This outlook on the world and their penchant for knowledge would lead the progenitors of the Ayleid from analysis of the qualities of Magicka via Magnus to contact with the spirit they would call Merid-Nunda, a fallen spark of the Architect wrapped in the chaotic veil of Oblivion, in whom they found allegory for their own mortal plight and inspiration for new methods of study focused on that Light of Anu trapped within the material bonds of the Aurbis at Convention. However, outright worship of this spirit would not evolve until their flight from the confines of Summerset, with so much as cosmological recognition of the wayward Magne Ge considered anathema by their Summmerset kinsmer, and studies into its nature greatly restricted. Further limitations on their works into the summoning of Daedra, development of Dawn Magicks, and discernment of the nature of such elements as Daedrons would see the official break of the Ayleid from Summerset; led by the Ten Ancestors who chiefly challenged the Alinor royalty's station, and their seeking new lands based on the charts of Torval the Pilot to study within and freely associate with spirits far from the restrictions placed upon them by Crystal-Like-Law. Here the greatest among them, the Sorcerer-Kings, would dedicate themselves primarily to one patron, and develop cities modelled after the cosmos, such that they may be the prime representatives of the divine on Nirn.
With the revelation of worldy Light having spread amongst the Ayleid, Merid-Nunda would go from being implicated in the worship of Magnus to being honored beside him in the pantheon of White-Gold, with the Architect's broad station becoming more strongly specified; though states characterized as Aedraphilic would maintain their practices from Summerset. With this, the most distinguishing feature of Ayleid spirituality became cemented, the conception of Light as not only an element of creation, but its prime Aetherial quality. This force was considered to be imbued in all things as creatia, and was generally split between two categories: Tam-Alata, or Light of the Dawn, that energy hidden within base matter and the forces of nature since Convention, under the station of Merid-Nunda; and Ada-Alata, or Light of the Gods, that energy that comes down through Magnav and the Ge from the realm of perfect ideas, Aetherius. These forces became central to Ayleid faith and their penchant for emulation, as they came to imbibe and surround themselves with the element seeking ever-greater closeness with the divine. With the revelation presented to them by Merid-Nunda, it would become the duty of the Ayleid to illuminate and redeem Mundus, as divinely-inspired stewards of lighted truth in a world of falsehood, just as the gods provided illumination for the Ayleid. For this reason the extraction of Tam-Alata from beasts and slaves as well as the harvesting of castaway fragments from Oblivion became a central function of the Ayleid faith and the primary station of the powerful Sorcerer-Kings, with the compaction of this Light into meteoric glass for both its practical and spiritual purposes left in the capable hands of the Adonai.
Early in their conquest over the natives of Cyrodiil, the Ayleid would come into contact with various lesser et'Ada they would call 'Adais'. These nature-spirits and manifestations of lower principles came to be inducted by the lower-castes of the Ayleid into their modes of worship, possibly due to the introduction of Nedic slaves into their environment. While this relationship with the spirits was focused in their case on redeeming the entities from their ties to Mundus, the structure of city-state faith would imply dominion of the Sorcerer-Kings over these Earthbones, essentially subjugating them and feeding into the complex of Kings. Likewise, while the initial reaction of the Ayleid to humans was one of absolute brutality, it being said that Syllden alone stayed their hand, recognizing that Man too betrayed a fragment of redeemable Light could only serve to bolster their power, and thus less intolerant practices were popularized like slavery. In their extra-liminal pursuits, many of these Kings would come around to forming pacts with the Princes of Oblivion, pledging favor in exchange for castaway light from the various realms. However, as the Ayleid grew decadent and their Sorcerer-Kings enamored by their own power, the focus was driven away from manifesting the qualities of the gods, and many Kings decided to make of themselves entirely new ideals. In this quest for unique divinity, the Sorcerer-Kings would embrace prismatic affections that blurred the line between qualities once clearly distinguished between Aedra and Daedra; and like Merid-Nunda, their own impulses would in the end wholly commit them to the degenerative forces of the Void.
