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Lore:Clavicus Vile

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An emblem representing Clavicus Vile
Clavicus Vile
"You think you lose, you die, and that's the end. It's not." – Clavicus Vile[1]

Clavicus Vile, also known as the Prince of Trickery and Bargains, the Consummate Politician of Oblivion,[2] the Master of Insidious Wishes,[3]:293 and Child-god of the Morningstar,[UOL 1] is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pacts.[4] He is seen as one of the more "sophisticated" of the Daedric Princes,[5] and often appears in the guise of a jovial Skaafin,[6][7][8] a race of horned Daedra that inhabit the Fields of Regret, his realm in Oblivion.[9]

Clavicus finds eternity to be "boring", so he finds entertainment in watching mortals and occasionally meddling in their affairs.[1] He has been known to be the patron to vampires, gracing them with social stature, reason and savvy, allowing them to not only live among regular mortals, but to hold powerful positions in society.[10] However, not all of Vile's machinations are necessarily insidious; he has been known to reward those who, on his direction, eliminate threats to the general public (while still serving his own interests).[11]

Vile is rarely seen without his loyal companion, Barbas.[12] Barbas typically assumes the form of a dog,[12][13] but is also known to appear as a Scamp named Creeper.[14][15] The two are so close, Barbas is almost universally depicted alongside his master in artwork and statuary.[12][16] In fact, Vile has been known to store up to half his power within Barbas.[17] These facts have led to speculation that the pair are, in fact, two halves of the same being.[12]

It is said Clavicus Vile is the most carefully neutral Daedric Prince,[2] though he as at times created alliances, such as his role in The Triad.[18] He is an enemy of Ebonarm.[19] Clavicus Vile's summoning day coincides with the New Life Festival, the 1st of Morning Star.[20]


Barbas, outside Falkreath


Barbas is the Hound of Clavicus Vile. He is a shapeshifting Daedra, although he most commonly takes on the form of a dog or Skaafin. Barbas acts as a repository for around half of Vile's power, though behaves as his loyal servant rather than equal, often pining for his approval to little avail. According to Vile, he likes being a dog—as well as many other things—on sunny days. "When he's like this, I think he's somewhere else. It's all quite significant, of course... But who knows what it means." Although Vile is always depicted along with Barbas, the Prince has at times grown tired of and abandoned him. While Barbas seems to be subservient to Clavicus Vile, he also often warns people against Vile's plots, suggesting he has some discretion and free will. He sometimes takes the form of a musically talented scamp merchant named Creeper.


Clavicus Vile is known as Nycot by some Daedric cultists who didn't have the knowledge to properly read the Daedric alphabet, misreading it as "Nycot" upon mistaking the runes for Tamrielic letters.[21]


The Sload necromancer N'Gasta claims that Clavicus Vile was born before the stars were, and that his name preceded, and therefore inspired, the concepts it connotes.[22] Some of the earliest evidence of Clavicus Vile's comes in the form of ancient idols and cave paintings dating back to the Merethic Era. They depict Clavicus Vile standing with Barbas by his side.[12] Ancient Kothringi were believed to venerate Clavicus Vile in early Merethic Era, prior to reform in their religion and turning to worship Z'en.[23]

Clavicus Vile in his realm

Second EraEdit

In the sixth century, at the height of the Knahaten Flu within Black Marsh, the Kothringi people were on the verge of extinction. In a desperate effort to save themselves, a singular tribe in Northern Shadowfen turned to the Daedra for help. Clavicus Vile offered to save their tribe at the cost of their mortality, and they accepted; surviving, but becoming undead unable to die. They would continue their way of life until 582, when the Vestige discovered the truth of the tribe and was given a choice by Clavicus Vile; They could break the curse and kill the last of the Kothringi, including those who wanted to continue living, or they could doom the rest of the unwilling Kothringi to continue their suffering forevermore. Which fate the Vestige picked for the Kothringi is unknown.[24]

