Daedric Worship and the Dark Elves

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Author (in-game): Haderus of Gottlesfont

The Dunmer of Morrowind follow a number of religious traditions. Depending on who you ask, first and foremost is the reverence of the Living Gods of the Tribunal, Almalaxia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil. An enduring hallmark of Dark Elf culture revolves around the respect and worship afforded to the spirits of their ancestors. While we see both of these traditions practiced among the Dunmer of the Great Houses, the tribal Ashlanders worship specific ancestors and the three “Good” Daedra—Azura, Mephala, and Boethia. The Ashlander clans reject the divinity of the Tribunal.

So, how do the Dark Elves reconcile worshiping Daedra alongside their other religious traditions? It all goes back to their predilection toward the reverence of their ancestors. You see, they consider the Good Daedra (as they refer to them) as ancestors of all Dark Elf people. This has even been worked into the theology of the Tribunal, which calls these Daedric Princes the “Anticipations” of the Three.

If there are Good Daedra, then you can also expect to find Bad Daedra. For Dark Elves, this takes the form of the House of Troubles, also known as the Adversaries and the Testing Gods. The Daedric Princes Mehrunes Dagon, Sheogorath, Malacath, and Molag Bal compose this category. Ancient temples dedicated to these Princes can be found across Morrowind, and some claim that they are still worshiped secretly to the current day.

Other examples of Daedric worship, including cults to other Princes, can be found occasionally throughout the lands of the Dark Elves, but the most prominent are those described above. In the so-called civilized settlements where the Tribunal and the Great Houses hold sway, the Temple Ordinators diligently ferret out dissident teachings, including most Daedric worship.

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