Within the Aurbis exist a multitude of different Planes of Existence, from the well-known mortal realm of Mundus and the planes of the Daedric Princes, to the mysterious Oblivion pocket realms and the magical planes of Aetherius.
Closely related is the concept of the Outer Realms, a term which usually refers to Aetherius and Oblivion together, but may also include a number of "other, less structured forms" in the Aurbis.
Daedric Princes' RealmsEdit
Oblivion contains all the dimensional planes which are home to the Daedra, and can be divided into the sixteen realms of the Daedric Princes, and over 37,000 other planes, chaos realms and pocket realities. The sixteen realms of the Daedric Princes, referred to by the general term Planes of Oblivion, can be very extensive; Molag Bal's plane is described as being an apocalyptic replica of all of Nirn , and Hermaeus Mora's is infinite in size.
Each prince's plane may have a more specific name, such as Apocrypha for Hermaeus Mora's, Coldharbour for Molag Bal's, Moonshadow for Azura's, and Quagmire for Vaermina's. Each plane is supposedly very different in appearance, depending upon the nature of the prince who rules it. They can range from beautiful to desolate; some may not even resemble worlds as we think of them, containing nothing but dust and smoke, or changing constantly.
Apocrypha is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge and Fate. It is an endless library consisting of untitled books with black covers, where all forbidden knowledge can be found. The realm is haunted by the ghosts of mortals forever searching for knowledge. Stacks of books form mazes and spiraling pillars that can reach as high as the illuminating green sky. Intricate ruins and monstrous carvings can be found among the stacks. The plane is covered in a sea of ink and roiling tentacles, while Hermaeus Mora is omnipresent over all. Some areas of the realm are consumed by darkness which can kill any who enter it. Discarded pages and floating tomes fill the air.
Apocrypha is inhabited by the frightening Daedric servants of Mora. Seekers guard forbidden knowledge, banishing foes with sound attacks. Lurkers dwell within the inky tide, arising from the depths to attack invaders. Disembodied tentacles hide in the waters and hang from the sky, whipping at any who pass.
Apart from magical teleportation, Apocrypha is most easily entered by mortals through the reading of Black Books, tomes of forbidden knowledge displaced from time and scattered across Tamriel. An apparition of the reader's body remains in Mundus, tethering their life force. Most mortals who gain access to the secrets within Apocrypha are driven insane by unending revelations. Such was the fate of the mage Morian Zenas, who famously disappeared in Apocrypha during his voyages through Oblivion. However those who successfully journey through Apocrypha are known to discover powerful knowledge.
Ashpit is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by Malacath, the Daedric Prince of Outcasts. It is unknown if the realm existed before Trinimac was transformed into Malacath. Orcish spellwrights call for boons from the Ashpit and rarely any other realms.
The realm mostly consists only of dust, palaces of smoke, and vaporous creatures; anguish, betrayal, and broken promises like ash fill the bitter air. Few mortals manage to reach the realm, where levitation and magical breathing are necessary to survive. The Mages Guild have been known to bottle this thick, roiling vapor.
However, some areas of the realm are safe for mortals. Circa 4E 40, Malacath chose to bring Sul and Prince Attrebus Mede to the Ashpit, where they found a garden of slender trees, and "vines festooned with lilylike flowers" wound about the trunks; a "multitude of spheres moved, deep in the colorless sky, as distant and pale as moons". This garden seems to have some emotional significance to Malacath, who describes it as a "shadow of a garden", and an "echo of something that once was".
The Ashen Forge sits at the center of Malacath's own stronghold in the Ashpit. For the Orcs that revere Malacath, the afterlife promises rewards of immortality, abundant food and drink, and constant battle deep within the Ashen Forge. It is also said that The Ashpit bastion stretches endlessly across the planes, extending even behind the stars to Aetherius, granting access to every worthy Orc who crosses from this life into the next. In Malacath's stronghold, every Orc is a chief, every chief has a thousand wives, and every wife has a thousand slaves to cater to their every need. The stronghold's walls rise one hundred feet into the smoky sky, constructed of polished steel and worked iron. Inside the walls, stone keeps, iron towers, and massive longhouses surround the central square that houses the Ashen Forge.
The Spine of Ashpit is a surprisingly light skeletal spine found in the realm. It is made from a grey dust, and fragments of bone have been known to be taken from it and brought to Tamriel. Sheogorath claims that the spine is the metaphorical "backbone" of the realm, which he looks down upon.
Realm of BoethiaEdit
The Realm of Boethia is a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by Boethia, the Daedric Prince of Deceit. The realm consists of stormy skies, volcanic islands and lava seas, similar to the Deadlands. It has also been described as a country of labyrinthine policy and betrayals, with maze gardens and twisted towers. It is sometimes referred to as Attribution's Share or Snake Mount.
Coldharbour is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination. As befits his sphere, Bal's realm is a desolate, apocalyptic image of Nirn, which is achieved by both mocking imitation and outright theft of parts of the mortal realm. It is inhabited by Daedra and the eternally-tormented souls of mortals called Soul Shriven. Descriptions of the plane vary widely, but all accounts agree that Coldharbour is a dismal, cold, and largely lifeless realm. Coldharbour has been described as a manifestation of fear and exploitation.
