Lore:Loremaster's Archive - Mehrunes Dagon & Daedra in the Second Era

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Loremaster's Archive - Mehrunes Dagon & Daedra in the Second Era
A Dremora answers lore questions regarding Daedra

The questions were originally asked here.


Once again, mortals summon me to parlay. I commend your bravery, if not your wisdom. Those who seek the knowledge of the Kyn can learn a great deal… but always at a price. Come then. Ask your questions. I will claim payment eventually. Count on it.


"I understand Baron Zaudrus took you captive within the mines of Deshaan. What manner of foul Daedra was this creature, and how could it so easily overpower the infamous Dread Lady?

I have heard rumors of a fearsome Daedra that stalks the swamps of Blackwood. Firsthand sightings claim to have seen a Ruinach. What purpose would such a creature have for coming to Tamriel?"

—Legoless

Legoless. You again. Curse this vile spellcraft you employed to contact me. It has sent your cursed name to the top of my Oghma of Inevitable Retribution list, mortal. Still, the magic compels me to answer. To some extent.

The fool, "Baron" Zaudrus is a Havocrel. Like other Havocrels, he is nothing more than a sullen, hermitic lout. Unlike the Kyn, his breed observe no bonds of clanship. They prefer to blunder from realm to realm in search of purpose. Zaudrus found his in service to Mehrunes Dagon. Fitting, I suppose. But did he take me captive? I hadn't noticed.

As for the Ruinachs, they share the Havocrel's brutish strength but lack the giants' small measure of intellect. Like Dagon himself, they are prone to destructive tantrums. That business about Mournhold is nothing but inane bluster. As for their business in Blackwood, you'd have to ask them.


"I've heard rumors about Meridian Daedra describable as Auroran armor inhabited by beings of sentient light. Do you know what race these Daedra are?

I've seen many kinds of armor and weapons made of ebony bound to Daedric souls, such as the set of armor in the Telvanni style worn by the famed Divayth Fyr. What determines the aesthetics of Daedric armaments?

What is the relationship between Mehrunes Dagon and Hircine like?"

—Aliyavana

What manner of Daedra does the Glister Witch employ, you ask? One of little concern to the Kyn.

Yes, I know of the door-mage, Divayth Fyr. I assure you, his armor is only a pale reflection of true Daedric craft. Mortal mages often smuggle our plans and designs out of Oblivion with the intention of replicating them. A fool's errand, given Nirn's inferior materials. Fyr likely cobbled his pretender's panoply out of obsidian and bug-leather. When weighed against the genuine article, it is very poor armor indeed.

As for the relationship between Mehrunes Dagon and Hircine? There is no way to explain the accords of Princes to mortals. Your cheap dualisms of "Friend" and "Foe" cannot capture the sublime complexity of such associations. Hircine and Dagon do, of course, pursue parallel interests. The primacy of terror, the triumph of the will, the pursuit of bloody ends, and so on. Princes do, occasionally, act in concert. But they keep their own counsel on matters of this scale.


"Xivkyn look down upon the Dremora, but what is the Xivkyn view on the Xivilai?"

—Danel Vaden

I do not often speak ill of Molag Bal's designs, but the phial-born Xivkyn are more trouble than they are worth. Yes, they view the Kyn as inferior—a crude pretension that no doubt finds its origin in their Xivilai blood.

From what I can ascertain, they despise the Xivilai for the same reasons we Dremora do—their meritless pride, cheap cunning, and suspect loyalties.

Xivkyn do share our thirst for glory through order and discipline, so there's that at least. But as for the Xivilai? They can barely organize themselves into a straight line, let alone a cohesive fighting force.


"Why are there so many banekin and clannfear about, when their intelligence is admittedly far beneath a Dremora's?"

—Fennwitty

For the same reason you mortals must endure rats and stinging fleshflies. There are simply too many to obliterate.

The feral multitudes of Oblivion do have their uses. The trick is to direct their fury in ways that prove advantageous in battle. Given their ferocious appetites and simple natures, this is quite easy to accomplish. Even your mortal sorcerers can bring them to heel from time to time.

Weapons come in all shapes and sizes. A pack of clannfear can cause plenty of havoc in the right hands.


"Since we have last corresponded, the lack of understanding that mortals exhibit regarding the realms of Oblivion and their inhabitants has piqued my interest. In particular, I am quite intrigued with the idea behind Mehrunes Dagon's belief that Nirn belongs to him. Would you kindly expand upon where this notion of Dagon's came from?"

—Benefactor

This idea derives from the false assertion that Mundus is not distinct from Oblivion. That it is one of its constitutive realms—a realm that conveniently belongs to Dagon. Tell me, have you heard Dagon himself make this claim? Or is this simply what one of his followers told you? Here is some immortal advice: pay less attention to idiotic cultists.

Mehrunes Dagon's association with Nirn is more metaphorical than existential. Metaphors possessed great power when things "began." They still do in Oblivion. But in your spongey realm, they are simply tools for understanding. Revolution and destruction are straightforward concepts that correspond with mortals' limited understanding of the Aurbis. Dagon allows you to put a face on these terrifying elements of life on Nirn. Unlike the unknowable Princes like Nocturnal and Hermaeus Mora, you can make Dagon's desires small and easily comprehended—you can incorporate him into the shared myth of mortal significance. Why does Dagon believe Nirn belongs to him? A better question would be why do the people of Nirn believe Dagon belongs to them? Unsurprisingly, the answer is mortals' simple natures.


