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Malacath is one of the Daedric Princes. His domain of Oblivion is named ‘The Ashpit,’ a harsh place wherein the prince helps those who are otherwise ostracized or spurned. He is also the patron God of the Orsimer clan.
Some things are pretty non-negotiable when it comes to creating a great role-playing game. If I were to rank these elements in order, I would be here for a very long time defending myself and my thought processes. However, this is not the time and place for such a discussion.
Instead, why don’t we talk about something that nobody could argue over, the importance of some excellent lore, backstory, and overall writing in an RPG?
This is something the many writers who have worked on the Elder Scrolls series over the years have managed to nail. The overall feel of each game and the world within which the player inhabits all seem as one cohesive whole, simply spread across eras, game consoles, and real-world decades.
One of the best ways that the TES writers give their players this feeling of cohesion and structure is through the continued inclusion of deictic figures who both bring destruction and shepherd the world out of said destruction. Therefore, these figures take shape as both altruistic beings of light and horrid, monstrous figures of hatred.
It is one of the latter figures that this guide will focus on today, the Daedric Prince Malacath, and his inclusion throughout the entire TES series. Therefore, this guide will help any player new to the world of Elder Scrolls gather a deeper understanding of one of the key figures that hold together the journeys of each player character in the franchise. So, with all this being said, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!
Who is Malacath?
As one of the Daedric Princes of Oblivion, Malacath holds a tremendous amount of power, both in his plain of Oblivion and on the mortal coil of Nirn. Therefore, the player character is one of the few people throughout the centuries who manage to not only deal with such a creature but also benefit from his existence a couple of times in the process.
More specifically, Malacath is the Daedric Prince of the Orcs or Orsimer tribe and is therefore worshiped by these people. He is seen as a figure all Orc children should aspire to become more alike. Therefore, a great deal of Orsimer culture is centered around the example set by Malacath.
This example is one most similar to one of the Nordic Gods, wherein triumph in combat and battle is the noblest and honorable of pursuits. The harshness of Malacath and, therefore, the Orsimer people can thus be linked to this martial way of being, with their people being wholly concerned with becomes as tough and strong as the patron.
To this end, then, the religion which the Orsimer people have found, placing Malacath at the center, looks at everything we and other races would consider horrid and/or brutal as something to be praised and seen as merely a strengthening tool. For instance, Malacath’s plane of Oblivion is named ‘The Ashpit.’ A fitting name when one considers the complete departure from luxuries or softness found in the place.
The Orcs, however, do not see this plain as something to fear like the Christians of the real world do hell. Instead, they look upon The Ashpit as something to aspire to, as a place only the hardiest and battle-tested of Orc heroes may expect to spend eternity. In this sense, you can really see the comparison between Malacath and the religion he has founded within the Orsimer people as something akin to Nordic religions.
A last note on the Daedric Prince would be that he is somewhat unlike his brothers and sisters in regard to how he views humanity as a whole and, in particular, his followers. From the many interactions the player has with the prince, it appears that he does care a great deal for those who follow him and the Orsimer people as a whole. This is evidenced by the prince calling the Orcs “little brothers.”
Also, he can be seen to routinely punish Orcs who have been given positions of command and respect but somehow misused their power. To this end, Orc Chiefs are usually held accountable for their actions by Malacath himself, removing any need for internal power struggles amidst the Orsimer community.
It is also important to remember that when you are out exploring the world of Nirn, in Tamrielic lands such as Morrowind or Cyrodiil, Malacath goes by many names. Of course, he is most commonly referred to as Malacath, but he can also be referenced as Malak, The Blue God, Mauloch, Orkey, The Keeper of the Sworn Oath, The Bloody Curse. With this in mind, if you’re not an Orc and you hear one of these names, be very careful.
Malacath and the Dunmer
Along with the Orsimer, Malacath is seen as a central figure to the Dunmer people, particularly in the events of The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. This is because of his inclusion in the Dunmer text, ‘House of Troubles.’ Within this text, Malacath is seen as one of the four pillars which uphold the idea of the ‘Bad Daedra,’ whose forces continuously seek to test and break the Dunmer people.
Along with Malacath, the Dunmer includes Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Sheogorath. Due to his inclusion in this crucial text of Dunmer philosophy, the Daedric Prince is often met with contempt and fear by the eleven races within TES.
- Malacath is one of the Daedric Prince, considered to be evil by the Dunmer people and, therefore, most Elven races.
- Malacath is the patron God of the Orsimer people and is, therefore, the focal point of all Orsimer religious theology.
- His sphere of Oblivion is concerned with conflict and the martial effectiveness of mortals, and he takes great pleasure in watching mortals fight to the death.
