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"Death" of Morphotypical Entities

Doctor Rhythandius

In my seminal work, “Chaotic Creatia,” I described the means by which those creatures known to us as Daedra manifest themselves upon the mortal plane. It is this mechanism that makes it impossible to ever truly kill a Daedra, because they simply return to the planes of Oblivion and then project themselves back to the Mundus once again. The implication is that there are (and always will be) bonds between these planes and our own.

This begs the question, however, if you kill a Daedra within its respective plane of Oblivion, is it then truly annihilated? What about if the Daedra is slain while within one of the Aedric planes of existence? I am fortunate enough to have had the privilege of engaging several Daedra on this subject and I can assure you that they are not forthcoming on this topic.

What I have been able to glean, mostly by way of observing their reactions to my suggestions, is that Daedra do not often, nor do they appear to care to, travel to the planes of existence dominated by Aedric influences. Realms such as the many varieties of Aetherius (Sovngarde being a prime example) do not appear suitable for the travel of Daedric creatures.

I would hypothesize based on this information, and from information gathered from other sources, that the Aedric planes do not share the same energetic tie to the Daedric planes that they share to one another and to the Mundus. Thus, it might be possible that a Daedric vestige slain in an Aedric plane cannot return to its home plane, and thus is left dead or simply trapped for all eternity. The irony doesn’t escape me that if this proves true, then a Daedra can only truly die after it enters heaven.

(Ah, how I amuse myself. All pure speculation, of course — but the time does pass slowly here, when it’s passing at all. One must stay busy!)

Persistence of Daedric Veneration

Lady Cinnabar of Taneth

If you believed what that old goat Phrastus of Elinhir writes in what he's pleased to call his "Histories," you'd think that modern society's bias against reverence for the Daedric Princes was rooted in some kind of instinctive revulsion against the Lords of Oblivion, an abhorrence based on events of unspeakable cruelty that took place thousands of years ago.

This is absurd on the face of it. Ask the peasant in his field, the cobbler in his shop, or the solicitor in his office if he fears the Daedra Lords because of the ancient practices of the Wild Elves, and all you'll get will be a blank look. The peasant, cobbler, and solicitor only fear Daedra and Daedra-worship because they've been told to by established religion and academia, and because their neighbors believe the same thing.

So, Phrastus, Daedra worship survives in Tamriel only at the level of forbidden cults? On the contrary, it's easy to show that veneration for Daedra is widespread and widely accepted among the folk of Tamriel, despite the desires and opinions of priests and professors. Ask the hunter why he mutters a prayer to Hircine as he draws his bow. Ask the gardener why she asks Mephala to spare her vines from slugs and worms. Ask the guardsman why he invokes the valor of Boethiah as he draws his sword. And one doesn't have to look hard to find worshipers of Sanguine during Carnaval, or Hermaeus Mora among scholars at any time.

What of the Ashlanders of Morrowind, who still venerate the so-called Good Daedra? What of the Spirit Wardens of Menevia, who follow Azura? What of the Jovial Lambasters of Rimmen, who celebrate Clavicus Vile?

What, indeed, of the Khajiit of the southern realms? Rather than abjure the Oblivion Lords, the Cat-folk of Elsweyr venerate them openly, scarcely drawing a distinction between Aedra and Daedra. The Khajiit recognize the benevolent aspects of the Princes, offering them respect at a minimum, and often admiration. Azurah is a popular object of worship for Khajiiti magicians, Sheggorath appeals to the feline taste for wild mischief, and the souls of the dead are placed in the charge of Namiira.

Yet Phrastus would have you believe every mortal in Tamriel cringes in horror at the mention of Daedra, and mocks my own work when I show him up for the charlatan he is. Or can we explain his petty hostility in another way? Wasn't it Phrastus himself who approached me at the Dragonstar Conclave of Antiquarian Scholars, Phrastus who pointed out it was the 16th of Sun's Dawn, Phrastus who suggested we meet later that evening to "appropriately celebrate Sanguine's summoning day"? I believe he took it rather personally when I refused his smarmy advances, for it was shortly thereafter that his unwarranted criticism of my work began to appear in the journals. Hmm. Yes, perhaps therein lies the explanation.

Exegesis of Merid-Nunda

Phrastus of Elinhir

Truly, the Tract of Merid-Nunda is one of the strangest and least understood works of mythohistory that has come down to us from the early First Era. It exists only in partial manuscript form, a single copy of which resides in the library of the Arcane University at the Imperial City. (Or at least it did, though since the Mages Guild was blamed for the disappearance of the Emperor Varen and driven out of Cyrodiil, I don't know what has become of their once-admirable library.)

Fortunately, I was granted an opportunity to study the noted Tract in detail while the Guild was still in possession of it, and made a personal copy for myself so I could continue to unravel its mysteries once I'd returned to Elinhir.

The problem of understanding the Tract of Merid-Nunda is twofold: First, the extant document is clearly part of a larger work, drawn from seemingly somewhere in the middle, and without the preceding and following portions of the work we have little context for the part that remains. Second, the Tract is written in a peculiar argot that employs Ayleid phrases in a late Nedic syntax, including many words of unknown origin that don't appear in any other source.

However, working outward from fragments previously translated by Wenegrus Monhana and Herminia Cinna, I believe I can shed some new light on certain key passages in this mysterious manuscript. Our format shall be to provide the translation of each passage, followed by my interpretation of its meaning.

"… were known as the Nine Coruscations, who followed the parabolas that led away from Magnus. Merid-Nunda was of these Sisters, as was Mnemo-Li, as was Xero-Lyg, as was …."

This appears to identify the "Daedric Prince" Meridia with the so-called Star-Orphans, those Anuic ur-entities that separated from Magnus when that Divine withdrew from the creation of the Aurbis. The best-known of these Star-Orphans is probably Mnemoli the Blue Star, who is associated with un-time events, and was said to be visible even in the daytime sky at the time of the Dragon Break.

"… thus we call upon Cenedelin to bind the earth, as we speak to Merid-Nunda regarding the light, for she is the scintilla that fears not darkness, and swims the waves of pull and spin …."

For the Ayleids, of course, Light was one of the four elements of creation, and this passage seems to confirm that Meridia was the personification of Light to the Wild Elves. Though I am certain of this passage's translation, I confess the meaning of the final phrases eludes me.

The next passage was quite difficult, but its translation adds an entirely new episode to our accounts of the Dawn Era:

"The Lords of the Chaos-Realms chided Merid-Nunda for her trespass and bade her return to Aurbis, claiming all existing spheres as their own. But Merid-Nunda formed of her substance a great drag-lens, and the light of Magnus was bent thereby. The rays [carved? focused?] a new sphere from the chaos, which Merid-Nunda, [laughing? sparkling?], did claim for her own."