At some point in the Early Second Era, Clavicus Vile formed a secretive alliance known only as 'The Triad,' pacting with two other princes, Mephala and Nocturnal. Their goal was to gain total control of Nirn by any means possible. Their first known target was the mythical Crystal Tower on Summerset. As part of their scheme, Clavicus Vile made a deal with the Sloads of Ul'vor Kus—he would give them the island of Summerset in exchange for a piece of Transparent Law, the 'Stone' of the Crystal Tower. The Cabal of Sea Sloads brainwashed the Ritemaster of the Psijic Order, Iachesis, into stealing Transparent Law, but Nocturnal secretly betrayed Clavicus Vile and Mephala and helped Iachesis hide the Stone from the rest of the Triad until such time as she could move forward with her own plans. Iachesis then moved the island of Artaeum off of Nirn entirely to avoid falling under the influence of the Princes yet again. With the Triad's plan seemingly foiled, they moved on and began to plot their next move.[18]

Following this, the Triad found that their next target would be the fabled Clockwork City. While the Triad began their attempts to locate it, Barbas enacted his own plan in an attempt to please his master. The Prince's companion infiltrated Vvardenfell and utilized godly energy he had siphoned from Vivec to locate and invade the Clockwork City. Barbas's invasion was thwarted by the Vestige, and Vivec's stolen energy returned seconds before Baar Dau crashed into Vivec City. Had this plot not been foiled this would have caused great devastation to Vvardenfell. Barbas nevertheless succeeded in locating the Clockwork City for his master Clavicus Vile.[25]

Now knowing how to enter the Clockwork City, the Triad quickly launched a full-scale coup within it. Nocturnal replaced Sotha Sil with a shadowy replica and imprisoned the Clockwork God within his own throne. The Vestige would once again intervene and free Sotha Sil, seemingly foiling the Triad's plans once more. In reality, however, Nocturnal had tricked Clavicus Vile and Mephala once more and succeeded in stealing crucial information for the final part of her plan.[26]

The Triad turned their attention once more to the Crystal Tower following this failure, seeking some way to find the missing Heart of Transparent Law or otherwise gain entrance to the Tower. Clavicus Vile would send the Abyssal Cabal to Summerset once more in an attempt to hunt down Iachesis and pull the location from his mind. This chase would eventually lead into Nocturnal's realm, Evergloam, where her treachery was revealed and it was discovered that the Heart was hidden within Iachesis himself. Clavicus Vile and Mephala both immediately manifested within the realm to claim it, only for Nocturnal to banish them both and rip it out of the Ritemaster herself. Nocturnal, utilizing a technique stolen from the Clockwork City and the omnipresent nature of the Crystal Tower, would attempt to drain the life out of every single reality and use that power to become everything. Clavicus Vile begrudgingly allied himself with the Psijic Order and the Vestige in order to stop her, granting them access to the Crystal Tower's counterpart in his own realm and having Barbas lead the charge against Nocturnal's invading forces. After the Vestige succeeded in finally putting a stop to Nocturnal's plot, Clavicus Vile joined the Coldharbour Compact alongside Mephala and disbanded the Triad for good.[18]

As of the 2E 582, Jovial Lambasters, a cult of Clavicus Vile were among the most powerful factions in Rimmen.[27][28]

The famed hero Cyrus the Redguard ventured into Clavicus Vile's realm in 2E 864, seeking the soul of his sister, Iszara. Vile kindly gave him an opportunity to have it—the two gambled, the Prince wagering Iszara's soul, and Cyrus wagering his own. [29]

Third EraEdit

Around 3E 405, an agent of the Blades working in the Iliac Bay region summoned Clavicus Vile. The Prince agreed to give the agent the Masque of Clavicus Vile in exchange for killing a werewolf that was terrorizing the area.

