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clavicus vile

The Naming Song of Clavicus Vile


(A traditional tavern song)

Well, Clavicus mortals call me
Yes, Wish-Bone is my name
For mortals' jests are not the best
Their wits are halt and lame

On top of that they call me Vile
Because I tell the truth
I only show them their true selves
In candor without ruth

I give the mortals what they ask
Though never what they want
I but fulfill the terms they name
Then mock, and gibe, and taunt

It's Clavicus Vile they all summon
Cat, Human, Orc, and Elf
But they'll never know my secret name
That I sing to just Myself

Hide your true name in secret
Protected by wall and tower
For those who learn your hidden name
Will have you in their power

But you will ne'er outwit me
And make me do as you bid
For you're just a foolish mortal
And my secrets are well hid!     

The Vile Truth of Barbas

Pelagius Habor

From the notes of Pelagius Habor, Council Daedrologist-in-Residence, Imperial City

Every true Daedrologist has a favorite Prince. We rarely admit it, but it's true. Each Prince, while horrifying, has a curious and often hilarious quirk. Sheogorath's peculiarities are well known, but when you really think about it, all the Princes are a bit silly. Hircine has the clumsy head of an ungulate. Sanguine is an inveterate drunk. It's precisely these eccentricities that make the Princes a source of endless fascination for Daedrologists such as myself. Unlike the stuffy and aloof Aedra, the Princes suffer from the same neuroses, flaws, and childish fixations that trouble men and mer. They are more like us than we care to admit. As for me? Of all the Daedric Princes, Clavicus Vile is my favorite - and it has everything to do with his loyal hound, Barbas.

I have come to believe that Clavicus Vile is unique in that he exists in two persons. This is, of course, the subject of vigorous debate in Daedrological circles. Many of my confederates would argue that Barbas is merely a greater Daedric servant - no more linked to Vile than a horse is linked to its rider. But I urge you to consider the evidence. The first and most obvious proof of their consubstantiality is found in art. Crude, hand-carved idols dating back to the early Merethic Era depict the masked figure of Clavicus Vile standing beside a large hound, as do ancient cave paintings. I have explored the width and breadth of Tamriel in search of Daedric oddities, and in all my travels I have never found any depiction of Vile that does not include Barbas at his side. I've also read hundreds of firsthand accounts detailing encounters with the Prince. Each of those accounts, without exception, features Barbas in some capacity.

If we accept the premise that Clavicus Vile and Barbas are (at least in some sense) the same person, the natural question is "Why?" Why would an entity possessing godlike power allow itself to be bifurcated? I have a number of hypotheses, but my best guess is simply this: companionship. The "life" of a Prince is one of near-total isolation. Some Princes, like Hermaeus Mora and Nocturnal, appear to revel in this solitude. But everything we know of Clavicus Vile indicates that he is a profoundly social being. His love of bartering, his willingness to bestow wishes upon those that engage with him, his bewitching mask - each of these things point to a being that thrives on interaction, conversation, and play. A being so inclined would likely go mad without some companion to speak to, argue with, and complain about. One might even view it as a marriage of sorts, albeit an inverted one. Rather than two becoming one, as in the Pledge of Mara, one has become two - a paradoxical reversal of the Aedric ritual.

"But why a dog?" you ask? I've puzzled over this for years. Again, I can offer little more than supposition. My best guess is that it has to do with power roles. If Clavicus Vile sheared off a larger share of his animus to create an equal, the two would plot and scheme against each other constantly. In creating a canine counterpart, Vile ensures his position as master. Dogs are ancient symbols of loyalty and submission. They are servants and never masters. So it is with Barbas.

Of course, Barbas is not always a dog. Like other Daedric Princes, Barbas can present himself in a number of different forms. He has appeared as both man and mer, as animals, lesser Daedra, even inanimate objects! This ability to bend his shape, but retain his fundamental animus is a power that no other Daedra on record has been able to replicate - aside from Princes, that is. Coincidence? I think not.

We will likely never know Barbas's true nature with certainty, but the evidence points me to only one conclusion: Barbas and Clavicus Vile are one person in two forms. The master is also the servant. The handler is also the hound. It's a unique and fascinating paradox - the sort of mystery that makes Daedrology worth studying!

The Book of Daedra


Azura, whose sphere is dusk and dawn, the magic in-between realms of twilight, known as Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky.

Boethiah, whose sphere is deceit and conspiracy, and the secret plots of murder, assassination, treason, and unlawful overthrow of authority.

Clavicus Vile, whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pact.

Hermaeus Mora, whose sphere is scrying of the tides of Fate, of the past and future as read in the stars and heavens, and in whose dominion are the treasures of knowledge and memory.

Hircine, whose sphere is the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game, the Chase, known as the Huntsman and the Father of Manbeasts.

