The Daedra are a group of spirits in The Elder Scrolls who inhabit the realms of Oblivion. They are viewed variously as gods or demons by the inhabitants of Tamriel, although scholarly consensus discourages the use of the latter term. The most powerful of the Daedra are referred to as Daedric Princes or Daedra Lords, and rule over their own planes of Oblivion, which they shaped. Because they have no connection to Nirn, they cannot be permanently killed, only banished.
Other accounts describe the Daedra Princes as those Et'ada who, when Lorkhan proposed the creation of Nirn, refused to take part. There are a few exceptions to this, however. These are mostly the result of being cast out from another realm of Nirn or changed in some way, typically by the actions of another Daedra.
Lesser Daedra were mostly created by the Princes, and are loyal to them. However, this may not be the case for all Daedra, as Daedra that are not loyal to any particular Prince do exist. These are described as being capricious, which would imply that they are not bound to serve any particular Prince out of loyalty or because they were made by them.
The term "Daedra" is of merish origin. Its literal translation is "not our ancestors," as opposed to Aedra - "our ancestors". This harks back to their refusal to take part in the creation of Mundus, and as a result are not part of the Ehlnofey, the ancestors of men and mer.
The term "Daedra" can be used for both plural and singular forms, although the latter is more correctly "Daedroth," not to be confused with the species of lesser daedra that go by the same name.
- Main article: Daedric Alphabet
The script used in the games is referred to as the "Daedric alphabet." It appears to be most frequently used in relation to magical texts (such as spell scrolls as they appear in Morrowind), or esoteric works like the Mysterium Xarxes.
Forms of DaedraEdit
Daedra appear in many different forms. The most important are the Daedric Princes, powerful spirits who can shape-shift. There are also "lesser Daedra," beings who inhabit Oblivion and may or may not be in league with these greater powers.
- Main article: Daedric Princes
There are considered to be either 16 or 17 Daedra Princes, although records on this vary. Each Daedra prince has a concept or set of concepts associated with them, termed their "sphere." Note that this does not necessarily mean that each Daedra has control over their sphere; rather, they are their particular areas of concern or interest.
Not all of the Princes were always so. Malacath was once Trinimac, champion of Auri-El, but became Malacath after being eaten by Boethiah when he tried to stop the Chimer from leaving Summerset Isle. Meridia was once counted among the Magna Ge, but became a Daedra Prince when she bent the light of Magnus through herself, carving out her own realm of Oblivion in the process. This may have been entirely intentional.
A list of most of the Daedra Princes, their titles, realms and their spheres are listed below:
|Daedra Prince||Titles||Sphere||Plane of Oblivion|
|Azura, Azurah||Mother of the Roses, Mother Soul, Queen of Dusk and Dawn, Queen of the Night Sky||Twilight, Prophecy||Moonshadow|
|Boethiah||Father of Plots, Prince of Plots, Fount of Inspiration, Deceiver of Nations, Queen of Shadows, Goddess of Destruction||Conspiracy, Deceit||Attribution's Share/Snake Mount[OOG 1]|
|Clavicus Vile||Child-god of the Morningstar[OOG 1]||Pacts, Wishes||Unknown|
|Hermaeus Mora, Herma-Mora||Abyssal Cephaliarch, Demon of Knowledge, The Golden Eye, The Inevitable Knower, Old Antecedent, Woodland Man||Fate, Knowledge, Learning, Memory||Apocrypha|
|Hircine||Hunstman of Princes, Father of Man-Beasts||The Hunt||The Hunting Grounds|
|Jyggalag||None known||Order||Shivering Isles/None|
|Malacath, Mauloch||None known||The Spurned, the Sworn Oath, the Bloody Curse||Ashpit|
|Mehrunes Dagon||Lord of Razors[OOG 1]||Destruction, Revolution, Change||Deadlands|
|Mephala||Webspinner,, Spinner, Spider||Sex, Secret Murder||Spiral Skein|
|Meridia, Merid-Nunda||The Glister-Witch, Lady of Infinite Energies||Living things||The Colored Rooms|
|Molag Bal||King of Rape, Father of Vampires||Domination, Enslavement||Coldharbour|
|Namira, Namiira||The Spirit Daedra, the Great Darkness||The Ancient Darkness, all things repulsive||The Scuttling Void[OOG 1]|
|Nocturnal||Night Mistress, the Ur-dra[OOG 1]||The night, darkness||Evergloam|
|Peryite||The Taskmaster||Ordering of the lowest orders of Oblivion, Pestilence||Unknown|
|Sanguine||None known||Hedonism, Debauchery,  Indulgence||Myriad Realms of Revelry|
|Sheogorath||The Mad God, Lord of the Never-There, Sovereign of the Shivering Isles||Madness||Shivering Isles/ The Madhouse|
|Vaermina||The Gifter||Dreams, Nightmares, Omens[OOG 1]||Quagmire|
There are many types of lesser Daedra, creatures believed to be created by the Princes as warriors, servants, playthings and worshipers. It should be noted that the descriptions of appearances given here are not necessarily always accurate, as to many Daedra, appearance is a matter of choice. Belonging to a particular grouping is, however, said to shape their bodies and minds, and thus common traits are established.