The History of Malacath
Malacath can either be interreacted with or heard about in every entry of TES saga, from Daggerfall onward. For this reason, there is a great deal known of the history and backstory of the Orsimer God.
The Merethic Era
The actual creation of this Daedric Prince is somewhat different than many of his brothers and sisters. You see, not only is it rare that we can pinpoint the exact point and cause of a Daedric Prince’s creation, but it is even more rare to know the exact details of said happening.
According to the lore, Malacath is the product of an altercation between beings far more powerful than the citizens of Nirn could ever properly appreciate. The Chimer people, who are the ancestors of the Dunmer, wished to leave the Summerset Isles after they had been manipulated into the idea by Boethiah. All did not welcome this plan to leave the Summerset Isles, particularly Trinimac.
Trinimac, a being who was partially responsible for creating Mundus, the universe within which Nirn sits, was known as an Aedra. He disliked the Chimer people’s plan to leave the Summerset Isles and, knowing that Boethiah had influenced their decision to do so, took Umbridge with his fellow deity.
Now, this is where accounts split. Once account, propagated by some unknown force, states that Boethiah managed to best the great Aedra and therefore swallowed him whole. After this, Boethiah excreted out the remains of Trinimac, creating a being that would become known as Malacath.
However, the second account of events from the Orsimer people tells a different story to this piece of “anti-orc propaganda.” Instead, their reports state that Trinimac and Malacath are, in fact, the same being. Instead of one being the excreted remains of the other, the Orsimer people say that Boethiah merely bested Trinimac due to un-honorable deception and trickery.
This, therefore, led to Trinimac’s defeat and casting into the Ashpit. Within this realm of Oblivion, it is said that Trinimac was so devastated by his defeat that he literally tore off his own skin, discarding the elements of himself which had lost the battle. The being that remained after this skin shedding was henceforth known as Malacath.
- The Orsimer people state that Malacath and Trinimac are the same beings. Save that one has ceased to be after a transformation.
- Others say that Malacath is literally the excreted remnants of Trinimac after Boethiah defeated him.
- We are not aware of the creation story of many of the Daedric Princes, which makes this account so unique.
The Third Era
Between Malacath’s creation and the Third Era, we know next to nothing about the Daedric Prince. However, during the events of Daggerfall, some light is cast on what he has been up to.
It seems that during the time between his creation and the Third Era, the Daedra was busy manifesting his power on the mortal realm of Nirn, inserting his artifacts into the hands of his champions throughout the centuries. During this time, we see the first usage of Malacath’s primary artifacts, Volendrung, a massive Warhammer and Scourge, a terrifying mace.
We will talk more about these weapons later. However, it is important to note that these artifacts are imbued with Malacath’s power; therefore, any usage of these items probably occurred with his consent.
In the latter stages of the Third Era, it became known to all Orsimer that someone within their ranks began speaking out against their own deity. The Orc leader, Gortwog gro-Nagorm, came to power shortly before he founded the city and Orsimer capital, Orsinium.
While the founding of this great settlement in the name of the Orsimer people would have pleased Malacath greatly; it was not long until the power seemingly went to the head of gro-Nagrom. You see, it appears that he did not like that someone, even Malacath, was considered more powerful than he was.
Therefore, he began speaking of Malacath as some sort of demon. He would paint the prince as something akin to a usurper, someone who had managed to wrestle the adoration and respect of the Orsimer people away from their true God, Trinimac. Unlike the Orcish belief, it was Nagrom’s belief that Trinimac was still alive and that Malacath was a mere imposter to the throne.
This, of course, angered Malacath greatly. However, he did not act against the mortal, and this was possibly due to the fact that the greater Orsimer culture denounced such speech, stating that he was spouting heresy.
The Fourth Era
During the Fourth Era, Malacath seems to have decided to live up to his name as a Daedric Prince. The only story we have on the prince from this period involves his tricking of a mortal into his service.
You see, during the Umbriel crisis, an event that saw a large portion of Nirn get ripped up out of the ground and suspended in the sky, Prince Attrebus and Sul found that they needed to get a hold of the Umbra sword in order to right the issue.
Eventually, they learned that the suspended city was actually a part of Oblivion and therefore could only be altered from within that plane. With this in mind, Attrebus journeyed through an Oblivion gate in order to make it into the Daedric realm.
Once he was through, Sul was nowhere to be seen, and a young Elven girl awoke him by the name of Silhasna. This girl would tell the mortal prince that he had stumbled into Malacath’s realm, The Ashpit. The pair then journeyed throughout this realm with Attrebus telling her everything he knew about the Umbriel crisis and how he was going to stop it from destroying his homeland and all of Tamriel.