With these developments the latter years of the Hegemony would see a great deal of religious drift among its already splintered belief systems and a massive expansion in the number of Daedraphilic states, whose patrons of Oblivion would be referred to as 'Moradais'. While relations with Daedra had not been a foreign concept to the Ayleid since their flight from Summerset, the Sorcerer-Kings enjoying the privilege of invoking them, these powers had been generally utilized responsibly as per the direction of Merid-Nunda and checked by neighboring states for abuse. However, as more direct reverence of once-taboo Daedra became normalized in the Adonacyrean Heartland, this practice would be disregarded, with Sorcerer-Kings in open competition for Daedric power and those kings adamant on reversing this trend being branded as enemies, such as the Auri-El faithful of Lindai. Despite these estrangements among their kin, the old ways of the Edeis would be preserved by some states, the majority of which being among the distant Lipsaculleic Ayleid and the Barsaebics. However, the latter would be forced into open revolt by pressure from their brothers further up the Niben and chased into the depths of Argonia, where they remained for a time before perishing.
Ultimately, Ayleid spirituality would survive only in its adaptation by other races and Merish powers, with Alessia incorporating Nede-admired aspects into the Imperial Pantheon and Ayleid emigrants influencing the regions they fled toward like Direnni High Rock and Valenwood by varying degree. Thanks in part to being embraced largely by lower-castes and slaves, as well as recognized on a much smaller scale, many of the 'Adais' would survive to influence minority cults across the Empire, thought to have been liberated from the tyranny of the Sorcerer-Kings. Likewise, the various Daedric cults of Cyrodiil may very well contain modes of reverence, practices, and relics that date back to the Daedraphiles; particularly worshippers of more involved Daedra like Meridia.
Spirit of Life, Light, and Magic, Merid-Nunda was the chief deity of the White-Gold pantheon and was well-regarded even amongst the Aedraphilic Ayleid as an allegory for their mortal condition, despite her having been an interpretation of the Daedra known today as Meridia. According to the Ayleid, she was counted amongst the Magne-Ge, or 'Star-Orphans', entities that separated from Magnus when he fled the mortal realm. Her place as chief deity stemmed from her gift of Light to the Ayleid, an element they held paramount, believing it to have held the key to their ascension into the realm of perfect ideas, Aetherius. Her discovery on Summerset through their studies into the nature of magick would set off the series of events that led to the Ayleid's exodus from their homeland, after which she would ascend from implied reverence under Magnus to chiefly honored deity amongst many established city-states save those that would later be known as 'Aedraphilic'. Various mentions of Merid-Nunda's interactions with Auri-El make allusions to some relationship between her sphere of Light and his of Time, in one instance lending reason to the tale of the Ayleid rejecting Phynaster's gift for that of her own. For this the Ayleid often honored the gods together, an awkward wedding between a contemporary Daedra and traditional Aedra over their apparent related qualities, with only the most driven of Sorcerer-Kings considered capable of manifesting the complex attributes of both. Merid was said to dwell within the Great Refractory, a possible name for her Colored Rooms, which bent the light of Magnav such that the Ayleid might distinguish the pure light of Aetherius from the deceptive, mixed hues of the Mundus.
Spirit of Time, Sight, and Energy, Auri-El stood as the deity from which the Ayleid lords claimed their descent, as catalogued by Xagea. Prior to Auri-El's ascension, it is said that all was in chaos, forces and concepts and energies bounding against one another with no clear discernment of shape nor motive save that of their natural affinities within this primordial disparity. Amongst the chaos, Auri-El came into contact with the Magne-Ge Merid-Nunda, and with this spirit came to understand the nature of Light, and in checking the limits of each other's dominions, worked to bring order to the wild spectrum of the Dawn. By his direction, identity was presented unto the wild, young spirits at play, the first being Yfferath, who gave form to identity. Enamored by her most beautiful of forms, Auri-El copulated with Meyra, who would give birth to the first of Mer. By far the most common of deities the Sorcerer-Kings sought to emulate, manifesting Auri-El's station and uniting with the divine became an obsessive desire of the Ayleid, who modeled everything from their attire to breeding practices at Meyra's temples to reflect the god. Assisted by Merid-Nunda, their discernment of time through light and efforts to chart the chaotic events of convention would primarily be in effort to achieve this goal. Ultimately the Ayleid aspect of Auri-El would be wed with Nordic and Nedic conceptions of the time-god to form Akatosh. However, even less is known of this early marriage of concepts than of the Ayleid's own time god, as any elven influence on the Alessian time-god would be scrubbed away by the actions of Marukh and his Selectives, either by metaphysical tampering or radical reform and censorship.