The Colored Rooms are a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by Meridia, known as the Daedric Prince of Infinite Energies. From what little has been seen of the Colored Rooms, they seem to resemble a cross between a coral reef and a vast field of floating stones, strewn with colorful trails of dust or cloud. The "ground" between the stones looks like luminescent water, but is solid enough to walk on.
Aurorans and their warhorses are the spawn of Meridia that reside in the Colored Rooms, being made from pure light and have skin tones of virtually any hue. Golden Saints are also purported to reside in the realm. The Colored Rooms have been described by those souls who have been there as "pretty boring" aside from Meridia's lectures (which are described as "pretty boring" as well).
The Deadlands are a Daedric realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon. The embodiment of its creator's sphere, the dimension is fraught with natural disasters and destructive change. The realm is covered by an ocean of lava, scattered with scorched volcanic islands and ruined structures. Many lesser Daedra roam the realm freely, but Dremora dominate the hierarchy.
The Evergloam is a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by Nocturnal, the Daedric Prince of Shadow. It is a realm of perpetual twilight, and the "cradle of shadow". The Evergloam consists of a primary plane and several pocket realms, including the Shade Perilous and the Crow's Wood. These realms are thought to be constantly shifting, and perceived differently by different mortals.
The Ebonmere is a portal linked to the Evergloam, which acts as Nocturnal's conduit on Tamriel. It is located in the Twilight Sepulcher, an ancient temple in Skyrim. The Ebonmere is held open by the Skeleton Key, although the artifact has often been stolen from the Sepulcher by mortals. The Nightingales are a secretive subgroup of the Thieves Guild, who pledge their souls to Nocturnal and guard both the Ebonmere and the Skeleton Key. When a Nightingale dies, it is believed that their soul becomes one with the shadows. As long as the Ebonmere remains open, the souls of dead Nightingales can "walk with the shadows" and bring luck to thieves. As Agents of Nocturnal, Nightingales are permitted to "drink" from the Ebonmere and obtain powerful abilities.
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.
The Hunting GroundsEdit
The Hunting Grounds, also known as The Great Hunt, is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. It has been described as a realm of dense woodland and vast grasslands populated by werebears, wild cattle and unicorns. It is a savage land inhabited by vicious creatures such as bears, wolves, werecreatures, and Daedra. These creatures are generally much larger than their counterparts in the mortal realm. The Hunting Grounds are also populated with the spirits of small animals that may be hunted. All whom die within the Hunting Grounds are doomed to remain within the realm after death.
Followers of Hircine are promised an afterlife within the Hunting Grounds, where they can indulge in spectacular hunts, as well as experience an endless cycle of violence as well as death and rebirth. Its inhabitants reside in the many hunting lodges dotting the landscape. The forests of the Hunting Grounds are teeming with powerful beasts, which allow Hircine's followers to engage in the most spectacular hunts. For the devoted, it is a paradise. The souls of lycanthropes are claimed by Hircine and spend eternity experiencing the thrill of the hunt in his Hunting Grounds. However, it is possible for a soul to transfer to the proper afterlife (such as Sovngarde) if their lycanthropy is cured posthumously. During the daylight hours, werebears and fierce Nords stalk the land in their continual Hunt. When the sun sinks below the horizon, Hircine announces himself with a pack of werewolves to take his turn in the cycle.
Moonshadow is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by the Daedric Prince Azura, Queen of Dawn and Dusk. The realm is said to hold "[t]oo much beauty", so much so it can render mortal visitors "half-blind", and contain flowers, waterfalls, and a city of silver. Azura herself resides in a rose palace, and is welcoming to mortal travelers.
To the Khajiit, Moonshadow is where Azurah tends the Gates of the Crossing—the bridge between Nirni and the afterlife beyond. According to myth, as Azurah wept in the Great Darkness after the death of her mother, the light from her tears chased away the Darkness and eventually left a "place of moonlight and shadow". Khajiiti mythology also writes that when Magrus fled from Boethra and Lorkhaj after the former had plucked his eye out, he fell into the Moonshadow. There, Azurah judged him as too fearful to rule a sphere, and tore out his other eye. The blinded Magrus fled to the heavens, and Azurah made of his eye a "stone to reflect the Varliance Gate".
The Myriad Realms of RevelryEdit
The Myriad Realms of Revelry are a congeries of one hundred thousand pocket and sub-realms of Oblivion, created and ruled over by the Daedric Prince of Indulgence, Sanguine. The realms are used mainly as pleasure pockets, refashioned to meet the needs and desires of its visitants. As such, Sanguine himself has very little control over them.
The Scuttling Void is a realm of Oblivion ruled over by the Daedric Prince Namira. It is also called the Dark Behind the World (which is sometimes shortened to the Dark) by the Khajiit. When a particularly large rift opens between the Dark Behind the World and Nirni, the breach is referred to to as the Maw of Lorkhaj. Very little is known of the realm of this shadowy Daedra.
What little that has been seen of the realm resembles the Deadlands, with lava seas, volcanic islands and ruined structures. The realm is usually completely inaccessible to mortals, but there have been several exceptions.
The Shivering IslesEdit
The Shivering Isles, also called the Madhouse or the Asylums, is the Daedric realm of Sheogorath, Prince of Madness. The realm consists of a main landmass surrounded by a group of smaller islands, the area of which is divided in half: the northern half of these lands is called Mania, and the southern half Dementia. This divide represents Sheogorath's split personality, the "two shades of madness". The isles are inhabited by mortals as well as Daedra, but they have been driven insane.
