Elder Scrolls Lore Report: The Tribunal


Lore Report – The Tribunal


Some time ago, a request was brought to my attention to undertake the seemingly insurmountable task of dedicating an entire report on the Almsivi, whom were like living gods to the people of Morrowind until the events of the Nerevarine Prophecies, around 3E427, but before I dive even deeper, let’s go back to the beginning.




Quite some time before the Tribunal rose to deification, the Dwemer of Morrowind, then called Dwemereth, discovered the Heart of Lorkhan deep beneath Red Mountain, acting as the Red Tower’s Zero Stone. Recognizing its significance and its power, Chief Tonal Architect Kagrenac sought to use it to power and control the Brass God, Numidium and thereby achieve whatever their goals were. Before this could occur, however, the Chimer, who, up until this point, had been in an uneasy alliance with the Dwemer after repelling an invasion from Skyrim, discovered what the Dwemer were plotting and sought to end the strife beneath Red Mountain, where they launched a full offensive on Kagrenac. The Chimer forces, led by Indoril Nerevar and his wife, Almalexia, as well as other important figures, such as Voryn Dagoth and Vivec, charged beneath Red Mountain to stop the Dwemer. Accounts vary as to what happened, but the Dwemer then disappeared.


In order to appease his people and prevent further strife, Nerevar made his lieutenants and his people swear to never use the Heart of Lorkhan for any purpose, lest they risk destruction. Such was his fear of the Heart, he had them swear on Lady Azura herself. For a time his people honored this oath. Unfortunately, Lord Indoril Nerevar, First Councilor of Resdayn, the first to unite the Chimer of Resdayn, died not long after the battle beneath Red Mountain – whether succumbing to his wounds or being murdered by the Tribune so they could enact their plans is unknown. A few years following the events of Red Mountain, Lady Almalexia, Lord Vivec, and Lord Sotha Sil, the Tribune, originally counselors to Lord Nerevar, broke this oath and used Kagrenac’s tools on the Heart of Lorkhan to become gods.


Such was the breaking of their oath that the Chimer were cursed by Azura, becoming the Dunmer. The Daedric Prince issued the prophecy that the Nerevarine would return to punish them for breaking their oaths. When Sotha Sil waved off her omens, the Dunmer were created, and Azura gave a final prophecy: that the Dunmer would share the Tribunal's fate until the end of time. Though confused at first, the Dunmer, with the exception of the Ashlanders, did come to accept the Tribunal as their new gods. Theological concerns gave rise to the idea of the "Anticipations", the "Good Daedra" the Chimer had worshipped before the Tribunal's apotheosis – so while the Tribunal had once been mortal, and non-existent before that, their Anticipations were said to have guided the Chimer in their stead. The Good Daedra are those Princes of Oblivion who apparently acknowledged the Tribunal's authority over the Dunmer, as opposed to the Bad Daedra, spirits who did not accept the Tribunal. The Anticipation of Almalexia was Boethiah, Prince of Plots. The Anticipation of Vivec was Mephala. It is believed Azura herself was the Anticipation of Sotha Sil but that he disregarded her curse and was one of few able to resist her power, though he chose to appear as a Dunmer like his new cousins. It is also said Sotha Sil spat in Azura’s face, telling her “your time as a god has ended. We are the new gods and we will care for our people.“


(the sigil of House Dagoth)

As for how the Tribunal becames gods in the first place…. It’s a bit of a process and it tailors into a report I will do in the future on the Psijic Endeavor, so I will gloss over it for now and simply say that it also relates to my report on the Towers as well as that of Padomay, Anu, Anu’iel, and Sithis. The cosmology is shaped like a large wheel with a large spoke in the exact middle that is called the Tower – of which its material manifestation is called Ada-Mantia, or the Adamantine Tower. The theory is that one that transcends the material plane can manifest in the Aurbis, the space outside reality, and approach the tower and if one can successfully mantle it, they become a god. This is essentially what Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil did when they tapped into the power of the Heart of Lorkhan. There is more to it, but, again, I would rather save that for a different report. Instead, let’s jump back even further. Who were the Tribunal?


