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Even before the first [[Lore:Man|Men]] or [[Lore:Mer|Mer]] set foot on Tamriel, the Khajiit were already native to the continent.{{ref|name=RDKSK|[[Shadowkey:Races|Race Description of Khajiit in TES Travels: Shadowkey]]}}{{ref|name=PGE3AEM|{{Cite Book|PGE|3|All the Eras of Man}}}} However, the origin of the cat-folk on Tamriel remains debated. Legend speaks of the Khajiit to have originated from an intelligent feline race or being their cousins.{{ref|name=RDKA|[[Arena:Races#Khajiit|Race Description of Khajiit in TES:Arena]]}}{{ref|name=RDKDF|[[Daggerfall:Races#Khajiit|Race Description of Khajiit in TES II: Daggerfall]]}}{{ref|name=EGTE|{{Cite Book|EGT|Elsweyr}}}} This belief could be supported by the interpretation of the encounter with four and two legged cat demons by [[Lore:Topal the Pilot|Topal the Pilot]] to be ancient Khajiit, just as Tamriel was still being explored the first time by [[Lore:Aldmer|Aldmer]].{{ref|name=FOTN|{{Cite Book|Father Of The Niben}}}}{{ref|name=PGE3E}}
Other theories speak of them being descendants of Aldmeri settlers, proved by the visual similarity of [[Lore:Ohmes|Ohmes]] and [[Lore:Ohmes-raht|Ohmes-raht]] to Men and Mer, especially [[Lore:Bosmer|Bosmer]].{{ref|group=UOL|name=IWTB|{{TIL|Interview With Three Booksellers|booksellers}} — ''Douglas Goodall, [[General:Todd Howard|Todd Howard]] and [[General:Ken Rolston|Ken Rolston]]''}}{{ref|name=PGE1E|{{Cite Book|PGE|1|The Elsweyr Confederacy}}}}{{ref|name=VOFTK|{{Cite Book|Varieties of Faith: The Khajiit}}}} The Khajiiti creation myth suggests the Bosmer and Khajiit to have common ancestors; [[Lore:Azurah|Azurah]] having taken the forest people that were torn between the shape of beast and man and given them the [[Lore:Khajiit#Morphology|many shapes]] of the Khajiit. But with [[Lore:Y'ffre|Y'ffre]] telling [[Lore:Nirni|Nirni]] of Azurah's doings and shaping the remaining forest people into the Bosmer, this link was cut.{{ref|name=WOCMA|{{Cite Book|Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi}}}}
:''→ See the main article: '''[[Lore:Elsweyr#History|History of Elsweyr]]'''''
[[File:ON-npc-Rid-Thar-ri'Datta.jpg|thumb|left|Rid-Thar-ri'Datta, father of modern Khajiit theology]]
A monomythic society, the Khajiit are educated in their beliefs by the figures within their communities known as "Clan Mothers", whose duty it is to disseminate the cultural myths among their kind, and who maintain autonomy from the Mane and the disparate tribal leaders.{{ref|name=WOCMA|{{Cite Book|Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi}}}}
The Khajiiti pantheon encompasses myriad [[Lore:Aedra|Aedric]] and [[Lore:Daedric Princes|Daedric]] gods,{{ref|name=CHAYQ|{{Cite Book|Chamberlain Haskill Answers Your Questions}}}} which are recognized as spirits,{{ref|name=ESOSB|[[Online:Antiquity Furnishings#Shrine of Boethra|Shrine of Boethra]] furnishing codex from [[ON:Online|ESO]]}} a fraction of which are detailed below. Various gods rose and fell out of prominence over the eras due to events and cultural changes. Indeed, after the unification of Anequina and Pellitine into one kingdom, and the event known as the Riddle'Thar Epiphany, the Riddle'Thar cult would rise and scrub many of these spirits from the Khajiit pantheon,{{ref|name=ESOSB}} and those that refused to follow the new edicts of the Ephiphany faced persecution.{{ref|name=ESOClawStrike|[[Online:Claw's Strike|Claw's Strike]] Loading Screen Text}}
It is unsurprising that the most prominent among the spirits was Azurah, the Mother of All Khajiit. She bound the forms and unified the spirits of all Khajiit by tying them to the Lunar Lattice,{{ref|name=ESOShando-ri|[[Online:Shando-ri|Shando-ri]]'s dialogue in [[Online:Elsweyr|ESO: Elsweyr]]}} and thus is the reason why they are not bound to fate, and may instead forge their own futures. Forming a connection with her was the first step on the Path, her "twilight path", which is "the path to love and redemption".{{ref|name=ESOMazza-Mirri|[[Online:Mazza-Mirri|Mazza-Mirri]]'s dialogue in [[Online:Elsweyr|ESO: Elsweyr]]}} At the end of a Khajiit's Path, they are reunited with Azurah along with the souls of all other Khajiit{{ref|name=ESOShando-ri}} at the Gates of the Crossing behind the Lunar Lattice, which they will cross to reach the afterlife beyond.{{ref|name=ESOMazza-Mirri}}