The Spiral SkeinEdit
Quagmire, or the Dreamstride, is a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by the Daedric Prince of Nightmare, Vaermina. It is a realm of horrors, where reality shifts upon itself in seemingly impossible ways. Every few minutes, lightning flashes and the realm morphs into a terrifying scene, each one more frightening than the last.
It is the realm most often visited by mortals. From her citadel in the center of the realm, Vaermina reaches out into Mundus and collects the memories of sleeping mortals, leaving nothing but visions of horror and despair. These experiences, known as nightmares, involve the mind of a mortal traveling to Quagmire. Through magical teleportation, it is possible for a mortal to enter Quagmire while awake, as was done by the mage Morian Zenas.
Other Realms of OblivionEdit
There are over 37,000 pocket realms of Oblivion with drastically varying purposes. Some are created by Daedric Princes as a prison or purgatory, while others are the homes of certain lesser Daedra.
The Abyss is a mysterious realm of Oblivion consisting of a never-ending series of rooms and corridors, both real and unreal at the same time, which together form an endless dungeon. Few have survived exploring the infinite reaches of the Abyss, and none have conquered it.
The Abyss seemingly dates back to the early First Era, when the Ayleids ruled over Cyrodiil. A Sorcerer-King named Celemaril Light-Bringer became a lich and attempted to destroy the world. Instead, he was bound within the Abyss by his brother Valentis using an Elder Scroll after a failed rebellion, and nearly every trace of him was wiped from history. It is said that the Lich and the Abyss are forever linked as a true union of the damned, but that one did not create the other. The ancient Ayleids were known to have created Abyssal Altars dedicated to the Lich.
Circa 4E 180, the Warrior was encouraged to enter and explore the Abyss by a madman named Theodor Gorlash (an anagram of "Lord Sheogorath") who was seemingly the Daedric Prince of Madness in disguise. A portal to the Abyss had been opened within an old crypt just outside the Warrior's home town of Rivercrest in the kingdom ruled by the Bloodfall Queen, which was built on the First Era ruins where Celemaril was imprisoned. The opening of the Abyss coincided with the return of Celemaril Light-Bringer after his binding was broken. Familiar with the crypt since childhood, the Warrior entered this portal and embarked upon expeditions deeper and deeper into the Abyss, fighting through waves of enemies and returning to the surface with many treasures, including a number of legendary artifacts. In order to rebind Celemaril within the Abyss, the Warrior reconstructed the Elder Statue in Rivercrest to recreate the original binding ritual. Celemaril susbequently attacked the town with an undead army, but was defeated in single combat by the Warrior and sealed within the Abyss for several more millennia.
The rooms within the Abyss vary in appearance, with each floor of the dungeon containing a different architectural style and increasingly difficult enemies. The rooms can take on the appearance of natural caves, ancient Ayleid ruins, and Imperial forts. These rooms are inhabited by an endless number of various enemy types, including mortals, Daedra, goblins, Tamrielic creatures, undead, and even dragons.
Arum-Khal's Realm was a dark plane of existence created by the dro-m'Athra lich Arum-Khal where only dark spirits could thrive. It resembled floating islands with glowing corals and ruined Khajiiti architecture hanging in a void of eternal twilight, reminiscent to that of the Dark Behind the World. It was destroyed circa 2E 582.
Chimera of DesolationEdit
The Chimera was once Caecilly Island, a small island off the coast of Northmoor (or Glenumbra, according to some sources) in High Rock. The entire island was cast into the void as an act of revenge against Chimere Graegyn, a mortal conjurer living there. The abandoned towns of Trybador and Granvellusa still stand on the desolate island.
Detritus is a ghastly demi-plane of Oblivion ruled over by Hollowjack, the Lord of Mortal Fears. It has also been described as a "half-world", and is a realm filled with untold horrors. Every year, during the Witches Festival on the 13th of Frost Fall, the portals between Nirn and Detritus open and gruesome items from this realm flood the markets of Tamriel.
Hollowjack derives his supernatural power by metaphysically feeding on the fear of mortals, and his realm is dedicated to this singular purpose. Detritus is described as a claustrophobic series of small spaces cluttered and jammed with piles of mortals' lost and broken personal items. Hollowjack frivols there among his collection of shattered memories, categorizing and classing and replaying them to find new vulnerabilities in the mortal mind. There is no outside on Detritus, only room after room of recurring nightmares and internal torments. According to Hollowjack, this is because "mortals fear most what is inside themselves".
Dyzera Realm is a small pocket realm of Oblivion ruled over by a powerful Nocturnal Shrike named Dyzera, a servant of the Daedric Prince Nocturnal. It is a realm of perpetual twilight resembling the Evergloam, covered by exotic bioluminescent plant life.
Fourth Sinus of TakubarEdit
The Fourth Sinus of Takubar (also known as DOP 9497.15, called Takubar for short) is a pocket realm of Oblivion, and the home of the Cold-Flame Atronachs. It is a realm of extreme cold, where the material bonds of the bedrock slide apart to flow like lava. It is the inversion of Infernace, a realm of extreme heat. Takubar was discovered by the denizens of Coldharbour after Molag Bal banished common Flame Atronachs from his realm. Frost Mares are theorized to originate from this plane.
