Throughout the ranks of all the gods of Man and Mer, there is no other such as she. She is called Mother Soul, and revered by both the Dunmer and the Khajiit as the one from whom they came to be. She is infinite, wondrous Azura, the embodiment of transition and change.
Considered to be one of the three “good” Daedra of Morrowind along with dark Mephala and the savage Boethiah, Azura is regarded as one of the more benevolent of the Daedric Lords. It is true that her actions have been useful to the various causes of mortals on many occasions over the recorded history of Nirn. But to deem Azura’s motivations to be “good” as opposed to “evil”, in the way that mortals understand these concepts, is a most dangerous delusion to have. In contrast to actions of compassion and kindness on her part have been episodes of a fearsome, pitiless rage cut through with a streak of pure spite. That malice has in the past been visited upon unfortunate beings. This is never more evident than in the accounts relating to the emergence of the Dark Elves.
There is a very old fable told around the cook-fires late at night that speak of how a very old, very wise Dwemer once duped the all-knowing, all understanding Azura with a feat of simple sleight of hand.
At the end of his life, this old Dwarf was consumed with the question of the upper limits of divine power. With the reluctant help of an old friend from among the Chimer priests, the old Dwarf summoned Azura and requested she prove to him that she truly is all-knowing.
With his students looking on, the Dwemer placed a featureless box before Azura, and asked simply that she tell him what was within. Annoyed at such a trivial display of her vast powers, Azura immediately declared that the box held a red petalled flower. The old Dwarf was silent as he gravely opened the box to reveal that it was completely empty. When all had turned their attention from the box back to the Daedric Prince Azura, she had vanished.
Only the Chimer priest had seen Azura before she departed, and her expression had turned his knees to water. The old Dwemer sage had very nearly collapsed as well, weakened not by superstitious terror, but from the giddy excitement of confirming a long held belief that could never have been proven. The gods held unimaginable strength but they were not all powerful…they could be fooled. While his students carried the laughing Dwarf back to his chambers, a single, red flower petal fell from the folds of his robe.
The wise old Dwemer died peacefully in his sleep that very night.
This legend makes a subtle hint that the sudden departure of the Dwemer may have had less to do with their vile abuse of ancient relics…and more to do with the frightening indignation of an omnipotent goddess who had been fooled by one lonely, dying old Dwarf. But it is a myth …nothing more.
Along with the Dunmer, Azura is also worshipped by the Khajiit, who revere the Daedric Prince as the mother of their species. According to Khajiit myth, Azura is one of the many children borne of the primordial gods who created the universe and its planes, of which Nirn is one and Oblivion, another. For her loyalty Azura was rewarded by one of these most ancient of deities with three gifts, and instructed to choose a species amongst the children of Nirn to bestow them upon. According to the Khajiit, these gifts were then given to the fastest, most beautiful and clever creatures in all the world. Taken from amongst the Aldmer; those who were described as “forest people torn between man and beast”, Azura’s chosen ones transformed into the various forms of the Khajiit, and the cycles of their lives were bound by Azura to the two moons Masser and Secunda.
Azura’s realm of Oblivion is called Moonshadow, and it is here that the Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn sits upon a throne of roses. Her domain is an extraordinary place of perfumed air, sparkling waterfalls and cities of silver. It has been said that all the colors in Moonshadow run like water, and accounts describe it as a place of such overwhelming beauty that those who see it are literally half-blinded by their mortal inability to process such overpowering splendor.
Azura has presented the world with a Daedric artifact known as the Star of Azura. It is a soul gem designed to hold the life force of defeated enemies for later use in the art of enchanting. Unlike other soul gems, Azura’s Star is the only re-usable gem in existence. While other lesser gems are destroyed when drawn upon, Azura’s Star is everlasting, and can trap any soul, no matter its size. In the hands of one who has properly learned the craft of Enchantment, Azura’s Star is an asset of truly monumental power. As such, it has been sought after by an endless array of wizards, assassins and warriors.
The other artifact attributed to Azura is the Moon and Star Ring. Forged by Dwemer master smiths, this ring was blessed by Azura herself and intended to be worn by one person and one person only…Indoril Nerevar, chieftain of the Chimer. It was the Ring’s constant and powerful persuasion enchantment that aided the charismatic Nerevar in bringing together the various battling clans of the Chimer to form the historic First Council, whose members included even the Dwemer.
It also provided absolute proof of Nerevar’s identity, since any other mortal who dared attempt to use the Ring would be killed immediately. It was the Moon and Star Ring that would later play a pivotal part in the Nerevarine Prophecies, since it confirmed for all to see that the reincarnation of Lord Indoril Nerevar had risen to unite the five Great Houses of the Dunmer with the barbaric clans of the Ashlanders.
Azura’s influence continues to resonate throughout the world of mortals. Despite her reputation as one of the three good Daedra by the Dark Elves of Morrowind, she has shown time and time again that she will always get exactly what she wants, even if it puts the welfare of her followers and other mortals into the greatest of peril. Perhaps she truly does feel concern for the lives of those who cross her path or find themselves chosen by her, but it is essential to always remember that Azura is a Daedric Prince, and that her motivations will never truly be comprehensible to the limited perceptions of man and mer. While Azura has in the past been referred to as “devious”, even her furtive ways are transparent in comparison to those of Mephala; she who is called the Webspinner. Like the spider she is often likened to, Mephala plucks the threads of mortal lives for her amusement. It was dark Mephala who would teach the Chimer the ways of stealthy evasion and the art of swift and silent murder.
But that…is a story for another day.