This appears to recount the origin of the Colored Rooms, as Meridia's Oblivion realm is known, seemingly formed directly out of the stuff of chaos by an act of divine will.
And finally:

"… thus does Merid-Nunda [ride? slide?] across the rainbow road from end to end, at one end stretching the dragon, at the other end compressing him …."

A curious passage indeed. The "dragon," of course, traditionally refers to the Divine we know as Akatosh, the God of Time. This seems to suggest that by traveling the "rainbow road" (a reference to the prismatic refraction of light?), Meridia can in some sense alter the rate at which time flows forward.

Altering the "speed" of time? Is this merely an absurd conceit of the late Ayleid sorcerer-priests, or a genuine insight into the nature of one of the least-understood Daedric Princes?

Who can say?

The Anticipations


The Daedra are powerful ancestor spirits, similar in form and substance to the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names), but weaker in power, and more arbitrary and removed from the affairs of mortals. In old times, the Chimer worshiped the Daedra as gods. But they did not deserve this veneration, for the Daedra harm their worshippers as often as help them.

The Advent of the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names) changed this unhappy state. By the Apotheosis, the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names) became the Protectors and High Ancestor Spirits of the Dunmer, and bade the Daedra to give proper veneration and obedience. The Three Good Daedra, Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala, recognized the Divinity of the Triune Ancestors (Blessed Be Their Holy Names). The Rebel Daedra, Molag Bal, Malacath, Sheogorath, and Mehrunes Dagon, refused to swear fealty to the Tribunal (Blessed Be Their Holy Names), and their worshippers were cast out.

These Rebel Daedra thus became the Four Corners of the House of Troubles, and they continue to plague our tranquility and tempt the unwary into Heresy and Dark Worship. The Priests of the Temple remain ever vigilant for signs of the Adversaries' return, sometimes aided by the loyal Three Good Daedra, who are familiar with the wiles of their rebellious kin.

The Good Daedra are known to the Temple as the Anticipations, since they are the early ancestral anticipations of the loving patronage of the Tribunal. The Anticipations are the Daedra Lords Boethiah, Mephala, and Azura.

Boethiah is the Anticipation of Almalexia but male to her female. Boethiah was the ancestor who illuminated the elves ages ago before the Mythic Era. He told them the truth of Lorkhan's test, and defeated Auriel's champion, Trinimac. Boethiah ate Trinimac and voided him. The followers of Boethiah and Trinimac rubbed the soil of Trinimac upon themselves and changed their skins.

Mephala is the Anticipation of Vivec, but manifold and androgynous. Mephala taught the Chimer to evade their enemies or kill them with secret murder. Enemies were numerous in those days since the Chimer were a small with enemies on all sides. Mephala organized the clan systems that eventually became the Great Houses. Later, Mephala created the Morag Tong.

Azura is the Anticipation of Sotha Sil, but female to his male. Azura was the ancestor who taught the Chimer how to be different from the Altmer. Her teachings are sometimes attributed to Boethiah. In the stories, Azura is often encountered more as a communal progenitor of the race as a whole rather than as an individual ancestor. She is associated with Dusk and Dawn, and is sometimes called the Mother Soul. Azura's Star, also called the Twilight Star, appears briefly at dawn and dusk low on the horizon below the constellation of the Steed. Azura is associated with mystery and magic, fate and prophecy.

The Waters of Oblivion


A hundred and twenty numbered ages in the void that fated folk had grown deep-schooled in evil. Then the Bright Gods resolved to punish those faithless spirits, and shatter the unruly caitiffs, those huge, unholy scathers, loathsome to the Light. They repented exceedingly that they had gazed upon Oblivion, and seen there the first of dark kin, and welcomed them as brothers and sisters.

The Principalities of Victory beheld how great was the wickedness of the wayward spirits, and saw that they were bold in sin and full of wiles. They resolved then to chasten the tribes of daedra, and smite darkkind with hammer and hand.

But ever shall Darkness contest the Light, and great were the Powers that breathed the void and laid waste upon one another, and no oath might bind them, so deep were they in envy and perfidy. For once the portals are opened, who shall shut them upon the rising tide?


On Oblivion

Morian Zenas

It is improper, however customary, to refer to the denizens of the dimension of Oblivion as "demons." This practice probably dates to the Alessian Doctrines of the First Era prophet Marukh -- which, rather amusingly, forbade "trafficke with daimons" and then neglected to explain what daimons were.

It is most probable that "daimon" is a misspelling or etymological rendition of "Daedra," the old Elven word for those strange, powerful creatures of uncertain motivation who hail from the dimension of Oblivion. ("Daedra" is actually the plural form; the singular is "Daedroth.") In a later tract by King Hale the Pious of Skyrim, almost a thousand years after the publication of the original Doctrines, the evil machinations of his political enemies are compared to "the wickedness of the demons of Oblivion... their depravity equals that of Sanguine itself, they are cruel as Boethiah, calculating as Molag Bal, and mad as Sheogorath." Hale the Pious thus long-windedly introduced four of the Daedra lords to written record.

But the written record is not, after all, the best way to research Oblivion and the Daedra who inhabit it. Those who "trafficke with daimons" seldom wish it to be a matter of public account. Nevertheless, scattered throughout the literature of the First Era are diaries, journals, notices for witch burnings, and guides for Daedra-slayers. These I have used as my primary source material. They are at least as trustworthy as the Daedra lords I have actually summoned and spoken with at length.

Apparently, Oblivion is a place composed of many lands -- thus the many names for which Oblivion is synonymous: Coldharbour, Quagmire, Moonshadow, etc. It may be correctly supposed that each land of Oblivion is ruled over by one prince. The Daedra princes whose names appear over and over in ancient records (though this is not an infallible test of their authenticity or explicit existence, to be sure) are the afore-mentioned Sanguine, Boethiah, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath, and in addition, Azura, Mephala, Clavicus Vile, Vaernima, Malacath, Hoermius (or Hermaeus or Hormaius or Herma -- there seems to be no one accepted spelling) Mora, Namira, Jyggalag, Nocturnal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Peryite.

From my experience, Daedra are a very mixed lot. It is almost impossible to categorize them as a whole except for their immense power and penchant for extremism. Be that as it may, I have here attempted to do so in a few cases, purely for the sake of scholastic expediency.

Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Peryite, Boethiah, and Vaernima are among the most consistently "demonic" of the Daedra, in the sense that their spheres seem to be destructive in nature. The other Daedra can, of course, be equally dangerous, but seldom purely for the sake of destruction as these five can. Nor are these previous five identical in their destructiveness. Mehrunes Dagon seems to prefer natural disasters -- earthquakes and volcanoes -- for venting his anger. Molag Bal elects the employment of other daedra, and Boethiah inspires the arms of mortal warriors. Peryite's sphere seems to be pestilence, and Vaernima's torture.