It can be assumed that Takubar, like Infernace, is a 'collective realm', a highly organized realm of Oblivion created not by a single Daedra, but as a collective extension of its numerous, less-powerful inhabitants. This type of realm is considered relatively exceptional, although they're also rather mundane and uniform.
Gaiar Alata (generally referred to as "Paradise" by its inhabitants), is a realm created by Mankar Camoran with the use of the Mysterium Xarxes, a book of evil power written by Mehrunes Dagon. Gaiar Alata contains pleasant islands with gardens and Ayleid-style buildings. Although it seems to be a paradise, its inhabitants are continually slaughtered by resident beasts after which they are resurrected. Underneath the idyllic landscape there are torturing chambers where the less faithful Mythic Dawn cultists are kept. Gaiar Alata dissolved after Mankar Camoran's death during the Oblivion Crisis.
The Havoc Wellhead (sometimes styled Havok Wellhead) is a realm of Oblivion controlled by many Daedric clans in the service of Mehrunes Dagon. It was accessible from the Battlespire, but the connection was lost after its destruction during the Imperial Simulacrum. The forces of Mehrunes Dagon used the realm as a headquarters during the invasion of the Battlespire.
The Gorge is a thin, vestigial realm of Oblivion which acts as a divide between the realms of Boethiah and Clavicus Vile. It is a realm where need and hunger are one, described as a pit of famine and desperation where brutal Daedra spend eternity devouring anything they can, even each other, to feed a boundless hunger that will never be satiated. Pinnacle among them is the Insatiable, a Hunger of great cunning and power.
The Gorge clings to the skin of Mundus, gnawing in futility to break through. As such, it resembles a horrifying mirror image of Nirn, almost identical save for the fleshy growths and Daedric beasts. It is known to be home to hungers, scamps, ogrim, daedrats, fiendroths, red torchbugs, and watchers.
The Insatiable can be summoned to Nirn through Daedric ritual. Once summoned, it will tirelessly feast on life, using the essence it devours to slip freely between the Gorge and Nirn in order to ambush its prey. Mortal sorcerers willing to brave the horrors of the Gorge can similarly move between these realms by creating an anchor using their own vital essence at a place where the barrier between Nirn and Oblivion is thinnest. When complete, the anchor will allow permanent passage between the realms until the sigils are snuffed out. This ability can act as a powerful means of passing undetected in the mortal world.
Infernace (also known as DOP 6) is a pocket realm of Oblivion. It is a realm of extreme heat and molten rock, and is the home of the Flame Atronachs. It is well known to all conjurers due to the ability to summon subservient atronachs from the realm. The Fourth Sinus of Takubar, a realm of extreme cold, is an inversion of Infernace.
Despite being considered a highly-organized and physical realm, the reality of Infernace is not a projection of the mind of any particular Daedra. Instead, it was created as an extension of its Flame Atronach inhabitants. Realms such as Infernace are termed 'collective realms', and are considered relatively exceptional. However, collective realms are also rather mundane and uniform, and the endless magma and fumaroles of Infernace are no exception.
The clan structure of Infernace is unknown, and no hierarchy has been observed due to the difficulties involved in distinguishing individual Flame Atronachs. The realm may have come under the rule of Mehrunes Dagon during the invasion of the Battlespire, when the Flame Atronachs swore allegiance to Shardai Clan. The realm was once visited by the Demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen.
It might be assumed that Levinace is a 'collective realm' similar to Infernace, created as an extension of its Storm Atronach inhabitants. If so, the realm would be rather mundane and uniform in appearance.
Levinace is well known to all conjurers due to the ability to summon subservient atronachs from the realm. Summoned Storm Atronachs are usually compelled to take a roughly humanoid form, often for combat purposes. Sufficiently skilled conjurers can compel atronachs from this realm to assume any number of exotic forms, such as for use as summoned mounts. Corvus Direnni is famed as a pioneer in this field.
Lord Velian's PlaneEdit
It was created through necromantic ritual after the villagers of Eagle's Brook, in the Cambray Hills region of High Rock, were turned into zombies. The realm was a copy of the village, filled with ruined houses and writhing vines. The sky was orange, and the only inhabitants were banekin and Velian's shade.
The local mage, Merien Sellan, learned of Velian's ritual and entered the pocket realm to stop him. He allowed himself to be willingly captured in order to collapse the plane, killing himself in the process. His son Tamien asked the Vestige to enter the realm and kill Velian, allowing Merien to escape before the collapse but also allowing the cultists to leave with the zombie army by ship. It is unknown if Merien was rescued, although the realm was collapsed regardless.
Maelstrom is the realm of Demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen, the Multiplier of Motions Known. It appears in the style of an arena where mortal challengers can battle the demiprince's Barons of Move Like This in rounds reminiscent of other Daedric or Tamrielic locales.
Nightflame was a pocket realm of Oblivion specializing in shadow- and fire-based magic. It served as the seat of power of a powerful Daedric Titan, Bogdan the Nightflame. The realm consisted of Daedric ruins enclosed entirely by stone, with few holes in the walls allowing for a minute amount of sunlight to shine through. The ruins are layed out and sometimes built upside-down onto surfaces in such a way that did not seem to apply to the laws of gravity, being filled with countless bone remains that were frequently found in the realm, and even incorporated into the structures. The creatures under Bogdan's command were said to be so powerful and great in number that they could provide a whole army capable of ending the Alliance War.