(Saint Vivec the Warrior-Poet)

Let’s start with Vivec, perhaps the most famous among the Tribunal. Vivec, also known as Vehk, was the Warrior-Poet Deity of the Dunmer, and his name formed the latter half of the Almsivi, the “vi”. He was the Guardian God-King of the holy land of Vvardenfell and the Master of Morrowind. Though there are some blurred aspects of his past and many questions about his more controversial choices, he has always reflected the spiritual duality of the Dunmer, best represented by his half-Dunmer, half-Chimer, half-male, half-female appearance. For hundreds and thousands of years, he resided within Vivec City in his palace where he was visited daily by dozens, if not hundreds, of pilgrims and tourists. He wrote the 36 Lessons of Vivec, a series of cryptic texts widely open to an incredible amount of speculation, primarily to act as a guide for when the Nerevarine finally came. He helped shape and guide the Dunmer people until he lost his divinity and subsequently disappeared near the end of the Third Era, a sacrifice he not only accepted but actually helped bring about himself. Afterwards, he was renamed Saint Vivec and eventually branded a False God when the Temple of the Tribunal collapsed.


Much of Vivec’s early history is muddled in superstition and hyperbole, but it is speculated he grew up in Resdayn during the First Era. He remembers the laughing of the netchimen in his village when hunts were good. He marched with his father in the ash, growing strong in hook and sail, able to run a junker through the silt. After Red Mountain, he grew sick and spent the next hundred years recovering. When he finally did, he became a Junior Councilor to Lord Indoril Nerevar, under both Sotha Sil, Nerevar’s oldest and most trusted friend, and Queen Almalexia herself. When Nerevar forged a treaty with Dwarfking Dumac, ruler of the Dwemer, to repel the Nordic invasion, Vivec and the other Councilors warned Nerevar it would not last, a warning that inevitably proved to be well-advised.


When Kagrenac transpired to use the Heart to power Numidium and the Chimer learned of the Dwemer betrayal, with the subsequent falling out of the friendship between Dumac and Nerevar, Vivec helped to lead the Chimer forces beneath Red Mountain. Depending on which account you refer to, they all paint Vivec’s role in a different light. Most often, he is named as a loyal soldier and servant of Nerevar, but there are some accounts that label him as betrayer and murderer. Vivec himself both agrees and disagrees with all accounts: he did not murder or betray Nerevar, but eventually his ambition led him to break his most sacred oath. Whatever the truth, it is agreed Vivec and the other generals commanded the attacks outside Red Mountain, but in secret, Vivec led a troop within the mountain and fought Dumac and Kagerenac’s guards, forcing the Tonal Architect to hastily and prematurely use his tools on the Heart, a mistake which proved to be the downfall of the Dwemer.


Shortly following the Battle of Red Mountain, Vivec and the other generals helped convince Nerevar the tools should be brought back for study and inspection. Nerevar agreed under one condition: they would swear to him and to Lady Azura, “a solemn oath upon Azura that the tools would never be used in the profane manner the Dwemer had intended” – in other words, they would not use the tools to leech the divine essence contained within the Heart of Lorkhan. The Triune swore this oath and and ventured with Nerevar to Red Mountain to retrieve the tools from Voryn Dagoth, with whom they had been left under supervision. Unfortunately, it seemed Dagoth himself had already begun experimenting with the tools and had gone mad, refusing to give them up. He and his guards fought with Nerevar and the Tribunal. After their defeat, House Dagoth was dismantled and absorbed by the other houses, Voryn Dagoth was defeated and presumed dead – though on his return he was rechristened Dagoth Ur – and Lord Indoril Nerevar was mortally wounded. With his last breath, he bade Vivec and the others to follow the oath and never use the tools.


Sotha Sil was a wizard-mystic of the Dunmer and his named formed the “si” in Almsivi. He was, perhaps, the most enigmatic member of the Tribunal. He was also called Mainspring Ever-Wound, the Father of Mysteries, and the Clockwork God, among other prestigious and mysterious titles. His most renowned – ironically, perhaps also most infamous – prestige was that of the Binder of Oblivion.


Sotha Sil was born a Chimer in the town of Ald Sotha, which was within what is now known as an island of Vvardenfell, in the Ascadian Isles. It was the seat of House Sotha, one of the minor houses of Chimer in the early First Era. His mother remains unknown except that she existed, but he did have a sister – Sotha Nall. Clues of his upbringing sprang from his memories, that he was raised in a family of well-to-do nobles with many different maternal figures, including his mother, his sister, and a nanny. One of his most preserved memories was one when his mother or perhaps his nanny was comforting him after he suffered a nasty knee abrasion, and the childhood nursery tale of Brave Little Scrib was recanted to him to inspire courage while his sister sang a lullaby.