In preparation for the next instalment in this series, I will be investigating two matters that have intrigued me since I began my career as a Daedra researcher. The first is on one particular Daedroth, perhaps yet another Daedra prince, referred to in multiple articles of incunabula as Hircine. Hircine has been called "the Huntsman of the Princes" and "the Father of Man-beasts," but I have yet to find anyone who can summon him. The other, and perhaps more doubtful, goal I have is to find a practical means for mortal men to pass through to Oblivion. It has always been my philosophy that we need only fear that which we do not understand -- and with that thought in mind, I ever pursue my objective.



Waughin Jarth


Book One

Waughin Jarth

The Great Sage was a tall, untidy man, bearded but bald. His library resembled him: all the books had been moved over the years to the bottom shelves where they gathered in dusty conglomerations. He used several of the books in his current lecture, explaining to his students, Taksim and Vonguldak, how the Mages Guild had first been founded by Vanus Galerion. They had many questions about Galerion's beginnings in the Psijic Order, and how the study of magic there differed from the Mages Guild.

"It was, and is, a very structured way of life," explained the Great Sage. "Quite elitist, actually. That was the aspect of it Galerion most objected to. He wanted the study of magic to be free. Well, not free exactly, but at least available to all who could afford it. In doing that, he changed the course of life in Tamriel."

"He codified the praxes and rituals used by all modern potionmakers, itemmakers, and spellmakers, didn't he, Great Sage?" asked Vonguldak.

"That was only part of it. Magic as we know it today comes from Vanus Galerion. He restructured the schools to be understandable by the masses. He invented the tools of alchemy and enchanting so everyone could concoct whatever they wanted, whatever their skills and purse would allow them to, without fears of magical backfire. Well, eventually he created that."

"What do you mean, Great Sage?" asked Taksim.

"The first tools were more automated than the ones we have today. Any layman could use them without the least understanding of enchantment and alchemy. On the Isle of Artaeum, the students had to learn the skills laboriously and over many years, but Galerion decided that was another example of the Psijics' elitism. The tools he invented were like robotic master enchanters and alchemists, capable of creating anything the customer required, provided he could pay."

"So someone could, for example, create a sword that would cleave the world in twain?" asked Vonguldak.

"I suppose, in theory, but it would probably take all the gold in the world," chuckled the Great Sage. "No, I can't say we were ever in very great danger, but that it isn't to say that there weren't a few unfortunate incidents where a unschooled yokel invented something beyond his ken. Eventually, of course, Galerion tore apart his old tools, and created what we use today. It's a little elitist, requiring that people know what they're doing before they do it, but remarkably practical."

"What did people invent?" asked Taksim. "Are there any stories?"

"You're trying to distract me so I don't test you," said the Great Sage. "But I suppose I can tell you one story, just to illustrate a point. This particular tale takes place in city of Alinor on the west coast of Summurset Isle, and concerns a scribe named Thaurbad.

This was in the Second Era, not long after Vanus Galerion had first founded the Mages Guild and chapter houses had sprung up all over Summurset, though not yet spread to the mainland of Tamriel.

For five years, this scribe, Thaurbad, had conducted all his correspondence to the outside world by way of his messenger boy, Gorgos. For the first year of his adoption of the hermit life, his few remaining friends and family -- friends and family of his dead wife, truth be told -- had tried visiting, but even the most indefatigable kin gives up eventually when given no encouragement. No one had a good reason to keep in touch with Thaurbad Hulzik, and in time, very few even tried. His sister-in-law sent him the occasional letter with news of people he could barely remember, but even that communication was rare. Most of messages to and from his house dealt with his business, writing the weekly proclamation from the Temple of Auri-El. These were bulletins nailed on the temple door, community news, sermons, that sort of thing.

The first message Gorgos brought him that day was from his healer, reminding him of his appointment on Turdas. Thaurbad took a while to write his response, glum and affirmative. He had the Crimson Plague, which he was being treated for at considerable expense -- you have to remember these were the days before the School of Restoration had become quite so specialized. It was a dreadful disease and had taken away his voicebox. That was why he only communicated by script.

The next message was from Alfiers, the secretary at the church, as curt and noxious as ever: "THAURBAD, ATTACHED IS SUNDAS'S SERMON, NEXT WEEK'S EVENTS CALENDAR, AND THE OBITUARIES. TRY TO LIVEN THEM UP A LITTLE. I WASN'T HAPPY WITH YOUR LAST ATTEMPT."

Thaurbad had taken the job putting together the Bulletin before Alfiers joined the temple, so his only mental image of her was purely theoretical and had evolved over time. At first he thought of Alfiers as an ugly fat sloadess covered with warts; more recently, she had mutated into a rail-thin, spinster orcess. Of course, it was possible his clairvoyance was accurate and she had just lost weight.

Whatever Alfiers looked like, her attitude towards Thaurbad was clear, unwavering disdain. She hated his sense of humor, always found the most minor of misspellings, and considered his structure and calligraphy the worst kind of amateur work. Luckily, working for a temple was the next most secure job to working for the good King of Alinor. It didn't bring in very much money, but his expenses were minimal. The truth was, he didn't need to do it anymore. He had quite a fortune stashed away, but he didn't have anything else to occupy his days. And the truth was further that having little else to occupy his time and thoughts, the Bulletin was very important to him.

Gorgos, having delivered all the messages, began to clean and as he did so, he told Thaurbad all the news in town. The boy always did so, and Thaurbad seldom paid him any attention, but this time he had an interesting report. The Mages Guild had come to Alinor.

As Thaurbad listened intently, Gorgos told him all about the Guild, the remarkable Archmagister, and the incredible tools of alchemy and enchanting. Finally, when the lad had finished, Thaurbad scribbled a quick note and handed it and a quill to Gorgos. The note read, "Have them enchant this quill."

"It will be expensive," said Gorgos.

Thaurbad gave Gorgos a sizeable chunk of the thousands of gold pieces he had saved over the years, and sent him out the door. Now, Thaurbad decided, he would finally have the ability to impress Alfiers and bring glory to the Temple of Auri-El.

The way I've heard the story, Gorgos had thought about taking the gold and leaving Alinor, but he had come to care for poor old Thaurbad. And even more, he hated Alfiers who he had to see every day to get his messages for his master. It wasn't perhaps for the best of motivations, but Gorgos decided to go to the Guild and get the quill enchanted.

The Mages Guild was not then, especially not then, an elitist institution, as I have said, but when the messenger boy came in and asked to use the Itemmaker, he was greeted with some suspicion. When he showed the bag of gold, the attitude melted, and he was ushered in the room.

Now, I haven't seen one of the enchanting tools of old, so you must use your imagination. There was a large prism for the item to be bound with magicka, assuredly, and an assortment of soul gems and globes of trapped energies. Other than that, I cannot be certain how it looked or how it worked. Because of all the gold he gave to the Guild, Gorgos could infuse the quill with the highest-price soul available, which was something daedric called Feyfolken. The initiate at the Guild, being ignorant as most Guildmembers were at that time, did not know very much about the spirit except that it was filled with energy. When Gorgos left the room, the quill had been enchanted to its very limit and then some. It was virtually quivering with power.