Many Daedra of greater mental capacity have a humanoid shape and appearance. The Daedric Princes and their servants are usually among them. Daedra who usually have a humanoid form are:
- Dremora – Are mostly servants of Mehrunes Dagon, although some clans serve Molag Bal and Malacath, and possibly others before Dagon. They are organized into clans with strict hierarchical structures and ranks.
- Golden Saints – Appear as golden-skinned humans in golden armor, and serve Sheogorath as guards of his realm, in a defined hierarchy. They are said to be Sheogorath's favored soldiers and have a rivalry with the Dark Seducers.
- Dark Seducers – The violet-skinned serving Sheogorath. In the Shivering Isles, they serve as Sheogorath's guards, and have an ongoing feud with the Golden Saints for Sheogorath's favor.
- Knight of Order – Serve Jyggalag; they are humanoid crystalline creatures that use swords and are deadly enemies.
- Aurorans – Generally serve the Daedric Prince Meridia; they appear as humanoids clad in Ayleid battle armor.
- Xivilai – Are highly-intelligent creatures who serve Mehrunes Dagon. They are alike in temperament to the Dremora, but are less likely to be subordinate to anyone. Xivilai often appear as blue-skinned humanoids.
- Xivkyn – Powerful Daedra created by Molag Bal through the fusion of Dremora and Xivilai. They resulted from vestigial hybridization experiments in The Vile Laboratory.
Daedra have amongst their ranks some reptilian creatures, outlined below.
- The Daedroth resemble large, bipedal crocodiles, with sharp claws and teeth, and serve Molag Bal.
- The Clannfear are bipedal reptilian creatures, with a head like a ceratopsid dinosaur. They are loyal to Mehrunes Dagon.
Atronach are Daedra associated with a particular element, substance or natural phenomenon. They are not nominally aligned with any Prince, and serve them according to opportunity, fancy and circumstance dictate. Their types are:
Although nominally unaligned, these Daedra may have home planes, as Flame Atronachs are noted to originate from a plane known as "Infernace." The home planes of other atronach are currently unknown. There also exist Flesh Atronachs and Iron Atronachs, which are creations of mortals, and more correctly golems than any kind of Daedra.
- Winged Twilight are one of the only known Daedric creatures capable of flight (the others being Daedric Titans), they bear some resemblance to Harpies, their skin is a blue color with their skulls being about the same size as a human's, and they also possess large tails. They are servants of Azura.
- Spider Daedra appear as a kind of spider-centaur, a large spider with a female human's head and torso in place of the spider's head. They are associated with Mephala, and are so unruly and irrational that even Mephala's worshippers rarely summon them for fear that they will disobey their orders.
- Ogrim are enormous Daedra with very little intellect, but which are chiefly sent into the mortal world to menace living things for the amusement of Daedric Princes. Ogrim are associated with Malacath.
- Hunger are powerful and violent Daedra with great magic ability, associated Boethiah.
- Scamps are small goblin-like creatures, skittish in nature. They are often associated with Mehrunes Dagon.
- Vermai appear similar to scamps, but are hardier. Featured in Battlespire and Redguard.
- Herne and Morphoid Daedra resemble horned scamps, associated with Mehrunes Dagon and Hircine. Featured in Battlespire.
- Seekers are tentacled daedra that are native to Apocrypha and are associated with Hermaeus Mora.
- Lurkers are large amphibious Daedra who are native to Apocrypha, guarding the secrets of the Black Books, but they have been seen in Tamriel. They are associated with Hermaeus Mora.