The Bittercup, a relic associated with the Prince became the focus of a Thieves Guild operation in Vvardenfell in 3E 427.[30] The Nerevarine retrieved the artifact from the ruins of Ald Redaynia and used it to bribe Eydis Fire-Eye, a member of the Balmora Fighters Guild and secret worshipper of Clavicus Vile.[30][31]

The Nerevarine also came into possession of the legendary sword Umbra, by defeating its previous owner, an Orc named Umbra, who had grown tired of life.[32] The Nerevarine later sold the sword to Torasa Aram, curator of Mournhold's Museum of Artifacts.[33]

Umbra resurfaced in Cyrodiil in 3E 433. Vile tasked the Hero of Kvatch with retrieving the sword from a Bosmer named Umbra, in exchange for his Masque. However, Barbas attempted to dissuade the Hero from doing so, saying the sword was "bad business" and if Clavicus regained the sword it would "ruin him".[34] It is unclear whether or not the Hero returned the sword, but it was known to be in the Prince's possession a few years later.[34][35]

Fourth EraEdit


A floating island, Umbriel, appeared in the skies of Tamriel In 4E 48. It was a chunk of Clavicus Vile's realm of Oblivion, torn away by the Dunmer Vuhon and his new ingenium with the aid of Umbra.[35] This event was known as the Umbriel Crisis. This not only significantly impacted Tamriel, but also greatly weakened Clavicus Vile, to the point that his Daedric Realm only measured a few miles across. Eventually, Clavicus Vile was able to regain the power he lost due to the crisis, absorbing the spirit of Umbra and the thousands of souls within Umbriel's Ingenium.[35][36]

In 4E 201, Barbas approached the Last Dragonborn outside of Falkreath in Skyrim for help. He and Clavicus had gotten into a heated argument, and the Prince kicked Barbas out until he could get someone to settle things. However with Barbas holding half of Clavicus Vile's power, this weakened the Daedric Prince to the point of being incapable of exerting influence outside the immediate vicinity of his shrine. Barbas led the Dragonborn to a vampire-infested shrine in the cavern of Haemar's Shame to reunite with his master. After killing the vampires (who were seeking a cure, inadvertently granted), Vile asked the Dragonborn to retrieve an artifact, the Rueful Axe. Upon returning with the axe, Vile offered to let the Dragonborn keep it in exchange for killing Barbas, allowing him to absorb Barbas' spirit and regain his full power without having to listen to his voice, while Barbas suggested the Dragonborn ask the Prince to take him back and receive the Masque of Clavicus Vile instead. It is unknown which choice the Dragonborn made in the end but, either way, Clavicus Vile was reunited with the portion of his power embodied by Barbas[37]


The Bittercup (Skyrim Creation Club)


The Bittercup (or Bitter Cup) is an artifact sacred to Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains. It is prized by the Daedra Lord's followers. Only the strongest of the Emperor's servants are advised to make covenant with Prince Clavicus, and even then are warned against sipping from the Bittercup.

The Masque Of Clavicus Vile (Skyrim)

Masque of Clavicus VileEdit

The Masque of Clavicus Vile (also known as The Masque of Clavicus or Mask of Clavicus Vile) is a helm which makes the wearer more popular wherever they might go by making them seem charming and trustworthy. Much like other Daedra and their artifacts, Clavicus seems to retain ultimate control of the Masque and may recall it without warning.

The best known story of the Masque tells the tale of Avalea, a noblewoman of some renown. As a young girl, she was grossly disfigured by a spiteful servant. Avalea made a dark deal with Clavicus Vile and received the Masque in return. Though the Masque did not change her looks, suddenly she had the respect and admiration of everyone. A year and a day after her marriage to a well connected baron, Clavicus Vile reclaimed the Masque. Although pregnant with his child, Avalea was banished from the Baron's household. Twenty-one years and one day later, Avalea's daughter claimed her vengeance by slaying the Baron.


Umbra (Legends)

The Umbra Sword (or simply Umbra) is a Daedric artifact designed with the sole purpose of the entrapment of souls. Sometime before 2E 582, the ancient witch Naenra Waerr created the sword at the request of Clavicus Vile, who wanted the sword as a tool of mischief which would send him souls from the mortal realm. Naenra created the sword but it was unstable, requiring Vile to give the witch a piece of his power to be imbued in the sword in order to stabilize it. However, Naenra (sometimes accredited with being Sheogorath in disguise) supposedly tricked him, as the piece of Vile's power imbued in the sword became a sentient being which called itself Umbra. Naenra was executed for her evil creation, but not before she hid the sword. The sword took on a life of its own, remaining hidden until a worthy wielder was found. Umbra then slowly takes control of the wielder. The Umbra Sword has the ability to change shape, but it is always in the form of a bladed weapon. It has been reported as a black and silver claymore, a jet black longsword and as a black sword emblazoned with red markings. The sword is also known to have the ability to absorb the health and stamina of those it strikes.