Spirit of Law, Song, and the Now, Yfferath is the Ayleid equivalent of Jephre, and ‘sings all that is true to be true’. Of high reverence in the pantheon of White-Gold, the deity stands to dictate the laws of nature as they exist in the present. It is said the god represents all living things, having given them identity as they identified the god. As such, Yfferath is regarded not as male or female, but as a many-faced amalgam, a reflection of all the god’s creations. Ayleid tales state that Yfferath was the first of the Ehlnofey, the very presence of the god giving rise to natural law suitable of it’s character. Looking upon that newly principled realm of possibility, Yfferath burst into a rhapsody of inspiring song. Resonating throughout the Aurbis, the chorus called upon others to lend their limbs and with they the god composed the foundations of the world. From the straining mountains, to the bountiful forests, to the mnemonic seas, all formed as that composition dictated. It was first the goddess Meyra who formed, copulating with Auri-El to produce suitable leaders for Mer, then the creatures of the world formed, and with them formed the ‘Boiche’ (Bosmer, the prefix ‘Boi’ implying animalistic nature) and the ‘Eshahi’ (Religious terminology seemingly regarding birds). While lower castes honored Yfferath by redeeming lesser 'Adais' from their essential material shackles, these spirits would, by laws of metaphysical hierarchy, fall under the dominion of the Sorcerer-King, whose command over the natural world and embrace of androgyny likened them to the god itself. In further emulating the role of Yfferath, these kings stood as witness within temples to Meyra, ensuring purity in the act and reflecting Yfferath's presence in Auri-El and Meyra's coupling. While unknown, it is highly plausible that Kynareth of the Alessian pantheon maintained characteristics of Yfferath, merging them with the Nordic Kyne.
Spirit of Purity, Prolongment, and Restitution, Meyra was the Ayleid equivalent of Mara, and whose worship was considered by many Sorcerer-Kings a necessary evil in prolonging the infinite Ayleid effort of ascension. However, her station of procreation would be embraced with great enthusiasm by those pledged to Auri-El, believing their ritual act of copulation within the Nascency Temples of Meyra would reflect the mythic acts of the god. Likewise, she appealed to the lower castes and slaves, the latter taking more of an interest in the pleasures of the goddess than reproductive qualities, given the born servitude of slave children. It was said that her copulation with Auri-El birthed the first Merish lords from which the Ayleid are descended. Handmaids of Meyra were exclusively female, and served as the primary breeding stock of this Ayleid nobility, in many cases themselves of high birth and seeking to emulate the role of Meyra at convention; with this spiritual female role having possibly led Ayleid society toward more patriarchal systems of governance. Those Sorcerer-Kings unaffiliated with Meyra were known to have had such little time nor concern for the act of reproduction that had they not ignored it, were known to visit her temple once in a lifetime and take dozens of partners for the sake of eventual restitution. However, as Ayleid society slid into decadence, the increasingly depraved Sorcerer-Kings would routinely sacrifice their fertility or even offspring to the Daedra for the sake of conditional immortality.
Spirit of Sight, Light, and Insight, Magnav was the Ayleid equivalent of Magnus, and stood as the patron of the studious progenitors of the Ayleid. Through their efforts in discerning the nature of magicka, his faithful would discover the spirit of Merid-Nunda, a wayward fragment of the god in whom they saw allegory for their own mortal condition. For a time Merid would be honored at the side of Magnus and implied in every prayer so as to obscure this heresy from the mandates of Crystal-Like-Law, her having opened the eyes of the Ayleid to Tam-Alata, that light trapped within the mortal world since convention. After their flight from Summerset and deeper engagement with spirits once restricted, Merid would instead be honored alongside Magnav in the pantheon of White-Gold, with the Architect losing his station as the sole god of Light for a great many of the elves, instead relegated to reverence for his providing of Ada-Alata alone, that Light which radiates from Aetherius. His dominion over Sight and Insight, while at face due to the clearness of day, was more in keeping with the central position of Magnus in Ayleid cosmology, acting as the center from which they uncovered the true form of the Aurbis and of spirits like Meridia. However, some Ayleid maintained the classic Summerset distinction between spirits like Merid-Nunda and Aedra such as Magnus, namely the Barsaebics, whose city-states had already been established prior to the construction of White-Gold and induction of Merid-Nunda into their worship. Whether due to the distinction made by White-Gold or some older revelation, Ayleid representations of Magnus were even more impersonal than those of their other gods, with even the name of 'Magnav' implying reference to the great tear in the firmament as opposed to the divine himself. Regardless, perhaps the most famous of sites dedicated to Magnav was the city-state of Ceya-Tar, where the palace of the Sorcerer-King featured a great central dome dedicated to the god; though much of what was once depicted on this dome was seared away by the Fire-King Hadhuul's employment of flame, an element considered degenerative by the Ayleid compared to the pure Light given by Magnav and Merid.