There were other examples of helpful spirits, such as Mafala who watches over Eight of the Many Paths, and teaches to "Lust for nothing but Truth.",{{Ref|name=TWaS|{{Cite Book|The Wandering Spirits}}}} Boethra, the patron of warriors and rebellious exiles,{{ref|name=ESOSB}} and Hircine, who guides Khajiit back to the Path should they get lost.{{Ref|name=TWS|{{Cite Book|The Worldly Spirits}}}} The barrier of going through the Path are the challenges posed by many hostile spirits, a sample which are Sheggorath and his Madness,{{Ref|name=TAS|{{Cite Book|The Adversarial Spirits}}}} Sangiin and his Lust without purpose,{{Ref|name=TWS}} and most notably Namiira, who is responsible for corrupting Khajiit souls.{{Ref|name=TDS|{{Cite Book|The Dark Spirits}}}}
Modern Khajiit hold the virtues given to them by the Riddle'Thar as sacred, which tells how modern khajiit must live. As prophesied by the First Mane of the Epiphany, They must be curious (to avoid Lorkhan's depictions), clever (to navigate the hardships of life), kind (to "blaze a trail for the downtrodden to follow"), pious (to avoid Namiira's temptations), and wary (of the other races, as well as the dangers of Oblivion). These virtues, along with some of the spirits that are approved after the Riddle'Thar Epiphany, are detailed in the book, the ''[[Lore:Secrets of the Riddle'Thar|Secrets of the Riddle'Thar]]''.{{ref|name=ESOSRT|{{Cite Book|Secrets of the Riddle'Thar}}}}
Amidst the darkness, surrounded by her children, Fadomai realized her death was near and set the moons, Jone and Jode, in the skies to guide her children and protect them from Ahnurr's wrath. She gave Nirni her "greatest gift", proclaiming that she would give birth to as many children as Fadomai had. Nirni was pleased because Azurah, with whom she routinely squabbled, had been left with nothing. Protected by the Lunar Lattice, the children of Fadomai left, save for Azurah. Into the silence and void their absence caused, Azurah approached her mother and was then given her gifts in the form of three secrets. She was told to take one of Nirni's children and change them, making them the fastest, cleverest, and most beautiful of creatures, naming them the Khajiit; second, that they must be fashioned as the best climbers, to climb upon the winds of Khenarthi's breath and set Masser and Secunda aright, lest they fail; lastly, that the Khajiit must be the best deceivers, able to hide their true nature from others. Then Fadomai died, and Azurah left to join her kin.{{ref|name=WOCMA}}
[[File:ON-item-Dark Heart.jpg|left|thumb|The Dark Heart (ESO)]]
Nirni approached Lorkhaj, whom she asked to create for her children a dwelling; he did so, and yet the Great Darkness in his heart influenced him to deceive his siblings so that they were trapped in the new place with Nirni. Some managed to escape death and become the stars, and those who remained punished Lorkhaj by tearing out his heart and hiding it deep within Nirni, so that he would be with her whom he had done the most harm.{{ref|name=WOCMA}} Texts that predate the Riddle'Thar Epiphany speak of Lorkhaj surviving this encounter, allowing him to flee to Azurah with the hole in his chest, where she saw Namiira still dwelling within his wound, keeping him alive and corrupting him by imitating his heart. Azurah cleansed Lorkhaj of the corruption and flung his [[Lore:Dark Heart|Dark Heart]] into the Void, and Lorkhaj perished within Azurah's embrace.{{ref|name=ESOFDF|{{Cite Book|The Favored Daughter of Fadomai}}}} From the Dark Heart came the twisted shade of Lorkhaj known as the Moon Beast, first of the ''[[Lore:Dro-m'Athra|dro-m'Athra]]''. Thus Lorkhaj represents the duality of Khajiiti souls and their susceptibility to the Bent Dance,{{ref|name=TSS|{{Cite Book|The Sky Spirits}}}}{{Ref|name=TDS|{{Cite Book|The Dark Spirits}}}} which calls them to darkness through the "beating drum of the Dark Heart in [their] moments of deepest sorrow or most anguished regret."{{ref|name=ESOESA1|{{Cite Book|Epistle on the Spirits of Amun-dro Vol 1}}}}