Malacath, whose sphere is the patronage of the spurned and ostracized, the keeper of the Sworn Oath, and the Bloody Curse.

Mehrunes Dagon, whose sphere is Destruction, Change, Revolution, Energy, and Ambition.

Mephala, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; known by the names Webspinner, Spinner, and Spider; whose only consistent theme seems to be interference in the affairs of mortals for her amusement.

Meridia, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; who is associated with the energies of living things.

Molag Bal, whose sphere is the domination and enslavement of mortals; whose desire is to harvest the souls of mortals and to bring mortal souls within his sway by spreading seeds of strife and discord in the mortal realms.

Namira, whose sphere is the ancient Darkness; known as the Spirit Daedra, ruler of sundry dark and shadowy spirits; associated with spiders, insects, slugs, and other repulsive creatures which inspire mortals with an instinctive revulsion.

Nocturnal, whose sphere is the night and darkness; who is known as the Night Mistress.

Peryite, whose sphere is the ordering of the lowest orders of Oblivion, known as the Taskmaster.

Sanguine, whose sphere is hedonistic revelry and debauchery, and passionate indulgences of darker natures.

Sheogorath, whose sphere is Madness, and whose motives are unknowable.

Vaernima, whose sphere is the realm of dreams and nightmares, and from whose realm issues forth evil omens.

[Especially marked for special interest under the heading "Malacath" you find a reference to SCOURGE, blessed by Malacath, and dedicated to the use of mortals. In short, the reference suggests that any Daedra attempting to invoke the weapon's powers will be expelled into the voidstreams of Oblivion.]

"Of the legendary artifacts of the Daedra, many are well known, like Azura's Star, and Sheogorath's Wabbajack. Others are less well known, like Scourge, Mackkan's Hammer, Bane of Daedra...."

"...yet though Malacath blessed Scourge to be potent against his Daedra kin, he thought not that it should fall into Daedric hands, then to serve as a tool for private war among caitiff and forsaken. Thus did Malacath curse the device such that, should any dark kin seek to invoke its powers, that a void should open and swallow that Daedra, and purge him into Oblivion's voidstreams, from thence to pathfind back to the Real and Unreal Worlds in the full order of time."  

Clavicus Vile


Clavicus Vile, whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pact.

The summoning date of Clavicus Vile is 1st of Morning Star. Clavicus Vile can also be summoned in his shrine, if the summoner offered 500 gold.

Clavicus Vile in DaggerfallClavicus Vile in Redguard

Clavicus Vile's statue in Oblivion

Circa 2E 896, Clavicus Vile is recorded dealing with N'Gasta, the Sload Necromancer of Stros M'Kai. N'Gasta created "Soulsnare", which gathered lost souls. The Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile granted N'Gasta favors with every soul sent to him. Cyrus the Redguard hero, in his desperate quest to find his sister, managed to destroy N'Gasta by using the Flask of Lillandril. Using the N'Gasta's Necromancy Book, he performed a ritual to transport himself to Clavicus Vile's realm in Oblivion.

The detail of the ritual is following. In order to make a gate to Oblivion appear, Cyrus had to mix Orc's blood with Amber (jacinth - rising sun), mix the Unicorn's horn with Hist Sap (snow - grass), mix the Daedra's heart with Ectoplasm (night - mid-day sky) and then poured the mixtures on the symbol in the center of the N'Gasta's room, in that order. Then a gate appeared. Cyrus went through the gate and was taken to Clavicus Vile's realm.

Then he dealt with Clavicus Vile, who was the holder of his sister's soul. Expecting to give back his sister's soul, Cyrus gave the Flask of Lillandril, but instead Clavicus Vile returned with a riddle. If Cyrus could answer it he might get back her sister's soul, but if he failed Cyrus' own soul would be Clavicus Vile's. Eventually, the wit of Cyrus served him well. The detail of the event can be read in The Story of Redguard.

Circa 3E 430, the scholars recorded a Necromantic threat in Dagon Fel, Morrowind. A Necromancer by the name of Sorkvild the Raven terrorized the area. He somehow had acquired the Masque of Clavicus Vile after an unknown deal with Clavicus Vile. Sorkvild met his doom in the hand of an agent of the Imperial Legion, which is also the Nerevarine.

About the masque, the "Tamrielic Artifacts" says:

Ever the vain one, Clavicus Vile made a masque suited to his own personality. The bearer of the masque is more likely to get a positive response from the people of Tamriel. The higher his personality, the larger the bonus. The best known story of the masque tells the tale of Avalea, a noblewoman of some renown. As a young girl, she was grossly disfigured by a spiteful servant. Avalea made a dark deal with Clavicus Vile and received the masque in return. Though the masque did not change her looks, suddenly she had the respect and admiration of everyone. A year and a day after her marriage to a well connected baron, Clavicus reclaimed his masque. Although pregnant with his child, Avalea was banished from the baron's household. Twenty one years and one day later, Avalea's daughter claimed her vengeance by slaying the baron.

