The Dro-m'Athra are a very dangerous and seductive reflection of the Khajiit. They are Khajiiti individuals who become corrupted during their life, resulting in their souls being claimed by Namiira. Upon death these souls are ultimately lost to the Daedric prince.
The term Dro-m'Athra has numerous translations or meanings from Ta'agra, including Dark Spirits, Ghost Cats, Lost Cats, Children of the Dark Moon, Children of Lorkhaj, Children of Namiira, Namiira's Dark Litter, Bent spirits, and Moon-haters. The short form of this name is 'mathra.
The Dro-m'Athra exclusively appear in Khajiiti faith and culture. They can be considered Daedra, insofar as the term means "not-Aedra", although some regard this classification as misleading.
The exact origin of the Dro-m'Athra is unknown. Legends speak of warriors that went to war with the stars, but how this turned them into Dro-m'Athra remains unknown. In general their existence is explained with the duality of light and darkness, which is uniquely present in the Khajiiti soul. Just as the Khajiit are children of Jone and Jode, the Dro-m'Athra are children of the Dark Moon.
In the Khajiiti Culture
The Khajiit just rarely talk about Dro-m'Athra, but when they do its only under the light of the moons. Khajiit who have been educated by a Clanmother or read children's stories should know about the existence of the Dro-m'Athra. This knowledge however is often just seen as fiction and stories to scare children. In Temples of Two-Moons Dance and monasteries the true knowledge about the Dro-m'Athra and how to fight them is preserved and spread.
The equipment of Dro-m'Athra follows a similar pattern. Their weapons and armor show repeating lines of blue lightning and the symbol of a waning moon, as this is the time they grow stronger until they reach the height of their power at new moons. Mostly this is expressed by two waning moons—one for Jone and one for Jode. On Dro-m'Athra staves, the Third Moon is also symbolized. The armor, especially the shoulder pieces, appear with many spikes. Atypical for Khajiit, their boots and gloves do not have open fingers or toes for their claws.
Elsweyr is dotted with numerous old and forgotten, sometimes subterranean temples where Dro-m'Athra are imprisoned. Such places can be felt vaguely by mages, as Greenshapers. Dro-m'Athra can, alternatively, be summoned by rituals at any place on Tamriel. These summonings use either totems or crystals. Corrupted shrines to the moons also allow Dro-m'Athra to boil up from the earth. Knowledgable mages also can directly conjure them up.
Besides the Dro-m'Athra, there are also Dar-m'Athra, which are commonly also referred to as Dro-m'Athra. No differences between the two are definitively known. Additionally, there are Sa-m'Athra and Sar-m'Athra, which are also known as Dro-m'Athra senche. Whether they are animal Senche or Khajiit Senche is unknown.
The Rahd-m'Athra are dark horses that bear a striking resemblance to their Dro-m'Athra riders. They serve as mounts when the Dro-m'Athra ride from the Dark Behind the World, although it is unknown if these horses are tangible creatures or simply spirits from the Dark Moons. They have been known to bear mortal riders.
If a Dro-m'Athra is in possession of a living body, as happened with Akkhuz-ri and the Dark Mane, it can increase its power. By using this power, a Dro-m'Athra can free other dark spirits from their prisons beneath the earth. Dro-m'Athra can also posses non-khajiit. As the Dro-m'Athra can generally make puppets of the dead, they also sometimes kill the body they are in posession of and create a copy of it. Those puppets however cannot mimic any speech. A killed, formerly possessed, body can be identified by open wounds that make it appear as if something tore its way out of it.
True Cats can turn to Dro-m'Athra on various ways. One is to see them perform their Bent Dance (Zha'ja Lorkhaj), where only willpower can prevent giving in. It is a dance without music, only following the rhythms of the beating Heart of Lorkhan. Khajiit already accessible to corruption by flaws of personality, or strong negative feelings are more open to hear Namiira whispering secrets to them,, or the beating of the Heart of Lorkhan itself, driving them to corruption. The usage of Skooma can also increase the influence of the darkness on them. Even talking about Dro-m'Athra in moonless nights is feared, as it allows influence on True Cats. The singing of songs near Dro-m'Athra likewise gives them a chance for dark influence.
As soon as Khajiit fall to one of these forms of corruption, their "shadows grow longer" and the "tails begins to twitch". As soon as the darkness outweighs the light of the moons, rescue becomes unlikely and the Khajiit are lost. They are then called Bent Cats or Lost Cats. Their souls can then be stolen by a Dro-m'Athra and sent to the Dark Behind the World, to Namiira and Lorkhaj, where they also on death always return to.