In the fable “Sotha Sil and the Scribs” from the Homilies of the Blessed Almalexia, a young Sotha Sil plays in a Kwama Egg Mine and upon seeing a number of scribs in a deep shaft, he began to cast stones upon them for amusement, snickering as they skittered and scattered. One scrib purportedly lifted its head and begged Sotha Sil to stop, saying “please have mercy little child, for what is sport to you is suffering and death for us” when they were hit. This struck Sotha Sil and remained with him forever, that what might be amusing and entertaining to one can be solemn and arduous torture to another. At some point in Sotha Sil’s youth, Mehrunes Dagon, motives unknown, invaded Ald Sotha and destroyed it, killing everyone within – including Sotha Sil’s family – except for Sil himself, who was miraculously saved by Vivec. Though House Sotha had fallen, he continued to use his family’s name.


However, this story is disputed by the First Sermon of Vivec, which recounts Sotha Sil as being older than Vivec. He writes of a time before the Skyrim Captivity, that the Demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen – the offspring of Boethiah and an unknown Bosmer – appeared to a Velothi tribeswoman, the wife of a Chimer netchiman, who had been impregnated with an egg by the dreugh before being brought to Azura’s Coast by Sotha Sil. The egg contained the unborn Vivec, and seven Daedra, known as the Barons who Move Like This, appeared before the woman and taught the egg new swordsmanship motions. When Fa-Nuit-Hen appeared, he told the netchiman’s wife to seek the Hortato in the land of Indoril before combining with the Barons and becoming a swirl of terrifying pillars of swords and fighting styles to teach Vivec. The contradiction is that Vivec was unborn when Sotha Sil brought this woman to Nerevar, and yet Vivec saved Sotha Sil when Mehrunes Dagon sacked Ald Sotha and then raised Sotha Sil.


(Sunna'rah, Sotha Sil's divine staff)


Though the time leading from Ald Sotha’s destruction to the War of the First Council is largely unknown, at least in regards to Sotha Sil himself, it is known he eventually became close friends with Indoril Nerevar and Queen Almalexia, close enough that he asked to be a member of the First Council, alongside Vivec. When the War of the First Council came about, Sotha Sil did, indeed, participate. During the Battle of the Red Mountain, Vivec asked Sotha Sil to come up with some plan to stop the Dwemer and their automatons from slaughtering the Chimer forces. Ironically, the solution Sotha Sil came up with was more automatons, thus the Clockwork Dreugh were borne. It is said they rose from the sea and took their Dwemeri counterparts back to the depths, never to be seen again.


Almalexia was beloved by her people – whether the Chimer before their downfall, or the Dunmer after the curse. She was known as the Lover and was famous for her compassion, sympathy, and ability to forgive. She was a protector of the weak, patron to teachers and to healers. Her history before marrying Indoril Nerevar is almost entirely unknown, but it is believed that, although she was not born in Mournhold – which, it should be noted, was itself a city within the city called Almalexia – she did reside there and was closely associated with House Indoril.


Sometime in the First Era, the temple on Mount Assamibibi holds that Molag Bal oversaw the ninety-nine lovers of Boethiah and it was there Almalexia was born. It is believed she was born to one of the Great Houses of Morrowind and Vivec’s sermons suggest she was already a ruler in her own right prior to ever meeting Nerevar, who himself was only a merchant’s guard at the time. The two undoubtedly fell in love and married, despite Nerevar being a full generation older than Almalexia.


Almalexia’s role in the War of the First Council – and, more specifically, the Battle of the Red Mountain – is unclear, but the most (in)famous theory is she helped her fellow Triune conspire to murder Nerevar. Whatever the case, Nerevar did die.