- Main article: Daedric Artifacts
The spirits of Daedra can be summoned and reshaped into items on a short-term basis, to create Bound Weapons, or permanently, to create Daedric Artifacts. The text is not clear on whether the Daedric Prince who is lord over the spirit creates Bound Weapons in Oblivion, which is then summoned to Mundus, or whether the summoner reshapes the Daedra in question. Daedric artifacts can be either made by a Daedra Prince, such as the Masque of Clavicus Vile, or infused with the spirit of a Daedra, as with the case of the quill Feyfolken. Still other artifacts become associated with the Daedra over time, despite no known connection to the Daedra, such as Volendrung, which was crafted by the Rourken Clan of the Dwemer but later became to be associated with Malacath. A list of known Daedric Artifacts, their forms and their associations, given here:
|Artifact Name||Artifact Form||Associated with|
|Azura's Star/The Black Star||Soul Gem||Azura|
|Black Books||Books||Hermaeus Mora|
|Bow of Shadows||Bow||Nocturnal|
|Mace of Molag Bal||Mace||Molag Bal|
|Masque of Clavicus Vile||Mask||Clavicus Vile|
|Mehrunes' Razor||Dagger||Mehrunes Dagon|
|Oghma Infinium||Book||Hermaeus Mora|
|Ring of Khajiit||Ring||Mephala|
|Sanguine Rose||Rose, Staff||Sanguine|
|Skull of Corruption||Staff||Vaermina|
|Spear of Bitter Mercy||Spear||Sheogorath|
Appearance and invocationEdit
Daedra can appear on Nirn through summonings by both worshippers and conjurers. These can be either short-term summonings, or rituals or pacts designed to bind the Daedra to Nirn on a more permanent basis. There are claims that this art originated with the Direnni clan in the First Era, but the exodus of the Daedra-worshipping Velothi from Summerset Isle in the Merethic Era means this is in all likelihood false.
There are no definite restrictions on when or where Daedra may be summoned, although certain dates and circumstances either make this easier or are the conventional times that Daedra-worshiping cults do so, and a summoning is less a command and more an invitation in the case of more powerful Daedra. Daedra of sufficient power may also be able to manifest on their own, although this may also be summoned Daedra who have escaped their bindings.
It was theoretically impossible for both lesser Daedra and Daedric princes to manifest while Alessia's covenant with Akatosh was in force. However, Daedric summoning has been possible throughout Tamriel's history, indicating this was not the case. The extinguishing of the Dragonfires in 3E 433 did however allow Daedra to manifest Oblivion Gates on Tamriel, allowing large scale Daedric entrance onto Nirn, and for Daedric Princes to appear unimpeded on Nirn. This was remedied when Martin Septim broke the Amulet of Kings and became the avatar of Akatosh, defeating Mehrunes Dagon and sealing the Oblivion Gates. However, small-scale Daedric summonings are still possible.
Daedra are worshiped in a variety of ways across Tamriel. The most common of these are detailed below.
This is the most common way Daedra are worshiped on Tamriel for most of history, because there have been times where such worship has been prohibited in many provinces, and even when it is legal, such as in Cyrodiil during the Third Era, it is generally not approved of by most of society. However, even if their worship is not condoned, it appears that the celebration of their feast days by non-adherents on some occasions. These cults typically focus on a single Daedric Prince as their prime deity, although given the nature of the cosmos such cults should probably be described as henotheistic or monolatristic, rather than truly monotheistic.
These groups are typically quite small and inconsequential because of their size and isolation. However, in the late Third Era, the Mythic Dawn, a Daedra cult dedicated to the worship of Mehrunes Dagon, assassinated Uriel Septim VII and precipitated the Oblivion Crisis.
The Dunmer as a culture have worshipped the Daedra at various points in their history. This has changed over time, and this progression is discussed below.
Chimeri Daedra worshipEdit
The Chimer were led away from Summerset by Veloth and Boethiah, who ate Trinimac to aid their exodus. He was joined by Azura and Mephala in leading the Chimer to Vvardenfel, and accompanied by Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal and Sheogorath. Azura, Boethiah and Mephala are credited with bringing a particular form of advancement to the Chimer, Boethiah in areas as diverse as philosophy to architecture, Mephala in devising the House system that would define later Chimer and Dunmer society, and Azura taught them how to be different to the Altmer. These are seen as the "Good Daedra" in much Dunmeri folklore. The other four Daedra are traditionally seen as testing and opposing figures, although this may be a later elaboration originating during the Tribunal period.
The Anticipations and the House of TroublesEdit
Following the apotheosis of the Tribunal, Daedra took a lesser role in house Dunmeri society, and their worship was prohibited by the Tribunal Temple because it they claimed the Daedra were unworthy due to their inconstant and dangerous natures. This led to a decline in Daedra worship among the Great Houses, although the Ashlanders carried on worshipping the Daedra as they had always done. Azura, Boethiah and Mephala allegedly consented to be replaced, and became the "Anticipations" of the Tribunal, sharing certain aspects with the Tribunal member who replaced them. Almalexia replaced Boethiah, Sotha Sil replaced Azura, and Vivec took the place of Mephala. The other four Daedra previously worshiped by the Chimer did not accept this however, becoming the Four Corners of the House of Troubles. Their roles as testing figures and obstacles to be overcome was solidified at this point.