Spirit of Benevolence, Mercy, and Experience; Syllden is the Ayleid equivalent of Stendarr, and stands as the 'Apologist of Man'. Little is known of Syllden aside from one article impossibly surviving the Alessian Order's destruction of Malada. This tale follows the story of the god, how he turned the Ayleid aside from their early slaughtering of Nedic tribes, teaching them instead that all life holds purpose by revealing the light within Man and guiding them away from their bloodied past. Despite this seemingly peaceful visage, the god was most venerated as the 'Redeemer-of-Unworthy-Matter' and credited with the first act of slavery. Among his devoted were the most enthusiastic owners of Redeemed Servants, who considered their creations to be ideal specimens of redemption, and reflective of Syllden's own example. As the Ayleid grew decadent, many of these Sorcerer-Kings would become the vile Shapers and practitioners of flesh-magicks, whose tortured vassals and macabre designs displayed their ultimate domination over the material world. In spite of worship by easily the worst of the Ayleid lords, Syllden was implemented into the Alessian pantheon as Stendarr, an amalgamation of his Nede-admired characteristics and that of Stuhn, the Nordic god of ransom.
Spirit of Ancestry, Knowledge, and Tongues, Xagea is the Ayleid equivalent of Xarxes, and was known as Xerxes in later ages. Similar to the god of their relatives, Xagea is said to have inscribed every moment of Ayleid history and every moment foreseen. Through him, the Ayleid recorded their lineage and knew their origins. Their memory of lost magics from Aldmeris and their inspiration for Ayleidoon was credited to Xagea, said to be the keeper of all words, spells, and tongues. His devotees were among the most avid scholars and archivists, a font from which countless Ayleid discoveries into the nature of light, magick, and the Aurbis originated. However, Xagea would ultimately be removed from the pantheon and replaced by Xerxes, as it was believed the spirit's concept had been corrupted by Hyrma-Mora, the squalid Daedroth of forbidden knowledge, with those failing to correct themselves with devotion to Xerxes ultimately becoming blinded and trapped within the endless libraries of Apocrypha. Indeed many of these thralls would be shamed for the regrettable loss of invaluable tomes and scrolls now tucked away in the depths of Oblivion, though at least somewhere surviving Alessian censorship. Some remnants of Ayleid theological work on the subject postulate that one of their own had finally achieved unity with Xagea, becoming Xerxes, and the husk of the former merely possessed by Hyrma-Mora. However, contemporary knowledge regarding the displacement of the Edeis would lend more credence to this tale being a clever distraction from the truth, that Ayleid scholars merely gambled more than they could handle in their insatiable lust for knowledge.
Spirit of Sacrifice, Investment, and Resolution, Aur-En is the Ayleid equivalent of Xen, and is regarded as the god of effort, risk, and reward. Nearly every action in one's life may be considered to be within the sphere of Aur-En, from the simple acts of purchasing food or waking each morning to complexities of historical relevance. Few Sorcerer-Kings would devote themselves to emulating this deity, but those who did were among the more directly involved rulers of the Hegemony, always keeping their populace engaged in great works long lost to time, such as the Floodguard of the Barsaebics, a series of great enchanted effigies of the allied kings of Telepe and Veyond that are said to have regulated the tides of the lower Niben. While the origins of the deity are somewhat obscure, scholars generally regard it as a myth-maze by which the early Ayleid captured, amalgamized, and reinterpreted aspects of more troublesome lesser et'Ada. Aur-En was prevalent throughout the Hegemony, although the many separate emphases of his worship throughout the castes eventually led to separation into multiple patron-deities regarded as emanations of his wide sphere of influence, though to what degree these emanations related to Aur-En or were merely the resurfacing of et'Ada thought to have been entrapped is unknown. Perhaps most well-known was Xei, the popular emanation of agriculture among the lower castes of the Niben. Among warriors, the emanation Adavar was honored to bring decisive victory, protection, and great spoils. Additionally, the figure of Qaith revered within the Topal Bay is presumed to have its origins as an emanation of Aur-En, with a number of its initiatic mystery-cults possibly having been established prior to the Alessian Rebellion. Even the historic figure of Torval himself was conflated with Aur-En amongst the states of the Topal Bay as the god became absorbed into the fisherman's cult of the Pilot. This wide division of Aur-En's spheres into greater and greater particulars would thus clearly leave the spirit vulnerable to mortal interpretation and debasement. Various emanations derived from Aur-En would have their character corrupted by Daedraphile imposition and in some cases be wholesale sacrificed by Sorcerer-Kings to Daedra inhabiting similar spheres to those the emanations were associated with.