Of course, when Thaurbad used it, that's when it became clear how over his head he was.

And now," said the Great Sage. "It's time for your test."

"But what happened? What were the quill's powers?" cried Taksim.

"You can't stop the tale there!" objected Vonguldak.

"We will continue the tale after your conjuration test, provided you both perform exceptionally well," said the Great Sage.



Book Two

Waughin Jarth

After the test had been given and Vonguldak and Taksim had demonstrated their knowledge of elementary conjuration, the Great Sage told them that they were free to enjoy the day. The two lads, who most afternoons fidgeted through their lessons, refused to leave their seats.

"You told us that after the test, you'd tell us more of your tale about the scribe and his enchanted quill," said Taksim.

"You've already told us about the scribe, how he lived alone, and his battles with the Temple secretary over the Bulletin he scripted for posting, and how he suffered from the Crimson Plague and couldn't speak. When you left off, his messenger boy had just had his master's quill enchanted with the spirit of a daedra named Feyfolken," added Vonguldak to aid the Great Sage's memory.

"As it happens," said the Great Sage. "I was thinking about a nap. However, the story does touch on some issues of the natures of spirits and thus is related to conjuration, so I'll continue.

Thaurbad began using the quill to write the Temple Bulletin, and there was something about the slightly lopsided, almost three-dimensional quality of the letters that Thaurbad liked a lot.

Into the night, Thaurbad put together the Temple of Auri-El's Bulletin. For the moment he washed over the page with the Feyfolken quill, it became a work of art, an illuminated manuscript crafted of gold, but with good, simple and strong vernacular. The sermon excerpts read like poetry, despite being based on the archpriest's workmanlike exhortation of the most banal of the Alessian doctrines. The obituaries of two of the Temple's chief benefactors were stark and powerful, pitifully mundane deaths transitioned into world-class tragedies. Thaurbad worked the magical palette until he nearly fainted from exhaustion. At six o'clock in the morning, a day before deadline, he handed the Bulletin to Gorgos for him to carry to Alfiers, the Temple secretary.

As expected, Alfiers never wrote back to compliment him or even comment on how early he had sent the bulletin. It didn't matter. Thaurbad knew it was the best Bulletin the Temple had ever posted. At one o'clock on Sundas, Gorgos brought him many messages.

"The Bulletin today was so beautiful, when I read it in the vestibule, I'm ashamed to tell you I wept copiously," wrote the archpriest. "I don't think I've seen anything that captures Auri-El's glory so beautifully before. The cathedrals of Firsthold pale in comparison. My friend, I prostrate myself before the greatest artist since Gallael."

The archpriest was, like most men of the cloth, given to hyperbole. Still, Thaurbad was happy with the compliment. More messages followed. All of the Temple Elders and thirty-three of the parishioners young and old had all taken the time to find out who wrote the bulletin and how to get a message to congratulate him. And there was only one person they could go through for that information: Alfiers. Imaging the dragon lady besieged by his admirers filled Thaurbad with positive glee.

He was still in a good mood the next day when he took the ferry to his appointment with his healer, Telemichiel. The herbalist was new, a pretty Redguard woman who tried to talk to him, even after he gave her the note reading "My name is Thaurbad Hulzik and I have an appointment with Telemichiel for eleven o'clock. Please forgive me for not talking, but I have no voicebox anymore."

"Has it started raining yet?" she asked cheerfully. "The diviner said it might."

Thaurbad frowned and shook his head angrily. Why was it that everyone thought that mute people liked to be talked to? Did soldiers who lost their arms like to be thrown balls? It was undoubtedly not a purposefully cruel behavior, but Thaurbad still suspected that some people just liked to prove that they weren't crippled too.

The examination itself was routine horror. Telemichiel performed the regular invasive torture, all the while chatting and chatting and chatting.

"You ought to try talking once in a while. That's the only way to see if you're getting better. If you don't feel comfortable doing it in public, you could try practicing it by yourself," said Telemichiel, knowing her patient would ignore her advice. "Try singing in the bath. You'll probably find you don't sound as bad as you think."

Thaurbad left the examination with the promise of test results in a couple of weeks. On the ferry ride back home, Thaurbad began thinking of next week's temple bulletin. What about a double-border around the "Last Sundas's Offering Plate" announcement? Putting the sermon in two columns instead of one might have interesting effects. It was almost unbearable to think that he couldn't get started on it until Alfiers sent him information.


In response, Thaurbad almost followed Telemichiel's advice by screaming obscenities at Gorgos. Instead, he drank a bottle of cheap wine, composed and sent a suitable reply, and fell asleep on the floor.

The next morning, after a long bath, Thaurbad began work on the Bulletin. His idea for putting a light shading effect on the "Special Announcements" section had an amazing textural effect. Alfiers always hated the extra decorations he added to the borders, but using the Feyfolken quill, they looked strangely powerful and majestic.

Gorgos came to him with a message from Alfiers at that very moment as if in response to the thought. Thaurbad opened it up. It simply said, "I'M SORRY."

Thaurbad kept working. Alfiers's note he put from his mind, sure that she would soon follow it up with the complete message "I'M SORRY THAT NO ONE EVER TAUGHT YOU TO KEEP RIGHT-HAND AND LEFT-HAND MARGINS THE SAME LENGTH" or "I'M SORRY WE CAN'T GET SOMEONE OTHER THAN A WEIRD, OLD MAN AS SCRIBE OF OUR BULLETIN." It didn't matter what she was sorry about. The columns from the sermon notes rose like the massive pillars of roses, crowned with unashamedly ornate headers. The obituaries and birth announcements were framed together with a spherical border, as a heartbreaking declaration of the circle of life. The Bulletin was simultaneously both warm and avant-garde. It was a masterpiece. When he sent it off to Alfiers late that afternoon, he knew she'd hate it, and was glad.

Thaurbad was surprised to get a message from the Temple on Loredas. Before he read the content, he could tell from the style that it wasn't from Alfiers. The handwriting wasn't Alfiers's usual belligerent slashing style, and it wasn't all in Alfiers's usual capital letters, which read like a scream from Oblivion.

"Thaurbad, I thought you should know Alfiers isn't at the Temple anymore. She quit her position yesterday, very suddenly. My name is Vanderthil, and I was lucky enough (let me admit it now, I begged pitifully) to be your new Temple contact. I'm overwhelmed by your genius. I was having a crisis of faith until I read last week's Bulletin. This week's Bulletin is a miracle. Enough. I just wanted to say I'm honored to be working with you. -- Vanderthil."

The response on Sundas after the service even astonished Thaurbad. The archpriest attributed the massive increase in attendance and collection plate offerings entirely to the Bulletin. Thaurbad's salary was quadrupled. Gorgos brought over a hundred and twenty messages from his adoring public.