Upon the new world of Lorkhaj's creation, Nirni came to give birth to her children, who were many, but wept bitter tears for her favorite—the forest people—who did not know their proper shape. It was at this time that Azurah came forth and comforted her, promising to make new people for Nirni as a gift. She spoke Fadomai's First Secret, and the Moons parted for her, and she took some of the forest people and placed them in the deserts and forests, where she fashioned them in many forms, one for each purpose they might need, and having done so, named them the Khajiit. Azura then told them the Second Secret and made them Nirni's secret defenders, and bound them to the Lunar Lattice. And she then spoke the Third Secret, and making the light shine down upon the marshes where they became the crystallized moonlight known as Moon-Sugar,{{ref|name=WOCMA}} a substance holy to the Khajiit.{{ref|name=PGE1E|{{Cite Book|PGE|1|The Elsweyr Confederacy}}}}{{ref|name=WOCMA}} Though some ancient traditions credit Hircine (who sphere represents skinchanging) with fathering the precursors of the Khajiit,{{ref|name=TWS}} the act of a Khajiit [[Lore:Lycanthropy|changing their Lunar Lattice-given form]] for another is considered taboo in most circles.{{ref|name=MBHAYQ|{{Cite Book|Moon Bishop Hunal Answers Your Questions}}}}
Khenarthi was a boundless and free spirit whose domain was the sky but suffered from loneliness. Prior to her death, Fadomai had given her the company of Magrus in the day, Jone and Jode at night, and Azurah in between, but each were bound by their own path and could never truly share Khenarthi's joy. Seeing her grief, Azurah shared a secret to Khenarthi, making her a psychopomp that would accompany the spirits of deceased Khajiit to the afterlife of [[Lore:Llesw'er|Llesw'er]], the Sands Behind the Stars.{{ref|name=ESOHWCF|{{Cite Book|How We Came to Fly}}}} Namiira is the antithesis to Khenarthi, instead dragging the spirits of Khajiit that fall victim to the Bent Dance into the [[Lore:Dark Behind the World|Dark Behind the World]], where they become part of her dark litter. Those of this litter occasionally slip through the cracks in Nirni, and tempt true cats, so their souls can too be sent to the Dark to serve Namiira as dro-m'Athra.{{ref|name=ESOLMD|{{Cite Book|Litter-Mates of Darkness}}}} To combat Namiira's dark litter and save Khajiiti souls from corruption, from Azurah's tongue came the Dusk-Canticles, holy hymns used to exorcise dro-m'Athra.{{ref|name=ESOTRH|{{Cite Book|Twilight Rites and Hymns}}}} And so explains the fight for the souls of Khajiit.
When Azurah was speaking the secrets, the first was heard by Nirni's mate, Y'ffer, who told Nirni of Azurah's deed. Nirni, in retribution for her changed and now lost children, made the deserts hot and sands biting, and filled the forests with water and poison. To separate her beloved children from those of Azurah, she allowed Y'ffer to change those who remained so that they would always be of the mer, and never beasts, and named them Bosmer. From that moment forth, the two were eternally separated and, as with their makers, were bound in animosity one with the other. Pre-ri'Datta texts claim that Namiira would later further escalate their hostility by corrupting Y'ffer, who would then kill Nirni. Azurah, Khenarthi, and Hircine would then avenge her and make a cairn for Nirni out of Y'ffers' bones.{{Ref|name=TWS|{{Cite Book|The Worldly Spirits}}}} In this fashion, the Khajiit explain not only their origins but their [[#Morphology|bond with the moons]] and conflict with the Bosmer.{{ref|name=WOCMA}}
The Bosmeri creation myth does complement the Khajiiti myth, as both speak of shapeless entities. And like the Khajiiti creation myth, Y'ffer (or in their naming scheme, Y'ffre) is indeed credited with giving a shape to the Bosmer.{{ref|name=TOAF|{{Cite Book|The Ooze: A Fable}}}}
A Pre-ri'Datta deity, he is one of the eldest children of Ahnurr and Fadomai. Early in his existence, Akha explored the heavens and his trails became the "Many Paths", forming myriad kingdoms. At his father's advice to find love, he mated with the Winged Serpent of the East, the Dune Queen of the West, and the Mother Mammoth of the North. He is said to have disappeared when he traveled south. In his place, Alkosh emerged to warn the others of the things Akha had created while traveling the Many Paths.