The masque was owned by the Hero of Daggerfall as well, sometime around the year 3E 410. Obviously after dealing with Clavicus Vile. The Prince asked the hero to slay certain werewolf. After the deed was done, the hero was rewarded with the masque.

A worth-checked fiction, written by Waughin Jarth, tells a story of a scribe and his enchanted quill, "Feyfolken." In fact the quill was a gift by Clavicus Vile. The quill gave a great benefit to the owner, but sooner or later the owner was doomed to always use the quill and could not be separated. When that finally happened, Clavicus Vile took the quill back from the owner and also his soul. This is the typical characteristic of Clavicus Vile's gifts.

Circa 3E 433, the Champion of Cyrodiil approached the Shrine of Clavicus Vile and managed to deal with the Prince. Clavicus Vile asked the champion to procure Umbra. An evil sword that has the power to capture the soul of its victim; however after long uses the sword usually consumes the wielder. The sword will possess the wielder. The sword somehow has the characteristic of the Clavicus Vile's artifacts. The "Tamrielic Artifacts" says: 

"The Umbra Sword was enchanted by the ancient witch Naenra Waerr, and its sole purpose was the entrapment of souls. Used in conjunction with a soul gem, the Sword allows the wielder the opportunity to imprison an enemy's soul in the gem. Naenra was executed for her evil creation, but not before she was able to hide the Sword. The Umbra Sword is very choosy when it comes to owners and therefore remains hidden until a worthy one is found."

The main purpose of Umbra is "entrapment of souls." Calvicus Vile said that the sword contains the soul of Umbra, a hero he had been dealing sometime before and wanted to finish it. Learning from the history, where Clavicus Vile was interested on the N'Gasta's work and also Sorkvild's, which is Necromancy, probably Naenra Waerr had also a Necromancer and had dealt with Clavicus Vile for something. This raised some speculations but it is not in the scope of this guide to explore. For procuring Umbra, Clavicus Vile offered his Masque to the champion.

The weird thing happened, the hound statue of Clavicus Vile jumped in to the champion's bag, and it introduced itself as Barbas. Further it said that it would be best if Clavicus Vile not to retrieve the sword at all. Somehow returning the Umbra Sword to Clavicus Vile is a mistake, likely to cause great ruin to Clavicus Vile's domain. It is unknown whether the champion followed the instruction of Barbas or not, but most likely the champion would follow Barbas' instruction. This "sword causes great ruin to Clavicus Vile's domain" is indeed bring more speculations. Detail conversation of the event can be read here.

Apparently Clavicus Vile managed to retrieve the Umbra sword. The events following this deal can be read in the lengthy tome called The Infernal City. Here is a brief synopsis.

From the "Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum," we can take a note that Clavicus Vile altered the Vampire blood of Cyrodiilic Vampires, made them be able to walk during daylight and most importantly can deal among the common folks as another commoner - if they were well fed. This actually a great gift for the Vampires. What Clavicus Vile's asking for the payment of the great service is unknown.

Imperial Census of Daedra Lords

Michael Kirkbride

Hey kids,

Still working on the sword-meeting, so in lieu of its presence and in honor of Propitiation Day, I give you "The Imperial Census of Daedra Lords" by the Imperial Geographic Survey. This version of the Census was written before Uriel VII's demise, and is contemporary with the current Pocketguide.



The Imperial Census of Daedra Lords
Azura, Lord of Dusk and Dawn, maintains the domain of Moonshadow, a twilight country of shades and half-thoughts. Visitors to this isle have historically come mainly from the Dunmer of eastern Morrowind and the catfolk of Elsweyr, whose people both hold a great affection for the mother of immanence, though by separate roads. At the time of this writing, regular gateways to Moonshadow have been inaccessible for the last several years. Whether this has to do with the unlawful incidents at Hogithum Hall in the Capital City or mere whim of Azura herself, no one can say. Of course, Azura’s most famous acts of recent times is the Incarnation of the Nerevarine, a subject that while far beyond the scope of this pamphlet has been felt to the present day.

Boethiah, the so-called Prince of Plots, has renamed his country of labyrinthine policy and betrayals yet again. Formerly “Snake Mount”, Prince Boethiah’s maze gardens and twisted towers is called “Attribution’s Share”, a realm best avoided by those that live outside the arcano-politic. Boethiah, like his cohort Azura, is much revered by the followers of the former Tribunal Temple, but sub-cults of his are entrenched in nearly every terrestrial seat of governance. His traditional festival date is the 2nd of Sun’s Dusk, when many contracts are writ between kings and commoners alike.

