It is improper, though common, to refer to
the denizens of the dimension of Oblivion as demons. This
practice must probably dates to the Alessian Doctrines of
the prophet Marukh which, rather amusingly, forbade traffic
with "daimons," and then neglected to explain what
demons are. It is most probable that "daimon" is
a mispelling of "daedra," the old Elvish word for
the strange, powerful creatures of uncertain motivation who
come from the dimension of Oblivion. In later tractates by
King Hale the Pious of Skyrim, almost a thousand years after
the publication of the original Doctrines, the evil of his
political enemies is 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 longwindedly introduced
four of the daedra lords to the written record.
The written record is not, after all, the
best way to research Oblivion and the daedra that inhabit
it. Those who, in the words of the Alessian Doctrine, "traffic
with daimons" seldom wish it to be a matter of public
record. Nevertheless, scattered throughout the literature
of the first era, are diaries, journals, notices for witch
burnings, and guides for daedra-slayers which contain only
a few contradictions. These I have used as my primary source
They are at least as trustworthy as the daedra
lords I have actually summoned and spoken with at length.
Oblivion is a place composed of many lands,
thus the many names for which Oblivion is synonymous: Coldharbour,
Quagmire, Moonshadow, and others. It may be supposed that
each land of Oblivion is ruled by one prince. The princes
whose name appears over and over (though this is not a sure
test of their authenticity, to be sure) are the aforementioned
Sanguine, Boethiah, Molag Bal, Sheogorath, and Azura, Mephala,
Clavicus Vil, Vaernima, Malacath, Hoermius (or Hermaeus or
Hormaius, there is no consistant 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 their penchant for extremism.
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
very dangerous, but seldom purely for the sake of destruction,
as these five can.
Nor are those five aforementioned daedra identical
in their destruction. Mehrunes Dagon seems to prefer natural
disasters, earthquakes and volcanos, to vent his spleen. Molag
Bal prefers employing actual daedralings, and Boethiah inspires
the arms of mortal warriors. Peryite sphere seems to be pestilence,
and Vaernima's torture.
Summoning daedra is not a difficult proposition,
but it is usual an expensive one. Most Mages Guilds have a
summoning room, but this is most often reserved for the highest
echelon of guildmembers. Witches covens are much less class
sensitive, and the Necromancers, the Dark Brotherhood, and
many secretive kings and queens of Tamriel have private summoning
rooms. Daedra princes usually demand some sort of service
of those who summon them, though I am fortunate enough to
have good relations with some and need not perform.
In preparation for the second chapter of 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 Daedra Prince, referred to in multiple
articles of incunabula as Hircine. Hircine has been called
"the huntsman of the Princes" and "the father
of manbeasts," but I have yet to find anyone who can
The other, and more doubtful goal I have for
the next chapter is to find a practical means for mortal man
to pass through to Oblivion. It has always been my philosophy
that we only need fear that which we do not understand, and
with that thought in mind, I pursue my goal.
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