The pair journeyed for some time until the mortal prince decided to talk about Malacath. It appears that he told Silhasna a story from his childhood, wherein Malacath appeared to him. We do not know the exact details of this story other than that Attrebus was seven years old.
At the end of his tale, the young elven girl transformed into the mighty Daedric Prince Malacath. Apparently, Malacath already had Sul under his control before Attrebus woke up, swearing him to an oath, the same oath he now desired Attrebus to swear.
However, Attrebus somehow managed to convince the Daedric Prince to free himself and Sul from the Ashpit and transport them to Solstheim without swearing any oaths.
- The Orsimer worship of Malacath was threatened by a chief named Gortwog gro-Nagorm. However, the vast majority of Orcs remained loyal to Malacath, and the dissent died with Nagorm.
- Malacath, it appears, did help Attrebus and Sul in their journey to save Tamriel from the Umbriel crisis.
- Attrebus managed to not swear any oaths to the Daedric Prince. However, Sul swore one immediately after entering the Daedra’s domain.
As with all good Daedric Princes in TES universe, Malacath is included in many of the games within this series as a character who you can both interact with and receive quests from. With this in mind then, let’s take a brief look at the quests the player character can acquire from the Daedric Prince during these titles.
During the events of Morrowind, the player character can summon and acquire a task from Malacath. This will see the Daedra tell the player to find and kill a man by the name of Oreyn Bearclaw. Apparently, this man had built a reputation for himself as a skilled and brave warrior throughout the land. This enraged the Daedra as the deeds Oreyn was claiming belonged to his Orsimer companion, Kharag gro-Khar.
After this man’s death, Malacath will reward the player with the helm of Oreyn Bearclaw, and the quest will be complete.
In this quest, Malacath tasks the player with the release of two Ogres from imprisonment. He tells the player that they must travel to the Home of Lord Drad and free said Ogres without hurting them. Once the player achieves this, by either killing the slaver or simply sneaking in and letting the Ogres take care of them, Malacath will reward the player with Volendrung. His mighty Warhammer.
When journeying throughout Skyrim, the player can meet an Orc named Atub. They will ask the Dragonborn to acquire the materials they need to summon Malacath and join in with the ritual alongside their chief, Yamarz. After he is summoned, the prince will tell Yamarz to go and fetch a Warhammer for him.
Yamarz will, of course, accept this order but bring the Dragonborn along for support. During the journey for this Warhammer, two things can happen, the player can either accept Yamarz’s offer to fight and kill a giant, resulting in Yamarz betraying the Dragonborn and stealing the credit for the mighty deed. Alternatively, the player can refuse and gamble on whether or not Yamarz survives the altercation.
No matter the result, the Dragonborn will live, and both Yamarz and the giant will end up dead. For your part in the adventure, Malacath will praise the player and offer Volendrung as a reward for your bravery.
- To summon Malacath, it seems consistent that the player will need Troll Fat. Additionally, they may also need a Daedra heart.
- The Morrowind and Oblivion quests both involve the player righting a wrong done to species which are considered outcasts in Tamriel.
- Should Yamarz make it back alive with the Dragonborn, he will try and take all the credit for killing the giant.
Artifacts of Malacath
This mighty Warhammer appears in many of TES scrolls titles and is also known as the Hammer of Might. It appears that the Dwarven Rourken clan constructed this artifact out of either ebony or Dwarven metal. However, we are simply unaware as to how this weapon became an artifact of Malacath.
There also appears to be a story associated with this Warhammer wherein the Rourken chief launched the hammer across Tamriel, vowing to move and settle his people in the location which the weapon landed. The weapon managed to travel all the way to western Tamriel, wherein the clan formed the city of Volenfell, or “City of the Hammer.” This city and the area around it would later be known as Hammerfell.
This mighty mace was forged in the fires of Fickledire and held immense power. Malacath, once again, claimed this weapon instead of forging it himself. However, he did imbue it with a power that asserts that only mortals may wield the weapon. Therefore, should any Daedra try and wield the weapon, they are immediately banished into the void.
This weapon can also call Daedric creatures such as Dremora and Scamps to the wielder’s side, thus earning the mace the name “bold defender of the friendless.”
Question: What is Malacath the God of?
Answer: Malacath is known as the God of the spurned or ostracized; however, he is also known for his general love of fighting and combat. One can see Malacath as something akin to a Nordic God like Thor.
Question: Is Malacath good or evil?
Answer: Some see Malacath as evil and others as good. It appears that he is both and acts differently towards mortals, depending on their strength of character and race.
Question: Who worships Malacath?
Answer: The Orsimer people worship Malacath as their patron God. In return, Malacath does seem to care for this race, calling the Orcs in his care “little brothers.”