Among the many late interpretations of Aur-En, Xei was one of the most prominent. Generally worshiped along the fertile floodplains of the Niben and Lake Rumare, Xei was held to be a deity of agriculture and labor. He was said to provide ease for his faithful through appeals to Yfferath, begging short winters and long, fruitful seasons of harvest.
Torval, the Lodestar:
An Aldmeri explorer and famous poet said to have charted the entirety of Tamriel's seas, Torval was most revered among the Ayleid for his discovery and acquiring of the Eight Islands, inspiring the migration of the Ayleid people to what would become White-Gold. Regarded largely along the Niben and Topal Bay, his reverence largely came as a patron of city-states and the families of fishermen, though in some cases he would be revered as an aspect, or replacement, of Aur-En.
A spirit revered today along the southern Topal Bay, it is said that Qaith is as the waves, old and still at one moment, young and restless the next. His origins obscured to all but perhaps those fully inducted into the initiatic cult, Qaith is presumed to be but one of the myriad of spirits once associated with the Ayleid, primarily due to recent excavations nearby the Temple of the Wave Fracture east of Leyawiin. Revealed were Ayleid tunnels presumably of Barsaebic origin, thought to have been sealed by, or more scandalously hidden from, the Alessian Order. Within were votives commonly associated with Aur-En, implying Qaith's standing as perhaps another of the various aspects the Aedra was split into, assuming a connection does indeed exist.
An emanation of Aur-En popular amongst the magic-oriented Ayleid nobility, Sairaath was considered a spirit representative of mastery and rare magicks, who was symbolized by the broken firmament. Her worshippers were known to engage in biennial pilgrimage across the Hegemony in search of magickal innovations and as practice in honing their own skills within the feared jungles of Cyrod. Her protean origins are said to lie in the stars themselves, and as such, Aetherial fragments such as Varla and Welkynd stones would often be directly associated with the goddess, some considering them fragments of her very sundered being. For these Ayleid, Sairaath was believed to work under the shelter of the Great Refractory of Merid-Nunda, obscured to the pure light of Magnus so as to prevent another sundering. Collecting the fractured portions of her form, she travelled across the realms of Oblivion and beyond, leaving these shards of herself in the protection of her faithful Ayleid. In emulating her quest, Devotees of this spirit would search endlessly for fallen meteoric glass to experiment with outside the auspices of the Sorcerer-King, with those of the lower-classes merely believing them to bring good fortune. Her worship, however, never caught on amongst the Nedic slaves, who regarded such fragments as little more than oppressive and cold, incapable of providing the warmth a fire might to their slave pens. Worship of Syraath withered away in the years after the Alessian Rebellion, her image seemingly fading alongside the understanding of the Aetherial Arts. Attempts by modern scholars to propitiate the spirit have been met only with profane quietus.
