Invocation of Azura
By Sigillah Parate
For three hundred years, I have been a priestess of Azura, the Daedric Prince of Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky. Every Hogithum, which we celebrate on the 21st of First Seed, we summon her for guidance and to give up beautiful things to her majesty. She is a cruel but wise mistress. We do not invoke her on any Hogithum troubled by thunder storms, for those nights belong to the Mad One, Sheogorath, even if they do coincide with Hogithum. Azura understands our caution.
We may summon her on other dates also, and she quite often responds. The only days we are forbidden to invoke her are those prescribed to one of the other fifteen Princes: the 1st and the 13th of Morning Star, the 2nd and the 16th of Suns Dawn, the 5th of First Seed, the 9th of Rains Hand, the 9th of Second Seed, the 5th of Mid Year, the 10th of Suns Height, the 3rd of Hearth Fire, the 8th and the 13th of Frost Fall, the 2nd and 20th of Suns Dusk, and the 20th of Evening Star. I know who is summoned on the 3rd of Hearth Fire, the 2nd of Suns Dusk, and the 20th of Evening Star, but I am not certain of the others. It is enough that Azura has forbidden those dates.
Azura's invocation is a very personal one. I have been the priestess of three other Daedric Princes, but Azura values the quality of her worshippers, the truth behind our adoration of her, and them
When I was a Dark Elven maiden of sixteen, I joined my grandmother's coven, worshippers of Molag Bal, the Schemer Prince. Blackmail, extortion, and bribery are as much the weapons of the Witches of Molag Bal as magic is. The Invocation of Molag Bal is held on the 20th of Evening Star, except in stormy weather. This ceremony is seldom missed, but Molag Bal often appears to his cultists in mortal guise on other dates. When my grandmother died in an attempt to poison the heir of Firewatch, I reexamined my faith in the cult.
My brother was a warlock of the cult of Boethiah, and from what he told me, the Dark Warrior was closer to my spirit than the treacherous Molag Bal. Boethiah is a warrior Prince who acts more avertly than any other Daedra. After years of skulking and scheming, it felt good to perform acts for my mistress which had immediate consequences. Besides, I liked that Boethiah is a Daedra of the Dark Elves. Our cult would summon her on the day we called the Gauntlet, the 2nd of Suns Dusk. Bloody competitions would be held in her honor, and the duels and battles would continue until nine cultists were killed at the hands of other cultists. Boethiah cared little for her cultists -- she only cared about our blood. I do think I saw her smile when I accidentally slew my brother in a spar. My horror, I think, greatly pleased her.
I left the cult soon after that. Boethiah was too impersonal for me, too cold. I wanted a master of greater depth than she. For the next eighteen years of my life, I worshipped no one: I read and researched. It was in an old and profane tome I came upon the name of Nocturnal. Nocturnal the Night Mistress, Nocturnal the Unfathomable. As the book prescribed, I called to her on her holy day, the 3rd of Hearth Fire. At last, I had found the personal mistress I had so long desired. I strove to understand her labyrinthine philosophy, the source of her mysterious pain. Everything about her was dark and shrouded, even the way she spoke and the acts she required of me.
It took years for me to understand the simple fact that I could never understand Nocturnal. Her mystery was as essential to her as savagery was to Boethiah or treachery was to Molag Bal. To understand Nocturnal is to negate her, to pull back the curtains in her realm of darkness. As much as I loved her, I recognized the futility of unravelling her enigmas. I turned instead to her sister, Azura.
Azura is the only Daedra Prince I have ever worshipped who seems to care about her cultists. Molag Bal wanted my mind, Boethiah wanted my arms, and Nocturnal -- perhaps my curiousity. Azura wants all of that, and our love. Not our abject slavering, but our honest and genuine love in all its forms. It is important to her that our emotions are engaged. And our love must also be directed inward. If we love her and hate ourselves, she feels our pain.
I will have no other mistress.