Following the events of the Red Year in 4E 5, the Dunmer began to lose faith in the now missing Tribunal, and schisms broke out within the Temple. Eventually the Dissident Priests emerged predominant, and re-instituted the worship of the three Good Daedra, with the Tribunal venerated as saints. As part of this, they were named the Reclamations, and the Ashlanders heralded as the guardians of the truth path of worship.
The Khajiit recognize the Daedra as one of two "litters" of spirits created by Ahnurr and Fadomai. The Daedra do not differ much from their portrayals in other faiths, but the Khajiit believe that they were created by Azurah out of a single line of "forest people," some of whom were later corrupted by Y'ffer to become the Bosmer.
The orcs are derived from the changed followers of Trinimac, after he was turned into Malacath by Boethiah. Orcs typically follow their changed god exclusively, and his laws form the Code of Malacath, which lay down the basic rules for orc society. This was only different in Gortwog's Orsinium, where some orcs worship Trinimac in his original form, considering Malacath a demon and an imposter, much to the displeasure of orcs elsewhere.
The now-exinct Ayleids of Cyrodiil worshipped the Daedra alongside the Aedra, forming a variety of cults to worship many Princes. However, they seem to hold Meridia in particular reverence due to her association with light, which the Ayleids considered one of the prime elements of creation. Some claim that they revered Meridia above all other gods.
- Mortals that have extreme links to Daedric lords are known to exhibit physical changes, especially in the eyes. This is mentioned by Neloth after completing "At the Summit of Apocrypha," where he is looking for signs that include "black spots in the whites of the eyes."
- In the Second Era, when Molag Bal tried to invade Nirn, it is theorized that a Dragon Break occurred, due to the lack of references of the event in any books, and the presence of some books, like the Lusty Argonian Maid, that were not written at that point in Tamriel's history.
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
- The Elder Scrolls: Legends
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 On Oblivion
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Arena Supermundus
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Monomyth
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Aedra and Daedra
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 Darkest Darkness
- ↑ The Origins of Conjuration
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Annotated Anuad
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 The True Nature of Orcs
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Exegesis of Merid-Nunda
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi
- ↑ 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 11.20 11.21 11.22 11.23 11.24 11.25 11.26 11.27 11.28 11.29 11.30 The Book of Daedra
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 The Anticipations
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 The Doors of Oblivion
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Boethiah's Proving
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Invocation
- ↑ Fragmentae Abyssum Hermaeus Morus
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Varieties of Faith: The Nords
- ↑ Apocrypha, Apocrypha
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Secrets Overheard in Apocrypha
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Wabbajack
- ↑ 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 Tamrielic Lore
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 2
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Loremaster's Archive: Ranks and Hierarchy of the Daedra
- ↑ Elder Scrolls Online, Basil Ernarde's dialogue
- ↑ Beggar Prince
- ↑ Loremaster's Archive: The Maelstrom Arena - Part Two
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 27.2 Death Decree
- ↑ A Game at Dinner
- ↑ Spirit of the Daedra
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 Varieties of Daedra
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Saints and Seducers
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
- ↑ On the Xivkyn
- ↑ Daedra Dossier: Cold-Flame Atronach – Denogorath the Dread Archivist
- ↑ Feyfolken I
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Hammerfell
- ↑ Charwich-Koniinge Letters, Volume 3
- ↑ Feyfolken II
- ↑ Principles of Conjuration
- ↑ Before the Ages of Man
- ↑ 41.0 41.1 Invocation of Azura
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 Modern Heretics
- ↑ The Amulet of Kings
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 The Oblivion Crisis
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Void
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 46.2 Varieties of Faith: The Dark Elves
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 The House of Troubles
- ↑ 48.0 48.1 48.2 The Reclamations
- ↑ The Code of Malacath
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Orsinium
- ↑ Daedra Worship: The Ayleids
- ↑ Phrastus of Elinhir
- ↑ The Whithering of Delodiil
|Humans||Akaviri • Atmoran • Breton • Imperial • Keptu|
Kothringi • Nede • Nord • Orma • Redguard
|Mer||Aldmer • Altmer • Ayleid • Bosmer • Chimer • Dunmer|
Dwemer • Falmer • Maormer • Orsimer • Sinistral Elf • Snow Elf
|Beast||Argonian • Imga • Khajiit • Lilmothiit • Sload • Giant|
|Akaviri||Ka Po' Tun • Kamal • Tang Mo • Tsaesci • Dragon|
|Et'Ada||Aedra • Daedra|