Skyrim: The Imperial Creation Myth, Explained

The various races found in Tamriel all have their own version of events that caused the universe to be created, with each religion having a slightly different take on the matter. Unlike many real-world religions, however, the series of events seems to be relatively consistent across many beliefs and, alongside confirmation of the existence of the gods they worship, players are able to get a good idea of how the world was created.

The most prominent religion in Tamriel, as well as the easiest to find information on in The Elder Scrolls series, is the Imperial Pantheon, consisting of the Eight Divines that serves as a basis for many other religions on the continent. This religion has a very distinct view of how the world was created that also adds some much-appreciated context to the nature of the Divines, Daedric Princes, and other celestial beings.


Before the creation of the universe, there were two all-powerful, celestial beings known as Anu and Padomay. These beings represented order and chaos respectively, existing in a balance with one another.

Over time, they created more life by giving birth to their own souls, which became known as Anui-El and Sithis respectively. While Anui-El isn’t spoken of much in The Elder Scrolls lore, many players will recognize Sithis as the patron deity of the Dark Brotherhood alongside the mysterious Night Mother.

The Birth Of Auri-El And Lorkhan

After being born from Anu and Padomay, both Anui-El and Sithis created even more life in the form of Auri-El, who is given the spotlight in the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim, and Lorkhan, a god that is either revered or despised by the people of Tamriel depending on their religious beliefs and race.

Auri-El subsequently brought the concept of time into existence, with many more beings coming into existence following this who would become known as the et’Ada, the progenitors of both the Divines and the Daedric Princes.

Lorkhan’s Plan For Mundus

Although Anu and Padomay’s struggles were creating various planes of existence for the et’Ada, there were many among them who were unsatisfied with their lives and sought another way to live. It was then that Lorkhan proposed that they made a new plane of existence, Mundus, for them to inhabit with their own mortal creations and managed to convince a large number to join his cause.

Those who joined Lorkhan’s plan became known as the Aedra, some of which would later be known as the Divines in modern religions, while those who chose not to join became the Daedra. With the help of Magnus, the god of magic, Lorkhan’s plan to create a mortal realm began, which is where many race’s interpretations of the god differ depending on how they view the god.

The Creation Of Mundus

What Lorkhan failed to tell the Aedra is that, as a result of creating Mundus, the Aedra would lose a piece of themselves in the process. While Anu and Padomay were infinite beings and would always exist, their offspring were not and could potentially lose their lives in the process of creating this new world.

With Lorkhan’s betrayal known to his kin, many of the Aedra abandoned the process before its completion, fleeing the mortal realm before it could claim their divinity.

Lorkhan’s Betrayal

With Lorkhan’s betrayal now clearly known among his kind, those who were involved in the process of creating Mundus sought to punish him for his actions, creating the Adamantine Tower to decide his fate, ultimately tearing his heart from his body and splitting what remained into two pieces.

While the divine beings were satisfied with the punishment, it was some time before they decided what to do with their former brethren and many other events transpired before the Dawn Era transitioned into the Merethic Era.

The Creation Of Oblivion

The divine beings who didn’t participate in the creation of Mundus, the Daedra, used a similar plan to that of the creation of Mundus, using their own bodies to create a new realm that would become Oblivion and leaving the rest of their kind to their fates while they chose to stay in this new realm.

Because they are intrinsically tied to their respective planes of Oblivion, it is exceedingly difficult for a Daedric Prince to be killed outright, as they will simply reform in their world after the destruction of their bodies, as was the case for Mehrunes Dagon following their destruction by Martin Septim as the vessel for Akatosh.

Magnus And The Formation Of Magic

Like many others of his kind, Magnus, the architect of the creation of Mundus, left the mortal realm before its completion, tearing open a rift through Oblivion that allowed magic to flow naturally into Nirn. This portal then became Nirn’s sun, also named Magnus, and has led many to believe that the sun is a portal to the realm of the Divines, Aetherium.

Many of the other et’Ada, who would later be known as the Magna Ge, followed Magnus to Aetherium, creating many smaller portals that would become the stars in the sky after their departure.

The Dawn Of Mortals

A group of the et’Ada, who refused to abandon the project so close to its completion, cast aside their divinity and chose to live on Nirn as the mortal race, the Ehlnofay, the progenitors of all mortal races on Nirn.

The Ehlnofay are considered by the elves to be their true ancestors and is the main reason why they are so obsessed with reclaiming their divinity, as well as the source of their hatred towards Lorkhan. In their eyes, Lorkhan was the cause of them no longer being able to live as gods and seek to stamp him out wherever they find him as retribution for his actions.

The Fate Of Lorkhan

Following the destruction of Lorkhan’s body, the Aedra tried and failed to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan, which was eventually tied to an arrow and fired into the ocean. Where the arrow landed resulted in the creation of Vyrdenfell, the volcano of Red Mountain, while his body was split in two and cast into the sky to become the twin moons of Nirn, Messer and Secunda.

The Adamantine Tower would later be used by the Direnni Clan and become a major plot point in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, while the Heart of Lorkhan and Vyrdenfell was a central focus of the following title, Morrowind.

The Beginning Of The Merethic Era

Once Mundus’ creation was finished, the Divines tied themselves to the realm in order to survive before returning to Aetherius to allow time to flow naturally and life to flourish on its own.

In the process of leaving the mortal realm, the Eight Divines created the eight other planets in Nirn’s solar system, being visible to the mortals who worshipped them for thousands of years afterward while also sparking the beginning of a new era that would later be known as the Merethic Era, the point in time preceding the First Era by around 2,500 years.

Next: Skyrim: 9 Things You Didn’t Know About The Draugr

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Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.

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