"I've found myself ... inspired by your Prince and his experimental Xivkyn. I'm pursuing similar research, to mix the best elements of Daedra and mortal. Specifically, Xivilai and Altmer, combining our unique traits, to create something ... unique. Please, share your views on likely avenues of success or failure and how much power I might require to achieve this."

—Auriella

Merging a Xivilai with an Elf? Ambitious. But why shouldn't a pathetic wizard find success in the complex science of transliminal amalgamation? Honestly, why bother with the inanities of merging two divergent strains of Daedra like Molag Bal? That's child's play.

Why not summon a Xivilai and ask them to participate? Just be sure to avoid any binding incantations. You'll want their unfettered creativity to solve this puzzle. I eagerly await news of your success.


"You once noted that Daedra view mortals as mortals view the insects that crawl beneath our feet. Why, then, do you find any interest in us at all? I understand those who study an ant farm or observe a butterfly's metamorphosis, but what kind of mortal plays with a bug or takes pleasure in stomping on it but those who possess a child's emotional maturity?

And what does that say about Daedric lords such as Dagon or Bal, who call us puny and yet expend such unusual effort into conquering our little sphere? I don't doubt our insignificance in the grand scheme of eternity, so why in Oblivion don't these literal gods mind their own realm of existence and stop making us sting them out like a colony of hornets?"

—Palafico

Immature? Need I remind you that even the most craven Varlet has witnessed the whole of mortal existence? The lowest Banekin has a more developed sense of the Aurbis's scale and nature than your most eminent scholars. Please consider the possibility that your narrow ontological framework—and thus your petty "moral" imperatives—are not as sturdy as you think. Nevertheless, though the magic wanes, I am still compelled to provide an answer. We Dremora do relish a challenge.

I cannot speak for all Daedra, nor do I wish to. There are as many answers to this question as there are beings in Oblivion. I, however, admit some small measure of amusement through play. Despite its long catalogue of shortcomings, Mundus enjoys a degree of malleability that does not exist in the planes of Oblivion. Realms such as the Deadlands, Coldharbour, and Evergloam are fundamentally shaped and curated by the will of their respective Princes. The smaller realms—infinite in both number and complexity—often flex against the will to impose order over them, twist into hyperogonal paradoxes that resist even the most sophisticated ur-logic, or simply wink in and out of existence too quickly for us to find purchase upon their shores.

Mundus, however, submits to the predictable influence of the et'Ada's remains, but retains the stubborn caprice of the Liar. That makes it … doughy. Flatten a mortal's vain little castle, and it remains flattened. But never for long. Soon, some other mortal with narrow aspirations builds another castle all on their own. I respect the lost et'Ada's foolish attempt at creation. It's tragic that they will never fully understand what a delightful playground they created for those of us who remain undiminished.


"When casting a bound spell, is it Oblivion's pure energy shaped into Daedric items, a conscious Daedra with that item's shape, or a conscious Daedra that was enchanted into that item and brought here? As all know, consciousness brings power and might. Do Daedra lose some of their strength and power when destroyed and reborn from the waters of Oblivion?

Recently a friend of mine sent me a tiny sample of azure plasm from Coldharbour and told me all Daedra are born from it. Do all Daedric plasms have the same cold and bluish color?"

—Nihilee

Given the laughable imprecision of mortal summoning rituals, there's really no telling what your weapons are made of. The manifest dynamism of Oblivion? Possibly. A sapient being from some pocket dimension of talking daggers? Perhaps. The Foolkillers once made war upon a minor realm peopled entirely by laughing mirrors, so who can say?

The substance you described is chaotic creatia. It has no inherent appearance. As many of your mortal scholars have noted, it takes forms appropriate for the realm it "occupies." In Molag Bal's realm, the creatia takes the form of azure plasm. In Mehrunes Dagon's realm of the Deadlands, it appears (unsurprisingly) as quivering pools of lava.


"You yourself have gone through many trials and changes, both of home and of substance. While I suspect that your allegiance is simply to affect the change you desire, do you perhaps feel some kinship with Mehrunes Dagon, who may have gone through changes himself? Do you know anything of the process whereby Mehrunes was allegedly created by the Magna Ge?"

—Aramithius

Once again, you soft-headed mortals turn to the matter of Dagon's origins. Are the details of his genesis really so interesting? I sometimes forget what an outsized role "birth" plays in the minds of those who only recently experienced it.

Rather than pondering the stars' alleged role in Dagon's birth, you might consider their other failures. Is there anything so low as a Magna Ge? Say what you will about Mundus's creators—at least they displayed conviction. What greater exercise of will exists than to die in pursuit of an impossible goal? But not the star-whelps and their cowardly sovereign. When matters turned dire, they simply fled! We will never know what might have been achieved had Magnus and his legions remained to finish their work. If they did have some hand in Dagon's emergence, is it any wonder that he embodies destruction?


"Are Daedra an extension of their Prince, choose [sic] to work with their Prince, or some combination of the two? This one hopes you can resolve a dispute on the matter."

—Ja'Khir the For Hire

What a predictably mortal question.

Few principles apply to all Daedra. We are as numerous and distinct as the grains of sand in your Alik'r desert. Some Daedra are shaped by the will of a Prince—Aurorans, Nocturnal's crows, and those bizarre mutants, the dro-m'Athra, for example. Others wander Oblivion eschewing any formal alliances with Daedric Princes—notably the atronachs and countless morphotypes never beheld by mortal eyes. Most of the Daedra known to mortals fall somewhere in between. We Dremora pledge our allegiance to beings who display the greatest measure of will. In most cases, that means a Daedric Prince.


And with that, our discourse is complete. One day I will claim my due. If you cannot provide what I demand, I will take something far dearer than your life. The Kyn always remember. And always collect.