by Morian Zenas
It is improper, though common, to refer to the denizens of the dimension of Oblivion as demons. This practice must probably dates to the Alessian Doctrines of the prophet Marukh which, rather amusingly, forbade traffic with "daimons," and then neglected to explain what demons are. It is most probable that "daimon" is a mispelling of "daedra," the old Elvish word for the strange, powerful creatures of uncertain motivation who come from the dimension of Oblivion. In later tractates by King Hale the Pious of Skyrim, almost a thousand years after the publication of the original Doctrines, the evil of his political enemies is compared to "the wickedness of the demons of Oblivion ... their depravity equals that of Sanguine itself, they are cruel as Boethiah, calculating as Molag Bal, and mad as Sheogorath." Hale the Pious thus longwindedly introduced four of the daedra lords to the written record. The written record is not, after all, the best way to research Oblivion and the daedra that inhabit it. Those who, in the words of the Alessian Doctrine, "traffic with daimons" seldom wish it to be a matter of public record. Nevertheless, scattered throughout the literature of the first era, are diaries, journals, notices for witch burnings, and guides for daedra-slayers which contain only a few contradictions. These I have used as my primary source material. They are at least as trustworthy as the daedra lords I have actually summoned and spoken with at length. Oblivion is a place composed of many lands, thus the many names for which Oblivion is synonymous: Coldharbour, Quagmire, Moonshadow, and others. It may be supposed that each land of Oblivion is ruled by one prince. The princes whose name appears over and over (though this is not a sure test of their authenticity, to be sure) are the aforementioned Sanguine, Boethiah, Molag Bal, Sheogorath, and Azura, Mephala, Clavicus Vile, Vaernima, Malacath, Hoermius (or Hermaeus or Hormaius, there is no consistant spelling) Mora, Namira, Jyggalag, Nocturnal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Peryite. From my experience, Daedra are a very mixed lot. It is almost impossible to categorize them as a whole except for their immense power and their penchant for extremism. Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Peryite, Boethiah, and Vaernima are among the most consistently "demonic" of the Daedra, in the sense that their spheres seem to be destructive in nature. The other daedra can, of course, be very dangerous, but seldom purely for the sake of destruction, as these five can. Nor are those five aforementioned daedra identical in their destruction. Mehrunes Dagon seems to prefer natural disasters, earthquakes and volcanos, to vent his spleen. Molag Bal prefers employing actual daedralings, and Boethiah inspires the arms of mortal warriors. Peryite sphere seems to be pestilence, and Vaernima's torture. Summoning daedra is not a difficult proposition, but it is usual an expensive one. Most Mages Guilds have a summoning room, but this is most often reserved for the highest echelon of guildmembers. Witches covens are much less class sensitive, and the Necromancers, the Dark Brotherhood, and many secretive kings and queens of Tamriel have private summoning rooms. Daedra princes usually demand some sort of service of those who summon them, though I am fortunate enough to have good relations with some and need not perform. In preparation for the second chapter of this series, I will be investigating two matters that have intrigued me since I began my career as a daedra researcher. The first is on one particular Daedra Prince, referred to in multiple articles of incunabula as Hircine. Hircine has been called "the huntsman of the Princes" and "the father of manbeasts," but I have yet to find anyone who can summon him. The other, and more doubtful goal I have for the next chapter is to find a practical means for mortal man to pass through to Oblivion. It has always been my philosophy that we only need fear that which we do not understand, and with that thought in mind, I pursue my goal.