Morax, also known as the God of Contracts and Rex Lapis (Chinese: 岩王帝君 Yánwáng Dìjūn), was the previous Geo Archon and one of The Seven who presided over Liyue. He is also one of The Seven's two original members who are still alive at the start of the game.
Prior to his retirement, once a year, Rex Lapis descends during the Rite of Descension, giving guidance to his people for a prosperous year and dictating trade, which is the region's focus.
The currencies that flow through this land are my flesh and blood.
For thus did I become the guarantor of the people's hard work, wisdom, and future.
This is the trust I have placed in them. Betray it, and you taint my blood.Morax, in the description for Prithiva Topaz Gemstone
Rex Lapis is the God of Contracts, Commerce, and the Warrior God — among many other names. He was the Geo Archon and is the oldest of "The Seven," and possibly being one of the oldest, if not the oldest, gods at over six thousand years old.
In addition to forming the geography of the region he governs, Rex Lapis defended Liyue in great battles such as the Archon War, which was waged in the area that is now Guili Plains against other gods. In one battle, he successfully defeated an ancient god known as Osial, using massive stone lances to imprison the sea god, which is now known as the Guyun Stone Forest. In another, he sealed the Mountain Dragon Azhdaha under a tree in Nantianmen following the dragon's rebellion. Other gods Rex has slain include the Chi of Yore, and Xiao's former master, the God of Dreams.
Little is known about Rex Lapis' personality before becoming an Archon, but descriptions and legends about him depict a deity much different from the one known by the people today. Venti — the current form of Barbatos, a longtime friend of Rex Lapis and the only other remaining member of the original Seven — describes Rex Lapis as a "brutish blundering buffoon" and an "old block-head". Morax in turn sees him as a "drunken fool that is a disgrace to the arts".
Despite being the God of Contracts, Rex Lapis recognizes that all situations are different — and therefore, "justice" may vary depending on the situation. He also doesn't mind "little maneuvers" behind the scenes. Surprisingly, he takes no offense to Keqing's criticisms of Liyue's dependence on him; in fact, it turns out that he even agrees with her sentiments.
Morax is very slow to adapt to change, but nonetheless accepts it as inevitable, something which most of the adepti have had trouble adapting to. He had originally convinced himself that Liyue would still need him, but after hearing a merchant tell a worker that they were done for the day while going incognito, began questioning himself, and set up an elaborate trial to see if Liyue could survive without his guidance. This is true even well after assuming the identity of Zhongli, where he continually thinks in the old ways, albeit having some change every once in a while.
Statues of The Seven in Liyue depict him as an adult man wearing a hood and robes wrapped around his legs, holding a cube. In Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti, his back is shown, donning a white robe with a hood and wearing long, wide pants. His hands are depicted orange, with vein-like markings traveling up his arm.
The Rex Incognito series claims he changes forms frequently depending on the situation but always has bright amber eyes in any form he takes.
Before the Archon War, Morax was already known as the Lord of Geo. He was close with Guizhong, the Goddess of Dust, and they formed a settlement for their people in Guili Plains, which was named after them. He was also on good terms with Marchosius and Madame Ping. However, after the Archon War broke out, Guizhong perished in a battle that laid waste to Guili Plains and Dihua Marsh. Afterwards, Morax moved their people south of Mt. Tianheng, to the place that is now Liyue Harbor.
To protect his new city, Morax formed a contract with the adepti to defend the harbor as he continued waging war against his enemies. Chi, Osial and Xiao's former master were defeated by his hand, while Havria, too gentle for this brutal period, was slain by her own people. The survivors of Sal Terrae were spread throughout Liyue, many of them coming to Liyue Harbor. At some point, he befriended a massive dragon and gave it sight, who became a lifelong friend, but the dragon eventually detoriated from "erosion" and he was forced to seal his old friend away underneath Nantianmen.
After defeating the other gods, he sealed them underground, where their physical bodies decomposed and became one with the earth. Their souls, however, were immortal; their desire for revenge and lust for life seeped into the earth, resulting in miasmas, plagues, monster attacks, and other such calamities. To quell these disturbances, Morax summoned the Yakshas to aid him in battle, endlessly subduing the ancient archons.
As the Archon War came to a close 2,000 years ago, Morax emerged as one of the seven victors. The Seven would dine together in Liyue. Morax also met Baal's kagemusha, Beelzebul, during one of these meetings. Two millennia later, only Morax and Barbatos remained as the original Archons amongst the Seven. The other five died and were eventually replaced.
Morax's level of involvement in the catastrophe 500 years ago is currently unknown, but he is aware of how greatly it affected the Tsaritsa. An unknown party later made a contract with him in which he would not disclose the truth of the incident to anyone who might ask.
In Archon Quest Chapter 1, Act 1, Part 1: "Rite of Descension", Rex Lapis is purportedly assassinated during the titular Rite, and his vessel — known as the Exuvia — was taken away to the Golden House by the Liyue Qixing.
In Archon Quest Chapter 1, Act 3: "A New Star Approaches", it turns out that he took on the form of Zhongli and instigated most of the events of the chapter, with the aid of the Tsaritsa and her envoy, Signora. This was designed to be a test to see if Liyue was ready to move on without his protection, as he intended to retire from his position as the Geo Archon. He gave his Gnosis as part of his contract with the Tsaritsa, which he called "the contract to end all contracts".
- There are mysterious markings on his statue that have not yet been translated, although they do bear some resemblance to somewhat-eroded modern Liyue writing.
