Elder Scrolls Lore: Daedric Prince Malacath

Some gods are born. Others are made. And yet others… are damned. Such as it was with the elven god Trinimac.

There came a time in Tamriel’s distant past, when the elves of the Summerset Isles grew restless. The Daedric Lord Boethiah, who had stoked the fires of resentment within their hearts; encouraged the elven Chimer to break away from their brothers and sisters, and forge a new land for themselves. The hero-god Trinimac, whom these elves had worshipped for a time, took great offense at the words of Boethiah and stood to bar their way; to stop the Daedra’s venomous words from dividing his people. It was then that Boethiah herself materialized, and did fierce battle with Trinimac, ultimately defeating the warrior god and, according to some accounts, going so far as to literally devour him. When it was over, Boethiah spoke to the Chimer with Trinimac’s own voice and encouraged the renegade elves to move boldly forward and forge for themselves a new destiny. Thus what we would call Morrowind, came to be.

That was not the end for Trinimac however. The remains of the fallen god were transformed, with spasms of rage, shame and dishonor.  Out of this horrific transformation the Daedric Prince we call, Malacath, god of the spurned and ostracized, took shape. After rubbing the remains of Trinimac upon their bodies, Trinimac’s own followers were changed as well. They became the Orsimer; the Pariah Folk commonly referred to as “Orcs”.

Millennia pasted…

Detested as cruel and violent savages at best and feral beast-men at worst, the Orcs have used their strength, ferocity and mastery of the arts of war to carve out a life for themselves. The most traditional of Orcs live in strongholds apart from man and mer, in accordance with their devotion to Malacath.

Despite being loved and revered by most Orcs, in the late 3rd Era there was a splinter group of Orcs living in the capital of Orsiniumwho maintained that Malacath was in fact a false god and a demon. Soon a priesthood was established that was devoted to the living god Trinimac and committed to the belief that the demon Malacath exists solely to ensure the Orcs remain outsiders forevermore. Their words and ideas were considered heresy by the overwhelming majority of Orcs, and as such, many in Orsinium live in fear of the day the foul and terrible Malacath comes to destroy them.

Elder Scrolls Skyrim Orc Lore

Because of Malacath’s origins, the other Daedric Princes seem to disregard him. This scorning of his status amongst his peers is curiously appropriate considering his sphere of influence. Malacath represents the outcast, the exile, the downtrodden and abandoned. It only makes sense he should suffer the same.

The plane of Oblivion where Malacath dwells is known as the Ashpit. It is assumed that it came into existence alongside Malacath himself. Like the other pockets of Oblivion, it seems to mirror the persona of its master, and is comprised accordingly. It is characterized as a place of betrayal, emptiness, anguish and broken promises where the atmosphere is ash and mortals cannot survive without magical assistance. Still, as was recorded in the Fourth Era, the Ashpit contains one sanctuary where mortals may safely traverse.

This pocket of the Ashpit has been described as an “echo of something that once was.” In this place resides a thicket of slender trees, with endless vines of lily-like flowers wound about their trunks. Here the sky is colorless and has an eerie way about it.  The location appears to hold great emotional attachment for Malacath, and is believed to be a garden devoted to the memory of the god Trinimac, from whose tortured remains Malacath did rise. This belief has never been substantiated.

Malacath is considered one of the “Four Corners” of the Dunmer House of Troubles, along with Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and the madgod Sheogorath.

Skywind Malacath

It was these four Daedric Princes who refused to recognize the authority of the immensely powerful Tribunal, and thus became great sources of strife and discontent amongst the five Great Houses of the Dunmer as Malacath and his kin actively sought to undermine the divine rulership of the renegade man-gods.

The Dark Elves view Malacath as a force by which they are physically tested, and thus made strong. It is true that Malacath revels in combat, and greatly enjoys watching mortals battle each other to the death. Despite his reputation for ferocity and conflict however, he is renowned for his great sense of honor and deep level of affection and concern for his followers, particularly the Orsimer. As such the majority of Orcs remain fiercely loyal to him, despite Malacath’s often extreme methods. He is said to relish in the death of the weak and careless, because like many Daedric Princes, he recognizes strength, and will often reward mortals with his powerful artifacts.

The Daerdric artifact Volendrung has fooled many mortals by camouflaging itself as a mundane, unenchanted war-hammer. It has appeared at pivotal points in history, such as during the wars of the Imperial Simulacrum and later, during the chaos of the events known as the Warp in the West. Before Malacath had influence over the weapon however, it is said that the hammer was originally created by the ingenious Dwemer.

This weapon originally belonged to the chieftain of the Rourken Dwemer clan. In Dwarven mythology his clan had refused to join the rest of the Dwemer when they allied themselves with Boethiah’s Chimer.

How Malacath came to possess Volendrung after the Dwemer is unknown. What is known is that the hammer now embodies the power of Malacath as one of his most sought-after relics.

A lesser known artifact imparted to mortals from Malacath is the mace called Scourge. Also known as the “Bane of Daedra”, this brutal weapon is dedicated to the banishment of Daedra for the sake of Man and Mer. Should it be used on any Daedra they are immediately banished to the Void that exists outside of the known realms. Scourge has the ability to not only exile monsters to the emptiness of the Void; it can also summon Daedra such as Dremora to act on the wielder’s behalf.

Used to vanquish the minions of Mehrunes Dagon and to battle the Daedra Lords in the name of the Septim Dynasty, the Daedric Scourge has come into play any time the realm of Oblivion has threatened Mundus. The artifact is believed to still wander the land in the possession of various adventurers who seek to banish Daedra from their world.

TES Malacath Ashpit

Malacath continues to be regarded as the one of the more evil of Daedric Princes and is considered loathsome and despicable as are his followers, the barbaric and deeply mistrusted Orcs. It is his bloodlust and outright hostility that marks him as among the most violent and vicious of the Lords residing in Oblivion. Yet this supposed “abomination” has also repeatedly shown mercy, valor and great concern both for his disciples and for the mortals residing on Nirn. Malacath tends to the needs of his children, the Orcs, and of all those who have been rejected by society. It is this combination of malicious sadism and paternal concern that is the cornerstone of the relationship between the Daedric Princes and the mortals they preside over. This blend of deep affection and venomous scorn are also close friends to the Prince of Dusk and Dawn. She too has shown both compassion and limitless fury to those who displease her. Like Malacath himself, she has permanently marked the denizens of Tamriel in her own way, going so far as to help create a new people, race, and culture.

But that- is a story for another day…