The Rueful Axe (Skyrim)

The Rueful AxeEdit

The Rueful Axe is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince, Clavicus Vile, as part of a terrible bargain. It takes the form of a large iron battleaxe engraved with images of werewolves, although it is actually made of ebony. It is enchanted to steal the strength of anything it strikes, as well as a bane for beasts.


Feyfolken is a (possibly fictional) artifact of Clavicus Vile, which is the subject of a historical fiction book. It is a quill enchanted with the soul of a Daedric servant of Clavicus Vile named Feyfolken, at the request of Thaurbad, a sage for the Temple of Auri-El.[38] It transfigures the writing of the user into scripture of unparalleled quality.[39] The trade-off of wielding such an item is that the quill manipulates the thoughts of its holder. In the case of Thaurbad, he was driven to suicide, even writing notes to whoever would discover his body.[40]

Fields of RegretEdit

The Fields of Regret are a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Wishes. The realm appears as a tranquil countryside, dotted with majestic cities of glass and ornate buildings and populated by Skaafin. It contains dense forests, lakes, and mountains, with floating golden metals and stone spirals filling the landscape. The city of Umbriel was once a part of the realm, but was eventually severed and came to rest in the Realm of the Hist.


See AlsoEdit



  1. ^ a b Clavicus Vile's dialogue in Redguard
  2. ^ a b NPC dialogue about Clavicus Vile in Daggerfall
  3. ^ The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Prima Official Game Guide — David Hodgson
  4. ^ The Book of Daedra
  5. ^ Loremaster's Archive: Arthenice Belloq Answers Your Questions — Arthenice Belloq
  6. ^ Clavicus Vile's appearance in Daggerfall
  7. ^ Clavicus Vile's appearance in Redguard
  8. ^ Clavicus Vile's Appearance in ESO
  9. ^ Events of ESO
  10. ^ Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum
  11. ^ Events of Daggerfall
  12. ^ a b c d e The Vile Truth of BarbasPelagius Habor, Council Daedrologist-in-Residence, Imperial City
  13. ^ Barbas' appearance in Skyrim
  14. ^ Events of Morrowind
  15. ^ Barbas' dialogue in Oblivion
  16. ^ Clavicus Vile's statue in Skyrim
  17. ^ Clavicus Vile's dialogue in Skyrim
  18. ^ a b c Events of The Summerset Expansion of ESO
  19. ^ Factions in Daggerfall
  20. ^ New Life Festival description in Daggerfall
  21. ^ Archmagister Mavon's AscensionNardhil Arethan
  22. ^ N'Gasta's dialogue in Redguard
  23. ^ Silver Wish Medallion antiquity codex text
  24. ^ Events of ESO
  25. ^ Events of The Morrowind Expansion of ESO
  26. ^ Events of The Clockwork City DLC of ESO
  27. ^ Persistence of Daedric VenerationLady Cinnabar of Taneth
  28. ^ Ferrus Mallon's dialogue in ESO
  29. ^ Events of Redguard
  30. ^ a b Events of the Bitter Cup quest in Morrowind
  31. ^ Gentleman Jim Stacey's dialogue in Morrowind
  32. ^ Events of the Umbra quest in Morrowind
  33. ^ Events of Tribunal
  34. ^ a b Events of Oblivion
  35. ^ a b c Events of The Infernal City
  36. ^ Lord of SoulsGreg Keyes
  37. ^ Events of A Daedra's Best Friend quest in Skyrim
  38. ^ Feyfolken IWaughin Jarth
  39. ^ Feyfolken IIWaughin Jarth
  40. ^ Feyfolken IIIWaughin Jarth

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.