The starting corruption by Dro-m'Athra can express itself by strong pain and voices in the head. These symptoms are not limited to Khajiit alone. On Khajiit, also the fur begins to change with growing corruption.
The ways to oppose Dro-m'Athra or their corruption can be roughly separated into two:
- The Way of Jone means to banish Dro-m'Athra by violence alone, but not permanently. This way is open to everyone without the fear to face the evil and strike it down.
- The Way of Jode means to banish Dro-m'Athra by rituals and songs for a very long time, or permanently. It bathes the dark spirits in pure moonlight to drive off the darkness. However, only people educated in this, like moon-priests and Twilight Cantors, can perform this kind of banishment.
Posessed Khajiit and those in the process of corruption can be resuced. The success depends on how far advanced the corruption, the posessing Dro-m'Athra's strength, and the Khajiit's will are. If a Khajiit is being corrupted by the Bent Dance, the Chase Away Song (S'virash Sahaala) can be sung to break it. But if the corruption grows too strong, the song does not work anymore. For posessed Khajiit, violence alone can make the Dro-m'Athra leave and thus free the body.
Some Dro-m'Athra can be rescued by performing necromancy as practiced by the Order of the Hidden Moon; Their souls are bound to the bones of dead Khajiit, allowing them to fight for their true-spirited kin. If they can face the truth about their sins, and become illuminated by victory in fight to remember about their true being, these souls can be freed from the grip of Namiira. Some of those Dro-m'Athra however resists and cannot be rescued.
When a Dro-m'Athra cannot be rescued, they must be fought. Normal violence often is enough to banish them temporarily, yet not permanently. For permanent or very long lasting banishment, either prayers, songs, ritual objects, or weapons are used.
Prayers, often to the moons, can be used by moon-priests. Sometimes, as the Twilight Cantors do, songs are utilized to sing the Dro-m'Athra away. Ritual objects repel them, as soon as they come too close to the object. If such a object is charged with the essence of Dro-m'Athra and strengthened by a prayer to the moons, it can send the Dro-m'Athra away if it tries to take control over the wearer's body. The Moonlight Blade works similar. It bears an enchantment that charges by killing undead and bent spirits. Likewise, it allows to send bent spirits back to Oblivion, or even to other realms.
To destroy a Dro-m'Athra completely, one must fight it at their home in the darkness beyond the stars.
- For game-specific information see the ESO article.
- Shazah's dialogue in ESO
- Adara'hai's dialogue in ESO
- Litter-Mates of Darkness — Moon Bishop Hunal
- Rakkhat's dialogue in ESO
- Crafting Motif 35: Dro-m'Athra — Twilight Cantor Adara'hai
- Ra-shadda's dialogue in ESO
- Moon Bishop Hunal Answers Your Questions — Moon Bishop Hunal
- Vastarie's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
- Rid-Thar-ri'Datta's dialogue in ESO
- Akkhuz-ri's dialogue in ESO
- Ezreba's dialogue in ESO
- Khali's dialogue in ESO
- Vazshara's Journal — Vazshara
- Trail and Tide — Moon-Bishop Hunal
- Visual appearance of Malisu
- Dro-m'Athra Skin
- Events of quest The Witch of Azurah in ESO: Elsweyr
- Treethane Bowenas's dialogue in ESO
- Events of quest Shattering Mirror in ESO
- On the Doorstep in ESO
- Events of quest Path of the Hidden Moon in ESO: Elsweyr
- Events of quest Grim Situation in ESO
- Events of quest Motes in the Moonlight in ESO
- Creatures at Do'Krin Monastery in ESO
- Events of quest Into the Maw in ESO
- Rahd-m'Athra mount in ESO
- Events of quest Grimmer Still in ESO
- Ri'hirr's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
- Ulov Stormwall's dialogue in ESO
- The Moon Cats and their Dance
- Twilight Rites and Hymns
- Mazza-Mirri's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
- Tashpir's dialogue in ESO
- Ganniel's dialogue in ESO
- Events of quest Stonefire Machinations in ESO
- Stone of Atonement
- Stone of Banishment
- Mantra of Expulsion
- Ruvali Manothrel's dialogue in ESO
- Shando-ri's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr