The Daedric Princes of the Elder Scrolls universe are enigmatic and fickle individuals, prone to interfering in the lives of mortals but often tempting them with powerful artefacts. Previously we had a look at Azura, Nocturnal, Molag Bal and Boethiah. This time I examine the mad Sheogorath, the destructive Mehrunes Dagon, Hermaeus Mora the Lord of Secrets, and the Huntsman Hircine.
[ Sheogorath ]
“Cheese for everyone!”
Sheogorath is perhaps the most popular and recognised of the Daedric Princes. He is the Daedric Prince of Madness and is completely unpredictable. Often dressed as a gentleman with a goatee beard and a cane, he is especially revered in Morrowind, where he was one of the Four Corners of the House of Troubles, and in Elsweyr, where he is known to the Khajiit as the “Skooma Cat.” He often appears to lead mortals down “The Golden Road,” otherwise known as the path to insanity.
The creation of Sheogorath is a celebrated tale in Tamriel. Once, long ago, the Daedric Prince of Order, Jyggalag became especially powerful and strong, and all the other Daedric Princes became jealous of him. So they cursed him, to live as the thing he hated most: disorder. Thus he became Sheogorath. At each Era’s end, he would be allowed to retake his true form as Jyggalag and attempt to reconquer his lands, in a series of events known as the Greymarch. However, this would always end in defeat when he turned back into Sheogorath and turn the realm back into a madhouse. However, at the end of the Third Era, the cycle of insanity was ended by the Champion of Cyrodiil, and Jyggalag returned to his rightful place as the Daedric Prince of Order, leaving Sheogorath as his opposite.
Sheogorath’s realm is the Shivering Isles, also called the Asylums. The isles are split into two halves: the northern half being Mania and the southern half Dementia. These are completely different from each other and represent both sides of Sheogorath’s split personality, the “two shades of madness.” Mania is creativity, and has a beautiful landscape filled with bright colours and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The Mania side of New Sheoth, capital of the Shivering Isles, is called Bliss and is a cheery place with stained glass and wondrous architecture. In stark contrast, Dementia is all about gloom and darkness, and this is reflected in the foreboding, depressing landscape. New Sheoth’s Dementia side is called Crucible, and is a murky place of crumbling buildings and melancholy. Sheogorath’s servants are as varied as Mania and Dementia: the two sides of the realm are patrolled by his Golden Saints and Dark Seducers, also known as Aureals and Mazken.
Sheogorath has several Daedric artefacts; however the most commonly known is Wabbajack. This is an ebony staff that has the unique ability to transform its victim into a completely random creature. This both a blessing and a curse: it could be used to change a powerful troll into a harmless rabbit, or it could also change a mudcrab into a monstrous Daedroth. The staff can also damage, heal or instantly slay its target. It is a highly unpredictable but hilarious weapon.
“Marvellous times! Butterflies, blood, a Fox and severed head... Oh, and the cheese! To die for!”
[ Mehrunes Dagon ]
Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric Prince of Destruction and is one of the Daedric Princes seen as utterly evil. In Dunmer culture he is one of the Four Corners of the House of Troubles, and represents fire, earthquakes, floods, blood and betrayal. He has attempted to invade Nirn on multiple occasions although he has failed each time. During the Oblivion Crisis, of which he was the mastermind, he tried to destroy the Septim bloodline and opened Oblivion gates across Tamriel, unleashing hordes of Daedra in his vile plans for world domination. At the end of this invasion, he stepped into the Imperial city, revealing his terrible appearance as a red-skinned, four-armed giant and was only defeated when Martin Septim sacrificed himself to transform into an avatar of Akatosh.
Mehrunes Dagon’s Oblivion plane is the Deadlands, a realm covered in seas of lava, erupting, volcanic islands, scattered with ancient ruins and riddled with hot, scorching tunnels which are often filled with toxic gases and magma. This is truly of realm of death and fire, where Daedra roam freely and Bloodgrass sprouts from the charred, rocky ground. Harrada Roots and Spiddal plants lash out with spines and poisonous fumes against anyone who comes close. The architecture of the Deadlands is truly in Daedric style, adorned with massive, curved spikes and red-glowing lighting and corpses hanging from the walls. Interiors are confusing, labyrinthine and filled with deathtraps, spelling doom for the unwary.