As a realm surrounded by darkness, the creatures within are bound to the shadows and thrive on despair. They are not easily bound to the will of mortals, with few having the depth of character to bring these shadow creatures to heel. The Shadow Tendrils of the realm appeared to be mysterious tortured souls enslaved by Bogdan, which were capable of draining the life out of their targets. The rare Nova Tendril daedra, beings made of pure light, were also seen in the realm serving as healers to Bogdan. Dark varieties of powerful spriggans served Bogdan, such as daedric lurchers, the shadow spriggan Dark Root, and the shadow lurcher Murklight. The realm was also inhabited by largely fire-based Daedra such as Dremora, Scamps, and Daedroths, and other various Daedra such as banekin and winged twilights.
Prison of XykenazEdit
The Prison of Xykenaz is a nanoplane of Coldharbour to which Molag Bal banished the Dremora Xykenaz in response to an event called the "Seat of Tyranny Rude Cushion Incident". There, Xykenaz is serving a sentence of seven epochs. The realm bears resemblance to the inside of one of Coldharbour's oppressive pyramid structures. It is filled with black soul gems.
Realm of the HistEdit
The realm of the Hist is said to be a mysterious realm of Oblivion. It is a lush world, filled with sentient trees. Relatives of these trees include the Hist of Mundus and the Fields of Regret. The Hist supposedly came to Tamriel from this realm in the Dawn Era. The realm is inhabited by Wisperills, colorful luminescent films that dance in the air.
Tamrielic mythology states that, despite the Hists' neutrality, the realm of the Hist was mostly destroyed as the Ehlnofey war passed over it. A small corner of the realm survived and became Black Marsh, but the rest was sunk beneath the sea. This may imply that Black Marsh is a fragment of the realm, which was somehow sundered by the creation of Mundus.
In the early Fourth Era, a large chunk of the Fields of Regret was separated from the rest of the realm by Umbra. This bubble of Oblivion contained Umbriel, a floating island. Umbriel had its own population of Hist, as well as humanoids created by the second ingenium. In 4E 40, following Umbriel's invasion of Tamriel, a group of heroes infiltrated the island and successfully banished the island back to Oblivion by destroying the ingenium and killing Umbra. Among these heroes was Mere-Glim, an Argonian who was reborn within Umbriel, resulting in a connection with both the Hist of Umbriel and the Hist of Tamriel.
When Umbriel was returned to Oblivion, the Hist there guided it to the realm of the Hist. Although it was no longer capable of flight, the island and the city on top were supported by the thick covering of trees and settled deep into the boggy ground. The lords and chefs of Umbriel turned to anarchy and tried to kill each other, but many of the skraws and fringe workers left Umbriel to make a living elsewhere in the realm. Mere-Glim and his companion Fhena were among those who attempted to make a new life in the realm. A distant spire can be seen from the site of Umbriel, although it is unknown if it is an old building or simply a rock.
Sadal's Prison is a small pocket realm of Oblivion, created by the Chimer to imprison Sadal, one of the Brothers of Strife. It can be entered from the caldera of the Tormented Spire in Varanis. It is a realm of lava and rock, scattered with Daedric ruins.
The Soul Cairn is a realm of Oblivion filled with the trapped souls of mortal dead. Rather than being ruled over by any Daedric Prince, it is controlled by mysterious beings that call themselves the Ideal Masters. It is theorized that when souls trapped in black soul gems are used to power an enchantment, the remnants are transported to the Soul Cairn to roam for eternity. The Ideal Masters believe that by freeing mortals from life and dooming them to eternal undeath, they are being saved from meaningless hardship and gifted with peace. The Ideal Masters describe the realm as an otherworldly refuge dedicated to peace, love, eternal rest, and harmony.
In order to enter the Soul Cairn, a mortal usually must be dead. This can be achieved by partial soul trapping, or by becoming undead. The realm was once accessible from the voidgate of the Battlespire, but the link was severed after the citadel was partially destroyed. A portal to the Soul Cairn can also be created using finely ground bone meal, purified void salts, and soul gem shards and placing them in a silver-lined portal vessel and then adding blood as a reactive agent.The Soul Cairn is filled with all manner of undead. Some forms are unique to the realm, such as Bonemen, Mistmen, and Wrathmen. These creatures are seen as blessed by the Ideal Masters and are mentioned in the Book of Life and Service, with there being a hierarchy of the Ideal Masters, Wrathmen, Mistmen and then Bonemen. Powerful mages can summon undead minions from the realm using conjuration magic. In their hunger for souls, the Ideal Masters often strike deals with necromancers. In return for souls, the necromancers are given the ability to summon armies of undead from the realm, although they often fall prey to the Masters and end up trapped in the realm themselves.
Village of the LostEdit
The Village of the Lost is a border realm of Coldharbour, created by the Daedric Prince Molag Bal and ruled by Overseer Grexev. It formed during the Planemeld when Molag Bal attempted to fuse Coldharbour and Mundus. Although not part of Coldharbour proper, three villages were pulled from Tamriel and landed in the realm after being fooled by deals with the Dremora Grexev. These included a small township in Vvardenfell named Silver Run, along with the Khajiiti village of Khaj'yahai and the Orc stronghold of Dushnikh's Shadow. These villages were then scattered among islands of floating rock, and the villagers' souls were stolen. As it materialized, the realm was entirely covered in Azure Plasm, unformed chaotic creatia common in Coldharbour, from which all Oblivion matter is formed.