The following week, Thaurbad sat in front of his writing plank, a glass of fine Torvali mead at his side, staring at the blank scroll. He had no ideas. The Bulletin, his child, his second-wife, bored him. The third-rate sermons of the archbishop were absolute anathema, and the deaths and births of the Temple patrons struck him as entirely pointless. Blah blah, he thought as he scribbled on the page.

He knew he wrote the letters B-L-A-H B-L-A-H. The words that appeared on the scroll were, "A necklace of pearl on a white neck."

He scrawled a jagged line across the page. It appeared in through that damned beautiful Feyfolken quill: "Glory to Auri-El."

Thaurbad slammed the quill and poetry spilled forth in a stream of ink. He scratched over the page, blotting over everything, and the vanquished words sprung back up in different form, even more exquisite than before. Every daub and splatter caused the document to whirl like a kaleidoscope before falling together in gorgeous asymmetry. There was nothing he could do to ruin the Bulletin. Feyfolken had taken over. He was a reader, not an author.

Now," asked the Great Sage. "What was Feyfolken from your knowledge of the School of Conjuration?"

"What happened next?" cried Vonguldak.

"First, tell me what Feyfolken was, and then I'll continue the story."

"You said it was a daedra," said Taksim. "And it seems to have something to do with artistic expression. Was Feyfolken a servitor of Azura?"

"But the scribe may have been imagining all this," said Vonguldak. "Perhaps Feyfolken is a servitor of Sheogorath, and he's gone mad. Or the quill's writing makes everyone who views it, like all the congregation at the Temple of Auri-El, go mad."

"Hermaeus Mora is the daedra of knowledge ... and Hircine is the daedra of the wild ... and the daedra of revenge is Boethiah," pondered Taksim. And then he smiled, "Feyfolken is a servitor of Clavicus Vile, isn't it?"

"Very good," said the Great Sage. "How did you know?"

"It's his style," said Taksim. "Assuming that he doesn't want the power of the quill now that he has it. What happens next?"

"I'll tell you," said the Great Sage, and continued the tale.


Book Three

Waughin Jarth

Thaurbad had at last seen the power of the quill," said the Great Sage, continuing his tale. "Enchanted with the daedra Feyfolken, servitor of Clavicus Vile, it had brought him great wealth and fame as the scribe of the weekly Bulletin of the Temple of Auri-El. But he realized that it was the artist, and he merely the witness to its magic. He was furious and jealous. With a cry, he snapped the quill in half.

He turned to finish his glass of mead. When he turned around, the quill was intact.

He had no other quills but the one he had enchanted, so he dipped his finger in the inkwell and wrote a note to Gorgos in big sloppy letters. When Gorgos returned with a new batch of congratulatory messages from the Temple, praising his latest Bulletin, he handed the note and the quill to the messenger boy. The note read: "Take the quill back to the Mages Guild and sell it. Buy me another quill with no enchantments."

Gorgos didn't know what to make of the note, but he did as he was told. He returned a few hours later.

"They wouldn't give us any gold back for it," said Gorgos. "They said it wasn't enchanted. I told 'em, I said 'What are you talking about, you enchanted it right here with that Feyfolken soul gem,' and they said, 'Well, there ain't a soul in it now. Maybe you did something and it got loose.'"

Gorgos paused to look at his master. Thaurbad couldn't speak, of course, but he seemed even more than usually speechless.

"Anyway, I threw the quill away and got you this new one, like you said."

Thaurbad studied the new quill. It was white-feathered while his old quill had been dove gray. It felt good in his hand. He sighed with relief and waved his messenger lad away. He had a Bulletin to write, and this time, without any magic except for his own talent.

Within two days time, he was nearly back on schedule. It looked plain but it was entirely his. Thaurbad felt a strange reassurance when he ran his eyes over the page and noticed some slight errors. It had been a long time since the Bulletin contained any errors. In fact, Thaurbad reflected happily, there were probably other mistakes still in the document that he was not seeing.

He was finishing a final whirl of plain calligraphy on the borders when Gorgos arrived with some messages from the Temple. He looked through them all quickly, until one caught his eye. The wax seal on the letter read "Feyfolken." With complete bafflement, he broke it open.

"I think you should kill yourself," it read in perfectly gorgeous script.

He dropped the letter to the floor, seeing sudden movement on the Bulletin. Feyfolken script leapt from the letter and coursed over the scroll in a flood, translating his shabby document into a work of sublime beauty. Thaurbad no longer cared about the weird croaking quality of his voice. He screamed for a very long time. And then drank. Heavily.

Gorgos brought Thaurbad a message from Vanderthil, the secretary of the Temple, early Fredas morning, but it took the scribe until mid-morning to work up the courage to look at it. "Good Morning, I am just checking in on the Bulletin. You usually have it in on Turdas night. I'm curious. You planning something special? -- Vanderthil."

Thaurbad responded, "Vanderthil, I'm sorry. I've been sick. There won't be a Bulletin this Sunday" and handed the note to Gorgos before retiring to his bath. When he came back an hour later, Gorgos was just returning from the Temple, smiling.

"Vanderthil and the archpriest went crazy," he said. "They said it was your best work ever."

Thaurbad looked at Gorgos, uncomprehending. Then he noticed that the Bulletin was gone. Shaking, he dipped his finger in the inkwell and scrawled the words "What did the note I sent with you say?"

"You don't remember?" asked Gorgos, holding back a smile. He knew the master had been drinking a lot lately. "I don't remember the exact words, but it was something like, 'Vanderthil, here it is. Sorry it's late. I've been having severe mental problems lately. - Thaurbad.' Since you said, 'here it is,' I figured you wanted me to bring the Bulletin along, so I did. And like I said, they loved it. I bet you get three times as much letters this Sundas."

Thaurbad nodded his head, smiled, and waved the messenger lad away. Gorgos returned back to the Temple, while his master turned to his writing plank, and pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment.

He wrote with the quill: "What do you want, Feyfolken?"

The words became: "Goodbye. I hate my life. I have cut my wrists."

Thaurbad tried another tact: "Have I gone insane?"

The words became: "Goodbye. I have poison. I hate my life."

"Why are you doing this to me?"

"I Thaurbad Hulzik cannot live with myself and my ingratitude. That's why I've put this noose around my neck."

Thaurbad picked up a fresh parchment, dipped his finger in the inkwell, and proceeded to rewrite the entire Bulletin. While his original draft, before Feyfolken had altered it, had been simple and flawed, the new copy was a scrawl. Lower-case I's were undotted, G's looked like Y's, sentences ran into margins and curled up and all over like serpents. Ink from the first page leaked onto the second page. When he yanked the pages from the notebook, a long tear nearly divided the third page in half. Something about the final result was evocative. Thaurbad at least hoped so. He wrote another note reading, simply, "Use this Bulletin instead of the piece of trash I sent you."

