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Daedra (/deɪ.dɹə/ or /diː.dɹə/) are immortal beings that did not take part in the creation of the Mundus, and thus retain the full breadth of their power. They have a very real impact on the mortal realm; in one way or another, Daedric influence touches everyone on Tamriel.
The word "Daedra" is of Aldmeri origin, and roughly means "not our ancestors", as opposed to Aedra—"ancestors". Technically, only the plural is written "Daedra", but this word is frequently used in singular as well. The proper singular form is "Daedroth", but that has come to refer to a specific species of Daedra. Different cultures have their own myths and names for Daedra, as well. The study of Daedra is referred to as Daedrology. Likewise, those who study Daedra are called "Daedrologists."
Daedra are sometimes referred to as demons, but this is misleading. All Daedra have a penchant for extremes and are therefore capable of tremendous acts of devastation, but their different spheres make them apply their power in different ways, and their infinite diversity makes speaking about them generally difficult. Thus, it is often impossible to accurately label them as "good" or "evil"; the one thing that can be stated with certainty is the Daedra are beyond mortal comprehension (as mortals seem to be beyond Daedric comprehension).
Daedra come in many forms. Undoubtedly there are true Daedra (called Greater Daedra), such as the Daedra Princes, Demiprinces, and highly intelligent Dremora. There are many lesser beings known to be in league with these greater powers, but whether each type constitutes actual Daedra is unknown.
A Daedroth's physical form can be ruined, but it cannot be truly killed; the soul (more specifically known as the animus or vestige) of a slain Daedroth returns to the void of Oblivion until it manages to coalesce into a physical form again. A slain Daedroth is often said to have been "banished" or "purged" instead of "killed" to reflect this. It is not known what happens to a Daedra killed in Aetherius, though it has been suggested that this may be the one way to permanently kill a Daedra. Septima Tharn put this theory to the test when she lured the Vestige to the Far Shores in an attempt to permanently destroy the hero. While in Aetherius, the Vestige was separated from their soul, which was trapped in Coldharbour. Septima Tharn believed that if she managed to kill the Vestige in the Far Shores, the hero wouldn't have been able to resurrect themselves, effectively dooming them.
Daedra are great imitators, and their creations are described as mimicking things found on Nirn in an outlandish or even corrupted way. They are capable of creating seemingly indestructible and mighty Daedric armor and weaponry through dark rituals. The Daedric Princes have also created several species of daedra that resemble species found on Nirn. The Beetles, Scorpions, Wasps, and Spiders from Mephala's Spiral Skein and the Crows from the Nocturnal's Evergloam are the more blatant examples of Daedric imitations of animals from Nirn.
Daedric Princes (also known as Daedric Regents and Daedra Lords†) are the most powerful of the Daedra, and thus most commonly worshipped as gods. Each has a particular sphere, which it is said to govern. Daedric Princes may assume a typically masculine or a typically feminine form, sometimes both. They are usually referred to as Princes regardless of what gender they appear most frequently as. In all, there are seventeen powerful Princes known to mortals: Azura, Boethiah, Clavicus Vile, Hermaeus Mora, Hircine, Jyggalag, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Mephala, Meridia, Molag Bal, Namira, Nocturnal, Peryite, Sanguine, Sheogorath, and Vaermina. According to Mankar Camoran, Lorkhan is also a Daedric Prince, although this has never been confirmed.
Each Daedric Prince, with the exception of Jyggalag, is said to have their own plane of Oblivion, over which they have control. The limits on their planes, powers, and influence are not readily understood, as there are over 37,000 other planes (such as the Soul Cairn and the Chimera of Desolation, as well as chaos realms and pocket realms) over which they exert little or no control.
The Daedric Princes seem to view Men and Mer as little more than minor amusements, occasionally applauding the actions of mortals when they exceed their expectations. They do not know the mortal sense of "good" and "evil", and usually have extremist tendencies, which is why Men and Mer fear them greatly. However, several princes do seem to take genuine pleasure in tremendous acts of devastation, in particular Boethiah, Molag Bal, Vaermina, Mehrunes Dagon, and Peryite.
Although the beings are considered evil by most, they are widely worshipped in the realms of Tamriel. Elaborate shrines are created to honor the Daedra as gods. They often take a keen interest in their worshippers, and it is speculated that this is either because of the obvious ego-gratification of being somebody's god, or because the Daedra like to keep an eye on potential future subjects (assuming people of demonic disposition enter Oblivion after death, that is; there are as many afterlife theories as there are religions in the world). Mainstream religious authorities discourage Daedra worship, and often mount witch-hunting expeditions to drive out Daedra worshippers from the local area. During these encounters, they are often surprised at the marginal sanity that comes of worshipping the Daedric Princes. For the most part, however, dealing with the Daedra, one gets the distinct impression of being mused over as a person peering under an upturned rock may momentarily wonder at the lives of the bugs living ignorantly there. For more information, see main lore article.