This is but a taste of the history of the Tribunal before their ascension to godhood. After the events of Red Mountain, Lord Indoril Nerevar bade his oldest friends, his most trusted comrades, counting his own wife among them, to never use the Heart of Lorkhan in such a profane manner as the Dwemer intended. He made them swear on Azura herself. And yet the Triune proved unable to resist the temptations of the Heart of Lorkhan. They killed Nerevar – or waited for him to die – and then used the Tools of Kagrenac – for more information, refer to my Dwemer report – on the Heart of Lorkhan, channeling and siphoning the divine essence of a dead god that was locked within and became gods. They became the Almsivi and they ruled over and were worshipped by the Dunmer people for millennia as nigh-omnipotent pseudo-deities with the exclusion of the Ashlanders, who maintain the exclusive tradition of only worshipping ancestors – notably, Azura, Mephala, and Boethiah; there is an entire cult within Ashlander religion that worships Nerevar as the Champion of Azura, but its numbers are small and its influence is weak, though strong enough that the contention that the Tribunal murdered Nerevar is actually derived from this cult. From First Era c. 700 to the fulfillment of the Nerevarine Prophecies (as seen in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – in Third Era 427, that’s over three thousand five hundred years – this is even more impressive when one considers that most mer typically die after two or three hundred years and though it is theoretically possible for an elf to live past a thousand years, very few do; there are less than 4 confirmed (4 exactly unconfirmed) elves in the Elder Scrolls who have lived as long as the Tribunal: Divayth Fyr, a Telvanni Wizard (Dunmer), Gelebor and Vyrthur (Falmer/Snow Elf, Vyrthur doesn’t really count as he is not only dead by the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard but his longevity was due to his vampiric blood, not his mer blood), and King Orgnum (Maormer, actual birth unconfirmed but widely speculated to be within the early Merethic Era (probably circa 2’000 ME), which makes him older than even Harkon and Fyr, who were both over 4’000 years old (rough estimate of Orgnum’s age is probably around 6’500 to 7’000 years old, assuming, of course, he is actually still alive and is actually a Maormer and not Satakal in mortal form; I digress).


(the popular theory, that Vivec [center], Sotha Sil [left], and Almalexia [far right] conspired to kill Nerevar [right], with Vivec himself delivering the killing blow)

Some years after Nerevar died, Sotha Sil discovered how to use the Tools of Kagrenac safely – it was well known to the Triune that former Councillor and compatrior Voryn Dagoth had attempted to use the Tools to achieve divinity but instead went horribly mad and was banished, stripped of all titles, presumed dead, and his House Dagoth was dissolved and absorbed by the other Great Houses. He called Vivec and Almalexia where he harnessed the divine power of the Heart of Lorkhan and transformed himself, Vivec, and Almalexia into gods. As before, I’ll begin with Vivec’s transformation.


Azura appeared to Vivec and the others and cursed the Tribunal and the Chimer, saying “…[my] champion, true to his oath, [returns] to punish [The Tribunal and] make sure such profane knowledge might never again be used to mock and defy the will of the gods…” Only Sotha Sil was brave enough to laugh and spurn Azura’s threat, chiding her and telling her that her – the Daedra in general – were done, that it was the Tribunal’s turn to be gods and that they would not fail in leading their people to glory. This was the moment everything changed. Azura’s curse took effect and the Chimer were turned into the Dunmer – including the Tribunal. Azura assured them this was the path they had chosen and all their kind would share their fate “…until the end of time…”.


The Dunmer were, understandably, confused to awaken with charred, ashen skin that had once been golden, that their eyes were now deep red, but Sotha Sil assured them it was a blessing. Not able to comprehend what had transpired, just that the Tribunal had become divine, the Dunmer accepted their fate and began to worship the three as their new gods, adding them to their traditions of worshipping ancestors, forming the new Tribunal Temple. The three founded new cities after their own names to act as their capitals. Vivec City was in Vvardenfell, the largest island in Morrowind. As their power grew, the Tribunal learned how to undo the curse on themselves, enabling them to appear Chimer again, if they wished. Vivec himself chose to embrace both who he was and who he had become, deciding to appear half-Chimer and half-Dunmer.


When directly asked if they had conspired to murder Nerevar, Vivec denied it – as did the Tribunal Temple, but in a way as if to suggest that of course Vivec hadn’t, but it was so long ago, so who really knew the truth? – and instead accredited the story to Alandro Sul, a disgruntled Ashlander who was the former shield-companion of Nerevar.


From their inception as deities, the Tribunal flourished and exhibited great power and heroism, but it was Vivec who flourished the most. Distinguishing himself as an unstoppable force of nature and a shrewd commander in what became called the Four-Score War, which began in 1E2840 and didn’t end until 1E2920, he was almost singlehandedly responsible for deliberating the de facto victory for the Dunmer with nothing but diplomatic prowess while signing the Cervant Truce in Caer Suvio in Cyrodiil. Early in the Second Era, he rose the sea to drive out the Second Akaviri Invasion – it is worth mentioning the Tribunal also thwarted the First Akaviri Invasion. He also had an unmatched understanding of history and even predicted the rise of General Talos which inevitably lead to his ceasing of hostile relations with Cyrodiil and forming an alliance with the Empire (though he and his fellow Tribunal members maintained that Morrowind would retain its autonomy).