When Gorgos returned with new messages, Thaurbad handed the envelope to him. The new letters were all the same, except for one from his healer, Telemichiel. "Thaurbad, we need you to come in as soon as possible. We've received the reports from Black Marsh about a strain of the Crimson Plague that sounds very much like your disease, and we need to re-examine you. Nothing is definite yet, but we're going to want to see what our options are."

It took Thaurbad the rest of the day and fifteen drams of the stoutest mead to recover. The larger part of the next morning was spent recovering from this means of recovery. He started to write a message to Vanderthil: "What did you think of the new Bulletin?" with the quill. Feyfolken's improved version was "I'm going to ignite myself on fire, because I'm a dying no-talent."

Thaurbad rewrote the note using his finger-and-ink message. When Gorgos appeared, he handed him the note. There was one message in Vanderthil's handwriting.

It read, "Thaurbad, not only are you divinely inspired, but you have a great sense of humor. Imagine us using those scribbles you sent instead of the real Bulletin. You made the archbishop laugh heartily. I cannot wait to see what you have next week. Yours fondly, Vanderthil."

The funeral service a week later brought out far more friends and admirers than Thaurbad Hulzik would've believed possible. The coffin, of course, had to be closed, but that didn't stop the mourners from filing into lines to touch its smooth oak surface, imagining it as the flesh of the artist himself. The archbishop managed to rise to the occasion and deliver a better than usual eulogy. Thaurbad's old nemesis, the secretary before Vanderthil, Alfiers came in from Cloudrest, wailing and telling all who would listen that Thaurbad's suggestions had changed the direction of her life. When she heard Thaurbad had left her his quill in his final testament, she broke down in tears. Vanderthil was even more inconsolable, until she found a handsome and delightfully single young man.

"I can hardly believe he's gone and I never even saw him face-to-face or spoke to him," she said. "I saw the body, but even if he hadn't been all burned up, I wouldn't have been able to tell if it was him or not."

"I wish I could tell you there'd been a mistake, but there was plenty of medical evidence," said Telemichiel. "I supplied some of it myself. He was a patient of mine, you see."

"Oh," said Vanderthil. "Was he sick or something?"

"He had the Crimson Plague years ago, that's what took away his voice box, but it appeared to have gone into complete remission. Actually, I had just sent him a note telling him words to that effect the day before he killed himself."

"You're that healer?" exclaimed Vanderthil. "Thaurbad's messenger boy Gorgos told me that he had just picked up that message when I sent mine, complementing him on the new, primative design for the Bulletin. It was amazing work. I never would've told him this, but I had begun to suspect he was stuck in an outmoded style. It turned out he had one last work of genius, before going out in a blaze of glory. Figuratively. And literally."

Vanderthil showed the healer Thaurbad's last Bulletin, and Telemichiel agreed that its frantic, nearly illegible style spoke volumes about the power and majesty of the god Auri-El."

"Now I'm thoroughly confused," said Vonguldak.

"About which part?" asked the Great Sage. "I think the tale is very straight-forward."

"Feyfolken made all the Bulletins beautiful, except for the last one, the one Thaubad did for himself," said Taksim thoughtfully. "But why did he misread the notes from Vanderthil and the healer? Did Feyfolken change those words?"

"Perhaps," smiled the Great Sage.

"Or did Feyfolken changed Thaurbad's perceptions of those words?" asked Vonguldak. "Did Feyfolken make him mad after all?"

"Very likely," said the Great Sage.

"But that would mean that Feyfolken was a servitor of Sheogorath," said Vonguldak. "And you said he was a servitor of Clavicus Vile. Which was he, an agent of mischief or an agent of insanity?"

"The will was surely altered by Feyfolken," said Taksim, "And that's the sort of thing a servitor of Clavicus Vile would do to perpetuate the curse."

"As an appropriate ending to the tale of the scribe and his cursed quill," smiled the Great Sage. "I will let you read into it as you will."

Vernaccus and Bourlor

Tavi Dromio

Hallgerd walked into the King's Ham that Loredas evening, his face clouded with sadness. While he ordered a mug of greef, his mates Garaz and Xiomara joined him with moderately sincere concern.

"What's wrong with you, Hallgerd?" asked Xiomara. "You're later than usual, and there's a certain air of tragedy you've dragged in with you. Have you lost money, or a nearest and dearest?"

"I haven't lost any money," Hallgerd grimaced. "But I've just received word from my nephew than my cousin Allioch has died. Perfectly natural, he says, just old age. Allioch was ten years younger than me."

"Aw, that's terrible. But it goes to show that it's important to savor all of life's possibilities, 'cause you never know when your time is coming," said Garaz, who had been sitting at the same stool at the smoky cornerclub for the last several hours. He was not one cursed with self-awareness.

"Life's short all right," agreed Xiomara. "But if you'll pardon a sentimental thought, few of us are aware of the influence we'll have after our deaths. Perhaps there's comfort there. For example, have I told you the story about Vernaccus and Bourlor?"

"I don't believe so," said Hallgerd.

Vernaccus was a daedra (said Xiomara, throwing a few dribbles on flin on the hearth to cast the proper mood), and though our tale took place many, many years ago, it would be fair to say that Vernaccus still is one. For what after all is time to the immortal daedra?

"Actually," Garaz interrupted. "I understand that the notion of immortality--"

"I am trying to offer our friend an inspirational tale in his hour of need," Xiomara growled. "I don't have all bloody night to tell it, if you don't mind."

You wouldn't have heard of Vernaccus (said Xiomara, abandoning the theme of immortality for the time being) for even at the height of his power and fame, he was considered feeble by the admittedly high standards of the day. Of course, this lack of respect infuriated him, and his reaction was typical of lesser daedra. He went on a murderous rampage.

Soon word spread through all the villages in the Colovian West of the unholy terror. Whole families had been butchered, castles destroyed, orchards and fields torched and cursed so nothing would ever grow there again.

To make things even worse for the villagers, Vernaccus began getting visitations from an old rival of his from Oblivion. She was a daedra seducer named Horavatha, and she delighted in taunting him to see how angry she could make him become.

"You've flooded a village and that's supposed to be impressive?" she would sneer.

"Try collapsing a continent, and maybe you'll get a little attention."

Vernaccus could become pretty angry. He didn't come very close to collapsing the continent of Tamriel, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

A hero was needed to face the mad daedra, and fortunately, one was available.
His name was Bourlor, and it was said that he had been blessed by the goddess Kynareth. That was the only explanation for his inhuman accuracy with his bow and arrow, for he never missed a target. As a child he had driven his marksmanship tutors wild with frustration. They would tell him how to plant his feet, how to nock a bolt, the proper grip for the cord, the best method of release. He ignored all the rules, and somehow, every time, the arrow would catch a breath of wind and sail directly to his target. It did not matter if the quarry was moving or still, at very close range or miles away. Whatever he wanted to strike with his arrow would be struck.
Bourlor answered the call when one of the village mayors begged him for help. Unfortunately, he was not as great a horseman as he was an archer. As he rode through the forest toward the mayor's town, a place called Evensacon, Vernaccus was already murdering everyone there. Horavatha watched, and stifled back a yawn.