The servants of Mehrunes Dagon consist mostly of the monstrous, crocodilian Daedroth, the saurian Clannfear and the cowardly Scamp; as well as the humanoid, heavily armoured warrior race known as the Dremora or the Kyn. The Dremora are always clad in spiky, Daedric armour and usually have horns and deep, guttural voices. They have their own Clan system that values pride, honour and loyalty, though they regard themselves above other Daedra, and their culture is focused on battle training and war. They are extremely powerful and deadly warriors and mages.
The most infamous of Mehrunes Dagon’s Daedric artefacts and one of the most infamous of all Daedric artefacts is Mehrunes’ Razor, an ebony dagger that always causes bloodshed and death. It is commonly known as the Dagger of the Final Wounds (perhaps a reference to the fact that any wounds caused by it will be the final wounds the victim ever suffers), the Bane of the Righteous, and Kingslayer. Although the dagger can cause much pain, it’s able to kill instantly due a chance of it stealing the soul of the victim.
[ Hermaeus Mora ]
Known through Tamriel as the “Demon of Knowledge,” the “Prince of Fate” and the “Lord of Secrets,” Hermaeus Mora is often depicted as an amorphous mass of tentacles, eyes and crab claws or a purple mass known as the Wretched Abyss. He rules over the spheres of fate, knowledge, memory and past and future events, as written in the stars. It is believed he was once an Atmoran demon, known to the ancient Nords of Atmora as the “Woodland Man” who kidnap those who get lost in the eerie woods and his enemy is Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of dreams and nightmares.
Hermaeus Mora’s plane is called Apocrypha, a vast and endless library world, filled with books that have black covers. All forbidden knowledge can be found here, and the place is haunted by the ghosts of those searching for knowledge. The weird sky is green and spiralling towers and twisting corridors are formed from piles of books. The realm’s oily sea is acidic and filled with writhing tentacles, while ripped out pages flutter through the dank air.
Apocrypha’s servants and guards are the monstrous and disturbing Seekers and Lurkers. The Seekers, monstrous, octopus-like semi-humanoids guard forbidden knowledge, while the humanoid and amphibian Lurkers dwell deep in the murky waters, bursting forth to attack intruders. In addition, horrid, disembodied tentacles also drip from above and skulk below, waiting to lash out at anyone nearby.
Hermaeus Mora’s Daedric artefact is the Oghma Infinium, a heavy, leather-bound tome of forbidden knowledge and power. The book was written by Xarxes, the God of Ancestry and Secret Knowledge, who was the scribe to Auri-El (commonly known as Akatosh, the Dragon of Time, an Aedra and one of the Nine Divines.)
[ Hircine ]
Father of Manbeasts is one of Hircine’s various titles, and this is not inappropriate, as he is the creator of the diseases that transform mortals into beasts, specifically lycanthropy. He appears as a humanoid figure with the head of a stag, and often carries a large spear. He is the patron of hunters, and the guardian of were-creatures, especially werewolves. Werewolves are credited with being his minions, and unlike other Daedric Princes he doesn’t use Daedric servants, instead relying on his pack of werewolves.
Hircine’s Oblivion plane is aptly named The Hunting Grounds, where, amid dense forests and vast grasslands, Hircine and his were-creatures engage in hunting wild cattle and mortals brought from Nirn. Many ferocious predators inhabit the forests, including bears, wolves, Daedra and werebears. The souls of those affected by lycanthropy also dwell here, experiencing the eternal thrill of the hunt.
Hircine’s main Daedric artefact is Saviour’s Hide, a cuirass of thick fur, claws and steel engraved with the face of a beast. It imbues the wearer with resistance to magic and poison.
[ Further Reading ]
The Daedric Princes Part 1
The Story of Elder Scrolls Online
10 Reasons Why Elder Scrolls Online Will Rock
Andy Lex Bain is a 31 year old writer who resides in Tasmania. He enjoys writing, reading, writing video game reviews, gaming, writing fiendish campaigns for his roleplaying club "The Blades of Valour", cosplaying, bushwalking and watching movies, DVDs and anime. He aspires to be a full-time published author and basically spends his days slaving away at his computer, ShadowLord.