The Elder Scrolls

There Are Two Named Talos,

Content of the article: "There Are Two Named Talos,"

A letter written by Altmeri historian and theologian Luthiel Pallashin Celawen to his colleague Sera Belvasi in 4E 200.

In my studies of Nordic theology and faith I have made a troubling yet curious discovery.

As you may know, my research has brought me to many fringe groups in Skyrim, many of whom still swear by the oral traditions that predate anything Nordic on Tamriel. Indeed, these stories originate from Atmora, with minimal change from their original. They are half mythology, detailing the beliefs and practices of an ancient Atmoran cult, and half history, detailing the legendary civil war which made so many sons and daughters of Atmora journey south and east.

Firstly, this history. Once, upon Atmora’s icey shores, there were two cults vying for control. They were both similar in that they were doomsday cults, and their theology revolved around the twilight of the world. One is still infamous to this day: the Dragon Cult. They worshipped the dragonic race, and Alduin above all. Especially his role as world-eater, and celebrated this necessary destruction of the world. The other has a name I found most disturbing: the Stormcrown Cult, the Talos Cult. Indeed, this cult venerated a yet-to-be-born saviour who would arise amongst the races of men in the end days, and fulfill the purpose of the Dovahkiin by slaying Alduin. Dov-ah-kiin, in this case, meaning ‘Born Hunter of Dragonkind,’ and not Dovah-kiin, meaning ‘Born as a Dragon.’ Obviously these two cults had directly opposing world views, and Atmorans did as Atmorans are want to do, fight fiercely and bitterly in the ‘Twilight Wars.’ In the end the Dragon Cult emerged victorious, although more wary of heresy than before. This new found religious zealotry seems to have been the catalyst for the rebellion that would eventually spell annihilation for them. How ironic.

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As for the Talos Cult, they were reduced to scarcity and hiding. Their beliefs I have recovered from ancient hymns and mantras, and are as follows: Talos will be the title (Cloak, mantle, crown?) of a mortal Dragonborn, who will not be a pre-existing deity such as Shor, Tsun or Kyne. They very specifically will be new and unique to the world that births them, and could be considered the ‘avatar’ of that cycle. This mortal will then combat Alduin in the Last War, fighting them for the fate of the world. Perhaps this is metaphorical of that world fighting for its right to exist, to prove itself? Regardless, I feel confident in saying that this is not Tiber Septim, who was called Talos and is still called Talos, who does not seem to have been born at the twilight of the world. (Certainly, the world has spun on six hundred years since his birth.)

So, there are two named Talos. A false god, who stole the name, and a messiah yet to arrive. Additionally, most of these hymns and mantras I described earlier seem to have been altered to avoid being branded as heresy. Whereas they once freely used the word ‘Talos’ or ‘Stormcrown,’ they now only use the words for ‘Dragonborn,’ or occasionally, ‘The Last Dragonborn.’ Only time will tell if a figure will arise to take this crown and title, but I suspect not. Nordic mythology is significantly more ahistorical and fictional than our own beliefs as elves, no?

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