"Murdering a small town mayor isn't going to put you in famous company, you know. What you need is a great champion to defeat. Someone like Ysgramor or Pelinal Whitestrake or--" she stared at the figure emerging from the forest. "That fellow!"

"Who's he?" growled Vernaccus between bites of the mayor's quivering body.

"The greatest archer in Tamriel. He's never missed."

Bourlor had his bow strung and was pointing it at the daedra. For a moment, Vernaccus felt like laughing -- the fellow was not even aiming straight -- but he had a well-honed sense of self-preservation. There was something about the man's look of confidence that convinced the daedra that Horavatha wasn't lying. As the bolt left the bow, Vernaccus vanished in a sheet of flame.

The arrow impaled a tree. Bourlor stood and stared. He had missed a target.
In Oblivion, Vernaccus raged. Fleeing before a mortal man like that -- not even the basest scamp would have been so craven. He had exposed himself for the weak, cowardly creature he was. As he considered what steps to take to salvage the situation, he found himself face-to-knee with the most fearsome of the Daedra Princes, Molag Bal.

"I never thought anything much of you, Vernaccus," the giant boomed. "But you have more than proven your worth. You have shown the creatures of Mundus that the daedra are more powerful than the blessings of the Gods."

The other denizens of Oblivion quickly agreed (as they always did) with the view of Molag Bal. The daedra are, after all, always very sensitive about their various defeats at the hands of mortal champions. Vernaccus was proclaimed The Elusive Beast, The Unpursuable One, He Who Cannot Be Touched, The Bane of Kynareth. Shrines devoted to him began to be built in remote corners of Morrowind and Skyrim.
Bourlor meanwhile, now found flawed, was never again called to rescue a village. He was so heartbroken over his failure to strike his target that he became a hermit, and never restrung his bow again. Some months later, he died, unmourned and unremembered.

"Is this really the tale you thought would cheer me?" asked Hallgerd incredulously.
"I've heard the King of Worms told more inspirational stories."

"Wait," smiled Xiomara. "I'm not finished yet."

For a year's time, Vernaccus was content to watch his legend grow and his fledging worship spread from his home in Oblivion. He was, in addition to being cowardly and inclined toward murderous rages, also a very lazy creature. His worshippers told tales of their Master avoiding the bolts of a thousand archers, of moving through oceans without getting wet, and other feats of avoidance that he would rather not have to demonstrate in person. The real story of his ignominious retreat from Bourlor was thankfully forgotten.

The bad news, when it came, was delivered to him with some relish by Horavatha. He had delighted in her jealousy at his growing reputation, so it was with a cruel smile she told him, "Your shrines are being assaulted."

"Who dares?" he roared.

"Everyone who passes them in the wilderness feels the need to throw a stone," Horavatha purred. "You can hardly blame them. After all, they represent He Who Cannot Be Touched. How could anyone be expected to resist such a target?"
Vernaccus peered through the veil into the world of Mundus and saw that it was true. One of his shrines in Colovian West country was surrounded by a large platoon of mercenary soldiers, who delighted in pelting it with rocks. His worshippers huddled inside, praying for a miracle.

In an instant, he appeared before the mercenaries and his rage was terrifying to behold. They fled into the woods before he even had a chance to murder one of them. His worshippers threw open the wooden door to the shrine and dropped to their knees in joy and fear. His anger melted. Then a stone struck him.
Then another. He turned to face his assailants, but the air was suddenly filled with rocks.

Vernaccus could not see them, but he heard mercenaries in the woods laugh, "It's not even trying to move out of the way!"

"It's impossible not to hit him!" guffawed another.

With a roar of humiliation, the daedra bounded into the shrine, chased by the onslaught. One of the stones knocked the door closed behind him, striking him in the back. His face broke, anger and embarrassment disappearing, replaced by pain. He turned, shaking, to his worshippers who huddled in the shadows of the shrine, their faith shattered.

"Where did you get the wood to build this shrine?" Vernaccus groaned.

"Mostly from a copse of trees near the village of Evensacon," his high-priest shrugged.

Vernaccus nodded. He dropped forward, revealing the deep wound in his back. A rusted arrowhead buried in a whorl in the wood of the door had jolted loose in the assault and impaled him. The daedra vanished in a whirlwind of dust.

The shrines were abandoned shortly thereafter, though Vernaccus did have a brief resurgence as the Patron Spirit of Limitations and Impotence before fading from memory altogether. The legend of Bourlor himself never became very well known either, but there are still some who tell the tale, like myself. And we have the advantage of knowing what the Great Archer himself didn't know on his deathbed -- his final arrow found its target after all.

Varieties of Daedra

Aranea Drethan

Varieties Of Daedra

Aranea Drethan
Healer and Dissident Priest

There is little chance of our ever understanding the various orders of Daedra and their relationships to the Daedra Lords and their dominions. Of the varieties of Daedra that appear in our world, and the varieties of their relationships to their fellows and their Daedra patrons, there is no end. In one place and time they are seen to be this, and in another place and time they are seen to be the opposite, and in another place and time they are seen to be both this and that, in completely contradictory terms.

What Daedra serves this Prince? What Daedra gives orders, and what Daedra serves, and in what hierarchy, and under what circumstances? What Daedra exist in fellowship with one another, and what Daedra have eternal enmity to one another, and what Daedra are solitary, or social, and by turns solitary or social? There are no limits to the varieties of behaviors that may be observed, and in one place they may be this, and in another place they may that, and all rules describing them are always found to be contradictory and in exception to others.

Further, from whom may we seek answers to our questions about these orders? From mortals, who know little but what they may observe of another world? From the gods, who speak in riddles, of enigmas wrapped in mysteries, and who keep things from us, the better to preserve their dominion over us? From the Daedra themselves, who are never the models of straightforwardness or truthtelling, but rather are famous for misstatements and obfuscations?

And even were the Daedra to speak the truth, how can we know if they know themselves, or that there is any truth about them that is to be known, or are all arrangements among the Daedra protean and ever subject to change?

In short, what is to be known is little, and and what is to be trusted is nothing.

These things being said, I shall venture to relate what I have observed and heard of the relationships of the servants of Lord Dagon in my brief service to the Telvanni Wizard Divayth Fyr, when I sought him out and offered to bring peace to the victims of corprus in his sanitarium, once the Prophecies of the Incarnate had been fulfilled, and Dagoth Ur had been destroyed, and the Blight had been banished from the island of Vvardenfell forever.

Divayth Fyr told me that he, by choice, trafficked only with two Daedra Powers -- Mehrunes Dagon and Azura.