Realms of AetheriusEdit
The Battlespire was the magical war academy of the Imperial Battlemages, and a testing facility for candidates seeking to join the Imperial Guard. It was (and its ruins remain) located in a Slipstream Realm deep in Aetherius. As the mortal mind can be driven to madness by Oblivion, these sorts of realms are useful as they allow the mind to acclimate to the contradictory nature of the outer realms without the same levels of mental strain. More simply, it was possible to access numerous realms of Oblivion from the Spire through the use of teleportals and voidgates. The facility was moored in place by five great Anchors, which assured its safety and stability in the surrounding flux. Access to the edifice was granted via the Pillar of Light, a teleportation device linked to the Weir Gate.
Though the date of the construction of the Battlespire Academy remains obscure, the Weir Gate was known to exist as of 2E 582. The institution was accepting recruits by the time of the Third Empire in 2E 864. During the Imperial Simulacrum, Sirran Angada tricked Paxti Bittor into betraying the Battlespire to the legions of the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon. A pair of trainees became trapped inside; one was captured by Mehrunes Dagon, but the other apprentice followed the trail through numerous Daedric gates to Dagon's citadel, where, by stating his protonymic, they cast the Daedric Prince into Oblivion. Having lost Dagon's support, Jagar Tharn's plot to supplant the true Emperor was doomed to fail.
The Far Shores, also called the Far Dunes, is the afterlife sought by the Redguards. According to Yokudan myth, Satakal, the serpentine God of Everything, eats itself over and over, periodically consuming all of creation. By "moving at strange angles" to stride between "worldskins", a process known as the Walkabout, the strongest of the spirits learned to bypass this cycle of destruction. Thanks to Ruptga's guidance, many weaker spirits were able to find their way as well, and the practice became so easy that it became a place—the Far Shores. Here, the spirits can safely wait until Satakal has passed and a new skin has emerged. There is no hunger or thirst in the Far Shores, but there are ample martial challenges to keep Redguard warrior-spirits engaged for eternity.
The Mantellan Crux is a small, self-contained plane located in Aetherius. Its name is derived from the Mantella, a large soul gem once used to power Numidium. The plane served as the resting place and prison of the Mantella after it was blasted from Mundus at the dawn of the Third Era by Zurin Arctus.
The Mantella and the plane were rediscovered in 3E 401 by Nulfaga the sorceress, Queen Mother of Daggerfall, in her astral travels. This precipitated a series of events that led to the recovery of the Mantella in 3E 417 by an unknown Agent of the Blades, and culminated in the phenomenon known as the Warp in the West.
The Mantellan Crux was designed as a giant puzzle to test those who would seek the heart of Numidium, and was inhabited by fearsome Daedra and undead. The Blind God, a giant skull, dwells here. The Daedric Prince Sheogorath has also been known to visit the plane.
Sands Behind the StarsEdit
The Sands Behind the Stars, also known as Llesw'er, is the realm to which the souls of Khajiit travel at the end of their days. Described as a paradise promised to the Khajiit by the Riddle'Thar, souls are carried there by Khenarthi's embrace, as long as they have followed the true path of the moons. It is said that the realm is filled with dunes formed of sugar, and a "warmth without end". Legends state that the name "Llesw'er" may have been the inspiration for name of the Khajiiti homeland, Elsweyr.
Sovngarde is the storied underworld of the Nords, a part of Aetherius where the greatest Nord heroes go when they die to enjoy an eternity of feasting and merriment. It is ruled by Shor and contains the Hall of Valor, a supposedly gigantic feasting hall where the mead "flows like a waterfall". Those who cross the threshold of the living and entered the afterlife are greeted below the red glow of the eternal sunset, following the pathway down between the mammoth tusks and the monolithic cowled statues and into the valley of mists—the Shadowed Vale. Tsun currently guards the mythical Whalebone Bridge past the Vale, which leads to the Hall of Valor. At Shor's bidding, he has taken on the role of the master of trials, asking new arrivals to the utopia to prove their strength in combat against him before they can enter Shor's Hall.
Except in rare cases where one forces a way into Sovngarde, it can supposedly only be reached by true Nords who die valiantly or in battle, regardless of personality. This excludes those afflicted with Lycanthropy, as Hircine takes them to his Hunting Grounds instead.
Realms of MundusEdit
Arkay is one of the eight major planets. Its light helps protect Nirn from necromantic rituals, although it is blocked by the Necromancer's Moon every seven days. It is one of three Dominion Planets that make up the Guardian Constellations. Specifically, Arkay is the eye of the Thief.[UOL 1]
Baar Dau (also known as the Ministry of Truth or Lie Rock) was a celestial rock or moonlet which hovered above Vivec City in southern Vvardenfell. According to the prevailing legends, it was flung from the Void by either Sheogorath or its own malevolence, but was prevented from crashing into the city by the Tribunal god Vivec. Vivec allowed it to remain looming above the city so that if its people ever ceased to love him, the rock would fall and destroy them. Other lesser-known tales and theories vary widely as to Baar Dau's origins, with one identifying it as a former Magna Ge named Una, another insisting that it was an egg from which would one day emerge the nightmarish offspring of Vivec and Molag Bal, and yet another claiming that it was Malacath's dung.