After this, Alkosh assumed the rule over Akha's kingdoms and watched over Akha's many children, ''"for they are both terrible and kind"''.{{Ref|name=TWaS|{{Cite Book|The Wandering Spirits}}}}
'''{{Anchor|[[Lore:Alkosh|Alkosh]]}}''' (''Dragon King of Cats / The First Cat / God of Time'')<br>
Known through texts that predate the Riddle'thar Epiphany, it is a demon sharing similarities to [[Lore:Malacath|Malacath]], it followed Boethra back through the Many Paths. It spoke in curses of affliction and knew no other words. Lorkhaj, Khenarthi, and Boethra battled the demon in the ancient songs, but Orkha could only be banished and would not die. Khajiit understand that Orkha and others of his ilk serve as tests along the Path, and nothing more.{{Ref|name=TAS}}
'''{{Anchor|[[Lore:Merrunz|Merrunz]]}} / {{Anchor|Mehrunnez}}'''{{Ref|name=CoM|[[ON:Champion of Mehrunnez|Champion of Mehrunnez]]}} / '''{{Anchor|Dagon}}'''{{Ref|name=TAS|{{Cite Book|The Adversarial Spirits}}}} (''Ja'Khajiit / Fire-Cat / Demon Cat'')<br>
Also known by his Imperial name [[Lore:Mehrunes Dagon|Mehrunes Dagon]], Merrunz is an eternally-young god of cat-like form; thus, as a kitten, do the Khajiit explain his natural tendency to rend and destroy the world around him.
Ancient texts interpret Lorkhaj as both a Sky and Dark Spirit, and he is easily identifiable with the tales of [[Lore:Lorkhan|Lorkhan]]. As a Sky Spirit, Lorkhaj was the Moon Prince and was honored as the first spirit to make his own path, which led to him uniting the spirits to create Nirn.{{ref|name=TSS}} Lorkhaj as the Moon Beast was considered a Dark Spirit due to Namiira corrupting him into the first dro-m'Athra. After his cleansing, the darkness that left him became separate being.{{ref|name=ESOFDF}} Modern Khajiit revile Lorkhaj, instead believing him to be an enemy of Khajiit,{{ref|name=ESOShazah|[[Online:Shazah#The Den of Lorkhaj|Shazah]]'s dialogue in [[Online:Online|ESO]]}} and a hateful trickster that trapped them in mortal form.{{Ref|name=ESOEGTE}} His deceptions lie even in plain view, and are common enough to be accepted as truths.{{ref|name=ESOSRT|{{Cite Book|Secrets of the Riddle'Thar}}}}
According to pre-ri'Datta beliefs, sometime before the "first memory" of the Khajiiti people, Azurah, knowing that the false Lorkhaj, the Moon Beast, would one day covet her children, used the Twin Lanterns of Jone and Jode to summon the true spirit of Lorkhaj{{ref|name=TSS|{{Cite Book|The Sky Spirits}}}} to be a sky-guardian.{{ref|name=TTTM|{{Cite Book|The Tale of Three Moons}}}} As the third moon, Lorkhaj shined his light upon the Khajiit, choosing the purest of heart to be part of the "Litter of the Hidden Moon", where they would learn the way of the [[Lore:Moonlight Blade|Moonlight Blade]].{{ref|name=TTTM}} And from then on, on nights of the Ghost Moon, Azurah opens the Void Gate, and the Moon Beast will challenge mortals until banished.{{ref|name=TDS}} Modern Khajiiti beliefs on the [[Lore:Dark Moon|Dark Moon]] differ from ancient beliefs, with the birth of the Mane being the main purpose of its existence.{{Ref|name=ESOVastarie}} Furthermore, They believe that Lorkhaj's body was hurled to the moons, and forced to follow Jone and Jode forever as punishment.{{ref|name=MBHAYQ}}{{ref|name=TMCD|{{Cite Book|The Moon Cats and their Dance}}}}