Yet another aspect of the Ayleid divine Aur-En, Adavar was a spirit primarily associated with warriors, believed to bestow decisive victory, great spoils, and protection from harm. His reverence in the east among both the lower castes of Ayleid and their Nedic slaves inspired a sense of comradery within the city of Ondo that supposedly led the two groups to overthrow their tyrannical Sorcerer-King and take up arms alongside nearby Nenalata in assisting the Alessian Rebellion. However, the nature of Adavar was given to more darker interpretations as well, specifically in the case of Varsa Baalim, who fanatically took to the qualities of Adavar and would be led to forsake them for those of Mehrunes
Translating to 'Old Shadow' from Cyrodiilic, the original Ayleid name for this deity has been stricken from record. Represented by a many-legged serpent, it's theorized to have symbolized the darkest depths of the jungle for the most part avoided by the Ayleid, in part due to its absense of light and another in keeping with ancient pledges to avoid trespass upon its realm. The spirit would eventually have its Ayleid connotations removed and its worship taken underground during the years of the Alessian Order, crippling its reach. However, it would see a revival in worship under the Reman Empire, when it became associated with Tsaesci fetish culture and would go on to be propitiated by Nibenese families into the Third Era.
Unlike many other Daedra, patronage of Azura was rarely sought for the direct purposes of exercising violence, but rather her almost prophetic station as a means to discern what was to come and best ready for it. Her mystery cults related her directly to Merid-Nunda, their stations working together in warning the Ayleid of night with the unique, magical displays of Dawn and Dusk; prophesized to come each day until the last. This focus on her prophetic character would see many Azura devotees among the first emigrants from Cyrodiil into Valenwood, long before the Alessian Rebellion, during which many more Ayleid would take the Daedra on as patron to better anticipate their enemy's strategies, however it would seem her quality of fate would see this efforts fail.
Forsaken by many Ayleid as an ally of moral cowards and weaklings, the strength of Boethiah would prove greater than the pride of those Sorcerer-Kings in the use of cunning and complex schemes by some Sorcerer-Kings in imposing themselves over rival states and ousting problematic nobility. Though the particulars of how the Atataric Ayleid came to be subject to the Heartland kings is a contentious topic, sources by resentful residents of the region claimed cowardice on the part of the city-state of Mackamentain in subverting their political structure with the blessing of Boethiah, such that allied forces in the Heartland managed a rapid takeover of the states. Still, devotion to the Prince served to be a double-edged sword, as discontent, treason, and rebellion were fomented in those states which became dedicated to the Daedra.
Said to have visited upon Ayleid most drunk for power, represented by a shapeshifting eagle, Clavicus was considered patron only by particularly lucky or clever Ayleid. For most, the potential benefits of associating with the Wishmaster came at too great a cost. Many Sorcerer-Kings were humiliated or starved of power thinking they might best Clavicus Vile, and many more had his wrath visited upon them when their egotism led them to attempt cheating the Daedra at his own game. Little sympathy is due for these Mer, however, as they bartered everything from the souls of entire enslaved tribes in desperate circumstances to talking the Daedra down to their limbs, or faces, henceforth commanding a legion of mangled slaves. Although humorous tales of revenge still circulate the taverns of Cyrodiil to the objection of foreigners, such as the Ayleid nobles who offered their souls to Clavicus if he would take their children from their besieged city, an offer he took up, by dropping them directly in the Alessian camp outside.
Among the earliest of Ayleid contacts, Peryite was of particular interest due to his embodiment of natural order and dominion over Daedrons, chaotic creatia that react to mortal will and magicka, which kept unchecked by the Prince result in chaos among the already-confused realms of Oblivion. Naturally, the actions of this form of creatia was determined as being vital to some Ayleid in their conceptualization of the Aurbis. However, each time they'd come close to an epiphany, new tasks would come to the Daedrons that contradicted everything the Ayleid thought to know. Still they strived to understand, and remained engaged in their work at the behest of the Taskmaster, an irony perhaps only their own slaves could make out, when their mouths were free of the endless bile believed to be capable of cleansing whatever filth their masters saw in them.
Largely owed patronage by those Ayleid discouraged and driven to the brink in their fruitless pursuit of godhood, it was believed that only increasingly unorthodox methods might lead them to ascension. Thus they sought patronage from the lord of madness, who came to them under the guise of a scholar of equal pretention to themselves. Imbibing them confidently with lies regarding the structure of the Aurbis, these Ayleid would go on to spread falsehood across the Hegemony's most prestigious institutions. Delighting in the chaos, Sheogorath himself will proudly admit his convincing the Ayleid to forsake all they stood for. Sorcerer-Kings would grow afraid of the light or take on an uncharacteristic self-consciousness, scholars would rewrite their histories to credit men with the achievements of the ancestors, the Nascant Temples of Meyra would see females take on the role of Auri-El, and Magnus would be conflated with Merid-Nunda to the point of her supposed final renouncement.
