Lore:Sithis

Lore: Gods: S

This article is about the god. For the book, see Sithis (book).

Statue of Sithis

Sithis, also known as Padomay, Akel, Is-Not, or El[1], is a representation of the one primordial state of chaos. Sithis is most often associated with the Dark Brotherhood, an assassin organization dedicated to his worship. He is often associated with serpent-like imagery, and small aspects of Sithis have even been known to reveal themselves in the form of ghostly serpents.[2]

Despite being revered as a god, Sithis is not seen as either Aedric or Daedric, but the embodiment and personification of chaos, change, and the Void, a realm beyond Oblivion and Aetherius where the vestiges of slain Daedra are banished to while they reform.[3] To kill or to be killed in the name of Sithis will send a mortal's soul to the Void upon death as well.[4]

Origin and CreationEdit

Variations on the story of Sithis exist in many Tamriellic Pantheons. In most of these, Sithis is related in some way to a version of Anuiel, the personification and embodiment of order and stasis, and ends with him creating the god Lorkhan so that he can in turn create the Mundus.

In Khajiiti creation stories, Fadomai and Ahnurr were mates and gave birth to the litters of the Aedra and then the Daedra. Though Ahnurr was content with this, Fadomai secretly tricked Ahnurr into helping create one last litter, angering him. Interestingly, the roles of creator and aggressor are flipped in this particular story, with Ahnurr attacking Fadomai during the birth of Nirni and the Moons. Following his attack, Fadomai flees to the Void to birth her final member of the litter, Lorkhaj, who creates the Mundus for Nirni to exist within and tricks the rest of the gods to become trapped in it.[5]

Yokudans see Sithis and Anuiel as a single being known as 'Satakal', a giant serpent constantly eating its own tail in an endless cycle. To avoid being eaten by Satakal, Spirits hopped from scale to scale in a way that became known as 'the Walkabout'. The Second Serpent, Sep, claimed to have an idea for a way to avoid Satakal and the Walkabout by creating a new world. Once again, this creation traps the other spirits within and makes them mortal and unable to leave this world, which was too far separated from Satakal.[1]

Though Argonian society as a whole doesn't have an established singular creation story, the Adzi-Kostleel tribe claims that two beings, Atak and Kota, fought until they joined together as a singular being known as Atakota. When they did this, they shed their skin and created a Shadow. This Shadow, though initially intending to devour everything, soon came to see the creations of Atakota as its own children, and instead gave them the gift of change, which would later come to be known as Death.[6]

In the Altmeri mythos, Sithis was created as 'the sum of all limits' by Anuiel, the soul of Anu, so that Anuiel could create borders and define himself. As Sithis isn't an active being in this story, Anuiel instead has the role of creating Lorkhan, who is created when Anu creates the soul of his soul, Auriel, and time begins. Lorkhan, again, tricks the gods into becoming trapped in the mortal world, full of limitations like himself, which was then known as 'the house of Sithis'.[1]

The Dunmer believe that the birth of Sithis was the start of creation, as the everlasting stasis of Anu meant nothing could ever change. Sithis broke the nothing and creating ideas that ebbed and flowed out of it. Anuiel, the demon, came later and created the Aedra in order to counter him by building 'everlasting, imperfect worlds'. To counter this, Sithis begat Lorkhan, who created the mortal world and allowed things to once again decay by trapping the other gods within.[7] The Dark Brotherhood, having split off from the Dunmeri organization known as the Morag Tong, seems to share this belief, as this story can be found in many of their hideaways.

WorshipEdit

Despite being recognized in most Tamrielic religions, Sithis is rarely publicly worshiped, and for good reason. Most organizations dedicated to Sithis tend to be assassin guilds first and foremost. As mentioned earlier, the Dark Brotherhood is one such organization, and has ties all throughout Tamriel. Their worship of Sithis involves multiple intermediates. The lower ranking members of each branch answer to a Listener, who in turn communes with the supposed bride of Sithis, known as the Night Mother.[8] To get in contact with a member of the Dark Brotherhood, one only needs to construct an effigy of the intended victim and pray to the Night Mother, and a representative of the Dark Brotherhood will soon contact you.[9] Though brutally effective assassins, their method of worship is extremely macabre. Their effigies to Sithis often incorporate bones or organs of some kind, and even their telltale symbol is a bloody handprint.[8][10]

The Morag Tong is yet another assassin organization that's dedicated to Sithis, though unlike the Dark Brotherhood their organization is both legal and an accepted part of Dunmeri society. Instead of relying on gory rituals, they take writs of execution from the various Houses, committing the political assassinations out in the open. Unlike the Dark Brotherhood, they're no more obsessed with gore and death than the rest of Morrowind, and instead have a hall similar to any other guild you may come across.[11] They lack a Night Mother entirely and instead worship the Daedric Prince, Mephala, one of the three Reclamations in Dunmeri society. Indeed, some have come to the conclusion that 'the Night Mother' herself is some version of Mephala because of this missing connection, and the fact the Dark Brotherhood initially splintered off from the Morag Tong without a Night Mother.[12]

Modern Argonian society is perhaps the only in Tamriel that outward worships Sithis. Their version, which they call "Raj-Sithis", is viewed as both a creator and destroyer, the being who allows things to grow by tearing down and changing the old. They are so devoted to Sithis that, in the past, any Argonian born under the sign of The Shadow would be trained to be a Shadowscale, assassins that are trained by and work alongside the Dark Brotherhood.[13] Unlike regular Brotherhood members, Shadowscales were capable of leaving the Dark Brotherhood in order to serve as a legal assassin and peacekeeper within Black Marsh.[14] Following the closure of the training ground in Archon and the death of the last known living Shadowscale in 4E 201, however, the fate of this organization has been left unknown.[10]

The closest Sithis has to a priesthood is the Clutch of Nisswo, an organization operating primarily within Black Marsh. Priests within the Clutch gather and spread the various stories about Sithis they may hear, no matter how contradictory, calling it the 'many truths' of Sithis.[15]They look down upon the Dark Brotherhood, believing that by naming and personifying Sithis the way they have has led to the Brotherhood's version being a single 'untruth' of him.[16] Though the priesthood is primarily made up of Argonians, anyone is allowed to join so long as they revere Sithis the Changer.[17]

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