Baar Dau originally rested higher in the sky, but plunged dramatically in 2E 582, when Vivec's power was temporarily drained. The moonlet remained aloft only tenuously, showering Vivec City with burning fragments. After Vivec regained his power, he kept Baar Dau in its new position, just above the High Fane of the Temple Canton. Some time later, Baar Dau was hollowed out by the Tribunal Temple and became the Ministry of Truth, where the Temple would imprison dissident priests and attempt to reform them. The high-security prison was accessible only through levitation, and was directed by a Grand Inquisitor. The main areas were the Hall of Processing and the Prison Keep. Temple pilgrims offered levitation potions at the Shrine of Daring, which was dedicated to Vivec stopping the moon from destroying the city.
Early in the Fourth Era, after the disappearance of Vivec, the magic keeping Baar Dau afloat began to weaken. Two Dunmer, Sul and Vuhon, created an ingenium, a soul-powered device which supported the rock. It was created by making a pact with Clavicus Vile, who had a penchant for souls. Hundreds of captured souls were needed to run the machine, but eventually living people were used. Only the people with the strongest souls were sacrificed. Ilzheven, Sul's love, was sacrificed by Vuhon, and the ingenium was destroyed when Sul attempted to rescue her. In 4E 5, without anything holding it up, Baar Dau resumed its long-delayed fall, returning to the momentum it had before being halted. This obliterated the city of Vivec, leaving a crater which would become Scathing Bay. In turn, the impact created tsunamis which ravaged mainland Morrowind and caused Red Mountain to erupt, devastating Vvardenfell. The disaster of the Red Year effectively ended the ascendancy of the Tribunal Temple and the mainstream worship of the Tribunal as gods.
Julianos is one of the eight major planets. The planet Stendarr orbits it. It is one of three Dominion Planets that make up the Guardian Constellations. Specifically, Julianos is the eye of the Mage.[UOL 1]
Kynareth is one of the eight major planets.
The Nature RealmEdit
The Nature Realm is a realm of Mundus which exists in parallel with the physical realm. It is a realm of animal spirits. The Nature Realm is a mirror image of the physical world, but tinged green. The spirits of physical beings can be seen in the Nature Realm, but cannot be interacted with.
Circa 2E 582, a hagraven named Uela and her Dark Witnesses occupied Jackdaw Cove, a forest in the Mournoth region of High Rock. Using dark Reachman magic, Uela corrupted the forest, weakening the local Glenmoril wyresses in the process. Uela specialized in utilizing crows as spies and messengers, magically possessing their physical bodies. These crow spirits were helpless and could do nothing but watch from the Nature Realm as she controlled their physical forms. In order to reach Uela and kill her, a Redguard wyress named Rashan guided the Vestige into the Nature Realm in order to commune with the crow spirits and bypass her defenses.
The Necromancer's MoonEdit
The Necromancer's Moon, also known as the Revenant, is a celestial body that orbits Nirn at the center of the Mundus. It is the divine body of the God of Worms, Mannimarco. It was created by the Warp in the West in 3E 417 when Mannimarco used the power of the Mantella to fuel his transfiguration and apotheosis.
The Necromancer's Moon passes in front of the planet Arkay every eight days, preventing the light of Arkay from reaching Nirn for 24 hours. This celestial phenomenon is known as the Shade of the Revenant, and casts a purple light down at certain locations across Tamriel during this period. The purpose of this eclipse is to foil the divine laws of Arkay, allowing Mannimarco to be the only god of life and death. The Cult of the Black Worm worship Mannimarco as the God of Worms, and construct altars to him at these locations to harness the Shade of the Revenant for use in creating black soul gems.
Nirn (which means 'Gray Maybe' in Ehlnofex) is the planet on which the Elder Scrolls is set. It floats in the void of Oblivion and is, for all intents and purposes, the majority of the realm known as Mundus. Sources often use the terms Nirn and Mundus synonymously, despite the technical differences in the two terms. Nirn was created during the Dawn Era by the Aedra and Anu-aligned spirits, based on Lorkhan's inspiration and Magnus' designs.
The greater of Nirn's two moons, Masser, or Jode, is acknowledged as one of the attendant spirits of the mortal plane, and, as such, is both temporal and subject to the bounds of mortality. Masser, which exists as a separate plane, has long since perished; it was Masser's death which led mortals to perceive it as having both texture and limited size, as well as a reddish hue, all of which are the results of its decay from its former investiture of pure white.
While regarded by various cultures as an attendant spirit of their god planet, minor god, or foreign god, Masser is not displayed within Dwemer orreries, nor does it hold a position within the pantheon of Imperial gods. In Khajiiti culture, walking the Path of Jode is a necessary step for a Lunar Champion seeking to become the Mane. Under the influence of moon sugar vapors, the Moon Hallowed guides the Lunar Champion through an aspect of Masser known as the Demi-Plane of Jode, which shapes itself to show visions of the future to those who walk along the path.