Of little renown even amongst Daedraphilic Ayleid, worship of Malacath seemed almost nonexistent until the era following Alessia, when the Ayleid who remained within the borders of Cyrodiil sought any means to perpetuate the existence of their people. Among the greatest converts to Malacath worship were city-states previously aligned with Boethiah, and whose faith had been forced underground in the years following the founding of the Empire. Here they would cause trouble for a time, bending rules or displaying outright contempt for the impositions of mankind until the rise of the Alessian Order. With the last Ayleid exodus from Cyrodiil, their specific brand of Malacath worship was supposedly taken into the Valenwood, where they ruthlessly defended themselves from being integrated to the point of self-destruction.
Worshipped in large by fanatics considered dangerous even to other Ayleid, Mehrunes represented total victory over the world and weak elements of the Ayleid spirit. Devotees of the Daedra were known to purge all forms of decadence, weakness, and waste from their societies. Though unclear as to how, implications in surviving Ayleid texts indicate an intimate familiarity with this particular Daedroth, with references to his character existing within multiple tracts to Merid-Nunda as a pure ideal confused in layers of clashing hues. Unlike most city-states, those in service to Mehrunes were staunchly against slavery, believing reliance on lesser races and the light of Man weakened the Ayleid themselves, and so they took to slaughtering the Nedes as their ancestors did. Mehrunes worship was largely centered around the hardened far-eastern states along the Valus Mountaints, the most prominent being the lost Varsa Baalim, said to have been consumed by the mountains after its Sorcerer-King challenged the might of Mehrunes himself. These Ayleid were said to have manipulated Light to break down the boundaries of objects in revolutionary action, from which a new order ruled over by their own might come.
Well-regarded for some time as lording over secrets lost to the Ayleid, and more than willing to entice them into her web, the consequences of associating with Mephala became known to the Ayleid only when they had been properly snared. Generally approached by the devotees of Meyra, the embrace of Mephala would find reproduction to no longer be the primary focus of her temples, but mere pleasure, and the endless quest for increasingly debauched means of achieving this; Including everything from mass violation of Nedic slaves, to the murder of the resulting legions of children. Increasingly occupied with their quest for power, Ayleid Kings would visit the Nascant Temples no longer to breed, but to sacrifice their fertility and even offspring for the slightest advantage.
As the Decadent Period approached, more taboo Daedra would be embraced by the devotees of Meyra such as Sanguine, transforming her resplendent, invigorating temples from places of spiritual sanctity to sites of depravity. The annual celebration of Myranal became more degenerate as the years went on, ultimately corrupting the very nature of the deity, and would rage without end. Of notable corruption is the Sorcerer-King Nirasryn of Wine, who imposed himself over the Handmaids of the lost Breeding Ground of Meldrielle and surrounding lands, demanding from his servants a tithe of daughters and sacrifice of sons to be given for the sake of realizing his ambitions. His city would disappear upon the outbreak of the Alessian Rebellion, supposedly finding itself within the Myriad Realms of Revelry lorded over by Sanguine. Whether this was Nirasryn's intention or he was driven for something greater, the pocket-realm of Meldrielle is but one example of the darker side of Sanguine's innocent and amusing exterior.
Perhaps the most heretical of the Daedraphilic patrons, Namira worship seemed to stem from a wave of nihilism that came upon a number of northern states, the most notable of which being Anga. Here hollow altars remain filled with an empty blackness, where the spirits of forlorn Ayleid are supposed to dwell in eternal ascetic struggle. Those Sorcerer-Kings devoted to Namira were said to have forsaken the Light, considering it but an illusion in what began and will end in darkness. However it wasn't often this pitiable attitude inflicted punishment on the Ayleid themselves, with Men falling victim to purposeless circuses in which Mer competed for how long their restorative magick could keep one mortal victim to the insatiable insects of the Lady of Decay. Still a gentle gnawing is said to be felt by those who come too close to these sites, and tales of biting insects in the night are told to children in nearby villages.