- In the last part of the quest Three Poignant Perfumes, it was shown that he likes the smell of Fate's Yearning Perfume, the one which was preferred by mature women.
- Zhongli was heavily foreshadowed to be Morax before it was confirmed with the release of Chapter I, Act III in Version 1.1:
- Zhongli is extremely knowledgeable about money, government, and Liyue's traditions and history. He even remembers customs and traditions that have been watered down, forgotten, and lost to time — as if he was there himself.
- When he asks the Traveler and Paimon to retrieve the Cleansing Bell from Madame Ping for the Rite of Parting, Zhongli uncharacteristically refuses to join them. Madame Ping says that an "old friend" gave her the Bell and that, since they have come to borrow it, this friend must have "decided to take matters into their own hands." She also makes it no secret that she is an adeptus — which means Zhongli must be much older than his apparent age would suggest.
- After retrieving the Cleansing Bell, the Traveler has the option to ask Zhongli either if he knows Madame Ping, or if he is an adeptus. He confirms the former and fails to answer the latter.
- Zhongli is shown throughout the story to have several connections to Venti, the Anemo Archon Barbatos:
- Zhongli states that a friend from Mondstadt would always bring him a few bottles of Dandelion Wine when they visited. Dandelion Wine is Venti's favorite drink.
- Zhongli's appearance is similar to that of the Statues of the Seven in Liyue, much like how Mondstadt's Statues resemble Venti. The symbol on his jacket also matches the symbol on Rex Lapis' statues. Although the Geo Archon wears a hood on his statues which covers most of his hairstyle, it's apparent that Zhongli and the Archon share the same bangs.
- Zhongli's hair fades from black to amber, similar to how Venti's hair turns to blue-green at the ends of his braids. This was a stronger point during Version 1.0 when most of the characters who had ombres in their hair were known or theorized to be more than ordinary humans. With the release of more clearly human characters with ombres in their hair, this point is no longer a strong point for deducing Archon identities going forward, though they may still follow the pattern.
- In the Version 1.1 trailer, it is apparent that the tip of his ponytail glows when using his skills, a feature that Venti also has.
- In Keqing's "About Zhongli" voice-over, she likens Zhongli to Rex Lapis, stating that he is too much like the Archon for her liking.
- The Rex Incognito book series implies that Rex Lapis has amber eyes no matter what shape he takes, a feature that Zhongli also has.
- Zhongli calls Rex Lapis' "corpse" an "Exuvia." The word "exuvia" refers to the outer skin molted by some creatures as a new exoskeleton grows in.
- During the Rite of Descension, Ivanovich states that the Exuvia is what Rex Lapis "appears as" during formal events, and that it is a "celestial cross between two of Liyue's celestial creatures" (which the Chinese version specifies to be a dragon and qilin). This suggests that the Exuvia is only one of potentially several forms Rex Lapis can appear in.
- The World Quest Treasure Lost, Treasure Found and Stone Tablet Compilations: Vol. I both state that Guili Plains (Chinese: 归离原) is named after the God of Dust (Guizhong; 归终) and the Geo Archon himself. Neither Morax nor Rex Lapis fit into this name, but Zhongli (钟离) would.
- Several stories claim that the Geo Archon uses polearms, such as in Teyvat Travel Guide - Liyue and Diary of Roald the Adventurer - Guyun Stone Forest, which is also Zhongli's weapon of choice.
- In the demonology grimoire The Lesser Key of Solomon, "Morax" is one of the twelve Presidents of Hell and the 21st demon, ruling over thirty (or thirty-two according to other authors) legions of demons. He teaches astronomy and other liberal sciences and gives good and wise familiars that know all herbs and precious stones' virtues. He is depicted both as a man with the head of a bull and a bull with the head of a man.
- His Chinese title, 岩王帝君 (Yánwáng Dìjūn; Imperial Sovereign Yánwáng; Stonelord Sovereign; Rex Lapis) includes the honorific title 帝君 (dìjūn; sovereign), typically added to the names of Daoist deities.
- "Rex Lapis" is thus thematically tied to the Chinese theme of the Liyue region and its Adepti (who are Taoist immortals), contrasting the Ars Goetia theme of his name "Morax."
- Two of Morax's titles, "God of Wealth and Prosperity" and "God of War," are ascribed to Kubera and Vaiśravaṇa, two names for the deity who leads the yakshas in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist mythology.
- Geo Travel Diary commission rewards
- (EN & JP) Twitter - VA Announcement
- (CN) Yakshas - The Guardian Adepti Official Video Description
- (KR) Twitter - VA Announcement
- Zhongli's dialogue in An Organization Known as Wangsheng
- Musheng's conversation in Geo Travel Diary if you give him a plant
- Venti's Voice-Overs, "More about Venti – III" and "About Morax"
- Zhongli's Voice-Overs, "About Venti"
- Keqing's voice-overs "About Zhongli"
- Xinyan voice-overs "About Zhongli"
- Ivanovich's dialogue during "Rite of Descension," Chinese version
- Dialogue in Treasure Lost, Treasure Found
- The Unforged lore
- Yakshas: The Guardian Adepti
- Story Teaser - Yakshas- The Guardian Adepti
- In Downtown, as he describes the kites that represent The Seven, Zhongli stops and sighs when he reaches the Cryo Archon's kite.
- Dialogue in Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved
- Archon Quest Chapter I, Act II, Part 4: The Realm Within
- Archon Quest Chapter I, Act II, Part 2: Moonfinger
- Version 1.1 "A New Star Approaches" official trailer
- Wiktionary, exuvia
- Zibuyu, "What The Master Would Not Discuss" footnote