Shortly after the Second Akaviri Invasion, in 2E582, Conoon Chodala, a false Nerevarine, attempted to steal Vivec’s power through Sotha Sil’s staff Sunna’rah, which gravely weakened Vivec. The Vestige and Seryn – a champion of Azura – rose to Vivec’s aid and defeated Chodala, one rare example of Azura showing Vivec – The Tribunal at all – favor, though it was only to protect Vvardenfell. However, before it could be recovered, both Sotha Sil’s staff and the drained energy of Vivec were seized by Clavicus Vile’s trusted minion, Barbas, who had disguised himself as Vivec’s high priest Archcanon Tarvus and now planned to use Vivec’s power to enter the Clockwork City. Unable to stop Vile due to his weakened state, Baar Dau fell ever closer to Vivec City, threatening the eruption of Red Mountain. Luckily, the Vestige and Seryn had remained and helped a still weak Vivec to foil Vile’s plots, eventually restoring Vivec to full strength.


(Conoon Chodala wields the Sunna'rah, stealing Vivec's power)

Vivec was the most active member of the Tribunal, prolific in both poetry and in the writing of his own versions of history and philosophy. As well as playing a role as a political leader, he was, and is still, considered a final authority to many esoteric and metaphysical concepts, such as the means of attaining divinity – the Walking Ways.


When the Chimer were cursed, Sotha Sil was one of the few able to resist Azura’s power, but he chose to keep his new Dunmer appearance. He believed the curse was actually a blessing, that the Dunmer were not evil but instead had been given the grace to become new. He wanted to lead his people in this belief with the additional fortune of being mer able to directly speak to their patrons – the Tribunal.


Sometime after the rise of the Tribunal, Sotha Sil constructed the Clockwork City to serve several purposes. He saw the creation of the Aedra – Nirn – as wholly flawed and desired to perfect it. It was meant to be the redemption of Tamriel, that it would unify competing forces and destroy the Daedra. His vision of a self-contained world made of brass and machinery was, to the say the least, incredibly ambitious, and he used highly advanced methods to see it through. He created the Celestiodrome, a massive glass globe that surrounded the entire realm and could be perceived as a sky by its inhabitants, capable of mimicking day-night cycles, with rotating girders installed to allow for the proper topography to form. In order to sustain life, he created the Halls of Regulation to make a breathable atmosphere, drinkable water, and the ideal humidity, temperature, wind currents, and more to create, sustain, and preserve life.


Much of Sotha Sil’s inspiration stems from the Dwemer, and their influence to his work is rumored to be traceable even as far back as their disappearance. Most famous among these influences was Sotha Sil’s research into Tonal Architecture. He refined it much further than even Kagrenac had been capable of, creating items based on their research, such as forks that could be used as divining rods. He also dove into the world of constructs, tinkering in ways beyond the most talented individuals. He created humanoid automatons known as Factotums that worked to maintain the Clockwork City. The early prototypes more closely resembled Dwarven automatons, constructed from both Dwemer and Clockwork parts. Ultimately, his style became his own and the city’s structures, vegetation, and wildlife are all mechanical constructs of his own design. He eventually created half-organic machines called Fabricants, which would become the first step Sotha Sil took into combining engineering and nature.


(the Throne Aligned, the seat of Sotha Sil's power in the Clockwork City)

Sotha Sil experimented endlessly with Soul Gems, to the point he eventually became entirely dissatisfied with them, constantly seeking new power sources for his creations. One such invention was the Animus geode, but their uses were limited. With Factotums, he came up with the Animo Core, a brass vessel that still used a soul gem, but in a much different way. Eventually, his tinkering with soul gems led Sotha Sil to be the first to reverse-engineer Black Soul Gems as a means of understanding eternal life. He used aging Temple Saints – Felms, Olms, and Llothis – as test subjects, transferring their souls into Black Soul Gems and placing them in Factotum bodies. Unfortunately, all test subjects, though their souls survived the process, they inevitably went completely insane, which led the study of Black Soul Gems to become banned by the Clockwork Apostles.