While recognized for the majority of Ayleid history as the Magne Ge Merid-Nunda and imbued with Aedric qualities, the more esoteric and culturally relevant tale of Merid-Nunda's relationship with the Ayleid would grow increasingly shrouded over time, with her character subject to Alessian revision and worship of the spirit banned alongside other Daedric entities. Those Ayleid who fled their homeland no doubt carried with them the Meridian faith, but this appears to have declined rapidly upon their absorption by foreign cultures, the last strong Ayleid clans outside Cyrod recognizing the spirit purely by her Daedric characteristics and merely as 'Meridia'.
Perhaps the most notable of Meridian attitudes amongst the Ayleid diaspora were those of the Valenwood emigrants, who viewed Merid-Nunda in a wholly Daedric context. For them, Auri-El and Merid-Nunda worked together in bringing order to the restless Dawn, but amidst their realization of the nature of Mundus and the attempt to leave, Merid-Nunda became trapped in the Void when she remained behind her brother, afraid her nature might constrain the speed of the time-god. However, when she begged for aid, the gods looked at her corrupted form with scorn and shut her from Aetherius. Pledging revenge on the gods, she took the name Meridia and declared for revolution against time.
Revered largely in secret, Nocturnal was regarded by the majority of the Ayleid as born from some corruption of the spirit, festering in the places uncleansed by the light of Merid. Agents of the Daedroth, ravens were considered a perversion of Auri-El's image, and were known at that time to speak freely, only learning to hold their tongues when ritualistic slaughter of their kind began. Ayleid folktales and religious tradition regarding Nocturnal taught the elves to avoid the face of their shadow, which itself was believed to harbor some untapped and unclean portion of the soul. Lending credence to these tales, evidence from multiple excavation sites support the notion that a number of powerful Ayleid Sorcerer-Kings studied and practiced manipulation of the shadow, utilizing techniques similar in essence to the workings of soul mazes.
While Xerxes would overtake the worship of Xagea, the latter would continue to be served by those either lacking knowledge of his corruption or utilizing the fallen deity as a proxy for the worship of Hyrma-Mora. Those who continued to worship Xagea out of ignorance would have their knowledge and memories slowly consumed into the libraries of Apocrypha, all recollection of their lineage having been lost. Similar tragedies would befall those Nedic tribes given over to Xagea by the Ayleid in exchange for lost knowledge. While unlike the fates that befell other tribes subjected to Daedric oblation, these Nedes would survive either for labor or to be sold to another city, however they'd suffer on with little to no recollection of where they came from or who they are. As opposed to the wholesale slaughter of other tribes, the rich culture of these Nedic peoples would merely be forgotten, the only evidence of their existence lying beneath the dirt or entombed within Oblivion.
Dark Daedroth of domination and greed, Molag Bal stood as the greatest foe of Meridian city-states within the Hegemony, and the normalization of his worship was considered the tipping point in Ayleid decadence by resident Ayleid within the Alessian Empire. Merid-Nunda was thought to particularly disdain the Daedra both for his relation to the undead (differentiated from Ayleid means of 'redemption' and thought to have trapped and corrupted the Tam-Alata within), and his repeated perverse assaults against her realm. Chief of his worshippers were the inhabitants of Lost Abagarlas, said to have been destroyed when they begged Merid-Nunda's wrath upon themselves. It's unknown as to what extent the Daedra was worshipped within the Hegemony, though multiple sites are known to have existed, such as Ninendava. Interestingly enough, his worship directly ties into known city-states of the Shapers, lending credence to the theory that Syllden's worship had been forsaken by a great many flesh-mages for the superior, yet dangerous, favor of Molag Bal.
Although the name of Yfferath went largely unmarred to the Nedic tribes, legend exists of Ayleid who opposed the mono-form introduced by Yfferath and pledged themselves to the Daedra Hircine in exchange for a second skin. These Sorcerer-Kings allegedly thrilled in the hunt of Nedes from the sky, though all that stands to substantiate these claims are Nibenese and Falkreath folktales, not to mention the occasional sighting of perching winged elves in the trees.
By the Decadent Period, the practices of the Shapers and the worst of the slave-masters had exceeded tolerances granted under Syllden, with many of these vile Ayleid abandoning the deity in favor of Daedra such as Vaermina. Her unique station allowed for means of torture far beyond anything the Ayleid might inflict on mortal flesh, and indulged their curiosities of what lied within the minds of mortals. In the best cases, slaves were left as drooling simpletons or at least capable of ending their own suffering, and in the worst they were trapped in waking nightmares unending.