Daedric Princes

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From primordial nothingness emerged two brothers, each a half of a single whole: Anu and Padomay. From the Void they came forth and soon after Time began. As they wandered the Void, the interplay of Light and Darkness created Nir and the Et'Ada, the Original Spirits. Anu and Padomay were amazed and delighted by her appearance; however, Nir chose Anu as the object of her affections. Padomay, filled with dismay and bitterness towards Anu for stealing the one he loved, retreated into the Void, away from his brother. Eventually, Nir grew pregnant and before she gave birth, Padomay came to her one last time to profess his love to her; but again, she chose Anu. Brimming with rage, Padomay beat Nir until Anu returned and a fight between the brothers ensued. When the battle was over, Padomay had been cast outside of Time and Nir gave birth to Creation, dying from her injuries in her efforts to conceive, leaving Anu to grieve by sleeping in the sun.

After a long time, Padomay returned to Time and saw Nir's child, Creation. Upon the twelve worlds of Creation, life had grown and flourished. Padomay boiled with anger upon this sight, and with his sword, he sundered the twelve worlds in their alignment, waking Anu from his slumber. Yet another great battle transpired between the brothers, ending with Anu defeating Padomay yet again; believing him to be dead, Anu cast his body aside. Seeing the destruction Padomay had inflicted on the worlds of Creation, Anu attempted to save it by merging the remnants into one world, Nirn.

In truth, Padomay was not dead and he delivered one final blow to his brother, striking him in the chest. Anu struggled with Padomay and they were both pulled out of Time forever. The blood of Padomay became the Daedra and the blood of Anu became the stars and the mingling of the blood of both brothers formed the Aedra. In explaining the key differences between Aedra and Daedra, it is commonly believed that the mixed blood of the Aedra give them the capacity for both good and evil, as well as their inherent concerns for Nirn and its inhabitants; the Daedra have no such connections and therefore do not care or concern themselves with the affairs of mortals or their world.

The Daedra, an Altmeric term literally translating to "not our ancestors", are a group of supernatural entities inhabiting the planes of Oblivion. The other group, known as the Aedra, an Altmeric term meaning "our ancestors", are the other entities. Together, these being make up the Et'Ada, or the "Original Spirits" in Aldmeri tongue. The fundamental difference between the Aedra and the Daedra is that the Aedra are more akin to Anu, representing stasis and order, whereas the Daedra are more akin to Padomay, representing fluidity, change and chaos.

In creation stories that are intended to be more literal than allegorical, the Aedra assisted in the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane of existence, by infusing their divine energy to create life in the world, many of them sacrificing their divinity in the process, while the Daedra chose to abstain. Because they did not participate, the Daedra retained their power and their ability to interact with the mortal world. In addition to their influence on the mortal world, the Daedra are also incapable of being killed; they can only be banished, which is accomplished by destroying their mortal body.

The Daedra are considered evil by many, but this is incorrect. They are neither good nor evil, but morally ambiguous. How one perceives the Daedra depends on one's background and goals; for example, many would consider Mephala to be a “bad” Daedra because she encourages plots, intrigues, and ritual assassinations. However, the Dunmer and the Morag Tong see her as “good” because she encourages ritual assassinations for obtaining “justice” and not merely for mayhem. While it is true that some Daedra are more aggressive than others and they have varying tolerance for mortals, to label any of them as good or evil is a mistake.

Daedra are not confined to mortal forms or gender, but they do have preferred appearances, personalities, and spheres which remain static. Sometimes their appearance reflects their intent and sphere; for example, Mehrunes Dagon, whose sphere is destruction, has a straightforward personality and does not attempt to obfuscate, appearing as one might expect- demonic and savage. However, sometimes a Daedra's appearance is deceptive; for example, Sheogorath, whose sphere is madness, has a personality that alternates between jester and homicidal maniac and does not appear frightening, as he seeks to lead people down the path to insanity.

The top level of Daedric society is comprised of the Daedric Princes, of which there are 16 (that we know of). They are exceptionally powerful Daedra and are often quite expensive to summon. Each Daedric Prince has their own summoning day, on which they will accept any summoning, and some have certain conditions under which they will appear in a similar manner. Mortals often seek help from the Daedric Princes for their troubles; the Princes usually agree in exchange for a service.

Molag Bal
Clavicus Vile
Mehrunes Dagon
Hermaeus Mora
Works Cited | Reflection
Copyright (C) 2013 Liam Dougherty Daedric Princes