At some point towards the end of the First Era, Sotha Sil spent some time on Artaeum, even teaching many of the new Psijic Mages of that time period. While there, he did more studying of Dwemer creations and made improvements on his Clockwork creations. He left some behind on Artaeum.


After her ascension, Almalexia wielded her divine power for the protection and benefit of the Dunmer for thousands of years. Where Sotha Sil preferred to remain aloof, sticking to his clockwork ambitions, Vivec and Almalexia preferred to pursue the betterment of their people, taking very active roles in leading their people. Her acts of amazing kindness are countless. It is said the Blessing of Almalexia held extraordinary powers  - such as protecting a person from the effects of Corprus. Saint Felms was said to have been inspired by Almalexia’s voice that he heard in his head. The Hands of Almalexia, her personal guard, are believed to have been among the greatest warriors in all of Tamriel. Like Vivec, she wrote extensively, though she mostly stuck to children’s fables and other works meant to nurture the morality of her people, rather than the cerebral, spiritual guidance of Vivec’s writings.


At the end of the First Era, Mehrunes Dagon destroyed Mournhold but was eventually defeated by Almalexia and Sotha Sil. The fictional work 2920, The Last Year of the First Era suggests that Almalexia foresaw the end of the Four-Score War and the fall of Reman Dynasty.


In the early Second Era, Almalexia fought alongside Wulfharth, repelling the Second Akaviri Invasion led by Ada’Soom Dir-Kamal. The actual target of the invasion is unclear – some suggest the Kamal were invading north-east Skyrim while others propose it was actually Morrowind they were targeting. Wulfharth’s involvement – specifically his alliance with the Tribunal – is equally unclear, considering, prior to this event, he was one of the Tribunal’s greatest enemies – Jorunn the Skald-King refutes this, that Wulfharth fought uneasily alongside the Tribunal, that he had been summoned by the Greybeards. However, it also contradicts the defeat of the Kamal, that it was the combined might of Skyrim and the Tribunal that repelled the Akaviri, defeating them at last in Stonefalls, while the Tribunal claims it was Vivec himself who rose the sea to swallow the Kamal, saving the tired, still fighting Nordic, Dunmer, and Argonian forces – forces Jorunn the Skald-King doesn’t even acknowledge. And yet, Mysterious Akavir claims Dir-Kamal himself was actually defeated at Red Mountain.


(a bust to First Councillor Lord Indoril Nerevar, the Sun and Moon of Azura)

Following the Second Akaviri Invasion, Almalexia was a strong supporter of the Ebonheart Pact. It was she who convinced all the Great Houses – well, with the exception of House Telvanni – to join the Pact. During the Alliance War of 2E582, Deshaan was threatened by the Maulborn Cult, who sought to topple the Tribunal and reinstate the worship of Daedra. They were led by Magistrix Urili Vox, who was once a handmaiden of Almalexia, who turned against the Lady of Mercy following her own son’s execution, but she ultimately failed to bring down Almalexia, much less the rest of the Tribunal.


The Tribunal would know a short term of peace before 2E882 when Voryn Dagoth, rechristened Dagoth Ur, awoke beneath Red Mountain. Somehow, his essence had not been fully destroyed and he and his kin lay dreaming beneath the sills of Red Mountain – the Long Sleep. Though his body had died, Dagoth Ur had formed a unique connection to the Heart of Lorkhan and had become the False Dreamer, that despite his death, the Sharmat dreamt he had lived – a report for another time, this one is already quite long-winded as it is – so he and his seven kin survived and were revived. Upon their awakening, he and his kin moved to the Heart Chamber and Dagoth Ur bound his siblings to the heart in a ritual of his own design. This would be the beginning of the construction of a new Numidium – Akulakhan – which would be tended to by his seven heart-wight brothers and atronachs.


(Dagoth Ur awakening from the Long Sleep)

Later in the same year, Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec made their annual return to Red Mountain, a process they disguised as a pilgrimage but was actually their way to get to the Heart of Lorkhan to restore their divine powers with Kagrenac’s Tools. Ur had been careful to not be discovered by the Tribunal and, upon the Almsivi’s arrival, he ambushed them. Ur and his heart-wight Ash Vampires repelled the Tribunal and eventually expelled them from Red Mountain.


