On the Nature of Nymics

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Author (in-game): Divayth Fyr

During the course of my studies, I often find myself dealing with Daedric beings. In fact, I know of no living mortal better acquainted with Daedra than myself. Now, in some of the more backward realms of Tamriel, that might be taken as an admission of depraved intentions. After all, Daedric cultists are responsible for some of the worst villainy to be found in the world of mortals.

To that charge, I would point out that I am selective about which Daedric powers I consult with, and I certainly do not worship any of them. Daedric beings are not evil as we mortals understand the concept simply because they are Daedra. Their evil emerges from the portfolios and concepts they embody. Which brings me to the fascinating and obscure topic of Daedra and their nymics.

A Daedra’s nymic—or incantatory true name, as it is sometimes thought of—is not a mere appellation. A mortal can change their name as easily as donning a new hat. Every day, someone fleeing a vengeful enemy or hoping to start over in a new land adopts a useful alias. Daedra, however, are defined by their true names. They cannot abandon or change them, any more than you could abandon your body or dismiss your consciousness. (Well, there are ways to do such things, but my point remains.) In fact, even when a Daedra’s physical form is utterly annihilated, its nymic endures.

This might lead you to think of a nymic as a soul of sorts, but that would be a serious misconception. A mortal soul can easily be moved from one housing to another with some rather elementary magic. And a mortal might choose to change their ways, abandoning old desires and ambitions to take on new ones. A nymic, however, can only be manifested again in its one changeless form.

For example, a Daedric Prince such as Mehrunes Dagon cannot just choose to stop being a god of destruction. That element of his portfolio defines him for all time. If destroyed, his nymic will eventually reconstitute exactly as he was before. Therefore, a nymic might best be thought of as a pattern or formula that defines the being created when it manifests itself from the eternal chaos of Oblivion.

Now, this is where the subject becomes really interesting. With the right sort of magic, you can edit the pattern. Alter the nymic and you alter the Daedra defined by it. A truly capable mage who learns a Daedra’s complete nymic could change its loyalties, limit its powers, anchor it into a different physical form (such as an object of some kind), or simply disperse it altogether. Obviously, the more powerful the Daedra and the more complex the nymic, the more difficult it is to carry out such alterations.

But that is why all Daedra fear the possibility of an enemy learning their nymic. And why they guard them so preciously.

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