despite efforts to live in harmony at first the two peoples' values contradicted each-other.

A great war, the battle of Red Mountain occurred. The details are long and bloody but towards the end of the battle, the Dwemer just...vanished .... They did not flee and were not wiped out. They were before their enemies one moment, and then they were not. How this happened to say nothing of why has been lost to the ages. But lore alludes to it being that the mad scientist and royal adviser, Kagrenac, had finished an experiment to make the Dwemer god like beings with the heart of the one true god Lorkhan, at the height of the war Kagrenac struck the heart with his enchanted tools and at that moment he and his entire race vanished.

King Nerevar of the Chimer made his wife Almalexia and his advisers and friends Vivec and Sotha Sil swear an oath on his death-bed to Azura to never let anyone use Kagrenac's heretical tools and to lock them away. The three made their oath to Azura just as Nerevar died from his war-wounds. Sotha Sil was a necromancer of great curiosity for the unknown and needed to know what had happened to the Dwemer though so he read Kagrenac's notes, and in so doing became possessed by the same maddness as Kagrenac, he believed that where Kagrenac had failed, he and his fellows would succeed. Sotha Sil told Almalexia and Vivec of the power that completion of the experiment would give them, power that would make them living gods. Eventually Sotha Sil tempted his fellows into breaking their oath, The three struck the heart of Lorkhan with Kagernac's tools and were vested with the power of the gods. However in so doing they had broken the sacred oath they had made to the late king in his dying breath to Azura, and before them appeared the Daedric Prince, extremely displeased.

While Vivec was overcome with shame and Almalexia's pride failed her, Sotha Sil's obstence allowed him to address the enraged Daedra. Sotha Sil claimed that since the three were now immortal and powerful commanders of the forces of nature the notion of a being such as Azura demanding reverence from them was beyond absurd. Azura went quiet, narrowed her eyes and stated that if that was how the Tibunal of Morrowind were to address her then that is how she would mark their people. Azura said that what they had done was not to her but to their people and then disappeared. That day, the Chimer were gripped with panic as their entire people miraculously transformed, their skin became grey like ash and their eyes turned a menacing red.

The Tribunal addressed their people telling them that they were truly their own race now and they were free from the time of false gods and could focus less on devotion to old gods and more on the future, a future where culture, magic and advancement were the new gods limited only by their imagination. Despite the Tribunal's attempt at damage control the Chimer people, who were now called Dunmer (or Dark Elves in elven tongue) could all sense that Azura's wrath was upon them, though they knew not what had earned it.

Worship

Daedric Princes are not called as such for being male but rather based on their place in the cosmos, being lesser than gods, kings, but still being far far above mortals and, according to their acolytes, worthy of worship. This lead followers of the mainstream religion towards the nine divines, to consider the Daedric Princes, false gods but ones with real world powers, acknowledging them as powerful and temperamental demons dressed up in the trappings of gods. Azura like all Daedra is not bound by physical form and so gender is an ill-fitting term to judge her, however Azura has only ever appeared in female form, indicating she prefers it, despite this the term "Prince" is used, not as a sign of gender but rather respect.

The Dunmer and the Khajiit are Azura's most dedicated followers, but through different perspectives. She is the overseer of the realm known as Moonshadow, a utopian dimension full of color and benevolence. She is invoked on Hogithum, which falls on the 21st of First Seed, which acts as the holiday that commemorates her in Tamriel. She can also be revered at dusk and dawn of any other day.

Personality and Alignment

Unlike most other Deadric Princes, which are considered evil, she is often considered one of the "Good" Deadras due to her benevolent views and serene demeanor to most followers and supporters, although despite this fact, some argue that this term could be considered inappropriate, as she is known to often (though not always) be vengeful upon those who are "rude" to her, not to mention that she also held a grudge with the Dwemer. Though despite these claims, she only seeks vengeance when absolutely necessary, and many of these "rude" individuals tend to be evil and/or corrupt in turn.

Role

In Morrowind Azura is the primary sponsor of the Nerevarine. Her wrath towards the Tribunal was not yet done and when the Neravarine arises to hold them accountable for their crimes against Nerevar, of whom the Nerevarine is the reincarnation of, Azura is the hero's spiritual guide and benefactor through-out the game.

In Oblivion, Azura sends the Hero of Kvatch to slay several of her former priests. Her acolytes went to slay a vampire in a mine and though they succeeded, they all contracted vampirism from the skirmish. Azura's acolytes try to resist their thirst for blood and barricaded themselves inside a mine but as time goes by they become slaves to their blood-lust. The anguish of their souls calls out to Azura and she wishes for them to be put to rest. If the Hero succeeds, she will reward him/her with her artifact, Azura's Star. In addition to Azura's Star being given to the Hero of Kvatch she brings the souls of her acolytes into her realm in Moonshadow and places a new star in the sky for each one of them.

In Skyrim, the Dovahkiin can find her shrine just south of Winterhold. There, a priest of hers named Aranea Ienith will send them to find her sacred artifact in an abandoned keep, where an evil, greedy sorcerer named Malyn Varen, who has used it to seek immortality, and corrupted it in the process. Upon returning the artifact, Azura will greet the Dragonborn in voice and thank them for there generous deed, and as a reward, gives them the restored artifact to use with ease.

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