Azura, he said, knew and understood all things, and declined to speak of these things, or only spoke in riddles.

Mehrunes Dagon, on the other hand, out of pride, fixity of purpose, and a predictable lack of subtlety in thought, knew nothing and understood nothing, and was inclined to speak freely and without falsehood.

Divayth Fyr said that Dagon's chief servants, the Dremora, were like him in pride, fixed purpose, and lack of subtlety, with the addition of the peculiar traits of honor and loyalty, both within their class and within their relationship to Lord Dagon.

And Divayth Fyr said that the Dremora were ordered into clans and castes, and these clans and castes were well-defined. Individual Dremora might rise or fall in ranks, or move back and forth among clans, but only when regulated by complex oaths, and only at the will and pleasure of their Lord Dagon.

The Dremora refer to themselves as 'The Kyn' ('the People'), contrasting themselves to other Daedra, whom they consider unthinking animals. The term 'kynaz' refers to a member of the Dremora race ('he of the Kyn').

The least of kyn castes are the Churls, the undistinguished rabble of the lowest rank of Dremora. Churls are obsequeous to superiors but ferociously cruel to humans and other Daedra.

Next in rank are the Caitiffs, creatures of uncalculating zeal, energy without discrimination. Caitiffs are used as irregulars in the faction wars of the Daedra, as berserkers and shock troops, undisciplined and unreliable, but eager and willing.

The highest of the regular rank-and file of Dremora troops are the Kynvals, warrior-knights who have distinguished themselves in battle, and shown the deliberate steadiness of potential war leaders.

Above the rank and file warriors of the Churl, Caitiff, and Kynval castes are the officer castes.

A Kynreeve is a clan sheriff or clan officer. Kynreeves are typically associated either with a clan fighting unit or an administrative office in the order of battle.

The Kynmarcher is the lord and high officer of a Daedric citadel, outpost, or gate. A Kymarcher's command is usually associated both with a unit and with a 'fief' -- a location or territory for which he is responsible.

Above the Kymarcher is the Markynaz, or 'grand duke'. A Markynaz is a lord of lords, and member of the Markyn, Mehrunes Dagon's Council of Lords.

The highest rank of Dremora is the Valkynaz, or 'prince'. This warrior duke is a member of the Valkyn, Mehrunes Dagon's personal guard. The Valkynaz are rarely encountered on Tamriel; normally they remain by Mehrunes Dagon's side, or serve as commanders of operations of particular importance or interest to Dagon.

Of the varieties of other Daedra I encountered while I served in Divayth Fyr's Corprusarium -- Ogrims and Golden Saints, Daedroths and Winged Twilights, Scamps and Clannfear -- there is much that might be said, but little that is helpful or reliable.

I did note, however, that when Divayth Fyr sought a Daedra of a character like unto the Dremora, but of greater power, and greater inclination for independence and initiative, or solely as a master, he summoned Xivilai, who are like the Dremora in personality and temperment, except that they hate subordination, and are liable to disloyalty and betrayal when they feel they have not been treated with the proper deference and respect.

The feral, beastlike Daedra like the Clannfear and the Daedroth appear in the service of many different Daedric Powers, and may represent common creatures existing like wild animals in the wildernesses of Oblivion. Other savage, semi-intelligent creatures like Scamps and Spider Daedra may also be found in the realms of various Daedra Lords.

The case of the Elemental Atronachs, on the other hand, is less certain. Flame and Frost Atronachs, for example, appear to be highly intelligent, but not all varieties of Elemental Atronachs seem to be social or to have the power of speech. Divayth Fyr preferred not to summon or deal with these creatures, had little experience with them, and showed no inclination to speculate upon their nature, so I learned little about them during my time at Tel Fyr.

Darkest Darkness


In Morrowind, both worshippers and sorcerers summon lesser Daedra and bound Daedra as servants and instruments.

Most Daedric servants can be summoned by sorcerers only for very brief periods, within the most fragile and tenuous frameworks of command and binding. This fortunately limits their capacity for mischief, though in only a few minutes, most of these servants can do terrible harm to their summoners as well as their enemies.

Worshippers may bind other Daedric servants to this plane through rituals and pacts. Such arrangements result in the Daedric servant remaining on this plane indefinitely -- or at least until their bodily manifestations on this plane are destroyed, precipitating their supernatural essences back to Oblivion. Whenever Daedra are encountered at Daedric ruins or in tombs, they are almost invariably long-term visitors to our plane.

Likewise, lesser entities bound by their Daedra Lords into weapons and armor may be summoned for brief periods, or may persist indefinitely, so long as they are not destroyed and banished. The class of bound weapons and bound armors summoned by Temple followers and conjurors are examples of short-term bindings; Daedric artifacts like Mehrunes Razor and the Mask of Clavicus Vile are examples of long-term bindings.

The Tribunal Temple of Morrowind has incorporated the veneration of Daedra as lesser spirits subservient to the immortal Almsivi, the Triune godhead of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. These subordinate Daedra are divided into the Good Daedra and the Bad Daedra. The Good Daedra have willingly submitted to the authority of Almsivi; the Bad Daedra are rebels who defy Almsivi -- treacherous kin who are more often adversaries than allies.

The Good Daedra are Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala. The hunger is a powerful and violent lesser Daedra associated with Boethiah, Father of Plots -- a sinuous, long-limbed, long-tailed creature with a beast-skulled head, noted for its paralyzing touch and its ability to disintegrate weapons and armor. The winged twilight is a messenger of Azura, Goddess of Dusk and Dawn. Winged twilights resemble the feral harpies of the West, though the feminine aspects of the winged twilights are more ravishing, and their long, sharp, hooked tails are immeasurably more deadly. Spider Daedra are the servants of Mephala, taking the form of spider-humanoid centaurs, with a naked upper head, torso, and arms of human proportions, mounted on the eight legs and armored carapace of a giant spider. Unfortunately, these Daedra are so fierce and irrational that they cannot be trusted to heed the commands of the Spinner. As a consequence, few sorcerers are willing to either summon or bind such creatures in Morrowind.

The Bad Daedra are Mehrunes Dagon, Malacath, Sheogorath, and Molag Bal. Three lesser Daedra are associated with Mehrunes Dagon: the agile and pesky scamp, the ferocious and beast-like clannfear, and the noble and deadly dremora. The crocodile-headed humanoid Daedra called the daedroth is a servant of Molag Bal, while the giant but dim-witted ogrim is a servant of Malacath. Sheogorath's lesser Daedra, the golden saint, a half-clothed human female in appearance, is highly resistant to magic and a dangerous spellcaster.

Another type of lesser Daedra often encountered in Morrowind is the Atronach, or Elemental Daedra. Atronachs have no binding kinship or alignments with the Daedra Lords, serving one realm or another at whim, shifting sides according to seduction, compulsion, or opportunity.