Two thousand years ago a new race of beings came to Thra—tall, anthropomorphic (two arms, two legs) alien beings donning robes. They called themselves ‘urSkeks’. They were drawn across the universe by the Crystal of Truth. The urSkeks used the Crystal to try and purge the darkness within themselves. But the experiment ended in disaster and the urSkeks were split into two new species: the cruel Skeksis and the gentle Mystics. The Mystics went into hiding while the Skeksis seized control of Thra and established themselves as the all-powerful lords of the Crystal.
Wise with ancient knowledge from a world they left behind, the Skeksis and the Mystics are two halves of a greater whole. The Skeksis and the Mystics now live separately, but with hearts and minds intertwined. The Skeksis reside in the Castle of the Crystal, where they rule over all of Thra and hold the Crystal of Truth captive. The Mystics have scattered to the winds in search of the greater wisdom known only by the suns and the moons themselves. Two halves of a once whole.
List of urSkeks Known Names
The urSkeks arrived on Thra during the First Great Conjunction that divided the Age of Innocence and the Age of Harmony. As Aughra watched the three suns align for the Great Conjunction, the urSkeks transported themselves to Thra. The great release of energy that heralded their arrival burned Aughra and blinded her. The urSkeks used their powers to heal Aughra and partially restore her sight, then set about freeing the Crystal from the mountain that contained it. Neither the Gelfling nor Aughra had seen the Crystal until that moment and had no knowledge of its existence.
In the days of their first coming there were eighteen urSkeks, and they exhibited vigor and the will to change and build what was around them. They hollowed out the mountain around the Crystal and built a castle of lesser crystals (called the Castle of the Crystal) around the great Crystal. They created walls made up of blocks of crystal. Above the great Crystal, they also prepared a great portal with three sides so that when the Suns moved over the Crystal, they stood framed in the portal, a triangle surrounding a circle.
“The urSkeks were upright and tall, with an inner light of beauty that streamed from them always. I had from them the understanding of many things; from them the Gelfling learned to sing new songs. Each moment was rich and full, yet the coming of the shining strangers changed our World and our lives forever.” – Aughra
One of the urSkeks, TekTih, built Aughra an observatory on the High Hill, not far from the Castle of the Crystal. She was given this gift so that she might study the stars and alert them to the coming of the next Great Conjunction. Meanwhile, the rest of the urSkeks made preparations and built the Chamber of Life, a place where they would channel the light of the Crystal during the next Great Conjunction. The urSkeks were cast out of their home world – through a crystal similar to the Crystal of Truth – because of impurities in their beings. Their goal was to use the Crystal’s light to purify themselves. They were not evil, neither were they completely neutral. They harbored conflicting natures; both peaceful and aggressive, creative and destructive. Because of this, they were seen as outcasts amongst their peers. Exiled to Thra, the urSkeks sought to use the Crystal of Truth, the heart of this world, to purge themselves of these impurities.
At the close of the Age of Harmony, the Second Great Conjunction occurred. The light of the Crystal of Truth shined upon the urSkeks. They entered the bright light each as a single being; but as they left the path of light, each had become two: the Skeksis and the urRu. The Great Division of the urSkeks had been achieved.
On that day, the Harmony of the World shattered.
The only chance for the urSkeks to be born again and for the world of the Dark Crystal to become whole once again was for Jen to succeed in his quest.
urRu / Skeksis Pairs
- urSu the Master / skekSo the Emperor
- urSol the Chanter / skekSil the Chamberlain
- urIm the Healer / skekUng the Garthim Master
- urZah the Ritual Guardian / skekZok the Ritual Master
- urTih the Alchemist / skekTek the Scientist
- urYod the Numerologist / skekShod the Treasurer
- urAc the Scribe / skekOk the Scroll-Keeper
- urNol the Herbalist / skekNa the Slave-Master
- urAmaj the Cook / skekAyuk the Gourmand
- urUtt the Weaver / skekEkt the Ornamentalist
- urSen the Monk / skekLach the Collector
- urVa the Archer / skekMal the Hunter
- urMa the Peacemaker / skekVar the General
- urGoh the Wanderer / skekGra the Conqueror
- urLii the Storyteller / skekLi the Satirist
- urSan the Swimmer / skekSa the Mariner
- urHom / skekHak (the second pair to die after the urSkeks split)
- urYa / skekYi (the first pair to die after the urSkeks split)