The return of Dagoth Ur and subsequent weakening of the Almsivi due to being unable to restore their power came at a crucial moment in Morrowind’s history. Tiber Septim had only just risen and his rapidly expanding empire was already decades in the making and, despite the daunting task of taking on the Tribunal, he desperately needed the ebony and his dream of a fully united Tamriel had him finally set his sights on Morrowind. Initial skirmishes were only between the Empire and the forces of a few of the Great Houses, but mutual reservations grew between the Almsivi and Septim, both of whom were reluctant to face each other. Looming over the head of the Almsivi was also the threat of Dagoth Ur, who held hatred for both the Triune and the Empire. This led to Vivec’s signing of the Armistice. Morrowind maintained its autonomy and religions and cultures while the Empire could consider Morrowind an Imperial Province and Septim himself was gifted the Brass God – Numidium.


(Dagoth Ur's fortress-home of Kogoruhn)

Many of the Dunmer felt betrayed by their gods for reaching peace with their enemies and allowing outlanders to enter and Dagoth Ur took advantage of the dissent and persuaded many to his cause – though many of his recruits were compelled by the power Dagoth Ur now had over dreams, a sort of compulsion. In fact, Dagoth Ur’s shadow immortality had gifted him with many supernatural abilities. Alongside his Dream Compulsion, he could also spread the Blight through massive Ash Storms, cloaking the sky and blotting out the sun. It killed flora, fauna, and citizen alike and what didn’t die from it was afflicted by a litany of diseases, most notable of which was the Divine Disease Corprus, also concocted by Dagoth Ur himself, which mutated the individual to bloated, grotesque forms, warping the afflicted to the point their minds shattered. The weak-willed that were affected by Corprus warped so badly they became deranged, Corprus Monsters and the stronger of these creatures became the various Ash Creatures – Corprus Stalkers, Ash Zombies, Ash Slaves, Ash Ghouls, Ascended Creepers. Dagoth Ur was a mad god who believed the end justified the means and that his will was right for the Dunmer people. He heard naught but laughter and love and yet only created monsters and ghouls. His curse and creations were seen as a gift by him. The mutilation of Dunmer skin from his mutations he saw as shedding their cursed skin brought upon them by the wickedness of the Tribunal.


Though Dagoth Ur could not physically leave Red Mountain, another of his abilities was to instill his consciousness within his followers, by which he could extend them as his own hands. He eventually came under the possession of Wraithguard, one of Kagrenac’s Tools. With Wraithguard, the Tribunal dared not pass their own Ghostfence, even to attempt to rescue the allies that were being rapidly captured by Dagoth Ur. Eventually, Almalexia and Sotha Sil withdrew, leaving Vivec to stand alone against Dagoth Ur, his power the only thing supporting the Ghostfence – which was a huge barrier of pure magicka erected around Red Mountain to keep Dagoth Ur at bay – an effort which taxed his already draining power to the point he could no longer even leave his own palace. With Vivec struggling to maintain the barrier and the others out of the conflict, Dagoth Ur was free to finish the construction of Akulakhan, but it was not to last.


(whether weakened by Chodala or Dagoth Ur, the Ministry of Truth and the Lie Rock, always loomed overtop Vivec City, held aloft by Vivec's power before it finally fell in the Fourth Era)

In 3E427, the Nerevarine arrived. This outlander to Morrowind was prophesied by Azura to rectify the sins of the Tribunal. Knowing better than to dismiss Azura, both Vivec and Dagoth Ur prepared for the Nerevarine’s arrival as best they could, though they knew not when, where, or even by whom the prophecy would be fulfilled. The Nerevarine eventually met with Vivec, who offered advice on how to defeat Dagoth Ur, despite knowing that the fall of Dagoth Ur would mean the Heart of Lorkhan’s destruction which also meant he would lose his divinity. Dagoth Ur promised the Nerevarine power and even offered Akulakhan as a gift, but, ultimately, the fear, hatred, and betrayal he had instilled in his followers left the Mad God unable to understand the Nerevarine, who eventually severed Dagoth Ur’s link to the Heart of Lorkhan, destroying Akulakhan and making Dagoth Ur mortal once again. Though still a mighty sorcerer, the Nerevarine defeated Dagoth Ur and put an end to this ancient evil, once and for all.


With the return of Azura’s greatest champion, it heralded doom for the Tribunal. Their time was coming to an end. With the destruction of the enchantments on the Heart of Lorkhan, it, itself, was also destroyed, and all those who had stolen power from the Heart lost their divine spark.


Vivec disappeared. No longer supported by his magic, Baar Dau finally fell in 4E5, destroying Vivec City and triggering a chain of natural disasters, most notable of which was the eruption of Red Mountain. Relief efforts did bring the Dunmer back together, but it also weakened them, leading to the Argonian invasion of mainland Morrowind, forcing much of the surviving Dunmer to flee to Skyrim, Solstheim, and dozens of settlements elsewhere. The fall of Baar Dau orchestrated the end of worship of the Tribunal. Vivec’s fate remains a mystery, though he lives on as Saint Vivec, no longer a god, no longer a false god.


(after Dagoth-Ur's death, Almalexia changed drastically as she became mortal)

With the undoing of the Tribunal, Almalexia began to notice she had begun to change. Those around her called her Warrior Queen rather than Lady of Mercy. Her closest friends and allies knew her to be a wholly different person, one who was obsessed with maintaining her self-image, even at the expense of all other things. In lieu of her divine power, Almalexia used her knowledge of ancient and powerful relics to inflict terrible punishments on her people for their lack of faith, such as covering her capital city in a huge Ash Storm. Her madness also led to a new goal: to become the singular god of the Dunmer – and to destroy all who stood in her way. She deigned to trick, trap, and destroy the Nerevarine when he came to visit. To that end, she first entered the Clockwork City and slew Sotha Sil. She then unleashed the clockwork constructs into her old city, believing this would frame her old friend. The ruse worked, luring the Nerevarine to the Clockwork City where she hoped he would be killed by the constructs within. When the Nerevarine proved his survival, she attempted to kill him herself, but her already severely weakened power caused her failure and she died at the hands of the Nerevarine, cursing her fate and calling Vivec a fool – Vivec himself expressed nothing but sadness and pity for the death of his fallen, deranged lover. Azura professed that the death of Almalexia was a blessing for Morrowind, that she would have betrayed everyone, in the end.


(a statue to Almalexia in Solstheim)

By the time Dagoth Ur had returned, Sotha Sil had already shed his mortality and no longer cared whether he lived or died – in fact, Azura attests that Sotha Sil might have been actively trying to die, that death would have been a relief to the Clockwork God. He had already placed himself in almost total isolation, where once had been the most loving of the Tribunal, even more than Vivec or Almalexia. He could feel the stress of his people and assigned them no more than they could bear. It is said that his betrayal to Indoril Nerevar led to his completely flipped morality. Before his final act of total isolation, he met one last time with his peer, Divayth Fyr, where he confided the disappearance of the Dwemer, his true nature, and the location of the Clockwork City, among other things – all this despite predicting he would never meet Fyr again. He even predicted that his friend, Almalexia, would come and kill him. Despite this, he continued work on his Mechanical Heart – a construct he hoped would be a facsimile of the Heart of Lorkhan – and though progress was consistent, it would never be finished in time. The day of her betrayal arrived, just as Sotha Sil predicted. When she arrived, he said not one word, leading Almalexia to believe that, even in death, he continued to mock her – in truth, he could not speak, as he was linked to the control center of the Celestiodome and was incapable of physical action. With his dying breath, he tried to use the control center to seal away the Heart Chamber to prevent the Heart from falling into the hands of the wicked and avoid the Clockwork City’s destruction even with his death. He barely succeeded and his machines have continued to work on the Mechanical Heart within.


Two hundred years after his death, his machines finished construction of the Mechanical Heart, in 4E201. Where Vivec is worshipped as a Saint and Almalexia is held in slightly lower regard, Sotha Sil himself is venerated still as one of the greatest of Dunmeri faith, though he no longer is considered a cornerstone of their religions. In fact, there still exists a cult that worships Sotha Sil on Solstheim, revealed in the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, though it is unknown if the Last Dragonborn aids the cult or destroys it.


And such that it is, the birth, rise, and fall of the Tribunal, three of the most powerful, most cunning, and most foolish pseudo-gods Tamriel has ever seen.

(above - the mechanical heart; right - the New Temple banner)

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Fimvul is the current master of the Skyforge Library. Interested in the Elder Scrolls from a young age, he has been diving headfirst into the richer aspects of the lore of the series for over a decade. With years of experience and research under his belt, he hopes to enlighten his readers with the wondrous mystery that surrounds the Elder Scrolls universe.

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