Clavicus Vile, child-god of the Morningstar, bestows a strange tranquility to his lands that seem concordant to his spheres of mockery and oath breaking, though what shape such concepts might take is admittedly unfathomable. Perhaps by rendering his domains as idyllic countryside the Prince exemplifies his greatest aspect, and that which ingratiates him to his many followers, the power of serenity through wish fulfillment. Only the strongest of the Emperor’s servants are advised to make covenant with Prince Clavicus, and even then are warned against sipping from the Bitter Cup.

Hermaeus Mora, “the Gardener of Men”, claims that he is one of the oldest Princes, born of thrown-away ideas used during the creation of mortality in the Mundus. Imperial Mananauts have verified that his influence on fate and time is real and unfeigned, implications of which tie this Prince directly with Akatosh, chief of the Nine Divines. Since Akatosh is the prime temporal spirit whose appearance led to the formation of the world, perhaps Hermaeus Mora speaks the truth. Nevertheless, it is the will of His Majesty Uriel VII that only on the official holiday of 5th First Seed should any propitiation to this Daedric Prince be delivered. “All else is mutation.”

Hircine’s Hunting Grounds have been closed by consensus of the Elder Council until further notice. It is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

Malacath holds the hardest to access of Oblivion’s extant lands, the Ashpit. As Prince Patron of the disenfranchised and cast out, it is only reasonable that the pathways to his domain take on a characteristic level of concealment. Orsinium, kingdom of the Orcs, gives Malacath its highest esteem, which is surprising when one considers the normal Orcish revilement of Daedric spirits. One might conjecture then that the rumors of Malacath not being a true Daedroth but an imprisoned aetherial spirit are true. It would certainly fit the Prince of Exile that he be one himself.

Mehrunes Dagon, Lord of Razors, has proven himself time and again the enemy of the Empire. Of terrible aspect and crowned in beaten copper, the four-armed Prince of Destruction has troubled the borders of the Mundus with warfare, foul rumor, and force of arms. Banished to dissolution during the Weir Gate massacre and again at Kvatch by battlemages of the 33rd, Mehrunes Dagon is returned to Oblivion once more, and the stars have foretold that his tenacity has known no forfeiture. All heroes of Cyrodiil are called upon to stand vigil against his hidden agencies.

Mephala’s domains in Oblivion are numerous and obscured, collected together by vast strands of magical ghostweb. All of them are devoted to her spheres of sex and secret murder. Echoing this same structure are the various esoteric cults devoted to her across Tamriel, many of which are forbidden by Imperial law. Her aspect is shrouded and manifold, even when she appears in the crowds that gather within her temples during Frost Fall.

Meridia’s holdings in Oblivion are collectively known as “The Colored Rooms”. Another Prince whose origins may not entirely be outside of the aetherial, Meridia has at several times been linked to Magnus the Sun. The most famous account of this association is the Tract of Merid-nunda, which overtly casts Meridia in the role of a wayward solar daughter, cast from the heavens for consorting with illicit spectra.

Molag Bal, King of Strife, is second only to his brother Prince Mehrunes Dagon in the enmity of our Emperor. His lands are the charnel houses the slave pens of Coldharbour, which hold no contrition for those travelers that visit them in error or purpose. That Molag Bal is allowed his holiday at all hearkens back to a treaty of ancient times, when he reputedly lent his infernal power to the creation of the first soulgems.

Namira’s Scuttling Void has been closed by consensus of the Elder Council until further notice. It is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

Nocturnal is accorded the title Ur-dra by nearly all the Royalty of Oblivion. As the mother of night, she claims to be an aspect of the original Void itself, and it is generally deemed best to fortify this declaration in one’s evening prayers.

Peryite’s pits have always been inaccessible to mortals. Our only real knowledge of them comes from reports of the other diabolical Princes. It is said that Peryite guards the lowest orders of Oblivion and that his summoners are to regard his likeness to Akatosh as some primordial and curious jest.

Sanguine, Prince of Hedonism, lords over no less than ten times ten thousand pleasure pockets of the Void. As revelry and drunken stupor fall under this Prince’s influence, he has been a favorite of many Emperors since the first foundation. Records even indicate that he resided in White-Gold Tower during the reign of Reman Cyrodiil and helped in the somewhat dubious draftsmanship of the Crendali Festivals, whose vulgarities did little to help Imperial expansion into Alinor and the other Summersets.

Sheogorath’s Asylums have been closed by consensus of the Elder Council until further notice. It is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness.

Vaernima, Prince of Omen and Dream, shares a special mageographic connection with the Mundus, since mortal sleepers often slip into her realm without any help at all. Traditional sacrifice to Vaernima is held on the 10th of Suns Height, but as with most luck spirits, prayers to this Daedric Prince occur quite frequently, and not always before bedtime.