The Daedric Princes are only the most powerful of the Daedra, and many of them have many servants known generally as lesser Daedra (not to be confused with Lesser Daedra, a specific type of Daedra similar to Daedroths). Even though many lesser Daedra are associated with a Daedric Prince in particular, in reality, any individual Daedroth can serve any Daedric Prince by taking part in an "Oath Bond" while others stay unaligned, though the specifics are characteristically unknown. Some are in service to mortals. For example, the Dunmer have been known to use Daedra as servants and instruments, as have many other cultures, and the Ayleids employed entire armies of Daedra in their wars against men. Daedra are often summoned and used in the study of Magic; of course, the school of Conjuration deals specifically with connecting one's mind with a Daedroth and compelling its appearance in the mortal plane. For information on mortals summoning such Daedra, see the book Darkest Darkness.
- For game-specific information, see the Daggerfall, Battlespire, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, ESO, and Legends articles.
- Atronachs (Elemental Daedra)
- Crow Daedra
- Daedra Seducers
- Daedric Titans
- Dark Seducers
- Dro-m'Athra (disputed)
- Fire Daemons
- Golden Saints
- Grievous Twilights
- Hell Hounds
- Hoarvor Daedra
- Imps (disputed)
- Knights of Order (disputed)
- Lesser Daedra
- Morphoid Daedra
- Nightmare Animals
- Nocturnal Shrikes
- Spider Daedra
- Winged Twilights
- Aedra and Daedra — Overview of the basic differences between Gods, Demons, Aedra, and Daedra
- The Amulet of Kings by Wenengrus Monhona — Chronicles the creation of the Amulet of Kings
- The Book of Daedra — Excerpts from a lengthy tome describing the nature of each of the Daedra
- Crafting Motif 14: Daedric Style by Seif-ij Hidja — Continuing my compilation of Doctor Alfidia Lupus' notes for studies of clothing, arms, and armor in diverse cultural styles….
- Crafting Motif 17: Xivkyn Style by Denogorath, Dread Archivist and Promulgator of Mandatory Doctrine — A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Xivkyn style
- Crafting Motif 35: Dro-m'Athra Style by Twilight Cantor Adara'hai — A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Dro-m'Athra style
- Crafting Motif 63: Dremora Style by Lyranth the Foolkiller — A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Dremora style
- Darkest Darkness — A description of various Daedra
- "Death" of Morphotypical Entities by Doctor Rhythandius — Academic musings on the "death" of Daedric beings
- The Doors of Oblivion by Seif-ij Hidja — The chronicles of Morian Zenas' journey through the realms of Oblivion, penned by his apprentice
- Eyes of Nothing by Romien Garvette of the Whispering Shadows — A Nocturnal cultist's notes on the Wraith-of-Crows
- Feyfolken by Waughin Jarth — The Great Sage tells a story of Artaeum, Psijics, and Robotic Enchanters
- Inexplicable Patron: Mephala by Divayth Fyr — A Telvanni Lord's musings on the Daedric Prince of Secrets
- The Insatiable — Instructions on how to summon the embodiment of ceaseless hunger
- Letters for the Battlespire Hero by Vatasha Trenelle or Josian Kaid — A series of letters from an initiate to their friend following in their path
- Modern Heretics by Haderus of Gottlesfont — An account of one researcher's visit to the shrine of the Daedric Lord Azura
- The Monomyth — A theological book containing the common creation myths
- The Oblivion Crisis by Praxis Sarcorum, Imperial Historian — A summary of the events stemming from the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim VII
- On Oblivion by Morian Zenas — A guide to Oblivion and the Daedra
- Daedra Dossier: The Titans by Denogorath the Dread Archivist — Notes on the origin of Daedric Titans
- Saints and Seducers by Andoche Marie — Sentinels of the Isles: A treatise on Golden Saint / Dark Seducer culture and history within the Shivering Isles
- Shadows and Whispers by Romien Garvette of the Whispering Shadows — A Nocturnal cultist's notes on the invasion of the Clockwork City
- Spirit of the Daedra — A look into the Daedric mindset
- Varieties of Daedra by Aranea Drethan — An analysis of Daedra forms, focusing primarily on the Dremora
- Varieties of Faith... by Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College — An expansive list of the pantheons and associated divine spirits of Tamriel's dominant cultures
- Vernaccus and Bourlor by Tavi Dromio — How a short-tempered Daedra tries to make something of himself
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Arena Supermundus: The Tapestry of Heaven — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Aedra and Daedra
- On Oblivion — Morian Zenas
- Varieties of Daedra — Aranea Drethan
- Darkest Darkness
- On the Xivkyn — Pelagius Habor, Council Daedrologist-in-Residence
- Spirit of the Daedra
- The Origins of Conjuration
- Tutor Riparius's dialogue in ESO
- The Book of Daedra
- Journey to Aetherius quest
- "Death" of Morphotypical Entities — Doctor Rhythandius
- Septima Tharn's dialogue during To Walk on Far Shores in ESO
- Crafting Motif 14: Daedric Style — Seif-ij Hidja
- The Anticipations — Anonymous
- Modern Heretics — Haderus of Gottlesfont
- Feyfolken — Waughin Jarth
- The Amulet of Kings — Wenengrus Monhona
- The Doors of Oblivion — Seif-ij Hidja