The lesser of Nirn's two moons, Secunda, or Jone, is acknowledged as one of the attendant spirits of the mortal plane, and, as such, is both temporal and subject to the bounds of mortality. Secunda, which exists as a separate plane, has long since perished; it was Secunda's death which led mortals to perceive it as having both texture and limited size, as well as imperfections of color, all of which are the results of its decay from its former investiture of pure white.
While regarded by various cultures as an attendant spirit of their god planet, minor god, or foreign god, Secunda is not displayed within Dwemer orreries, neither does it hold a position within the pantheon of Imperial gods. In Khajiiti culture, walking the Path of Jone and Jode is a necessary step for a Lunar Champion seeking to become the Mane. The Bosmer regard Jone and Jode as spirits of fortune, both good and bad.
When Hircine's Great Hunt begins, Secunda turns a deep shade of red and becomes the Bloodmoon. The hunt is believed to end when the Bloodmoon disappears. The Bloodmoon is said to symbolize the blood of the Hunter's Prey, and those wishing to join the Great Hunt craft rounded bone pendants that are stained with blood to symbolize it.
The Spilled SandEdit
The Spilled Sand is an obscure realm speculated to be the realm of Alkosh. It is not a physical place, but a story which is simultaneously part of the tapestry of time while also outside of it. Masser and Secunda are visible from the realm, indicating that it resides in the Mundus. The realm consists of an endless looping expanse of sands; a giant golden dragon, either deep in slumber or possibly dead, can be seen partially buried in the sand. In the center of the realm lies a golden oasis with a giant hourglass, the symbol of the Dragon God of Time.
The Dark MoonEdit
The Dark Moon, also known as the Dead Moon or Den of Lorkhaj, is a representation of the legendary "third moon" in Khajiiti culture which is said to herald the birth of a new Mane. The Dark Moon appears during a rare alignment of Masser and Secunda, and is thought to be a third aspect of the decaying corpse of Lorkhaj. Where Jode and Jone govern the fate of true Khajiit, the Dark Moon governs the fate of the dro-m'Athra, the souls of fallen Khajiit who are condemned on death to serve the Heart of Lorkhaj "until their tails are straight". It is believed that the spirit of a so-called "bent cat" is brought to the realm by Namiira. Walking the Path of Lorkhaj is the final step that a Lunar Champion must take in their journey to become the Mane. The Champion is guided through the Den of Lorkhaj by the Moon Hallowed.
The Five Finger DanceEdit
The Five Finger Dance is the realm of Baan Dar the Bandit God, a trickster spirit of thieves and beggars, and the Pariah of the Khajiit. In his realm, he holds an eternal party for bandits, pranksters and merrymakers. It resembles the Reaper's March region of Tamriel.
There are other locations that can not clearly be placed in the other mentioned categories.
The Isle of Artaeum is the third largest island of the Summerset archipelago, located off the southwest coast of Summerset Isle, south of the Moridunon village of Potansa and west of the mainland village of Runcibae. Artaeum is the home of the Psijic Order, the oldest monastic group of Tamriel. It has a tendency to vanish from Nirn, being placed in a pocket realm for centuries at a time.
The Isle of Artaeum has idyllic orchards and clear pastures, still and silent lagoons, misty woodlands, and the unique Psijic architecture that seems to be as natural as its surroundings. The Ceporah Tower is a relic from a civilization that predates the High Elves by several hundred years. It is the location of the Dreaming Cavern, which Sotha Sil once used as some sort of portal into the realms of Oblivion, but which has since been sealed off by the Psijics. The Isle of Artaeum was once removed from the world in a similar fashion to Umbriel, but reappeared about 500 years later. The Isle of Artaeum once again disappeared around 100 years before the civil war in Skyrim, and has not been seen since.
The Clockwork City, also known as Sotha Sil, is a metaphysical clockwork realm created by Sotha Sil, one of the living gods of Morrowind, to replicate the mythic structures of Nirn in metallic miniature. It supposedly exists "outside space and time", and in the physical world, it is represented in the form of a Clockwork Globe that is no larger than a good-sized netch, and requires an individual to be magically shrunk to enter. Although represented in miniature, a whole world lies within as the realm is expansive on the inside.
Eld Angavar (meaning Old Ironwood in Ayleidoon; also known as the Golden Path) is a realm of Nexus Gates connected by floating Ayleid architecture. It is an abandoned realm located between worlds, created as a result of Myndhal's search for the Remnant of Argon. One of the few known entrances to the realm is the still-functioning Gate within the Vakka-Bok Xanmeer in Murkmire.
The Void (also called the Darkness) is the name applied to the dimensions outside of the known realms (e.g. Aetherius, Oblivion, and Mundus) of the Aurbis. It is also occasionally used in a more limited capacity to refer directly to Oblivion. The brothers Anu and Padomay came from the Void, as well as Sithis, who originally caused change in the world. According to the Dark Brotherhood, when Sithis wishes someone killed, their soul comes here after death. Legends say that deities wishing to create a new plane of existence must initially create a space for it in the Void. The "Second Void" and the "Nineteen Voids" are unknown terms which may be related to this dimension.
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Arena Supermundus: The Tapestry of Heaven — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- The Monomyth
- Daedra Dossier: Cold-Flame Atronach — Denogorath the Dread Archivist
- Trail and Tide — Moon-Bishop Hunal
- Litter-Mates of Darkness — Moon-Bishop Hunal
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Sugar and Blood: the Cats of the South — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- The Orrery in Oblivion
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.